Translation of the Anonimalle Chronicle’s Account of the Good Parliament

THE year 1376 King Edward III held his parliament at London, and such a parliament was never heard of before, nor lasted so long, for it began on Monday [28 April], in the third week after Easter, and it lasted until the translation of St Benedict [11 July], that is to say for ten weeks altogether. In this parliament were gathered the king of England; the prince of Wales; Lord John of Gaunt, the duke of Lancaster; Lord Edmund Langley, duke of Cambridge; Lord Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Buckingham, sons of the most noble king of England, and two archbishops and fourteen bishops, and several abbots and priors, and the earls of March, Arundel, Salisbury , Warwick, Suffolk, and Stafford, and all the barons and bannerets of standing in the country and 280 knights and esquires and citizens and burgesses for the community of diverse cities and boroughs and counties.
            And the Monday aforesaid, at the beginning of the parliament, in the presence of our Lord the King and the Lords and Commons previously mentioned, there was pronounced the usual causes and articles of the parliament by Sir John Knyvet, then chancellor of England, among which was that the kingdom of England was in peril and on the point of being destroyed by sea and land by the enemies of France, Spain, Gascony, Flanders, the Scots and other countries; on account of which the said Sir John asked on behalf of the king aid and succour against his enemies, and that they should willingly grant a tax of a tenth from the clergy, and a fifteenth from the laity, and the custom of wool and other merchandise for one year or for two to support the war. And of this, the Lords and Commons considered their reply as the law demanded. And at the same time at the end of the statement, the said Sir John Knyvet, the chancellor, demanded on behalf of the king from the knights and burgesses and all the commons of the counties, by their allegiance, and on pain of forfeiture, that if any matter required to be redressed or amended in the same kingdom, or if the said kingdom was badly ruled or governed or ingenuously counselled, that they, by their good advice and counsel, should ordain a remedy as far as they could so that the Kingdom should be more profitably governed to the honour of the king and the profit of the kingdom. And here ended the first day. And the king went to his chamber, and the other Lords and Commons towards their lodgings.

And the second day afterwards [30 April] the archbishops and bishops and earls and barons assembled and took their places to treat and take counsel in the White Chamber in the palace of the king. And the chapter house of the abbey of Westminster was assigned to the knights and Commons, in which they could deliberate privately without being disturbed or being bothered by others. And on the said second day all the knights and Commons aforesaid gathered and went into the chapter house and sat around, each close to the other, and they began to talk of the substance of the causes of parliament, and they said that it would be desirable at the beginning to be sworn one to the other, to hold counsel as to what was spoken and ordered among them, and loyally to treat and ordain for the welfare of the kingdom without concealing anything; and to this they all unanimously assented and took an oath to be loyal one to the other. And then one of them said, ‘If any of us knew of anything to say for the welfare of the king and kingdom he should lay his knowledge before us’, and after that, one after another [said] what was on his mind.
            Then a knight of the south region arose quickly and went to the lectern in the middle of the chapter house so that all could hear, and leaning on the said lectern began to speak in this manner,  

Bless us O Lord, etc. Sirs, you have heard the causes of parliament which are grievous, how our Lord the King has demanded of the clergy and the commons a tax of a tenth and a fifteenth and the customs of the wools and other merchandise for a year or two, and it seems to me this is hard to grant because the Commons are so weakened and impoverished by various tallages and taxes which they have paid previously, that they cannot bear such a charge or at this time pay it, and on the other hand all that we have granted for the maintenance of the war for a long time we have lost because it has been badly wasted, and mis-spent. Therefore it is desirable to counsel our Lord the King how to live, and rule the kingdom and to carry on the war from the proceeds of his own lands, and not hold to ransom his liege men, and I have heard that there are many people who have in their hands goods and treasure and much gold and silver from our Lord the King, without his knowledge, and have falsely concealed these goods, and have profited in many matters in an evil and extortionate manner to the great damage of our Lord the King and the kingdom. At this time I shall say no more. You, however, O Lord have mercy upon us.

