||Edward III 1312-1377, king, eldest son of Edward II and Isabella, daughter of Philip IV of France, was born at Windsor Castle on 13 Nov. 1312, and was baptised on the 16th. His uncle, Prince Lewis of France, and other Frenchmen at the court wished that he should be named Lewis, but the English lords would not allow it. The king, who is said to have been consoled by his birth for the loss of Gaveston (Trokelowe, p. 79), gave him the counties of Chester and Flint, and he was summoned to parliament as Earl of Chester in 1320. He never bore the title of Prince of Wales. His tutor was Richard de Bury [qv.], afterwards bishop of Durham. In order to avoid doing homage to Charles IV of France the king transferred the county of Ponthieu to him on 2 Sept. 1325, and the duchy of Aquitaine on the 10th (Federa, ii. 607, 608). He sailed from Dover on the 12th, joined his mother in France, and did homage to his uncle for his French fiefs (Cont. Will. of Nangis, ii. 60). He accompanied his mother to Hainault, and visited the court of Count William at Valenciennes in the summer of 1326 (Froissart, i. 23, 233). Isabella entered into an agreement on 27 Aug. to forward the marriage of her son to Philippa, the count's daughter (Froissart, ed. Luce, Pref. cl). Edward landed with his mother and the force of Hainaulters and others that she had engaged to help her on 27 Sept. at Colvasse, near Harwich, and accompanied her on her march towards London by Bury St. Edmunds, Cambridge, and Dunstable. Then, hearing that the king had left London, the queen turned westwards, and at Oxford Edward heard Bishop Orlton preach his treasonable sermon [see under Adam of Orlton]. From Oxford he was taken to Wallingford and Gloucester, where the queen's army was joined by many lords. Thence the queen marched to Berkeley, and on 26 Oct. to Bristol. The town was surrendered to her, and the next day Hugh Despenser the elder [qv.] was put to death, and Edward was proclaimed guardian of the kingdom in the name of his father and during his absence (Federa, ii. 646). On the 28th he issued writs for a parliament in the king's name. When the parliament met at Westminster on 7 Jan. 1327 the king was a prisoner, and an oath was taken by the prelates and lords to uphold the cause of the queen and her son. On the 13th Orlton demanded whether they would have the king or his son to reign over them. The next day Edward was chosen, and was presented to the people in Westminster Hall (W. Dene, Anglia Sacra, i. 367; for fuller accounts of this revolution see Stubbs, Chron. of Edwards I and II, vol. ii. Introd., and Const. Hist. ii. 358 sq.). As Edward declared that he would not accept the crown without his father's consent, the king was forced to agree to his own deposition|
The new king's peace was proclaimed on 24 Jan.; he was knighted by his cousin Henry, earl of Lancaster, and was crowned on Sunday, the 29th (Federa, ii. 684). He met his parliament on 3 Feb.; a council was appointed for him, and the chief member of it was Lancaster, who was the young king's nominal guardian. All real power, however, was in the hands of the queen and Mortimer, and for the next four years Edward was entirely governed by them (Avesbury, p. 7). Isabella obtained so enormous a settlement that the king was left with only a third of the revenues of the crown (Murimuth, p. 53). Peace was made with France on 31 March; both kings were to restore whatever had been seized during time of peace, and Edward bound himself to pay fifty thousand marks to the French king (Federa, ii. 700). Although negotiations were on foot for a permanent peace with Scotland, both countries prepared for war, and on 5 April the king ordered all who owed him service to meet at Newcastle on 29 May (ib. 702). He marched with his mother to York, where he was joined by Sir John of Hainault and a body of Flemish. While he was holding a feast on Trinity Sunday a fierce quarrel broke out between the Hainaulters and the English archers, in which many were slain on both sides (Jehan le Bel, i. 39; Froissart, i. 45). The truce was actually broken by the Scots, who invaded the northern counties under Randolph, earl of Moray, and Douglas. Edward marched from York to Durham without gaining any tidings of the enemy, though he everywhere beheld signs of the devastation they had wrought. He crossed the Tyne, hoping to intercept the Scots on their return. After remaining a week on the left bank of the river without finding the enemy, he ordered his troops, who had suffered much from constant rain, to recross the river. At last an esquire named Thomas Rokesby brought him news of the enemy and led the army to the place where they were encamped, a service for which the king knighted him and gave him 100l. a year (Federa, ii. 717). The Scots, twenty-four thousand in number, occupied so strong a position on the right bank of the Wear that Edward, though at the head of sixty-two thousand men, did not dare to cross the river and attack them. It was therefore decided, as they seemed to be cut off from returning to their country, to starve them into leaving their position and giving battle. Early in the morning of the fourth day it was discovered that they had decamped. Edward followed them and found them even more strongly posted than before at Stanhope Park. Again the English encamped in front of them, and the first night after Edward's arrival Douglas, at the head of a small party, surprised the camp, penetrated to the king's tent, cut some of the cords, and led his men back with little loss (Bridlington, p. 96; Jehan le Bel, i. 67; Froissart, i. 68, 279). After the two armies had faced each other for fifteen days or more the Scots again decamped by night, and Edward gave up all hope of cutting off their retreat or forcing them to fight. His army was unable to move with the same rapidity as the Scots, who were unencumbered with baggage; he was altogether outmaneuvred, and led his troops back to York, much chagrined with the ill success of his first military enterprise. He had to pay 14,000l. to Sir John of Hainault for his help (Federa, ii. 708); he raised money from the Bardi, Florentine bankers (ib. 712), received a twentieth from the parliament that met at Lincoln on 15 Sept., and a tenth from the clergy of Canterbury (Knighton, c. 2552). The king's father was put to death on 21 Sept. On 15 Aug. Edward wrote from York to John XXII for a dispensation for his marriage with Philippa of Hainault, for his mother and the Countess of Hainault were both grandchildren of Philip III of France (Federa, ii. 712). The dispensation was granted; Philippa arrived in London on 24 Dec., and the marriage was performed at York on 24 Jan. 1328 by William Melton, archbishop of York, the king being then little more than fifteen, and his bride still younger. At the parliament held at York on 1 March peace was made with Scotland, and the treaty was confirmed in the parliament which met at Northampton on 24 April. By this treaty Edward gave up all claims over the Scottish kingdom; a marriage was arranged between his sister Joan and David, the heir of King Robert; a perpetual alliance was made between the two kingdoms, saving the alliance between Scotland and France, and the Scottish king bound himself to pay Edward 20,000l. (4 May, ib. pp. 734, 740). The treaty was held to be the work of Isabella and Mortimer, and was generally condemned in England as shameful (Avesbury, p. 7; Walsingham, i. 192). Isabella seems to have got hold of a large part of the money paid by the Scottish king (Federa, ii. 770, 785). Edward now sent two representatives to Paris to state his claim to the French throne, vacant by the death of Charles IV. He claimed as the heir of Philip IV, through his mother, Isabella. By the so-called Salic law Isabella and her heirs were barred from the succession, and even supposing that, though females were barred, they had nevertheless been held capable of transmitting a right to the throne, Charles of Evreux, the son of Jeanne of Navarre, daughter of Philip IV, would have had at least as good a claim as Edward. The throne was adjudged to Philip of Valois, son of a younger brother of Philip IV. The insolence and rapacity of the queen-mother and Mortimer gave deep offence to the nobles, and the nation generally was scandalised at the connection that was said to exist between them and enraged at the dishonourable peace with Scotland. Lancaster, the head of the party which held to the policy of the ordainers of the last reign, and the chief lord of the council, was denied access to the king, and found himself virtually powerless. He determined to make a stand against the tyranny of the favourite, and, hearing that Mortimer had come up to the parliament at Salisbury on 24 Oct. with an armed retinue, declared that he would not attend, and remained at Winchester under arms with some of his party. His action was upheld by the king's uncles, the Earls of Kent and Norfolk, by Stratford, bishop of Winchester, and others. Edward was forced to adjourn the parliament till the following February, and Mortimer wished him to march at once to Winchester against the earl. Shortly afterwards the king rode with Mortimer and the queen to ravage the earl's lands (W. Dene, Anglia Sacra, i. 369; Knighton, c. 2557). Lancaster made a confederation against the favourite at London on 2 Jan. 1329 (Barnes, p. 31), and marched with a considerable force to Bedford in the hope of meeting him. Meanwhile his town of Leicester was surrendered to Mortimer and the queen, and before long Kent and Norfolk withdrew from him. Peace was made between the two parties by Mepeham, archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Beaumont and some other followers of the earl were forced to take shelter in France.
