Friday, 2 May 2014

Thomas Saga: The Pope Discusses Constitutions of Clarendon at Sens, 1164

Extracts from

Eiríkr Magnússon. Thómas Saga Erkibyskups: A Life of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Icelandic. Volume 1 Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-108-04921-4.


Of the messengers of Thomas.

Now the messengers of king Henry, coming to the
pope's court with their riches and presents the day before
the poor messengers of the archbishop Thomas, set
forth among the cardinals their plea, and hold out to
them their wealth, in order to gain their countenance.
Here the things go even according to the ways of the
world, that men are right unlike each other, some for-
feiting rightwiseness and following wealth, others fear-
ing God and heeding the law ; some saying that king
Henry in England was a most righteous and a zealous
ruler, but that archbishop Thomas was presumptuous
and insolent. Others gainsaying this straightly, saying
that the archbishop stands forward for the right of God,
even as he had sworn in his consecration, and hold there-
fore the Roman mother in duty bound to strengthen
him in his lawful proceedings but that she may nowise
fight against him, whom she ought to strengthen in all
good things. It may well be said, that the cardinals
divided amidst quarrelling into two factions, inasmuch as
some became confounded from greed, others from fear for
the pope, or themselves, in case king Henry should not
be able to carry his affair fully out ; these therefore will
listen to nought that may aid onward the case of the
archbishop, nor will they kiss his messengers when they
come to the court. This grieveth the two companions
sorely, as they well understand, that these are friends of
king Henry, but are men who bear the archbishop malice.
Yet suchwise did the Lord speed their errand that, poor
as they were, they got, the same day they came there,
leave to go before the lord pope himself, even sooner than
the bishops themselves well furnished with wealth. But
when they enter, they salute the apostolic lord worthily,
even as was due, whereupon they bring him a humble
greeting from their reverend father Thomas. They say
that they have come there for the purpose of making
known unto the lord pope, how it fareth with the arch-
bishop. Now, with the leave of the lord pope they begin
first by relating, how archbishop Thomas was persecuted
at Northampton by king Henry and his lords ; then, how
he saved himself by a secret flight ; then, how &r he had
had to journey, and what travelling hardships he had
been put to by land and by sea even all the way unto
the monastery of St. Bertin. But when pope Alexander
had heard this tale he was moved thereat, and he soft-
ened in the kindness of his heart, whereupon he spoke
as follows:—

" Archbishop Thomas," said he, " liveth still in the
" body, and yet he is ah-eady being crowned in the spirit
" with the glory of martyrdom."

Thus speaketh he, the blessed one, and giveth to the
messengers of the archbishop sweet leave with apostolic
benediction to go to their chamber.

But, the next morning, as soon as ever the cardinals
are assembled in the consistory of the lord pope, the
messengers of king Henry are called thither, both bishops
and laymen. There too come the messengers of the
holy Thomas, in order that they may hear, what oometh
to pass, though they stand lower, and have less to say.
When the due hour of that assembly hath come, Gilbert
of London showeth off his greatness once more, being
the first to rise ; whereupon he thus commenceth address-
ing the pope in person : —

" Holy father," said he, " the catholic governance of
" the holy church of God imposeth upon you the duty of
" taking care of your spiritual sons, in order that those who
" are men of good will may be strengthened through your
" authority to do that, which they understand to be right,
" but that those, whose understanding goeth wrongthrough
" ill-will, be so chastised by the power of the pope, that
" they turn away from evil, and do that which is good. It
" is not to be believed that such an one can be well loved
" by your wisdom, who believeth in himself only, and
" will lend ear to no man's counsel, but rather chooseth
" to do all things rashly and wilfuUy, bringing about
" discord among us bishops, that each may hate the other,
" and choosing to hold of no worth the power and the
" will of the king of England, nay, far rather to value
" his lordship as cheaply as even nought at all Now
" matters stand thus, even as I can tell you that, of
" late, great discord has sprung up between the church
" and the king of England, which would have been

" allayed right easily, if good-will and wisdom had gone
" between with quiet rather than strife, with heed
" rather than headlong insolence. It belongeth to arch-
" bishop Thomas to listen to no man's counsel, to that
" of us bishops no more than to that of others, and
" therefore he gaineth by his hastiness even that which
" he desireth, worry, to wit, and manifold trouble,
" which confoundeth peaceful folk. For his eagerness
" giveth heed to nothing, neither time, nor reason ; far
'' rather did he set up for himself and us bishops
" snares which, had our wisdom not betimes taken heed
" of these very trammels, these matters would have come
" even to a worse end. But when we had escaped his
" waylayings, he turned his wicked folly against the king,
'' throwing contempt on all his council and rule. Besides
'' this, he cast shame on us, his brethren, and in order
'' that he might curse both the king and ourselves, he
" committed such an unheard-of deed as to flee away
" from his native land, without being overawed or
" threatened with hard dealings. Of him it may there-
" fore well be said : ' the wicked fleeth though no one
" pursue him.' " 

Now when the bishop had got thus far
in his harangue, the lord pope speaketh : —
" Spare, brother," said he.

Answered Gilbert : —
" Certes, I will spare him."

The lord pope answered : —
" Nay, we pray not that thou spare him, but
" rather thyself."

At these words the Lord so blunteth the wit and the
understanding of the bishop, that after this not one word
did proceed from his mouth.

But next to him speaketh bishop Hilary, he who
trusteth more in a clear-spoken delivery of smart words,
than in the truthfulness of meet reasoning. He
speaketh thus to the lord pope : —

" Holy father," says he, " it cometh to your .highness
" and holiness, to call back and restore, without tarry-
" ing, to peaceful happiness and just righting whatso-
'' ever bringeth about estrangement between God's
" church and the commonalty, after the manner ye have
" just heard of for a while from the bishop of London.
'' It behoveth you, not to wink at such a thing as the
" foolhardiness of one man disturbing holy church by
" presumption and overweening pride, and endeavouring
" to bring it about, that people ^ould hate one another.
" It is indeed a great sorrow to us, that archbishop
" Thomas spumeth the advice of every one, and con-
" triveth by his wilfulness such means of escape as may
" bring the greatest trouble upon himself, and his lord
" the king, and thereby, too, upon learned folk and lewd
" alike. But doings of this kind within the church
" beseem nowise such a great person, wherefore they
" were right in parting from his insolence and reck-
" lessness, who formerly were under him by duty."
The bishop speaketh such smart Latin, as if every word
were decked in elegance, and folk think it somewhat
of a worldly glee to watch, how gracefully he himself
deemeth he delivereth his speech. Hence it cometh to
pass, when the people had long restrained themselves,
that a great laughter bursteth up in the hall, where-
amidst a certain lord casteth on the bishop these
words : —

" Late and ill didst thou come to harbour."

At this word God rendereth the bishop so reft of
speech, as if he had lost the tongue.

But when Roger, archbishop of York, seeth how
these twain have fared, he thinketh to himself that he
shall not proceed in such a way, as that any man
should laugh him to scorn for his rashness, but shall
temper himself by all his might, despite whatsoever may
abide in his mind. He thus beginneth his address to
the pope : —

" The works and the will of the archbishop of Canter -
" bury, from the beginning, are known to no man
" better than to myself, and therefore I can bring to
" light what his temper is ; for what he has once resolved,
" he will not readily reverse ; therefore it standeth to
" reason, that this stubbornness of will he must needs
" have nourished by long evil habit even therefore, that
" he has always been found to be a man of obstinate bent
" of mind. I see therefore no measure more likely to
" serve as chastisement for him, than this that your wis-
'' dom and commandment minister to him a wholesome
" counsel with a hard hand, so that he may acknowledge
" his fault."

Having proceeded thus far in his speech, he resteth a
little while, but afterwards addeth these words : —

''I hope" said he, ''that those who understand my
" words and the wont of us Englishmen be well content
'' though I speak no further."

When he is silent Bartholomew speaketh to the
pope : —

" Holy father," said he, " it behoveth nowise to drag
" this affair on, and thus to be troubling people with a
" multitude of words, for this great matter cannot be
" brought to settlement until archbishop Thomas is pre-
" sent. I therefore pray your might, that you ordain
" legates from your see to make a lawful inquiry into
" all these matters, in order to report to you the case
" even as it is."