And he rejoined and sat by his companions. Immediately another knight arose and went to the lectern and said,

Sirs, our colleague has spoken profitably, and I will make a further point for the good of the kingdom, as God gives me grace. You have heard that it was ordered by the common council in parliament that the Staple of wools and of other merchandise should be solely at Calais to the great advantage of our Lord the King, and at that time the said town was governed and ruled by English merchants, and they took nothing in recompense for soldiers to maintain the war nor for the governing of the said town. And then after the Staple was suddenly taken from various cities and towns in England, and the merchants were driven out of Calais with their wives and their households without the knowledge or assent of parliament for private profit, against the law and against the statute which was made, in order that Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons of London and others might have these advantages, and raise great sums from the maltote, concealing the fact that the king had the right to these Because of this the king spends each year for the preservation of the town the amount of eight thousand pounds of gold and silver, where before there was no need for expenditure. For this reason it was desirable to ordain a remedy by advising that the Staple should go back to Calais.

And he did not wish to say anything more, but went back to his place. And a third [knight] arose and went to the lectern and said,

Sirs, our colleagues have spoken very well and very profitably, and it seems to me that to consider such great affairs and serious matters for the profit of the whole kingdom without the counsel and aid of those who are greater and wiser than we will not be profitable. Nor is it honourable for us to begin such a procedure without the consent of the Lords. For this reason it is a good thing to start by asking our Lord the King and his wise council in parliament that they should be willing to grant and to assign to us certain bishops and certain earls, barons, and bannerets, that we wish to name, to help and counsel us, and to hear and to witness as to what we say.

And to this all agreed, and after this they arose in the same manner in two’s and three’s, one after the other, and spoke of various motions and points the substance of which will be more fully declared. When they had all finished speaking and were sitting among their companions they took counsel together, what was the most profitable course to pursue. At this time a knight from the Welsh Marches and steward of the earl of March, Sir Peter de la Mare by name, began to speak when the others had spoken and said, ‘Sirs, you have heard already the words and the wisdom of our colleagues, and the manner of what they intend, and as it seems to me they have spoken loyally and profitably’, and he went through word by word all the points that they had previously mentioned in an effective, wise, and convincing fashion. And apart from that he counselled them on various points and articles, as will be seen more fully later, and so ended the second day.
            The third day after [3 May] there assembled all the knights and Commons in the said chapter and deliberated from day to day until the Friday next following [9 May] concerning various matters and extortions committed by different people and treasonably as they were advised. In these deliberations and this council by common consent because the said Sir Peter de la Mare had spoken so well and had so wisely rehearsed the matters and the purpose of his companions, formulating them more clearly than they themselves could do, they asked that he should take charge on their account, and have the power to state their wishes in the great parliament before the said Lords, how they [the Commons] were advised to act and to speak in discharge of their conscience. And the said Sir Peter for the reverence of God, and his worthy colleagues, and for the profit of the kingdom undertook this responsibility. And on the said Friday when they were all assembled, the king sent a messenger to them, Sir Raynald Bukkeshill, beseeching them on behalf of the king, that they should consider his estate, for he was anxious that they should grant his petition and request which he had made on the first day of parliament, and that they should let the parliament end as early as they could for he himself wished to be elsewhere on his affairs. And at this time it was decided among them that the whole assembly should go straight to the Lords and that what the said Sir Peter spoke by their advice, all should assent to and should maintain. And on the same Friday the Commons entered parliament and went to the parliament house; one group entered but the rest were held back and shut out and dispersed. And when the said Sir Peter and a group of his colleagues had come before the Lords, and saw that their companions had not been able to enter, they were greatly astonished by this affair.
            Then the duke of Lancaster at that time the king’s lieutenant holding parliament in the absence of the king and the prince began to speak, very anxiously, ‘Which of you has the word and substance of what you have decided among yourselves?’ And the said Sir Peter replied that by common assent he had the word at that time. The duke said, ‘Say what you wish’. ‘Sire,’ he replied, ‘willingly. Sirs, you well know and are fully advised, that all the Commons who have come here, have come by the writ of our Lord the King and by the election of the sheriffs of the different counties, and what one of us says, all say and assent to. Because of this, at the outset, I demand to know from everyone for what reason some are held outside, and for certain I will move no matter before they all enter and are present.’ Then the said duke of Lancaster replied, ‘Sir Peter, there is no need for so many Commons to enter in order to give a reply. Two or three at a time will suffice as was previously the custom.’ And Sir Peter replied briefly that he would say nothing before they were all assembled. Because of what had just taken place the duke sent for them and asked where they were, and they were searched for in various places for more than two hours before they could be found, and they joined their companions. And when they had all entered Sir Peter began to expound what had been spoken and established among them in this way, 

