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Title: Henry the Sixth

Author: John Blakman

Translator: M. R. James

Release date: August 14, 2009 [eBook #29689]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Paul Murray, Stephanie Eason, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries.)







C. F. CLAY, Manager





Henry the Sixth






M. R. JAMES, Litt. D., F.B.A., F.S.A.





Printer's Emblem








[Pg vii]


The tract on the Personality of King Henry VI (as I may perhaps be allowed to call it), which is here reprinted, has hitherto been almost inaccessible to ordinary students. It is not known to exist at all in manuscript. We depend ultimately for our knowledge of it upon a printed edition issued by Robert Coplande of London, of which the date is said to be 1510. Of this there may be two copies in existence. This text was reprinted by Thomas Hearne in 1732, in his edition of the Chronicles of Thomas Otterbourne and John Whethamstede, of which 150 copies were issued.

I have here reprinted Hearne's text, and have collated it with Coplande's. This I was enabled to do through the great kindness of the authorities of St Cuthbert's College at Ushaw, who most generously lent me a copy of the tract preserved in their Library. This copy I will endeavour to describe.

It is in a modern binding lettered: Hylton's Lives of British Saints. Blackman's Life of Henry VI. The pressmark is

c 4

The size is 185 × 130 mm. There are 32 lines to a full page.

[Pg viii]

Collation: A6 B4.

Signatures: A i (2 not signed): A iii (4-6 not signed).

B i (2 not signed): B iii (4 not signed). Ab i a has the title at top:

symbol Collectarium Mansuetudinum et bono-
rum morum regis Henrici. VI. ex col-
lectiōe magistri Joannis blak
man bacchalaurei theo
logie / et post Car
tusie monachi


Below this is a woodcut measuring 99 × 76, and representing a bearded king in hat with crown about it, clad in ermine tippet, and dalmatic over long robe. He holds a closed book in his R. hand, a sceptre in his L.: on the L. wrist is a maniple. His head is turned towards R. On R. a tree, plants across the foreground: a mound on L. with two trees seen over it.

I feel confident that the woodcut is not intended for a portrait of Henry VI, and that it really represents some Old Testament personage: but I have not attempted to trace it in other books.

It has a border in three pieces. Those on R. and L. are 115 mm. in height and contain small figures of prophets standing on tall shafts: that at bottom was designed to be placed vertically, and contains a half-length figure of a prophet springing out of foliage, and with foliage above.

[Pg ix]On A i b the woodcut is repeated without the border.

Then follows the text as given by me. After it, on B iv a, is Robert Coplande's device, measuring 80 × 95; a wreath of roses and leaves, comprised within two concentric circles: within it the printer's mark.

Outside in the upper L. corner a rose slipped and leaved: in the upper R. corner, a pomegranate.

Below, a scroll inscribed: Robert (rose) Coplande.

On B iv b the woodcut of the king, without border.

Below it, in a neat hand:

R. Johnson. prec. id.


For the rest, the volume contains:

Capgrave's New Legende, beginning imperfectly in the Table

De S. Esterwino abbate. fo. xxxviii.


This is preceded by two inserted leaves of paper: on the first are the missing items of the Table, supplied in a rough hand of cent. xvi. On the second, in a hand of cent. xviii, is:

Printed at London by Richard Pynson
Printer to the Kings Noble Grace the 20th
day of February 1516. Vid. Page 133.

Newcastle upon Tyne.

This book was found in the Town Clerk's
Office about the latter end (of) the year 1765.

(?) A P G.


[Pg x]At the end of the Table (before A i) is written in a hand of cent. xvi:

The abbridgement of henry the syxthes lyfe ys fastned to the ende of this booke.


At top of A i (cent. xvi) is: T. T. Collected by Caxton.

On A viii b, B ii a is the name (cent. xvi):

Alexander Ridley of ye brom hills.


He has written a good many marginal notes in the book.

Collation: Table 2 ff. A8 B4 C8 D4 E8 F4 G8 H4 I8 K4 L8 (i-iii signed) M4 N8 (as L) O4 (i-iii signed) P8 (as L) Q4 R8 (as L) S4 (i-iii signed: ii, iii both numbered i) T8 (+ 1: 4 leaves cix-cxii on the 11000 Virgins inserted after cvii* instead of after cviii) U6 (6 blank unnumbered) X8 (Life of S. Byrgette) Y6.

Followed by tract of Walter Hylton: 'to a deuoute man in temperall estate howe he shulde rule hym' etc. A8 B8 (leaves not numbered).

On cxix b is Pynson's device: no date.

On cxxxiii a (Life of S. Byrgette) the date m.cccccxvi. xx Feb. On the verso Pynson's device with break in lower border.

At the end of Hylton's tract B viii a the date mcccccxvi last daye of Feb.

On the verso Pynson's device with break in lower border.

Hearne's preface to Otterbourne (i, p. xliv) contains some interesting matter bearing on the tract, which I summarize here.

[Pg xi]No one, he says, except John Blakman has yet written a special life of Henry VI, and Blakman's is not an opus absolutum but a "fragmentum duntaxat operis longe majoris alicubi forte nunc etiam latentis."

Vita haecce qualiscunque in lucem prodiit Londini a.d. m.d.x. a Roberto Coplandio ... excusus. Eiusdem exemplaria adeo rara sunt ut vix reperias in bibliothecis etiam instructissimis. Penes se autem habet amicus excultissimus Jacobus Westus, qui pro necessitudine illa quae inter nos intercedit, non tantum mutuo dedit, sed et licentiam concessit exscribendi. Id quod feci.


West had acquired his copy by purchase, among a number of printed books formerly the property of Archbishop Sancroft.

On p. xlix Hearne tells us that Sancroft had written the following note in his copy of the tract:

Hunc libellum conscribendum curavit Henricus VIIus, cum Julio papa II agens de Henrico VI in Sanctorum numerum referendo. De quo vide Jac. Waraei annales H. 7. A° 1504.


Ware (and Hearne) print the Bull of Julius, directing an inquiry into Henry's sanctity and miracles. I may add that some part of the results of this negotiation may be seen in the manuscript collection of Henry VIth's miracles preserved in the Royal MS. 13. c. viii and in the MS. Harley 423 (a partial copy of the other), both in the British Museum.[1]

Furthermore Hearne reprints what is properly called a Memoria of King Henry VI such as is to be[Pg xii] found in a fairly large number of Books of Hours or Primers both manuscript and printed. Hearne's text is taken from Horae printed by Wynkyn de Worde 1510, f. cli a, and is as follows.

A prayer to holy kynge Henry.
Rex Henricus sis amicus nobis in angustia
Cuius prece nos a nece saluemur perpetua
Lampas morum spes egrorum ferens medicamina
Sis tuorum famulorum ductor ad celestia.
Pax in terra non sit guerra orbis per confinia
Virtus crescat et feruescat charitas per omnia
Non sudore uel dolore moriamur subito
Sed viuamus et plaudamus celis sine termino.
Ver. Ora pro nobis deuote rex Henrice.
Resp. Ut per te cuncti superati sint inimici.
 Oremus. Presta, quesumus, omnipotens et misericors deus, ut qui deuotissimi regis Henrici merita miraculis fulgentia pie mentis affectu recolimus in terris, eius et omnium sanctorum tuorum intercessionibus ab omni per te febre, morbo, ac improuisa morte ceterisque eruamur malis, et gaudia sempiterna adipisci mereamur. Per Christum dominum nostrum. Amen.


Here is another form, which occurs in the Fitzwilliam MS. 55 (a Norfolk book of about 1480):

 Antiphon. Rex Henricus pauper(um?) et ecclesie defensor ad misericordiam semper pronus in caritate feruidus pietati deditus clerum decorauit, quem deus sic beatificauit.
Vers. Ora pro nobis deuote Henrice.
Resp. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
[Pg xiii] Oremus. Deus sub cuius ineffabili maiestate vniuersi reges regnant et imperant, qui deuotissimum Henricum Anglorum regem caritate feruidum, miseris et afflictis semper compassum, omni bonitate clemenciaque conspicuum, ut pio (pie) creditur inter angelos connumerare dignatus es: concede propicius ut eo cum omnibus sanctis interuenientibus hostium nostrorum superbia conteratur, morbus et quod malum est procul pellatur, palma donetur et gratia sancti spiritus nobis misericordiam tuam poscentibus ubique adesse dignetur. Qui uiuis, etc.


Yet another form is seen in a manuscript (V. iii. 7) in Bishop Cosin's Library at Durham, of cent. xv late: it is written, with a good many other miscellaneous verses, at the end of the book.

O rex Henrice vincas virtute pudice
Anglorum vere cum recto nomine sexte
[Es] wynsorie natus et ibi de fonte leuatus
Atque coronatus in Westm(ynster) veneratus
Et post ffrancorum rex es de iure creatus
Post mortem carnis miracula plurima pandis
Confirmante deo qui te preelegit ab euo
Et tibi concessit plures sanare per illum
Cecos et claudos cum debilitate retentos
Atque paraliticos egrotos spasmaticosque
In neruis plures contracti te mediante
In te sperantes sanantur et auxiliantur
Et laudes domino per te semper tribuantur.
Ora pro nobis dei electe rex Anglie Henrice sexte.
Ut digni, etc.
[Pg xiv] Oremus. Omnipotens eterne deus qui electis tuis multa mirabilia operaris: concede quaesumus ut electi tui Anglorum regis Henrici sexti meritis et precibus mediantibus et intercedentibus mereamur ab omnibus angustiis anime et doloribus membrorum liberemur(-ari). Et cum illo in vita perpetua gloriari. Per, etc.


These three forms of Memoriae are probably not all that exist; but they will suffice as representative specimens of the popular devotions used in honour of our Founder.

Besides the Memoria Hearne gives two prayers, attributed to the King himself, and largely identical in language with that which is prefixed to Blakman's tract. He takes them from the same printed Horae of 1510 whence the Memoria comes. They are on p. lv a and run thus:

Two lytell prayers whiche King Henry the syxte made.

Domine Ihesu Christe, qui me creasti, redemisti, et preordinasti ad hoc quod sum: tu scis quid de me facere vis: fac de me secundum voluntatem tuam cum misericordia.

Domine Ihesu Christe, qui solus es sapientia: tu scis que michi peccatori expediunt: prout tibi placere[2] et sicut in oculis tue maiestatis videtur, de me ita fiat cum misericordia tua. Amen. Pater noster. Aue Maria.


[Pg xv]Of John Blacman or Blakman, the author of our tract, not a great deal is known. He was admitted Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1436, and of Eton in 1447: he was Cantor of Eton College, and, as we read in the title of his book, a bachelor of Divinity, and later a Carthusian monk. But before he 'entered religion' he held an important post in University circles, for, in 1452, on the death of Nicholas Close, he was appointed by the Provosts of Eton and King's (who at that time owned this piece of patronage) Warden of King's Hall at Cambridge, that royal foundation which was eventually absorbed into Trinity College. As Warden (I quote from Mr W. W. Rouse Ball's privately printed account of King's Hall) he introduced into the College "some scheme of reorganization, which involved a division of the Society into four classes, fellows, scholars, commoners, and servi-commoners.... The scheme, whatever it was, was abandoned on Blacman's resignation" which took effect on 11 July 1457. Blacman then entered the Carthusian house of Witham in Somerset, and subsequently that of London, where he probably died. When, and for how long, he held the post of spiritual director or confessor to Henry VI, I have no evidence to show.

Of one thing about him, namely, his literary possessions, we know more. The Bodleian manuscript Laud. Misc. 154 contains two lists, one short, and[Pg xvi] one long and elaborate, of books given by him to the Witham Charterhouse. Several of these exist in the Bodleian and other libraries, and one, a notable copy of the Polychronicon, which contains the earliest known picture of Windsor Castle (and of Eton), very probably drawn by Blacman himself, has in recent years been acquired by the library of Eton College. The full list of Blacman's books is given in a separate note.

