Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Garnier: Becket's Flight into Exile

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence) (1922). Emanuel Wahlberg, ed. La vie de saint Thomas Becket. C.W.K. Gleerup. p. 68-
Stanzas 398-447


398 Before he [Thomas] had finished dinner, night had become pitch-dark. In the sight of all his bed was carried into the church, and set up and made ready behind the main altar; and his lambswool cap [monk's cowl?] was carefully positioned on the pillow and the bed cover folded a little over it.

399 When the monks came to sing Compline, they really believed that our hero was asleep there, and they chanted in a lowered voice so as not to disturb him. And they communicated between one another in sign language telling each other to stay away, making it clear that he was tired and that they had to leave him be.

400 He set one of his men to stand guard by his bed. And whenever anyone came there he was made to turn round, and was told to let his lord rest. I cannot find anyone who would want to take a look after this, for they thought that they would still find him there in the morning.

401 Meanwhile he had everything made ready for his journey, but there were only some of his men to whom he wanted to reveal a little. He didn't even want to take his own horses, but instead had four strong chargers [destriers] brought to him outside as if they were for guests who were just about to leave.

402 At that time most of the people were sat down having their supper; then the man of God well knew that he must go. And it was raining quite hard, and it did not want to stop. That night his cape became a burden to him; it needed to be cut back. It was difficult to wear on account of its weight.

403 After dusk, when night had fallen, archbishop Thomas got ready to leave secretly, telling no one, neither his personal advisors  nor cleric, nor relation nor friend, but only three [persons] who had previously been in his service.

404 The good man took with him two brothers in white habits [Gilbertine lay canons]. One of the two was called Robert de Cave, so I have heard, and brother Scaiman was the other one. And he did not wish to forget one of his squires, Roger de Bray, a brown haired, worthy young man.

405 He made known his plan to these two brothers who had come to him from Sempringham. And to his squire who was [also] in his confidence. They went out [of Northampton] at night via the north gate. They did not encounter anyone there; neither were they seen by anyone else.

406 But a watch had been ordered to be kept on all the gates of the town. I cannot acquaint you with the reason why this was done: nonetheless, given the circumstances, we can well form an opinion on this. But our noble hero had sent men to check the gates. This [gate] alone was found to be without guard and without gatekeeper.

407 Archbishop Thomas had no care to delay. Well he had been acquainted, that if he waited till morning he would be put in prison; and he feared this. Under the stars and in the darkness they set off, and they commended themselves to God our Lord.

408 They travelled by night until dawn and during the day they hid themselves until the evening, concealing themselves amongst monks, amongst nuns, [and] in woods. Rather they did not want to take the direct road, continuing in this manner till they finally came to the sea.

409 The day after, the king's messenger came to him [Becket/to where Becket was supposed to be] three times before terce [ca 9 am/third hour of the morning after dawn] to urge him [Becket], to direct him [Becket] to attend  the court. But he who was guarding him [Becket's bed] would not let him [the messenger] enter, telling him before that he [the messenger] should let him [Becket] still rest. However, [the messenger] was so insistent with him [the guard] that he [the guard] could no longer hide [the truth]any more.

410 Then his [Becket's] marshal, Master William de Capes went to king Henry. to beg for mercy for the retainers of the archbishop, for them not to be mistreated, because the de Brocs were to him [Becket] the fiercest of enemies, and nearly all [his retainers] had gone and fled from them.

411 King Henry then made Randulph de Broc declare throughout Northampton that his men must let the archbishop's own vassals freely leave [the town] in broad daylight. No one would be so foolhardy as he who would dare to harm them. Much against his will Randulph did this; he did not dare to forbid this.

412 But the first night they slipped away with stealth;  on the second day. they entered Lincoln via the direct route where he found lodgings with his men at Master Jacob's. There Thomas donned the grey habit of a [Cistercian] brother  in order to disguise himself better. Afterwards he changed his name from Thomas: from now on he was to be called Christian.

[Note: Nicole was the Norman name for Lincoln]

413 Thomas boarded a small boat before dawn. He secretly took Robert de Cave with him. They passed straight under Lincoln Bridge. And towards Sempringham to its Hermitage they went. Here he stayed in a bed chamber [monk's cell] for eight days or more.

414 Scaiman and Roger proceeded over dry land, And to Sempringham they came and stayed. And secretly they made ready for the journey of the archbishop. Neither to high nor to low did they reveal.their plan. When they saw their opportunity,  it was by night they set off along the road.  

415 Anyone who saw the holy man sat down to eat when Robert was away, would have seen that he was alone, with neither clerk nor knight, neither stranger nor dear friend, nor steward, nor groom [boy], nor cook, nor butler. All one could do would be to take pity of him with one's face dampened by tears. 

416 They stayed at the Hermitage for a long time, long enough for the king to think that they had crossed over the sea. They set off along the road.towards the sea by night. Everywhere they went their lodgings had been prepared beforehand. They even passed by Canterbury at night.

417 Our hero [the noble man] reached the sea, at Sandwich, where he boarded a ship. He was set down between Gravelines and Marck late in the evening. He could not proceed on by foot because he would have become tired quite quickly. He was lent a pair leather soled boots, which one of the brothers had, ones which he laced up and tied around the whole of his ankles. 

418 He fell over on the gravel [beach]  when he tried to hurry.  He got up and took a look at his hands. Then they hired a beast of burden for him which did not have a saddle because they could not find anything else at that moment in time. Even the bridling that its master had provided for it was made of straw.

419 They had found a servant [valet] on the seashore from whom they had rented a horse for eight pence. And when he went for this, he was away for a long time. Then just time when they were imagining they would all be seized or had been denounced  it was then he brought this beast of burden, and Christian was mounted.

[note:vadlet = vadelet/varlet/groom/servnat who looks after horses
William Shakespeare; Samuel Weller Singer; Edmond Malone; Charles Symmons (1826). The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: Richard III. Henry VIII. Troilus and Cressida. C. Whittingham. pp. 317–.]

420 They then made him ride two leagues on horseback with no more of a saddle than a cape which they had folded and placed under him.  Then together they travelled by boat [rowed] to Clarmarais. Then they went onto St. Omer, They did not want to delay. Wherever they lodged they concealed their identity.

421 It so happened that lord Richard de Lucy had come to St Omer on his way back from [his pilgrimage to] Santiago de Compostela via Flanders. He approached the archbishop, when he heard they were talking about him.  He would try to reach an accord in everything, he said, with king Henry. 

422 if he would come back with him. But he failed [to persuade Becket] to accept this. The archbishop replied that he did not want to return; because he could not in any sense agree to do this. Neither also did he want to surrender up his person. He said he wanted to go.straight to the Pope whose counsel he would follow in everything..

Ainceis fu neire nuit que il eüst supé.
Sun lit unt, veant tuz, enz el mustier porté,
Detriés le grant autel e fait e aturné,
E sun chapel d'aigneaus sur l'oreillier levé,
1990 Le covertur un poi par desus reversé.

