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The testimony of Clement Maydestone, translated from a Latin MS. in the - library of Bennet college, Cambridge, 1440.
“Thirty days after the death of Henry IV., September 14th, 1412, one of his domestics came to the house of the Holy Trinity at Hounslow, and dined there. And as the bystanders were talking at dinner-time of the king's irreproachable morals, this man said to a certain esquire named Thomas Maydestone, then sitting at table, ‘Whether he was a good man or not, God knows; but of this I am certain, that when his corpse was carried from Westminster towards Canterbury (by water) in a small vessel, in order to be buried there, I and two more threw his corpse into the sea between Birkingham and Gravesend: for,” he added with an oath, “we were overtaken by such a storm of winds and waves, that many of the nobility who followed us in eight ships were dispersed, so as with difficulty to escape being lost. But we who were with the body, despairing of our lives, with one consent threw it into the sea; and a great calm ensued. The coffin in which it lay, covered with a cloth of gold, we carried, with great solemnity, to Canterbury, and buried it; the monks of Canterbury therefore say that the tomb, not the body of Henry IV., is with us! as Peter said of holy David.” As God Almighty is my witness and judge, I saw this man, and heard him speak to my father, T. Maydestone, that all the above was true.
This wild and wondrous tale, emanating as it does from a source so suspicious as Henry's sworn foes, the two Maydestones, we are disposed to regard as non vero ma ben trovato; but it was calculated to make a powerful impression on the minds of the ignorant and superstitious, and it is probable that it was revived, to the great disadvantage of Henry's widowed queen, at the time when she was branded by her royal step-sons, Henry V. and Bedford, with the foul charge of witchcraft. The evil practices of queen Joanna's deceased father, Charles le Mauvais, the royal sorcerer and poisoner of Navarre, doubtless operated also against her at the period to which we allude; and, notwithstanding the implied exculpation of her character in Henry V.'s death-bed letter of restitution, a degree of superstitious terror was long connected with her memory." The signature of this queen is one of the earliest specimens of the autograph of a royal lady of which a fac-simile can be procured. The reader will perceive that she spells her name Johane; the flourish at the conclusion is apparently intended for the regal R, though rather queerly fashioned.
* Both dates are incorrect: Henry died March 20, 1413.
*The narrative of Clement May destone was considered by the antiquarians of the present century sufficiently worthy of attention to cause the examination of the tomb of Henry IV. and his queen Joanna, which took place August 21, 1832, in the presence of the bishop of Oxford, lady Harriet and sir Charles Bagot, John Alfred Kemp, esq., &c. We give the following account from the testimony of an eye-witness: “When the rubbish was cleared away, we came to what appeared to be the lid of a wooden case, of very rude form and construction; upon it, and entirely within the monument, lay a leaden coffin without any wooden case, of a much smaller size and very singular shape.” From the woodcut given, the last abode of Joanna of Navarre, queen of England, resembles what children call an apple “turnover.” It was her coffin which rested on that of her lord. Not being able to take off the lid of the large coffin, as a great portion of its length was under the tomb, they sawed an aperture in the lid. Immediately under the coffin-board was found a quantity of haybands filling the coffin, and on the surface of them lay a very rude small cross, formed by merely tying two twigs together. This fell to pieces on being moved. When the hay-bands, which were very sound and perfect, were removed, we found a leaden case or coffin, in some degree *lded to the shape of a human figure; it was at once evident this had never disturbed, but lay as it was originally deposited, though it may be difficult to conjecture why it was placed in a case so rude and unsightly, and so much too large for it that the haybands had been used to keep it steady. After cutting through lead and leather wrappers, the covers were lifted up, and the face of the king appeared in perfect preservation; the nose elevated, the cartilage even remaining, though, on the admission of air, it rapidly sank away. The skin of the thin entire, of the consistence, thickness, and colour of the upper leather of a shoe; the beard thick and matted, of a deep russet colour; the jaws perfect, and all the teeth in them excepting one fore-tooth.” The body of Joanna of Navarre was not examined. Although the gentleman to whom we are indebted for these particulars appears convinced that he has seen the body of the king, there are one or two circumstances corroborative of the marvellous narrative of Clement Maydestone; such as the absence of the regal insignia in which the remains of defunct kings of England were always adorned for the grave, -the discrepancy of size between the outer case and the leaden coffin, and the rude stuffing of the intermediate space with haybands, as if, after the attendants had consigned the royal corpse to the roaring waves, they had hastily supplied its place with another taken from some vault or cemetery on the banks of the Thames, and filled it up with haybands. The cross of witch-elm twigs is likewise corroborative that supernatural fears had been excited regarding this interment. The perfect state of the skin, too, is inconsistent with the horrible leprosy of which Henry died. * In an old topographical work we remember to have read that a tradition existed, even in the last century, that the ghost of “Jone the witch-queen haunted the site of her favourite palace, Havering-atte-Bower.”
KATHERINE OF WALOIS,
SURNAMED THE FAIR,
consorT of HENRY V.
Early calamities of Katherine—Abducted by her mother—Re-captured—Henry prince of Wales—Katherine demanded for him—His accession as Henry V.His invasion of France—Agincourt—Marriage-treaty renewed—Katherine's picture—Henry's exorbitant demands—Interview of Katherine and Henry V. —Herbeauty—Henry in love with her—His anger—Treaty broken—Renewed after two years—Katherine is offered with the crown of France—Receives Henry at Troyes—Betrothed—Queen's knight—Marriage of Katherine and Henry—Queen's dower—French marriage ceremonial—The queen enters Paris in state—Voyage to England–Grand coronation—Her friendship for the king of Scots—Northern progress—Disobedience—Birth of her son, (Henry VI.)— Katherine's maids—Her guest—Katherine writes to the king—Prepares to join him in France. KATHERINE of Valois was a babe in the cradle when Henry V., as prince of Wales, became an unsuccessful suitor for the hand of her eldest sister Isabella, the young widow of Richard II." Katherine was the youngest child of Charles VI, king of France, and his queen, Isabeau of Bavaria; she was born at a period when her father's health and her mother's reputation were both in evil plight. She first saw the light, October 27, 1401, at the hôtel de St. Pol,” in Paris, a palace which was used during the reign of Charles VI. as a residence of retirement for the royal family, when health required them to lead a life of more domestic privacy than was possible at the king's royal court of the Louvre, or his state-palace of Les Tourelles. The young princess was brought up at the hôtel de St. Pol,
* See the life of Isabella of Valois. * Moreri, Katherine.