Sirs, if you please, you have heard the commission we have from the Lord our King on our allegiance to treat and ordain concerning his estate and that of the kingdom, and to redress and amend those faults which we find so far as we can. And we have found many faults and grievous points which it will be to the profit of our Lord the King and of the kingdom to have put right, and we are so lacking in knowledge and skill that we cannot amend such grave matters without the advice of wise men. Because of this we ask that for the profit of the kingdom you should grant and associate with us four bishops, four earls, four barons and bannerets, to hear and to witness what we say.

And the Lords spoke among themselves about this, and agreed that it was a reasonable and profitable request.
            Then the duke said to Sir Peter, ‘Whom do you want?’ ‘Sire,’ he replied, ‘the bishops of London, Norwich, Carlisle, and Bath, and the earls of March, Warwick, Suffolk, and Stafford; of barons and bannerets, Lord Percy, Sir Roger Beauchamp, Sir Guy Brian, and Sir Richard Stafford. And when they have heard and seen our counsel, we will declare our purpose and ordinance to you, and for this day we will say no more.’ And they took their leave of the Lords and commended them to God. And when the Commons had left, the Lords took their counsel as to what should be done, and they ordered certain messengers to go to the king, and to tell him what had been said on behalf of the Commons. And when the king heard their wishes he was well pleased, and he ordered the Lord to be associated with them.
            And the Monday after [12 May], the bishops and earls and barons aforesaid went to them [the Commons], and took charge in the great parliament to be attendant on the Commons, and afterwards they went together to them to their chapter house to hear their counsel. And the Commons received them favourably and pointed out to them certain matters on which they wished to pronounce with their assent, and when they had assented they all went to the parliament and, when they had come before the Lords, they greeted them, and the Lords returned their greeting. And when they were all at peace and the noise had subsided the duke of Lancaster said, ‘Who speaks ?’ and Sir Peter replied,  

Sire, as I said to you on the third day past it was decided by common assent that I should be the spokesman at this time, making protestation in all ways before all who are here, that if I speak incorrectly on any point, I will subject myself to the correction and amendment of my colleagues, for even the wisest man, and I reckon myself a fool, can err in so great a matter. And as for our matter, we are of opinion in our council with reference the king’s demands of a tenth and a fifteenth and the custom of wools, and twelvepence from each pound of merchandise to carry on his war against his enemies, we say that if he were well governed by his ministers, and his treasure spent loyally and without Waste, there would be no need to raise such loans, but he has with him certain councillors and servants who are not at all loyal or profitable to him or the kingdom, and they have taken advantage by cunning, and deceived our Lord the King.