E quant li moinie vindrent lur complie chanter,
Quidierent il pur veir que se dormist li ber ;
E chanterent en bas, car nel voldrent quivrer.
E li uns roveit l'autre par signes a tagler :
1995 Mustreient qu'il ert las, c'um le laissast ester. [p. 62]

Un suen humme i out mis pur le lit [ a ]guarder.
E quant nul i veneit, sil faiseit returner,
E diseit qu'um lessast sun seignur reposer ;
Ja puis n'en trovast un quil volsist reguarder ;
2000 Encore l'endemain l'i quidierent trover.

Endementres ad fait tut sun eire aprester.
Mais poi i eut des suens qu'il le volsist mustrer.
N'unkes n'en volt un sul de ses chevals mener,
Mais quatre forz destriers fist la fors amener,
2005 Cum s'il fussent as ostes qui deüssent errer.

Dunc seeient les genz le plus a lur super.
Dunc vit bien li huem Deu qu'il s'en deveit aler.
E il pluveit tant fort qu'il ne voleit cesser.
La nuit fist il sa chape une feiz recouper :
2010 A enviz la poeit - issi pesout - porter.

Quant il fu anuitié e tut fu aseri,
L'arcevesque Thomas s'est apresté einsi
D'errer celeement qu'a nului nel gehi,
N'a privé ne a clerc, n'a parent n'a ami,
2015 Fors sulement a treis qui l'orent ainz servi.

Dous freres blancs mena ovec sei li buens ber :
Robert de Cave oï l'un des dous apeler,
E frere Scaïman oï l'autre numer.
E un suen escuier n'i volt il ublïer :
2020 Rogier de Brai, un brun, un prode bacheler.

A ces dous freres a sun conseil coneü,
Qui de Sempingeham furent a lui venu,
E a sun escuier, qui privez de lui fu.
Par la porte del nort s'en sunt nuitantre eissu :
2025 N'i furent encontré, nul d'els, n'aparceü.

Mais um faiseit les portes del burc tutes guaitier ;
E pur quei um le fist, nel vus sai acuintier.
Purquant sulunc le tens en poum bien jugier.
Mais li ber enveiad pur les portes cerchier :
2030 Cele sule trova senz guaite e senz portier.

L'arcevesque Thomas n'out cure de sujur.
Bien li fu acuintié, s'il atendist le jur,
Il fust mis en prisun ; e de ç'aveit poür.
As esteilles s'en vunt e a la tenebrur,
2035 E se sunt comandé a Deu nostre seignur.

Tute la nuit erreient entresqu'a l'ajurner,
E le jur se muçowent d'ici qu'a l'avesprer
Od muines, od noneins, en bois, pur els celer.
Mais ne voleient pas le dreit chemin errer,
2040 Tant que a la parfin sunt venu a la mer. -

Einz tierce l'endemain l'ala treis feiz haster
Li messagiers le rei, rova l'a curt aler.
Mais cil qui guarda l'uis ne l'i laissa entrer,
Ainz dist qu'il le laissast uncore reposer,
2045 Tant qu'um le hasta mult, k'um nel pout plus celer.

Dunc est li mareschals alez al rei Henri,
Danz Willames de Capes, si li cria merci
Des hummes l'arcevesque, que ne fussent leidi.
Kar li Brocheis li erent durement enemi,
2050 E tuit s'en erent pres alé e departi.

Dunc fist li reis Henris Randulf del Broc crïer
Par tute Norhantune que l'um laissast aler
Les hummes l'arcevesque quitement de jur cler ;
Nuls ne fust si hardi quis osast adeser.
2055 Enviz le fist Randuls, mais ne l'osa veer. -

Mais la premiere nuit qu'il s'en fu si emblez,
Le secunt jur, tut dreit est en Nicole entrez.
Chiés dan Jacob s'esteit od les suens ostelez.
Gris dras d'un frere ad pris, k'il puisse estre celez :
2060 Or est Thomas changiez, Cristïens est numez.

En un batel ainz jur saint Thomas s'en entra ;
Robert de Cave od sei priveement mena.
Dreit par desuz le punt de Nicole passa,
E vers Sempingeham a l'Ermitorie ala.
2065 Uit jurs en une chambre, u plus, i demura.

Scaïmans e Rogiers par secche terre alerent,
E a Sempingeham furent e sujurnerent
E l'eire l'arcevesque a celee aturnerent ;
Ne a haut ne a bas lur conseil ne mustrerent.
2070 Quant il virent lur aise, par nuit s'acheminerent.

Qui veïst le saint humme seeir a sun mangier,
Que il n'aveit od lui ne clerc ne chevalier,
Quant Roberz s'en eissi, ne estrange ne chier,
Senescal ne garçun ne cou ne buteillier,
2075 De pitié l'en poüst trestut le vis muillier.

Quant a l'Ermitorie orent lungement sujorné,
Que li reis quida bien qu'il fussent mer passé,
Envers la mer se sunt nuitantre acheminé.
Mais par tut furent ainz li ostel apresté ;

2080 Nis parmi Cantorbire en sunt nuitantre alé.

A la mer vint li ber, a Sandwiz eschipa.
Entre Gravnige e Merc tart al seir ariva.
Ne pout aler a pié, car mult tost s'alassa.
Uns granz sollers aveit, k'uns freres li presta ;
2085 Entur le col del pié a nuals les laça.

Chaüz est el gravier, quant se hasta d'aler.
Leva s'en, si a pris ses mains a reguarder.
Dunc li unt un jument senz sele fait luer,
Car ne porent nul autre a cele feiz trover ;
2090 Nis de fain l'aveit fait sis maistre enchevestrer.

Il orent un vadlet en la greve trové,
A cui un cheval unt pur uit deniers lué.
E quant puroec ala, mult aveit demuré ; 
Idunc quiderent estre tuit pris u encusé.
2095 Cel jument amena ; Cristïen unt munté.

Tut a as li unt fait dous liwes chevalchier,
Ne mais que d'une chape qu'unt fait suz li pleier.
Dunc se firent ensemble a Clermareis nagier ;
Puis vunt a Saint Omer, ne s'i volent targier.
2100 Mais par tut se feseient repundre al herbergier.

Dunc vint a Saint Omer danz Richarz de Luci.
De Saint Jame par Flandres sun chemin acuilli.
A l'arcevesque vint, quant parler en oï.
Del tut l'acordereit, ço dit, al rei Henri,
2105 Se returnout od lui. Mais il i ad failli.

L'arcevesque respunt : ne volt pas returner ;
Car il nel purreit pas en nul sens acorder,
N'a lui ne volt il pas einsi sun cors livrer.
A l'apostolie volt, ço dit, tut dreit aler,
2110 Par ki conseil voldra del tut en tut errer.

Richarz li respundi par ire e par buffei :
" Quant ne volez venir ensemble od mei al rei,
Or vus desfi ge dunc e des miens e de mei. "
L'arcevesque respunt senz ire e senz desrei :
2115 " Richarz, tu es mis huem, si me deis porter fei. "

Richarz li respundi : " Mun humage vus rent.
- Jo nel te prestai pas, fait li il erramment ;
Mais de mei ne tendras ja mais veraiement.
- Ne vus rent, fait li il, ne fiu ne tenement ;
2120 Mais ne vus afïez des ore en mei neent. "

Dunc enveia li bers al cunte dous abez,
Qu'il li doinse conduit, qu'il seit ultre passez
Par Flandres, u il est venuz e arivez ;
Car d'Engleterre esteit priveement turnez
2125 Pur le rei sun seignur, ve rs qui il ert medlez.

