Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The Murderers Punished

Edward III. ranks as one of England's greatest kings; but as he was only fourteen years of age at the time of his coronation, the government was first carried on by a council of regency, composed of twelve lords. These noblemen, however, were ruled in their turn by Queen Isabella and her favourite Mortimer.

The wicked queen had not only taken possession of all the property of the Despensers, but after she had got rid of her weak husband, she tried to keep the authority in her own hands by surrounding her son with men who were her tools. The young king could not resist, and quietly bided his time.

Edward was a born soldier, and his greatest desire seems to have been to make conquests. Even in the beginning of his reign he joined his army and fought against the Scots, who were then still governed by Robert Bruce.

The English army was composed of heavily armed knights, while the Scots, led by Douglas, wore little armour, and rode small horses, which could scramble over the roughest ground. Instead of having immense trains of baggage, such as followed the English army, each Scotchman carried a hag of oatmeal and a flat iron plate on which he baked his cakes at the camp fire. Whenever the Scotch wanted meat, they caught and killed an ox. As soon as it was flayed, the skin was hung over the fire, filled with water, and thus served as a caldron wherein to boil the meat.

These simple arrangements gave Douglas and his men a great advantage over the English, who could never overtake them. Sudden raids here and there, and very prompt retreats, formed the Scotch method of warfare; but they never engaged in a pitched battle with Edward's troops.

One night, when the English were fast asleep in their tents, Douglas broke into their-camp with two hundred men. Edward would have fallen a victim to their blows, had he not been defended by his chaplain and chamberlain, who, by sacrificing their lives, enabled him to escape.

After carrying on this skirmish warfare for some time, the Scots discovered that the new king, although a boy, was a more formidable foe than his father, and agreed to make peace with him. In 1328, therefore, Edward III. and Robert Bruce signed the treaty of Northampton, in which it was agreed that Scotland was to be independent.

That same year, young as he was, Edward married a good and beautiful princess, Philippa of Hainault. He also arranged a marriage between his own sister Jane and the son of Robert Bruce, who was then only a baby.

As soon as Edward was eighteen, he became his own master and began to reign alone. The very first use he made of his power was to punish the murderers of his father. Now, as you know, Isabella and Mortimer were the real authors of the crime. They were evidently afraid they might be punished, for they had withdrawn to the Castle of Nottingham, which was closely guarded by their own men. Every evening the gates were securely closed and locked, the keys being brought to the queen, who kept them under her own pillow, to prevent treachery.

In spite of all this caution, Edward's followers got into the castle by a subterranean passage, of whose existence the queen was not aware. Before he could suspect his danger, Mortimer was seized and dragged away by the soldiers, while the queen, falling at the young king's feet, implored him to spare her "gentle Mortimer."

As he could not bring his own mother to trial, Edward had her taken to Castle Rising, where she spent the rest of her life a prisoner. Once a year he came to see her, but her imprisonment lasted nearly twenty-eight years.

Her accomplice Mortimer was taken to Westminster, where he was tried and sentenced to be hanged at Tyburn, the place where all common criminals were put to death.