In reprinting Hearne's text I have retained his spelling, which does not correspond completely with that of Coplande's print. Hearne gives æ for e throughout, and expands contractions without notice. Had I had access to the original tract before Hearne's text was put into type, I should have retained the medieval spelling; but I did not think it worth while to make the change après coup. The actual words of the text represent Blacman as faithfully as possible; and that is the chief matter.

I need not, I think, say much by way of commending this little memorial of our Founder to the pietas of the many who have owed and still owe to his bounty such pleasant and peaceful years, and such opportunities for the gaining of knowledge and the forming of friendships, as he himself never enjoyed. The evils which his weak rule brought upon England have faded out of being: the good which in his boyhood he devised for coming generations lives after him. Pro eo quod laborauit anima eius, uidebit et saturabitur.

M. R. J.




[1] See a special Note on these.

[2] Read placet, as in a vellum-printed Paris Horae of 1572 (?), reported to Hearne by a friend.

Mr. Cosmo Gordon of King's College tells me that these prayers also occur in W. de Worde's Primer of 1494 (sig. F 8 b). In this edition the words read "prout tibi placeret," but a copy at Lambeth in which the page has been reset, has "prout tibi placet." The prayers also occur in some Sarum Horae printed in France, e.g. Jean Jehannot's of 1498, of which there is a copy in the Sandars collection in the University Library.



[Pg 1]







Magistri Joannis Blakman bacchalaurei
theologiæ, et post Cartusiæ monachi Londini.



[Pg 2]

[A ii a] Oratio ejus devota.

Domine Jesu Christe, qui me creasti, redemisti, et ad id quod sum prædestinasti, tu scis, quid de me facturus sis, fac de me secundum tuam misericordissimam voluntatem. Nam scio et veraciter confiteor, quod in tua manu cuncta sunt posita, et non est qui possit tibi resistere: quia Dominus universorum tu es. Ergo Deus omnipotens, misericors & clemens, in potestate cujus sunt regna omnia atque dominationes, et cui omnes cogitationes, verba et opera nostra præterita, præsentia et futura continue sunt cognita et aperta, qui solus habes scientiam & sapientiam incomprehensibilem. Tu scis, Domine, quæ michi misero peccatori expediunt: prout tibi placet, et in oculis tuæ divinæ majestatis videtur de me fieri, ita de me fiat. Suscipe, pater clemens et misericors Deus omnipotens, preces mei indignissimi servi tui: et perveniant ad aures misericordiæ tuæ orationes, quas offero coram te et omnibus sanctis tuis. Amen.

[Pg 3]


decorative border


Scriptum est, quod neminem laudabimus ante mortem suam, sed in fine erit denudatio operum ejus, unde, cessante jam omni impedimento veræ laudis, Quia cœli gloriam Dei omnipotentis enarrant, & omnia quæ fecit Dominus ipsum in factura sua laudant, idcirco in laudem Dei & serenissimi principis regis Henrici. VI. corpore jam defuncti, quem licet minime peritus laudare anticipavi, aliqua tractare necessarium duxi. Maxime quia sanctos Dei laudare, quorum in cathologo istum puto regem eximium, ob sancta sua merita quoad vixit per eum exercitata, merito computari, omnipotentis Dei laus est & gloria, ex cujus cœlesti dono est, ut sancti sint. De prænobili ejus prosapia, quomodo scilicet ex nobilissimo sanguine & [A ii b] stirpe regia antiqua Angliæ secundum carnem progenitus erat, et qualiter in duabus regionibus, Angliæ s. & Franciæ, ut verus utriusque regni heres coronatus fuerat, tacere curavi, quasi manifestum & notum. Maxime propter casum ejus infaustissimum, qui eidem inopinate postea evenit.

[Pg 4]

Virtutum ejus commendatio.

Verum ut de virtutibus non paucis istius regis, quibus Deus omnipotens animam ejus insignivit, aliquid edicam, &[3] pro modulo meo Deo propicio prout noverim, & ex relatu fidedignorum, quondam ei assistencium, didicerim, propalabo. Fuerat enim, quasi alter Job, vir simplex, & rectus, Dominum Deum omnino timens, & à malo recedens. Erat autem vir simplex, sine omni plica dolositatis aut falsitatis, ut omnibus constat. Nulli enim dolose egerat: aut falsum aliquod cuiquam proferre solebat: sed veridica semper exercuerat eloquia. Fuerat & rectus et justus, per lineam justiciæ semper in actis suis procedens. Nulli vero injuriam facere voluit scienter. Deo & omnipotenti quod suum erat fidelissime tribuerat. quia decimas & oblationes, Deo et ecclesiæ debitas, amplissime persolvere studuit. simul cum religiosissimo cultu etiam hoc peregit, ita quod ipse & regalibus infulis trabeatus, diademateque regio coronatus, tam profundas sibi instituit exhibere Domino inclinativas supplicationes, ac si fuisset juvenis quispiam religiosus.

Timor Domini inerat ei.

Quod & princeps iste timorem habuerat filialem ad Dominum, patet in quammultis ejus actis et devotionibus. Primo referre solebat quidam Angliæ reverendus antistes, se per decem annos confessoris sui officio functum apud ipsum regem Henricum fuisse.[Pg 5] Sed neque per tantum tempus mortalis alicujus [A iii a] criminis maculam animam ejus tetigisse asserebat. O! quanta vigilantia! O! quanta diligentia placendi Deo in tam sublimi et juvenili persona reperta est! Attendite reges & principes universi, juvenes et virgines & populi quique, & laudate Dominum in sanctis ejus. Hunc quoque regem virtute imitamini, qui malum fecisse poterat & non fecit: sed omnino dum vixit refugit, in quantum potuit, propter Dei displicentiam, hujuscemodi malum vel noxam.

Cultor Dei sedulus erat.

Sedulus & verissimus Dei cultor erat rex iste, magis Deo et devotioni orationum deditus, quam mundanis vel temporalibus rebus tractandis, aut vanis ludis vel occupationibus exercendis: qualibus ut frivola ab eo despectis, aut in orationibus, aut in scripturarum vel cronicarum lectionibus assidue erat occupatus, ex quibus non pauca eloquia hauserat, ad ipsius aliorumque consolationem spiritualem. Unde omni statui, omnique conditioni hominum et ætati sedulus hortator & consultor extiterat, juvenibus consulens, ut à vitiis declinarent, et virtutis viam assequerentur. Provectæque ætatis viros et presbiteros, ut virtutis complementum, braviumque æternæ vitæ prosequendo attingerent, ammonuit, proferens id psalmi: Ite de virtute in virtutem: videbitur enim hinc Deus deorum in Syon.

[Pg 6]

Devota habitudo ejus in ecclesia.

In ecclesia vel oratorio nunquam sedere sibi complacuit super sedile, aut huc illuc ve, ut moris est mundanorum, deambulare: sed nudato semper capite, dum divina saltem celebrarentur officia, rarissime regios erigens artus, quasi continue coram libro genua flectens, oculis ac manibus erectis, missalia, oracula, epistolas, euangelia internis visibus[4] promere gestiebat cum celebrante. Nonnullis etiam solebat clericis destinare epistolas [A iii b] exhortatorias, cœlestibus plenas sacramentis et saluberrimis admonitionibus, in stuporem multorum.

Item & ubicũque fuerat rex iste, semper devotissimus sanctæ crucis, aliorumque Christianæ religionis sacramentorum vel sacrorum, cultor et sedulus adorator extiterat. In hujusmodi enim opere nudato capite devotius insedere[5] solebat, etiam in itineribus equitando. ita quod regale caputium terram petere ultro sæpius faciebat, etiam dextrario insidens, nisi id manus suorum sitius[6] apprehenderet. Unde et maluit sanctæ crucis signorum seriem in corona sua regia situari, quam florum vel foliorum similitudines quascũque, juxta illud sapientis: Corona aurea super caput ejus, expressa signo sanctitatis. &c. Tempestive valde, et quasi in initio divinorum officiorum solebat interesse. Sed et de prolixa protractione divinorum officiorum nusquam fastidium passus erat, quanquam ultra meridiem protelabantur.

[Pg 7]Item in ecclesia nullatenus accipites,[7] gladios, basillardos,[8] contractus, confabulationes ve fieri sinebat: sed orationibus etiam suis potentatibus & proceribus, juxta illud Salvatoris eloquium, Domus mea domus orationis est, jussit crebrius esse vacandum, quod et fecerunt devote.

Pudicitia ejus.

Pudicus enim & purus fuerat rex iste H. ab ineunte ætate sua. Omnem vero lasciviam verbo & opere dum juvenis erat declinaverat, quoadusque duxerat, nubilibus venientibus annis, prænobilem dominam, dominam Margaretam, regis Ceciliæ[9] filiam, ex qua unicum tantummodo procreavit filium, Edwardum s. prænobilem & virtuosum principem, cum qua & cui conjugale fœdus syncerissime omnino servaverat, etiam in ipsius dominæ absentia, quæ aliquando perlonga fuerat: nullam aliam à sua feminam tota sua [A iv a] vita impudice tangens. Non etiam ad præfatam suam conjugem effrenate, vel more impudicorum, habere solebat accessum dum insimul commanserunt: sed tantummodo ut ratio et rei necessitas, servata semper inter eos honestate conjugali et cum magna gravitate.


In argumentum vero suæ servatæ pudicitiæ, omnino consueverat effugere nuditatem et virorum et mulierum incantius[10] aspicere. ne, ut David, amore illicito caperetur, cujus animam, prout legimus, oculi de[Pg 8]prædati fuerant. Propterea princeps iste pepigerat cum oculis suis fœdus, ut nec saltem impudice quamlibet aspicerat[11] feminam.

Aliud exemplum.

Unde semel contigit, quod tempore natalis Domini choreas, vel spectaculum quoddam generosarum juvencularum, resolutis sinibus suis nudatas mamillas proponentium, quidam adduceret magnus dominus coram eo, ut ante regis aspectum juvenes illæ mulierculæ sic denudatæ tripudiarent, ad probandum forsan eum, vel ad alliciendum regis juvenilem animum. Sed rex iste non improvidus, nec diabolicæ fraudis ignarus, his spretis præstigiis, nimium indignatus, oculos avertens, dorsum ejus citius posuit, et ad cameram suam exivit dicens, Fy fy, for shame, forsothe ye be to blame.

Aliàs juxta Bathoniam equitans, ubi calida sunt balnea, quibus, ut dicitur, se refocillant et lavant se homines illius patriæ ex consuetudine, dum introspiceret rex balnea, vidit homines in eis quasi in toto nudos et vestibus plene exutos. Ad quod indignans rex citius abiit, nuditatem hujusmodi quasi grande facinus abhorrens, non immemor illius Francisci Petrarchæ assertionis: Nuditas beluina in hominibus non placet: sed pudori amictûs honestate consulitur. Præteria,[12] non tantum sibiipsi, sed et domesticis suis, de castimonia magnam [A iv b] cautionem adhibere solebat. Nam ante nuptias suas adoloscens[13] castitatis alumnus existens, curiose per secretas suæ cameræ fenestras aspicere solebat, ne feminarum introeuntium stulta debacharetur insolentia, in suorum saltem domesticorum ruinam. Eandem etiam cautionem adhibuerat idem rex duobus suis fratribus [Pg 9]utriuis,[14] Dominis videlicet Jaspere[15] et Edmundo, dum pueri et juvenes erant: quibus pro tunc actissimam[16] & securissimam providebat custodiam, eos ponens sub tutela virtuosorum et honestissimorum sacerdotum, tum ad erudiendum, tum ad virtuose vivendum, et conversandum, ne scilicet indomitæ adolescentulationes succrescerent, si omnino suppressore carerent. Non minorem iterum diligentiam adhibere solebat rex iste, ut dicitur, circa alios sibi attinentes, ut vitia declinarent vel vitarent simul cum contione viciosorum vel dissolutorum, et virtutes apprehenderent, ammonens eos.

Contra avaritiam.

Liberalitas ejus.

