Page:The History of the Church & Manor of Wigan part 1.djvu/17

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History of the Church and Manor of Wigan.

them by Maunsell during his lifetime, so that he was not seized of it at the time of his death.

He seems to have been brought up under the auspices of King Henry III., who made him one of his chaplains and loaded him him with preferment. In fact he seems to have accepted everything that came in his way or that fell to the King's disposal at that time. He is said to have held no less than three hundred benefices, producing an income of 4,000 marks yearly (i.e., £2,666 13s. 4d.)—an enormous sum in those days—and some have placed it at a much higher figure, so that he has been handed down to posterity as the greatest pluralist that ever lived, and "the richest clerk in the world."

In 1234 he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, being the first to hold that office, then newly created. The appointment was by close writ, in this manner: the King, by his writ directed to Hugh de Pateshull, treasurer, sent John Maunsell to reside at the Exchequer of Receipts, and to have a counter-roll of all things pertaining to the said Receipt, and commanded the treasurer to admit him accordingly.[1]

In 1238 when the King sent a body of troops, under the command of Henry de Trubleville, to assist the Emperor Frederick against his rebellious subjects in the Italian provinces, John Maunsell and William Hardel, citizen of London, accompanied the troops with a sum of money to pay the mercenaries. This was immediately after Easter, which fell on 4th April in that year. The English fought bravely for the Emperor during the whole of the following summer, and recovered some of the cities which had been held out against him. In these days it was not thought unseemly for an ecclesiastic to bear arms in the King's wars; and on this occasion John Maunsell is specially mentioned amongst those who distinguished themselves for their valour.

In the year 1241 a serious disagreement arose between the

  1. Rot. Claus. 18 Hen. III. m. 16. Madox' History of the Exchequer, vol. ii. p. 51.