Chapter IV.

The Edwardian Period, and end of the Plantagenet Line, Part I. 1272—1399.

With, the accession of the first of the three Edwards, who commenced to reign 20th November, 1272, commences the Edwardian period. During this era alone, more especially in the time of the second of these monarchs, can the Kings' House with any approach to truth be described as a Royal Palace.

The rarity of the visits of Edward I., as here recorded, is more probably due to lack of access to proper works than to their fewness. A document from which all such might be transcribed is the complete itinerary of that King, prepared many years ago for the use of the Record Commissioners.

1280.—Raine, the Blyth historian, records that during the first five days of August, 1280, the writs of Edward are dated either in Sherwood Forest or at Clipstone,

1290.—The King, in the autumn of 1290, with a design of proceeding to the borders of Scotland, summoned the Parliament to meet him at Clipstone on 27th October. This was done, possibly, with the idea of thus being nearer Scotland than would have been the case had he called the Parliament together in London. Yet it does not appear that he was over anxious to press in that direction, for during the year he was never more than a day's journey further north than Clipstone.

At the beginning of September he was at Geddington and Rockingham; on the 11th he was at

Hardby, in this county, where, in the following month, his consort Queen Eleanor died. From 13th to 17th he was at Newstead Priory; on the 18th and 19th at Rufford Abbey. On the 20th he was at his own house at Clipstone, which, however, he left on the morning of the 23rd for Dronfield. He remained in Derbyshire until 7th October, when setting out again for Clipstone, he arrived on the 12th and remained.

On 13th October he issued an order for payment of 200 marks from his treasury to Lapus de Pistoria and his associates, merchants of Pistoria.

Edward also issued hence, during this regnal year, and doubtless, if we could ascertain, about the same date, an order for payment of 3,000 marks from his treasury to Lapus Bonchi and Gradus Pini, of Pistoria. A much larger sum was ordered to be paid the following year, as mentioned below, which probably was also on the occasion of the present visit, which covered the commencement of the next regnal year.

On the 14th October, writing hence, the King protests that he intends to go to the Holy Land, and accepts the tenths granted for that object.

The King issued another writ hence dated on Monday next after the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, which feast is on 18th October.

On 23rd October he issued a writ for the payment of the annual fee of Francis Accursius.

The following note concerning a certain Elias de Hanville and his one servant, taken from the royal accounts, is interesting if only as recording the rate of wages at this period. "To the same for the wages of one man and the expenses of one horse, bringing the jewels which came out of the wardrobe, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne into Scotland, and returning with them from Scotland to

Clipstone, from the 21st day of September to the last day of October—for 31 days—receiving per day 2d. for the man aforesaid, and for the horse 3d.—12s. 11d."

The Parliament was opened on St. Michael's Day, November; and the 251 pleas, with the petitions, then presented "before the Lord King," with the answers, cover twenty-one of the large folio pages of the printed Rolls—the roll for this occasion occurring as third in the work. This— decidedly an event of the first importance in Clipstone's history, when probably a larger number of the nobility and great men of the kingdom were assembled than at any other time —the Parliament Oak was in all likelihood intended to commemorate. Whether the tree was planted in memory of the event, or what was the special connection, if any, between them, it is now impossible to say. The theory that the great national assemby was held around this tree, which careless writers continue to perpetuate, is almost too puerile to require correction.

Edward remained here until 11th November, and possibly one or two days later, but it is certain that he had left on the 14th. He was several days at Lexington, whence he removed to Marnham, and on the 20th he was again at Hardby. He was there up to the 28th, on which day the Queen breathed her last. She died of a lingering disease—a slow fever—and from this we can understand why the quietness and seclusion of Hardby should be chosen for her in preference to the presence of the King at Clipstone, where the Court and Parliament were to be held. The foregoing remarks, it should be added, refute the statement of certain of the chroniclers who aver that Edward was called from the borders of Scotland to the death-bed of his Queen.

1290-1.—The King issued from Clipstone, this year, an order for payment of £10,000 to two merchants of the Ricardi of Lucca, in part payment of a loan. The loan itself, whatever the full amount, must at that period have repesented an enormous sum, such indeed as only a king would have been justified in contracting.

1290.—In an "Account of the receipts of the lands in Tynedale and Cumberland lately held by Alexander III. (of Scotland), with a statement of how the money has been applied," we find that, besides a large sum expended at Lexington, £25 and 160 was spent in repairs on the Houses, Dams, and Weir of the Manor of Clipstone.

1299.—This year the King, an accredited messenger being sent, viz., his treasurer the Bishop of Chester, wrote to the Queen and his son inviting them to keep the solemnity of the birth of our Lord at his Manor of Clipstone, near Sherwood. The Queen replied that she preferred to spend the holiday at St. Albans. However, upon consultation, the King kept his Christmas at Windsor, with his son and all his family. This unfortunate perverseness of Her Majesty has deprived us of an item of interest in local history. However, as this has been the scene of one royal celebration of Christmas, in the next reign, we must rest content.

