THE TEMPLE CHURCH.
The monuments of the crusaders—The tomb and effigy of Sir Geoffrey de Magnaville, earl of Essex, and constable of the Tower—His life and death, and famous exploits—Of William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, Protector of England—Of the Lord de Ross—Of William and Gilbert Marshall, earls of Pembroke—Of William Plantagenet, fifth son of Henry the Third—The anxious desire manifested by King Henry the Third, Queen Eleanor, and various persons of rank, to be buried in the Temple Church.
“The knights are dust,
And their good swords are rust,
Their souls are with the saints, we trust.”
The mail-clad monumental effigies reposing side by side on the pavement of “the Round” of the Temple Church, have been supposed to be monuments of Knights Templars, but this is not the case. The Templars were always buried in the habit of their order, and are represented in it on their tombs. This habit was a long white mantle, as before mentioned, with a red cross over the left breast; it had a short cape and a hood behind, and fell down to the feet unconfined by any girdle. In a long mantle of this description, with the cross of the Order carved upon it, is represented the Knight Templar Brother Jean de Dreux, in the church of St. Yvod de Braine in France, with this inscription, in letters of gold, carved upon the monument—F. Jean li Templier fuis au comte Jean de dreux.*
Although not monuments of Knight Templars, yet these interesting cross-legged effigies have strong claims to our attention upon other grounds. They appear to have been placed in the Temple Church, to the memory of a class of men termed “Associates of the Temple,” who, though not actually admitted to the holy vows and habit of the Order, were yet received into a species of spiritual connexion with the Templars, curiously illustrative of the superstition and credulity of the times.
Many piously-inclined persons of rank and fortune, bred up amid the pleasures and the luxuries of the world, were anxiously desirous of participating in the spiritual advantages and blessings believed to be enjoyed by the holy warriors of the Temple, in respect of the good works done by the fraternity, but could not bring themselves to submit to the severe discipline and gloomy life of the regularly-professed brethren. For the purpose of turning the tendencies anil peculiar feelings of such persons to a good account, the Master and Chapter of the Temple assumed the power of admitting them into a spiritual association and connexion with the Order, so that, without renouncing their pleasures and giving up their secular mode of life, they might share in the merit of the good works performed by the brethren. The mode in which this was frequently done is displayed to us by the following public authentic document, extracted by Ducange from the Royal Registry of Provence.
“Be it known to all persons present and to come, that in the year of the incarnation 1209, in the month of December, I, William D. G., count of Forcalquier, and son of the deceased Gerald, being inspired with the love of God, of my own free will, and with hearty desire, dedicate my body and soul to the Lord, to the most blessed Virgin Mary, and to the house of the chivalry of the Temple, in manner following. If at any time I determine on taking the vows of a religious order, I will choose the religion of the Temple, and none other; but I will not embrace it except in sincerity, of my own free will, and without constraint. Should I happen to end my days amid the pleasures of the world, I will be buried in the cemetery of the house of the Temple. I promise, through love of God, for the repose of my soul, and the souls of my parents, and of all the dead faithful in Christ, to give to the aforesaid house of the Temple and to the brethren, at my decease, my own horse, with two other saddle-horses, all my equipage and armour complete, as well iron as wood, fit for a knight, and a hundred marks of silver. Moreover, in acknowledgment of this donation, I promise to give to the aforesaid house of the Temple and to the brethren, as long as I lead a secular life, a hundred pennies a year at the feast of the nativity of our Lord; and all the property of the aforesaid house, wheresoever situate, I take under my safeguard and protection, and will defend it in accordance with right and justice against all men.
* Monumens de la monarchic Françoise, par Monifaucon, tom. ii. p. 184, plate p. 185. Hist, de la Maison de Dreux, p. 86, 276.
“This donation I have made in the presence of Brother Peter de Montaigu, Preceptor of Spain; Brother Peter Cadelli, Preceptor of Provence; and many other brothers of the Order.”
“And we, Brother Peter de Montaigu, Master, with the advice and consent of the other brothers, receive you, the aforesaid Lord William, count of Fourcalquier, as a benefactor and brother (in donatum et confratrem) of our house, and grant you a bountiful participation in all the good works that are done in the house of the Temple, both here and beyond sea. Of this our grant are witnesses, of the brethren of the Temple, Brother William Cadelli, Preceptor of Provence; Brother Bermond, Preceptor of Rue; the reverend Brother Chosoardi, Preceptor of Barles; Brother Jordan de Mison, Preceptor of Embrun; Brother G. de la Tour, Preceptor of the hpuse of Limaise. Of laymen are witnesses, the lady countess, the mother of the aforesaid count; Gerald, his brother, &c. &c.”*
William of Asheby in Lincolnshire was admitted into this species of spiritual confraternity with the Templars, as appears from the following grant to the Order:
“William of Asheby, to all the barons and vavasors of Lincolnshire, and to all his friends and neighbours, both French and English, Salvation. Be it known to all present and to come, that since the knights of the Temple have received me into confraternity with them, and have taken me under their care and protection, I the said William have, with the consent of my Brothers Ingram, Gerard, and Jordan, given and granted to God and the blessed Mary, and to the aforesaid knights of the Temple, all the residue of my waste and heath land, over and above what I have confirmed to them by my previous grant … &c &c.”†
By these curious arrangements with secular persons, the Templars succeeded in attaching men of rank and influence to their interests, and in obtaining bountiful alms and donations, both of land and money. It is probable that the cross-legged monuments in the Temple Church were erected to the memory of secular warriors who had been admitted amongst the class of associated brethren of the Temple, and had bequeathed their bodies to be buried in the Temple cemetery.
During the recent repairs it became necessary to make an extensive excavation in the Round, and beneath these monumental effigies were found two enormous stone coffins, together with five-leaden coffins curiously and beautifully ornamented with a device resembling the one observable on the old tesselated pavement of the church; and an arched vault, which had been formed in the inner circular foundation, supporting the clustered columns and the round tower. The leaden coffins had been inclosed in small vaults, the walls of which had perished. The skeletons within them were entire and undisturbed; they were enveloped in coarse sackcloth, which crumbled to dust on being touched. One of these skeletons measured six feet four inches in length, and another six feet two inches! The large stone coffins were of immense thickness and weight; they had long previously been broken open and turned into charnel-houses. In the one nearest the south window were found three skulls, and a variety of bones, amongst which were those of some young person. Upon the lid, which was composed of Purbeck marble, was a large and elegantly-shaped cross, beautifully sculptured, and in an excellent state of preservation. The vault constructed in the solid foundations of the pillars of the round tower, on the north side of the church, contained the remains of a skeleton wrapped in sackcloth; the skull and the upper part of it were in a good state of preservation, but the lower extremities had crumbled to dust.
* Ducange. Gloss. tom. iii. p. 16, 17 ; ed. 1678, verb. Oblati
† Peck. MS. vol. iv. p. 67.
