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ceedings of the utmost rigour against his royal step-mother, who was, as stated before, arrested with the suspected members of her household, and committed as a close prisoner, first to the castle of Leeds, one of her own palaces, and afterwards to that of Pevensey. She was, by Henry’s order, deprived not only of her rich dower-lands and tenements, but of all her money, furniture, and personal property, even to her wearing-apparel. Her servants were dismissed, and others placed about her by the authority of her gaoler, sir John Pelham." These circumstances are all set forth in the following extract from the Parliamentary rolls for 7th Henry V. :—
“Be it remembered, that upon information given to the king our
lord, as well by the relation and confession of one friar John Randolf, of the order of Friars-Minors, as by other credible evidences, that Johanne queen of England had compassed and imagined the death and destruction of our said lord the king, in the most high and horrible manner that could be devised; the which compassing, imagination, and destruction have been openly published throughout all England: So it is by the council of the lord the king advised, assented, and ordained, that, amongst other things, all the goods and chattels of the said queen, and also all the goods and chattels of Roger Colles of Salisbury and of Petronel Brocart, lately residing with the said queen, who are notoriously suspected of the said treason, in whose hands soever they may be, which the said queen had (or the said other persons before named) on the 27th day of September last past and since, and also all the issues, rents, &c. of all castles, manors, &c., which the said queen held in dower and otherwise, should be received and kept by the treasurer of England, or his deputy for the time being, who should have the custody of the said goods and chattels, &c., and that letters-patent should be passed under the great seal in that behalf; and that the said treasurer or his deputy should provide for the support of the said queen and the servants assigned to her honestly, according to the advice of the council, openly read in this parliament. And because it was doubted whether persons bound to pay rents, &c. to the queen could be surely discharged, it is ordained in this present parliament, at the request of the commons assembled, all such persons, upon payment to the treasurer, should be protected against the said queen in all time to come.”
In the Issue roll for the same year" is the following entry:
“27th November. To sir John Pelham, knight, appointed by the king and council for the governance and safe custody of Joan queen of England: In money paid to him by the hands of Richard le Werer, her esquire, in advance, for the support and safe custody of the queen aforesaid, 166l. 13s. 4d. Master Peter de Ofball was appointed the said queen's physician.” White Kennet asserts that Joanna was brought to a trial, that she was convicted, and forfeited her goods by sentence
of parliament; but of this there is not the slightest proof.
* Holinshed. Parliamentary Records. * 7th Henry V. * Devon's Extracts from Pell Records, p. 362.
On the contrary, it is quite certain that she never was allowed an opportunity of justifying herself from the dark allegations that were brought against her. She was condemned unheard, despoiled of her property, and consigned to years of solitary confinement, without the slightest regard to law or justice. Her perfidious confessor, Randolf, while disputing with the parson of St. Peter's-ad-Vincula, was for ever silenced, by the combative priest strangling him in the midst of his debate." The fury with which the argument was pursued, and its murderous termination, would suggest the idea that the guilt or innocence of their royal mistress must have been the subject of discussion. Be this as it may, the death of Randolf under these circumstances leaves undetailed the “high and horrible means” whereby the royal widow was accused of practising against the life of the king. He was the only witness against her, and by his death the whole affair remains among the most inscrutable of historical mysteries. There is, however, among the unpublished papers of Rymer, a document which seems to throw some light on the affair, by evidencing the previous attempts of Henry V. to extort from Joanna the principal part of her dower in loans; for we find that, in the beginning of the year she was arrested, he enjoins “his dear chevalier, William Kynwolmersh, to send all the sums of money he can possibly borrow” of the dower of Johane the queen, late wife of our sovereign lord and sire the late king, whom God assoil | Let these sums be sent from time to time without fail, leaving her only money enough for her reasonable expenses, and to pay any annuities she might have granted.” In all probability, Joanna's resistance of this oppression was answered by her arrest, on the frivolous accusation which afforded the king a pretence for replenishing his exhausted coffers at her expense. It was one of the dark features of the age, that the ruin and disgrace of a person against whom no tenable accusation could be brought might readily be effected by a charge of sorcery, which generally operated on the public mind as effectually as the cry of ‘mad dog' does for the destruction of the devoted victims of the canine species. If Joanna had been a female of less elevated rank, she would, in all probability, have been consigned to the flames; but as the daughter, sister, and widow of kings, and the mother of a reigning prince, it was not possible for her enemies to proceed to greater extremities than plundering her goods and incarcerating her person. When these strange tidings reached her eldest son, the duke of Bretagne, his political apathy was sufficiently dispelled by the outrage that had been offered to his royal mother to impel him to send the bishop of Nantes and some of the principal persons in his court to Henry V., who was then at Melun, to expostulate with him on the injurious treatment of the widowed queen, and to demand her liberation. This remonstrance was offered, however, in the humble tone of a suppliant rather than the courageous spirit of a champion, ready to come forward to vindicate his mother's honour, according to the chivalric usage of the times, at swords' points with her accuser. But the feeble son of John the Valiant acted according to his nature in tamely submitting to Henry's haughty disregard of his expostulations, and thus substantiated the sarcastic observations addressed to him by the duke of Orleans, when reproaching him for having beaten his consort Joanna of France, “that the lion in his heart, was not bigger than that in the heart of a child of two years old.” Soon after the unsuccessful embassy of the duke of Bretagne to his royal step-brother, Joanna was deprived of any hope she might have founded on the efforts of her first-born for her deliverance, by his falling into the hands of his mortal enemy the count de Penthièvres, and she had the grief of bewailing in her dismal prison-house the captivity of both her sons. The return of the royal victor of Agincourt with his beautiful and illustrious bride, brought no amelioration to the condition of the unfortunate queen-dowager and her son. Katherine of Valois was nearly related in blood to Joanna * Monstrelet.
