The Catholic University of America

Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi

 

By Clement Maidstone

 

Online Edition with Notes and Commentary by Stephen K. Wright

 

1997


 

Sources:

The text survives in three fifteenth-century manuscripts.

  • London, British Library, MS. Cotton Vespasian E. 7, fols. 94-101.
  • Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS. 197, fols. 85-98.
  • Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Auctar D. iv. 5, fols. 99-107.

Edition:

"Miscellanea Relating to the Martyrdom of Archbishop Scrope," ed. James Raine, in Historians of the Church of York, Rolls Series 71 (London, 1886), II, 304-311.

Bibliography:

For a detailed discussion of the problems of authorship, sources, and manuscript transmission, see Stephen K. Wright, "Provenance and Manuscript Tradition of the Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi," Manuscripta, 28 (1984), 92-102. For a study of literary and historical issues, see Stephen K. Wright, "Paradigmatic Ambiguity in Monastic Hagiography: The Case of Clement Maidstone's Martyrium Ricardi Archiepiscopi," Studia Monastica, 28 (1986), 311-342. For an English translation and commentary, see The Martyrdom of Archbishop Richard Scrope, translated by Stephen K. Wright.

 

Hae fuerunt causae, quare decollatus est archiepiscopus Ricardus Scrope

 

Prima causa fuit, quod consulit regi ad poenitendum, et ad satisfaciendum pro perjurio quo juravit in villa de Chestre per sacramentum corporis Domini, quod non rebelleret nec deponi consentiret regem Ricardum;1 cujus contrarium fecit, cogendo regem Ricardum resignare coronam in parliamento in crastino Sancti Michaelis anno Domini millesimo CCCLXXXXIX., per attornatum, et eodem rege Ricardo in Turri London incluso medio tempore;2 et tamen fidelitatem ante eidem regi Ricardo juravit in praesentia domini Thomae Arundell archiepiscopi Cantuarensis, et multorum nobilium.

2. Item, optavit idem archiepiscopus, Ricardus Scrope, quod corona regni restitueretur rectae lineae, vel cursui,3 et ecclesia Anglicana haberet suas libertates, privilegia et consuetudines secundum justas leges regni Angliae ab antiquo usitatas.4

3. Item, quod domini regni et magnates judicarentur per pares suos cum deliberatione justa aliorum dominorum illis aequalium.

4. Item, quod clerus et communitas regni non sint oppressi per exactiones et taxas decimarum, quintadecimarum, et subsidiorum, nec per alias impositiones iniquas, eo modo quo jam opprimuntur. Anno post coronationem suam idem rex habuit unam decimam, et aliquando duas in uno anno, licet in primo introitu juravit idem rex, quod in tempore vitae suae, in quantum impedire possit, quod nunquam solveret ecclesia Anglicana decimam, nec populus taxam: et istud juravit in castro de Knaresburgh juxta Eboracum.5

5. Item, quod, corona restituta rectae lineae, certi sapientes, qui sciunt honores et haberent scientiam, assignarentur; alii cupidi et avari ac ambitiosi, qui volunt dicere et facere quae regi placent et non Deo, sed ut ipsimet ditarentur, amoverentur.

6. Item, quod vicecomites in quolibet comitatu libere eligerentur absque coercione domini regis seu baronum.

7. Item, quod barones, nobiles, et communitas regni in suis causis haberent in parliamento liberam disponendi facultatem.

Hic incipit Martyrium praedicti Ricardi archiepiscopi

 

