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  2. Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II: : An insightful take on an infamous murder
  3. Tamburlaine and Edward II
  4. Edward of Woodstock | A Writer's Perspective
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There was trouble in the City of London as to the way of assessing the [80] burden. The poorer sort claimed that the citizens should not be called on to pay so much per head, whether rich or poor, but that the assessment should be according to means. William Longbeard took the part of the poor citizens: it came to be a matter to be fought to the death between the magnates and Longbeard.

An armed band was told off to arrest Longbeard. He resisted, slew two chiefs of the band, but was compelled to fly for protection to the church of St. Then the archbishop did a thing unheard of. He, a churchman, bound by every consideration to guard the privileges of the church, set at nought the right of sanctuary, kindled a fire, and drove Longbeard out of the church.

In his attempt to escape Longbeard was wounded by the son of one of those whom he had killed in trying to escape arrest.


This was the punishment: His upper garments were taken off, then his hands were bound behind his back, and, attached by ropes to a horse, he was dragged from the Tower through the City to Tyburn, and there hanged alive by a chain. What was he, unscrupulous demagogue or martyr in the cause of the poor?

Each view was held by his contemporaries. He seems to have behaved very badly to his elder brother, whose care for him during his youth he repaid by bringing against him a charge of treason. He was charged with blaspheming the Virgin Mary, and with taking his concubine into Bow Church. The last charge seems disproved by the circumstances in which Longbeard fled to the church for refuge.

Be this as it may, his enemies triumphed; Longbeard was drawn and hanged with nine of his fellows. But two years later the monks of Canterbury presented to the Pope charges against Hubert.


Isabella and the Strange Death of Edward II: : An insightful take on an infamous murder

The first is that he had violated the peace of the Church of Bow by forcing out Longbeard and his fellows. The Pope advised Richard to remove Hubert from the office of justiciar, and not to employ churchmen in secular offices. Hubert resisted for a while, but in the end accepted his dismissal. Thomas, p. Stubbs, ii. Coxe, iii. Hewlett, i. Stubbs, i. Luard, ii.

Tamburlaine and Edward II

Madden, ii. Diceto, Dean of St. From the accounts of the execution of Longbeard it is quite clear that in Tyburn was established as the place of execution; in the detailed accounts given there is no hint that this was the first execution carried out here. It has been shown that gallows existed here as early, probably, as When, therefore, we find mention of an execution of a date earlier than that of Longbeard, taking place at London, for a crime of [82] which the royal court would necessarily have cognisance, it is at least highly probable that Tyburn, though not expressly mentioned, was the place of execution.

The crime of is one of those few social crimes, as distinguished from political offences, of which the chroniclers make mention; the story reveals a strange picture of the manners of the time. During a council held at London the brother of the Earl of Ferrers was murdered in his inn, the body being afterwards thrown into the mud of the street. When the king heard of this he was greatly moved, and swore that he would visit the crime heavily upon the citizens of London.

For it was said that a hundred and more of the sons and relatives of the nobles of the City were in the habit of breaking into the houses of wealthy men for the purpose of robbery. And if they found any one going by night about the streets they forthwith murdered him without pity, so that for fear of them few dared to go about the City by night. So it came about that in the third year before this, the sons and nephews of certain nobles of the City, meeting together by night, for the sake of plunder broke into the stone house of a certain rich man of London, using iron wedges for the purpose of making an opening, by which they entered.

Edward of Woodstock | A Writer's Perspective

But the head of the house had been warned beforehand of their intent, wherefore he put on a leather cuirass, and had with him several nobles and trusty servants also protected by armour, sitting with him in a corner of the house. And when he saw one of those thieves, by name Andrew Bucquinte, pressing on in front of the others with glowing face, he brought forward a pot full of live coals, and hurriedly kindled some wax tapers which he carried in his hand, and rushed upon him.