He speaketh nought more.

The bishop of Worcester was silent at this meeting,
and from good-will, belike, since archbishop Thomas was
his father by consecration, as is said afore.

But next to this standeth up the earl William of
Arundel, praying for leave ta speak a few words, the
which having been granted him, he beginneth his
speech in this wise : —

"Holy father," said he, ''what these bishops have
" been speaking now a while is utterly hidden to us,
" who do not understand Latin ; it behoveth, therefore,
" that I make known imto you on what enand
" we are sent hither to meet you from my lord the
" king. My errand is nowise to swell strife or harm-
" fill language, and least of all indeed before such an
" excellent lord as you are, to whose bid and ban all
" Christianity boweth, and whom all the realms of earth
" obey ; but rather have we come to bring you letters and
" message from my lord, the king in England, in order to
" show forth that good-will which he has been wont to
" bear, and still beareth you. But through whom could
" he make known unto you his devotion and good-will,
" but through the mightiest men in his lands ? Had he
'' found any persons still nobler than these are, he would
" have sent them for the sake of your exaltedness. It is
" also well to be borne in mind, what honour and worship
" my lord the king paid to you and the holy church of
" Rome in his coronation, when he put himself and all
" his goods under your power and will ; and, in sooth,
'' I can testify, on my faith, that than the lord king of
" England no ruler on earth is found trustier for the
" upholding of the peace, or of greater good- will to-
" wards yourself. So also has archbishop Thomas of
" Canterbury shown himself no less duly fitted for
" his office and order, for he is both clear-sighted in
" searching himself and others, although to some he may
" seem somewhat forward and eager-minded. And if
" this trouble had not come upon us, learned men and
" layfolk would live joyfully together under a good
" king and the best of archbishops. It is therefore our
" inwardest prayer to you, holy father, that your power
" and grace bring such foresight to bear, as that this
'' strife might pass by, but peace might be established
" in the rejoicing of true love."

This honourable speech the earl delivered in his
mother-tongue, in such manner as to gain much praise
from many people therefore.

Many things were spoken at this meeting; for the
messengers of king Henry tried many a shift that
his will might be fulfilled. And one of the things they
endeavour to bring about is this, that the lord pope
judge the king rightwise in all dealings that have
passed between him and the archbishop ; and, shame
to say, the messengers are backed herein by some of the
cardinals, who love more the presents of king Henry, than
the primacy of the holy church. But in this trial the lord
pope standeth steadfast, duly fearing his Creator, and
deeming also that he knoweth for sure, through the re-
presentation of honest-minded folk, that none of the
deeds of king Henry which have aught to do with the
church are in any way fit to be passed into law. This
is another proposition of the king's men, that the lord
pope order archbishop Thomas by virtue of his vow of
obedience to return home to England to his church, and
give henceforth trouble to no man. This the pope
Alexander putteth off, because it misdoubteth him that,
if this were done, the dealings between the king and the
archbishop would go after the fashion of those between
the gaoler and the prisoner, where one smiteth whilst
the other lieth alow. Now when neither of these things
is granted, the third proposal is this, that the lord pope
send his legates to England, to inquire into these affairs,
and then to give decision therein, all appeal being
excluded. This seemeth to the pope to be in a certain
measure a fair request, yet he holdeth back from follow-
ing this way, because he trusteth none of the men under
him to such rightwiseness as to stand untottering amid
that disparity of station, which now was seen to be
between the king and the archbishop. The meeting
therefore came suchwise to an end, that the ambassadors
got nought granted of their requests at all, but this, that
the pope giveth them leave to go, exhorting them how-
ever at the same time to await the coming of archbishop
Thomas ; for in his absence, he saith, the affair may nowise
be brought about. Now the messengers walk away
from the meeting in such wise, that they well nigh bold
out threats, as to how such a thing might be borne with,
that the king of England should be held of no worth ;
they say, moreover, that, as they regard their necks, they
dare tarry at the pope's court no longer than they were
bidden; and at things thus done they depart with a
scanty blessing. So they ride away from Sens, in such
a manner, that the words of most of them were rather
those of hardness than holiness, those of wrath rathe
than of rightwiseness. Let them, therefore, fare as the
way wendeth, while next we turn to the blessed Thomas,
whereas we left him in the monastery of St. Bertin.


How Thomas Cometh To The Pope's Court.

The messengers of archbishop Thomas were anigh aud
overheard, as has been said before, what came to pass at
the meeting this day before the lord pope ; and therefore
they take a loving leave with apostolic blessing, wending
their way back again. They have to bring back to their
lord tidings by which he waxeth right blithe, both from
the lord pope and from the king of the French, with
this news moreover, that his enemies could not carry out
their errands. For this reason it seemeth good to God's
man to go and meet the lord pope, sooner rather than later.
And now God sendeth him such great comfort, that
worshipful folk come to him and ofler him their attend-
ance through France, both for his honour and his safety
against enemies. Among these men it may be fitting
to name the noblest, hight Milo, bishop of Terouane
and another, the abbat Gotschal.

Now the archbishop rideth away from the monastery
of the holy Bertin up into France to a certain city called
Soissons, where he tarrieth over night. Straightway the
next day Louis, the king of the French, cometh there,
by the will of God, showing such great kindness to lord
Thomas as that, without delay, he goeth to the chamber
wherein the archbishop sitteth. And a meeting of great
joyance the two good men had between them. The lord
king grieveth over all the heavy trials which the arch-
bishop has had to suffer, and therewithal he speaketh
thus: —

" Whatever favours and needful things you may be
" pleased to accept in our kingdom shall be at your
" own disposal Let our means and true good-will be
" your support as long as our Lord suflfereth that you
" stand in need of our charity."

This liberality and truly kingly bounteousness the
holy Thomas thanketh for in fair words. In Soissons he
tarrieth for several days, whereupon he taketh blithe
leave. King Louis seeth him off in so goodly a fashion
that he giveth him many knights from among his
courtfolk both to be his guides, as also to see that he
lack nought on his journey, whereof he may happen to
stand in need. Thus the archbishop cometh to the court
of the pope, and having arrived there, findeth out soon
and swiftly, that some of the cardinals turn towards
him a right scanty favour, and full clearly he under-
standeth whence such things must needs proceed ; yet
none the less he getteth, that very same day, sweet leave
to come before the lord pope. Now words fall here
much after the same fashion as those, whereof you read
before concerning the king of the French, in that the
lord pope, and the cardinals who show their hearts to
be with God, grieve the worry and the trouble the arch-
bishop hath had over and above the suffering of exile.
And after a little while the lord pope speaketh thus to
the archbishop : —

" At present, brother, you will withdraw to your
" chamber and go to rest ; but to-morrow you will come
" before us and our brethren, setting forth the matters
" which divide the church and the king in England."

And so it falleth, that lord Thomas receiveth blessing
and goeth to his chamber.

How Thomas readeth out the Charges.

Now when as the holy Thomas sitteth in quiet in his
chamber he maketh known to his clerks how the lord
pope had commanded that on the next following morning
should be laid before him under due heads, the causes of
the contention between him and king Henry. He now
calleth upon them, asking if any one of them will take it
upon him to expound the matter. But it is a soon told
tale, that for this task they all of them deem themselves
unfit, and therefore lord Thomas understandeth that this
difficult matter must needs fall to himself. Now cometh
round the hour of his being called in, when such a
worthy welcome is given to him by the lord pope, as to
be shown to a seat even next unto him. Having sat
a-thinking for a little while, the archbishop prepareth
to rise, in order to deliver his speech standing out of
reverence for the pope ; but the lord pope maketh a sign
to him to sit down. He then beginneth his delivery,
setting out in the manner following : —

" It is known to people," said he, " that once on a time I
" was with king Henry, when I was wont to give good
" heed to this one thought, that in no great matter should
" I run counter his will. But since the Lord God suffered
" that I should turn away thence to take upon me some
" oversight of holy church, unworthy though I were
" thereof, it seemed to me, that I had departed the place
" where it behoved me to do all things even as the king
" desired. Now have I set myself slightly against his
" will, and straightway all his friendship has fled away
" from me. Yet although it has estranged itself from me
" for a while, I am in need of no man's aid, should I have
" a mind to buy it back again ; for if I choose to say yea
" to all his will, he itf at peace with me at once. Now
" although Englishmen, my fellow-countrymen, carry
" abroad the rumour that I have betaken myself out of
" the land of my kin out of mere treachery, it is cer-
" tainly no fair rendering of the story. If a guilty man
" always findeth this the heaviest affliction, to be ban-
" ished from his country, it would right ill beseem me to
" estrange myself from my church, my flock, my duty ;
" and to suffer this dishonour of exile and poverty with-
" out any reasonable cause, for nought but mei*e blame
" and rebuke. Now, how the truth of the affair standeth,
" will, mayhap, by God's will, be clear anon." Then he
taketh forth the roll, which he had carried erst away
from Clarendon, whereon there stand written the customs
of the king of England ; and then speaketh to the lord
pope: —

" Holy father," said he, " here is the cause of my
" exile, and if you give leave thereto, then, to-day, let
" it both come to your hearing and undergo the decision
" which you are minded to pass thereon, for I did not
" deem that I had any power myself to consent to the
" novelties which stand written here."

