Page:English Historical Review Volume 37.djvu/43

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A Petition to Boniface VIII from the Clergy of the Province of Canterbury in 1297

AT the assembly of the clergy of the province of Canterbury which met in London at the New Temple on 10 August 1297, to discuss the question of making a grant to the king,[1] it was decided to present a petition 'touching the common good of the clergy and of the kingdom' to Pope Boniface VIII,[2] which was mainly a plea for relief from heavy and increasing financial burdens.

The first article of the petition dealt with the excessive amount of the procurations which were demanded by the cardinals of Albano and Palestrina. On 13 February 1295 Boniface VIII had given these French cardinals a commission to make peace between England and France, and, as was usual when the pope sent a legate, they had the power of levying procurations.[3] Nominally the levy was to pay the cost of the mission, but in reality it was a source of revenue for the papal exchequer; before the cardinals left Rome Boniface VIII appointed a firm of papal bankers, the Clarenti of Pistoia, which had partners residing in France and England, to receive procurations levied by the cardinals, and to make payments to them for their necessary expenses.[4]

The cardinals landed at Dover on 24 June, where they were met by the prior of the cathedral church of Canterbury and the abbot of St. Augustine's, who escorted them to Canterbury.[5] The cardinal of Albano spent the night at St. Augustine's, and the cardinal of Palestrina in the archbishop's palace, and on the morrow both visited the shrine of St. Thomas before they set out on their journey to London. The archbishop met them at Harbledown and rode with them to Ospringe, and on

  1. See Church Quarterly Review, October 1915, p. 109.
  2. Archiepiscopal Registers of Canterbury, Winchelsey, fos. 309v, 310.
  3. Calendar of Papal Letters, i. 562; Bartholomaei de Cotton Historia Anglicana, ed H. R. Luard (Rolls Ser.), pp. 282, 287–9; Registres de Boniface VIII, ed. Digard (Écoles Françaises d'Athènes et de Rome), i. 247.
  4. Cal. of Papal Letters, i. 563; Registres de Boniface VIII, i. 247.
  5. Historical Works of Gervase of Canterbury, ed. Stubbs (Rolls Ser.), ii. 311.