Early in February messengers came from Philip VI of France to Edward at Windsor, bidding him come and do homage for his French fiefs. He had received a like summons the year before, and now he laid the matter before the magnates assembled in parliament at Westminster. When they decided that he should obey the summons he appointed a proctor to declare that his homage did not prejudice his claim to the French crown. On 26 May he sailed from Dover, leaving his brother John, earl of Cornwall, as guardian of the kingdom (Federa, ii. 763, 764). He landed at Whitsand, and thence went to Boulogne, and so to Montreuil, where Philip's messengers met him and conducted him to Amiens. There Philip awaited him with the kings of Bohemia, Navarre, and Majorca, and many princes and lords whom he had invited to witness the ceremony. The homage was done in the choir of Amiens Cathedral on 6 June, but the ceremony could scarcely have pleased Philip, for Edward appeared in a robe of crimson velvet worked with leopards in gold and wearing his crown, sword, and spurs. Philip demanded liege homage, which was done bareheaded and with ungirt sword. Edward refused this, and he was forced to accept general homage on Edward's promise that on his return he would search the records of his kingdom, and if liege homage was due would send over an acknowledgment by letters patent. Then Edward demanded restitution of certain lands that had been taken from his father. To this Philip answered that they had been taken in war (meaning that they did not come under the terms of the treaty of 1327), and that if Edward had any cause of complaint he should bring it before the parliament of Paris (ib. p. 765; Cont. Will. of Nangis, ii. 107). Edward returned to England on the 11th, well pleased with his visit and the honour that had been done him, and at once proposed marriages between his sister Eleanor and Philip's eldest son, and between his brother John and a daughter of Philip (ib. pp. 766, 777); but these proposals came to naught. Meanwhile Mortimer and Isabella had not forgiven the attempt that had been made against them, and Mortimer is said to have contrived a scheme which enabled him to accuse the Earl of Kent of treason [for particulars see under Edmund of Woodstock]. The earl was tried by his peers, unjustly condemned, and put to death on 19 March 1330, Isabella and Mortimer hastening on his execution for fear that the king might interfere to prevent it, and, as it seems, giving the order for it without the king's knowledge (Knighton, c. 2557; Barnes, p. 41). On 4 March Queen Philippa was crowned, and on 15 June she bore Edward his first-born child, Edward, afterwards called the Black Prince [q.v.]. The birth of his son seems to have determined Edward to free himself from the thraldom in which he was kept by his mother and her favourite. When parliament met at Nottingham in October, Isabella and Mortimer took up their abode in the castle, which was closely kept. The king consulted with some of his friends, and especially with William Montacute, how they might seize Mortimer. They, and the king with them, entered the castle by night through an underground passage and seized Mortimer and some of his party. He was taken to London, condemned without trial by his peers as notoriously guilty of several treasonable acts, and particularly of the death of the late king, and hanged on 29 Nov. By the king's command the lords passed sentence on Sir Simon Bereford, one of Mortimer's abettors, though they were not his peers, and he also was hanged. A pension was allotted to the queen-mother, and she was kept until her death in a kind of honourable confinement at Castle Rising in Norfolk, where the king visited her every year.
The overthrow of Mortimer made Edward at the age of eighteen a king in fact as well as in name. In person he was graceful, and his face was ‘as the face of a god’ (Cont. Murimuth, p. 226). His manners were courtly and his voice winning. He was strong and active, and loved hunting, hawking, the practice of knightly exercises, and, above all, war itself. Considerable care must have been spent on his education, for he certainly spoke English as well as French (Froissart, i. 266 sq., 306, 324, 360, iv. 290, 326), and evidently understood German. He was fearless in battle, and, though over-fond of pleasure, was until his later years energetic in all his undertakings. Although according to modern notions his ambition is to be reckoned a grave defect in his character, it seemed in his day a kingly quality. Nor were his wars undertaken without cause, or indeed, according to the ideas of the time, without ample justification. His attempts to bring Scotland under his power were at first merely a continuation of an inherited policy that it would have been held shameful to repudiate, and later were forced upon him by the alliance between that country and France. And the French war was in the first instance provoked by the aggressions of Philip, though Edward's assumption of the title of king of France, a measure of political expediency, rendered peace impossible. He was liberal in his gifts, magnificent in his doings, profuse in his expenditure, and, though not boastful, inordinately ostentatious. No sense of duty beyond what was then held to become a knight influenced his conduct. While he was not wantonly cruel he was hard-hearted; his private life was immoral, and his old age was dishonoured by indulgence in a shameful passion. As a king he had no settled principles of constitutional policy. Regarding his kingship mainly as the means of raising the money he needed for his wars and his pleasures, he neither strove to preserve prerogatives as the just rights of the crown, nor yielded anything out of consideration for the rights or welfare of his subjects. Although the early glories of his reign were greeted with applause, he never won the love of his people; they groaned under the effects of his extravagance, and fled at his coming lest his officers should seize their goods. His commercial policy was enlightened, and has won him the title of the ‘father of English commerce’ (Hallam, Const. Hist. iii. 321), but it was mainly inspired by selfish motives, and he never scrupled to sacrifice the interests of the English merchants to obtain a supply of money or secure an ally. In foreign politics he showed genius; his alliances were well devised and skilfully obtained, but he seems to have expected more from his allies than they were likely to do for him, for England still stood so far apart from continental affairs that her alliance was not of much practical importance, except commercially. As a leader in war Edward could order a battle and inspire his army with his own confidence, but he could not plan a campaign; he was rash, and left too much to chance. During the first part of his reign he paid much attention to naval administration; he successfully asserted the maritime supremacy of the country, and was entitled by parliament the ‘king of the sea’ (Rot. Parl. ii. 311); he neglected the navy in his later years. Little as the nation owed him in other respects, his achievements by sea and land made the English name respected. Apart from the story of these acts the chief interest of the reign is foreign to the purpose of a biographical sketch; it consists in the transition that it witnessed from mediæval to modern systems and ideas (Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 375, which should be consulted for an estimate of Edward's character). Parliament adopted its present division into two houses, and in various points gradually gained on the prerogative. In church matters, papal usurpations were met by direct and decisive legislation, an anti-clerical party appeared, the wealth of the church was attacked, and a protest was made against clerical administration. As regards jurisdiction, the reign saw a separation between the judicial work of the council and of the chancellor, who now began to act as an independent judge of equity. Chivalry, already decaying, and feudalism, already long decayed, received a deathblow from the use of gunpowder. Other and wider social changes followed the ‘great pestilence’¾an increase in the importance of capital in trade and the rise of journeymen as a distinct class, the rapid overthrow of villenage, and the appearance of tenant-farmers and paid farm labourers as distinct classes. These and many more changes, which cannot be discussed in a narrative of the king's life, mark the reign as a period in which old things were passing away and the England of our own day began to be formed.