The lord pope ordereth them to be read. Whereupon
the archbishop readeth.

First there standeth even this, which the king's men
dictated, that such as follow are the royal customs in

If differences arise between learned men and lay-
folk, between a clerk and a laic, about any rent or in-
come of holy church, those differences shall be examined
at the king's court, and shall be decided even there.

Secondly. In whatsoever matter two or more clerks
happen to be at variance with layfolk, let them come to
the king's court, having first received a summons through
the bailiffs and, these having tried the cases of the clerks,
let them be sent before the bishop's court. This to be
done, in order that the secular power and layfolk may
know all the better with what wisdom the church frameth
her judgments. But if a cleric be convicted on evidence
or shall confess, let him have no defence thenceforth
from the church.

Thirdly. No archbishop, or diocesan bishop, nor any
one of the upper men of authority in the church shall go
away from England, unless with the leave of the king,
and yet only on the condition, that they swear to show
the king no unfaith while they are away.

Fourthly. When a laic has been excommunicated by
a bishop, he shall swear no oath before being absolved,
but only appeal his case to the judgment of the church.

Fifthly. No person shall be excommunicated by the
bishops who has on hand a royal office or lordship in the
land, until the king or his steward has been seen on
that matter, whereupon the justiciary of the country shall
take the case in hand and give decision in those things
which appertain unto the kingdom. But whatsoever the
justices leave for the church, let that go before the

Sixthly. Let appeals in England be made in such
way, that the archdeacon appeal to the bishop, and the
diocesan bishop to the archbishop. But should the arch-
bishop forbear dealing rightly with a case, the king's
power shall press him to pass judgment thereon, for no
appeal shall be allowed out of the realm to the lord pope.

Seventhly. When an arch-throne, a bishop's see, an
abbatship, or a priory shall become reft of their heads by
the death of their rulers, these estates with their revenues
shall thereby fall to the crown, yielding thither their
yearly income. But at such time as it pleaseth the king
that a person should be chosen to fill the place of the
departed, he will call together into his chapel such of the
learned folk as he chooseth, that by their counsel and
his consent the ruler be choseu. In this same place he
who has thus been elected shall make an oath to be
faithful to the king in life and limb and earthly honour.

Eighthly. If a guilty person break a lawfril sum-
mons of a bishop or an arch-deacon, he may be put
under an interdict, but nowise be excommunicated, if he
happeneth to be of a town, a castle, or a village belong-
ing to the king ; for the king's chief justice of the place
wherein the summoned person hath his dwelling shall
wreak right on him. If, however, he neglect this, let the
summoned be at the mercy of the king ; and then the
bishop shall be allowed to inflict punishment for that
which appertaineth to him in the case.

This is the ninth custom of king Henry : If a learned
man and a laic differ about any property, as to whether
it belong to the church or to the crown, let twelve lay-
men be nominated into a court to judge which of the
two is in the right ; and then let the case go as they
judge according to circumstances, either before the king's
power, or before the judge of the church.

How Thomas overcame the Cardinals.

Now, when the archbishop had proceeded thus far in
his delivery, the cardinals make known, who they were,
and how far from the way of rightwiseness they went
in these affairs for the sake of their unlawful friend-
ship to king Henry ; but in this case is one especially to
be named as the dearest friend of the king at the pope's
court, he namely, hight lord cardinal William, bishop of
the city which is called Pavia. He layeth himself openly
out for backing the king with so many shifts that it
giveth God's man right great trouble on that day ; for
the cardinal spareth neither clerkship nor wiliness, whilst
he keepeth both hands at work, one for the praising, of
the king of England, and the pleading of his cause, and
the other for the shaming of archbishop Thomas. Such-
wise he pleadeth on behalf of the king, that all the
oppressions for the harming of the church, which have
been read even now, he clothes in a fine garb and beau-
tifieth with the fair colour of lawfulness, in order that
the same might all the rather be permitted or be well
borne with in some measure. But the doings of God's
man, his proceedings and flight abroad, he deemeth so
vile as to warrant him putting to the archbishop the
question, why he, a primate, did list to bring so great
a disturbance into the church of God for such a small
matter. The purpose of this cardinal is set forth in the
book called Speculum Historiale : namely, that he as-
sumed the archbishop to be a man of a lesser and weaker
breast than came to be proven afterwards ; and that his
speaking before the lord pope would proceed from alien
wisdom and wording, but not from his own reasoning ;
and that when the clauses which have just been men-
tioned should come upon him unawares, his scanty wis-
dom would be confounded and turn out to the greatest
shame for such a mighty lord. But all this went quite
another way than he had thought, for he got the shame
who had sown for it ; for such, haply, is oft enough the
working of guile, that it often woundeth its own author.
So, too, matters fared in this place ; for it became known
on that day to all folk, better than ever before, that the
worthy lord archbishop Thomas had been healed through
his own wisdom, by the grace of God, in a greater
degree than he had just been wounded by one inferior
to himself. Now although there be no long tale to tell
of the affair, yet it will seem to a wise man a thing
worthy of attention, how he confounded this cardinal.
It fell in this way, that at first he listeneth with good
heed to the whole of his speech, but when that was
over, he giveth his answer, beginning with the clause
which came first in the order. But the manner in 
which he undid, knot by knot, all that net of craftiness,
which the cardinal had set for entrapping therein the
freedom of the church, brought a right sweet delight
unto the hearts of those who listened thereto. For the
aforesaid Speculum saith that, from specially cited de-
cretals of the holy fathers, he brought forward convinc-
ing testimonies, as to how this custom or that stood
straight against the church, and as to what hurt it must
needs bring upon the people of God, if it were allowed
to gain power in the church ; hereby then is clean swept
away the garb which the cardinal had given these cus-
toms ; and to everyone it is now clear, that his words
were rather lying than lawful, and aimed rather at tread-
ing the clergy under foot than bringing peace to them.
Things therefore fell out even as God would, inasmuch
as the holy Thomas got the greatest honour both from
the lord pope, and all such whom the darkness of envy
had not struck with blindnesa But those who had been
dragged into the deep might nowise see the truth. But
from the things that foUow hereafter it will be fully
manifest, how the eye of the pope's reason had already
now become clear and right-sighted, through the holy
and lawful interpretation of the lord archbishop Thomas,
while he giveth decision and passeth judgment on that
which was condemnable, but treateth with lenity that,
which it seemeth the right of the church may endure,
as will be clear from what follows hereafter.

The Customs of King Henry condemned.