Li quens li respundi : sun conseil en prendra ;
E tant est riches huem qu'en la terre qu'il a,
Ço dit, qu'un arcevesque retenir bien purra.
Quant l'arcevesque l'ot, a l'evesque en parla,
2130 Celui de Terewane, qui la nuit l'en mena.

Car mult cremi de sei, quant le respuns oï.
Mult nota les paroles que li quens respundi,
Pur ço que li quens ert cusins le rei Henri,
E erent d'un conseil e durement ami.
2135 A l'evesque Milun sun conseil en gehi.

Il ert le jur venuz l'arcevesque veeir.
E quant il s'en ala la nuit en l'oscur seir,
L'arcevesque Thomas, ki mult out grant saveir,
Le conveia la fors. Pur desaparceveir
2140 Fist estaindre les cirges, qu'um nel peüst veeir.

" Esteigniez, fait lur il, ces cirges alumez.
Laissiez l'aler a Deu. " Ensi s'est delivrez.
Il se trestrent ariere, e il esteit muntez
Sur un grant cheval blanc, qui li fu amenez
2145 De la curt cel evesque. Einsi s'en est turnez.

De ses hummes einsi nuitantre s'en embla.
Par l'evesque Milun, qui la nuit l'en mena,
De Flandres est eissuz ; a Seissuns s'en ala.
L'endemain a ses hummes ariere remanda
2150 Qu'il alout a Seissuns ; a lui venissent la.

Mais mult li esteit bien a cel'ure avenu
E maint humme l'unt puis a miracle tenu :
Car danz Henris de Pise, qui des chardenaus fu,
E li reis Loëwis sunt d'autre part venu ;
2155 Es rues de Seissuns sunt entreconeü.

Sa cause e sun eissil lur aveit denuntié.
Li buens reis Loëwis en ad eü pitié,
E sil volt retenir par mult grant amistié.
Et danz Henris de Pise li ad covenantié [p. 67]
2160 Par tut li aidera. Si fist il senz faintié.

Dunc a li reis Henris ses messagiers tramis
Tresqu'a Conpeigne al rei de France, Loëwis.
E dit qu'en la cuncorde, quant hum les fist amis,
Que l'un d'els a l'autre out otrïé e pramis,
2165 E que numeement fu en l'acorde mis


Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); tr. Jacques Thomas (2002). La vie de Saint Thomas de Canterbury. Peeters. ISBN 978-90-429-1188-8.

Guernes de Pont-Sainte-Maxence (1838). Immanuel Bekker, ed. Leben des h. Thomas von Canterbury, Altfranzösisch ; herausgegeben von Immanuel Bekker. Nicolai. pp. 31–.


John Morris; Saint Thomas (à Becket) (1859). The Life and Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Etc. pp. 147–.

Mrs. Anne Hope; Bernard Dalgairns (1868). The Life of S. Thomas À Becket ... (With a Preface by Father Dalgairns). pp. 137–. 

William Holden Hutton (8 May 2014). Thomas Becket. Cambridge University Press. pp. 114–. ISBN 978-1-107-66171-4.

Rose Graham (1901). S. Gilbert of Sempringham and the Gilbertines: a history of the only English monastic order. E. Stock. pp 17-

St. Gilbert of Sempringham: 1089-1189. Sands. 1913. pp. 148–.

Frank Barlow (1990). Thomas Becket. University of California Press. pp. 115–6. ISBN 978-0-520-07175-9.

Pierre Aubé (1988). Thomas Becket. Chapitre IV - Le Rebelle: Fayard. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-2-213-64899-6.

Sharla Race (2011). Aelred of Rievaulx: Cistercian Monk and Medieval Man: A Twelfth Century Life. Sharla Race. pp. 183–. ISBN 978-1-907119-02-6.

"Houses of the Gilbertine order: The priory of Sempringham," in A History of the County of Lincoln: Volume 2, ed. William Page (London: Victoria County History, 1906), 179-187. British History Online,

Settlement and Society. CUP Archive. pp. 69–

Hermitage  Coordinates 53.042535N,0.129946W

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Miracle Story: Mad Matilda of Cologne

Canterbury Cathedra; Miracle Window
Mad Matilda of Cologne


Edwin Abbott Abbott (1898). St. Thomas of Canterbury: his death and miracles. Volume 1. A. and C. Black. pp. 314–5.

J.C. Robertson and J.B. Sheppard (eds.), Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, vol. II (London, 1876), pp. 208-209. -

§ [558] The madness of Matilda of Cologne

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Bur-le-Roi, Near Bayeaux


Bur,   s . m.   Habitation;   de l'islandais   Bud   ou   du   latin Burgus .   Il  y   avait   à   Noron,   près  de   Bayeux, une   ferme,   appartenante   aux rois   de   la   première   race   qui s 'appelait  Bur-le-roi.

David Bates (2012). Anglo-Norman Studies XXXIV: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2011. Boydell Press. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-1-84383-735-0.

Noron Cassini Map 94 1760
Cassini Map

Château du Bur, à Noron-la-Poterie
Possession des Ducs de Normandie, XIIe siècle

Revue de la Normandie pp. 254-60
Essai Historique sur le Chateau de Bur pres Bayeaux par M. le vicomte H. de Toustain

BAYEUX. Carte particuliere du Diocese de Bayeux, par Petite, 1675.
BNF Gallica Reference ark:/12148/btv1b55000277g
Carte particuliere du Diocese de Bayeux, par Petite, 1675.

Quand les rois d’Angleterre fêtaient Noël dans le Calvados Histoire Normande - 1100 ans d'histoire de la Normandie

Castle Bures-le-Roy.
This castle is a mystery: it was long considered to be a royal residence which had disappeared from our landscape forgotten. We didn't even know where it stood, which attracted many insatiable researchers. Some of them were deceived by the resemblance between the names Bur-le-Roy and Balleroy, but had to admit that the trail ended there. Around 1830, some regional historians resumed researches, and proposed some interesting hypotheses. Reading the old medieval charters this persuaded them to search the countryside around Noron-la-Poterie and that's where they found a few meagre remains of a castle built at around the same time as that of Bayeux, which has also disappeared. Ideally located in the woods, near a stream, Castle Bur was undoubtedly an important royal palace. At Christmas like at Easter Henry II liked to hunt and party. One chronicler said that the king summoned a large assembly setting up a table for 110 knights in a single room or chamber!

Mémoires de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie. Société des antiquaires de Normandie. 1825. pp. 80–.

Caumont Arcisse de (1835). Cours d'antiquites monumentales ... Histoire de l'art dans l'ouest de la France depuis les temps d plus recules jusqu'au XVII siecle. - Paris, Lance 1830-1841. Bures, près de Bayeaux: Lance. pp. 244–.