Anno Domini MCCCCV., VIII. die mensis Junii, scilicet in die Sancti Willelmi Confessoris, quae tunc fuit feria secunda Pentecostes, magister Ricardus Scrope, baccalarius Oxoniae artium, doctor utriusque juris Cantabrigiae, advocatus pauperum nuper in curia Romana, et deinde Lichfeldiae episcopus, et postea archiepiscopus Eboracensis, decollatus est extra muros prope Eboracum. Henricus enim Quartus, rex Angliae, in camera manerii dicti archiepiscopi, quod vocatur Bishopsthorp juxta Eboracum, mandavit Willelmo Gascoyne armigero, adtunc justitiaro principali Angliae, ut sententiam mortis de praefato archiepiscopo proferret tanquam de proditore regis; qui hoc recusavit, et sic sibi respondit: "Nec vos, domine mi rex, nec aliquis nomine vestro vester ligeus, potestis licite secundum jura regni aliquem episcopum ad mortem judicare." Unde praefatum archiepiscopum judicare omnino renuit. Quare idem rex ira vehementi exarsit versus eundum judicem, cujus memoria sit in benedictionem in saecula saeculi. Et statim mandavit domino Willelmo Fulthorp, militi et non judici, ut eodem die, scilicet feria secunda hebdomadis Pentecostes, qui fuit dies octavus mensis Junii, sententiam mortis in aula praefati manerii in archiepiscopum, quem vocavit proditorem, proferret. Et cum praedictus Willelmus Gascoyne, judex principalis Angliae, omnino renuit, praedictus dominus Willelmus Fulthorp in loco judicis sedit, et archiepiscopum adduci praeceperat. Quo archiepiscopo coram ipso nudo capite stante, hanc sententiam, ipso audiente et omnibus circumstantibus, protulit: "Te, Ricardum, proditorem regis, ad mortem judicamus, et ex praecepto regis decollari mandamus." Haec audiens archiepiscopus, hanc orationem publice dixit: "Deus justus et verus scit me nunquam intendisse malum contra personam regis nunc Henrici Quarti." (Quibus verbis archiepiscopi patet communem famam tunc fuisse ubique. Intentio tamen archiepiscopi fuit adire regem cum caeteris dominis, qui ad hoc congregarentur, ut peteret a rege reformationem malorum in regno tunc existentium; quia tunc erant dissensiones inter dominos et specialiter inter dominum Nevill et comitem Marescallum.6 Quare archiepiscopus dixit populo suo seipsum equitare cum multitudine.) Et post praedicta verba dixit saepius circumstantibus: "Oretis, ut Deus Omnipotens non vindicet mortem meam in rege nec in suis." Quae verba saepe repetiit, deprecando simul prothomartyri Stephano, qui pro lapidantibus deprecatus est.7 Et postea eadem die, circa meridiem, ductus est super equum valoris xl. d., sine sella; et gratias agens, dixit quod "Nunquam placuit mihi melius equus quam iste placet."8 Et Psalmum, Exaudi secundum, decantavit,9 sic equitando cum capistro et in blodia chimera et manicis chimerae ejusdem coloris existentibus. Vestem tamen lineam, qua utuntur episcopi, non sinebant archiepiscopum uti. Et sic, cum capicio humeros suos pendente, ductus est, sicut ovis ad victimam, qui vero non aperuit os suum, nec ad vindictam, nec ad excommunicationis sententiam.10 Qui cum ad locum decollationis pervenisset, dixit: "Omnipotens Deus, tibi offero meipsum et causas pro quibus patior, et veniam a Te peto pro omnibus peccatis et indulgentiam a me commissis sive omissis." Et tunc capuciam et tunicam11 ad terram deposuit: et suo decollatori, Thomae Alman nuncupato,12 dixit: "Fili, mortem meam Deus tibi remittat!" et "Ego tibi remitto; tamen deprecor, ut [des]13 mihi cum gladio tuo quinque vulnera in collo meo, quae sustinere cupio pro amore Domini mei Jhesu Christi, Qui pro nobis, obediens Patri usque ad mortem,14 quinque vulnera principalia sustinuit." Et tribus vicibus osculatus est eum; et positis genibus orabat dicens: "In manus tuas, dulcissime Jhesu, commendo spiritum meum,"15 junctis manibus, et elevatis oculis in caelum; et mox extendit collum, genuflectendo, et cancellatis manibus super pectus suum, decollator cum gladjo eum quinquies in collo percussit una et eadem carnis divisione.16 Et in quinta percussione caput ad terram cadit, corpus super dexterum latus.

Erant enim ibi quinque seliones cum ordeo ubi fuit archipraesul decollatus, qui erant pedibus conculcantium in die decollationis suae penitus destructi, sed tamen in autumno, absque aliquo opere, Deus ex Sua gratia tale incrementum dedit supra communem usum, ut aliqui calami quinque, aliqui quatuor spicas ordei produxerunt, et qui pauciores, minus tamen quam duas spicas non produxerunt.17

Eo tempore quo fuit decollatus, idem rex horribili lepra percussus est equitando versus Ripon;18 et videbatur quod quidam percussit eum sensibiliter; et hac de causa pernoctabat in villa de Hamerton per septem miliaria ab Eboraco distante; et nocte eadem sequente horribiliter idem rex vexabatur, in tantum quod clamore magno camerarios suos excitavit,19 qui surgentes omnia luminaria in camera et aula sine lumine et sine igne invenerunt, et regi theriacum in vino vocato vernage dederunt;20 et in crastino ad Ripon equitavit valde inf irmus, ubi permansit per septem dies. Et quando Georgius Plumpton, qui regem octavo die decollationis praedictae vidit, (sic) quod in facie et in manibus praedicti regis magnae pustulae leprosae crescebant, et praeminebant quasi capita mamillarum.21 Et qui ista vidit et audivit, testimonium perhibuit, Stephanus Cotinham alias Pa1mer; qui haec magistro Thomae Gascoyne, sacrae Theologiae professori, retulit.