In spite of the treaty of 1327 matters remained unsettled between the kings of England and France; Philip delayed the promised restitutions and disturbed Edward's possessions in Aquitaine. Saintes was taken by the Duke of Alençon in 1329, and Edward in consequence applied to parliament for a subsidy in case of war. On 1 May 1330 negotiations were concluded at Bois-de-Vincennes, but the question of the nature of the homage was left unsettled by Edward (Federa, ii. 791), who was summoned to do liege homage on 29 July and did not attend (ib. p. 797). When, however, he became his own master, he adopted a wiser policy, and on 31 March 1331 acknowledged that he held the duchy of Guyenne and the county of Ponthieu by liege homage as a peer of France (ib. p. 813). On Mortimer's downfall he appointed two of the Lancastrian party as his chief ministers, Archbishop Melton as treasurer, and Stratford as chancellor. He now crossed to France with Stratford and a few companions disguised as merchants, pretending, as he caused to be proclaimed in London, that he was about to perform a vow (ib. p. 815), for he feared that his people would believe, as in fact they did, that he was gone to do liege homage (Hemingburgh, ii. 303). He embarked on 4 April. While he was in France Philip accepted his acknowledgment as to the homage, and promised to restore Saintes and to pay damages (ib. p. 816). Edward returned on the 20th, and celebrated his return by tournaments at Dartford in Kent and in Cheapside (Avesbury, p. 10). The restitution of Agenois, however, remained unsettled, and in the parliament of 30 Sept. the chancellor asked the estates whether the matter should be settled by war or negotiation, and they declared for negotiation (Rot. Parl. ii. 61). The king was advised to visit Ireland, where the royal interest had begun to decline, but the matter was deferred. Lawlessness had broken out in the northern counties, and he had to take active measures against some outlaws who had seized and put to ransom his chief justice, Sir Richard Willoughby, near Grantham (Knighton, c. 2559). Early in 1332 he invited Flemish weavers to settle in England in order to teach the manufacture of fine cloth; for the prosperity of the kingdom largely depended on its wool, and the crown drew much revenue from the trade in it. The foreign workmen were at first regarded with much dislike, but the king protected them, and they greatly improved the woollen manufacture. Edward received an invitation from Philip to join him in a crusade, and though willing to agree put the matter off for three years at the request of the parliament which met 16 March. On 25 June he laid a tallage on his demesne. In order to avoid this unconstitutional measure the parliament of 9 Sept. granted him a subsidy, and in return he recalled his order and promised not to levy tallage save as his ancestors had done and according to his right (Rot. Parl. ii. 66). Meanwhile Lord Beaumont brought Edward Baliol [q.v.] to England, and Baliol offered to do the king homage if he would place him on the Scottish throne. Edward refused, and even ordered that he and his party should be prevented from crossing the marches, declaring that he would respect the treaty of Northampton (Federa, ii. 843), for he was bound to pay 20,000l. to the pope if he broke it. Nevertheless he dealt subtly. Baliol was crowned on 24 Sept. in opposition to the young king David II, and on 23 Nov. declared at Roxburgh that he owed his crown to the help given him by Edward's subjects and allowed by Edward, and that he was his liegeman, and promised him the town of Berwick, and offered to marry his sister Joan, David's queen (ib. p. 847). Edward summoned a parliament to meet at York on 4 Dec. to advise him what policy he should pursue; few attended, and it was adjourned to 20 Jan. Meanwhile Baliol lost his kingdom and fled into England.
The parliament advised Edward to write to the pope and the French king, declaring that the Scots had broken the treaty. This they seem actually to have done on 21 March by a raid on Gilsland in Cumberland (Hemingburgh, ii. 307). The raid was revenged; Sir William Douglas was taken, and Edward, who was then at Pontefract waiting for his army to assemble, ordered that he should be kept in fetters (Federa, ii. 856). On 23 April Edward laid siege to Berwick. The garrison promised to surrender if not relieved by a certain day, and gave hostages. Sir Archibald Douglas attempted to relieve the town, and some of his men entered it; he then led his force to plunder Northumberland. The garrison refused to surrender on the ground that they had received succour, and Edward hanged one of the hostages, the son of Sir Thomas Seton, before the town (Bridlington, p. 113; Fordun, iv. 1022; Hailes, iii. 96 sq.). Douglas now recrossed the Tweed, came to the relief of Berwick, and encamped at Dunsepark on 18 July. Edward occupied Halidon Hill, to the west of the town. His army was in great danger, and was hemmed in by the sea, the Tweed, the garrison of Berwick, and the Scottish host, which far outnumbered the English (Hemingburgh, ii. 309). On the 20th he drew up his men in four battles, placing his archers on the wings of each; all fought on foot, and he himself in the van. The English archers began the fight; the Scots fell in great numbers, and others fled; the rest charged up the hill and engaged the enemy hand to hand. They were defeated with tremendous loss; many nobles were slain, and it was commonly said in England that the war was over, for that there was not a Scot left to raise a force or lead it to battle (Murimuth, p. 71). Edward ordered a general thanksgiving for this victory (Federa, ii. 866). Berwick was at once surrendered, and he offered privileges to English merchants and others who would colonise it. He received the homage of the Earl of March and other lords, and, having restored Baliol to the throne, returned southwards and visited several shrines, especially in Essex. In November he moved northwards, and kept Christmas at York. He was highly displeased with the pope for appointing Adam of Orlton by provision to the see of Winchester at the request of the French king. In February 1334 he received Baliol's surrender of all Scotland comprised in the ancient district of Lothian. On the 21st he held a parliament at York, and agreed that purveyance, a prerogative that pressed sorely on the people, should only be made on behalf of the king (Rot. Parl. ii. 378). He kept Whitsuntide at Newcastle, and there on 12 June Baliol renewed his concessions and did homage (Federa, ii. 888). Edward, after appointing officers to administer the government in Lothian, returned to Windsor. On 10 July he held a council at Nottingham, where he again spoke of the proposed