J. Bidot (1860). Histoire de Balleroy et des environs. Elie fils. pp. 95–.

Mathieu Arnoux (2010). La Normandie dans l'économie européenne (XIIe-XVIIe siècle): colloque de Cerisy-la-Salle (4-8 octobre 2006). Publications du CRAHM. pp. 96–. ISBN 978-2-902685-69-1.

Joseph-Marc Bailbé (1980). Le Paysage normand dans la littérature et dans l'art. Publication Univ Rouen Havre. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-2-87775-635-8.


Mémoires de la Société des antiquaires de Normandie. Société des antiquaires de Normandie. 1825. pp. 73–.

Thomas Stapleton; Society of Antiquaries of London (1840). Magni rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae sub regibus Angliae: contains "the Roll of 1180, the fragment of the Roll of 1184 (being all that is extant of the reign of Henry II.) and the earlier Roll of Richard I." (1195). sumptibus Soc. antiq. londiniensis. pp. 191–.

Thomas Stapleton; Society of Antiquaries of London (1840). Magni rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae sub regibus Angliae: contains "the Roll of 1180, the fragment of the Roll of 1184 (being all that is extant of the reign of Henry II.) and the earlier Roll of Richard I." (1195). sumptibus Soc. antiq. londiniensis. pp. 61–.

Joseph-Marc Bailbé (1980). Le Paysage normand dans la littérature et dans l'art. Publication Univ Rouen Havre. pp. 17–. ISBN 978-2-87775-635-8

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Garnier: Christmastide 1170

990  And so St. Thomas returned to his see, where he remained in his archbishopric for the rest of his life. Whenever he saw the poor, he took pity, working to serve God night and day. Well he knew he faced his martyrdom, for sure he had foreseen it.

991 But on the day of Christmas, whilst he delivered his sermon he severed [excommunicated]  from holy church Robert de Broc who had two days earlier committed such ignominy; he had cut off the tail of his pack-horse [sumpter] horse, and others who  had strayed from the path against him.

992 He explained to the people the sentences upon [the excommunications and suspensions of] the bishop of London, and that [of the bishop] of Salisbury, Joscelin by name, and that [of the archbishop of] York, who had usurped the authority and great[er] privilege of the [archbishop of the] church of Holy Trinity [namely the right of the See of Canterbury] to anoint kings.

993 And of Randolf de Broc who had afflicted him tremendously and had many times his men [servants/tenants/those who owe allegiance to him] often imprisoned. Then he cursed [maledictum] all those who had brought him into wrong with the king, and who caused the quarrel between them, and those who meddled with his avowed lord.

994 <<By Jesus Christ,>> he said <<they are truly cursed!>> Then, as he spoke this word, he threw the candle down onto the paving in defiance, so that their names would be struck from the book of remembrance, and they would be sent away from the kingdom [of Heaven], for which the good are selected.

995 When Roger de Pont-l'Évêque saw and heard that he had been excommunicated and placed under an interdict, he wished neither to come before the law [ecclesiastical court] nor to plead for mercy, for he had a wicked heart, both gross and arrogant, and the devil [Satan] had taken up his throne within it.

996 But the other prelates, his two companions, Gilbert Foliot and Joscelin by name, wanted to go and make satisfaction before their archbishop both by rightful argument and reasoning.  Well were both aware of all their misdeeds.

997 But he of  Pont-l'Évêque led them astray. against God and reason, off the straight path and way. He wanted to have them as companions in his evil enterprise. <<I beg you>> he said, <<not to take that path, lest piety turns you around.

998 >> He [Thomas] could very quickly deceive you and make you change your mind  But I have ten thousands pounds worth in my treasury, which to spend all to appease this, rather than not to bring down Thomas and all his pride. He cannot bring a greater force against my wealth.

999 >> Let us now cross over the sea. Let us go to the king who is there, who will support us still until even more in this. Both us and our cause against him he will uphold  If you give up on this do you know what he will do?

1000 >> And if you turn and take up with [the king's] enemy. you will never again have his [the king's] affection so long as you shall live. You will never recover his grace; he will say that you have fled from reason and transgressed.  And if he brought you to trial, you will lose your possessions.

1001 >> What then can you do? Where would you go to beg? And if to the king you would hold and swear allegiance, what more can Thomas do to go against you? He has already sentenced you, what more can he do to bind you, because there is no truth in it to support it.>>

1002 They were bewitched so they were prepared to go with him. They came to the ship and set off across the sea. Roger Pont-l'Évêque could not  hide what was in his heart: << Thomas, Thomas,>> he said, << you have made me cross the sea, I will overturn you with a bad pillow as your headrest.>>

1003 Soon after they had crossed the sea, they forwarded to the king the letter [they had received] from the Papal See which had taken away their ministries. As long as the king has lived, he has had a heart full of wrath. He clapped his hands together and bewailed without pretence.

1004 He went into his [audience] chamber, pale with anger, shouting loudly that he had given nourishment to a wicked man and raised up an evil person who had taken of his bread and hospitality. Was there no one at all who shared his pain? Those of his men [who were present] were much frightened by what he said.

1005 They said: <<So what is it the king is lamenting about? Even if he were to see his sons and wife buried or the whole of his country set ablaze and burnt down, he ought not to have been tormented so. If he has heard anything well he ought to reveal what it is.

1006 >> Moreover, one should not always heed what one has heard. We are ready to fulfill all his commands, to smash down and assault both castles and cities, for our bodies and souls to suffer the dangers of death. It is wrong to complain to us if he does not want to explain what the matter is.>>

1007 <<A man,>> said the king, <<who has eaten my bread,  a man who came to my court poor,  and whom I had raised to the highest, has kicked me in the teeth with his talons out. He has reviled my lineage and my kingdom! The sorrows have pierced me to the heart, and no one has avenged me of him.>>

1008 Immediately the whole court began to run around like ants, and to take it upon themselves to reproach one another very much, and the holy archbishop to threaten extremely. In faith several began to swear oaths that they would hastily avenge the humiliation brought upon the king.

1009 When the three companions [the excommunicated and suspended bishops] had completed their passage [across the sea], they went straight to Bur-le-Roi, where they found the king. They threw themselves down at his feet and cried out unto him for mercy, lamenting exceedingly, and made a show with pleas and tears, and great sadness.

1010 Then the king Henry very greatly changed his countenance; and directed them to stand up, and commanded them to say what was causing them such great grief. Archbishop Roger spoke first; well he knew how to stir up evil, [and lead] from both the rear as well as the front.

1011  <<Sire king,>> he said to him, <<well should we grieve, and in any case I can tell you and explain; but these two others cannot speak to anyone without that person falling under and having the same sentence which Thomas has placed upon them after he came back from over the sea.

1012 >> He has excommunicated all those who attended the coronation of your son, and likewise, all those who gave consent to it.>>
<<Then I too am not an exception,>> said the king immediately. << by the eyes of God, because I desired and gave consent to it.>>

1013 <<Sire,>> said the archbishop <<how much must it be for you to share the burden with us, for we can suffer it better. He sends your free men away from holy church and makes your bishops lie under excommunication. and neither does he want still to stop at that.