Contra pestem avaritiæ, qua quamplurimi inficiuntur et languent, etiam terreni principes, Rex iste H. de quo loquimur, cautissimus, et erectissimus omnino fuerat. Quia nec donariis præfulgidis sibi donatis, nec excellentissimis divitiis, quas ipse possiderat[17] aliquotiens illicito amore captus fuerat. Sed ad pauperes omnino liberalis erat, eorum inopiam sublevando. Alios etiam quamplures largitate ditabat donorum, aut officiorum, vel saltem omnem ab eis egestatem amovebat. Nequaquam suos opprimebat subditos immoderatis exactionibus, ut ceteri agunt principes et magnates: sed tanquam pius pater inter filios conversatus, eos decentissime ex suis relevans, propriis contentus maluit [A v a] sic juste inter eos vivere quam ipsi [Pg 10]deficerent egestate, sua suppressi crudelitate. Quod de suis contentus fuerat, alienarum rerum minime cupidus, patet variis exemplis verissimis. Unde quidam magnus dominus optulit eidem regi preciosum coopertorium, ad lectum suum cameralem, undique nobilibus aureis in magna multitudine stratum, cum talibus verbis dicens: De talibus sit vobis cura. Sed regis animus, cœlestia et spiritualia magis inhians, hujusmodi terrena postponens, minime attendebat hujusmodi munera.

Aliàs venientibus ad eundem regem executoribus reverendissimi domini cardinalis et episcopi Winton̄. sui avunculi, cum prægrandi summa, duorum videlicet millium liƀ. auri eidem regi conferend’. ad suos usus, & ad necessaria regni pondera sublevanda, penitus respuit munus, nec quoquomodo habere voluit, dicens, ipse fuerat pergratus mihi avunculus, & multum nobis beneficus, dum vixerat: Dominus retribuat ei. facite vos de bonis suis prout tenemini. nos nolumus ea recipere. Ad quod dictum regium attoniti executores illi, supplicaverunt magestati regiæ, ut saltem reciperet donum illud de manibus eorum, ad dotationem duorum collegiorum suorum, quæ tunc quasi de novo fundasset, apud Cantabrigiam et Eton. Cui supplicationi et donationi libentissime favebat rex, mandans, ut, pro relevamine animæ præfati sui avunculi, conferrent donum prædictis collegiis. Qui concito gradu mandatum regium expleverunt.

Item in suæ liberalitatis ostentationem, qua cum aliis pollebat virtutibus rex iste, in confusionem avariciæ largissimus erat in donis, ut sui quondam testabantur. Donaverat enim uni de capellanis suis, dum audierat eum intentum ad sacerdotalia vestimenta resar[Pg 11]cienda, plus quam decem mutatoria casularia de pannis suis sericis, ad missas in ecclesia, cui tunc præerat idem sacerdos, celebrandas. Aliàs audiens unum de famulis suis multis furtive expoliatum [A v b] bonis, misit ei idem rex, in recompensationem sui dampni, XX nobilia, cum hoc consulens, ut ammodo magis providus esset de custodia bonorum suorum, et nec quicquam juris ageret cum fure illo. Ecce quomodo misericordia & veritas obviaverunt sibi, justicia & pax osculatæ sunt in nostro terreno principe. O! rara[18] pietas & piissima charitas in homine inventa! Unde & idem princeps, tandem utroque privatus regno, Angliæ videlicet & Franciæ, quibus ante imperaverat, cum rebus & bonis suis, non fracto, sed æquo id tulit animo, omnia temporalia parvipendens, dummodo Christum lucraretur et æterna. Non tantum in temporalibus distribuendis largus, sed etiam in ecclesiasticis et spiritualibus benefitiis[19] conferendis, multum cautus et providus erat rex iste & discretus, ne indignis, vel quoad seipsum indigne, i. symoniace, talia conferret, prout res ostendit in personis ab eo promotis: immunis semper erat à symonia. Nam virtuti semper intendens, virtuosorum promotioni omnino vacabat, atque eos plurimum amabat. Accensæ vero charitatis perurgebatur affectu, quando successori celeberrimi cardinalis Winton̄ dixerat præfatus rex H. magistro Wilelmo Waynflet: Accipe Wintonicam intronizationem, ut sis illic, sicut solent prædecessores præsules esse. sis longævus super terram, et in virtutis via succrescens et proficiens. Episcopos etiam Wurcestriæ et Cestriæ[20] simul, cum multis aliis, pari liberalitate promovit, ut res satis innotuit. Unde ad[Pg 12] ampliandum domum Dei, et cultum divinum, duo præclara principatus sui tempore fundavit collegia prædicta, quæ amplissimis dotavit prædiis et redditibus, ad sustentationem pauperum scholarium non paucorum, in quibus non tam divina cotidie devotissime celebrantur officia, ad Dei omnipotentis laudem, quam scolastica dogmata cum ceteris actibus continue exercentur, ad scientiæ incrementum. Ad istorum vero duorum collegiorum [A vi a] iniciationem et fundamen, perquisivit ubique optimos lapides vivos, optime expeditos in virtute & scientia juvenculos, et sacerdotes qui ceteris præessent ut doctores & tutores. Unde quoad presbyteros habendos dixerat rex suo legato in hac causa, Minorascere eos potius tolleramus in musicalibus, quam in scripturarum scientiis. Et quo ad pueros vel juvenculos, ei adductos ad scholatizand'. voluit eos rex omnino educari et nutriri, tam in virtute, quam in scientiis. Unde cum aliquos eorum sibi obviam habuit aliquoties in castro de Wyndesoor, quo interdum irent, ad servos regis, eis notos, visitandos, comperto quod sui essent, admouit[21] eos de virtutis via prosequenda, dando cum verbis etiam pecunias ad alliciendum eos, dicens: Sitis boni pueri, mites et docibiles, et servi Domini. Et si aliquos eorum curiam suam visitare deprehenderit, aliquando cohibuit corripiendo eos, ne hoc amodo iterarent, ne agnelli sui perditos suorum curialium actus vel mores saperent: vel proprios bonos mores in parte vel in toto amitterent, more agnorum vel ovium, quæ inter vepres vel spinas pascentes, sua vellera dilaniant, et sæpius in toto amittunt.

[Pg 13]

Humilitas regis.

Loquendo de magna regis istius humilitate, sciendum, quod multum clarus fuerat virtute illa humilitatis. Non enim erubuit rex iste piissimus sacerdoti, celebranti coram eo, diligens minister fieri, respondendo ad missam, Amen. Sed libera nos, et similia. Ita vero fecit etiam michi communiter indigno sacerdoti. In mensa etiam succinctam faciens refectionem, quasi religiosus cum concitata surrectione silentium servans stando Deo gratias totiens quotiens devotissime persolvit. Unde etiam, teste magistro doctore Town̄. instituit idem rex, quod per elemosinarium suum quidam discus, V. Christi vulnerum, quasi sanguinerubentium, repræsentativus, [A vi b] mensæ suæ, quando se reficere habuit, ante omnia alia fercula poneretur, quibus effigiebus devotius intentis,[22] ante quorumlibet ciborum attactum mirabiles Deo persolvebat devotiones.

Item equitando semel in strata quadam, jacente extra cemiterium ad orientem cujusdam ecclesiæ, ubi pixis super altare pendens carebat sacramento eucharistiæ, eo igitur non nudante caput, ut semper aliàs vel ante assolet agere cum magna devotione propter reverentiam sacramenti: admirantibus inde suis dominis et compluribus magnatibus, rationem reddit rex dicens: Scio, inquit, ibi non esse Dominum meum Iesum Christum, ob cujus honorem tanta facerem. Quod ita repertum est ut dixit. unde et dicunt, qui eidem se[Pg 14]creti erant, quod rex iste frequenter viderat Dominum nostrum Iesum, in forma humana repræsentantem se in sacramento altaris inter manus sacerdotis.

Consueverat etiam, ex permaxima humilitate & devotione, nocte et Dominicæ resurrectionis tempore propria manu gerere magnum tortum, ob reverentiam Dominicæ resurrectionis et fidem.

Humilitas regis.

De ipsius etiam humilitate in incessu, in vestibus et aliis corporalibus indumentis, in verbis et ceteris corporis gestibus compluribus, constat, quam[23] obtusis sotularibus et ocreis à juventute uti consueverat adinstar coloni. Togam etiam longam cum capucio rotulato ad modum burgensis, et talarem tunicam ultra genua demissam, caligas, ocreas, calceos omnino pulli coloris &c. omnimoda curiositate per eum prohebita[24] in consuetudine habuit.

Voluit etiam in principalibus anni festis, sed maxime quando ex consuetudine coronaretur, indui ad nudum corpus suum aspero cilitio, ut per asperitatem talem corpus ejus [B i a] arctaretur à lascivia, potius vero ut omnis arrogantia vel inanis gloria, quæ ex hujusmodi oriri solet, reprimeretur.

Labor et exercitium ejus.

De occupatione regis, qua[25] bene dies et tempora transigerat,[26] compluribus notum est adhuc vi[Pg 15]ventibus, quod omnino dies solemnes, & Dominicos in divinis officiis audiendis, et devotis orationibus ex parte sua pro se et populo suo omnino dedicare solebat, ne sabbata ejus hostes deriderent. Et ad similiter agendum etiam alios inducere diligenter studuit. unde et nonnulli, quondam eidem assistentes, asserunt, quod tota ejus exultatio et gaudium erat in Dei laudibus et divinis servitiis rite & devote persolvendis. Ceteros vero dies etiam minus solemnes, non in ocio aut vanitatibus, non in commessationibus aut ebrietatibus, non in vaniloquiis aut ceteris nocivis dictis aut loquelis (quæ amnia[27] semper dum viveret declinabat,) immo paucissimis eloquiis, ut verbis ædificariis vel ceteris utilibus omnino usus fuerat: Sed dies illos aut in regni negotiis cum consilio suo tractandis, prout rei exposcerat necessitas, aut in scripturarum lectionibus, vel in scriptis aut cronicis legendis non minus diligenter expendit. Unde et de eo testatus est miles quidam honorandus, quondam sibi camerarius fidelissimus, dominus Ricardus Tunstall, verbis et scriptis suis testimonium de eo dedit dicens: In lege Domini fuit voluntas ejus die ac nocte. In hujus etiam rei testimonium ipse Dominus rex graviter conquestus est michi in camera sua apud Eltham, quando solus cum eo ibidem essem in sanctis suis libris cum eo laborans, ejus salubribus monitis & profundissimæ devotionis suspiriis intendens: dato pro tunc interim sono super hostio regio à quodam potentissimo regni duce, rex ait: Sic inquietant me, ut vix raptim per dies et noctes valeam sine [B i b] strepitu aliquorum sacrorum dogmatum lectione refici. Simile etiam quoddam huic semel contigit, me præsente [Pg 16]apud Wyndesor. In attestationem etiam suæ eximiæ devotionis ad Deum, dicunt complures adhuc superstites, eidem etiam principi quondam familiares, quod quasi continue oculos suos ad cœlum attollere consueverat, quasi cœlicola quidam aut raptus, nec seipsum pro tempore, nec se circumstantes sentiens, quasi esset homo extaticus, vel subcœlestis, conversationem suam in cœlis habens, juxta illud apostoli, Conversatio nostra in cœlis est.

Juramenta ejus.

Item nulla unquam habere solebat alia juramenta, ad confirmanda dicta sua veredica, quam hæc verba proferendo, Forsothe, and forsothe. Ut ceteros[28] faceret, quos alloquibatur,[29] de dictis suis. Unde et quamplures, tam magnates, quam plebeos,[30] à gravibus juramentis, tum blande consulendo, tum dure corripiendo, compescuit. Quoniam abhominabilis erat eis[31] quisque jurans. Audiens autem rex quendam magnum dominum, sibi camerarium, ex abrupto et improvise graviter jurare, graviter increpavit eum, dicens: Prohdolor! vos dominus familiæ multæ dum juramenta sic editis contra Dei mandatum, pessimum exhibitis[32] exemplum servis et subditis vestris. ipsos enim similia facere provocatis.

Pietas et patientia ejus.