And at this the duke of Lancaster was astonished and said, ‘How is this, and who are the people who have profited in this way ?’ ‘[I answer] willingly,’ said Sir Peter. ‘My Lords, a statute was made in parliament by common assent that the entire Staple of wools and other merchandise should be at Calais, and

that certain citizens and merchants of England should live there and have the governance and defence of the Staple and of the town, so that our Lord and King could have the profit both of the customs and of the exchange of gold and silver. The advantage of the exchange which was made there by all the merchants of Christendom amounted by general estimate to eight thousand pounds a year from the exchange, and, when the said citizens and merchants had the government of the said town, they governed and ordered the town loyally and well, so that our Lord the King should spend nothing on soldiers nor for the defence of the said town against his enemies, where now he spends eight thousand pounds a year to the great damage of himself and the kingdom. And now the said Staple has for a long time been secured from the different cities and towns in England, without the common assent of parliament and against the statute made there, so that Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons, a citizen of London, recently and cunningly raised with great advantages such great sums by different patents granted on the customs without the knowledge of the king that one could not count the number of times the king was deceived. And many of these patents were too easily granted to merchants before these times. For this we seek the remedy for the profit of our Lord the King, that the Staple should be moved back to Calais and should stay entirely there.

And when Lord Latimer heard these words he said, ‘When the Staple was moved from Calais, it was done by the order of the king, and his council.’ And Sir Peter replied that it was done against the law of England, and against the statute made in parliament, and what was done in parliament by statute could not be undone without parliament, ‘and this I will show you by written statute’. And Sir Peter had a book of statutes by him, and he opened the book and read the statute before all the Lords and Commons, so that he could not be contradicted. And there was a great altercation among them and Sir Peter said,

Sire, we will say more of this later. Sirs, the second point that we wish to raise is that a loan was made by Lord Latimer who is here and Richard Lyons, previously mentioned, to their own great profit and to the great damage and loss of the king, where there was no need at that time of making a loan, the which loan amounted to twenty thousand marks, and for these twenty thousand marks the king had to pay twenty thousand pounds so that those who made the loan had a profit of ten thousand marks.

The duke of Lancaster said that such a situation and necessity might arise that the king would be very happy to give the sum of ten thousand marks to have a loan of twenty thousand marks. Sir Peter replied that it was not in order to make the loan for he had heard that there were two London citizens, that is to say Adam Francis and John Walworth, who had offered Sir Richard Scrope, then Treasurer of England, for the profit of the king fifteen thousand marks, ready at hand without damage or loss to the king, and in return take the customs of the wools at Calais on an annual basis until they should be repaid. And to prove this he asked the council of parliament on behalf of the Commons to have full information from the bishop of Exeter and from Sir Richard Scrope, who were the Treasurers of England a short while before, that they should testify before them by the advice and consent of our Lord the King and his good council. And when Sir Richard Scrope heard these words he rose before the Lords and Commons and said, ‘Sirs, you know well that I was the treasurer and a member of the council of our Lord the King, and what I saw there is for myself alone, unless I am [otherwise ] ordered by my sovereign Lord. But if I am sworn I will spare no living person and I shall speak only the truth as I am able, as I have understood it and heard it, and taken its sense.’ And on this point the Lords and the Commons took respite until another day when they would have the reply of our Lord the King and information from him.

The third point is that when our Lord the King had raised large sums of gold and silver from archbishops, bishops, abbots and priors, citizens burgesses and merchants, Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons bargained with them to have their tallies and gave them a smaller sum where otherwise they should not have had anything. And this was done by trickery to their own profit, so that they took tallies from several people by bargaining and paid some five hundred pounds for a thousand pounds, and others two hundred pounds for four hundred pounds, and one hundred pounds for two hundred pounds, and so they acquired large sums for their own use without the knowledge of the king where he himself should have been able to have the advantage. Another point was that a lady or a young lady, Dame Alice Perrers by name, had every year from the treasury of our Lord the King two or three thousand pounds of gold and silver from the coffers of our Lord the King without any notable profit and to the great damage of our Lord the King; and it would be a great gain to the kingdom to remove the said dame from the presence of the king both as a matter of conscience and of the ill prosecution of the war, so that the said sum could be restored to and could profit our Lord the King, and that the wardships of sons and daughters of the great Lords which belong to the King should not be too lightly given to those who are not able to profit or avail themselves of it. And at this time we will say no more, but we wholeheartedly implore, for the profit of our Lord the King and of the kingdom that the Lords previously mentioned, the bishop of Exeter and Sir Richard Scrope should be assigned to us and be sworn to inform us of what they know for profit by their conscience.