Neither the number nor the position of the coffins below corresponded with the figures above, and it is quite clear that these last have been removed from their original position.
In Camden’s Britannia, the first edition of which was published in the 38th of Eliz., A.D. 1586, we are informed that many noblemen lie buried in the Temple Church, whose effigies are to be seen cross-legged, among whom were William the father, and William and Gilbert his sons, earls of Pembroke and marshals of England.* Stow, in his Survey of London, the first edition of which was published A.D. 1598, speaks of them as follows:
“In the round walk (which is the west part without the quire) there remain monuments of noblemen there buried, to the number of eleven. Eight of them are images of armed knights; five lying crosslegged, as men vowed to the Holy Land against the infidels and unbelieving Jews, the other three straight-legged The rest are coped stones, all of gray marble.”† A manuscript history of the Temple in the Inner Temple library, written at the commencement of the reign of Charles the First, tells us that “the crossed-legged images or portraitures remain in carved stone in the middle of the round walke, environed with barres of iron.”‡ And Dug-dale, in his Origines Juridiciales, published 1666, thus describes them: “Within a spacious grate of iron in the midst of the round walkunder the steeple, do lye eight statues in military habits, each of them having large and deep shields on their left armes, of which five are cross-legged. There are also three other gravestones lying about five inches above the level of the ground, on one of which is a large escocheon, with a lion rampant graven thereon.”* Such is the ancient account of these monuments; now, however, six instead of five cross-legged statues are to be seen, making nine armed knights, whilst only one coped gravestone remains. The effigies are no longer inclosed “within a spacious grate of iron,” but are divided into two groups environed by iron railings, and are placed on either side of the entrance to the oblong portion of the church.
* Plurimique nobiles apud eos humati fuerunt, quorum imagines visuntur in hoc Templo, tibiis in crucem transversis (sic enim sepulti fuerunt quotquot illo sasculo nomina bello sacro dedissent, vel qui ut tune temporis sunt locuti crucem suscepissent.)
E quibus fuerunt Guilielmus Pater, Guilielmus et Gilberti ejus filii, onines marescalli Angliæ, comitesque Pembrochiæ .—Camden’s Britannia, p. 375.
† Stow’s Survey.
‡ MS. Inner Temple Library, No. 17. fol. 402.
Whatever change was made in their original position appears to have been effected at the time that the church was so shamefully disfigured by the Protestant lawyers, either in the year 1682, when it was “thoroughly repaired,” or in 1695, when “the ornamental screen was set up in itinasmuch, as we are informed by a newspaper, called the Flying Post, of the date of the 2nd of January, 1696, that Roger Gillingham, Esq., treasurer of the Middle Temple, who died on the 29th of December, 1695, aet. seventy, had the credit of facing the Temple Church with New Portland stone, and of “marshalling the Knights Templars in uniform order.”† Stow tells us that “the first of the crossed legged was William Marshall, the elder, earl of Pembroke,” but the effigy of that nobleman now stands the second; the additional figure appears to have been placed the first, and seems to have been brought from the western doorway and laid by the side of the others.
During the recent restoration of the church, it was necessary to excavate the earth in every part of the Round, and just beneath the pavement of the external circular aisle or portico environing the tower, was found a broken sarcophagus of Purbeck marble, containing a skull and some bones apparently of very great antiquity; the upper surface of the sarcophagus was on a level with the ancient pavement; it had no mark or inscription upon it, and seemed originally to have been decorated with a monumental effigy.
From two ancient manuscript accounts of the foundation of Walden Abbey, written by the monks of that great religious house, we learn that Geoffrey de Magnaville, earl of Essex, the founder of it, being slain by an arrow, in the year 1144, was taken by the Knights Templars to the Old Temple, that he was afterwards removed to the cemetery of the New Temple, and that his body was buried in the portico before the western door of the church.* The sarcophagus lately found in that position is of Purbeck marble; so also is the first figure on the south side of the Round, whilst nearly all the others are of common stone. The tablet whereon it rests had been grooved round the edges and polished; three sides were perfect, but the fourth had decayed away to the extent of six or seven inches. The sides of the marble sarcophagus had also been carefully smoothed and polished. The same thing was not observable amongst the other sarcophagi and figures. It must, moreover, be mentioned, that the first figure on the south side had no coffin of any description under it. We may, therefore, reasonably conclude, that this figure is the monumental effigy of Geoffrey de Magnaville, earl of Essex. It represents an armed knight with his legs crossed,† in token that he had assumed the cross, and taken a vow to fight in defence of the Christian faith. His body is cased in chain mail, over which is worn a loose flowing garment confined to the waist by a girdle, his right arm is placed on his breast, and his left supports a long shield charged with rays on a diamond ground. On his right side hangs a ponderous sword of immense length, and his head, which rests on a stone cushion, is covered with an elegantly-shaped helmet.
* Origines Juridiciales, p. 173.
† Nicholls’ Leicestershire, vol. iii. p. 960.
Geoffrey de Magnaville, earl of Essex, to whose memory the above monument appears to have been erected, was one of the most violent of those “barons bold” who desolated England so fearfully during the reign of King Stephen. He was the son of that famous soldier, Geoffrey de Magnaville, who fought so valiantly at the battle of Hastings, and was endowed by the conqueror with one hundred and eighteen lordships in England. From his father William de Magnaville, and his mother Magaret, daughter and heiress of the great Eudo Dapifer, Sir Geoffrey inherited an immense estate in England and in Normandy. On the accession of King Stephen to the throne, he was made constable of the Tower, and created earl of Essex, and was sent by the king to the Isle of Ely to put down a rebellion which had been excited there by Baldwin de Rivers, and Nigel bishop of Ely.‡
In A.D. 1136, he founded the great abbey of Walden in Essex, which was consecrated by the bishops of London, Ely, and Norwich, in the presence of Sir Geoffrey, the lady Roisia his wife, and all his principal tenants. § For some time after the commencement of the war between Stephen and the empress Matilda for the succession to the throne, he remained faithful to the former, but after the fatal result of the bloody battle of Lincoln, in which King Stephen was taken prisoner, he, in common with most of the other barons, adhered to the party of Matilda; and that princess, fully sensible of his great power and commanding influence, left no means untried to attach him permanently to her interests. She confirmed him in his post of constable of the Tower; granted him the hereditary shrievalties of several counties, together with large estates and possessions both in England and in Normandy, and invested him with numerous and important privileges.* On the flight of the empress, however, and the discomfiture of her party, King Stephen was released from prison, and an apparent reconciliation took place between him and his powerful vassal the earl of Essex, but shortly afterward the king ventured upon the bold step of seizing and imprisoning the earl and his father-in-law, Aubrey de Vere, whilst they were unsuspectingly attending the court at Saint Alban’s.