crusade, for he believed that matters were now settled with Scotland. A parliament was summoned, and when it met on 24 Sept. Baliol had again been expelled. The king obtained a grant, and about 1 Nov. marched into Scotland. Just before he started Robert of Artois, who had a bitter quarrel with King Philip, sought refuge at his court; he received him with honour, and Robert never ceased to stir him up against the French king. Edward passed through Lothian without meeting opposition, again restored Baliol, and spent Christmas at Roxburgh. At mid-Lent 1335 he gave audience at Gedling, near Nottingham, to ambassadors from Philip sent to urge him to make peace with Scotland; he refused, but granted a truce (ib. ii. 903). In July he entered Scotland by Carlisle, marched to Glasgow, was joined by Baliol, proceeded to Perth, ravaged the north, and returned to Perth, where on 18 Aug. he received the submission of the Earl of Atholl, whom he left governor under Baliol. Both Philip and Benedict XII, who was wholly under Philip's control, were now pressing him to make peace. The Scots were helped by money from France, and their ships were fitted out in French ports (ib. p. 911); an invasion was expected in August, and captains were appointed to command the Londoners in case it took place (ib. p. 917). The king's son, the young Earl of Chester, was sent to Nottingham Castle for safety, and the Isle of Wight and the Channel islands were fortified (ib. p. 919). Edward's seneschals in Aquitaine were also aggrieved by the French king. On 23 Nov. Edward made a truce with his enemies in Scotland, which was prolonged at the request of the pope (ib. pp. 926, 928). He spent Christmas at Newcastle. The party of Bruce, however, gained strength, Atholl was surprised and slain, and before the end of the year Baliol's cause was again depressed. Edward, who had returned to the south in February, on 7 April appointed Henry of Lancaster to command an army against the Scots (ib. p. 936), and in June entered Scotland himself with a large force, marched to Perth, and then by Dunkeld, through Atholl and Moray to Elgin and Inverness, ravaging as he went. The regent, Sir Andrew Murray, refused to give him battle, and, leaving a garrison in Perth and a fleet in the Forth, he returned to England. Meanwhile Philip expelled Edward's seneschals from Agenois, and in August openly declared that he should help the Scots (ib. p. 944). On the 16th Edward, hearing that ships were being fitted out in Norman and Breton ports to act against England, bade his admirals put to sea, reminding them that his ‘progenitors, kings of England, had been lords of the English sea on every side,’ and that he would not allow his honour to be diminished (Nicolas, Royal Navy, ii. 17). Some of these ships attacked certain English ships off the Isle of Wight and carried off prizes. War with France now seemed certain, and the parliament that met at Nottingham on 6 Sept. granted the king a tenth and a fifteenth, besides the subsidy of the same amount granted in March, together with 40s. a sack on wool exported by denizens and 60s. from aliens. A body of merchants was specially summoned by the king to this parliament, probably in order to obtain their consent to the custom on wool (Const. Hist. ii. 379). Moreover, Edward seized all the money laid up in the cathedral churches for the crusade. In March 1337 the exportation of wool was forbidden by statute until the king and council should determine what should be done. A heavy custom was laid on the sack and woolfells by ordinance, an unconstitutional act, though to some extent sanctioned by parliament (ib. p. 526). The importation of cloth was also forbidden by statute, but foreign workmen were encouraged to settle here.
Edward now set about forming alliances in order to hem Philip in on the north and east, and sent Montacute, whom he created Earl of Salisbury, and others to make alliance with foreign powers, giving them authority, in spite of the interests of the English merchants, to make arrangements about the wool trade (ib. p. 966; Longman, i. 108). Lewis, count of Flanders, was inclined to the French alliance, but his people knew their own interest better, for their wealth depended on English wool, and the year before, when the count had arrested English merchants, the king had seized all their merchants and ships (Federa, ii. 948). James van Artevelde, a rich and highly connected citizen of Ghent, and the leader of the Flemish traders who were opposed to the count, entered into negotiations with Edward and procured him the alliance of Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, and Cassel (Jehan le Bel, p. 1327; Froissart, i. 394). Edward also gained the Duke of Brabant as an ally by permitting staples for wool to be set up in Brussels, Mechlin, and Louvain (Federa, p. 959), and made treaties for supplies of troops with his brothers-in-law the Count of Gueldres and the margrave of Juliers, and his father-in-law the Count of Hainault (ib. p. 970). Further, he negotiated with the Count Palatine about his appointment as imperial vicar, and on 26 Aug. made a treaty for the hire of troops with the Emperor Lewis of Bavaria (ib. p. 991). This highly displeased Benedict XII, who was at deadly feud with Lewis, and was besides quite in the hands of Philip, and he remonstrated with Edward, who replied courteously but without giving way. Edward tried hard to gain the Count of Flanders, and proposed a marriage between the count's son and his little daughter Joan (ib. pp. 967, 998), though at the same time he offered her to Otto, duke of Austria, for his son (ib. p. 1001). In March the French burnt Portsmouth and ravaged Guernsey and Jersey (ib. p. 989; Nicolas). The king made great preparations for war; on 1 July he took all the property of the alien priories into his own hands; pawned his jewels, and in order to interest his people in his cause issued a schedule of the offers of peace he had made to Philip, which he ordered should be read in all county courts (Federa, p. 994). On 7 Oct. he wrote letters to his allies, styling himself ‘king of France’ (ib. p. 1001). Count Lewis, who was now expelled from Flanders by his subjects, kept a garrison at Cadsand under his brother Sir Guy, the bastard of Flanders, which tried to intercept the king's ambassadors and did harm to his allies the Flemings. Edward declared he ‘would soon settle that business,’ and sent a fleet under Sir Walter Manny and Henry of Lancaster, earl of Derby, against it. They gained a complete victory on 10 Nov., and brought back Sir Guy prisoner. Then two cardinals came to England to make peace, and Edward promised that he would not invade France until 1 March 1338, and afterwards extended the term (ib. pp. 1009, 1014).