1014  >> After he had arrived back in the country he travelled around through your land surrounded by a great number of men: knights and sergeants bearing arms, at hand, out of fear of being exiled for a second time, and in search of recruits everywhere so that he could increase his strength.

1015 >> We are not complaining for ourselves, neither are we aggrieved that we have spent and laid waste to our wealth, and in your service have suffered hardship and pain for this, which we have done out of loyalty to you, as long as we have not been severed from your affection.

1016 >> But in this, in which he has acted towards us with such a wrong, as if we were evil men, he has shamed and defamed us. If you were to do anything about this, you would not be blamed for it; but if you were to wait until he feels secure, well and in a complete hush will you be able to have vengeance.>>

1017 The letter from the Pope was fetched, the one which told the three prelates that they had been severed from their profession [métier]. It was read out aloud in audience for all to hear. Then from all sides evil intent was embraced, with threats made against and extreme shame brought down upon St. Thomas.

1018 Christmas day that year fell on a Friday, and the day of its vigil [Christmas Eve], was therefore a Thursday, on which this council and God's enemies met. And they swore to kill God's friend. They were intending to batter him down,  but it was they who were to be disgraced.

1019 Then they swore upon [the relics of] a saint] and made mutual pledges that they would seek for him in all the places of the world,  that they would pull his tongue out through [a hole] under his chin and would gouge out both of the eyes in his head. Not even a monastery. nor altar nor church would prevent from doing this.

1020 The [king's audience] chamber at Bur[le-Roi] has had an unusual destiny; in it great amount of significant news is often heard: it was here that Rainild [Adeliza?] was given in promise [of marriage] to Harald, that the host of England swore pledged fealty to the Bastard, and the death of St. Thomas was affirmed and sworn. 

1021 The great majority of the court bound themselves to make and perform this act of great cruelty. But I will not write down in my book any names, when by their repentance to God they have been pardoned: they will not be shamed in this world by my writing.

1022 They were so very inspired by the wicked man that they were led astray: the majority of the court, and all the most worthy, and all the most sensible, both English and Norman. And they went to the ports, some here, some there: Dieppe and Winchelsea, Barfleur and Witsand.

1023 All who were listening wanted to cross the sea, if they could, to keep watch in all the ports of England and guard that no man could enter England who might reveal to the archbishop about this matter, so that he could not turn and run away from this.

1024 If they could have crossed [the sea] at this time, perhaps they might not have done that which they were to do, but it happened that neither the wind nor the time were favourable.  Neither did God have so much hate that they were found to be in this, nor did the devil hold so much power over them.


Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); tr. Jacques Thomas (2002). La vie de Saint Thomas de Canterbury. Volume 1.  pp. 290- Peeters. ISBN 978-90-429-1188-8.

La vie de saint Thomas le martyr: archevêque de Canterbury pp. 172-
edited by Célestin Hippeau

La vie de Saint Thomas le martyr  pp. 167-
edited by Emmanual Wahlberg 1922
Line 4971- Stanza 995-
Leben des h. Thomas von Canterbury, Altfranzösisch ; herausgegeben von Immanuel Bekker. Nicolai. 1838. pp. 129–.

Monday, 7 March 2016

John of Salisbury on Murder of Becket

Letter 307/304
John of Salisbury to Bishop John Belmeis of Poitiers
"Ex Insperato et in transitu ..."

Translation in
O'Connor, John Francis, "An Annotated Translation of the Letters of John of Salisbury" (1947). Master's Theses. Paper 672.
Letter 307/304
John of Salisbury to Bishop John Belmeis of Poititers

Latin version
Materials for the history of Thomas Becket Vol 7 pp. 462-   MTB Epistola 748
Joannes Saresberiensis ad Joannem Picatavensem Episcopum

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Becket's Early Life according to Thomas de Froidmont

Translated from

Chronicon Angliae Petriburgense p. 213-

Chapter 1

[Second Herbert of Bosham and Edward Grim]

Concering Visions and Omens Exhibited Around the time of his Birth

According as Christ has been chosen him before the foundation of the world St.Thomas born in fortunate London, the capital of Britannia, has rendered his place of origin illustrious. His father was Gilbert, surnamed Becket, his mother was Matilda, as she was so-named in baptism.

When she was conceived of him she had a vision in her sleep that all the waters of the Thames flowed into her womb. Moreover, when now she was pregnant with him, she saw herself with other Christians running towards the Church of Canterbury, and when she had reached the entrance to the Church, she envisioned her womb as having been swollen so much that she was unable to enter the building..

Nevertheless when she herself now saw the boy was lying in his cradle,  she got angry with the baby's wet-nurse because it seemed as though his relics were lying bare? At which she said,  "why don't you cover the infant fully?"  The nurse answered, "my lady, he is well wrapped in the best purple winding sheet". And soon the mother of the infant and the nurse hurried equally towards the uncoiling of the purple cloth. Which when it was not possible to stretch it out in the narrow passage of the bedroom, they went out into the hall of the house itself, and which when it  was apparent that that was of a too narrow width for the purpose, they were out into the largest square in the city, and which when that itself was seen to be too narrow, suddenly a voice said to them, "the whole of England is smaller than this purple cloth, and neither can it contend with its breadth."

Truly one day a fire surged in his father's house. where the infant has been-born, which burned down a great part of London.

Accordingly  he was named Thomas,  born on the solemn feast day of blessed St. Thomas the Apostle, and on that same day was born again with the holy water of baptism and the breath of the Holy Spirit; a worthy successor, next to St. Ambrose, he possessed the covenant of voice  and  was crowned with the blood of martyrdom.  The boy therefore grew and the Lord was with him. And whilst he was still in childhood he was seized with a fever, and as he was sweating it out lying in his bed he had a magnificent vision, a tall lady with a splendid countenance promising him he would become strong and healthy, placing in his hand two golden keys and with these words she said, "O Thomas, these are the keys to Paradise, of which thou art to have charge." Twofold are the graces in mankind, one divine, the other worldly but both from God; by the first we please God, through the second the world; these are goodness and kindness. Key-bearer of the world to come in heaven it is not possible to please and thus be faithful to God like Samuel and men.

Chapter 2

Concerning Those studies and pastimes which he pursued during his adolescent years

[Herbert of Bosham]

For long the Beckets were renowned for their wealth and glory with their friends and family: but then finally after frequent fires and other misfortunate matters which assaults not moderately weakened them, they recognised they had less [time and resources] to devote to the diligent instruction of their son..Almost immediately, the desolation caused his mother's death, which at that time left the son on the road almost to total ruin relying on his own counsel. It was clear that the father had now grown old and was not able substantially to support the costs of his son with what was left. But neither did his father live much longer following his mother's demise.

A very rich man of noble birth, called Richer de L'Aigle, whenever he came to the City [of London] was accustomed to lodge with the Beckets at their house, and with whom Thomas undertook to be associated for some time for his counsel and foresights.