The nine customs which were read afore in the
consistory gf the lord pope concerning the unmeasured
masterfulness of king Henry were the weightiest, and the
most hurtful to the holy church. But the seven which
are not named seemed in some measure endurable. But
over these nine, which aimed further, the lord pope
sorroweth in such way, that he may not restrain his tears 
in thinking that any christian king should list to seize
in such a manifold manner to himself the right of holy
church against the commandments of God and the
sentences of the holy fathers ; and therefore he passeth
thereon the final decision that these nine customs are
accursed abuses, and shall be condemned and excluded
from the whole church of God. When the pope hath
dictated this sentence, he turneth to archbishop Thomas
and speaketh thus : —

" These customs bear witness, how deep you fell,
" brother, when at the peril of your consecration, you
" consented or swore to uphold them against the catholic
" freedom of the church. And if you had not arisen
" afterwards, or got our absolution, your affairs would
" now have come to a perilous plight ; for otherwise the
" deed, by which you brought your consecration into such
" danger, would thrust you away from that honour and
" office which you once received. But God be praised
" now, that His mercy has opened your eye to what you
" did amiss, and that you have so well redeemed your
" station that, through your steadfast abiding in the law,
" you have had to encounter troubles and hurtful deal-
" ings, poverty and exile, and therefore it behoveth to
" show you true love and all such support, as the Roman
" mother may afford to yield and accord to you. Now
" go with our benediction and the blessing of God unto
" your chamber."

This day's meeting cometh to such end, that each one
betaketh him to rest.


How Thomas resigned.

The morning after the customs of king Henry were
condemned, as the pope sitteth with the cardinals in his
chamber, archbishop Thomas cometh in from without, 
and prayeth for leave to speak. This being granted, he
goeth up, and falleth on his knee before the lord pope
with these words : —

" God demandeth from the christian that he speak
" the truth from heart and mouth ; and this it is our
" bounden duty to do every where, but most espe-
" cially so before your countenance, holy fiebther. I there-
'' fore have to confess, that my miserable offence bringeth
" upon the holy church of God, the heavy troubles which
" she has now to endure in England ; for I did not enter
" by the right door into the fold of the holy church of
'' God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ ; for I was called
" to this office and honour, not by a lawful election,
" but rather was I installed in this see by the overbear-
" ing will of the king. Thereby it came to pass,
" that I consented to this hard task against my will,
" rather for the sake of the king than my Creator.
" It is therefore nowise to be wondered at^ that many
" things go against me. Now although the manner
" of my entering into the divine office is right fear-
" ful to me, yet I dared not give the arch-see into the
" power of king Henry, urged though I was by my
" brethren to do so. But now, by the will of God, I
" have come to the place, where I may rightly deliver
" myself of this trouble. I therefore give my arch-
" see up into your power, holy &ther, that sinful and
" feeble that I am, I may not bring that flock into
" woful downfall, which I ought to lead towards eternal
" joy."

Having thus spoken, he draweth from off his hand the
consecration ring, and handeth it to the lord pope, pray-
ing him to choose another ruler for the church of Can-
terbury, a stronger one in the godly warfare : —

" For I never did choose for myself or bear the dignity
" and name of a bishop by duly ministering to that
" office."

Having spoken thus, he walketh out of the room.
But the lord pope sitteth behind in tears as did most of
those who sat there within ; for such a sorrowful speech,
given forth and pronounced by such a man, might well
go to the heart of any good man. Those, too, who were
familiar friends of the holy Thomas have now fallen
into great sadness of heart, lest he should get no right-
ing of his affairs, they being moreover placed in a
foreign land, and therefore standing all the more in need
of comfort from God ; and that they soon get, as I shall
now relate.

The lord pope Alexander now setteth himself, with
the cardinals, to dealing with this matter and the dis-
sension between the king and the archbishop. And
forthwith there burst forth sundry proposals, some of the
cardinals saying that, belike, it must be most to the mind
of the king, that the ruler of Canterbury be changed, now
that Thomas had resigned of his free will. They also say,
that it would be most likely to bring peace to himself,
if he were translated to another church. But those who
brought forward this counsel must have best known
themselves which they had most at heart, the presents
of the king of England, or the purchase of a settled
peace for the holy church. Against this stand other-
cardinals, saying : " Shall this be right before God, that
" archbishop Thomas be reft of his dignity and office,
" because it is the will of king Henry, having already
" had not only to forego fatherland and freedom, but
" also to encounter peril of life and limb, on account
" of the waylayings of his enemies? Or what will
" worldly lords then shortly say to the bishops, if
" this shall be allowed to come to pass? what, but
" this that, whenever they shall be withstood in aught,
" they will command the bishops either to give up their
" honour, or to crouch before them ? Or who among the
" rulers of the holy church will be likely to undertake to
" yield her an availing aid or wardship, if for that very 
" protection which they afford her they must needs be
" tortured, both by the church and the power of the
" king? Unhealable harm and downfall shall then be
" the lot of the catholic church, if things shall be allowed
" to go on in such manner. It will, therefore, be clear to
" all good men, that no other way is lawful or com-
" mendable in this affair, than this one, that Thomas be
" restored to his full honour and dignity."

In this manner the cardinals strive among them ; for
the friends of king Henry pray the lord pope openly to
shape his course agreably to the will of the king. Yet,
none the less, the matter cometh, even according to the
will of God, to such an end that the lord pope ordereth
Thomas to be called in, when he thus speaketh to him : —

'' Now first becometh it manifest unto us, from thy
" faithful deeds, how praiseworthy a zeal thou hast
'' shown and showest still on behalf of the laws of the
" church, and the church itself, and the clergy. We have
" also heard how pure a confession thou hast made of
" thy election. And, moreover, thou hast of thy own
" free will given thy office up into our hand. We have
" therefore determined, in the name of God and the holy
" apostles, Peter and Paul, to deliver the arch-see of
" Canterbury again into your hand with unshorn
" honour, powpr, and dignity."

With these words the lord pope giveth to the blessed
Thomas again the consecration ring, in token of archi-
episcopal honour and dignity, thus speaking to him : —

" Inasmuch as we are brothers in tihe matter of banish-
" ment, let us go in fellowship together, God permit-
" ting, while we are both alive. But because you
" have long led a merry life, it seemeth to us right
" fitting that, in your trials and longsuffering, which
" you must needs endure for the name of God, you
" should become father and fellow of poor folk; we
" name for you, therefore, a dwelling-stead in Pontigny,
" that you live there after hennit fashion with the
" Grey-Friars there ministering. Lay aside the greater
" costs, but let a few familiar clerks and attendants
" accompany you, and abide the day which God shall
" send for our peace and rest"

In such way come to an end the affairs of holy Thomas
at the pope's court, that he receiveth apostolic bless-
ing, and rideth to Pontigny with no greater following
of people than the pope had signified. The other folk
of his suite betake themselves to such places as he
himself ordaineth. But though all the others are scat-
tered about, yet master Herbert of Bosham may be
named as one who parteth not from archbishop Thomas ;
for between them there was a dear love, as has been
read afore. And it was but fitting that he should always
be in fellowship with the archbishop, since it was he who
afterwards was to write many things concerning his trials
and his glorious life, and these the more truthfully, the
better it was known to him how they had come to


  1. Good morning Jim your collection of material is great on this site, really comprehensive. My grandfather is William fil.John Tilly, d.Oct 1174, brother to Pagan us d.1137 and Eustace d.1157. He was baillivi Regis Bessin and Caen, Constable and Lord Tilly Castle till 1155, Baron Harp tree Somerset 1138, organised safe house for Q.Matilda and Prince Henry in Somerset, Dapifer and Justice to Henry II from 1156, sopped due placitas 1163 to become Magistro 1164 to Prince Henry III . His Seal and Arms the most special writing his own writs per breve William f John as 2 staves of justice or sceptres glory at upper ends crossed salt ire Royal household red on metal argent because Procurator Normannie 1166 till death 1174 as Regent, Magister trans rule as Regent of England June 1170 to Great Revolt 1173 in fact Henry Young King a full king except the Sword as Military in every civil justice way. I am working on the theory his nephew Pagan us f. Pagan us Probatoris Regis 1161 at Court was one of the authors and clerks of the Constitutions - can I help do you know who the Court Clerk was? pagan us was state advocate for King and William Tracy 1174 at sentencing at Rome proof Can't Archives D 20 Pagan us Ackford Okeford fitzPaine Dorset witness to Deed at Sicily for William Tracy gift of Doccombe

    1. I think the Clerk's name was

      Alan de Tracy
      also known as Alan the Clerk

      Brother of

      William de Tracy [one of the murderers of Becket]
      Guillelmi de Traceio
      Willelmus de Traci
      Guillelmus de Traci

      William de Tracy of Toddington, Gloucestershire,_William_de_(DNB00)

      Will. de Traci witness in agreement between Henry II and the Count of Flanders in 1163
      Thomas Rymer (1745). Foedera Neauline. pp. 9–.