In nocte vero tertia post praedictam decollationem apparuit idem archiepiscopus Johanni Sibson in domo sua apud Roclyfe,22 praecipiens eidem ut peccatum suum de cogitatione homicidii poenitentiario Eboracensi confiteretur; "Quia," inquit, "triginta annis elapsis de dicto proposito indies insidias parasti ad occidendum talem hominem. Sed quia in opere non complevisti, peccatum non esse putasti, nec confessus es. Ideo poenitere, et confitere, ne forte damneris." Hoc idem Johannes Sybson narravit in audentia plurimorum;23 et praecepit ei, ut offerret candelam ceream super sepulchrum ejus; et quod asportaret truncos, quos homines super sepulchrum ejus posuerunt ne homines ibidem adorarent vel offerrent.24 Quae idem Johannes, solus et senex dierum, asportavit et removit, licet et aliqua ipsorum vix tres fortes homines levare potuerunt, et coram altari Beatae Virginis Mariae ibidem in ecclesia deposuit;25 ac per xiiij. vices eidem Johanni idem sanctus archipraesul apparuit. Et virgo moriebatur idem archiepiscopus, ut per confessionem ejusdem cognitum est.26

Anno Dominicae Incarnationis MCCCCV. decollatus est felicis recordationis dominus Ricardus Scrope, legum doctor, ex praecepto et consensu Henrici regis Angliae, post cujus felicem mortem multimoda miraculorum gloria declaratam, idem rex, saniori consilio quorundam sibi assistentium ad se reversus, poenitudinem quandam assumpsisse videatur; misitque ad sedem Apostolicam nuntios solennes pro absolutione obtinenda, scilicet tam pro injuria Christi ecciesiae lata, quam pro reatu quem contraxit praecipiendo mortem praedicti sanctissimi praesulis, necnon contra omnia jura sibi nequiter procurata.27 Cum vero Romanus pontifex nuntiorum verba audisset, ingemuit, et plurimas effundens lacrymas cum maximo moerore dixit: "Heu! heu! Quod in diebus meis tanto scelere Christi sponsa sit impiorum manibus tam turplter obscurata!" Et his dictis recessit. Cumque dicti nuntii regis nudis pedibus capitibus discoopertis, et vestibus tantummodo lineis induti, veniam, indulgentiamque et absolutionem postulassent, et nullatenus profecissent; tandem preces precibus immergentes, et pretiosa munera cardinalibus et cubiculariis distribuentes,28 sub hac tantummodo conditione plenarium indulgentiam eidem rege obtinuerunt, ut idem rex, tactis sacrosanctis reliquiis Sanctorum, juraret tria nova monasteria construere acrioris observantiae Christianitatis in honore trium Festorum principalium; et quod dotaret ipsa monasteria absque ulla oneris impositione, ut religiosi in eisdem degentes cum omnium pace et animorum quiete Deo gratuitis obsequiis deservirent. Reversi nuntii, omnia referunt, regique praecepta Apostolica, et salutis aeternae januam sibi apertam. Quae omnia libentissime suscepit, et ipse juravit fideliter completurum. Sed quid proficit infirmo sua detegere vulnera, nisi sanitatis remedia voluerit adhibere? Nam usque ad extremam vitae suae horam idem rex Henricus Quartus et propriae animae remedium, et publicum juramentum, et Apostolicum neglexit mandatum, et mortuus est.

