Lancastrian army marches south (Croyland Chronicle)

The duke being thus removed from this world, the north-
men, being. sensible that the only impediment was now with-

^ An officer of the co.rt of wards, whose daty it was to be preieiit
with the escheator, at the survey of the lands of the king’s wards.


drawn, and that there was no one now who would care to
resist their inroads, again swept onwards like a whirlwind
from the north, and in the impulse of their fury attempted to
overrun the whole of England. At this period too, fancying
that every thing tended to insure them freedom from molesta-
tion, paupers and heggars flocked forth from those quarters in
inflnite numhers, just like so many mice rushing forth from
their holes, and imiversally devoted themselves to spoil and
rapine, without regard of place or person. For, besides the
vast quantities of property which they collected outside, they
also irreverently rushed, in their unbridled and frantic rage,
into churches and the other sanctuaries of God, and most ne-
fariously plundered them of their chalices, books, and vest-
ments, and, unutterable crime ! broke open the pixes in
which were kept the body of Christ and shook out the sacred
elements therefrom. When the priests and the other faithM
of Christ in any way offered to make resistance, like so many
abandoned wretches as they were, they cruelly slaughtered
them in the very churches or church yards. ITius did they
proceed with impunity, spreading in vast multitudes over a
space of thirty miles in breadth, and, covering the whole surface
of the earth just like so many locusts, made their way almost
to the very walls of London ; all the moveables which they
could possibly collect in every quarter being placed on beasts
of burden and carried off. With such avidity for spoil did
they press on, that they dug up the precious vessels, which,
through fear of them, had been concealed in the earth, and
with threats of death compelled the people to produce the
treasures which they had hidden in remote and obscure spots.
What do you suppose must have been our fears dwelling here
in this island, when every day rumours of this sad nature were
reaching our ears, and we were in the utmost dread that we
should have to experience similar hardships to those which bad
been inflicted by them upon our neighbours ? This fact too, in
especial gave us additional grounds for apprehension, that num-
bers of persons who lived in the country, being desirous to
provide for the safety of themselves and their sacred things,
had fled with the utmost speed to this island, as their sole
place of refuge. The consequence was, that, by bringing
with them whatever treasures they considered of especial value,
they rendered the .place a still greater object of suspicion to


the enemy. In the meantime our precioiMf vestments were
put out of the way, while our jewels, and silver vessels, to*
gether with our charters and muniments, were, all of them,
iiidden and secured within the walls. Besides this, daily
processions were formed in the convent, and every night, after
matin lauds, prayers and tears were most devoutly poured forth
in a spirit of humility and with a contrite heart, at the tomb of
Guthlac our most holy father and protector, in order through
his intervention to obtain the Divine mercy. In the mean-
time, at each gate of the monastery, and in the vill adjoining,
both at the rivers as well as on dry land watch was conti-
nually kept; and all the waters of the streams and weirs
that surrounded the vill, by means of which a passage might
by any possibility be made, were rendered impassable by
stakes and palisades of exceeding strength ; so much so, that
those within could on no account go forth without leave &*st
given, nor yet could those without in any way effect an en-
trance. Our causeways also and dykes, alo^g which there
is a wide and even road for foot passengers, were covered
with obstacles, and trees, spread along them and laid across,
caused no small impediment to those who approached in
an opposite direction, For really we were in straights, when
word came to us that this army, so execrable and so abominable,
had approached to within six miles of our boundaries. But
blessed be God, who did not give us for a prey unto their
teeth! For, after the adjoining coimties had been given
up to dreadful pillage and spoil, (that we may here confess
the praises of God, in that at the time of His mercy, He re-
garded the prayers of the contrite, and in His clemency deter-
mined to save us from the yoke of this calamity) our Croyland
became as though another little Zoar,*’ in which we might
be saved ; and, by the Divine grace and clemency, it was pre-
From the Croyland (Crowland) Chronicle

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