Edward II., who commenced to reign 8th July, 1307, appears to have been really fond of Clipstone, for he was here on numerous occasions, the first time being about ten weeks after his accession—or rather his proclamation.

1307.—On the occasion of this visit the following documents were issued hence:—.

20th September.—The King, by Letters Patent, contitutes William de Carleton, Eoger de Hegham, and Thomas de Cantebrugg, Barons of the Exchequer, during his pleasure.

20th September. — King to the Sheriffs of England, ordering them to seize into the King's hands all the lands and tenements, goods and chattels, of Walter de Langton, Bishop of Litchfield, late treasurer of King Edward I.

25th September.—King asks the Sheriff of Gascony and the Constable of Bordeaux to ship 1,000 tuns of good wine for his Coronation, to be paid for by the Friscobaldi of Florence.

26th September.—King to Dionysius, King of Portugal, respecting the restitution of an English ship recovered by the Portuguese from some pirates.

With reference to this, the first, year of the King's reign, it may be added that among the documents formerly preserved in the office of the Queen's Eemembrancer is mentioned one entitled "Clipiston Regis: Compotus Thomae de Merke, servientis Domini Regis, in Manerio de Clipiston." Or in English—"Kings' Clipstone: The account of Thomas Mark, servant of the Lord King, in the Manor of Clipstone." A translation of this manuscript would doubtless prove extremely interesting.

1315.—A period of eight years seems to have elapsed before Edward paid his second visit. He was here at the commencement of November this year, and had a pretty long stay, as may be gathered from the following writs, &c., then dispatched.

2nd November.—King, by Letters Patent,

grants that John de Luter be quit of Tallages, Aids, Watch and Ward, &c.

2nd November.—King of England complains to the King of France of the conduct of certain pirates of Calais.

2nd November.—Complaint to the same effect on the part of certain merchants of the Germanic Hanse in England.

4th November.—King forbids the men of the Bishoprick of Durham to make private truces with the Scots.

9th November.—King orders the arrest of all the Flemings within the realm, the period of their departure having expired.

10th November.—King grants that William Trent, King's Butler, be quit of Tallages, Aids, Watch and Ward, &c.

23rd November.—King indemnifies the Bishop of Durham for having lent him the Castle of Norham.

(About this date Edward appears to have left Clipstone for a day or two. On 25th November he was at Agen, but had returned here by the beginning of the next month.)

1st December.—King's writ of Monstraverunt to the Barons of the Exchequer, concerning the Tallage of the men and tenants of Oswardkirke Soke, Notts. Tallage signifies a tax, especially a feudal aid levied at the will of the lord. The writ above-mentioned was the remedy of the tenants of land in ancient demesne against their lord, when they were distrained to do other services than they or their ancestors had usually done and performed.

5th December.—King of England to the King of France, on the arrest of certain Spanish ships at Dover, on their way to Flanders.

Edward again left Clipstone for a short period, being at Doncaster 16th—20th December, but was back again towards the end of the month, for he rendered the period locally memorable by holding his Court and spending his Christmas here. On the occasion, according to one chronicler, he made many presents. Donativa, the word used, signifies royal presents, being frequently of a special character, though the record does not say what they were. If there was any reason to believe the chronicler had confounded this year with the following, which it is scarcely fair to assume, the purport of the passage would become evident. Edward probably remained here to the end of the year, issuing the following:

30th December.—King permits Ralph de Monthermer—going in pilgrimage to St. James —to appoint deputy-keepers of the forests beyond Trent.

1315-16.—During the same regnal year, probably on the occasion of one of his visits, Edward issued Letters Patent for the Chantry within the Manor of Clipstone. These, probably, were a confirmation of the original foundation.

1316.—The year was not far advanced before Edward was again here. On 5th March he directed hence his writ to the Sheriffs of England for making the Record Nomina Villarum & earundem Domini. This was an inquiry, for the King's information, as to who were the lords of hundreds, cities, vills, &c., throughout England. In it Clipstone was returned half a vill, and the King lord of it.

6th March.—King commands that the ordinances, lately made by the prelates and nobles of the realm, be carefully observed.

10th March.—Letters Patent to stop proceedings in a dispute touching the Castle, &c., of Pool.

14th March.—King requests Amanenus de Lebret to attend the Parliament at London.

Edward was here again in December, as witness the following, then issued.

15th December, Credence for the Bishops of Norwich and Ely, and others, specially recommended by the King to the Pope.

15th December.—King to 22 Cardinals, to the same effect as preceding.

15th December, Safe Conduct for the same persons going to the Pope.

15th December, Credence for the same persons going to the Pope.

16th December, Commission to the above persons to treat respecting the issues of Aquitain, assigned by the King to the late Pope Clement V.