Post mortem ejusdem regis accidit quoddam mirabile ad praedicti Ricardi archipraesulis gloriam declarandam, et aeternae memoriae commemdandam. Nam infra triginta dies post mortem dicti regis Henrici Quarti venit quidam vir de familia ejusdem ad domum Sanctae Trinitatis de Howndeslowe vescendi causa, et cum in prandio sermocinarentur circumstantes de probitate morum ipsius regis, respondit praedictus vir cuidam armigero vocato Thomae Maydestone in eadem mensa tunc sedenti: "Si fueerit vir bonus, novit Deus; sed hoc verissime scio, quod cum a Westmonasterio corpus ejus versus Cantuarium in parva navicula portaretur, ibidem sepeliendum, ego fui unus de tribus personis qui projecerunt corpus ipsius in mare inter Berkingum et Gravesende." Et addidit cum juramento: "Tanta tempestas ventorum et fluctuum irruit super nos, quod multi nobiles sequentes nos in naviculis octo in numero dispersi sunt, ut vix mortis periculum evaserunt. Nos vero qui eramus cum corpore, in desperatione vitae nostrae positi, cum assensu projecimus illud in mare; et facta est tranquillitas magna.29 Cistam vero, in qua jacebat, panno deaurato coopertam cum maximo honore Cantuariam deportavimus, et sepelivimus eam."30 Dicant ergo monachi Cantuariae, quod sepulchrum regis Henrici Quarti est apud nos, non corpus; sicut dixit Petrus de Sancto David Act. 2o.31 Deus Omnipotens est testis et judex quod ego, Clemens Maydestone, vidi virum illum, et audivi ipsum jurantem patri meo, Thomae Maydestone, omnia praedicta fore vera.

 

Notes and Commentary

 