* “ In portico ante ostium ecclesias occidentale.” The word proticus, which means “ a walking place environed with pillars,” exactly corresponds with the external circular walk surrounding the round tower of the church.
† Some surprise has been expressed that the effigies of women should be found in this curious position. It must be recollected, that women frequently fought in the field during the Crusades, and were hightly applauded for so doing.
‡ Hoveden apud rer. Anglicar. Script. post Bedam, p. 488. Dugdale’s Baronage, vol.i. p. 201. Lei. Coll. Vol. i. 864.
§ Monast. Angl., vol. i. p. 444 to 464.
The earl of Essex was compelled to surrender the Tower of London, and several of his strong castles, as the price of his freedom;† but he was no sooner at liberty, than he collected together his vassals and adherents, and raised the standard of rebellion. He was joined by crowds of freebooters and needy adventurers, and soon found himself at the head of a powerful army. He laid waste the royal domains, pillaged the king’s servants, and subsisted his followers upon plunder. He took and sacked the town of Cambridge, laid waste the surrounding country, and stormed several royal castles. He was afterwards compelled to retreat for a brief period into the fens before a superior force led against him by King Stephen in person.
The most frightful excesses are said to have been committed by this potent earl. He sent spies, we are told, to beg from door to door, and discover where rich men dwelt, that he might seize them at night in their beds, throw them into dungeons, and compel the payment of a heavy ransom for their liberty.‡
He got by water to Ramsey, and entering the abbey of St. Benedict at morning’s dawn, surprised the monks asleep in their beds after the fatigue of nocturnal offices; he turned them out of their cells, filled the abbey with his soldiers, and made a fort of the church; he took away all the gold and silver vessels of the altar, the copes and vestments of the priests and singers ornamented with precious stones, and all the decorations of the church, and sold them for money to reward his soldiers.* The monkish historians of the period speak with horror of these sacrilegious excesses.
* Dugd. Bar., vol. i. p. 202. Selden, tit. hon. p. 647.
† Triveti annales apud Hall, p. 12, 13, ad ann. 1143. Guill. Neubr. Lib. i. cap. ii. p. 44. ad ann. 1143. Hoveden, p. 488, Hist. Minor. Matt. Par. in bib. Reg. apud S. Jacobum.
‡ Henry Huntingdon, lib. viii. Rer. Anglicar. Script. post Bedam, p. 393. Chron. Gervasii, apud script. X. col. Radulph de Diceto, ib. col. 508. Vir autem iste magnanimus, velut equus validus et infrænus, maneria, villas, cæteraque, proprietatem regiam contingents, invasit, igni combussit, &c. &c. MS. In Bibl. Arund., A. D. 1647, a. 43. cap. ix., now in the Library of the Royal Society. Annales Dunstaple apud Hearne, tom. i. p. 25.
“He dared,” says William, the monk of Newburgh, who lived in the reign of King Stephen, “to make that celebrated and holy place a robber’s cave, and to turn the sanctuary of the Lord into an abode of the devil. He infested all the neighbouring provinces with frequent incursions, and at length, emboldened by constant success, he alarmed and harassed King Stephen himself by his daring attacks. He thus, indeed, raged madly, and it seemed as if the Lord slept and cared no longer for human affairs, or rather his own, that is to say, ecclesiastical affairs, so that the pious labourers in Christ’s vineyard exclaimed, ‘Arise, O God, maintain thine own cause … how long shall the adversary do this dishonour, how long shall the enemy blaspheme thy name?’ But God, willing to make his power known, as the apostle saith, endured with much ‘long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction,’ and at last smote his enemies in their hinder parts. It was discovered indeed, a short time before the destruction of this impious man, as we have learned from the true relation of many witnesses, that the walls of the church sweated pure blood,— a terrible manifestation, as it afterwards appeared, of the enormity of the crime, and of the speedy judgement of God upon the sinners.”†
For this sacrilege and impiety Sir Geoffrey was excommunicated, but, deriding the spiritual thunders, he went and laid siege to the royal castle at Bur well. After a successful attack which brought him to the foot of the rampart, he took off his helmet, it being summer-time and the weather hot, that he might breathe more freely, when a foot soldier belonging to the garrison shot an arrow from a loophole in the castle wall, and gave him a slight wound on the head; “which slight wound,” says our worthy monk of Newburgh, “although at first treated with derision, after a few days destroyed him, so that that most ferocious man, never having been absolved from the bond of the ecclesiastical curse, went to hell.”‡
* Vaaa autem altaris aurea et argentea Deo sacrata, capaa etiam cantorum lapidibus preciosia ac opere mirifico contextas, casulaa cum albis et cæteris ecclesiastici decoris ornamentia rapuit, &c. MS. ut sup. Gest. reg. Steph. p. 693, 964.
† De vitâ sceleratâ et condigno interitu Gaufridi de Magnavilla.—Guill. Neubr. lib. i. cap. xi. p. 44 to 46. Henry of Huntingdon, who lived in King Stephen’s reign, and kept up a correspondence with the abbot of Ramsay, thus speaks of this wonderful phenomenon, of which he declares himself an eye-witness. Dum autem ecclesia ilia pro castello teneretur, ebullivit sanguis a parietibus ecclesiæ; et claustri adjacentis, indignationem divinam manifestans; sceleratorum exterminationem denuntians, quod quidem multi viderant, et ego ipse quidem meis oculis inspexi! Script.post Bedam. lib. viii. p. 393, ed. 1601, Francfort. Hoveden, who wrote shortly after, has copied this account. Annales, ib. p. 488.
‡ Guill Neubr, ut supr. p. 45, 46. Chron. Gervasii, apud X. script, col. 1360. Annal. S. Augustin. Trivet ad ann. 1144, p. 14. Chron. Brampton, col. 1033. Hoveden, ut supr. p. 488.
Peter de Langtoft thus speaks of these evil doings of the earl of Essex, in his curious poetic chronicle.
“The abbay of Rameseie bi nyght he robbed it
The tresore bare aweie with hand thei myght on hit.
Abbot, and prior, and monk, thei did outchace,
Of holy kirke a toure to theft thei mad it place.
Roberd the Marmion, the same wayes did he,
He robbed thorgh treson the kirk of Couentre.
Here now of their schame, what chance befelle,
The story sais the same soth as the gospelle:
Geffrey of Maundeuile to fele wrouh ho wouh,*
The deuelle gald him his while with an arrowe him slouh.
The gode bishop of Chestre cursed this ilk Geffrey,
The lif out of his estre in cursing went away.