20th December.—King of England regrets that he cannot be present at the Coronation of Philip King of France.

20th December.—King permits David Earl of Athol to take all the plunder he can win from the Scots.

20th December.—King orders a free passage to be provided for Roger de Mortimer and the troops going from South Wales into Ireland.

20th December.—A grant to the widow of Piers Gravestone.

About this date Edward left Clipstone for a few days, to spend his Christmas in Nottingham, but returning again early in the year, stayed until the middle of January or later.

1317.—4th January.—King gives authority to the Bishops of Norwich and Ely, and others, to grant pensions to the Cardinals in the King's, name.

4th January.—King requires fifteen of his nobles to go to Ireland to repulse the invasion of Edward de Brus.

4th January, King authorises the Bishops of Norwich and Ely, and others, to prorogue the period of his journey to Jerusalem.

4th January.—King forbids the holding of a tournament at Thetford.

4th January.—King orders the arrest of those who tourney at Thetford.

6th January.—King recommends to the Pope, Alexander de Bykenore to be Archbishop of Dublin.

It may here be mentioned that a Pope, having been chosen by the Conclave in August preceding, intelligence of the event was forwarded to Edward. A few selections from the orders for payments, in the royal accounts for this year, are appended:—

"To Adam Shirlock, coming to the King with letters from Sir Gilbert de Midelton, knight, and returning to the same with letters from the King —of the King's gift, at Clipstone, 6th January, 6s. 8d."

"To Amenenus de Pelagrua, Nuncio of the Pope, coming to our Lord the King at Clipstone, to announce the Creation and Coronation of his said Lord the Pope—of the King's gift, £100."

In the inventory of the jewels, a basin, chased and silver-gilt, with an ewer to match, by weight £3 14s. 4d., price £7 15s. 2d., is noted as having been presented by the King to Amenenus de Pelagrua, nephew of the Cardinal de Pelagrua and Nuncio of the Pope, at Clipstone on 8th January.

But to resume the calendar of writs issued on the occasion of this visit:—

7th January.—King to eight Cardinals, in favour of Alexander de Bykenore as Archbishop of Dublin.

7th January.—King to the Pope, in favour of William de Melton, Archbishop of York.

8th January.—King to Cardinal G., the Pope's Vice-chancellor, in favour of the same.

8th January.—King to the Pope, in favour of Thomas de Cherleton.

9th January.—Mandate to the Keeper of the King's Exchange.

10th January.—King to the Pope and Cardinals, in favour of John, Bishop of Winchester, his Chancellor.

10th January.—Proclamation against the introduction into the realm of clipped or false coin.

12th January.—King asks the Cardinals in the Papal court to forward the petitions presented by his ambassadors, to the Pope.

16th January.—King orders the arrest of all persons who tourney anywhere in England.

1318.—Edward was at Clipstone in August this year, and on the 18th he issued hence a Safe Conduct for the messengers of the Cardinals, going into Ireland. He was at Nottingham on 24th— 26th, but had again returned to Clipstone on 5th September, if not earlier, and on the 10th he wrote to Philip King of France, complaining in detail of the injuries done by the latter's subjects to the English.

1320.—Edward was here once more in the fore part of this year, and on 3rd February dated hence a commission to Thomas Earl of Kildare and three others, to inquire who rendered help to Edward de Brus in Ireland.

1319-20.—The King in this, his 13th year, constituted Humphrey de Warden, Seneschal or Steward of the King's castles, manors, parks, &c., in eleven counties, including Gringley, Wheatley, and Clipstone in Notts.

1320-1.—Edward committed to Thomas de Mark (he of year 1 ?), during the King's pleasure, the custody of the Pale of Clipstone, with all lands appertaining to it. From this and subsequent notes it appears that the appointment of a special official to attend to the Pale—doubtless around the Park—had become a necessity. This, presumably, was on account of its great extent, or perhaps on account of the alterations and extension which appear to have been made to the Park some time during the latter years of this reign—alluded to later on. His duties evidently were to keep it, and probably also a foss or deer-leap outside it, in proper repair, to prevent the escape of the game: the holding of certain lands being vested in the office.

1323-4.—The King this year constituted Humphrey de Walden and Eichard de Ikene, Stewards of his castles, &c., in twelve counties, including Gringley, Wheatley, and the Pale of Clipstone, with appurtenances, in Notts. Edward appears thus to have appointed two persons to the office previously held by one, in which office, however, he incorporated the erstwhile separate one of Keeper of the Pale. The first-named person, who had previously held the appointment alone, possibly had failed to give satisfaction, and the following year, by a special grant, his place was filled by another, as seen by the next note.

1324-5.—The King constituted Richard de Winfarthing and Richard de Ikene, Stewards of his castles, &c., including the Pale of Clipstone, as above. The same Richard and Richard were further constituted Auditors of the Accounts.