De patientia istius regis, & benignissima ejus misericordia, quas per totam suam vitam in trans[Pg 17]gredientes sibi exercuit, dum regnaret, complurima verissime dici possunt.

Primo, cum semel descenderet à villa sancti Albani Londonias per Crepylgate, videns supra portam ibi quartarium hominis positum super sudem sublimem, quæsivit, quid hoc esset? Et respondentibus [B ii a] sibi dominis suis, quod erat IIII. pars cujusdam proditoris sui, qui falsus fuerat regiæ majestati, ait rex, Auferatur. Nolo enim aliquem Christianum tam crudeliter pro me tractari, & continuo sublatum est quartarium. Qui hoc vidit, testimonium dicit.

Item IIII. nobiles generosos, de proditione & crimine læsæ majestatis regiæ convictos, et super hac re legittime per judices condemnatos, et morte turpissima plectissima"[33] plectendos piissime relaxavit, et à morte illa acerbissima eripuit, cartulam suæ perdonationis pro eis liberandis ad locum supplicii citissime emittens.

Aliis tribus magnis dominis regni, in necessitate ejusdem[34] regis conspirantibus, infinita quasi multitudine armatorum hominum congregata, ambitione quadam regii culminis intentata, prout res postea manifestius claruit, rex iste non minorem exhibuit misericordiam. Condonabat enim omnibus tam capitaneis, quam ceteris sibi subditis, quod ei tunc maligne intenderant, dummodo se ei submitterent.

Consimilem etiam misericordiam compluribus aliis ostendit, specialiter autem duobus, mortem ei intendentibus, quorum unus collo suo grave vulnus inflixit, volens excerebrasse, vel decollasse eum, quod tamen rex patientissime tulit, dicens, Forsothe, & forsothe, ye do fouly to smyte a kynge enoynted so.

[Pg 18]Alter vero cum sicca[35] percussit eum in latere, dum in turri fuerat carcere detentus, qui post hoc commissum facinus putans, se regem ex suo ictu nephario occidisse, timens se capiendum fore, citissime aufugit, deprehensum tamen eum, & eidem regi postea adductum, convalescens rex, et è carcere illo eductus, et ad regalia fastigia, Deo favente et agente, iterum sublimatus sine bellis post longa exilia et diutinam ejus incarcerationem, pardonavit eum ex summa sua clementia, sicut et prædictum suum persecutorem.

Unde et famuli quondam eidem regi asserunt, quod nullam personam, quantumcunque [B ii b] sibi noxiam, voluit aliquoties mulctari. Quod etiam in quam multis liquet personis, quibus valde fuerat gratiosus et misericors imitator effectus illius qui ait: Misericordiam volo, & nolo mortem peccatoris, sed magis ut convertatur & vivat. qui etiam, ut apostolus ait, Omnium hominum salutem affectabat. nec mirum. Quoniam etiam non inerat ejus animæ vana illa gloriatio, qua etiam venatores potiuntur captis bestiis ex nimia complacentia, videlicet ut intueretur appetitum animal in interitu suo cum truculentia contaminari, nec cædi innocui quadrupedes[36] aliquando voluit interesse. Quid plura? Certe inter quos et quibus tam benignus et misericors extiterat rex iste, hos tandem invenit ingratissimos, ut Christus Judæos. Nam quem dextera Dei in tantam sublimaverat gloriam, ut supra habetur, isti patriales,[37] insimul conglobati, rabie quadam crudilissima[38] præfatum regem misericordissimum potestate regia privaverunt, et à suo regno et regimine expulerunt, qui tandem post latebras, quas ad tempus, propter sui tute[Pg 19]lam, secretioribus fovebat locis, inventus etiam captus, velut proditor & maleficus Londonium adductus in turri ibidem incarceratus erat, ubi famem, sitim, obprobria, irrisiones, blasphemeas,[39] aliasque injurias complurimas, ut verus Christi sequester, patienter tolleravit, et tandem mortis ibi corporis violentiam sustinuit propter regnum, ut tunc sperabatur, ab aliis pacifice possidendum. Anima autem ipsius, ut pie credimus, ex miraculorum, ubi corpus ejus humatur, diutina continuatione, cum Deo in cœlestibus vivente, ubi, post istius seculi ærumnas, cum justis in æterno Dei contuitu feliciter gaudet, pro terreno & transitorio regno hoc patienter amisso, æternum jam possidens in ævum.

[B iii a] Revelationes ei ostensæ.

Præterea, de cœlestibus sacramentis, eidem regi ostensis, silendum esse non puto. In turri enim Londoniarum detentus, interrogatus erat à quodam sibi capellano erga festum Paschæ, quomodo anima ejus concordaret in hoc sacratissimo tempore cum instantibus suis tribulationibus inevitabiliter emergentibus? Et respondit rex dicens, Regnum cœlorum, cui me semper ab infantia mea devovi, appellans exposco. De regno isto transitorio & terrestri non magna nobis cura est. Cognatus noster de Marchia se interponit, ut sibi placet. Hoc ipsum tantummodo requiro, quatinus sacramenta Paschalia & ecclesiastica cum aliis Christicolis in die cœnæ recipiam, ut moris nostri est, unde & propter nimiam suam devo[Pg 20]tionem, quam ad Deum, et ad ejus sacramenta, semper habuerat, non incongrue videtur, quod cœlestibus sacramentis fuisset sæpius illustratus, & in suis tribulationibus consolatus. Fertur enim à nonnullis secretioribus sibi personis, quibus solebat secreta sua reserare, quod frequenter viderat Dominum Iesum in manibus celebrantis tractatum in forma humana ei apparere sub sacramento. Dixerat iterum apud Waltham̄ olim existens cuidam in secretis, aliis tamen à retro hoc audientibus, de multiplici revelatione Dominica sibi facta per tres annos continuos in festo sancti Edwardi, quod in vigilia Epiphaniæ accidit de gloria Domini, in effigie humana apparentis, de ejus corona, & de assumptione beatæ Mariæ in corpore & anima ostentione.

Item de absentia sacramenti à pixide, dum per quoddam equitaret cimiterium, propter quod desiit à veneratione solita sacramenti, ut supra habetur.

In ipso etiam arcto guerrarum discrimine in boriæ partibus, deficiente ad tempus pane commilitonibus vel turbis suis, dicitur ab inde venientibus, quod de exigua [B iii b] tritici annona meritis ejus et precibus à[40] Deo multiplicati fuerant panes, ut querentibus[41] et petentibus sufficientia cum superfluo respondebat suis, ceteris vero suis hostibus penuriam panum patientibus.

Insuper continuata longo tempore dira ac ingratissima suorum rebellione, post plurima bella à suis rebellantibus ei gravissime illata, tandem cum paucis ad locum secretum, à suis fidelibus sibi provisum, fugit. unde dum per aliquod spacium diliteret,[42] vox corporalis insonuit per XVII. dies antequam caperetur in[Pg 21]sinuans ei, quod proditione traderetur, ac sine honore, quasi fur aut exul quidam, Londonias, & per medium ejus manu duceretur, multa ac varia pravorum hominum ingeniis mala exquisita subiturus, et infra turrim illic incarcerandus, quæ omnia ex beatæ Mariæ virginis revelatione, Sanctorumque Joannis baptistæ, Dunstani, & Ancelmi, quorum consolationibus ad tunc, sicut etiam aliàs, potitus fuit, per eosdem ad patientiam edoctus & confirmatus ad hæc et similia patienter tolleranda. Quæ cum quibusdam de suis tunc retulerat, videlicet magistris Bedon & Mannynge, incrudeli[43] illi minime credere voluerunt, sed diliramenta et vana quædam deputaverunt, quoadusque rei exitus eos certos fecit.

Fertur etiam, quod rex iste, dum in turri fuisset inclusus, viderit mulierem quandam à dextra sua infantulum submergere nitentem, quam per nuncium ammonuit, ne tantum flagitium & Deo odiosum peccatum perpetraret. Cujus ammonitione correpta illa, ab incepto opere cessavit.

Item quæsito ab eodem rege H. dum in turri fuerat incarceratus, quare injuste vendicaverat et possiderat[44] coronam Angliæ tot annis, respondere solebat, Pater meus rex fuerat Angliæ[45] pacifice, coronam Angliæ possidens per totum regni sui tempus. Et suus pater, avus meus, ejusdem regni rex fuit. Et ego puer, quasi in cunabilis[46] [B iv a] pacifice, et sine omni interruptione coronatus approbatus fueram rex à toto regno, coronam Angliæ gerens quasi per XL. annos, singulis mihi dominis homagium regium facientibus, et fidem michi præstantibus sicut & aliis antecessoribus meis.[Pg 22] Vnde, et cum Psalmista dicere possum: Funes ceciderunt michi in præclaris: etenim hereditas mea præclara est michi. Justum enim adjutorium meum à Domino, qui salvos facit rectos corde.

Laus Deo.




[3] omitte et.

[4] Lege, vocibus.

[5] incedere m. r. j.

[6] Sic. pro citius.

[7] Sic. Lege, ancipites. [potius accipitres m. r. j.]

[8] Id est, pugiones, daggers.

[9] Potius, Siciliæ.

[10] Sic. L. incautius.

[11] Sic. L. aspiceret.

[12] Sic.

[13] Sic.

[14] F. uterinis.

[15] Sic. Potius, Jaspero.

[16] Sic. L. artissimam.

[17] Sic.

[18] L. cara m. r. j.

[19] Sic.

[20] Cicestriae m. r. j.

[21] Sic. L. admonuit.

[22] An, intentus?

[23] F. quoniam.

[24] Sic.

[25] F. quam.

[26] Sic. perinde ac si transegerat reponend. esset. Rectius tamen forsitan transigeret.

[27] Sic. pro omnia.

[28] Sic. F. certos.

[29] Sic.

[30] Sic.

[31] F. ei.

[32] Sic.

[33] Sic. Sed delend. ni fallor.

[34] [Sic. qu. necem m. r. j.]

[35] Sic. pro sica.

[36] Sic. F. quadrupedis.

[37] p̄r̄iales.

[38] Sic.

[39] Sic.

[40] F. adeo.

[41] Malim cum diphthongo.

[42] Sic. pro deliteret.

[43] Sic. pro increduli.

[44] Sic.

[45] Commate forsitan post Angliæ non post pacifice distingui malint alii. Sed distinctioni nostræ favet Codex, quo usus sum.

[46] Sic. pro cunabulis.



[Pg 23]







Master John Blakman, Bachelor of Divinity

and afterward monk of the Charterhouse of London.

[Pg 24]

A devout Prayer of his.

O Lord Jesu Christ, who didst create me, redeem me, and foreordain me unto that which now I am: Thou knowest what Thou wilt do with me: deal with me according to thy most compassionate will. I know and confess in sincerity that in thy hand all things are set, and there is none that can withstand Thee: Thou art Lord of all. Thou therefore, God Almighty compassionate and pitiful, in whose power are all realms and lordships, and unto whom all our thoughts, words, and works, such as have been, are, and shall be, are continually open and known, who only hast wisdom and knowledge incomprehensible: Thou knowest, Lord, what is profitable for me poor sinner: be it so done with me as pleaseth Thee and as seemeth good in the eyes of thy divine Majesty.

Receive, O compassionate Father and merciful God Almighty, the prayer of me thy most unworthy servant; and let my supplications, which I offer before Thee and thy saints, come unto the ears of thy mercy. Amen.

[Pg 25]


It is written that we are to praise no man before his death, but that in the end shall be the exposing of his works: hence, now that every obstacle to sincere praise is out of the way, and inasmuch as the heavens declare the glory of Almighty God, and all things that the Lord hath made praise Him by the fashion of them, I have therefore thought fit to treat of some matters to the praise of God and of the serene prince King Henry VI now deceased; whom, though I be of little skill, I have taken in hand to celebrate; and this especially because to praise the saints of God, (in the register of whom I take that excellent king to be rightly included on account of the holy virtues by him exercised all his life long) is to praise and glorify Almighty God, of whose heavenly gift it cometh that they are saints.

