[From H. Ellis Original Letters Narrative of English History 2nd series London 1827 vol 1 (reprinted 1969 London: dawsons (ISBN 0-7129-0354-2)]


Letter of Warrant from King Henry the VIth. to the Bishop of Bath, his Chancellor, in 1441, concerning the exile of Eleanor Duchess of Gloucester.

[ms. LANSD. BRIT. MUS. Num. 1. art. 33. Orig.]

Fabyan and Stow supply the best preface to this Letter. " This xixth yere," says Fabyan, " began murmur and grudge to break large, that before had been kept in mewe, atwene persons near about the King and his uncle the famous Humphry duke of Gloucester and Protector of the land; again whom divers conjectures were attempted afar, which after were set near to him, so that they left not till they had brought him unto his confusion. And first, this year, dame Eleanor Cobham, whom he was too familiar with or she were to him married, was arrested of certain points of treason, and thereupon by examination convict, and lastly demed to dwell as an outlaw in the Isle of Man, under the ward of Sir Thomas Stanley knight: and soon after were arrested as aiders and counsellors of the foresaid duchess, master Thomas Southwell a canon of St. Stephen's chapel at Westminster, master John Hum a chaplain of the said duchess, and master Roger Bolyngbroke a man expert in necromancy, and a woman called Margery Jourdemayne surnamed the witch of Eye beside Winchester: to whose charge it was laid that these four persons should, at the request of the said duchess, devise an image of wax like unto the King, the which image they dealt so with, that by their devilish incantations and sorcery they intended to bring out of life, little and little, the King's person, as they little and little consumed that image: for the which treason and other, finally they were convict and adjudged to die: but master Thomas Southwell died in the Tower of London the night before he should have been judged on that morn; as in the next year following shall be declared." a

Stowe says, "The 9th of November dame Elianor appeared before the Archbyshop and other, in the chapel of St. Stephen Westminster, and received her penance which she performed.

" On Monday the 13th. of November, she came from Westminster by water, and landed at the Temple bridge, from whence with a taper of waxe of two pound in her hand, she went through Fleete streete, hood-less, save a kerchief, to Pauls, where she offered her taper at the high altar. On the Wednesday next, she landed at the Swan in Thames street, and then went through Bridge street, Grace-church street, straight to Leaden-hall, and so to Christ Church by Aldgate. On Friday she landed at Queen-hithe, and so went through Cheape to Saynt Michaels in Comhill, inform aforesaid. At all which times, the Mayor, Sheriffs, and crafts of London received her and accompanied her. This being done, she was committed to the ward of Sir Thomas Stanley, wherein she remained during her life;" first " in the castle of Chester, having yearly a hundred marks assigned for her finding. In the 22d of Henry the Sixth she was removed to Kenilworth." b

a Fabyan's Chron. edit. 1811. p. sta.

b Stow, Ann. edit. 1632. p. 382.

By the King.

REVEREND Fader in God, right trusty and right welbeloved we grete you wel. And for asmoch as we have ordeined oure trusty and welbeloved knight Sir Thomas Stanley, countrollour of oure householde, to have the keping of Alianore Cobham late called Duchesse of Gloucestr, and, accompanied with certain per-sonnes of our householde, to lede hir into the parties of Chesshire, where as she skal abide, We wol and charge you that under oure Seel, being in youre warde, ye do make oure Writtes and Commissions in deue fourme, as many and such as the cas shal require, for the Shirefs of the shires that she shal passe thoughh, and for other personnes of the same shire, as many as shal be thought necessary, to be awayting and assisting unto the conducting of hir; and that ye charge them that skal lede hir forth, that thei lette not, for sekenesse or ony dissimulation of hir, to carie hir thedir as we have appointed. And that. ye faille not herof as we truste you. Yeven under our Signet at our manoir of Shene the xix. day of Januer.




Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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