      His Brother was called Alan the Clerk

      Calendar of documents preserved in France, illustrative of the history of Great Britain and Ireland
      Vol.1. A.D. 918-1206
      Edited by J. Horace Round (1899)
      Document 558

      Natalie Fryde; Dirk Reitz (2003). Bischofsmord im Mittelalter. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 268–. ISBN 978-3-525-35189-5.

    2. Other Notes 1

      Grant of the Manor of Doccombe by William de Tracy.

      Go to link

      and the following pages

      Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1868). Historical Memorials of Canterbury: The Landing of Augustine. The Murder of Becket. Edward the Black Prince. Becket's Shrine. Note F.: J. Murray. pp. 275–.


      Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1868). Historical Memorials of Canterbury: The Landing of Augustine. The Murder of Becket. Edward the Black Prince. Becket's Shrine. J. Murray. pp. 111–.


      Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1868). Historical Memorials of Canterbury: The Landing of Augustine. The Murder of Becket. Edward the Black Prince. Becket's Shrine. J. Murray. pp. 277–.

      I. Grant of the Manor of Doccombe by William de Tracy.
      (See p. 83.)

      AMONGST the possessions of the Monastery of Christ
      Church, Canterbury, enumerated in the list of the
      " Donationes Maneriorum et Ecclesiarum," published
      by Somner, and given in the Monasticon, the grant

      of Doccombe is recorded. 1 " Willielmus Tracy dedit
      Doccombe tempore Henrici secundi, idem donum con-
      firmantis." The manor of Doccombe, Daccombe, or
      Dockham, in the parish of Moreton Hampstead, Devon-
      shire, still forms part of the possessions of the Church of

      The grant by William de Tracy has not, as far as I can
      ascertain, been printed ; nor, with the exception of a
      note appended to Lord Lyttelton's " Life of Henry II.,"
      have I found mention of the existence of such a docu-
      ment, with the seal described as that of Tracy appended,
      preserved in the Treasury at Canterbury. There can be
      no doubt that the grantor was the identical William de
      Tracy who took so prominent a part in the murder of
      Thomas a Becket. Lord Lyttelton supposed that it
      might be his grandson. 2 The document is not dated,
      but there is evidence that the grant was made within
      a short period after that event, which took place on
      December 29, 1170.

      The confirmation by Henry II. of Tracy's grant at
      Doccombe is attested at Westminster, the regnal year not
      being stated. Amongst the witnesses, however, occur
      "R. Electo Winton, R. Electo Hereford, Johanne De-
      cano Sarum." Richard Toclive was elected Bishop of
      Winchester May i, 1173 ; confirmed and consecrated in
      October, 1174. Robert Foliot was elected Bishop of
      Hereford in 1173, and consecrated in October, 1174.
      John de Oxeneford was Dean of Sarum from 1165 until
      he was raised to the See of Norwich in 1175. It was
      only on July 8, 1174, that Henry II. returned to England
      after a lengthened absence amongst his French pos-
      sessions ; he crossed to Southampton, and forthwith
      proceeded to Canterbury, to perform his memorable
      humiliation at the Shrine of St. Thomas. The date of
      his confirmation of Tracy's gift is thus ascertained to be

      1 Somner, Antiquities of Canterbury, Appendix, p. 40 ; Monast.
      Angl., Caley's edition, vol. i. p. 98. In the Valor, 26 Hen. VIII.,
      the manor of Doccombe, part of the possessions of Christ Church,
      is valued at 6 6s. %d. per annum.

      2 Lord Lyttelton's Life of Henry II. vol. iv. p. 284.

      Some suppositions

      Paganus [latin a villager] = Paysan = FitzPain = Fitzpaine [filius Paganus] = Payne
      Acford = Ackford = Okeford

      Pagano de Acforde

      A. P. Stanley says
      Roger de Acford was holder of a knight's Fee in Barnstable
      mentioned in Red Book of Exchequer

      But Red Book of Exchequer seems only to have the following entry

      Hubert Hall The Red Book of the Exchequer. Cambridge University Press. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-1-108-05324-2.
      Robertus de Akeford, xjs. vjd. [7s/6d] de feodo [knight's fee] Montis Acuti.

      Montis Acuti = Sutton Montis near South Cadbury, Somerset.

    3. Other Note 2

      See also

      Great Britain; Normandy (France).; Normandy (France) (1920). Recueil des actes de Henri II: roi d'Angleterre et duc de Normandie, concernant les provinces françaises et les affaires de France. Impr. nationale.

      Page 138

      "Sciant presentes et futuri quod ego Hugo de Corterua concessi Alano de Traci ..."

    4. Other Notes 3

    5. Other Notes 4


      Alain de Traci

      Léopold Delisle; Élie Berger (1909). Recueil des actes de Henri II le Chauve, roi d'Angleterre et duc de Normandie concernant les provinces françaises et les affaires de France. Imprimerie nationale. p. 544.

      ... l'autre de Hugues de Couterue, neveu de Guillaume de Traci, l'un de meutriers de l'archeveque de Cantobery. Elles font connaitre les demarches du roi Henri II et celled d'Alain de Traci, frere du meutrier, qui aboutirement a faire affecter par l'eveque du Mans, a l'eglise d'Ivrande des biens que Guillaume de Traci avait destines a doter une leproserie <>.

    6. I can find no reference for Alan de Traci as having ever been involved in the compilation of the Constitutions of Clarendon. He is not mentioned in its preamble; yet others of Henry II's clerks and members of staff of his Exchequer Curia regis are. He was not excommunicated by Becket, who would have wanted to visit heavy ecclesiastical punishment upon anyone who had been involved in its composition, promotion or promulgation.

    7. The known compilers of the Constitutions of Clarendon were

      Richard de Luci [or De Lucy]
      Lucy, Richard de (DNB00) - Wikisource,_Richard_de_(DNB00)

      Joscelin de Bailleul = Jocelin de Balliol
      Laws, Lawyers and Texts BRILL. 22 June 2012. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-90-04-23257-0.

      England Under the Angevin Kings. Ardent Media. pp. 507–

      Both were excommunicated by Becket for having done so.

    8. Henry II's Diplomat and Envoy to both the Papal and Imperial Courts

      John de Oxeneford [John of Oxford]

      Presided, according to Roger of Wendover (Rolls Ser. i. 26), at the council of Clarendon 'de mandato ipsius regis,' 13 Jan. 1164.

      Roger (of Wendover); ed. John Allen Giles (1841). Roger of Wendover's Flowers of History H. G. Bohn. pp. 298–.

      John Le Neve (1716). Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ. Printed by J. Nutt: pp. 262–.

      Succeeded to deanship of Salisbury 1165

      John of Oxford - Wikipedia

      Oxford, John of (DNB00) - Wikisource

      Roger of Hoveden (1853). The Annals of Roger de Hoveden: Comprising The History of England and of Other Countries of Europe from A.D. 732 to A.D. 1201. H.G. Bohn. pp. 261–.

      John of Oxford was a clerk of king Henry II and member of Curia Regis

      The Law Review and Quarterly Journal of British and Foreign Jurisprudence. V. & R. Stevens. 1849. pp. 375–.

      He wa excommunicated by Becket, but afterwards given absolution by the Pope.

    9. Additional Reference to William de Tracy

      'Calvados: Part 3', Calendar of Documents Preserved in France: 918-1206 (1899), pp. 190-217.

      (Cartulary II.
      No. 881.) 556. Charter of Hugh de Corterva notifying that he has granted the gift which his uncle William de Traci made to Alan de Traci clerk—before his crime against St. Thomas—of all the churches on his land (fecit forefactum quod fecit de Sancto Thoma in omnibus ecclesiis terre sue (fn. 18) ), Thomas the clerk, who possesses them, paying Alan an annual pension. He has therefore presented the said Alan before John bishop of Exeter; and ratifying what his lord, William de Traci had done, he grants Alan all the churches of his land to be possessed after the death of Thomas his vicar.
      Testibus: Olivero de Traci; Pagano de Tirun (?); Mathia de Pinu; Ricardo de Chou; Willermo Beve; Willermo de Palle Grente; Olivero de Blonc, etc.