Now of his most noble descent, how he was begotten according to the flesh of the highest blood and the ancient royal stock of England, and how in the two lands of England and France he was crowned as the rightful heir of each realm, I have purposely said nothing, as of a matter plainly known to all, and not least known because of that most unhappy fortune which befell him against all expectation in after-times.

[Pg 26]

A commendation of his virtues.

But that I may set forth somewhat concerning the many virtues of that king, wherewith Almighty God adorned his soul, I will according to my small ability, with God's help, publish such things as I have known and have learned from the relation of men worthy of credit who were formerly attendant on him.

He was, like a second Job, a man simple and upright, altogether fearing the Lord God, and departing from evil. He was a simple man, without any crook of craft or untruth, as is plain to all. With none did he deal craftily, nor ever would say an untrue word to any, but framed his speech always to speak truth.

He was both upright and just, always keeping to the straight line of justice in his acts. Upon none would he wittingly inflict any injustice. To God and the Almighty he rendered most faithfully that which was His, for he took pains to pay in full the tithes and offerings due to God and the church: and this he accompanied with most sedulous devotion, so that even when decked with the kingly ornaments and crowned with the royal diadem he made it a duty to bow before the Lord as deep in prayer as any young monk might have done.

The fear of the Lord was in him.

And that this prince cherished a son's fear towards the Lord is plain from many an act and devotion of his. In the first place, a certain reverend prelate[Pg 27] of England used to relate that for ten years he held the office of confessor to King Henry: but he declared that never throughout that long time had any blemish of mortal sin touched his soul.

O what great watchfulness, O what care to please God was found in this creature so high-placed and so young! Consider it, all ye kings and princes, young men and maidens, and all peoples, and praise the Lord in His saints. Imitate, too, this king in virtue, who could have done ill and did it not, but utterly eschewed, to his power, while he lived, in view of the displeasure of God, all evil and injury of this sort.

He was a diligent worshipper of God.

A diligent and sincere worshipper of God was this king, more given to God and to devout prayer than to handling worldly and temporal things, or practising vain sports and pursuits: these he despised as trifling, and was continually occupied either in prayer or the reading of the scriptures or of chronicles, whence he drew not a few wise utterances to the spiritual comfort of himself and others. So to every sort and condition and age of men he was a diligent exhorter and adviser, counselling the young to leave vice and follow the path of virtue; and admonishing men of mature age and elders (or priests) to attain the perfection of virtue and lay hold on the prize of eternal life, with those words of the Psalm 'Go from strength to strength[47]; hence shall the God of gods be beheld in Sion.'

[Pg 28]

His devout habit in church.

In church or chapel he was never pleased to sit upon a seat or to walk to and fro as do men of the world; but always with bared head, at least while the divine office was being celebrated, and hardly ever raising his royal person, kneeling one may say continuously before his book, with eyes and hands upturned, he was at pains to utter with the celebrant (but with the inward voice) the mass-prayers, epistles, and gospels. To some clerics also he used to address letters of exhortation full of heavenly mysteries and most salutary advice, to the great wonder of many.

Moreover, wherever this king was, he always showed himself a venerator and most devout adorer of the Holy Cross and of other symbols and holy things of the Christian religion. When engaged in such devotion he went always with bared head, even when riding on a journey: so that many times he would let his royal cap drop to the ground even from his horse's back, unless it were quickly caught by his servants. So too he preferred a row of signs of the Holy Cross to be set in his royal crown rather than any likenesses of flowers or leaves, according to that word of the wise: 'A crown of gold was upon his head marked with the sign of holiness.' He would be at the divine office quite early, nay at the very beginning: nor did he ever grow weary at the lengthy prolonging of it, even though it were continued until after noonday.

Moreover he would never suffer hawks, swords, or[Pg 29] daggers to be brought into church, or business agreements or conferences to be carried on there: even his great men and nobles he enjoined to give themselves frequently to prayer, according to the word of the Saviour 'My house is a house of prayer': and they obeyed him devoutly.

His chastity.

This king Henry was chaste and pure from the beginning of his days. He eschewed all licentiousness in word or deed while he was young; until he was of marriageable age, when he espoused the most noble lady, Lady Margaret, daughter of the King of Sicily, by whom he begat but one only son, the most noble and virtuous prince Edward; and with her and toward her he kept his marriage vow wholly and sincerely, even in the absences of the lady, which were sometimes very long: never dealing unchastely with any other woman. Neither when they lived together did he use his wife unseemly, but with all honesty and gravity.


It is an argument of his watch upon his modesty that he was wont utterly to avoid the unguarded sight of naked persons, lest like David he should be snared by unlawful desire, for David's eyes, as we read, made havoc of his soul. Therefore this prince made a covenant with his eyes that they should never look unchastely upon any woman.

[Pg 30]

Another example.

Hence it happened once, that at Christmas time a certain great lord brought before him a dance or show of young ladies with bared bosoms who were to dance in that guise before the king, perhaps to prove him, or to entice his youthful mind. But the king was not blind to it, nor unaware of the devilish wile, and spurned the delusion, and very angrily averted his eyes, turned his back upon them, and went out to his chamber, saying:

Fy, fy, for shame, forsothe ye be to blame.


At another time, riding by Bath, where are warm baths in which they say the men of that country customably refresh and wash themselves, the king, looking into the baths, saw in them men wholly naked with every garment cast off. At which he was displeased, and went away quickly, abhorring such nudity as a great offence, and not unmindful of that sentence of Francis Petrarch 'the nakedness of a beast is in men unpleasing, but the decency of raiment makes for modesty.'

Besides, he took great precautions to secure not only his own chastity but that of his servants. For before he was married, being as a youth a pupil of chastity, he would keep careful watch through hidden windows of his chamber, lest any foolish impertinence of women coming into the house should grow to a head, and cause the fall of any of his household. And like pains did he apply in the case of his two half-brothers, the Lords Jasper and Edmund, in their boyhood and youth: providing for them most strict and safe guardianship, putting them under the care of[Pg 31] virtuous and worthy priests, both for teaching and for right living and conversation, lest the untamed practices of youth should grow rank if they lacked any to prune them. Not less diligence did he use, I am told, towards others dependent on him, advising them to eschew vice and avoid the talk of the vicious and dissolute, and to lay hold on virtue.

Against avarice.

His liberality.

Against that pest of avarice with which so many are infected and diseased, even princes of the earth, this king Henry of whom we speak was most wary and alert. For neither by the splendid presents given to him nor by the ample wealth which he owned was he ever entrapped into the unlawful love of them, but was most liberal to the poor in lightening their wants; and enriched very many others with great gifts or offices, or at least put all neediness far from them. Never did he oppress his subjects with unreasonable exactions as do other rulers and princes, but behaving himself among them like a kind father, relieved them from his own resources in a most comely sort, and contenting himself with what he had, preferred to live uprightly among them, rather than that they should pine in poverty, trodden down by his harshness. Now that he was content with his own substance and in no way coveted that of others is shown by many true instances. Among them is this: a certain great lord offered the said king a precious coverlet for the bed[Pg 32] in his chamber, which was all over set with gold nobles in great number, and then he said: 'Be you careful of these and their like.' But the mind of the king thirsting rather for heavenly and spiritual things and making the things of earth of less account, regarded lightly the gift.

At another time when the executors of his uncle, the most reverend lord cardinal the bishop of Winchester came to the king with a very great sum, namely £2000 of gold to pay him, for his own uses, and to relieve the burdens and necessities of the realm, he utterly refused the gift, nor would receive it by any manner of means, saying: 'He was a very dear uncle to me and most liberal in his lifetime. The Lord reward him. Do ye with his goods as ye are bound: we will receive none of them.' The executors were amazed at this his saying, and entreated the king's majesty that he would at least accept that gift at their hands for the endowment of his two colleges which he had then newly founded, at Cambridge and Eton. This petition and gift the king gladly accepted, and ordered them to make the gift to the said colleges for the relief of the soul of his said uncle; and they fulfilled the king's command with all speed.

Moreover to show the liberality for which with other virtues he was distinguished, to the confusion of avarice he was very bountiful in his gifts, as his former servants bore witness. For to one of his chaplains he gave, on hearing that he was busy repairing his priestly vestments, more than ten changes of chasubles of his own silk for the saying of masses in the church which that priest then held.

[Pg 33]At another time, hearing that one of his servants had lost much of his substance by theft, the king sent him in compensation for his loss twenty nobles, advising him at the same time to be henceforth more careful in keeping his stuff, and not to take the law of the thief. See how mercy and truth met together, how righteousness and peace kissed each other, in the person of our earthly prince. O what loving pity and pitiful love to be found in a man!

The same prince when in the end he lost both the realms, England and France, which he had ruled before, along with all his wealth and goods, endured it with no broken spirit but with a calm mind, making light of all temporal things, if he might but gain Christ and things eternal.

Not only in the distribution of secular goods was he bountiful, but also in conferring ecclesiastical and spiritual benefices he was very wary, thoughtful, and discreet, lest he should give them to unworthy persons, or, as touched himself, in an unworthy, I mean a simoniacal, way, as was proved in those whom he did promote. From simony he was always free. Having his eyes always fixed on virtue, he was wholly concerned to prefer virtuous men, and to these he was greatly attached.

But most strongly was the said king Henry moved by the passion of enkindled affection when he said to Master William Waynflete, the successor of the most renowned cardinal of Winchester: 'Receive the enthronement of Winchester, so to be there as was the custom of the bishops before you. Be your days long in the land, and grow and go forward in the path of virtue.'

[Pg 34]With like bounty did he prefer the bishops of Worcester and of Chichester together, and many others also, as is sufficiently known.

Also to enlarge the house of God and His worship, in the time when he bore rule he founded the two noble colleges before mentioned, which he endowed with large lands and revenues, for the maintenance of poor scholars not a few; wherein not only are the divine offices celebrated daily in the most devout manner, to the praise of Almighty God, but also scholastic teaching and the other arts pertaining thereto are constantly carried on, to the increase of knowledge. And for the beginning and foundation of these two colleges he sought out everywhere the best living stones, that is, boys excellently equipped with virtue and knowledge, and priests to bear rule over the rest as teachers and tutors: and as concerned the getting of priests the king said to him whom he employed in that behalf: 'I would rather have them somewhat weak in music than defective in knowledge of the scriptures.' And with regard to the boys or youths who were brought to him to be put to school, the king's wish was that they should be thoroughly educated and nourished up both in virtue and in the sciences. So it was that whenever he met any of them at times in the castle of Windsor, whither they sometimes repaired to visit servants of the king who were known to them, and when he ascertained that they were of his boys, he would advise them concerning the following of the path of virtue and, with his words, would also give them money to attract them, saying: 'Be you good boys, gentle and teachable, and servants of the Lord.' And if he disco[Pg 35]vered that any of them visited his court, he sometimes restrained them with a rebuke, bidding them not do so again, lest his young lambs should come to relish the corrupt deeds and habits of his courtiers, or lose partly or altogether their own good characters, like lambs or sheep, which, if they feed among briars and thorns, tear their fleeces and oftentimes wholly lose them.

The humility of the king.

When I speak of the great humility of this king, I would have you know that he was most eminent for that virtue of humility. This pious prince was not ashamed to be a diligent server to a priest celebrating in his presence, and to make the responses at the mass, as Amen, Sed libera nos, and the rest. He did so commonly even to me, a poor priest. At table even when he took a slight refection, he would (like a professed religious) rise quickly, observe silence, and devoutly give thanks to God standing on every occasion. Also on the testimony of Master Doctor Towne, he made a rule that a certain dish which represented the five wounds of Christ as it were red with blood, should be set on his table by his almoner before any other course, when he was to take refreshment: and contemplating these images with great fervour he thanked God marvellous devoutly.

Again, once when riding in a street which lay outside the graveyard to the east of a certain church, wherein the pyx that hung over the altar did not contain the sacrament of the Eucharist, he on that account did[Pg 36] not bare his head, as he was wont always at other times to do most reverently in honour of the sacrament; and when many of his lords and nobles wondered thereat, he gave them his reason, saying: 'I know that my Lord Jesus Christ is not there for me to do so in His honour.' And it was found to be so as he had said. Nay, those who were his privy servants say that the king often saw our Lord Jesus presenting Himself in human form in the sacrament of the altar in the hands of the priest.