[Edward Grim]

Now as his childhood years unfolded he began to excel in the best of manners, clear intelligence and credible eloquence, an agreeable face mixed with gravity and a charming aspect, presenting a very elegant, amiable and pleasing appearance to all. He had married the eloquence which had sprung from nature with the highest prudence.

[John of Salisbury]

Finally, he had so sharp a mind he could unravel [win] unprecedented and difficult [court] cases with his intelligence, and in the same degree as he took such pleasure in having such a good memory that, having learned the sayings or judgements, he could bring these forth almost whenever he wanted to without any difficulty. The reason why many learned persons were not able to follow him they were ascribing his great alacrity of mind as a miracle.  For indeed just as his wet-nurse sustained the future high priest [archbishop],  as he usually said , they were at hand for him to use at conferences or during the course of speeches.  From an early age, as he was accustomed to relate, he learned from his mother to fear the Lord, and to call upon the Blessed Virgin Mary as his guide to lead his way through life as his patroness, and through her to put his  trust in Christ in everything. Accordingly, he turned towards the above-mentioned rich man after leaving his schools, and following his curiosity, he now went hunting for game, now catching birds, which pleasurably fed his youthful mind, sometimes at home in the city [of London] and sometimes living in the country with the rich man.

[Edward Grim II]

And it came to pass being released in this way, this allowed him to renounce his scholarly studies.  Truly one day it happened at a certain place along the banks of a river where Thomas was proceeding at the same time with the rich man, that there flew a duck along the same river being pursued by a hawk which followed it diving in a like manner into the river. When he saw this the young Thomas took pity on the hawk which was going to lose its life, and now jumped off his horse, and followed it into the river order to rescue the bird which had been swallowed up by the stream. But before the bird was caught, he happened to find himself in the mainstream of the river,  And he was dragged under the waters. And then the surging current [tidal?] with an impelling force raised him up. He began to be in danger. To onlookers it seemed as if he would perish, while there was no one present who could stretch out a hand to save the drowning person..And then he was [fast] approaching [being dragged] towards a mill-house, which, at that moment, perchance was grinding, to where the waters first pour forth [onto the mill wheel].. The mill wheel was then stopped by the divine intervention of the Good Lord who ordered it no longer to rotate, which allowed the youth in trouble to be taken out whilst he was still alive, .

Chapter 3

How after the Archdeaconate of Canterbury, and the Provostship of Beverley he was promoted to be the King of England's Chancellor

[Herbert of Bosham]

In due course, Octonummis [Huitdeniers/Mr Eightpence]. a distinguished person in the City [of London] and affluent with many properties, who was a close blood relative, engaged Thomas for continuous period of three years in a position as a clerk, occupying him in summarising his income and expenditure.

In the meantime, in order to facilitate and open up promotion to higher offices he was invited by a certain official of Archbishop Theobald, who by divine grace brought and introduced him to the Archbishop's court, where he was received with fitting honour.
It was there, with sports and all trivial activities set aside, he always kept his mind better informed by the speeches of those older and wiser than him. At last he found great favour in the eyes of the archbishop, and thus became bound to his service, so much so that the archbishop would openly acknowledge that there was no one more capable of dealing with his business than him, finding him trustworthy, and neither was there anyone who pleased him more than Thomas. But this stirred up jealousy in that enemy of humankind, Roger, archdeacon of Canterbury, surnamed Pont de l'Eveque, upon whom, Thomas, until he rendered his dying breath to heaven , then became acquainted with the means how to pour out all the venom he could conceive.

In the meantime, in order to get him [Thomas] sent away from the court, he [Roger] now attacked him, either himself personally or though the agency of others; he set about to abuse him. And lastly repeatedly used a facetious insult often indignantly called him the clerk of the axe and hatchet, clearly after the surname of the one who had invited [originally introduced] him to the court of the archbishop.

During this time, however of venerable memory William, archbishop of York, was taken up into the bosom of eternal bliss. Archbishop Theobald using his power and influence arranged that he be replaced by the aforementioned Roger, and following a delay, anointed and consecrated him.

In particular, he made Thomas the archdeacon of Canterbury, and without any intervening delay gave him the provostship of Beverley, which the aforementioned Roger had had, and obtained for his archdeacon the multiple benefices of churches and other incomes. After a short interval of time, when Henry duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, son of Geoffrey count of Anjou and Empress Mathilda had succeeded king Stephen to the kingdom of England, the aforenamed archbishop endeavoured to see that his archdeacon was made the king's chancellor. Indeed he suspected that the youthfulness of the king seemed to be guided by the counsels of young and wicked men, from which he dreaded foolishness and wickedness would arise: both as they would drive him [the king] to act haughtily, and which as victor he [the king] falsely held himself to be, he [the king] would oppress the people. Because of this he arranged for the chancellor to be an overseer in [the king's] court, and by his aid and work the new king was restrained from those attacks upon the xhurch which did not serve it, and by his counsel he moderated the evil and restrained the audacity of officials, who under the pretext and power of public law conspired to rob the goods of churches in the provinces. He was made therefore in all the business of the kingdom second only after the king.  Rarely did the chancellor not adhere to the king's party, lest he would not be listened to by the king, and because he might have to leave the king's hospitality.  The king truly did him great honour, so large was his delight and liberty with him that there was no other person he was known to have spent more time; of this the king at a later time over and over again would remind himself But truly it was customary to compare the king with a certain elegance as having the nature of a flame, which when one is far from him it only sheds a little light upon one, but if one draws near enough it burns one up. Whatever he established, whatever he changed or abolished, withersoever the dominion of the king touched which, according to the law, was everything he held from the Ocean [English Channel] all the way up to the Pyrenees.  But woe to this present and evil age. The greater his misfortune, the greater is his miserable condition, all things considered. You may see, if you look more carefully,  that as far as a person is more powerful in the world, the more prone he is to sin, the higher up he is so much more so is he prone to ruin, the richer so much the worse, because afterwards that explains the changes coming from the king's mind.

[John of Salisbury, bishop of Chartres]

From the very outset of his chancellorship he endured so many difficulties and necessary expenses, he became worn down by all the labours, overwhelmed by so many afflictions, by all the so many snares of ambition,  exposed to the many traps at court and the wickedness of those who dwell therein, so much so that, as the archbishop and his friends can testify that he was often in tears,  and found that he was frequently weary of day-to-day living, and, besides wishing for the everlasting afterlife, above all he desired to be free of the bonds of wickedness.  Although it can be admitted that the world with all its charms seemed to flatter and applaud him he never forgot his place nor his burdens, which henceforward was for the honour and salvation of his lord the king, and thence the needs of  the church and its province for which he was forced to contend against the king himself  and his enemies, to elude various deceits and trickery.  But ultimately, he continually needed to fight the wild beasts at court, and just like Proteus [Peregrinus], as the saying goes, conducted business and practised in Palestine..