      (Cartulary II.
      No. 880.) 558. Charter of W[illiam] bishop of Le Mans notifying that W[illiam] de Traceio had built a house for lepers at Coismas, and had assigned them property for their livelihood, but that this house having stood empty for some time, he, at the prayer of Henry king of the English, assigned its revenues to Alan the clerk, brother to the said W[illiam]. Afterwards on Alan surrendering them, of his own accord to him, he, at Alan's entreaty, and by king Henry's command, gave them to the priory (ecclesie) of Ivrande etc.
      Huic donationi …. interfuerunt: Esgaretus capellanus episcopi Baiocensis; Ivo magister scolarum; et

      (Cartulary II. No. 882. Trans. Vol. III. fo. 25.) 559. Charter of Hugh de Coterna, giving the canons of Plessis and of Yvrande the endowment at Coysmon and the other gifts which William de Tracy, his uncle, gave them previously, in accordance with the charters of king Henry and of William bishop of Le Mans.
      Hoc fuit factum apud Cadomum ad scaccarium coram Willelmo filio Radulfi (fn. 20) tune senescallo Normannie. Testibus hiis: Willelmo de Longo-campo domini regis cancellario, et Willelmo Constanciensi episcopo; Garino episcopo Ebroicensi, et pluribus aliis.

    10. Pagano de Acforde is a placename

      Okeford Fitzpaine

    11. de Burgh [de Burgo] Family

      William FitzJohn de Tilli Tilly

      Born: Tilly-sur-Seules, Calvados, Normandy, France
      Died: Yorkshire County, England

      see page 35

      John Monoculus

      Eustace FitzJohn
      Eustache FITZ JOHN

      Payn (Paganus, Pagan) FitzJohn (de Burgh), Sheriff of Hereford and Shropshire (c.1086 - 1137)

    12. House of Clavering

    13. Harptree or Richmont Castle
      A whole host of smaller castles .. joined the revolt: ... Harptree under William fitz John...
      William was probably the same William who later held Harptree in Somerset, and in 1130 was a royal justice in western England.

      Sir Roger FITZ RICHARD, 1st Baron De Warkworlh, Baron De Walton

      Richard FITZ EUSTACE Lord of Clavering & Halton

    14. Farrington-Gournay village

      William de Harpetre, Baron of Harptree

    15. House of Yvery

      John de Harpetre - Gournay

  2. Dear Jim I am grateful for this - may I please take this opportunity to quickly review the sources you quote - I am especially interested in what you produced about Traci (more later). After 200 years research my family and others have reviewed all sources from books etc in the 19thC:- there are two main themes:-
    * It is proven Tilly Gournay from Harptree Somerset and Bampton Devon are NOT descended from Yvery or Percheval
    * it is on the balance of all (ex post) proof that William Paganus and Eustace who controlled the Western frontier for Henry I from Yorkshire to Northumberland Wales Shropshire Herefordshire Somerset Devon and Normandy from the Castle of Tilly were not related to "John Monoculus" or de Burgh or de Clavering or before based at Knaresborough......but were in fact all Tilly (eg Castellan of Dover Castle 1098) ie Norman blood - kinsman and associates Humez, Bacon and Tankerville.
    I say the above because the Internet repeats failings in Latin translation, pre 1327 Heraldry (this science ruined by the vested interests of the College of Arms who only have jurisdiction for NEW or DISPUTED Arms after their formation) and, which is exciting, many genealogies of the 12th and 13th C are still yet to be done properly on deductive, associative and conditional probability that does reveal the truth.
    So you think Alan de Tracy yes Alan the Clerk had some input into the Constitutions pre 1164 - it makes sense Luci and Baileull were Clerks because Luci later a Justice, and as you say excommunicated for writing the Constitutions.
    My interest is that the Arms at Morthoe, Woollacomb for a William de Tracy d 1322 have both ther Tracy Arms and Argent Cross Saltire Gules - which is the version of the William fitz John I Tilly d 1174 2 Staves or Sceptres flory (magnolia? flower same as HII Henry Young King and Richard I effigies) at upper ends only crossed sinister over dexter red on metal (iron) because he was simultaneously Regent for both H.II and Henry Young King....the point is that the 4/5 Knights who killed Thomas Becket were all given "desk jobs" their Knight status taken away (hence the Honor of Bradninch Devon as de corone honoris military service not a Barony by Tenure in capite was taken from him) William f John knights service for Oliver Tracy Barnstaple, Richard Brito knights service to William f John Weston nr Gillingham Dorset - it clear that William Tracy given his desk job in Normandy 1171 where he took his family and compensated with lands to enable him to be a lesser Justiciar in Normandy 1171 - 1173 under the supervision of William f John Procurator of Normandy and Justice there - his allegiance and favour from his Arms not forgotten until the Eiffgy Monument of 1322 - 1328 - perhaps the present Lord Sudeley might like to read this original research - Wikipaedia is wrong to quote the wrong thinking that Traci and Luci are mixed up in the Justice Normandy year 1174 - there were very few named offices in those days as titles - a Justice was a Justice wherever he sat often in rotation with others, often in different Assizes - I am glad you referred to Haskins who explains this aspect well.
    Onwards with your great blog - I read it with great interest - please be careful with all the Latin translations done between 1850 - 1970 - I spoke fluent Latin, and do not understand why so many people do not know their Medieval Latin vocab and conjugation which is different in context of those periods.
    Here is to future contact, yours most sincerely Tim

    1. Richard de Luci

      Was no mere clerk, but was a very important figure in Henry II's government.,_Richard_de_(DNB00)

      In 1154 he was made joint Chief Justiciar of England with Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester.
      In 1168 he was made Chief Justiciar in his own right after the latter had died.

      The Chief Justiciar was effectively Regent of the kingdom in the absence of the monarch overseas.

    2. Morthoe Church and Various Legends

      Morthoe Church

      Paul Alonzo Brown (1930). The Development of the Legend of Thomas Becket. University of Pennsylvania. p. 151.

      William White (1871). Notes and Queries. Oxford University Press. pp. 171–2.

      The Western Antiquary; Or, Devon and Cornwall Note-book. 1890.

      The picture of Plymouth. 1812. pp. 32–.

      James Bennett (1830). The History of Tewkesbury. A Short Pedigree of the Family Tracy: J. Bennett. pp. 437–.

      North Devon Magazine: Containing the Cave and Lundy Review. W. Searle. 1824. pp. 146–.

      Ilfracombe as it is, or the Stranger's Guide: with a ... map. E. Lammas. 1839. pp. 20–.

      Tristram Risdon (1811). A chorographical description or survey of the county of Devon. With additions. pp. 341–.

    3. Dover Castle

      I can find no reference that a Tilly had ever been a Constable or Castellan of Dover Castle.

    4. William de Tracy murderer of Becket

      Was a blood relative of Henry II, descendant of one of Henry I's mistresses [Gieva de Tracy],_William_de_(DNB00)


      Gieva De Tracy (b. 1068, d. 1100)
      Was daughter of William De Tracy and Rohesia, born 1068 in Barnstaple dying in 1100.
      Was a mistress of Henry I, king of England.

      Son: William I de Tracy (d. circa 1136) [illegitimate] baron of Bradninch.
      William I de Tracy had one daughter and sole-heiress, Grace de Tracy.

      Grace married John de Sudeley. They had two children:
      Ralph de Sudeley, the eldest, and heir, and
      William II de Tracy, one of Becket's murderers.

      Herbert of Bosham disposes of him ignominiously in Italy. Others have him reach the Holy Land, dying there [in permanent exile]. Others have him returning to a remote village in North Devon, where he dies

      Was he ever given a "desk-job" in Normandy in 1171? I don't think so.

      Some writers have adopted from Dugdale that he was steward or seneschal of Normandy from 1174 to 1176. But this was a scribe confusing the name of Tracy for Courcy.

      See DNB reference above.

      His dying in the Holy Land seems to be his most likely ending.