Philip, however, continued his aggressions on the king's French dominions, and war became imminent. In February parliament granted the king half the wool of the kingdom, twenty thousand sacks, to be delivered at Antwerp, where he hoped to sell it well, and on 16 July he sailed from Orwell in Suffolk with two hundred large ships for Antwerp, for he intended to invade France from that side in company with his allies. He found that they were by no means ready to act with him, the princes who held of the emperor being unwilling to act without his direct sanction, and he remained for some time in enforced inactivity, spending large sums on the pay of his army, and keeping much state at the monastery of St. Bernard at Antwerp. Meanwhile some French and Spanish galleys sacked Southampton and captured some English ships, and among them the ‘cog’ Christopher, the largest of the king's vessels (Cont. Will. of Nangis; Minot, Political Songs, i. 64 sq.). At last on 5 Sept. a meeting took place between Edward and the emperor at Coblentz. The interview was held in the market-place with much magnificence (Knighton, c. 2571; Froissart, i. 425). Lewis appointed Edward imperial vicar, and expected him to kiss his foot, which he refused to do on the ground that he was ‘an anointed king’ (Walsingham, i. 223). Edward now held courts at Arques and other places, heard causes as the emperor's representative, and received homages. Still his allies did not move, though they agreed to recover Cambray for the empire in the following summer. Influenced probably by the pope's remonstrances (ib. i. 208 seq.), Edward in October sent ambassadors to treat with Philip, and though he at first forbade them to address Philip as king, he afterwards allowed them to do so, probably at Benedict's request (Federa, ii. 1066, 1068). Nothing came of their mission. In 1339 he was in want of money, pawned his crowns, and borrowed fifty-four thousand florins of three burghers of Mechlin (ib. pp. 1073, 1085). After many delays he and his allies laid siege to Cambray (cannon are said to have been used by the besieging army, Nicolas, Royal Navy, i. 184; it is also said by Barbour, iii. 136, ed. Pinkerton, that ‘crakys of war’ had been used by Edward in Scotland in 1327; this, however, is highly doubtful, Brackenbury, Ancient Cannon in Europe, pt. i.). Finding Cambray difficult to take, the allies gave up the siege, and in October Edward crossed the Scheldt into France. On coming to the river he was left by the Counts of Namur and Hainault, who held of the French crown. He pillaged Vermandois, and advanced to La Flamengrie. Here he was confronted by Philip, and sent a herald to demand battle. Philip appointed a day, and he drew up his army with much skill in a strong position, placing the horses and baggage in a wood at his rear, and commanding the van in person on foot (Avesbury, p. 45). When the appointed day came, Philip would not attack him though the French army was much stronger than his, and knowing that he could put but little confidence in his allies he led them back to Hainault, parted from them, and returned to Brussels. After entering into a close alliance with the Duke of Brabant and the cities of Brabant and Flanders, he spent Christmas at Antwerp with much pomp. Van Artevelde now pointed out that if he wanted the help of the Flemings he must take the title of ‘king of France,’ which he had as yet only used incidentally, for he would then become their superior lord, and they would not incur a penalty which they had bound themselves to pay to the pope in case they made war on the king of France. This was insisted on by the Flemish cities and lords at a parliament at Brussels, and on 26 Jan. 1340 Edward assumed the title of king of France, and quartered the lilies of France with the leopards of England (Nicolas, Chronology, p. 318; Barnes, p. 155).
Meanwhile several attacks had been made on the English coast by French and Genoese ships; the war with Scotland still went on in a languid fashion, and the people, who saw no return for the sacrifices they had made for the French war, were getting tired of it. In the January parliament of this year the commons made their offer of supplies conditional on the acceptance of certain articles. This determined the king to return. His debts, however, now amounted to 30,000l., and his creditors wanted some security before they let him go. He left his queen behind, and further left the Earls of Derby and Salisbury and others as pledges that he would shortly return (Cont. Will. of Nangis, ii. 167). He landed at Orwell on 21 Feb. and held a parliament in March, which granted him large supplies for two years, and among them the ninth sheaf, fleece, and lamb, and 40s. on the sack of wool, while on his side certain statutes were framed to meet the complaints of the commons¾tallages were not to be levied by the king on his demesne; the assumption of the title of king of France was not to bring England into subjection to France; the crown was not to abuse its rights of purveyance, presentation to vacant benefices, and the like (Const. Hist. ii. 382; Rot. Parl. ii. 113). After raising all the money he could, Edward was about to embark again, and was at Ipswich at Whitsuntide, when the chancellor, Stratford, who had been translated to the see of Canterbury in 1333, and his admiral, Sir John Morley, told him that they had news that the French fleet was in the Sluys waiting to intercept him, and begged him not to sail. ‘I will go,’ he said, ‘and you who are afraid without cause may stay at home’ (Avesbury, p. 55). He sailed in the cog Thomas on the 22nd, with about two hundred vessels, and was joined by the northern squadron of about fifty sail under Morley. Next day off Blankenberg he saw the masts of the enemy's fleet in the Sluys, and sent knights to reconnoitre from the coast. As after their return the tide did not serve, Edward did not attack that day, and prepared for battle about 11 a.m. on the 24th. The French fleet of 190 galleys and great barges was superior to his in strength (Jehan Le Bel, i. 171), for many of his ships were small. Nineteen of their ships were the biggest that had ever been seen, and grandest of all was the Christopher that had been taken from the English. Edward's fleet seems to have been ‘to the leeward and westward’ of the enemy, and about noon he ordered his ships to sail on the starboard tack, so as to get the wind, which presumably was north-east, and avoid having the sun in the faces of the archers. Then, having made their tack and got the wind, his ships entered the port and engaged just inside it. The French ships seem to have hugged the shore, and could not maneuvre, for they were lashed together in four lines. All in three of the lines were taken or sunk, the Christopher and other English ships being retaken; the fourth line escaped in the darkness, for the battle lasted into the night. The king's victory was complete, and the naval power of France was destroyed (Nicolas, Royal Navy, ii. 48 seq., 501, where references are given). Edward's campaign was futile. The last grant was not yet turned into money, and was already pledged, and the king wrote urgently for supplies (Federa, ii. 1130). On 23 July he and his allies besieged Tournay, and on the 26th he wrote a letter to ‘Philip of Valois’ inviting him to meet him in single combat or with a hundred men each, and so to end the war. Philip answered that the letter was not addressed to him, and that he would drive him out of France at his own will (ib. p. 1131). The siege lasted eleven weeks. No money came to Edward; Robert of Artois was defeated at St. Omer; Philip had overrun a large part of Guyenne; and the Scots were gaining ground rapidly. On 25 Sept. a truce was made between England and France and Scotland, and the king dismissed his army. He was forced to leave the Earl of Derby in prison in Flanders for his debts (ib. p. 1143), and, after a stormy passage of three days, arrived unexpectedly at the Tower of London on the night of 30 Nov. (ib. p. 1141).