Arnulf his sonne was taken als thefe, and brouht in bond,
Before the kyng forsaken, and exiled out of his lond.”†
The monks of Walden tell us, that as the earl lay wounded on his sick couch, and felt the hand of death pressing heavy upon him, he bitterly repented of his evil deeds, and sought, but in vain, for ecclesiastical assistance. At last some Knights Templars came to him, and finding him humble and contrite, praying earnestly to God, and making what satisfaction he could for his past offences, they put on him the habit of their religion marked with the red cross. After he had expired, they carried the dead body with them to the Old Temple at London; but as the earl had died excommunicated, they durst not give him Christian burial in consecrated ground, and they accordingly soldered him up in lead, and hung him on a crooked tree in their orchard.‡
Some years afterwards, through the exertions and at the expense of William, whom the earl had made prior of Walden Abbey, his absolution was obtained from pope Alexander the Third, so that his body was permitted to be received amongst Christians, and the divine offices to be celebrated for him. The prior accordingly endeavoured to take down the corpse and carry it to Walden; but the Templars, being informed of his design, buried it in their own cemetery at the New Temple,* in the portico before the western door of the church.†
* Grew mad with much anger.
† Peter Langtoft’s Chronicle, vol. i. 123, by Robert of Brunne, Translated from a MS. in the Inner Temple Library, Oxon. 1725.
‡ In pomoerio suo veteris, scilicet Templi apud London, canali inclusum plumbeo, in arbore torvâ suspenderant. Ancient MS. De fundatione coenobii Sancti Jacobi de Waldena, fol. 43, a. cap. ix. No. 51, in the Library of the Royal Society.
Pope Alexander, from whom the absolution was obtained, was elected to the pontifical chair in September, 1159, and died in 1181. It was this pontiff who, who by the bull omne datum optimum, promulgated in the year 1162, conceded to the Templars the privilege of having their own cemeteries free from the interference of the regular clergy. The land whereon the convent of the New Temple was erected, was purchased soon after the publication of the above bull, and a cemetery was doubtless consecrated there for the brethren long before the completion of the church. To this cemetery the body of the earl was removed after the absolution had been obtained, and when the church was consecrated by the patriarch, (A.D. 1185), it was finally buried in the portico before the west door.
The monks of Walden tell us that the above earl of Essex was a religious man, endowed with many virtues.‡
He was married to the famous Roisia de Vere, of the family of the earls of Oxford, who in her old age led an ascetic life, and constructed for herself an extraordinary subterranean cell or oratory, which was curiously discovered towards the close of the last century. § He had issue by this illustrious lady four sons, Ernulph, Geoffrey, William, and Robert. Ernulph was exiled as the accomplice of the father in his evil deeds, and Geoffrey succeded to the title and the estates.
The second of the cross-legged figures on the south side, in the Round of the Temple Church, is the monumental effigy of
WILLIAM MARSHALL, EARL OF PEMBROKE,
EARL MARSHALL, AND PROTECTOR OF ENGLAND, DURING the minority of King Henry the Third, and one of the greatest of the warriors and statesmen who shine in English history. Matthew Paris describes his burial in the Temple Church in the year 1119, and in Camden’s time, (A.D. 1586), the inscription upon his monument was legible. “In altero horum tumulo,” says Camden, “literis fugien bus legi, Comes Pembrochice, et in latere, Miles eram Martis, Mars multos vicerat armis”* Although no longer, (“the first of the cross-legged”), as described by Stow, A.D. 1598, yet tradition has always, since the days of Roger Gillingham, who moved these figures, pointed it out as “the monument, of the protector,” and the lion rampant, still plainly visible upon the shield, was the armorial bearing of the Marshalls.
* Cumque Prior ille, corpus defunctum deponere, et secum Waldenam transferre satageret, Templarii caute premeditati, statim illud tollentes, in cimiterio Novi Templi ignobili satis tradiderunt sepulturæ.—Ib.
† A.D. mclxiIII, sexto kal. Octobris, obiit Galfridus de Mandeuil, comes Essexiæ, fundator primus hujus monasterii de Walden, cujus corpus jacet Londoniis humatum, apud Temple-bar in porticu ante ostium ecclesioe occidental. MS. in the library of the Royal Society, marked No. 29, entitled Liber de fundatione Sancti Jacobi Apostoli de Waldenâ. Cotton, MS. Vesp. E. vi. fol. 25.
‡ Hoveden speaks of him as a man of the highest probity, but irreligious. Erat autem summæ probitatis, sed summæ in Deum obstinationis, magnæ in mundanis diligentiæ, magnæ in Deum negligentiæ. Hoveden ut supra.
§ It was a recess, hewn out of the chalk, of a bell shape and exactly circular, thirty feet high and seventy feet in diameter. The sides of this curious retreat were adorned with imagery in basso relievo of crucifixes, saints, martyrs, and historical pieces, which the pious and eccentric lady is supposed to have cut for her entertainment.—See the extraordinary account of the discovery, in 1742, of the Lady Roisia’s Cave at Royston, published by Dr. Stukeley. Cambridge, 1795.
This interesting monumental effigy is carved in a common kind of stone, called by the masons firestone. It represents an armed warrior clothed from head to foot in chain mail; he is in the act of sheathing a sword which hangs on his left side; his legs are crossed, and his feet, which are armed with spurs, rest on a lion couchant. Over his armour is worn a loose garment, confined to the waist by a girdle, and from his left arm hangs suspended a shield, having a lion rampant engraved thereon. The greater part of the sword has been broken away and lost, which has given rise to the supposition that he is sheathing a dagger. The head is defended by a round helmet, and rests on a stone pillow.
The family of the Marshalls derived their name from the hereditary office of earl marshall, which they held under the crown.
The above William Marshall was the son and heir of John Marshall, earl of Strigul, and was the faithful and constant supporter of the royal house of Plantagenet. When the young Prince Henry, eldest son of King Henry the Second, was on his deathbed at the castle of Martel near Turenne, he gave to him, as his best friend, his cross to carry to Jerusalem.† On the return of William Marshall from the holy city, he was present at the coronation of Richard Coecur de Lion, and bore on that occasion the royal sceptre of gold surmounted by a cross.‡ King Richard the same year gave him in marriage Isabel de Clare, the only child and heiress of Richard de Clare, earl of Pembroke, surnamed Strongbow, and granted him with this illustrious lady the earldom of Pembroke. § The year following (A.D. 1190) he became one of the sureties for the performance by King Richard of his part of the treaty entered into with the king of France for the accomplishment of the crusade to the Holy Land, and on the departure of King Richard for the far East he was appointed by that monarch one of the council for the government of the kingdom during his absence.*
* Camden’s Britannia, ed. 1600, p. 375.
† Tradidit Willielmo Marescallo, familiari suo, crucem suam Jerosolymam deferendam. Hoveden ad ann. 1183, apud rer. Anglic. Script. post Bedam, p. 620.
‡ Chron. Joan Brompton, apud X. script. col. 1158. Hoveden, p. 655, 666.
§ Selden’s Tit. of Honour, p. 677.