  • 1. After his triumphant return from exile in France, Henry Bolingbroke swore solemnly that he had no designs on Richard II's crown, but that his only aims were to recover the vast Lancastrian inheritance seized by Richard upon the death of Henry's father, John of Gaunt, in February 1399, and to be restored to his hereditary position as steward of England. Henry is said to have made this promise at Doncaster in the presence of an assembly of lords including the Earl of Northumberland, his son Harry Hotspur, the Earl of Westmorland, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
    Ironically, Henry Percy himself seems to have been directly implicated in the very act of treachery of which Bo1ingbroke is here accused by Scrope. The Earl of Northumberland and Archbishop Arundel went to Richard, who had taken refuge from Henry's advancing forces in the strongly fortified castle of Conway, and offered terms of surrender which the King agreed to accept. At that time Northumberland himself swore on the Host that Richard should retain his royal dignity and power if only the family estates and the hereditary stewardship were restored to Henry, whereupon Richard left the castle, only to fall into an ambush prepared for him. The King was then taken to rneet his ambitious cousin at Chester, and from there was led to the Tower. See May McKisack, The Fourteenth Century: 1307-1399 (Oxford, 1959), pp. 492-94; E. F. Jacob, The Fifteenth Century: 1399-1485 (Oxford, 1961), pp. 3-5; James Hamilton Wylie, History of England Under Henry the Fourth (London, 1884), I, 7.
  • 2. On St. Michael's Day, 29 September 1399, a committee of lords visited Richard II in the Tower to receive his resignation. The following day Parliament assembled in Westminster Hall, accepted Richard's renunciation of the crown, and declared that the thirty-two counts of accusation drawn up against him were sufficient for his deposition. Henry Bolingbroke then seated himself upon the throne.
    Curiously enough, Archbishop Richard le Scrope, far from offering any active opposition to Henry's designs on the crown, was in fact a prominent member of the parliamentary delegation which accepted Richard's resignation in the Tower. In Parliament the next day Scrope delivered a sermon, read aloud Richard's statement of abdication, and afterwards joined the Archbishop of Canterbury in ceremoniously enthroning Henry IV--all os which is carefully left unmentioned by the partisan author of this text. See Rotuli Parliamentorum: Ut et petitiones et placita in Parliamento tempore 1278-1532, ed. John Strachey (London, 1777), III, 415-28; Jacob, pp. 11-13; Wylie, I, 7-17.
  • 3 A surprising degree of circumspection is revealed both here and in article five, for nowhere does the author actually commit himself to stating the narne of the one who is said to hold the authentic claim to the throne. The most likely candidate would have been the young Edmund Mortimer, the fifth Earl of March, whose father, Roger Mortimer (died 1398), had been recognized by Richard II himself as his heir apparent. Mortimer's claim to a hereditary right to the throne, however, was surely no better than Henry Bolingbroke's. Mortimer based his claim on his descent from Phillipa, the daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence. Phillipa was Edward III's granddaughter and thus first cousin to Richard II. In addition, the Earl of March was a brother-in-law to Henry Percy the younger, and the son-in-law of the Welsh rebel Owen Glendower.
    A second possible, but perhaps less likely, candidate would have been Henry Percy himself. The Earl of Northumberland, who already ruled his vast northern domains as a virtual sovereign lord, could trace his circuitous royal descent through his mother's line and through two successive second sons back to his great-great-grandfather, Henry III.
  • 4 Scrope is known to have spoken out in opposition to the taxation of Church property proposed by the Coventry Parliament of 1404. See Wylie, II, 211. The repetition of this point in article four of the manifesto leads one to suspect that it was perhaps this issue more than any other which drove Scrope to open his propaganda campaign against the King and eventually side with Northumberland.
  • 5 One of Henry's first acts after landing at Ravenspur, Yorkshire, in July, 1399, was to march west and occupy Knaresborough Castle, where he swore the oath cited here; see Jacob, p. 2; Wylie, I, 7.
  • 6 The reference is to Ralph Neville, the first Earl of Westmorland, and Thomas Mowbray, the young Earl Marshal, who was tried and executed along with Scrope.
  • 7 For an account of the death of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, see Acts 7:54-60.
  • 8 A later chronicler confirms this account of the mocking of the Archbishop, adding that Scrope was forced to ride the horse backwards. See Chronica Pontificum Ecclesiae Eboracensis, in Historians of the Church of York, ed. James Raine, Rolls Series, 71 (London, 1886), II, 432-33. One recalls that Thomas Lancaster was similarly mocked by being forced to wear a ragged tunic and ride a worthless old mare to the place where he was beheaded; see the Annales Paulini, in Chronicles of the Reigns of Edward I Edward II, ed. William Stubbs, Rolls Series, 76 (London, 1882), I, 302-303, and the Flores Historiarum, ed. Henry Richard Luard, Rolls Series, 95 (London, 1890), III, 347.
  • 9 Psalm 16.
  • 10 Isaiah 53:7 reads as follows: "Oblatus est quia ipse voluit, et non aperuit os suum; sicut ovis ad occisionem ducetur, et quasi agnus coram tondente se obtumescet, et non aperiet os suum." From the earliest days of the Church this verse was understood as a prefiguration of Christ's Passion, as is made clear by' Philip's interpretation of the passage to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:32-35.
  • 11 Instead of tunicam, Gascoigne's version reads tenam, a technical term used in the Church to refer to a kind of coif or clerical headpiece. This is clearly an error in the Gascoigne manuscript, for the text has already called attention to the fact that Scrope is bareheaded and has been stripped of all his customary ecclesiastical vestments.
  • 12 Gascoigne adds that Alman was "born in Poppleton [a village about three miles northwest of York], and up until this time had been a prisoner in York for fifteen years."
  • 13 Emended from MS. Deus, clearly a scribal error for des, second person singular subjunctive of dare.
  • 14 The phrase echoes the words of Paul in his discussion of Christ's exemplary sacrifice: "Humiliavit semetipsum factus obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis" (Philippians 2:8).