The next day Edward dismissed his chancellor, the Bishop of Chichester, brother of Archbishop Stratford, who had lately resigned the chancellorship, and his treasurer, and imprisoned several judges and others. This sudden move was caused by his irritation at not having received the supplies he needed, and by the influence of the archbishop's enemies, of whom some were opposed to clerical administration and others were jealous of him and belonged to a court party. The archbishop took refuge at Canterbury, and on 14 Dec. the king gave the great seal to Sir Robert Bourchier [q.v.], the first lay chancellor, and appointed a lay treasurer. He required Stratford to pay to the merchants of Louvain debts for which he had become surety on Edward's own behalf, declaring that otherwise he, the king, should have to go to prison, and summoned him to appear. Stratford replied by preaching irritating sermons and forbidding the clergy to pay the late grant. Edward on 12 Feb. 1341 put forth a letter or pamphlet, called the libellus famosus, against Stratford, accusing the archbishop of urging him to undertake the war, and of having occasioned his failure before Tournay by retarding supplies, and containing much vague and unworthy abuse. Stratford's answer was dignified, and his case was strong, for it is pretty evident that the king's dissatisfaction with him was partly caused by his desire for peace. The king made a weak rejoinder. He had incited the Duke of Brabant to summon Stratford to answer in his court for the bonds into which he had entered; he wrote to Benedict XII against him, cited him to answer charges in the exchequer court, tried to prevent his taking his seat in the parliament of 23 April, and caused articles of accusation to be laid before the commons. Stratford declared that he would only answer for his conduct before his peers. The lords reported that this was their privilege, and thus secured it for their order. The king was checked, and on 7 May was reconciled to the archbishop (Birchington, p. 20 seq.; Avesbury, p. 71; Hemingburgh, ii. 363 seq.; Federa, ii. 1143, 1147, 1152; Const. Hist. ii. 384; Collier, iii. 71). In return for help in collecting the grant of 1340 for this year, he conceded a statute providing that ministers should be appointed in parliament with the advice of his lords and counsellors, should be sworn in parliament, and should be liable to be called upon to answer for their actions. On 1 Oct., however, he issued letters annulling this statute and declaring openly that he had ‘dissembled’ in order to gain his purpose (Federa, ii. 177). No parliament was summoned for two years after this shameful breach of faith.
King David's cause was now prospering in Scotland, and in the autumn Edward marched northwards, intending to carry on the war on a large scale after Christmas (ib. ii. 1181). He is said to have relieved the castle of Wark, then besieged during a Scottish raid, and to have fallen in love with the Countess of Salisbury, who held it for her husband, then a captive in France, but she did not return his passion (Jehan le Bel, i. 266, Froissart, ii. 131, who both tell the story at considerable length). Jehan le Bel says that he afterwards violated the lady (ii. 131); Froissart indignantly denies this, but only in the late Amiens recension (iii. 293). Considerable doubt has been thrown upon the story because the countess was much older than the king, and because in May Edward made an agreement for the earl's release (Federa, ii. 1193). The friendship that existed between the king and the earl would give a peculiarly dark character to Edward's crime if it was committed. It is possible that Jehan le Bel may have been mistaken as to the countess, but scarcely possible that Edward did not commit the crime of which he is accused upon some lady or other. The fleet which he ordered to meet him was damaged by a gale; Stirling and Edinburgh were taken by the Scots, and he made a truce at Newcastle. After spending Christmas at Melrose he returned to England. In the course of 1341 Lewis of Bavaria, who had repented of his alliance with him soon after he had made it, revoked his appointment as imperial vicar and allied himself with France. Edward's attempts to penetrate into France through Flanders had only involved him in debt, and his Flemish and German allies had failed to give him efficient help. Now a new way of attack was opened to him, for in September John of Montfort came to him offering to hold Brittany of him if he would help him against Charles of Blois, to whom the duchy had been adjudged (ib. ii. 1176). On 20 March 1342 Edward sent a force over to Brittany under Sir Walter Manny, and in October he landed in person at Brest (Knighton, c. 2582), laid siege to Vannes, Rennes, and Nantes, without taking any of them, and ravaged the country. The Duke of Normandy, Philip's son, advanced against him with a much larger force, but did not dare to attack him, for he posted his troops well. Still John kept the king shut in a corner near Vannes while the Genoese and Spanish fleets intercepted ships bringing provisions from England, and both armies suffered considerably. On 19 Jan. 1343 a truce for three years was made at Ste.-Madeleine, near Vannes, by the intervention of Pope Clement VI, and Edward re-embarked. After a tempestuous voyage, which is said to have lasted five weeks (ib. c. 2583), he landed at Weymouth on 2 March (Federa, ii. 1222). In the parliament of 28 April the commons petitioned, among other articles, that the merchants should not grant the tax of 40s. on the sack of wool without their consent, and that statutes might not be annulled, as after the last parliament held in 1341. In conjunction with the lords they also petitioned against the papal usurpation of appointing to benefices by provision. On 10 Sept. the king wrote to the pope against reservations and provisions, complaining that by their means the revenues of the church were given to foreigners, that the rights of patrons were defeated, and that the authority of the royal courts was diminished (Walsingham, i. 255). Moreover on 30 Jan. 1344 he ordered that all persons bringing bulls of provision into the kingdom should be arrested (Federa, iii. 2). In this month the king held a ‘Round Table,’ or tournament and feast, at Windsor with extraordinary magnificence, and vowed at the altar of the castle chapel that he would restore the ‘Round Table’ of Arthur. With this intention he built the round tower of the castle, and he afterwards fulfilled his vow by instituting the order of the Garter (Murimuth, p. 154; Walsingham, i. 263; Federa, iii. 6). Great preparations were made for renewing the war; for messengers came to him from Gascony representing the rapid increase of the French power there, and he was further moved by the news of the fate of the Breton lords who were put to death in Paris. Nevertheless on 6 Aug. he gave authority to ambassadors to treat for peace before Clement, as a private person, not as pope (Federa, iii. 18, 19). In April 1345 he appointed Derby to command in Gascony; on 20 May he received at Lambeth the homage of John of Montfort, and on the 26th wrote to the pope that Philip had notoriously broken truce in Brittany, Gascony, and elsewhere, and that he declared war upon him (ib. pp. 36-41). Having sent the Earl of Northampton with a force to Brittany, he embarked at Sandwich with the Prince of Wales on 3 July (ib. p. 50), and crossed to Sluys; for affairs in Flanders threatened the loss of the Flemish alliance. A scheme was arranged between him and Van Artevelde for persuading the people of Flanders to accept the prince as their lord. Van Artevelde, however, was murdered at Ghent, and Edward returned home on the 26th. In this year the Bardi of Florence, the most powerful bankers in Italy, failed, chiefly through Edward's debts to them, for he owed them nine hundred thousand gold florins; the Peruzzi, to whom he owed six hundred thousand florins, also failed, and the stoppage of these two houses ruined many smaller ones, so that the king's default brought widespread misery on Florence (Gio. Villani, xii. c. 54).