From the year 1189 to 1205 he was sheriff of Lincolnshire, and was after that sheriff of Sussex, and held that office during the whole of King Richard’s reign. He attended Coeur de Lion in his expedition to Normandy, and on the death of that monarch by the hand of Bertram, the cross-bow-man, before the walls of Castle Ghaluz, he was sent over to England to keep the peace of the kingdom until the arrival of King John. In conjunction with Hubert, archbishop of Canterbury, he caused the freemen of England, both of the cities and boroughs, and most of the earls, barons, and free tenants, to swear fealty to John.†
On the arrival of the latter in England he was constituted sheriff of Gloucestershire and of Sussex, and was shortly afterwards sent into Normandy at the head of a large body of forces. He commanded in the famous battle fought A.D. 1202 before the fortress of Mirabel, in which the unfortunate Prince Arthur and his lovely sister Eleanor, “the pearl of Brittany,” were taken prisoners, together with the earl of March, most of the nobility of Poictou and Anjou, and two hundred French knights, who were ignominiously put into fetters, and sent away in carts to Normandy. This battle was followed, as is well known, by the mysterious death of Prince Arthur, who is said to have been murdered by King John himself, whilst the beautiful Eleanor, nicknamed La Bret, who, after the death of her brother, was the next heiress to the crown of England, was confined in close custody in Bristol Castle, where she remained a prisoner for life. At the head of four thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry, the earl Marshall attempted to relieve the fortress of Chateau Gaillard, which was besieged by Philip king of France, but failed in consequence of the non-arrival of seventy flat-bottomed vessels, whose progress up the river Seine had been retarded by a strong contrary wind.‡ For his fidelity and services to the crown he was rewarded with numerous manors, lands, and castles, both in England and in Normandy, with the whole province of Leinster in Ireland, and he was made governor of the castles of Caermerden, Cardigan, and Coher.
In the year 1204 he was sent ambassador to Paris, and on his return he continued to be the constant and faithful attendant of the English monarch. He was one of the witnesses to the surrender by King John at Temple Ewell of his crown and kingdom to the pope,§ and when the barons’ war broke out he was the constant mediator and negotiator between the king and his rebellious subjects, enjoying the confidence and respect of both parties. When the armed barons came to the Temple, where King John resided, to demand the liberties and laws of King Edward, he became surety for the performance of the king’s promise to satisfy their demands. He was afterwards deputed to inquire what these laws and liberties were, and after having received at Stamford the written demands of the barons, he urged the king to satisfy them. Failing in this, he returned to Stamford to explain the king’s denial, and the barons’ war then broke out. He afterwards accompanied King John to the Tower, and when the barons entered London he was sent to announce the submission of the king to their desires. Shortly afterwards he attended King John to Runnymede, in company with Brother Americ, the Master of the Temple, and at the earnest request of these two exalted personages, King John was at last induced to sign Magna charta*.
* Hoveden, p. 659, 660. Radulf de Diceto, apud X. script. p. 659.
† Matt. Par., p. 196. Hoveden, p. 792. Dugdale Baronage, tom. i. p. 601.
‡Trivet, p. 144. Gul. Britt, lib. vii. Ann. Waverley, p. 168.
§ I Matt. Par., p. 237.
On the death of that monarch, in the midst of a civil war and a foreign invasion, he assembled the loyal bishops and barons of the land at Gloucester, and by his eloquence, talents, and address, secured the throne for King John’s son, the young Prince Henry.† The greater part of England was at that time in the possession of Prince Louis, the dauphin of France, who had landed with a French army at Sandwich, and was supported by the late king’s rebellious barons in a claim to the throne. Pembroke was chosen guardian and protector of the young king and of the kingdom, and exerted himself with great zeal and success in driving out the French, and in bringing back the English to their ancient allegiance.‡ He offered pardon in the king’s name to the disaffected barons for their past offences. He confirmed, in the name of the youthful sovereign, Magna Charta and the Charta ForestÆ; and as the great seal had been lost by King John, together with all his treasure, in the washes of Lincolnshire, the deeds of confirmation were sealed with the seal of the earl marshall change as marshall.§ He also extended the benefit of Magna Charta to Ireland, and commanded all the sheriffs to read it publicly at the county courts, and enforce its observance in every particular. Having thus exerted himself to remove the just complaints of the disaffected, he levied a considerable army, and having left the young king at Bristol, he proceeded to lay siege to the castle of Mountsorel in Leicestershire, which was in the possession of the French.
Prince Louis had, in the mean time, despatched an army of twenty thousand men, officered by six hundred knights, from London against the northern counties. These mercenaries stormed various strong castles, despoiled the towns, villages, and religious houses, and laid waste the open country. The protector concentrated all his forces at Newarke, and on Whit-monday, A.D. 1217, he marched at their head, accompanied by his eldest son and the young king, to raise the siege of Lincoln Castle. On arriving at Stow he halted his army, and leaving the youthful monarch and the royal family at that place under the protection of a strong guard, he proceeded with the remainder of his forces to Lincoln. On Saturday in Whitsun week (A.D. 1217) he gained a complete victory over the disaffected English and their French allies, and gave a deathblow to the hopes and prospects of the dauphin. Four earls, eleven barons, and four hundred knights, were taken prisoners, besides common soldiers innumerable. The earl of Perch, a Frenchman, was slain whilst manfully defending himself in a churchyard, having previously had his horse killed under him. The rebel force lost all their baggage, provisions, treasure, and the spoil which they had accumulated from the plunder of the northern provinces, among which were many valuable gold and silver vessels torn from the churches and the monasteries.
* Matt. Par., p. 253—256, ad ann. 1215.
† See his eloquent address to the bishops and barons in behalf of the young king.— Hemingford, lib. iii. cap. 1. p. 562, apud Gale XV. script.
‡ Matt. Par., p. 289, ad ann. 1216. Acta Rymeri, tom. i. p. 216.
§ Hemingford, p. 565, 568. “These liberties, distinctly reduced to writing, we send to you our faithful subjects, sealded with the seal of our faithful William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, the guardian of us and our kingdom, because we have not as yet any seal.” Acta Rymeri, tom. i. part 1. p. 146, ed. 1816. Thomson, on Magna Charta, p. 117, 130. All the charters and letters patent were sealed with the seal of the earl marshall, “ Rectoris nostril et regni, eo quod nondum sigillum habuimus. Acta Rymeri, tom. i. 224, ed. 1704.
As soon as the fate of the day was decided, the protector rode back to the young king at Stow, and was the first to communicate the happy intelligence of his victory.* He then marched upon London, where Prince Louis and his adherents had fortified themselves, and leaving a corps of observation in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, he proceeded to take possession of all the eastern counties. Having received intelligence of the concentration of a French fleet at Calais to make a descent upon the English coast, he armed the ships of the Cinque Ports, and, intercepting the French vessels, he gained a brilliant victory over a much superior naval force of the enemy.† By his valour and military talents he speedily reduced the French prince to the necessity of suing for peace.‡ On the 11th of September a personal interview took place between the latter and the protector at Staines near London, and it was agreed that the prince and all the French forces should immediately evacuate the country.
