the Feast of All Saints, 1st November, 1249, when it was performed in the presence of the King and Queen, and almost all the English prelates, who had been convoked for this solemnity. Matthew Paris informs us that "as the King was hastening thither with his attendants, John Maunsell, his special councillor, was taken seriously ill at Maidstone, being, as was stated, infected by poison, from the effects of which he suffered for two days, and was with difficulty snatched from the gates of death by the diligent care of the physicians." A few months later, namely, on the Feast of St. Perpetua and St Felicitas (7th March, 1250), he received the Cross, together with the King and many of the nobles, at the hands of Boniface, Archbishop of Canterbury. But Henry probably had no real intention of proceeding to the Holy Land, and Maunsell also remained at home in attendance on the King.
When the King heard of the death of William de Raleigh, Bishop of Winchester (which took place at Touraine on 1st September, 1250), he despatched John Maunsell and Peter Chacepork, "two of his chief clerks, whom he knew to be very clever in all kinds of arguments," to Winchester, charging them to use their best endeavours to induce the Chapter to elect his uterine brother, Aylmer de Lusignan, Bishop in his stead. The envoys were speedily followed by the King himself, who exerted his influence to constrain the Prior and Convent of St. Swithin at Winchester to comply with his demand. Under this pressure Aylmer was accordingly elected, though he was totally unfitted for the office both by his age and order; nor was he consecrated until nearly ten years afterwards.
Matthew Paris rightly blames Maunsell for undertaking this commission, but he would probably have found it very difficult
- It was not necessary for those who took the Cross to proceed in person to the Holy Land. The cruce-signati or those who had vowed the crusade, were permitted to compound the obligation by money payments, which were collected under papal authority, and allotted to those who proposed to fulfil their vows in person.