      Herbert of Bosham always exaggerates, and often makes himself out to be Becket's right hand man during his exile. Always read Becket's other chroniclers for a clearer story.

    5. When dealing with William de Tracy you should read

      The De Tracy Puzzle



    6. More on William de Tracy's genealogy and the problems which present themselves. It's fraught with difficulties.

      Natalie Fryde; Dirk Reitz (2003). Bischofsmord im Mittelalter. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. pp. 230–. ISBN 978-3-525-35189-5.
      Nicholas Vincent: the Murderers of Thomas Becket.

      King Henry I's Bastard William Tracy

      Historian 1973 Vol: 35(2):238-255. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6563.1973.tb01179.x
      The Murderers of Thomas Becket
      Thomas K. Compton.

    7. Tim you have said "please be careful with all the Latin translations done between 1850 - 1970 - I spoke fluent Latin, and do not understand why so many people do not know their Medieval Latin vocab and conjugation which is different in context of those periods."

      I agree, Latin in the Medieval period is wholly different from any of that of Classical Times [Caesar Civil War, Vergil, Ovid, Livy etc.]. The translators of Medieval Latin have many problems. Latin is horrendously ambiguous. That probably suited the ecclesiastical writers of the period. They could argue whatever they had written meant whatever they wanted it to mean. The Latin written in each region was greatly influenced by the native language of that region, so much so that you could argue that their were huge huge dialectical differences for Latin all over Europe in these times.

      Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

      If you see a problem with any of the translations posted on this blog, please direct our readers to it, and any corrections you determine are fit to make.

    8. Concerning the Heraldry of the 4 murderers and of Thomas Becket himself the following article uses art produced soon after Becket's martyrdom for confirmation of what they were:

  3. ps Roger de Ackford is in the 1166 Red Book Liber Feodorum under William Tacy Honoris Milies Devon at the end last name in front of Oliver Tracy Barnstaple Devon.......and wow full circle Sutton Montis next to Cadbury Castle Somerset is by local tradition the hiding place as safe house for Empress Matilda and Prince Henry (to and from Normandy) - her Laundress was given land in Somerset for loyal service in same period - there is the Somerset story of two ghosts walking from a house in these fiels one of which is Prince Henry as a boy! Thank you for this!

  4. With respect to all concerned the DNB reference to William Tracy as Steward 1174 - 1176 - who are we to say the Clerk got it wrong - he was at Falaise in 1174 in an official capacity for the 2 Charters for the surrender of Scotland by the King in custody there (he had already sworn fealty to both H.II, and Henry Young King earlier in his reign) _ I will look up my reference for the Steward or Justice position 1171 - 1174 - see Eyton Court Household and Itinery of H.II for the 10+ pieces of evidence Richard Brito was "looked after" by being given a "desk job" in the period 1170 - 1190. He in fact is part of the family of Brito as Barons by Tenure of Odcombe nr Yeovil Somerset (well known from Saunders "Baronies etc.") Hugh Morville as his family Hereidary Constables of Scotland had his military duties taken away - lands and office given to his sister, returned 1203/1204 I think - the linked theory is FitzUrse exiled to Ireland, Brito to Jersey, Tracy to Normandy and Morville to Scotland all while they started their (I think part time) 14 year sentance to be Knights of Christ in the Order of the Temple. I think you are right Tracy did die somewhere between Sicily and the Holy Land - it beyond coincidence he founded a House for Lepers in the See of Le Mans. More anon

    1. You seem to put an awful lot of weight on Dean Stanley's account

      Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1868). Historical Memorials of Canterbury: The Landing of Augustine. The Murder of Becket. Edward the Black Prince. Becket's Shrine. J. Murray.

      ... the penitent king and the penitent knight met, in the December of that same year, when, in the fortress of Falaise, the captured king of Scotland did homage to his conqueror, Tracy standing, as of old, by his master's side, but now in the high position of Justiciary of Normandy. ...

      Stanley uses a lot of archives in Canterbury

      But the following documents list de Courcy and NOT de Tracy as the Seneschal at this event.

      Richard Welford; Surtees Society (1905). Publications of the Surtees Society. Surtees Society. pp. 212–.

      Please back your comments with full references so that I can check them out. Please post their references in Google Books or or any web pages so that I can refer to them. Presently I am in remote location distant from any significant library.

    2. Indeed Richard Brito is quite well documented

      In service of William FitzEmpress the younger brother of Henry II

    3. I can find no evidence in Eyton's Court Household and Itinerary of Henry II for Richard Brito being "looked after".

      Mentioned in this book is a Richard Brito, Archdeacon of Coventry, but this is not the same person.

  5. I meant to say Courcy has no actual documents listing him as Seneschal of Normandy 1174 - 1176 - merely that he performed some duties in that type of role - there is no Latin to that effect - we are back to the problem modern day historians ascribe a Title or Office where none existed at the time - there were 4 Justicices around 1174 in Normandy eg also Ridel at this time wikipaedia admits he did some duties as Lord Chancellor but he never was - they still ascribe him the Title. Yes writing your own writs "per breve XYZ" instead of "per breve regis" is a good test to be a Regent

  6. These murderers of Becket only really had minor walk-on parts in the total theatre of history and the drama of the Constitutions. Their skill was simply wielding swords doing the dastardly deed, as the "Guardians of Satan". Their genealogy is not fully relevant to our story. We are told they are from important families in the kingdom. That one was a vassal of the king's younger brother, who died of a broken heart because of Becket. That they collectively each owned lands in the West Country. That the Pope ordered them to serve a 14 year "life" sentence with the Templars guarding the Holy Land as penance. Do we really need to know much more?

  7. Dear Jim

    I cannot fathom what "evidence" means to you. Knowing Rev Eyton and his team in his works very well (having spent many years checking his Somerset and Dorset works) his use of Latin, finding names of people and land, is superlative, but he makes the error of assigning a title or office quite often.

    Illustration:- on page 314 (Court of Henry II) WITHOUT doubt (his stylistic written method to identify individuals in the index) makes the career (he states 1170 - 1183) of the same person "Richard Brito" as Clericus Regis (and part time Justice) AS THE SAME PERSON AT PAGE 150 for the killer of Becket, THEN PAGES 216 and 253 (why am I not allowed to state desk job for Cleric - both knights and clerics competing for positions equally) then WITH COMPLETE INTEGRITY AS TO DATES 1184 - 1189 Archdeacon of Coventry pps 272 298. This in keeping with the age profile of Richard Brito, this in keeping with the impossibilty of 2 "Richard Britos" at Court (100 to 200 people), this beyond coincidence his Clerk career started 1170 at the time of his finished military career. Further probability is Nicholas Ralph and Robert all operating in 1170s and 1180s.

    Illustration: it is plain to see Charters at Falaise have Seneschallos (often 4 as I said, in keeping with 4 Marshalls at any given time, Chief or not) but of
    4 Seneschals in Eyton NONE have the office of "Seneschal of Normandy" they are all Stewards who happen to be in Normandy - William f.Audelin having been a Tutor to HYK until 1170, the Coronation when all 4 Tutores found new roles this King of England then given "Assessors" (but note Henry II keeps all military control to himself, hence William Marshal his TUTOR in Arms from 1170)

    What is being put to you is William Tracy is JUSTICIARY not Steward-Justice of which in Normandy there are many at Assizes or "constitutio".

    At p.206 of Eyton in 1176 Eyton presumes (mentioning no facts) that William Curci is dead and it is his description of Seneschal Chief Justice - I was going to look up the Normandy Archives (without which no academic or geneealogist can understand the 12th C.) but they (of course) have not been put on the Internet, my inclination is the long written referencing will not help you understand.

    Illustration: all Courcy family websites have William Courcy dead by 1171. Eyton has William Curci dead by 1175 (the Dapifer refences at pps 78, 112, 177/8 189 (1175) and 190(1175) are all Normandy excepting p.193 at Shrewsbury) the Seneschal refs are pps 186 and 206 the rest from 67/8 to 208 seem to be William Courcy from Stoke Courcy married to Emma of f.Martin Barons of Blagdon would be convenient if there was another William Curci in Normandy (where often Dapifer and Seneschal go together as roles) but who is to say 1171 to 1175 then the escheat in 1176 for the Honor of William C.which looks like "Honoris de Corone" for the role only (like the Honor of Constable eg Montfort till 1162) is one person, certainly not the "authorities" you quote.