In the summer of 1346 Edward intended to lead an army to help Derby in Guyenne, but shortly before he set out he was persuaded by Sir Geoffrey Harcourt, who had entered his service, to strike at the north of France, which was then unprepared to meet attack, for the Duke of Normandy and his army were engaged in the south (on the mistake of Froissart and Avesbury about this see Nicolas, Royal Navy, ii. 88). He sailed on 11 July from the Isle of Wight (Federa, iii. 85; not the 7th as Cont. Murimuth, p. 175), with, it is said, one thousand ships, four thousand men-at-arms, ten thousand bowmen, and a considerable force of Welsh and Irish badly armed foot-soldiers, and landed the next day at La Hogue (Avesbury, p. 123); the French vessels in the harbour were taken, the larger part of his fleet was dismissed, and the rest sent to ravage the coast. The army marched in three columns, the king commanding the centre; the wings diverged during the day, so that each ravaged a different tract, and united with the centre at night. Barfleur was taken on the 14th, and Valonges on the 18th, then Carentan and St. Lo, where the army was refreshed by finding a thousand tuns of wine, and on the 26th Edward came to Caen. He took the town easily by assault the next day, and sacked it thoroughly. Here he is said to have found a paper containing a plan for a second Norman conquest of England in 1337; this he sent home to be read in all churches (ib. p. 130); it is not unlikely that it was a forgery designed to rouse the popular spirit. At Caen he dismissed the remainder of the fleet, which had done much harm to the French shipping along the Norman coast. In spite of a remark attributed by Froissart (iii. 145) to Harcourt, that Edward intended to march to Calais, his only idea as yet was to do as much mischief as he could in northern France, and then retire into Flanders before Philip could raise an army to intercept him. Had he intended to besiege Calais, he would not have dismissed his ships. He left Caen on the 31st, and on 2 Aug. arrived at Lisieux, where he was met by two cardinals with offers of peace, which he rejected. He then marched towards Rouen, but finding the bridge broken down, and the French in some force there, he turned up the left bank of the Seine, ravaging the country as he went. Everywhere he found the bridges broken, and as by this time a French force had gathered and followed his march on the opposite side of the river, he had no time to repair them. On the 13th he arrived at Poissy and by detaching a body of troops to threaten Paris, which was only about twelve miles distant, he gained time to repair the bridge there, and on the 16th crossed the river. He now struck northwards, and marched through the Beauvoisin, while Philip, who had now collected an army much larger than his, pursued him closely, intending to crush the little English force in a corner between the Somme and the sea. He halted at Airanes, and sent two marshals with a large body of troops to endeavour to find or force a passage across the Somme. When they returned unsuccessful he was much troubled; for both he and all his army saw that they were in pressing danger. Early on the 23rd he left Airanes in haste, and the French, who arrived there shortly afterwards, found the meat that the English were about to eat on the spits. His object now was to gain Abbeville. On arriving before it he reconnoitred the town in person from the hills of Caubert, and finding that he could not take it fell back on Oisemont, which he carried easily by assault. Here a man offered to guide his army to a ford called Blanquetaque, above the village of Port, where he could cross at low water. He gave the order to march at midnight, and on arriving at the passage found it guarded by Godemar du Fay. After a sharp struggle the passage was forced (Avesbury; Froissart; by Cont. of Will. of Nangis, ii. 200, Godemar is unjustly accused of making only a slight resistance), and he and his army crossed into Ponthieu. Edward was now able to choose his own ground for fighting; for Philip, who had been just too late to prevent his crossing the river, was not able to follow him immediately, and turned aside to Abbeville. Edward took the castle of Noyelles, held a council of war, and the next day, the 25th, marched along the road between Havre and Flanders to Crécy. On Saturday the 26th Philip advanced from Abbeville to give him battle. Edward had chosen and strengthened his position with great skill. His army occupied some high ground on the right bank of the Maye: the right wing was covered by the river and the village of Crécy, where it was defended by a series of curtains, the left extended towards Wadicourt, and here, where it might have been open to a flank attack, it was barricaded by piles of wagons; the English front commanded a slight ravine called the Vallée-aux-Clercs; the baggage and horses, for all fought on foot, were placed in the rear on the left in a wood, and were imparked with thickets and felled trees. His position thus resembled an entrenched camp. In case of defeat he commanded the ancient causeway now called the Chemin de l'Armée, by which he could have crossed the Authie at Ponche (Seymour de Constant; Louandre; Archæologia, vol. xxxviii.). Early in the morning he and his son received the sacrament. Then he drew up his army in three divisions, placing the right wing or van under the command of the prince; the third division, which he commanded in person, forming a reserve. He rode through the lines on a palfrey, encouraging the men, and at 10 a.m. all sat down in their ranks to eat and drink. The archers were thrown forwards in the form of a harrow, and some small cannon were posted between them (Froissart, iii. 416; Amiens MS.; Gio. Villani, xii. c. 65, 66; Istorie Pistolesi, p. 516. This assertion has been much questioned, chiefly because it does not appear in the earliest text of Froissart, and because it is held to be unlikely that Edward would have taken cannon with him in his hasty march. The presence of the Genoese in the French army, however, invests the two contemporary Italian narratives with special authority, and it should be remembered that the cannon then used were extremely small. It is certain that Edward took cannon with him from England; Brackenbury; Archæologia, vol. xxxii.). Edward watched the battle from a mill. It began after the heavy shower which came on at 3 p.m. had cleared away, and lasted until nightfall. It was decided by bad generalship and want of discipline on the French side, and on the English side by the skill of the bowmen and the steady valour of the two front divisions [see under Edward, Prince of Wales]. Edward appears to have led forward his division when the French king took part in the fight; the two first lines of the French army had by that time been utterly broken, and the remainder was soon routed. He remained on the field the next day, and large numbers of the French, some of whom were fugitives, while others were advancing to join the king's army not knowing that it had already been routed, were massacred almost without resistance; many prisoners were also made on this day. The whole loss of the French exceeded, we are told, and was probably about equal to, the number of the English army (Avesbury, p. 140), and among the slain were the king of Bohemia, the Duke of Lorraine, the Counts of Alençon, Harcourt, Flanders, Blois, Aumale, and Nevers, eighty bannerets, and perhaps about thirty thousand men of lower rank. Edward caused the knights who had fallen to be buried honourably, and gave special funeral honours to the king of Bohemia.
