Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 12.djvu/350
parties was carried on by the prosecution of Wycliffe, who was allied with the duke in the attempt to bring humiliation on the churchmen. Courtenay virtually attacked Lancaster when he cited Wycliffe to appear before the archbishop at St. Paul's on 23 Feb. The bishops sat in the lady chapel, and many nobles were with them. The church was crowded with the Londoners. Wycliffe appeared attended by the duke and Lord Percy, the earl marshal. They could scarcely pass through the crowd, and the earl ordered his men to clear the way. His order was obeyed with some roughness, and Courtenay, indignant at his conduct, declared that had he known he would have so acted he should not have entered the church if he could have prevented it. Hearing this, the duke declared that he would exercise his authority there whether the bishop would or no. When they came to the lady chapel, the marshal with a sneer called for a seat for Wycliffe. Courtenay objected to this, saying that it was contrary to law and reason that an accused clerk should be seated when before his judges. The duke grew red with anger, for he saw that the bishop had the better in the dispute. He shouted that he would pull down the pride of all the bishops in England, and, addressing Courtenay, added: ‘Thou trustest in thy parents, who can profit thee nothing; for they shall have enough to do to defend themselves.’ Coutenay answered with some dignity that he trusted in God alone. Still more enraged, the duke muttered that, rather than bear such things, he would drag the bishop out of the church by the hair. The Londoners heard the threat, and cried out angrily that they would not have their bishop insulted, and that they would sooner lose their lives than that he should be dishonoured in his own church, or dragged from it by violence. The court broke up in confusion. Later in the day the citizens rose against the duke, and proposed to slay him and burn his residence of the Savoy; but Courtenay interfered, reminding them that it was Lent, and no season for such doings. At his bidding the riot ceased, though not before many insults had been heaped upon Lancaster (Chron. Angliæ, p. 119, from which Foxe, Acts and Monuments, ii. 801, and the writer of the early translation in Archæologia, xxii. 257, took their accounts; Walsingham, i. 325).
Although Courtenay was appointed a member of the council of government formed on the accession of Richard II, he appears for a while to have absented himself from it, on account of a fresh offence committed by the duke. Robert Hale, a squire with whom Lancaster had a quarrel, escaped from the Tower, where he was confined, and took refuge in Westminster Abbey. In defiance of the privilege of sanctuary, an attempt was made to drag him from the church, and when he resisted, both he and a servant of the abbey were slain. The archbishop excommunicated the offenders, and Courtenay published the sentence, with full solemnity, at St. Paul's every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. The duke, to whom the outrage was generally attributed, persuaded the council to order him to desist. To this order, however, Courtenay paid no attention, and Lancaster declared that he was ready, if he received permission, to go to London and drag the bishop to the council, in spite of the ‘ribalds’ of the city. Meanwhile the archbishop and Courtenay received bulls from Gregory XI urging them to take measures against Wycliffe, and accordingly they cited him to appear before them at St. Paul's on 18 Dec., though a later date was afterwards named, and Lambeth was appointed for the place of hearing. Wycliffe, however, at this date had considerable influence at court (Fasciculi Zizaniorum, p. 258), and a strong party among the Londoners, headed by John of Northampton, was favourable to him. The Princess of Wales sent a peremptory message forbidding the prelates to proceed against him, and the prosecution came to nought. In the course of this year (1378) Courtenay, it is said, was offered the cardinalate. A large body of cardinals withdrew their obedience from Urban VI at a meeting held at Anagni on 9 Aug. The pope hastily appointed twenty-six others, and wished to strengthen his party by gaining the most powerful of the English churchmen. If the story of the offer is true, and there seems no reason to doubt it, Courtenay was too sincerely devoted to the national interest to be dazzled by it (Walsingham, i. 382; Godwin, De Præsulibus, 794 n.) On the suppression of the peasants' insurrection, in 1381, he obtained a respite of two days for John Ball (d. 1381) [q. v.], who was sentenced to death on 13 July; for he was anxious about the state of the rebel's soul (Walsingham, ii. 32).
On 30 July Courtenay was elected to the see of Canterbury, vacant by the murder of Simon Sudbury. The royal confirmation was given on 5 Aug., the translation was made by a papal bull dated 9 Sept., and the temporalities were granted on 23 Oct. The archiepiscopal cross was presented by the prior and convent of Christ Church on 12 Jan. following; on the 14th Courtenay, though he had not yet received the pall, married Anne of Bohemia [q. v.] to the king, and on the 22nd crowned the new queen. He received the pall on 6 May. The great seal was committed