A serpent of envy pursued him, whose venom he feared might escape from the royal court. This serpent has honey in its mouth, but in its heart a bitter gall, and also has a sting on its back. This destructive spotted lizard dwells not only in the royal palace but also in the house of a bishop. Among so many and great dangers, however, he preserved his spirit like a strong athlete, in patience and with a knowing certainty because that is like a forge for gold, a threshing flail for grain and/or a file with which to sharpen a sword, that this same false brother is tried. The Chancellor ministered to the poor without thought of the expense..But so were all the gifts of grace hidden by an outward pride, that, except for worldly pomp, no one even thought that it was this same archbishop.who was often doing this. Praise no man before his death, but do not despise him.  For what man knoweth if he will return and repent, God?

[Alan, abbot of Tewkesbury]

There was in the town of Stafford as far as the royal pleasures were concerned a beautiful woman who, it was said, was having an amorous affair with the king. And because the Chancellor often visited this place relaying many lavish gifts, the innkeeper in the town where he was lodging thought that the woman was enticing him [Thomas the Chancellor] to embrace her in order to procure for herself a new lover, because the king seemed to be disregarding her and engaging in lovemaking with her less often.  Wanting to find out more, silently in the dead of night he took a lantern and secretly entered the bedroom where his guest was staying, in which when he saw that nothing stirred he crossed the room and raised the light. He saw before the man lying before the bed on the bare ground with his feet and legs uncovered, one who had perchance fallen asleep after bending down on his knees in prayer many times. And it thus came to pass that thinking he would expose a lustful man only found a religious man of God. Oh how easy it is to be judged by men who know not what is inside a person.


Opera. Auctore Edwardus Grim: Parker. 1845. pp. 10–.

James Craigie Robertson. Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (Canonized by Pope Alexander III, AD 1173). Auctore Edwardus Grim: Cambridge University Press. pp. 325–. ISBN 978-1-108-04926-

Opera. Auctoribus Joanne decano Salisburiensi et Alano abbate Tewkesburiensi: Parker. 1845. pp. 321–.

Patres ecclesiae anglicanae : Aldhelmus, Beda, Bonifacius, Alcuinus, Lanfrancus, Anselmus, Thomas Cantuar, et reliqui. J.-H. Parker. 1845. pp. 12–. 

James Craigie Robertson. Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (Canonized by Pope Alexander III, AD 1173).Voll III p. 304 John of Salisbury

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Becket's Early Life according to Garnier

Stanzas 34- 

34 Saint Thomas, the archbishop, on whom you are about to hear me deliver a discourse, it is completely true that he was given birth to in the City of London, and was descended from and raised amongst the barons of the City: and his father was called Gilbert Becket, and his mother, Mathilda. He was the offspring of refined people. 

35  When the lady first conceived the child, she dreamt that all the waters of the Thames entered her breast [womb?]. She told this to a savant, who explained the meaning to her "Your heir will govern many people." But I interpret this as meaning that within her belly [womb?] a spring of pure water ran..

36 God revealed to her yet another very beautiful dream. She saw herself coming to the [Church of the] Holy Trinity [Canterbury cathedral]; but as she tried to cross the threshold, her belly was so swollen that she could not enter. It seems to me, in truth, that the whole of Sion could not contain the goodness of Thomas.

37 On another occasion, just before she was about to conceive the child, she dreamt that the twelve great stars of heaven fell before her chair. This was of great significance because all the twelve tribes [of Israel] bowed down before him, and he would become one of the twelve who would judge them.

38 After she had given birth to the child, the woman had yet another dream: the child was found lying bare in his cradle; taking great pity, she begged the wet-nurse to cover him, but the nurse replied that he was already well covered by a large folded pall.

39 The pall was scarlet. Both got up and proceeded firmly and hurriedly to unwrap the cloth. The room was small: so they passed on through into the house; but that refuge was too constricted, and so they went out into the street; even that proved much too narrow: so they went to Smithfield.

40 Even Smithfield was still too small for this pall. Then descending upon them from heaven they heard a voice saying that all England could not hold the grandeur of this pall. Well can we understand  that  the blood of the saint had spread throughout the world.

41 Thomas was put into school a very young age. He studied grammar after he had finished with the psalter, he studied the arts and a little singing. He worked diligently, and suffered much pain, but did not dwell for long in the schools.

42 Richier de L'Aigle was wont to lodge at his father's house.  Thomas often went hunting with him in the woods and along river banks, and stayed together with him for well half a year, as I have heard told. It was then that he began to love hounds and falcons very much.

43 One day the child went with him hunting along the river banks: he wanted to learn how to cast off hawks and their behaviour. They reached a wide stream where there was neither bridge nor ferry, but only a plank [passerelle] by which people could cross over on foot. The baron went in front, and the child followed behind.

44 After the knight had crossed over the plank, Thomas followed after, all hooded, but his horse lost its foothold: both he and the horse tumbled over into the water; having come off his saddle he floated downstream..

45 Beside the plank, there was a mill fully grinding away. Into the large ravine [of the mill race?] he went. Thomas came there floating, where he would have fallen head first onto the mill wheel.  The miller, having just finished grinding, shut the sluice gate. Thus it was in this manner God saved the child from death.

46 Because God wanted to protect and save him for the great good to be done, God suffers some others to live and saves even those who may come to perform a very great evil, as well as those who have the need to perform a very great good..

47 According to testimony, he was twenty-one or more when he left college. By very great misfortune he found himself destitute, with very little to live on, because his father and his mother [their enterprise] had foundered in a storm, from which they could never rise again to find a safe haven.

48 For his father had once been a very rich man, and his mother a beautiful lady, in body and looks. They came from well to-do families, and had been very successful; but fire had done this and brought both destruction and loss. So often had they had fires that many times they had nearly been broke.

49 He went to live with one of his kinsmen, Osbern Huit-Deniers, a wealthy Londoner, well known to both the French and English. Afterwards he became one of his scriveners, for two or three years, I know not; it was then he began to be both wise and courteous.

50 But Thomas did so much toing and froing [up and down] that he was introduced to the archbishop by one of his marshals, who was wont many times to lodge at his father's. He came to him finely dressed and well mounted on a horse with the assistance of the spiritual King.

51 Thomas was cunning, and he advanced much with God's help and advice. Day and night he stayed awake; he took pains to serve his master whenever he could. For his advice he was keenly sought by all, while the archbishop often summoned him.

52 Roger de Pont-Évêque became jealous of him, and either by himself or through others had him sent away. Many times he used to refer to him as the clerk of Porte Hache [Hatchet Man]. (This was the name of the man who had brought him to that court.) But Thomas was clever, and outsmarted him.

53 Archbishop Theobald took him to Rome, and then sent him there with his messages often. but whilst there, and elsewhere, he served him so well that the archbishop brought him by his side, and abandoned his private council.

54 When William, the archbishop of York, died, Theobald worked hard to procure the position for his archdeacon, Roger de Pont-Évêque, whom he invested and consecrated.. As for the archdeaconry, he gave this to his clerk, Thomas.

55 He also obtained for him the provostship of Beverley, and gave him the income from many churches and places because he had never found anyone before who served him so well. God gave him the aspiration and he always strove for honour, wisdom and the good.

56 Well he loved the worldly sports, to hunt with hounds and birds of prey; he was bountiful and valiant, and had an alive reason and bright intelligence, but he did not refuse anyone who wished to give him something, just as others do who have the power to nourish or to put matters right, and want to rise in the world by means of their own wealth.