And so they departed on this day.
    The next day [13 May] there were sent to the king by the common assent of parliament various Lords to inform the king of the ordinances and speeches of the Commons, and how they had asked him that he should consent to assign to them the Lords previously mentioned. And concerning this, when the Lords had come to him and had delivered their message on behalf of the Commons, he agreed willingly and commanded that the said bishops and Sir Richard Scrope should be associated with them and sworn to tell what they knew and had at heart, without falsity for his profit and for that of the kingdom.
   The Monday next following [19 May] all the Lords entered the White Chamber of the palace for their parliament, and the Commons entered the chapter house previously mentioned and they took counsel as to how their purpose should be affected. And by common assent they sent for the three bishops, three earls, barons and baronets who were assigned to them, and when they had come and sat among the Commons they began to speak of their purpose, and to say to the Lords that they did not wish to make any further point in parliament before the bishop of Exeter and Sir Richard Scrope had been sworn and assigned to us,3 and apart from that, until the points and articles previously mentioned had been redressed and amended by the king and his good council of parliament. And when they had spoken they all arose together and went from the chapter house to parliament, and entered before the Lords and greeted them and asked if they might have a reply to their petition made to our Lord the King. And then the duke of Lancaster said, ‘Have you any other points to raise?’ And Sir Peter replied briefly that they did not wish to say anything further until the truth should have been declared on the points already mentioned, and justice done on those who had in an extortionate manner taken and detained the goods of the king, deceiving him and the kingdom, and that the Staple should be completely restored to Calais [and until the truth had been declared] concerning the loans which had been made to the king without necessity, and concerning the large sum which Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons cunningly took by bargaining with those who had lent the king their goods in order to save the remainder, and that Alice Perrers should be removed from the presence of the king; and furthermore ‘we ask that Sir Richard Scrope should be charged to say how the loan was made without necessity at that time’. And the duke said before the Lords that the wish of the king was that the bishop of Exeter and Sir Richard Scrope should be sworn to say what they knew by reason of their having been treasurers before this time, ‘and I think this is reasonable’, and because of this he made the bishops and Sir Richard on behalf of the king swear on oath to attend their council, and loyally reveal what they know for the good of the kingdom. And because of this the Commons were well pleased and happy to have from them full information. Then Sir Peter began to speak, ‘Sirs, as you well know, as to the loan which was made and a great loss which our Lord the King suffered as a result of this, Sir Richard Scrope knows how it was, and it would be a good thing if he should wish to speak.’ And Sir Richard replied that he would speak since he was charged to do so.

Sirs [he said], you know well that I was treasurer and present at the council of our Lord the King, and the loans were made as I suppose by Lord Latimer who is here, and Richard Lyons, without my knowledge, and without necessity, for there were two citizens of London, Adam Francis and William Walworth previously mentioned. The said William is present here, who offered to me to lend for the aid of our Lord the King in the necessity fifteen thousand marks to be repaid from the customs of the wools at Calais on easy terms without damage or loss, and it is remarkable that all the ministers and councillors of our Lord the King were not able to make a loan of five thousand marks, but gave on the other hand ten thousand marks for a loan of five thousand marks.

