Posts Tagged ‘Bury St Edmunds’

Sunday 2 November 1264: a new year

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

A new regnal year began on 28 October, the 49th year of Henry III’s reign. As usual, the Chancery marked the new year by beginning a new set of rolls (the Exchequer worked on a different system, and had begun its new year on 30 September, the morrow of Michaelmas). Henry spent most of the week in Westminster, moving on 1 November to St Paul’s. He evidently marked the new year in his usual pious manner, offering 24 gold obols, bought from the revenues of the exchange. (CLR 1260-67, 148)

The final section of the 1263-64 fine roll is largely occupied by a series of transactions, which seem to show that the baronial government had found a way of rewarding its supporters at the expense of the Jewish community. Between 25 and 28 October, nearly twenty individuals were pardoned the interest and fees due on any debts owed to Jews. A few more were pardoned their debts entirely. The charters recording the debts were to be handed over. In addition, Peter de Montfort, a member of the governing council, was pardoned all his own debts to Jewish moneylenders, and debts which others had contracted on his behalf were also set aside, with the charters to be delivered to Peter. (CFR 1263-64, 226-43)

The abbey gate, Bury St Edmunds, in 1827.

The abbey gate, Bury St Edmunds, in 1827.

The council set up an inquiry into disturbances which had been going on in Bury St Edmunds since early in 1264. The abbey of Bury had extensive privileges within its liberty, including even the right to its own mint. At some point before the battle of Lewes, the young men of the town had organized themselves into a guild, which seized control of the government of the town. They disregarded the authority of the abbot’s port-reeve, and refused to obey the authority of the horn summoning them to the portman-moot. These local rebels elected their own alderman and bailiffs, established a court, and imposed an oath of obedience. The patent roll said that they had set up their own horn, which they used to summon the conspirators who had risen against the abbot. (CPR 1258-66, 375; Chronicle of Bury St Edmunds, xxiv; H.W.C. Davis, EHR, 1909)

The baronial government was still engaged in sporadic attempts at negotiating with its opponents in France. Guy Foulquois’ last act as papal legate had been the sentences of excommunication and interdict delivered on 20 October, but he apparently remained in France until December or January, shortly before he was elected pope as Clement IV. By now, queen Eleanor had been forced to accept that the planned invasion would not take place. In the words of the Bury chronicle: ‘When the queen’s money ran out everyone went home, not without discomfort and disgrace. It should be remembered that England would have been captured by foreigners if the seas had not been protected.’ In England, the council tried to resume negotiations with king Louis, requesting safe conduct for messengers from the barons and the bishops, who would be sent to Wissant. The men of Dunwich were rewarded for their support in defending the coasts by being given respite from paying the farm of the town and any other debts they owed to the Exchequer. (C&S, II, I, 694; CPR 1258-66, 385; Chronicle of Bury, 29; CFR 1263-64, 236)