57 And the archbishop Theobald had not forgotten him and put him in alliance with king Henry II, who gave him the post of running his chancellery. And it was thus that his honour and estate increased all the time, but he never forgot his place that he was in the service of the king.

58 He served the king very willingly in whatever he could,  both in thought and in deed he was completely wholesome. Whatever riches he possessed, whether it was silver, money, gold, cloth, or horses, he gave it to the knights. Greatly was he humble in the heart, but in looks he was very proud.

59 Towards the poor he was humble, towards those of higher rank he presented a proud disposition. He was a lamb on the inside, but on the outside he was like a leopard. Happily he did not hesitate to be in the king's service day or night.  But, whatever he seemed to be on the outside, there was no malice in him: his inner spiritual half was ever reserved for God.

60 Although he was both conceited and vain in his worldly duties and outward semblance, he was chaste in body and of sound mind; and although he was fully in the service of the king, he was, as far as possible, the right hand of Holy Church.

61 At that time, king Henry the Second of England was in Staffordshire. And he loved a woman, the most beautiful in the empire. Avice de Stafford she was called, it was said; but although on the part of the king she saw that love had diminished.

62 On the part of the king although his eagerness had lessened , the woman was suffering because to her the king was very dear. Thomas, the chancellor, was then at Stoke. The lady often sent to him her messengers. The host  [where he was staying] who was quite simple thought there was something sinful happening.

63 At Vivian the Cleric's, where Thomas was lodged, when he saw that his [Thomas'] bed had that night been made up with a silk quilt and expensive fine cloth, his host imagined that the lady had slept there, that she had come there to acquaint herself of him [Thomas].

64 When he believed that our hero might still be asleep, and had fulfilled all the good pleasures with the woman, he wanted to know for sure whether a wrongdoing had been done to the king. He took his lantern and went straight to where the bed was, and was amazed to find no one there;

65 Indeed, all the bedding was quite undisturbed, just as it had been made up the previous evening,. He at once thought that our hero had himself gone to the lady, and moving his candle forward to ascertain more there by the bed on the ground lay the wise Thomas,

66 There he was wrapped in a mantle made from fine haberget, with his legs and feet uncovered. His body had been hard at work in prayers and he was lying on the ground rightly fully exhausted.  He was fast asleep because he had stayed awake much in vigil.

67 The more Thomas rose in the secular world, the more humble he became in his heart, whatever he might have appeared to the people. Often and in many places, he committed misdeeds on behalf of the king, but he made amendments for these before God privately at night, for God had fashioned him on a firm foundation.

68 Not one of his closest friends, clerks or companions, neither chamberlain nor servant, steward nor valet,no matter how long they may have served in his household, none could assert or prove that he was engaged in such wrongdoings, and none of whom have ever seen him involved in such crimes. 

69 He was a very elegant cleric and greatly given to ostentation.  Even king Henry, who owns a large part of the world with all its riches, could not match his grandeur, and neither could you fail to appreciate this.  And neither would you come by a man so wise even if you were to spend the whole of this year looking ! While serving the king he suffered many a hardship.

70 He maintained a large number of vassal knights in his household. upon whom he heaped both gifts and liveries. He also retained mercenaries, archers and men at arms. He led them straying into error and did great wrongdoings. He bore down heavily upon the king's enemies

71 He took by assault castles, mottes and fortifications. He both burned towns and vills, and assailed cities. He remained so long in the saddle upon his charger clad in his hauberk, that he was often severely bruised, for arrows were shot at him but which could not pierce him.

72 He was a long time in Gascony making war, and made the Gascons abandon their castles. In Normandy he did his duty well for his lord. And I witnessed it myself several times charging the French on horseback. By his clarion [buisine] calls he did much to further the king.

73 This world is evil, as well you can see it. And the more that a man has, the less he cares for wisdom. And the more power he has in the world, the less he values God's authority. because then he forgets and neglects God. He wants to embrace the world. The world wants to possess him.

74 It is a fact that the evil one [Satan] is always on the look out to deceive the Christian. And how much more determinedly he tries with an honourable man and alms-giver to make him sin, so that along with him he can be cast down into hell.

75 This Thomas, of whom I speak, who then was so powerful, before he became chancellor was not an evil doer. He was plain-spoken with all, to the lowly as well as the grand. Now he was for his overlord keenly enterprising. And in everything he did he was at pains to please him.

76 The chancellor served the king in all at his pleasure. And whatever he did he did it willingly for him. He was privy to his [the king's] secret plans. And [the king]  acted on his [Thomas'] advice, of which nothing was concealed from him [Thomas]. At that time the king loved no one more than him.

77 And he [the king] even made him [Thomas] the guardian [foster father] of Henry, his eldest son; and he was to take up from all the barons their fealty, and if there was anyone absolutely in all of the kingdom so foolhardy or audacious who did not want to do this he [Thomas] was immediately to lay siege to him: this he [the king] ordered him [Thomas] to do.

78 And there was no one who could outsmart him. When the king complained about a rich knight, or an earl or baron whom he wanted to be avenged of, the king noticed that the chancellor would never do anything to assist this person..
79 <<So has he run off?>> he [Thomas] said, <<so has he strayed against you? Certainly many have been foolhardy before to have thought of this, be they rich men, or of great power, or amongst the many who have served you. And well they must now make amends. It is time they are summoned to suffer whence the truth can be satisfied.>>


La vie de Saint Thomas le martyr p.8- Walberg

Guernes de Pont Sainte-Maxence (1859). C. Hippeau, ed. La vie de saint Thomas le martyr: archevêque de Canterbury. Chez A. Aubry. pp. 7–.

I. Bekker, ed. (1845). Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Akademie der Wissenschaften

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); Tr. Ian Short (2013). A Life of Thomas Becket in Verse. Pontifical Intsitute of Mediaeval Studies. ISBN 978-0-88844-306-9. 

Janet Shirley (1975). Garnier's Becket: Translated from the 12th-century Vie Saint Thomas Le Martyr de Cantorbire of Garnier of Pont-Sainte-Maxence. Llanerch. ISBN 978-1-86143-023-6.

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); Jean-Guy Gouttebroze; Ambroise Queffélec (1990). La vie de saint Thomas Becket. Libr. H. Champion. ISBN 978-2-85203-111-1.

Guernes (de Pont-Sainte-Maxence); Jacques Thomas (2002). La vie de Saint Thomas de Canterbury. Volume 1. Peeters. ISBN 978-90-429-1188-8.

Platelle Henri. Guernes De Pont-Sainte-Maxence. La vie de saint Thomas de Canterbury. (éditée, traduite et annotée par Jacques T-E. Thomas). In: Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire, tome 82, fasc. 4, 2004. Histoire medievale, moderne et contemporaine - Middeleeuwse. moderne en hedendaagse geschiedenis. pp. 1073-1075.

Buisine - Wikipedia

Haberget = Woollen twill
University of Manchester, Lexis of Cloth & Clothing Project, Search Result For 'haberjet'
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