Which beholding, the said Andrew Bucquinte drew his knife from its sheath and struck the master of the house; but he failed to wound him because the blow fell upon the cuirass. And the thief, on promise of life and limb, gave up the names of his companions, many of whom were taken, though many also escaped. Among those taken was a certain very noble and very rich citizen of London, by name John Senex, who being unable to clear himself by the ordeal of water, offered to the king five hundred marks of silver for his life.

But as he was condemned by the ordeal of water, the king refused to accept the money, and ordered that judgment should be done upon him, and he was hanged. In this year Constantine Fitz-Athulf was hanged, and that without trial. The story of the execution without trial of one who had been sheriff of the great and powerful City compels attention. It is thus told by the chroniclers, the date assigned being or —.

In this year, on the feast of St. James the Apostle, [84] July 25, the inhabitants of London and those of the neighbouring country, having challenged one another to a wrestling match, met near the hospital of Queen Matilda, outside the City St. The contest was long, and after great efforts on both sides, the citizens of London had the best of the contest, to the chagrin of their adversaries. He who took the defeat most to heart was the seneschal of the abbat of Westminster, who devised means to avenge the defeat of his party.

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Having formed in his mind a plan of vengeance, he issued a fresh challenge for the feast of St. That being done the said seneschal got together strong and practised wrestlers, so that the victory might be thus gained.

The citizens of London, wishing to distinguish themselves a second time, came in great numbers to the appointed place. The contest began, those on one side and the other trying to throw their opponents to the ground, but the seneschal of whom mention has been made, having brought up people from the neighbourhood and from the country, turned the contest into a fight which would satisfy his revenge. He took up arms without provocation and furiously charged, not without bloodshed, the unarmed citizens of London.

The citizens, wounded and insulted, fled in disorder to the City. There ensued a great tumult: the common bell was rung and brought the people together. The story went about, every one gave his opinion, and proposed his plan of revenge. At last the Mayor, Serle, a man prudent and peaceful, advised that complaint should be made to the abbat of Westminster, and said that if he would consent to make suitable reparation, every one should then be satisfied.

A blind multitude, a mad populace, entrusted Constantine with this civil war, flung itself in a tumult on the possessions of the abbat, demolished several houses, and did great damage. God and our lord Louis be our help! The facts soon got about, and came to the ear of Hubert de Burgh, the justiciar, who, having got together a number of knights, put himself at their head and went to the Tower of London, from which he sent a message to the elders to come to him without delay. Then Constantine, constant in his presumption and pride, answered otherwise than was either becoming or prudent.

He trusted to the oath taken by the king as well as by Prince Louis, by the terms of which the friends and partisans of one or the other were to be left in peace. The justiciar, hearing this avowal of Constantine, detained him and two of his abettors, without exciting any disturbance. Quickly and secretly they carried him thither, and when Constantine had the [86] rope round his neck, he offered fifteen thousand marks of silver if his life might be spared. Hanged therefore he was, together with Constantine, his nephew, and a certain Geoffrey, who had proclaimed the order in the City.

Thus was the sentence on Constantine carried out unknown to the citizens, and without disorder. That done, the justiciar made his entry into London, with Fawkes and the armed men who had gone with him.

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He arrested all known to have taken part in the riot, threw them into prison, and let them out only when he had caused their feet or hands to be lopped off. Numbers fled and never returned. The king took sixty citizens as hostages, and deposed the magistrates and put others in their room.

Moreover, he ordered that a great gallows should be set up. About this time some bold but rash nobles in England, seduced by we know not what spirit, conspired together, and entered into an execrable alliance to ravage England like robbers and night-thieves. In order to whose execution a dreadful machine, commonly called a gibbet, was set up in London, and on it two [87] of the chief conspirators were hanged, after having engaged in single combat.

One of them was killed in the fight, and was hanged with his head cleft open, and the other, hanged alive, breathed forth his wretched life on the same gibbet amid the lamentations of the assembled multitude.

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