And at this the duke said, ‘Who made the loan?’ And the Commons replied, ‘As we suppose, Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons, as Sir Richard Scrope has said, and to prove and confirm this William Walworth knows the truth.’ And because of this the duke had him called and examined them upon allegiance. And William said that he did nothing, but as he had heard Richard Lyons and John Pyel made the loans. ‘Where is John Pyel?’ said the duke. ‘Sire,’ they replied, ‘he is near by.’ ‘Call him to us,’ said the duke. And when he had come before them, the duke commanded him to put his hand on the book and he did this, and he was charged to speak the truth as to how the loans were made and if he had done this with his own goods or not. And he replied that it was not done through his own possessions. ‘ And how was it done then?’ asked the duke. ‘Sire,’ he replied, ‘by oath that I made, I suppose that it was done through the possessions of our Lord the King or through the possession of Lord Latimer by the assent of the said Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons.’ And then all the Commons cried with one vote, ‘My Lord, pray that you should well see and hear that Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons have acted falsely in order to have the advantages for themselves, for this reason we pray for remedy and redress, and that the said Richard should be arrested and put under guard until our Lord the King and the council of parliament have pronounced their will of him.’ And Lord Latimer said in the hearing of all that this was not satisfactory , for he was able to find sufficient pledges to answer to him in the time to come. And to this Sir Peter de la Mare said that all the goods which he had, moveables and non-moveables would not add up to what he had extorted from our Lord and King, ‘as we are ready to prove and say beyond what we have said; and Sirs we will say no more at this time’. And so they departed until another day. And Lord Latimer was very irritated and grieved by their words.
           The next day [20 May] the Lords entered their parliament and the Commons went into the chapter house and they deliberated from day to day what should be done and established. On the fourth day [24 May] the Lords entered their parliament and sent for the Commons in order to hear what they wished to say and the Commons in one body and openly came before the Lords in parliament. And the aforementioned Sir Peter began to speak,

Sirs, we are here come before you and at your command to show what we have at heart, and we say that we have declared to you and to all the council of parliament several trespasses and extortions made by various people, and we have no remedy, nor is there anyone around the king who wishes to tell him the truth, or loyally and profitably counsel him, but on all occasions with fooling and mocking they procure their own profit, because of this we declare to you that we will say no more until all these false and evil councillors who are around the king, are removed and ejected from his presence, and until the present chancellor and treasurer are removed from their offices, for they are of no value, and until Dame Alice Perrers is completely removed both as a matter of conscience and [because] of the bad management of the war, and of the ills and damages brought to the kingdom; and that our Lord the King should assign to be members of his council three bishops, three earls, and three barons, such as will not hesitate to speak the truth and improve matters; and that no great matters should be accomplished or ended without them, and no wardships or marriages should be given without their counsel, and they should be willing to put right what was badly done and employed before this time of the deceit of the king; because before these [evil councillors] are removed, no one will dare to speak the truth, nor give a remedy, nor govern the country well. And they [the new councillors] should be willing to hear and put right, by their good counsel and advice, the wrongs which have been committed, as we have shown before this time.