* Bayley's History of the Tower. Speed. Holinshed. *"Faire louez" is the expression used by the king—Unpublished MSS. of Rymer,4602; Plut. exiii. v.
of Navarre, being the daughter of her cousin-german, Charles VI. Katherine was also sister to the yourg duchess of Bretagne, Joanna's daughter-in-law; yet she received neither sympathy nor attention from her, but had the mortification of knowing that her dower, or at least the larger part of it, was appropriated to maintain Katherine's state as queen of England. Henry W. presented the abbess of Sion with a thousand marks from the revenues of the imprisoned queen.' We find, in the Acts of the Privy Council, that Henry returned a favourable answer to the petition of William Pomeroy, one of Joanna's esquires, who humbly supplicates for a continuance of a pension of twenty marks a-year, which had formerly been granted by the queen Johanne in reward of his long and faithful services to her. Henry with his own hand has written, “We wol that he have the twenty marcs.” In the fourth year of her captivity, an important prisoner of state was consigned to the same fortress in which the queendowager was incarcerated. This was sir John Mortimer, the uncle of the earl of March.” His frequent attempts to escape from the Tower caused him to be removed to the gloomy fortress of Pevensey. The widow of Henry IV. being confined within the same dark walls with this fettered lion of the rival house of Mortimer, is a curious and romantic circumstance. Yet, when Mortimer arrived at Pevensey, the period of Joanna's incarceration there was drawing to a close. Her royal persecutor, the puissant conqueror of France, feeling the awful moment was at hand when he must lay his sceptre in the dust, and render up an account of the manner in which he had exercised his regal power, was seized with late remorse for the wrong and robbery of which he had been guilty towards his father's widow; and knowing that repentance without restitution is of little avail in a case of conscience, he addressed the following injunction to the bishops and lords of his council, dated July 13, 1422:—
“Right worshipful Fathers in God, our right trusty and well-beloved: Howbeit we have taken into our hand till a Jrtain time, and for such causes as ye
know, the dowers of our mother, queen Johanne, except a certain pension thereof yearly, which we assigned for the expense reasonable of her, and of a certain menie" that should be about her; we, doubting lest it should be a charge unto our conscience for to occupy forth longer the said dower in this wise, the which charge we be advised no longer to bear on our conscience, will and charge you, as ye will appear before God for us in this case, and stand discharged in your own conscience also, that ye make deliverance unto our said mother, the queen, wholly of her said dower, and suffer her to receive it as she did heretofore; and that she make her officers whom she list, so they be our liegemen and good men; and that therefore we have given in charge and commandment at this time to make her full restitution of her dower above said. Furthermore, we will and charge you that her beds and all other things moveable that we had of her, ye deliver her again. And ordain her that she have, of such cloth and of such colour as she will devise herself, v. or VI. gowns, such as she useth to wear. And because we suppose she will soon remove from the palace where she now is, that ye ordain her horses for eleven chares;” and let her remove them into whatsoever place within our realm that her list, and when her list, &c. “Written the thirteenth day of July, the year of our reign tenth.” In common justice, Henry ought to have made this amende perfect, by adding a declaration of his royal step-mother's innocence from the foul charge which had been the ostensible pretext for the persecution to which she had been subjected. His letter contains in effect, however, if not in words, a complete exoneration of queen Joanna; and it appears unaccountable that any apologist should be found to justify the conqueror of Agincourt for acts which were so sore a burden to his departing spirit, and which he himself confesses, in this memorable letter, “that he had been advised no longer to bear on his conscience,” lest he should rue it hereafter. The above document proves that the spoliation of the queendowager had extended even to the sequestration of her beds and rich array. She had certainly been compelled to divest herself of her queenly attire, and to assume the coarse garb of penance. Whether the peace-offering of five or six new gowns, with the royal permission for the injured lady to consult her own taste in the colour, material, and fashion of the same, was considered by Joanna as a sufficient compensation for the wrong, and robbery, and weary imprisonment she had undergone, is doubtful. But be this as it might, and even if the gowns which the warlike majesty of England so solemnly
* Household servants; from which word comes the term ‘menial.” * Cars or chariots. * Parliamentary Rolls, 1st of Henry VI, where there is also an inventory of guecn Johanne's sequestrated property.