It was also his custom of his very great humility and devotion to bear in his own hands a great taper on the eve and at the season of the Lord's resurrection for his reverence and belief in the same.

The humility of the king.

Further of his humility in his bearing, in his clothes and other apparel of his body, in his speech and many other parts of his outward behaviour;—it is well known that from his youth up he always wore round-toed shoes and boots like a farmer's. He also customarily wore a long gown with a rolled hood like a townsman, and a full coat reaching below his knees, with shoes, boots and foot-gear wholly black, rejecting expressly all curious fashion of clothing.

Also at the principal feasts of the year, but especially at those when of custom he wore his crown, he would always have put on his bare body a rough hair shirt, that by its roughness his body might be restrained from excess, or more truly that all pride and vain glory, such as is apt to be engendered by pomp, might be repressed.

[Pg 37]

His work and pursuits.

As concerning the employments of the king and how well he passed his days and his time, it is well known to many yet alive that he used wholly to devote the high days and Sundays to hearing the divine office and to devout prayer on his own behalf and his people's, lest his enemies should scorn his sabbaths; and he was earnest in trying to induce others to do the like. So that some who were once attendant on him declare that his whole joy and pleasure was in the due and right performance of the praise of God and of divine service. The other days of less solemnity he passed not in sloth or vanities, not in banquetings or drunkenness, not in vain talk or other mischievous speech or chatter (all such he ever avoided in his lifetime and indeed used but very brief speech, of words tending to edification or profitable to others), but such days he passed not less diligently either in treating of the business of the realm with his council as need might require, or in reading of the scriptures or of authors and chronicles. Such witness of him was borne by an honourable knight who was once his most trusty chamberlain, Sir Richard Tunstall, who gave this testimony of him both in speech and in writing: 'His delight was in the law of the Lord by day and by night.' And to prove this, the Lord King himself complained heavily to me in his chamber at Eltham, when I was alone there with him employed together with him upon his holy books, and giving ear to his wholesome advice and the sighs of his most deep devotion. There came all at once a knock at the[Pg 38] king's door from a certain mighty duke of the realm, and the king said: 'They do so interrupt me that by day or night I can hardly snatch a moment to be refreshed by reading of any holy teaching without disturbance.'

A like thing to this happened once at Windsor when I was there.

Further, to confirm his notable devotion to God, many who yet survive and were once of his household say that he was wont almost at every moment to raise his eyes heavenward like a denizen of heaven or one rapt, being for the time not conscious of himself or of those about him, as if he were a man in a trance or on the verge of heaven: having his conversation in heaven, according to that word of the apostle: 'Our conversation is in heaven.'

His oath.

Also he would never use any other oath to confirm his own truthful speech than the uttering of these words: 'Forsothe and forsothe,' to certify those to whom he spoke of what he said. So also he restrained many both gentle and simple from hard swearing either by mild admonition or harsh reproof; for a swearer was his abomination.

When he heard a great lord who was his chamberlain suddenly break out and swear bitterly, he sternly rebuked him, saying: 'Alas! you, that are lord of a great household, when you utter oaths like this contrary to God's commandment, give a most evil example to your servants and those that are under you, for you provoke them to do the like.'

[Pg 39]

His pitifulness and patience.

Of the patience of this king and his most kind compassion which he showed throughout his life to them that sinned against him, while he was in power, many things may be related with all truth.

First; once when he was coming down from St Albans to London through Cripplegate, he saw over the gate there the quarter of a man on a tall stake, and asked what it was. And when his lords made answer that it was the quarter of a traitor of his, who had been false to the king's majesty, he said: 'Take it away. I will not have any Christian man so cruelly handled for my sake.' And the quarter was removed immediately. He that saw it bears witness.

Again, four nobles of high birth were convicted of treason and of the crime of lèse-majesté and were legally condemned therefor by the judges to suffer a shameful death. These he compassionately released, and delivered from that bitter death, sending the writ of his pardon for their delivery to the place of execution by a swift messenger.

To other three great lords of the realm who conspired the death of this king (or conspired in the king's troubles) and assembled an innumerable host of armed men, aiming ambitiously to secure the kingly power, as manifestly appeared afterwards, the king showed no less mercy: for he forgave all, both the leaders and the men under them, what they had maliciously designed against him, provided they submitted themselves to him.

[Pg 40]Like compassion he showed to many others, and especially to two who were compassing his death; one of whom gave him a severe wound in the neck, and would have brained him, or cut off his head; but the king took it most patiently, saying: 'Forsothe and forsothe, ye do fouly to smyte a kynge enoynted so.' The other smote him in the side with a dagger when he was held prisoner in the Tower, and after the deed, believing that he had killed the king with his wicked blow, and fearing to be taken, fled with all speed; but was caught and brought before him, when the king, now recovered, and set free from that prison, and once more by the favour and act of God raised to the kingly dignity without a battle after a long course of exile and imprisonment, pardoned him of his great clemency, as he did also his aforesaid persecutor.

So the former servants of this king declare that he never would that any person, however injurious to him, should ever be punished: and this is plain in the case of many to whom he was exceeding gracious and merciful; for he was become an imitator of Him who saith, 'I will have mercy' and 'I will not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn and live,' who also, as the apostle saith, 'desired the salvation of all men.' Nor is this to be wondered at: for in his soul there was not even that vain satisfaction which hunters take in capturing beasts,—a misplaced pleasure: he did not care to see the creature, when taken, cruelly defiled with slaughter, nor would he ever take part in the killing of an innocent beast.

But what need of more? It is certain that the men among whom and towards whom the king was so kind[Pg 41] and merciful proved at the last wholly ungrateful to him, as the Jews to Christ. For whereas God's right hand had raised him to so glorious a place, these [murderous ones], as has been said, conspiring together with savage rage, deprived even this most merciful king of his royal power, and drove him from his realm and governance; and after a long time spent in hiding in secret places wherein for safety's sake he was forced to keep close, he was found and taken, brought as a traitor and criminal to London, and imprisoned in the Tower there; where, like a true follower of Christ, he patiently endured hunger, thirst, mockings, derisions, abuse, and many other hardships, and finally suffered a violent death of the body that others might, as was then the expectation, peaceably possess the kingdom. But his soul, as we piously believe upon the evidence of the long series of miracles done in the place where his body is buried, liveth with God in the heavenly places, where after the troubles of this world he rejoiceth with the just in the eternal contemplation of God and in the stead of this earthly and transitory kingdom whereof he patiently bore the loss, he now possesseth one that endureth for ever.

The revelations shown to him.

Furthermore I think it not well to pass over the heavenly mysteries which were shown to this king.

When he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, a certain chaplain of his asked him, about the time of[Pg 42] the feast of Easter, how his soul agreed at that most holy season with the troubles that pressed upon him and so sprouted forth that he could by no means avoid them. The king answered in these words: 'The kingdom of heaven, unto which I have devoted myself always from a child, do I call and cry for. For this kingdom which is transitory and of the earth I do not greatly care. Our kinsman of March thrusts himself into it as is his pleasure. This one thing only do I require, to receive the sacrament at Easter, and the rites of the church on Maundy Thursday with the rest of Christendom, as I am accustomed.' And for the much devotion which he always had to God and His sacraments, it seems not unsuitable that he should often have been enlightened by heavenly mysteries and comforted thereby in his afflictions. He is reported by some in his confidence, to whom he was used to reveal his secrets, to have often seen the Lord Jesus held in the hands of the celebrant and appearing to him in human form at the time of the Eucharist. Again, when he was at Waltham he told some one privately (though others also standing behind him heard it) of a repeated revelation from the Lord vouchsafed to him three years running at that feast of St Edward which falls on the vigil of the Epiphany, of the glory of the Lord appearing in human form, of His crown, and of a vision of the assumption of the Blessed Mary both corporal and spiritual.

Also there is the matter of the absence of the sacrament from the pyx when he rode by a certain churchyard, on account of which he refrained from his wonted reverence to the sacrament, as is told above.

[Pg 43]Also in the extreme pressure of his wars in the parts of the North, it is told by some who came from that region, that when there was for a time a scarcity of bread among his fellow-soldiers and troops, out of a small quantity of wheat, bread was so multiplied by his merits and prayers that a sufficiency and even a superfluity was forthcoming for all of his who sought and asked for it, whereas the rest that were opposed to him had to suffer from lack of meat.

Moreover, after the horrid and ungrateful rebellion of his subjects had continued a long time, and after these rebels had fought many hard battles against him, he fled at last with a few followers to a secret place prepared for him by those that were faithful to him. And, as he lay hid there for some time, an audible voice sounded in his ears for some seventeen days before he was taken, telling him how he should be delivered up by treachery, and brought to London without all honour like a thief or an outlaw, and led through the midst of it, and should endure many evils devised by the thoughts of wicked men, and should be imprisoned there in the Tower: of all which he was informed by revelation from the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saints John Baptist, Dunstan, and Anselm (whose consolations he did then as at other times enjoy) and was thereby strengthened to bear with patience these and like trials. But when he told this to some of his people, and namely to Masters Bedon and Mannynge, they were incredulous and believed it not, but thought all to be but vain wanderings until the event assured them of the truth.

It is also said that when the king was shut up in[Pg 44] the Tower he saw a woman on his right hand (or out of his window) trying to drown a little child, and warned her by a messenger not to commit such a crime and sin, hateful to God; and she, rebuked by this reproof, desisted from the deed she had begun.

Also, when this king Henry was asked during his imprisonment in the Tower why he had unjustly claimed and possessed the crown of England for so many years, he would answer thus: 'My father was king of England, and peaceably possessed the crown of England for the whole time of his reign. And his father and my grandfather was king of the same realm. And I, a child in the cradle, was peaceably and without any protest crowned and approved as king by the whole realm, and wore the crown of England some forty years, and each and all of my lords did me royal homage and plighted me their faith, as was also done to other my predecessors. Wherefore I too can say with the Psalmist: The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground: yea, I have a goodly heritage. For my right help is of the Lord, who preserveth them that are true of heart.'

Praise be to God.




[47] Lit. from virtue to virtue.



[Pg 45]


The style and literary ability of John Blacman must be rated very low. In translating him one is forced to neglect his use of particles and tenses in order to produce a tolerable sense. He uses the pluperfect apparently as an equivalent of the preterite, and begins sentences with unde where unde has no meaning at all. There is no shape or proportion in the composition of his tract as it stands. At the end of the section on Pietas et patientia he comes to a dignified close, but immediately continues with a chapter on Revelationes which, one would think, ought not to have been an afterthought. This chapter ends in mid-air; there is no kind of finality about it. It must be either unfinished by the author or mutilated (as Hearne conjectured). If mutilated, political considerations may have been responsible, for the subject of the last paragraph is the question of Henry's right to the crown (and not any revelation vouchsafed to him); and I see signs that the tract was written before the accession of Henry VII, in the vagueness of such allusions to the reigning sovereign as are to be found in it. The clause 'propter regnum, ut tunc sperabatur, ab aliis pacifice possidendum' is the most overt of these, and no one can say that it is too explicit. The next sentence speaks of the long series of miracles done where Henry's body is buried. This may mean that the body is still at Chertsey, though in after years miracles occurred at Windsor. It will be remembered that Richard III transferred it hastily from Chertsey to Windsor because the reports of the miracles were testifying to a growth of interest in the good king which was not healthy for the dynasty of York.

So also in the prologue, Blacman will not dwell upon the descent, the coronation, and so on, of Henry, because these[Pg 46] things are known to everyone and because of his subsequent fall. The latter is the more cogent reason.