And the Lords replied that this would be a good thing to do, and they would willingly inform the king of their consent and counsel and purpose. And they departed on this day without doing anything further.
        The second day after [26 May], the duke and the other Lords of parliament sent certain Lords to the king to inform him of the words of the Commons, and the consent of the Lords to advise him to remove those who were of his council, and Dame Alice Perrers completely, informing him of their actions and how they had acted to deceive him, and that he should take to himself such councillors who wished loyally and profitably to govern [for him] and ordain for his estate and kingdom and that he should not place faith and credence in evil councillors and wrongdoers. And the king kindly said to the Lords that he willingly wished to do that which was profitable to the kingdom, and the Lords thanked him, beseeching his most excellent lordship that he should elect three bishops, three earls, and three barons as was previously mentioned to be of his council, for it appertained to him to elect [them] and not to the others of parliament. And the king replied patiently that he would willingly act according to their advice and good ordinance. And so they spoke among themselves as to who they should be, and they elected the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of London, the bishop of Winchester, the earls of Arundel, March, and Stafford, and the Lord Percy, Sir Guy Brian, and Sir Roger Beauchamp. And when this was done he sent for the duke of Lancaster and his brother the earl of Cambridge, and the nine lords already mentioned, and when they came to him they began to give their opinion of the ordinance already enacted and spoken of in parliament. Then the king asked the said nine lords that they should be willing to attend him and his council, and ordain for him and the kingdom, and remedy the trespasses which had been committed and done before this time. And the Lords kindly agreed to do his pleasure so far as they could, and they were sworn to be loyal to the king and loyally govern him and the kingdom in so far as they could.
           At the same time there was removed from the council of the king, Lord Latimer, Sir John Neville, Sir Richard de Stafford, and Dame Alice Perrers; and the king himself swore before his Lords that the said Alice would never come into his presence again, and it was ordained by common consent that the aforementioned nine lords should stay in London, or close to where the king was, so that they could be ready at all times to counsel him when it was needed, and so they departed and went to London to the parliament, and the duke of Lancaster was not pleased, but very much grieved and annoyed that he had not been elected to be one of the councillors.
         In the year 1377 [rectius 1376] in the time of the said parliament, the most noble prince of England and Wales and the comfort of the whole of England, Sir Edward de-- IV fell seriously ill at London before Whitsun [1 June] and was at Kennington near London. At the time of his illness Richard Lyons previously mentioned was greatly annoyed and he sent by water to the said prince a barrel which was secretly full of gold, but appearing to be a barrel of sturgeons, to have his good lordship. And when the present came the prince flatly refused to take it and gave his reply in this manner: what was in the barrel was there and not profitable, for it was not well put there or loyally come by, for this reason he did not wish to take such a present, nor help the said Richard nor favour his evil designs, but he was one with the Commons in counselling and ordering the estate of the kingdom, and amending what had been done in an extortionate and evil fashion.
          Then a short time afterwards, the Lords and Commons entered the parliament, and the duke declared what the king had done, and how the nine lords had been elected to be of his council and were sworn loyally to counsel and govern him and the kingdom to the best of their power. And for this the Commons thanked him warmly for his good grace and wishes, and on the same day the nine lords previously mentioned were presented in parliament and Sir Peter de la Mare began to speak in this fashion,

Sirs, if you please, you have been commended by our Lord the King to hear about and to amend the faults which we have previously revealed, and those of which we will speak for you later, and concerning this we all beg you [to act] for the profit of the kingdom, and we will tell you further of this matter. You know well that we have spoken of different matters and trespasses which are still not redressed concerning Lord Latimer and Richard Lyons, and they have committed several crimes of which we have not spoken, and of this we will say more presently. As for Lord Latimer we say to you that by his fault Bécherel and Saint-Saveur [-le- Vicomte] were lost and surrendered to the French, and for giving them up the said Lord took a great sum of gold and silver from the enemy as we have heard: the which Lord could have succoured and aided them had he wished by his good procurement and government. On account of this we pray and require you on behalf of the king and the council of parliament that the aforesaid Lord Latimer should be arrested and put under close guard for all the trespasses and crimes committed, until he makes amends and satisfaction to the king for his misdeeds; and the said Richard Lyons should be judged according to his deserts in the points and articles brought against him, which he cannot reasonably deny.

At this time the said Lord Latimer was summoned and arraigned for the matters previously mentioned before the Lords of parliament, and the said Lord, denying that he had had time to reply, asked to take counsel, and for a day on which he would receive the articles in writing, so that he could give a considered reply. But Sir William Wykham, bishop of Winchester, said before the Lords that it was not necessary to have counsel or delay, for no one knew his deeds better than himself, and for that reason he should reply without other advice and without adjournment. And Lord Latimer replied to the bishop and said that it was very hard and unreasonable to have the reply within so short a time to such grievous and heinous points which had been made against him, making protestations in all ways that he would put all his goods, his castles and his own person in the grace and will of his sovereign Lord to do with him and his goods what he wished. And at this time [26 May] he was arrested and put in the custody of the earl of March, then the marshal of England; and the constabulary of Dover, of which the said Lord Latimer was the guardian and constable was given to Sir Edmund Langley, the earl of Cambridge and the son of the king. And at this time Richard Lyons previously mentioned was apprehended and ordered to the Tower of London as a perpetual prisoner and all his rents and tenements were given to various people by the king, and all his goods were confiscated, and so ended the parliament.

Source: John Taylor, English Historical Literature in the Fourteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987), pp. 301-313.

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Last Update: 23 January, 2003