Having thus rescued England from the danger of a foreign yoke, and having established tranquillity throughout the country, and secured the young King Henry in the peaceable and undisputed possession of the throne, he died (A.D. 1219) at Caversham, leaving behind him, says Matthew Paris, such a reputation as few could compare with. His dead body was, in the first instance, conveyed to the abbey at Reading, where it was received by the monks in solemn procession. It was placed in the choir of the church, and high mass was celebrated with vast pomp. On the following day it was brought to Westminster Abbey, where high mass was again performed; and from thence it was borne in state to the Temple Church, where it was solemnly interred on Ascension-day, A.D. 1219.* Matthew Paris tells us that the following epitaph was composed to the memory of the above distinguished nobleman:
* Matt Par., p. 292—296.
† Matthew Paris bears witness to the great superiority of the English sailors over the French even in those days.—Ibid., p. 298. Trivet, p. 167 — 169.
‡ Acta Rymeri, tom. i. p. 219, 221, 223.
“ Sum quem Saturnum sibi sensit Hibernia, solem
Anglia, Mercurium Normannia, Gallia Martem.”
For he was, says he, always the tamer of the mischievous Irish, the honour and glory of the English, the negotiator of Normandy, in which he transacted many affairs, and a warlike and invincible soldier in France.
The inscription upon his tomb was, in Camden’s time, almost illegible, as before mentioned, and the only verse that could be read was,
“Miles eram Martis Mars multos vicerat armis.”
All the historians of the period speak in the highest terms of the earl of Pembroke as a warrior† and a statesman, and concur in giving him a noble character. Shakespeare, consequently, in his play of King John, represents him as the eloquent intercessor in behalf of the unfortunate Prince Arthur.
Surrounded by the nobles, he thus addresses the King on his throne—
“Pembroke. I (as one that am the tongue of these,
To sound the purposes of all their hearts),
Both for myself and them, (but, chief of all,
Your safety, for the which myself and them
Bend their best studies), heartily request
The enfranchisement of Arthur; whose restraint
Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent
To break into this dangerous argument,—
If, what in rest you have, in right you hold,
Why then your feara, (which, as they say, attend
The steps of wrong), should move you to mew up
Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days
With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth
The rich advantage of good exercise?
That the time’s enemies may not have
this To grace occasions, let it be our suit
That you have bid us ask his liberty;
Which for our goods we do no further ask,
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending.
Counts it your weal, he have his liberty.”
* Dugd. Baronage, tom. i. p. 602, A. D. 1219. Willielmus senior, mareschallus Regis et rector regni, diem clausit extremum, et Londini apud Novum Templum honorifice tumulatur, scilicet in ecclesia, in Ascensionis die videlicet xvii. Calendas Aprilis.––Matt. Par. p. 304. Ann Dunstaple, ad ann. 1219. Ann. Waverley.
† Miles strenuissimus et per universum orbem nominatissimus.—Chron. T. Wikes apud Gale, script. XV. p. 39.
Afterwards, when he is shown the dead body of the unhappy prince, he exclaims—
“O death, made proud with pure and princely beauty!
The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
All murders past do stand excused in this:
And this, so sole, and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet unbegotten sin of times,
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.”
This illustrious nobleman was a great benefactor to the Templars. He granted them the advowsons of the churches of Spenes, Castelan-Embyan, together with eighty acres of land in Eschirmanhir.*
By the side of the earl of Pembroke, towards the northern windows of the Round of the Temple Church, reposes a youthful warrior, clothed in armour of chain mail; he has a long buckler on his left arm, and his hands are pressed together in supplication upon his breast. This is the monumental effigy of Robert Lord de Ros, and is the most elegant and interesting in appearance of all the cross-legged figures in the Temple Church. The head is uncovered, and the countenance, which is youthful, has a remarkably pleasing expression, and is graced with long and flowing locks of curling hair. On the left side of the figure is a ponderous sword, and the armour of the legs has a ridge or seam up the front, which is continued over the knee, and forms a kind of garter below the knee. The feet are trampling on a lion, and the legs are crossed in token that the warrior was one of those military enthusiasts who so strangely mingled religion and romance, “whose exploits form the connecting link between fact and fiction, between history and the fairy tale.” It has generally been thought that this interesting figure is intended to represent a genuine Knight Templar clothed in the habit of his order, and the loose garment or surcoat thrown over the ring-armour, and confined to the waist by a girdle, has been described as “a flowing mantle with a kind of cowl.” This supposed cowl is nothing more than a fold of the chain mail, which has been covered with a thick coating of paint. The mantle is the common surcoat worn by the secular warriors of the day, and is not the habit of the Temple. Moreover, the long curling hair manifests that the warrior whom it represents could not have been a Templar, as the brethren of the Temple were required to cut their hair close, and they wore long beards.
* Monast. Angl., p. 833, 834, 837, 843.
In an ancient genealogical account of the Ros family,* written at the commencement of the reign of Henry the Eighth, A.D. 1513, two centuries after the abolition of the Order of the Temple, it is stated that Robert Lord de Ros became a Templar, and was buried at London. The writer must have been mistakened, as that nobleman remained in possession of his estates up to the day of his death, and his eldest son, after his decease, had livery of his lands, and paid his fine to the king in the usual way, which would not have been the case if the Lord de Ros had entered into the Order of the Temple. He was doubtless an associate or honorary member of the fraternity, and the circumstance of his being buried in the Temple Church probably gave rise to the mistake. The shield of his monumental effigy is charged with three water bougets, the armorial ensigns of his family, similar to those observable in the north aisle of Westminster Abbey.
Robert Lord de Ros, in consequence of the death of his father in the prime of life, succeeded to his estates at the early age of thirteen, and in the second year of the reign of Richard Coeur de Lion, (A.D. 1190), he paid a fine of one thousand marks, (£666, 13s.4d.), to the king for livery of his lands. In the eighth year of the same king, he was charged with the custody of Hugh de Chaumont, an illustrious French prisoner of war, and was commanded to keep him safe as his own life. He, however, devolved the duty upon his servant,William de Spiney, who, being bribed, suffered the Frenchman to escape from the Castle of Bonville, in consequence whereof the Lord de Ros was compelled by King Richard to pay eight hundred pounds, the ransom of the prisoner, and William de Spiney was executed.†
On the accession of King John to the throne, the Lord de Ros was in high favour at court, and received by grant from that monarch the barony of his ancestor, Walter l’Espec. He was sent into Scotland with letters of safe conduct to the king of Scots, to enable that monarch to proceed to England to do homage, and during his stay in Scotland he fell in love with Isabella, the beautiful daughter of the Scottish king, and demanded and obtained her hand in marriage. He attended her royal father on his journey into England to do homage to King John, and was present at the interview between the two monarchs on the hill near Lincoln, when the king of Scotland swore fealty on the cross of Hubert archbishop of Canterbury, in the presence of the nobility of both kingdoms, and a vast concourse of spectators.* From his sovereign the Lord de Ros obtained various privileges and immunities, and in the year 1213 he was made sheriff of Cumberland. He was at first faithful to King John, but, in common with the best and bravest of the nobles of the land, he afterwards shook off his allegiance, raised the standard of rebellion, and was amongst the foremost of those bold patriots who obtained Magna Charta. He was chosen one of the twenty-five conservators of the public liberties, and engaged to compel John to observe the great charter.† Upon the death of that monarch he was induced to adhere to the infant Prince Henry, through the influence and persuasions of the earl of Pembroke, the Protector,‡ and he received from the youthful monarch various marks of the royal favour. He died in the eleventh year of the reign of the young King Henry the Third, (A.D. 1227), and was buried in the Temple Church. §
* MS. Bib. Cotton.Vitellius, F. 4. Monast. Angl., tom. i. p. 728, ed. 1655.