On the 28th the king began his march towards Calais, arrived before the town on 3 Sept. and determined to lay siege to it (ib. p. 136); it was a strong place, and the inhabitants had done much harm to the English and Flemings by their piracies (Gio. Villani, xii. c. 95). He built a regular town before the walls (Froissart, iv. 2,203), sent for a fleet to blockade the harbour, and laid siege to the town with about thirty thousand men. He used cannon in the siege which threw balls of three or four ounces weight, and arrows fitted with leather and winged with brass (Brackenbury). When the governor expelled five hundred persons from the town in order to husband his provisions, the king fed them and gave them money for their journey (Jehan le Bel, ii. 96; Froissart magnifies the number to seventeen hundred, iv. 3, 204). Knighton (c. 2593), speaking probably of a later event, says that when, at the time that the town was suffering from famine, five hundred persons were expelled, Edward refused to allow them to pass his lines, and they all perished. Meanwhile the Scots, who at Philip's instance had invaded England, were routed at Nevill's Cross, Durham, on 17 Oct., and there King David was taken prisoner and confined in the Tower; Derby made himself master of nearly all Guyenne, and in the summer of 1347 the English cause prospered in Brittany, and Charles of Blois was made prisoner. In April some stores were brought into Calais by sea, and after this Edward ordered a stricter blockade; his fleet dispersed a convoy of forty-four ships laden with provisions on 25 June (Avesbury, p. 156), and the next day a letter was intercepted from the governor to the French king informing him of the starving condition of the garrison, and asking for relief. Edward sent the letter on to Philip, bidding him come to the relief of the town (Knighton, c. 2593). In July Philip led an army towards Calais. A portion of it sent to dislodge the Flemings who were acting with Edward at Quesnoy was defeated. He appeared at Sangatte on the 27th. Two cardinals in vain tried to make terms in his interests. He was unable to get at the English, who were securely posted behind the marshes, and challenged Edward to come out to battle. Edward declared that he accepted the challenge (Avesbury, p. 163); it is probable that he answered more wisely (Jehan le Bel, ii. 131; Froissart, iv. 50, 278). Anyway, two days later, on 2 Aug., the French decamped. The next day the town surrendered at discretion. The garrison came forth with swords reversed, and a deputation of the townsmen with bare heads and ropes in their hands. Edward at first intended, or made as though he intended, to put the inhabitants to the sword as a punishment for their piracies, but spared them at the intercession of his queen (Jehan le Bel, ii. 135; Froissart, iv. 57, 287; see also Luce's note in his Summary, p. xxv; there is no adequate reason for doubting any material part of this famous story, comp. Knighton, c. 2595; Stow, p. 244; Gio. Villani, xii. c. 95; nor is the incident of the self-devotion of Eustace de St.-Pierre improbable). During the summer his army suffered much sickness, arising from lack of good water. With some few exceptions he banished the people of Calais; and sent over to England offering grants and privileges to those who would colonise the town (Federa, iii. 130). After agreeing to a truce for nine months, mediated by Clement and signed 28 Sept. (ib. p. 136), he returned home with his wife and son, and after a stormy passage landed at Sandwich on 12 Oct. (ib. p. 139; Cont. Murimuth, p. 178).
All England was filled with the spoils of Edward's expedition, so that there was not a woman who did not wear some ornament, or have in her house fine linen or some goblet, part of the booty the king sent home from Caen or brought back from Calais (Walsingham, i. 272). Flushed with triumph Edward and his courtiers gave themselves up to extravagance and pleasure. During the three months after his return splendid tournaments were held at Bury, at Eltham, where ‘garters’ were worn by twelve of the knights, and at Windsor (Nicolas, Orders of Knighthood, i. 11 sq.). Much license prevailed at some of the meetings of this sort, which were attended by many ladies of loose life and bold manners, greatly to the scandal of the nation (Knighton, c. 2597). The king freely indulged his love for fine dress and the trappings of chivalry. On St. George's day, 23 April 1349, he carried out the plan for an order of knighthood formed in 1344 by the institution of the order of the Garter; the ceremonies and festivities were magnificent. Edward himself bore a ‘white swan, gorged or,’ with the vaunting motto, ‘Hay, hay, the wythe swan: By God's soul I am thy man.’ Another of his mottoes was, ‘It is as it is.’ The origin of the ‘Garter’ and of the motto of the order is unknown. The story that connects them with the Countess of Salisbury is worthless, and is first found in ‘Polydore Vergil,’ p. 485 (ed. 1651). In connection with the foundation of the order, Edward rebuilt the chapel of Windsor and dedicated it to St. George, and refounded the college (Ashmole, p. 178). Early in 1348 messengers came to Edward from the heads of the Bavarian party in the empire inviting him to accept the imperial dignity; for Lewis of Bavaria was now dead, and their enemy Clement VI was advocating the election of Charles of Moravia. Edward, however, declined the honour, declaring that he preferred to prosecute his own right (Knighton, c. 2596; Gio. Villani, xii. c. 105; Raynaldus, xxiv. 468). In spite of the spoils of France the expenses of the war bore heavily on the country. During the king's absence money had been raised by various illegal methods, and the refusal of the commons in the parliament of January 1348 to give advice on the war shows that they feared further expense and would not take a share in the responsibility. After some strong complaints a grant for three years was made on certain conditions, one of which was that the king should restore a loan of twenty thousand sacks of wool that the council had obtained from the merchants without consent of parliament (Const. Hist. ii. 397 sq.). In August the plague reached this country, broke out in London in November, and raged with fearful violence in the summer of 1349; no parliament was held that year, and all the courts were closed for two years. A murrain broke out among cattle; the harvest rotted on the land for lack of reapers, and a time of scarcity followed. This first plague remained more or less till 1357. About half the population was swept off, three archbishops of Canterbury died within a twelve-month, and one of the king's daughters, Joan, died of it in August 1348 at Bordeaux while on her way to meet her betrothed husband, Don Pedro of Castile. The diminution of the population caused wages to be doubled, and in June 1350 the king published an ordinance requiring labourers to work for the same wages as before the plague and providing penalties for demanding or granting more. On 9 Feb. 1351 the statute of labourers was enacted in parliament, and other attempts were made later in the reign to keep down wages and prevent labourers from migrating to different parts of the country to seek higher pay, but without much effect. (For information on the plague see Rogers, History of Prices, i. 60, 265, 667, and article in Fortnightly Review, vol. iii.; art. ‘Plague,’ Encyclopædia Brit. 9th ed.; Knighton, c. 2699 sq.).
Towards the end of 1349 Edward was informed by the governor of Calais that the French hoped to gain possession of the town by paying him a sum of money on 1 Jan. He put Sir Walter Manny at the head of three hundred knights, among whom he served as a simple knight, crossed over to Calais, surprised the party which came to receive the surrender, and distinguished himself by his valour, engaging in single combat with Sir Eustace de Ribaumont, whom he made prisoner. After the fight he sat down to a feast with his prisoners, crowned Sir Eustace with a chaplet of pearls and gave him his liberty (Jehan le Bel, p. 1351; Froissart, iv. 81, 313). During the summer of 1350 a fleet was fitted out, for Edward desired to take vengeance on the fleet of Charles of La Cerda, grandson of Alfonso X of Castile, which had been largely employed by the French against him. On 10 Aug. he declared that this fleet, which was lying at Sluys, threatened to invade England (Federa, iii. 201), though it seems at the time to have been engaged in commerce. He embarked at Winchelsea in the cog Thomas on the 28th, to intercept the Spaniards, whose fleet was much stronger than his own. The next day, which was Sunday, he sat on deck in a black velvet jacket and beaver hat listening to music and singing, but looking earnestly for the signal of the enemy's approach (Froissart, iv. 91). The Spanish fleet of forty large galleys laden with merchandise hove in sight about 4 p.m. A severe fight took place, and the king behaved with much gallantry, changing his ship for one of the Spaniards which he had taken just before his own sank. He gained a complete victory, the number of ships taken being variously estimated from fourteen to twenty-six. In the evening he landed and spent the night in revelry with the queen and her ladies and his knights; for this battle, which is called L'Espagnols-sur-mer, took place but a few miles off Winchelsea, where the court was, and within sight of land (Nicolas, Royal Navy, ii.