[Footnote 162.4: Cherbourg surrendered to the French on the 12th August 1450. --_See_ Stevenson's _Reductio Normanniae_, p. 367.]
[Footnote 162.5: 'Quaere this abbreviated word,' says Fenn. It is probably _eme_, meaning uncle.]
THE EARL OF OXFORD TO JOHN PASTON[163.1]
_To my right trusty and intierly welbeloved John Paston, Squyer._
[Sidenote: 1450(?) / AUG. 21]
Right trusty and intierly welbeloved, I grete yow wele, and wole and pray you that ye dispose your self to be with my Lord of Norffolk in al hast goodly, to that intent that where it was desired by dyvers gentilmen of this shire[163.2] that I shuld my self a be with his Lordship at Framyngham, to excuse me to his Lordship; for truly I haf suych writyn to my said Lord for myn excuse, which writyng I send to yow by Thomas Denyes, to whome I pray you to gif credens. And the Trinite kepe yow. Wretyn at Bury Seynt Edmond, the xxj. day of August.
I pray you to speke with Sir Miles Stapilton and Brewes, and to delyver to thaym my lettres, wherof I send you copies, and make Brewes to send over a man to me with th'entent of my Lord of Norffolk, and with th'effect of your deligens, with a more credible message than Brewes ded to my wif; for I had never a wers jurney for a jape in my lif, ne a lewder, as ye shal wele conceyve.
[Footnote 163.1: [Douce MS. 393, f. 88.] From the similarity of the contents of this and the two following letters, it is evident that they belong to the same year; and the mention of Thomas Denyes, from whom the Earl of Oxford was afterwards estranged, proves that it must have been before 1454. In the summer of 1450, there was disaffection in Norfolk, which led to the issuing of a special commission of _oyer and terminer_ in September. These three letters may, therefore, have belonged to that year.]
[Footnote 163.2: 'This shire' should be Suffolk, as the Earl dates from Bury St. Edmunds, but I should think Norfolk was intended, which the Earl had probably just left on his way up to London. Compare next number.]
THE EARL OF OXFORD (?) TO SIR MILES STAPLETON AND THOMAS BREWES[164.1]
_To my ryght trusti and wyth all myn hert intyerly welbelovyd Sir Mylys Stapelton, Knyght._
[Sidenote: 1450(?) / AUG. 21]
Ryght trusty and wyth all myn hert entierly welbelovyd, I grete yow wele, and wol that ye wete that a gentelman of your ally haghe [_hath_]
ben wyth me, at whos instans and steryng and by hese good avyes I wold ful fayne amet [_have met_] wyth yow at Framyngham; but I may no lenger abyde here for the strayte comaundment that I have to be wyth the Kyng.
Wherfore I pray yow to comown wyth Brews and Paston, and to put in artycles be ther avyses and be your wysdom the indisposicion of the people of this counte, and what were most necesary to be desierid of the Kyng and of my Lordis of the Councell for the restreynte of ther mourmour and the peas, and to sende it me be the brynger herof, to whom I pray yow gef credens. And the Holy Ternyte kepe yow. Wretyn at Wynche, the xxj. day of August.
_To my ryght trusty and entierly welbelovyd Thomas Brewes, Squyer._
Ryght trusty and intyerly welbelovid, I grete yow wele. And for as mouche as ye were with my wyf at Wynche in the name and behalve of the substaunce of the gentelys of this shyer, and cause my wyf to wryte to me for to turne agayn into Norffolk, be wheche wrytyng, and be your report it semyd to me that a gret asemble had be purposid wythin the counte heer. I therfore sayd unto yow, wolyng and mevyng yow aftyr your trowth, and as ye know, that ye do put in artycles the indisposicion of the people, and what your avyce is to be do for the restreynyng of the same; and this articles I pray yow set to your seal, and cause other gentelmen with wham ye have comonyng set ther seales, for this is necessary, and that I may schew it to the Kyng and to my Lordis of hese Councell, and that I fayle not here of for your honeste and myn excuse.