† Matt. Par., p. 182. ad ann. 1196.
The above Lord de Ros was a great benefactor to the Templars. He granted them the manor of Ribstane, and the advowson of the church, the ville of Walesford, and all his windmills at that place; the ville of Hulsyngore, with the wood and windmill there; also all his land at Cattail, and various tenements in Conyngstreate, York.**
Weever has evidently misapplied the inscription seen on the ancient monument of Brother Constance Hover, the visitor-general of the Order of the Temple, to the above nobleman.
As regards the remaining monumental effigies in the Temple Church, it appears utterly impossible at this distance of time to identify them, as there are no armorial bearings on their shields, or aught that can give us a clue to their history. There can be no doubt but that two of the figures are intended to represent William Marshall, junior, and Gilbert Marshall, both earls of Pembroke, and sons of the Protector. Matthew Paris tells us that these noblemen were buried by the side of their father in the Temple Church, and their identification would consequently have been easy but for the unfortunate removal of the figures from their original situations by the immortal Roger Gillingham.
Next to the Lord de Ros reposes a stern warrior, with both his arms crossed on his breast. He has a plain wreath around his head, and his shield, which has no armorial bearings, is slung on his left arm. By the side of this figure is a coaped stone, which formed the lid of an ancient sarcophagus. The ridges upon it represent a cross, the top of which terminates in a trefoil, whilst the foot rests on the head of a lamb. From the middle of the shaft of the cross issue two fleurets or leaves. As the lamb was the emblem of the Order of the Temple, it is probable that the sarcophagus to which this coaped stone belonged, contained the dead body either of one of the Masters, or of one of the visitors-general of the Templars.
* Hoveden apud rer. Anglicar. script, post Bedam, p. 811.
† Matt. Par. p. 254, 262. Lel. Col. Vol. i. p. 362.
‡ Acta Rymeri, tom. i. p. 224. ad ann. 1217.
§ Dugd. Baronage, vol. i. p. 545, 546.
** Monast. Angl., vol. vi. part ii. p. 838, 842.
Of the figures in the northernmost group of monumental effigies in the Temple Church, only two are cross-legged. The first figure on the south side of the row, which is straight-legged, holds a drawn sword in its right hand pointed towards the ground; the feet are supported by a leopard, and the cushion under the head is adorned with sculptured foliage and flowers. The third figure has the sword suspended on the right side, and the hands are joined in a devotional attitude upon the breast. The fourth has a spirited appearance. It represents a cross-legged warrior in the act of drawing a sword, whilst he is at the same time trampling a dragon under his feet, It is emblematical of the religious soldier conquering the enemies of the Christian church. The next and last monumental effigy, which likewise has its legs crossed, is similar in dress and appearance to the others; the right arm reposes on the breast, and the left hand rests on the sword. These two last figures, which correspond in character, costume, and appearance, may perhaps be the monumental effigies of William and Gilbert Marshall, the two sons of the Protector.
William Marshall, commonly called the younger, was one of the bold and patriotic barons who compelled King John to sign Magna Charta. He was appointed one of the twenty-five conservators of the public liberties, and was one of the chief leaders and promoters of the barons’ war, being a party to the covenant for holding the city and Tower of London.* On the death of King John, his father the Protector brought him over to the cause of the young King Henry, the rightful heir to the throne, whom he served with zeal and fidelity. He was a gallant soldier, and greatly distinguished himself in a campaign in Wales. He overthrew Prince Llewellyn in battle with the loss of eight thousand men, and laid waste the dominions of that prince with fire and sword.† For these services he had scutage of all his tenants in twenty counties in England! He was made governor of the castles of Cardigan and Carmarthen, and received various marks of royal favour. In the fourteenth year of the reign of King Henry the Third, he was made captain-general of the king’s forces in Brittany, and, whilst absent in that country, a war broke out in Ireland, whereupon he was sent to that kingdom with a considerable army to restore tranquillity. He married Eleanor, the daughter of King John by the beautiful Isabella of Angoulême, and he was consequently the brother-in-law of the young King Henry the Third.* He died without issue, A.D. 1231, (16 Hen. III.), and on the 14th of April he was buried in the Temple Church at London, by the side of his father the Protector. He was greatly beloved by King Henry the Third, who attended his funeral, and Matthew Paris tells us, that when the king saw the dead body covered with the mournful pall, he heaved a deep sigh, and was greatly affected.†
* Matt. Par. p. 254, 256. Lei. col. vol. i. p. 841.
† Matt. Par. p. 317, ad ann. 1223.
The manors, castles, estates, and possessions of this powerful nobleman in England, Wales, Ireland, and Normandy, were immense. He gave extensive forest lands to the monks of Tinterne in Wales; he founded the monastery of Friars preachers in Dublin, and to the Templars he gave the church of Westone with all its appurtenances, and granted and confirmed to them the borough of Baudac, the estate of Langenache, with various lands, windmills, and villeins of the soil.‡
GILBERT MARSHALL, EARL OF PEMBROKE, brother to the above, and third son of the Protector, succeeded to the earldom and the vast estates of his ancestors on the melancholy murder in Ireland of his gallant brother Richard, “the flower of the chivalry of that time,” (A.D. 1234). The year after his accession to the title he married Margaret, the daughter of the king of Scotland, who is desribed by Matthew Paris as “a most elegant girl,”§ and received with her a splendid dowry. In the year 1236 he assumed the cross, and joined the king’s brother, the earl of Cornwall, in the promotion of a Crusade to the Holy Land.
