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priest, by the advice of his bishop, collected his parishioners and went in procession to the place. Then the bees, leaving the hive, rose in the air, making sweet melody. Raising the hive they found within the noble structure of that little church and the body of our Lord placed upon the altar. Then returning thanks they bore to their own church that little church of the bees constructed with such skill and elegance and with praises placed it on the altar.

By this deed those who do not reverence but offer insult instead to the sacred body of Christ or the sacred place where it is, ought to be put to great confusion.*

* Cf. Cæsar of Heisterbach, IX, 8; and see Crane: Exempla, p. lxxxvii.

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1. Thomas Walsingham's Account,
2. Robert of Avesbury's Account,

3. The King's Ordinance Concerning Laborers,

1. Statute of Provisors of 1352, 25 Ed. III, Stat. 5,

c. 22,

2. Statute of Præmunire of 1393, 16 Rich. II, c. 5,

1. Heretical and Erroneous Conclusions,
2. Bull of Gregory XI to the University of Oxford,
3. Reply of Wycliffe to his Summons by the Pope to

come to Rome,

4. Statute of 1401 against the Lollards,

1. Law against Gatherings of Villains,
2. Letter of John Ball,
3. The King's Grant of Manumission,
4. Withdrawal of Manumissions,
5. The King's Pardon for Violence of Lords,


9 II

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Contemporary accounts of the great pestilence of 1348-9 are surprisingly few. Several of the chronicles close shortly before that date, and others seem to have been suspended during the period of confusion attendant upon it. Its extent and effects are, however, discoverable from a large mass of ecclesiastical and manorial records and from the appearance on the Statute-book of the Statutes of Laborers. Theldocument (3) printed below is not properly a law, but a royal ordinance, issued apparently in the summer of 1349, while the plague was still raging. It was transformed into a law, with closer definition of the rate of wages, at the first subsequent meeting of Parliament, in 1351; (25 Ed. iii. Stat. 2.) This law was frequently reenacted in various forms until it came to be embraced in the great Statute of Apprentices; (5 Eliz. C. 4.) There are some inconsistencies in the address of the document, as it has been preserved, but in the form here adopted it seems to have been issued to all the sheriffs and the officials of large towns, with instructions for its immediate proclamation.


Historia Anglicana, I, 273, Rolls Series. Latin. In the year of grace 1349, which was the twenty-third year of king Edward, the third since the Conquest, a great mortality of mankind advanced over the world; beginning in the regions of the north and east, and ending with so great a destruction that scarcely half of the people remained. Then towns once full of men became destitute of inhabitants; and so violently did the pestilence increase that the living were scarce able to bury the dead. Indeed, in certain houses of men of religion, scarcely two out of twenty men survived. It was estimated by many that hardly a tenth part of mankind had been left alive. A murrain among animals followed immediately upon this pestilence; then rents ceased; then the land, because of the lack of tenants, who where nowhere to be found, remained uncultivated. So great misery followed from these evils that the world was never afterward able to return to its former state.

2. ROBERT OF AVESBURY'S ACCOUNT. Chronicle, A. D. 1348-9, pp. 406, 407, Rolls Series. Latin. The pestilence which had first broken out in the land occupied by the Saracens became so much stronger that, sparing no dominion, it visited with the scourge of sudden death the various parts of all the kingdoms, extending from that land to the northward, including even Scotland, destroying the greater part of the people. For it began in England in Dorsetshire, about the feast of St. Peter, called ad vincula, in the year of the Lord 1348, and immediately advancing from place to place it attacked men without warning and for the most part those who were healthy. Very many of those who were attacked in the morning it carried out of human affairs before noon. And no one whom it willed to die did it permit to live longer than three or four days. There was moreover no choice of persons, with the exception, at least, of a people. In the same day twenty, forty or sixty corpses, and indeed many times as many more bodies of those who had died, were delivered to church burial in the same pit at the same time. And about the feast of All Saints, reaching London, it deprived many of their life daily, and increased to so great an extent that from the feast of the Purification till after Easter there were more than two hundred bodies of those who had died buried daily in the cemetery which had been then recently made near Smithfield, besides the bodies which were in other graveyards of the same city. The grace of the Holy Spirit finally intervening, that is to say about the feast of Whitsunday, it ceased at London, proceeding continuously northward. In these parts also it ceased about the feast of St. Michael, in the year of the Lord 1349.