And the Ternyte kepe yow. Wreten at Wynche, the xxj. day of August.
[Footnote 164.1: [From Paston MSS., B.M.] The two letters following are from contemporaneous copies written on the same paper. Being dated the same day as the preceding letter of the Earl of Oxford, and addressed to the two persons named in the postscript, we should have every reason to suppose they are the copies there mentioned, were it not for the circumstance that the Earl of Oxford's seat at Wynche, near Lynn, in Norfolk, must have been a good day's journey from Bury St. Edmunds. The internal evidence, however, is in other respects so strong that we have no doubt at all upon the subject. The difficulty as to the date may be accounted for by supposing that these two letters were really written at Wynche the day before, but that the date 21st August was filled in by the Earl at Bury St.
Edmunds at the time he despatched his letter of the same date to John Paston.]
[THE EARL OF OXFORD TO THE DUKE OF NORFOLK][165.1]
[Sidenote: 1450 / [AUG.]]
Ryght high and myghty Prynce and my right good Lord, I recomaunde me un to youre good Lordshep. And for asmouch as I am enformed [that] certeyn notable knyghtis and squyers of this counte dispose thaym self to be with youre Lordshep in hasty tyme at Fram[yngham], theer to have comonyngs with youre good Lordshep for the sad rule and governaunce of this counte, wych standyth ryght ... . . indisposyd, God amend it; for qwych sad rule and governaunce to be had I wold full fayn a ben with your good [Lordship]. But for asmouch as the Kynge hath geve to me straitly in charge to be with hys Highnesse at Westminstre on Saterda[y]... ... [I must] departe towards London. Therfore therof I beseche your good Lordship that ye vouchesaf to comon with the seyd k[nyghtes and squyers] as with your feytfull servaunts; and I trost to God to se youre good Lordship at Framyngham as I shall ... . . And yf your Lordshep seme necessary that I now beynge at Westminster shall any thynge laboure or des[ire for the rule] and governaunce of the counte forsayd, or for reformacion of suche wronge as the peples herts most agrugge as ... ... . . lyke that I meve to the Kynge and the Lordes of the Counceyll, so wyll I meve, and none otherwyse as ... ... . .
Wheryn I beseche your grace to know your entente by the brynger her of.
And my service is redy to your Lords[hip] ... . . mercy who kepe who kepe[166.1] nebbey (?) for hese grace.
[Footnote 165.1: [From Paston MSS., B.M.] This would seem by internal evidence to be the letter of excuse written by Oxford to the Duke of Norfolk, which the Earl mentions in his letter to John Paston of the 21st August. The original from which it is taken is a copy without signature or address, and mutilated in the margin.]
[Footnote 166.1: So in MS.]
JOHN PASTON AND LORD MOLEYNS[166.2]
_Un to the right reverent fadir in God and my right gracioux Lord, the Cardinal Archebisshop of York, Prymat and Chaunceller of Inglond._
Besecheth mekely John Paston that where Robert Hungerford, Knyght, Lord Molens, and Alianore, his wyff, late with force and strength, and grete multitude of riottous peple, to the noumbre of a thousand persones and mo, gadered by th'excitacion and procuryng of John Heydon[166.3] a yenst the Kynggs pees, in riotous maner entred up on your seid besecher and othir enfeoffed to his use in the manoir of Gresham with th'appurtenaunces in the shire of Norffolk; whiche riotous peple brake, dispoiled, and drew doun the place of your seid besecher in the seid toun, and drafe out his wiff and servauntes there beyng, and ryfled, took, and bare awey alle the goodes and catalx that your seid besecher and his servauntes hadde there to the value of cc_li._  and more; and the seid manoir, after the seid riottous entre, kept with strong hande in manere of werre, as weel ayenst your seid besecher and his feffees, as ayenst oon of the Kyngges justicez of the pees in the seid shire, that come thedir to execute the statutes ordeigned and provyded ayenst suche forcible entrees and kepyng of possessions with force, as it appiereth by recorde of the seid justice certifyed in to the Chauncerie; and yet the seid Lord Molens the same manoir kepith with force and strengthe ayenst the fourme of the seid statutes: Please it your reverent Faderhood and gracioux Lordship, these premisses considered, to graunte on to your seid besecher for his feffees by hym to be named a special assise[167.1] ayenst the seid Lord Molens, Alianore, and John Heidon, and othir to be named by your seid besecher, and also an oyer and determyner[167.2] ayenst the seid Lord Molens, John Heidon, and othir of the seid riotous peple in like fourme to be named, to enquere, here and determyn all trespaces, extorcions, riottes, forcible entrees, mayntenaunces,[167.3] champerties,[167.4]
embraceries,[167.5] offenses, and mesprisions[167.6] by hem or ony of hem doen, als weel atte sute of our sovereign Lord the Kyng, as of your seid besecher and his seid feffees, and every of hem, or of ony othir of the Kyngges lieges: atte reverence of God, and in weye of charite.