Matthew Paris gives a long account of an absurd quarrel which broke out between this earl of Pembroke and King Henry the Third, when the latter was eating his Christmas dinner at Winchester, in the year 1239.**
At a great meeting of Crusaders at Northampton, he took a solemn oath upon the high altar of the church of All Saints to proceed without delay to Palestine to fight against the enemies of the cross;†† but his intentions were frustrated by the hand of death. At a tournament held at Ware, A.D. 1241, he was thrown from his horse, and died a few hours afterwards at the monastery at Hertford. His entrails were buried in the church of the Virgin at that place, but his body was brought up to London, accompanied by all his family, and was interred in the Temple Church by the side of his father and eldest brother.*
* Matt. Par. p. 366. Ann. Dunst. p. 99. 134, 150.
† Eodem temppore, A.D. 1231, mense Aprili, Willielmus, Marescallus comes Pembrochiæ, in militia vir strenuous, in dolorem multorum, diem clausit extremum, et Londoniis apud Novum Templum sepultus est, juxta patrem suum, XVII calend. Maii. Rex autem qui eum indissolubiliter dilexit, cum hæc audivit, et cum vidisset, corpus defuncti pallâ coopertum, ex alto trahens suspiria, ait, Heu, heu, mihi ! nonne adhuc penitus vindicatus est sanguis beati Thomæ Martyris.––Matt. Par. p. 368.
‡ Dugd. Monast Angl. ut sup. p. 820.
§ Margaretam pulleam elegantissimam matrimonio sibi copulaverat.––Matt. Par., p. 432, 404.
** Matt. Par. p. 483.
†† Ib. p. 431, 483, 516, 524.
The above Gilbert Marshall granted to the Templars the church of Weston, the borough of Baldok, lands and houses at Roydon, and the wood of Langnoke.†
All the five sons of the elder Marshall, the Protector, died without issue in the reign of Henry the Third, and the family became extinct. They followed one another to the grave in regular succession, so that each attained for a brief period to the dignity of the earldom, and to the hereditary office of Earl Marshall.
Matthew Paris accounts for the melancholy extinction of this noble and illustrious family in the following manner.
He tells us that the elder Marshall, the Protector, during a campaign in Ireland, seized the lands of the reverend bishop of Fernes, and kept possession of them in spite of a sentence of excommunication which was pronounced against him. After the Protector had gone the way of all flesh, and had been buried in the Temple Church, the reverend bishop came to London, and mentioned the circumstance to the king, telling him that the earl of Pembroke had certainly died excommunicated. The king was much troubled and alarmed at this intelligence, and besought the bishop to go to the earl’s tomb and absolve him from the bond of excommunication, promising the bishop that he would endeavour to procure him ample satisfaction. So anxious, indeed, was King Henry for the safety of the soul of his quondam guardian, that he accompanied the bishop in person to the Temple Church; and Matthew Paris declares that the bishop, standing by the tomb in the presence of the king, and in the hearing of many bystanders, pronounced these words: “O William, who lyest here interred, and held fast by the chain of excommunication, if those lands which thou hast unjustly taken away from my church be rendered back to me by the king, or by your heir, or by any of your family, and if due satisfaction be made for the loss and injury I have sustained, I grant you absolution; but if not, I confirm my previous sentence, so that, enveloped in your sins, you stand for evermore condemned to hell!”
The restitution was never made, and the indignant bishop pronounced this further curse, in the words of the Psalmist: “His name shall be rooted out in one generation, and his sons shall be deprived of the blessing, Increase and multiply; some of them shall die a miserable death; their inheritance shall be scattered; and this thou, O king, shall behold in thy lifetime, yea, in the days of thy flourishing youth.” Matthew Paris dwells with great solemnity on the remarkable fulfilment of this dreadful prophecy, and declares that when the oblong portion of the Temple Church was consecrated, the body of the Protector was found entire, sewed up in a bull’s hide, but in a state of putridity, and disgusting in appearance.*
* In crastino autem delatum est corpus ondinum, fratre ipsius prævio, cum tota sua familia comitante, juxta patrem suum et fratrem tumulandum. ––Ib. p. 565. ad ann. 1241.
† Dugd. Monast. Angl., p. 833.
It will be observed that the dates of the burial of the above nobleman, as mentioned by Matthew Paris and other authorities, are as follow:—William Marshall the elder, A.D. 1219; Lord de Ros, A.D. 1227; William Marshall the younger, A.D. 1231; all before the consecration of the oblong portion of the church. Gilbert Marshall, on the other hand, was buried A.D. 1241, the year after that ceremony had taken place. Those, therefore, who suppose that the monumental effigies of the Marshall originally stood in the eastern part of the building, are mistaken.
Amongst the many distinguished persons interred in the Temple Church is William Plantagenet, the fifth son of Henry the Third, who died A.D. 1256, under age.† The greatest desire was manifested by all classes of persons to be buried in the cemetery of the Templars.
King Henry the Third provided for his own interment in the Temple by a formal instrument couched in the following pious and reverential terms:
“To all faithful Christians to whom these presents shall come, Henry by the grace of God king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, salvation. Be it known to all of you, that we, being of sound mind and free judgment, and desiring with pious forethought to extend our regards beyond the passing events of this life, and to determine the place of our sepulture, have, on account of the love we bear to the Order and to the brethren of the chivalry of the Temple, given and granted, after this life’s journey has drawn to a close, and we have gone the way of all flesh, our body to God and the blessed Virgin Mary, and to the house of the chivalry of the Temple at London, to be there buried, expecting and hoping that through our Lord and Saviour it will greatly contribute to the salvation of our soul … We desire that our body, when we have departed this life, may be carried to the aforesaid house of the chivalry of the Temple, and be there decently buried as above mentioned … As witness the venerable father R., bishop of Hereford, &c. Given by the hand of the venerable father Edmund, bishop of Chichester, our chancellor, at Gloucester, the 27th of July, in the nineteenth year of our reign.”*
Queen Eleanor also provided in a similar manner for her interment in the Temple Church, the formal instrument being expressed to be made with the consent and approbation of her lord, Henry the illustrious king of England, who had lent a willing ear to her prayers upon the subject. § These sepulchral arrangements, however, were afterwards altered, and the king by his will directed his body to be buried as follows: “I will that my body be buried in the church of the blessed Edward at Westminster, there being no impediment, having formerly appointed my body to be buried in the New Temple.” **
* Paucis ante evolutis annis, post mortem omnium suorum filiorum, videlicet, quando dedicata est ecclesia Novi Templi, inventum est corpus sæpedicti comitis quod erat insutum corio taurino, integrum, putridum tamen et prout videri potuit detestabile.”—Matt. Par. p. 688. Surely this must be an interpolation by some wag. The last of the Pembrokes died A.D. 1245, whilst, according to Matthew Paris’s own showing, the eastern part of the church was consecrated A.D. 1240, p. 526.
† Mill’s Catalogues, p. 145. Speed, p. 551. Sandford’s Genealogies, p. 92, 93, 2nd edition.
‡ Ex Registr. Hosp. S. Joh. Jerus. in Angliâ, in Bib. Cotton, fol. 25 a.
** Nicolas, Testamenta Vetusta, p. 6.