To what has been said of Hearne's connexion with the book, it may be added that in the new edition of his Collections (Oxf. Hist. Soc. vol. x. p. 442) he tells us under date July 31, 1731, that "Mr West lately met with a small Pamphlet in 4to bound up with the Arminian Nunnery, at Little Gidding, and intituled 'Collectarium mansuetudinum (etc.).' 'Tis printed in the old black Letter by Cowpland, with the figure of a king in his Robes,... I do not remember to have ever seen this Book. Archbishop Usher had seen John Blacman's MSS Collections wch probably contained a great many other things relating to the Carthusians and their Benefactors ... (Henry VI) was a pious, tho' very weak Prince. The Carthusians had most deservedly a great opinion of him,... and did what they could for his honour."

I think Hearne is mistaken about Ussher, who does no more than quote a passage from Blacman in his Historia Dogmatica (Opp. xii. 363).

It may further be remarked that Holinshed and other chroniclers make small extracts from Blacman without naming their source. I have not discovered who is actually the earliest writer to cite him: but Hall (1548) does not appear to do so.

p. 4. quidam Angliæ reverendus antistes. This bishop who was Henry's confessor for ten years I suppose to have been William Ayscough, bishop of Salisbury 1438-1450, who was much in Henry's confidence. It is remarked in the Dict. Nat. Biog. that it was "a novelty in those days for a bishop to be a king's confessor."

p. 6. missalia, oracula. I take these words together and regard them as a 'refined' way of saying 'orationes in missa' or the like.

sanctæ crucis signorum seriem in corona. These crosses on the ring of the crown are seen alternating with fleur de lys in the (early xvith century) representation of Henry in painted glass in the Hacomblen chantry in King's College Chapel.

[Pg 47]p. 8. Francisci Petrarchæ. This, Blacman's one literary quotation, is a garbled one from Petrarch's De Vita Solitaria, lib. ii. sect. vi. c. i.

p. 9. Jaspere et Edmundo. The sons of Owen Tudor by Katherine, widow of Henry V.

p. 10. cardinalis et episcopi Winton. Cardinal Beaufort, d. 11 April 1447. The gift to Eton and King's was in fact made by a codicil to the cardinal's will executed two days before his death. See Maxwell Lyte, Eton College, p. 27.

p. 11. decem mutatoria casularia. I suppose this to mean enough silk to make ten or more sets of mass-vestments for a single priest.

Episcopos Wurcestriæ et Cestriæ. Chester had no bishop till 1541. Chichester must be meant. The bishop was doubtless Adam Moleyns 1445-50, and he of Worcester John Carpenter 1443-76. Both appear in the king's will as his feoffees for Eton and King's.

p. 12. This is the most interesting page of the tract to those who have enjoyed King Henry's bounty. A happy thought has of recent years dictated the use of his words Sitis boni pueri and the rest on the occasion of the admission of the new King's Scholars at Eton.

p. 13. Sed libera nos. It is at this point in the Lord's Prayer that the congregation responds, at the end of the Prayer of Consecration (or Canon) of the Roman Mass.

magistro doctore Town. William Towne was scholar of Eton in 1443, and passed on to King's. He died in 1484: his chantry and brass are in one of the side-chapels on the N. of King's College Chapel.

quidam discus. It is not clear to me whether a piece of plate representing the Five Wounds in enamel is meant, or some edible 'subtilty': probably the former.

p. 14. cum capucio rotulato. Perhaps a hood with a liripip (i.e. tapering into a tail) is meant.

caligas, ocreas, calceos: foot-gear for walking, riding and indoor use respectively.

p. 15. dominus Ricardus Tunstall. Sir Richard Tunstall of[Pg 48] Thurland in Westmorland (or Lancashire) appears frequently in the Patent Rolls etc. of Henry VI, Edward IV and Henry VII. Under Edward IV his lands are naturally granted to other people and he is attainted. In 1470, at Henry's restoration, he is 'king's chamberlain' (Cal. Pat. R. p. 227). Under Henry VII he is in favour and holds many important posts.

An entry in William Worcester's Annals (Rolls, Wars of the English in France, ii. pt. 2 [785]), wrongly printed, is of interest here. Under 1464 he writes: "Mense Julii, dolo cujusdam monachi Abendoniæ, rex Henricus in comitatu Lancastriæ capitur per quendam Johannem Talbois et Ricardum Tunstalle milites, ibidem captus evasit. Dictusque rex Henricus una cum monacho Thoma Mannyng et Bedone doctore ... versus Londoniam adducebatur etc." We should certainly read 'et Ricardus T. miles ... evasit.'

Tunstall was afterwards taken in Wales by Lord Herbert, and confined in the Tower, but soon pardoned (Warkeworth's Chron. Camd. Soc. p. 43).

Another entry (Three Fifteenth Cent. Chronicles, Camden Soc. p. 80) says:

"Kynge Harry was take in the northe contre, and ii doctors with him, the whiche wer called Doctor Mannynge and Doctor Beden, the whiche were all thre brought to London."

On the whole episode see Sir J. H. Ramsay, Lancaster and York, ii. 316.

What follows in the text is Tunstall's story. Blacman adds that he himself witnessed a similar occurrence.

p. 17. I do not know that the four nobles or the three great lords who were pardoned can be certainly identified. Nor is it plain whether the first of the two men who wounded him attacked him when confined in the Tower.

p. 18. isti p̄r̄iales. Blacman intends a word of the sense of 'parricidiales.' But either he or the printer has gone wrong.

p. 19. ex miraculorum ubi corpus ejus humatur diutina continuatione. A large collection of Henry's miracles is preserved in two MSS, Royal 13. c. viii. and Harley 423. The latter[Pg 49] is a partial copy of the former. See a special note on them below.

Cognatus noster de Marchia, i.e. Edward IV, Earl of March.

p. 20. in festo S. Edwardi etc. The depositio of S. Edward the Confessor which falls on 5 January.

vox corporalis. Probably means a voice audible to the bodily senses.

p. 21. magistris Bedon et Mannynge. On these companions of Henry VI at his capture see above in the note on Tunstall. John Bedon, clerk, receives a general pardon from Edward IV in 1467 (Cal. Pat. R. p. 11). Holinshed and those who copy him call him Bedle. He may be the John Bedon who took a B.D. degree at Oxford in 1455. Thomas Mannynge, though called a monk by Will. Worcester, seems undoubtedly to be the man who was dean of Windsor from 1452 to 1462, and is indicted (1 Ed. IV, Rot. Parl. v. p. 477 etc.) of treason in the first year of Edward IV: he is described as late of New Windsor in Berkshire, clerk. On Nov. 7, 1465, he has a general pardon for all offences up to the 26th of August previous. Earlier, in 1451 (Aug. 24) when Henry VI grants him the prebend of Nassington in Lincoln cathedral, he is described as the king's clerk and chaplain.

On 29 Nov. 1469 he is dead; the king is informed by his executor that Thomas was in debt and indigent in his life, and had made forfeiture to the king, so that a licence to administer was necessary.

The Rev. J. N. Dalton, Canon of Windsor, has kindly informed me that no records in the possession of the Dean and Chapter of Windsor throw light on Dean Mannynge's life.

a dextra sua. Corrupt: I suppose the meaning to be that the king saw the woman out of his window: camera or fenestra is wanted.

[Pg 50]


An English prayer in verse to Henry VI from a Primer of 1408 (in which it has been inserted on the flyleaf) in the Library of St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw, was printed in the Ushaw Magazine of 1902, p. 279. I have the kind permission of the authorities to quote it here:

O blyssed king so full of vertue
The flowr of all knyghthood that never was fyled
Thou pray for us to Christe Jhesu
And to hys modyr Mary myld
In all thi warkys thu was never wyld
Bott full of grace and of charyte
Mercyfull ever to man and chylde
Now sweyt kyng Henre pray for me.

O crownyd kyng with sceptur in hand
Most nobyll conqueror I may thee call
For thou hast conqueryd I undyrstand
A hevynly kyngdome most imperyall
Hwar joye haboundeth and grace perpetuell
In presens of the holy Trenite
Off wych grace thou make me parcyall
Now swet kyng Henre praye for me.

All Apostels and Patriarchs shall thee honor
Martyrs and Confessors with all their delygens
And eke Virgynes in the hevynly towr
Ar glad and joyfull of thi presens
Angelys and Archangelys with ample(?) reverence
Schall mynystyr and ‹giftes› bryng(?) to the
The well of pety and of pacyens
Now swet kyng Henre praye for me.

Thy prayer I trust is herd in hevyn
With the Fadyr omnipotent
Now blyssyd be thy name to nemyne
[Pg 51]For ever att neyd thou art present
In trowbyll or payn wen I am schent
Or stand in warely juberte
Thy socur to me full son thu sentt
Now sweyt kyng Henre praye for me.

Thy trowblas life and grett vexacion
With pacyens that thu had therein
And thi constans in contemplacion
Has mad the hevyn for to wyne
Thy sett is ordenyd with seraphyn
As langhyght ((be)longeth) to thi regalyte
With mor melody than I can myn
Now swet kyng Henre praye for me.

O blessyd kyng so gracios and gud
Thou pray to sett this reme in rest
Unto our Saveyour that dyed on roud
And to hys modyr that madyn blessyd
That alkyn wrangys may be redressyd
To plesor of the Deyte
Thys I besech at my request
Now swet kyng Henre praye for me.


There are two manuscripts of these Miracles, both in the British Museum. The first (Royal 13. c. viii.) is the parent of the other (Harley 423).

13. c. viii. is on paper, a fairly well written volume of cent. xv-xvi. It has the names of Abp Cranmer (Tho. Cant.) and Lord Lumley.

It contains:

1. Letter from the Compiler.

In Christo Ihesu salutem plurimam. Cum acceperis epistolam hanc, magister venerande ... ends: huius fructiferi palmitis Christi botris expendere non cessabo. Vale et ora ut tecum in eternum valeat tuus et orator et socius cuius nomen est in libro vite. No proper name occurs.

[Pg 52]2. f. 1 b. Salutacio gloriosi militis Christi henrici regis Anglie sexti cum oraciuncula brevi.

Salue miles preciose rex henrice generose
Palmes vitis celice  
In radice caritatis vernans flore sanctitatis
Viteque angelice  
Salue flos nobilitatis laus et honor dignitatis
seu corone regie  
Pie pater orphanorum vera salus populorum
Robur et ecclesie  
Salue forma pietatis exemplar humilitatis
Decus innocencie  
Vi oppressis vel turbatis mestis atque desolatis
Scola paciencie  
Salue fax superne lucis per quam serui summi ducis
Illustrantur undique  
Dum virtute lucis vere meruisti prefulgere
Tantis signis gracie  
Salue quem rex seculorum choris iungens angelorum
Ciuem fecit patrie  
Te laudare cupientes hac ut semper sint fruentes
Tecum vita glorie.Amen. 
 Vers. Veniant ad te qui detrahebant tibi. Et adorent vestigia pedum tuorum.
 Oracio. Salus et saluator omnium in te credencium, piissime domine Ihesu Christe, qui dilectum famulum tuum regem henricum sextum variis tribulacionum pressuris opprimi voluisti, ut ex eius pacientissime et innocentissime vite meritis quasi quibusdam botris uberrimis copiosa tue gracie dulcedo per miraculorum gloriam distillaret in plebem: largire, quesumus, eos omnes qui tante eius glorie congratulantes aut illum propter te aut in illo te pocius glorificando dignis gestiunt collaudare preconiis ipsius beatitudinis consorcium et hic habere per meritum et in futuro consequi per effectum: qui cum deo patre et spiritu sancto viuis et gloriaris deus per omnia secula seculorum. Amen.

 3. f. 16. Exemplar epistole a pauperculo quodam monacho[Pg 53] olim directe ad preclarum virum d. Johannem Morgan[48] tunc decanum capelle collegialis castri de Wyndesore, modo vero episcopum meneuensem cum infrascriptis quibusdam beati regis henrici miraculis.

Eternam in Christo Ihesu quam sibimet salutem cum reverencia speciali tanto viro dignissima etc. Richard Combe had brought to the writer of the letter 'exemplaria quedam pulcerrima' of Henry's miracles, in English, with a request from a Bishop that he would translate them into Latin.