    I make the point because at page 162 of Eyton he states 3 Justices of HYK as William Courci, William of St John and Thomas Archdeacon of Bayeaux standing in for the Bishop.............HYK clearly having his own Judicial appointments in 1171 as King of England, Duke of Normandy and Hereditary Seneschal of France (little known but very important).

    1. Dear Tim,

      You have begun to offer the references that one might need to evaluate your case. One of your hypotheses is that Richard le Breton [Richard Brito], one of the murderers of Becket, the youngest, was offered and took up administrative jobs in the management of the Angevin empire after he had served his time in the Holy Land.

      He was excommunicated by Pope Alexander III at Easter in 1171 sentenced him to 14 years military service there,

      You have seen in Eyton's "Court of Henry II ... "page 314 in his his index to that book which references pages 150 216 253

      It is my experience that indexers are not the same persons as the authors of the original work, the book itself,. They are very separate persons employed by the publishers. Indexers are NOT professional historians. They rely more or less entirely on the literal text in the main body of the work to build their index. They have in this instance found references to a "Richard Brito" and have suggested by their index that he is the very same person as those referenced on

      Page 150 as Murderer of Becket

      and two other references pages 216 and 253

      and further it says see "Archdeacons of Coventry".

      I am afraid I personally cannot at this moment agree that all these citations are really referring to the same person. Your hypothesis would really be a very significant new historical discovery and contribution to historical knowledge if you were able to prove it further, and convince the editor of a recognised historical journal and the referees of your article of the validity of your suggestion.


    2. My researches suggest otherwise; there are more Richard Britos than one at this time

      M. Richard Brito

      Richard occ. as can. of Hereford 10 Aug. 1186 × June 1187 (EEA VII no. 195, and list 36). He may well be identifiable with the Richard Brito who occ. as archdcn. of Coventry, helping to administer the estates of the then vac. see of Lincoln, 1184/5 (Pipe Roll 31 Henry II pp. 124-5; cf. EEA XVI no. 114) and, as royal justice and administrator of the manors of the vac. see of London, in subsequent Pipe Rolls to 1187/8 (Pipe Roll 32 Henry II pp. 83, 93, 107, 124; Pipe Roll 33 Henry IIpp. 29, 77, 87; Pipe Roll 34 Henry II pp. 11-12, 87); he is also referred to 1189/90, but this reference concerns money paid by him to a third party and he need not necessarily still have been in office (Pipe Roll 2 Richard I p. 8). He was made dean of Hereford after 30 Apr. 1187 (see preceding item) but before 30 Jan. 1189, since he witnessed, as dean, an undated agreement between the Hospitallers of Dinmore and Hereford cath. chapter (Capes, Charters p. 33), which was conf. by Garin of Nâblus, prior of the Hospitallers in England, in a ch. dated 30 Jan. 1189 (Capes, Charters p. 34). Garin's conf. may have been issued 30 Jan. 1190 if Annunciation dating was used, though, to judge from cart. St Guthlac fo. 89r-v, the Hospitallers preferred Christmas dating. If Richard is identifiable with archdcn. Richard Brito he prob. became dean of Hereford in 1188, or perhaps 1189. He may also be identifiable with the Richard Brito who occ., without title, prob. 22 Oct. × 12 Dec. 1189, receiving a gr. of the church of Lydiard Millicent from Hubert Walter, bp. of Salisbury (EEAXVIII no. 169). Admitted, as dean, to the church of Marden in the name of Hereford cath. chapter, 1195 (EEA VII no. 200). Commem. 30 Nov. (app. 1 fo. 48v); evidently d. 1201, since he witnesses several of bp. Giles de Braose's earliest chs. (EEA VII nos. 244, 254, 260). His successor was in office by 29 Sept. 1202 (see next item).

      and another suggested that

      A Magister Richard Brito was a dean before he became archdeacon; cf. Brooke and Brooke p. 183

      It is known that Richard Brito, murderer of Becket, was excommunicated by the pope at Easter in 1171. Following this he would have become persona non grata, unable to integrate with the king and others. He would not have been offered ecclesiastical posts.

      The article
      by JEA Joliffe (?1953)

      suggests there was a Richard Brito in King John's Camera Regis.

      However, for the time being, I have to conclude, in the Scottish manner, that your case is "Not Proven".

    3. The following thesis lists the many different Richard Brito's listed at this time

      Title: The Court and Household of King Henry II, 1154-1189 Author: Lally, J. Awarding Body: University of Liverpool Current Institution: University of Liverpool Date of Award: 1970

  8. Which leads me to your point at my comment for Latin - under your blog pages for Orders 1170 to arrest Becket the 1951 translation you quote is totally misleading and does not understand history at all - usefully you quote the latin from William f.Stephen p.129
    "Rex filius erat Wintoniae misi Richardus ad MAGISTROS ejus (regis junioris) H de G et Willelmum filium Johannis UT CLAM REGE cum militibus domus regiae Cantuariam irent" with HYK saying after the event
    p.149" ago quod CLAM me factum est hoc, et quod nullus meorum ibi fuit....H de G Willelmus filius Johannis venissent (venirent) Cantuariam"
    The book you quote says clam is knowledge but it is "claim" more properly "proclamation" that is perfectly within H.II "rights" to make a military arrest with the assent of Barons for the Commission of William f.John as Regent of England for HYK because he has "clam" powers but not in the dominium of H.II powers - see Lathams Medieval Latin Word list where he states Clam for proclamation and Magistro is "to rule" the same meaning for a century (eg Magistro Militum) not some modern day vocab of Master or school teacher.....nothing to do with mere knowledge where in fact an envoy was sent to HYK at the same time as Homets Order to keep him informed - as he must if Becket was to be taken to Winchester Court (for which H de G Sheriff) to be tried, imprisoned and detained for distrurbances to the realm or treason by trying to invalidate the HYK 1170 those days military matters falling back on H.II authority to crown his son as the ultimate authority underpining HYK's Court having jurisdiction in England....there is perfect harmony and overlap between Kings ....

    Latin is the most perfect language at conjugation and precise meaning in the construction of sentences - the problem is not Latin vocab but Lating vocab to current English Vocab of whichever century.

    At which point I am signing off from this blog, because I cannot deal with your tide of "authorities" that are not authority or a binding scenario or good logic or crystal probability in the context of the 12th C. For us these people who are our relatives are as if they died "yesterday". I do not think your last blog will sit well with the Tracy or Brito families. I take it you are a religious man for the "Customs and Dignities" that are the Constitutions of Clarendon are about Henry I (H.II wishing to reverse all aspects of the Anarchy in his childhood years) England and 1164 the only person who did not pass them (I read somewhere Thomas Becket did agree with most of it but did not finally approve them) was Thomas Becket...I return to my start that Paganus f.Paganus (whose Aunt Cecily did marry (see Bracton) H.II brother William Count of Poitou Viscount Dieppe) was ventured on your blog to be possibly behind the Criminal Law in 1164 and Council of Clarendon 1166 as Probatoris Regis.

    Henry II was loyal to William f.John Tilly d.1174, Eustace f.John Tilly and Paganus f.John Tilly as the 3 brothers who effectively (more than any other family) put him on the throne, H.II brother William marrying Paganus's daughter Cecily ma.1155 - 1164, but history seems to have not been written properly.

    Good luck to your other bloggers.

    1. The Latin word "Clam" is an adverb meaning secretly, without the knowledge of someone. It is clear that it has this meaning in the sentences referred to.

    2. The Latin word "Magister" here means tutor, guardian, adviser, people who are not quite regents but nearly so. The "Magistros" here are Henry the Young King's advisors, people appointed by the Henry II to train and advise his son in the art of kingship.

    3. You have confused the adverb "Clam" with the verb "Clamo"

      clamo, -are, -aui, -atum v tr 1. cry out, hence announce EK827/40; 2. to make a claim (used of rights in property or the like) 40/36, etc; L241/22;

      The word "Clam" in the quoted sentences is an adverb, not a verb.