  • 15 An allusion to Christ's last words as reported in Luke 23:46: "Et clamans voce magna Jesus ait: Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum. Et haec dicens, expiravit."
  • 16 Gascoigne's version is somewhat clearer here: "et tunc decollator cum gladio eum quinquies in collo percussit, in una et eademque carnis divisione, quam primo ictu fecerat."
  • 17 This miracle may have been suggested by the parable of the sower and the abundant harvest of the seed that fell upon good ground (Matthew 13:2-3; Mark 4:3-20; Luke 8:5-15), or by Jesus' warning in Matthew 7:16-20: "Therefore, by their fruits you will know them." A number of analogues can be found in Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, ed. Stith Thompson (Bloomington, Ind., 1966), I, 389; V, 451, 458, 562.
  • 18 Gascoigne includes what appear to be more precise geographical details, reporting that Henry was stricken as he rode toward Ripon "on Exmoor between Poppleton Lydgate and the bridge called Skeet Bridge." Wylie, II, 246, however, points out the inaccuracies in Gascoigne's account. Henry must have crossed Hessay Moor on his way to Ripon, not Exmoor, which is in Devonshire, and the bridge over the river Nidd was known locally as Skip Bridge, not Skeet Bridge.
    It is known that Henry suffered ill health from at least 1404 until his death in 1413, but it is doubtful whether leprosy could actually have produced the symptoms described here. See Saul Nathaniel Brody, The Disease of the Soul: Leprosy in Medieval Literature (Ithaca, 1974), pp. 21-33; Johs. G. Andersen, Studies in the Medieval Diagnosis of Leprosy in Denmark: An Osteoarchaeologica1, Historical, and Clinical Study (Copenhagen, 1969), pp. 73-81, 92-118; Wylie, I, 458, II, 246-52; and note 30 below.
  • 19 Gascoigne quotes the King as crying out, "Traitors! Traitors! You have thrown fire upon me!"
  • 20 The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that the word treacle, Latin theriacum, derives from the Greek theriake, an antidote against a venomous bite. In the fourteenth century, the term referred to a medicinal compound or salve composed of many ingredients, reputedly an alexipharmic against and an antidote to venomous bites, various poisons, and malignant diseases. By a further development, the Modern English word treacle came to refer to a kind of molasses often prescribed as medicine. Vernage is a kind of strong, sweet Tuscan wine popular in England throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; see Wylie, II, 247-48, notes 5 and 6.
  • 21 George Plumpton's father, Sir William Plumpton of Knaresborough, a nephew of the Archbishop, was put to death along with Scrope and Mowbray for his part in the rising. See Thomas Stapleton, ed., Plumpton Correspondence, Camden Society, 4 (London, 1839), pp. xxiii-xxvi.
  • 22 Rawcliffe is a village about two and a half miles from York. Gascoigne omits the details of Sibson's sin, but identifies his confessor as William Kexby, a canon of York.
  • 23 Gascoigne claims that Sibson told his tale to "my sister, Lady Joanna Roos, among the Franciscans at York."
  • 24 For the royal letters ordering such unpopular measures as these to be taken at Scrope's tomb in order to discourage the pilgrims who flocked there, see Historians of the Church of York, ed. Raine, III, 291-94.
  • 25 There are numerous analogues involving a holy man capable of lifting huge loads with superhuman ease. See Motif-Index of Folk Literature, ed. Thompson, II, 305; III, 182.
  • 26 The fragment attributed to Thomas Gascoigne preserved in Bodley MS. Auctar D. iv. 5 breaks off at this point. The next sentence, striking the tone of a new beginning, clearly shows the seam where Maidstone has joined material drawn from other sources or from his own experience to whatever material he may have inherited from his primary source.
    It is difficult to understand exactly why the detail concerning Scrope's confession of celibacy should be included in the narrative at this particular point. Perhaps it can be read as an allusion to the widespread medieval belief that leprosy could only be cured by bathing in the blood of an innocent child or a virgin. Ironically, the spilling of a virgin's blood is the cause of Henry's leprosy, not its cure. See Brody, pp. 72 and 152 note 5.
  • 27 Henry IV sent his emissaries to seek a reconciliation with Pope Gregory XII in 1408. See Jacob, p. 196.
  • 28 This passage seems to be an oblique criticism of the papacy, which by the time Maidstone composed his work had still failed either to canonize Richard le Scrope or to excommunicate Henry because of the troubled state of international politics during the Great Schism.
  • 29 There are numerous tales involving the casting of a sinner or a dead body overboard in order to placate a storm. Undoubtedly, the most influential instance is found in the story of Jonah (Jonas 1:4-15). There is a similar incident in the immensely popular romance of Apollonius of Tyre, and further analogues are noted by Stith Thompson, V, 320.
  • 30 This marvelous tale was finally proved untrue by research carried out when Henry IV's tomb at Canterbury was excavated in l832. The same study indicated that, while Henry was probably afflicted for many years by a painful wasting disease, there is no evidence to support the claim that he was a victim of leprosy; see J. H. Spry, "A Brief Account of the Examination of the Tomb of Henry IV in the Cathedral of Canterbury, August 2l, 1832," Archeologia, 26 (1836), 440-45.
  • 31 The reference is to Acts 2:29.32. Peter, delivering a sermon on Christ's resurrection, cites a prophetic passage from Psalm 15: "Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Peter goes on to emphasize that David, whose body still lies nearby in its ancient tomb in Jerusalem, could not have been speaking of himself in this Psalm, but rather must have been predicting the Resurrection: "Brethren, let me say to you freely of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is here with us to this very day. Therefore, since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that of the fruit of his loins one should sit upon his throne,' he, foreseeing it, spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he abandoned to hell, nor did his flesh undergo decay. This Jesus Christ God has raised up, and we are all witnesses of it."
    The ironic implication is that, while the early Christians could point to the tomb and body of King David and to the empty tomb of Christ as proofs of their faith, the monks of Canterbury have only the splendid tomb of King Henry--but not the body. Moreover, the tomb is vacant not because Henry has been raised up like Christ, but because he has been cast down into an unmarked resting place in the depths of the sea.