 4. f. 3 b. Another letter from the Dean of Windsor. Indeficientis votiua salutis preconia, tuas etenim, virorum contemplatissime, suauissimas kalendis januarii animo quidem gratissimo recepi litteras. Gives his consent to the translation of the Miracles. Scriptum apud Regale castrum Wynsor' stilo rudissime profluente 4 Nonas Januarii.

Hec tibi describens tuus est ad vota Johannes.

 5. f. 4 b. Prologue. Solet plerumque lassascenti stomacho obesse dapium plenitudo.

Among other matters he apologizes for styling Henry beatissimus, sanctissimus, and so forth.

 6. f. 6. Capitula (28).

 7. f. 7. Text. Annotatur hic qualiter puer quidam bis biennis in molendino aquatico submersus fuerat (et) ad inuocacionem beati regis henrici resuscitatus a mortuis anno dominice incarnacionis 1481°. qui erat annus regni Edwardi quarti regis famosissimi vicesimus primus. Et primo ponitur exordium breue et deinde narracio subinfertur.

Quia sacro dictante eloquio sacramentum regis abscondere bonum esse didicimus etc.

There are various marginal notes in a large hand, on the proofs of the Miracles, e.g.:

 f. 8. Westwel Cancie, probatum: 9 b somerseschyr' non reperitur: 10 savernak Foreste non inuenitur: 11 Examinentur Thomas Hayward, Johannes Parmyter, D. Wyllelmus Edwardes: 11 b Holyngton Sowthsex probatum.

[Pg 54]After cap. 28 (f. 26) is a slip with a note on Capitula of Lib. ii: f. 27 Capitula (58) of Lib. ii.

Slip, with title of Prologue: In miracula quedam famosiora et euidenciora quibus illustrissimum virum Henricum regem Anglie sextum diuina decorauit clemencia, que et infra biennium post eius in ecclesia collegiali castri de Wynsore tumulacionem ibidem manifestata noscuntur pretitulatur hic prologus.

The same in a shorter form in the lower margin of f. 30.

 f. 30. Lib. II. Prol. Quanta ex florigero diuine plenitudinis agro, etc.

On f. 32 the capitula are continued, from 59 to 67. A blank unnumbered leaf follows.

The text proceeds to cap. 30 (de calice et portiforio). (Here the other copy, Harl. 423, ends; its last leaf is a fragment.) Then follow 11 blank pages: then a slip (recto blank) numbered 148, which has the beginning of cap. 67.

The text then continues on ff. 59-85.

The miracles up to this point are variously and irregularly numbered: there seem to be about 40.

Then follows a list of 24 miracles, and text; then on f. 101 a list of 13 miracles, followed by text. At the end of the last is: ·1500·

There is some ground for thinking that this volume was utilized, or to be utilized, for the process of the canonization of Henry VI which proved abortive.

The other MS Harl. 423 is of cent. xvi early, and occupies ff. 72-128 in one of Foxe's volumes. It is plainly a copy of the first part of the Royal MS.

[Pg 55]


The following lists are found in MS. Laud. Misc. 154, in the Bodleian library, one on a flyleaf, the other—somewhat mutilated—in the lower margin of a leaf. The first enumerates the whole contents of each volume, the second gives the title of one tract only, but supplies the opening words of the second leaf of each volume, the usual medieval expedient for identifying a book.

I combine here the data of the two lists, calling the list on the flyleaf A and that on the lower margin B.

The MS in which they occur is a volume of Nic. de Lyra's commentary on the Bible: and list B begins by describing it.

(B) 1. Liber domus beate virginis de Witham Cartusiensis ex dono magistri Johannis Blacman.

(A) Lyra: Genesis ... Job.
This is MS. Laud. Misc. 154.

(B) 2, 3. cum duobus comparibus: primi 2° fo. cognicio intellectiua. 2° fo. secundi et cetera Rō.
sed pro ligatura et illuminacione domus soluit xs et vjd.

(A) 2. Lyra: Psalterium—Prov.—Ecclus. Isa.—Malachias.
1, 2 Macc.
3. Lyra: Evv., Paul. Epp., Act., Cath. Epp. Apoc.
capitulaciones epistolarum et euangeliorum secundum cartus'.
No. 2 is Laud. Misc. 152. No. 3 is not known.

(B) 4. Item librum policronicon. 2° fo. adhibere.

(A) 4. les pedegrues reg. angl. b.
tabula noua policronici a.
policronicon cestrense.
No. 4 is in Eton College Library MS. 204: formerly Ashburnham Appendix 105: then belonged to Mr George Dunn.

(B) 5. Item Bartholomeus de casibus consciencie. 2° fo. hic (?)
suus (?) pars.

(A) 5. magna carta
Bartholomeus de casibus consciencie
[Pg 56]principia et fines originalium librorum
forma audiendi confessionem
tituli decretorum libri vjti et Clementis.

(B) 6. Item librum vocatum lucerna consciencie. 2° fo. malorum ex.

(A) 6. lucerna consciencie
meditaciones Anselmi. credo
ritmicacio tocius scripture sacre
oraciones Anselmi ut apparet
tractatus de virtutibus et viciis
interrogaciones fori penitencialis
Alfonsus contra iudeos.
6. This is MS. Bodl. 801.

(B) 7. Item librum sancti Thome de veritatibus. 2° fo. sic dicit Augustinus.

(A) 7. Sanctus Thomas de veritatibus.
tabula super eodem.
7. This is MS. Harley 1032.

(B) 8. Item Bibliam. 2° fo. damasci.

(A) 8. interpretacio nominum hebreorum
capitulacio epistolarum et euangeliorum per annum.

(B) 9. Item magister historiarum (sententiarum). 2° fo. pedito post.

(A) 9. magister sententiarum
theorica planetarum
tituli eiusdem libri sententiarum
Item in quibus non tenetur. (i.e. a list of the passages in the Sentences which were considered unsound.)

(B) 10. Item Crisostomus in opere imperfecto. 2º fo. erat futurus.

(A) 10. Crisostomus in opere imperfecto
tabula eiusdem.

(B) 11. Item vita Alexandri magni. 2° fo. voluminis que est poa.

(A) 11. Defensorium logicale Ockam
vita Alexandri magni
[Pg 57]dialogus inter Mariam et Johannem euangelistam
Ysidorus de ciuitate (? unitate) dei
Augustinus de uisione sancti Pauli apostoli
de celebracione horarum quidam processus
Siluester de decimis
Ieronimus de signis iudicii
Marbodus episcopus de vinculis beati Petri
oracio deuota: domine Ihesu Christe qui in hoc
de uirtutibus fide dileccione et humilitate
purgatorium sancti Patricii (partly erased)
Seneca de 4or virtutibus cardinalibus
de beneficiis ad Liberalem libri 4
de fortuitorum bonorum contemptu
de remediis fortuitorum
diffiniens virtut' et vic'
regula beati Benedicti.

(B) 12. Item Aristotiles de regimine principum. 2° fo. voluminis simul omnia.

(A) 12. Aristoteles de regimine principum
Gwydo de excidio Troianorum
idem in metro.

(B) 13. Item Anticlaudianus. 3° fo. voluminis affluit exundans.

(A) 13. nova poetria Galfridi Anglici
Anticlaudianus de restitucione.
13. This is MS. Digby 104 (part).

(B) 14. Item librum distinccionum. 3° fo. quia sicut.

(A) 14. notabiles distincciones
sermones dominicales.

(B) 15. Item martilogium. 5° fo. voluminis Trone est en ancieme.

(A) 15. tractatus gallicus
gesta Karoli in gallicis
miracula beate Marie versificata (erased)
miracula beate Marie rithmicata
Alexander Neckam Qui vult bene disponere
[Pg 58]phale tolum
deuota meditacio in anglicis
themata festiuitatum per annum
tabula concordancie 4or euangelistarum
epistole et euangelia per totum annum
capitula speculi moralis Gregorii
canon pro predicatore
speculum morale Gregorii.

(B) 16. Item pastorale beati Gregorii. 2° fo. pastoralis cure.

(A) 16. Gregorius in pastoralibus
Anselmus de 12 beatitudinibus
Anselmus de vanitate mundi
quidam processus de sacramento altaris
Athanasius de ymagine domini Ihesu.

(B) 17. Item gesta Romanorum. 2° fo. tu es.

(A) 17. gesta Romanorum
regula beati Augustini.

(B) 18. Item vite sanctorum. 2° fo. voluminis Et quod bonum.

(A) 18. narraciones bone exemplace
summa magistri J. Belet de officiis ecclesie
sermo bonus de libro consciencie
compilacio bona de vitis sanctorum
item de officiis ecclesie.

(B) 19. Item tabula Petri Blesensis. 2° fo. voluminis hospita signa bonos.

(A) 19. reportorium poeticum
lapidarius cum tractatu herbarum
tabula epistolarum 163 Blesensis
exposicio notabilis super Boecium de consolacione
ars conficiendi colores.

(B) 20. Item meditaciones beati Bernardi. 2° fo. voluminis de hiis.

(A) 20. moralia dicta originalia bona
meditaciones sancti Bernardi 13
Anselmus de passione Christi 3
Anselmus de amore dei 42
Augustinus de vera innocencia 56
[Pg 59]Augustinus de laude psalmorum 100.
dulcis Ihesu memoria.

(B) 21. Item Boecius de consolacione philosophie. 2° fo. segetem necant.

(A) 21. Boecius de consolacione philosophie
Galfridus in noua poetria
canon tabularum Rede.

(B) 22. Item librum vocatum pharetra, 2° fo. idem de coniugiis.

(A) 22. pharetra
quindenarius Gregorianus.

(B) 23. Item repertorium diuersorum. 2° fo. voluminis Incipiens guerras.

(A) 23. Commentaciones prophetiales
liber facescie communis.
Ex agro veteri (i.e. Matthew of Vendôme's poem on Tobit)
a chartuary aftre penkarr
tractatus de armis in anglicis
disputacio inter corpus et animam
processus de mundi vanitate
quedam commendacio artium liberalium
utilis tractatus rethorice.
Cirillus de transitu beati Jeronimi
12. capitula Hampol
Bernardus ad Eugenium papam
disputacio inter graciam et intellectum.

(B) 24. alia manu. Item Lucidarium cum aliis. 2° fo. Illa itaque.

(A) 24. alia manu. Lucidari
tractatus Petri Alfonsi clericalis disciplina
tractatus de penitencia Roberti Grostest
tractatus inquirendi peccata in foro penitenciali
diuersa notabilia de canone juris.

Another MS which does not occur in the above list is Lambeth 436, Horologium Sapientiae, of cent. xv, which has in it: Liber cartusie de Witham. Orate pro Johanne Blacman.

[Pg 60]MS. 182 at S. John's College, Oxford, containing lives of saints, formerly belonged to William and John Blacman.

In Laud Misc. 152, no. 2 in the list, dated 1463, are these doggerel lines:

Me dedit albus homo John Blacman ipse vocatus
In presente domo qui redditus est graduatus
Extitit Oxonie vir in artibus iste magister,
Cantor et Etonie dignus dum rege minister
Pro quo defuncto seu viuo queso precare
P............ quicumque solet celebrare
Ut deus hunc Hominem Nigrum cognomine dictum
Post vite finem det sumere lucis amictum.

In list B the catalogue of books is followed by a short note of vestments given by Blacman to Witham. The last item is interesting:

Item circa diuersas reparaciones factas in uita sancti Hugonis (the founder of the house) in ecclesia de-laffrery sumptus fert non exiguos.




[48] Morgan was dean of Windsor 1484-96; bp of S. David's 1496-1504






Transcriber's Notes:

Long "s" has been modernized.

Bold font represents Black Letter font used in original.

The original text contains two types of footnotes. The set of footnotes used to mark page breaks in the original document has been placed in the text of this document. The second set of footnotes, used for commentary on the text, is accessed through hyperlinks in this document.

Additional spacing after some of the quotes is intentional to indicate both the end of a quotation and the beginning of a new paragraph as presented in the original text.