Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 07.djvu/326

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Burgh
Burgh
320

the bishop. A large number of additional charges, founded on hearsay and some of the wildest character, were next brought. He had poisoned, it was said, William, earl of Salisbury, William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, Falkes de Breauté, and Archbishop Richard, and had gained the king’s favour by sorcery. The Londoners complained that he had put Constantine to death unjustly, and without trial, and the king caused a proclamation to be made through the city that he was ready to receive complaints against him.

A day was fixed for hearing the charges against Hubert, but he knew that his cause was prejudged, and fled for sanctuary to Merton Priory. VVhen the king heard this, he sent a letter to the mayor of London, bidding him instantly summon the citizens and bring Hubert before him by force, alive or dead, Late as it was in the evening, the mayor caused the city bell to be rung out, The citizens came together and rejoiced greatly when they heard what was required of them (Wendover, iv. 250). Two of the wiser among them, however, perplexed at this order to violate sanctuary, and alarmed at the possible consequences of this tumultuary proceeding, roused the Bishop of Winchester from sleep and asked his advice. He recommended them to obey the king’s orders. Before it was light a vast host, reckoned at 20,000 men, marched like an army towards Merton. The Earl of Chester, however, warned the king of the danger of raising the mob, and Henry forbade the citizens to proceed. The only one among the royal counsellors who spoke for Hubert was his former chaplain Luke, for whom in the days of his prosperity he had procured the archbishopric of Dublin (Matt. Paris, v. 531). At his request some little time was allowed the fallen minister to prepare his answers to the charges brought against him. Hubert left Merton, having, it was believed, a safe-conduct from the king. He joined his wife at St. Edmunds, and thence went. to Brentwood, which belonged to his nephew, the bishop of Norwich. The king believed that he intended to flee the kingdom, and sent armed men to take him. Hubert took refuge in the Boisars chapel, hard bly the bishop’s house. The king's men too him thence by force. A smith was called to fetter him. He asked for whose legs the fetters were intended, and when he was told that they were to bind Hubert de Burgh, he swore that he would have nothing to do with the job. The men then bound Hubert with cords, placed him on a horse, led him to London, and lodged him in the Tower. When the Bishop of London heard of it. he hastened to the king, and declared that unless he sent Hubert back again he would excommunicate all concerned in this breach of the peace of holy church. Hubert was accordingly taken back to the chapel, which was strictly watched by the sheriffs of Hertford and Essex. No one, not even his son, was allowed to go to him. Two servants brought him food, while he was thus besieged he heard of the death of his enemy the Earl of Chester. ‘May the Lord be merciful to him,' he said, and, taking the salter, he read the service for his soul. Althiough the king forbade any one to mention his name, the Archbishop of Dublin did not cease to plead for him. The king said that he might either leave England, swearing never to return, or suffer imprisonment for life, or own himself a traitor. Hubert refused to accept any of these proposals, but promised, if the king wished it, to leave England for a while. At last his supplies of food were out off, and rather than die of hunger he delivered himself up to the sheriffs. He was taken to London fettered, and again imprisoned in the Tower. It was told the king that he had a large treasure deposited at the new Temple. The master refused to give it up without authority. Hubert, however, declared that he would submit to the king‘s pleasure. The royal messengers found a vast amount of plate, money, and jewels, and transferred them to the treasury. Hubert’s enemies declared that his dishonesty was now proved, and pressed the king to put him to death. Henry had, however, by this time ‘come a little to himself ’ (Matt. Paris, iii. 233). ‘I have heard,’ he said, ‘that from his boyhood he was a faithful servant, first to my uncle Richard and afterwards to King John my father, and if he has done me ill I will never slay him unjustly! He allowed Hubert all the lands he had inherited or bought for his maintenance, and gave him in charge to four earls, who lodged him in Devizes Castle, and who, on 28 Feb. 1233, released him from his chains (Ann. de Theok. i. 88). Soon after this both the kin and the Bishop of Winchester received letters from Gregory IX his release. The bishop, however, eagerly desired his death, and prayed the king that he would give him the custody of Devizes Castle, in order, it was believed, that he might thus be able to slay him. Hubert heard this from his friends at the court, and accordingly, one night about Michaelmas, he made his escape from the castle with the help ofthe two servants who attended on him, and took refuge in Devizes church. In the morning, when the warders missed him, they went in a body to the