Statutes of the Realm, I, 307, 308. Latin. The king to the sheriff of Kent, greeting. Because a great part of the people, and especially of workmen and servants, have lately died in the pestilence, many seeing the necessities of masters and great scarcity of servants, will not serve unless they may receive excessive wages, and others preferring to beg in idleness rather than by labor to get their living; we, considering the grievous incommodities which of the lack especially of ploughmen and such laborers may hereafter come, have upon deliberation and treaty with the prelates and the nobles and learned men assisting us, with their unanimous counsel ordained:

That every man and woman of our realm of England, of what condition he be, free or bond, able in body, and within the age of sixty years, not living in merchandize, nor exercising any craft, nor having of his own whereof he may live, nor land of his own about whose tillage he may occupy himself, and not serving any other; if he be required to serve in suitable service, his estate considered, he shall be bound to serve him which shall so require him; and take only the wages, livery, meed, or salary which were accustomed to be given in the places where he oweth to serve, the twentieth year of our reign of England, or five or six other common years next before. Provided always, that the lords be preferred before others in their bondmen or their land tenants, so in their service to be retained; so that, nevertheless, the said lords shall retain no more than be necessary for them. And if any such man or woman being so required to serve will not do the same, and that be proved by two true men before the sheriff, bailiff, lord, or constable of the town where the same shall happen to be done, he shall immediately be taken by them or any of them, and committed to the next gaol, there to

remain under strait keeping, till he find surety to serve in the form aforesaid

If any reaper, mower, other workman or servant, of what estate or condition he be, retained in any man's service, do depart from the said service without reasonable cause or license, before the term agreed, he shall have pain of imprisonment; and no one, under the same penalty, shall presume to receive or retain such a one in his service.

No one, moreover, shall pay or promise to pay to any one more wages, liveries, meed, or salary than was accustomed, as is before said ; nor shall any one in


other manner demand or receive them, upon pain of doubling of that which shall have been so paid, promised, required or received, to him who thereof shall feel hmself aggrieved ; and if none such will sue, then the same shall be applied to any of the people that will sue; and such suit shall be in the court of the lord of the place where such case shall happen.

And if lords of towns or manors presume in any point to come against this present ordinance, either by them or by their servants, then suit shall be made against them in the form aforesaid, in the counties, wapentakes, and trithings, or such other courts of ours, for the penalty of treble that so paid or promised by them or their servants. And if any before this present ordinance hath covenanted with any so to serve for more wages, he shall not be bound, by reason of the said covenant, to pay more than at another time was wont to be paid to such a person ; nor, under the same penalty, shall presume to pay more.

Item. Saddlers, skinners, white tawyers, cordwainers, tailors, smiths, carpenters, masons, tilers, shipwrights, carters, and all other artificers and workmen, shall not take for their labor and workmanship above the same that was wont to be paid to such persons the said twentieth year, and other common years next preceding, as before is said, in the place where they shall happen to work; and if any man take more he shall be committed to the next gaol, in manner as before is said.

Item. That butchers, fishmongers, hostelers, brewers, bakers, poulterers, and all other sellers of all manner of victuals, shall be bound to sell the same victuals for a reasonable price, having respect to the price that such victuals be sold at in the places adjoining, so that the same sellers have moderate gains, and not excessive, reasonably to be required according to the distance of the place from which the said victuals be carried ; and if any sell such victuals in


other manner, and thereof be convicted, in the manner and form aforesaid, he shall pay the double of the same that he so received to the party injured, or in default of him,

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