[Footnote 166.2: [Add. Charter 17,239, B.M.] This is a bill addressed to Cardinal Kemp as Lord Chancellor, to which reference will be found to be made in the succeeding letter.
Kemp was appointed Lord Chancellor on the 31st January 1450. The acts here complained of were therefore those connected with Paston's second expulsion from Gresham.]
[Footnote 166.3: John Heydon, Esq. of Baconsthorpe, a lawyer, who was recorder of Norwich from 1431 to 1433, and sheriff in 1431-2.]
[Footnote 167.1: _See_ p. 161, Note 2.]
[Footnote 167.2: _See_ p. 161, Note 3.]
[Footnote 167.3: Unlawful support given to a disputant by one not concerned in the cause.]
[Footnote 167.4: Bargains made with litigants for a share in what may be gained by the suit.]
[Footnote 167.5: Attempts to corrupt juries.]
[Footnote 167.6: Treason or felony committed by oversight or wilful neglect of a duty.]
JOHN PASTON TO JAMES GRESHAM[168.1]
_The copie of the letter of J. P._
[Sidenote: 1450 / SEPT. 4]
James Gresham, I prey yow laboure forth to have answer of my bille for myn especial assise, and the oyer and termyner,[168.2] accordyng to my seid bille that I delyvered to my Lord Chaunceler,[168.3] letyng hym wete that his Lordship conceyved the graunt of suyche a special matier myght cause a rumour in the cuntre. Owt of dowte the cuntre is not so disposed, for it is desired ageyn suche persones as the c[untre] wolde were ponysshid; and if they be not ponysshid to refourme that they have do amysse, by liklynesse the cuntre wole rise up on th[em]. Men talke that a general oier and termyner is graunted to the Duke of Norfolk, my Lord of Ely, the Erll of Oxenford, the Lord Scales, Sir John Fastolf, Sir Thomas Fulthorp, and William Yelverton, and men be right glad therof. Yet that notwithstondyng, laboure ye forth for me. F[or] in a general oyer and termyner a _supersedeas_ may dassh al, and so shall not in a special. And also if the justicez come at my request, they shall sytte als long as I wole, and so shall thei not by the generall. And as for commyssioners in myn, &c., Sir John Fastolf must be pleyntyf als weel as I my self, and so he may not be commyssioner; and as for alle the remenant, I can thynke them indifferent inow in the matier, except my Lord Scales, whos wyff is aunte to the Lady Moleyns.
And as for that the Lord Moleyns hath wretyn that he dar put the matier in awarde of my Lord Chaunceler, and in what juge he wole take to hym, &c. (which offre as I suppose shall be tolde to yow for to make yow to cesse your labour), thanne lete that be answerid, and my Lord Chaunceller enfourmed thus: The matier was in trete by th'assent of the Lord Moleyns a twene his counseil and myn, whiche assembled at London xvj. dyvers dayes, and for the more part there was a sergeant and vj.