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 William Melton's Letter

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Alianore
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PostSubject: William Melton's Letter   Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:56 pm

I've been transcribing a letter sent by William Melton, Archbishop of York, to Simon Swanlond, mayor of London, probably in January 1330 (or maybe Jan 1329). It's rather fascinating...

Melton says that he has 'certain news' that his 'liege lord' Edward II is "alive and in good health of body and safe" (qil est en vie et en bone sancte de corps et enseur). He asks Swanlond not to show the letter to any man or woman of the world.

More to come when I transcribe it further! Wink

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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PostSubject: Re: William Melton's Letter   Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:35 pm

I've posted the letter on my blog: http://edwardthesecond.blogspot.com/2007/11/william-meltons-letter-2.html

I'm sure it's not all correct, and there are bits I can't work out, but the general sense is clear - the archbishop of York believed in January 1330 that Edward II was alive and was going to be released, maybe by the earl of Kent. He thought that Edward would go abroad (that's implicit in his asking his financial agent to get hold of £200 in gold for Edward).

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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Paul



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PostSubject: Re: William Melton's Letter   Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:18 pm

Great work on the translation, what a great find! As a doubter of Edward II's survival it certainly makes me think more about it. I would agree with your blog post that it's not proof that Edward survived but it fleshes out the background of Kent's plot.

I'd love to know how closely Kent and Melton were, I know they were both arrested but only Kent was executed. It seems to me that they must be linked to the same plot. I wonder why only Kent was executed as the evidence against Kent consisted of a letter (not sure what else?), you would've thought this shows similar evidence against Melton?
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PostSubject: Re: William Melton's Letter   Mon Nov 26, 2007 5:32 pm

I don't think that Melton was arrested because of this letter, but because Kent himself mentioned his name at his trial. Some others were arrested too, but none of them was executed.
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PostSubject: Re: William Melton's Letter   Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:04 pm

Will write more later (have to dash off to work) but quickly, Melton was clergy, so couldn't be executed. He was put on trial for treason, but acquitted - surprisingly, perhaps.

Elflady is right - Melton was implicated by Kent himself, in his confession. Apparently the letter wasn't discovered, as I can't find any evidence that Swanland was arrested. As I posted on the blog, he and Melton were cousins (I'm not sure how closely, though).

Thanks, Paul, for the compliment! Elflady shares the credit, for helping me decipher the letter.

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"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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PostSubject: Re: William Melton's Letter   Mon Nov 26, 2007 9:37 pm

Around fifty or sixty people at least were associated with the Kent plot - and that's just the ones we know about, ones who were named in Kent's confession or ordered to be arrested soon after his execution. (I'm preparing a blog post, or several, on this.) But there were certainly others - Simon de Swanland's involvement, for example, wouldn't be known about without the chance survival of this letter. I strongly suspect that other prominent Londoners were involved, too - Hamo de Chigwell, former mayor, for example.

Other evidence against Kent - his confession, which was read out to Parliament on 16 March 1330.

Not sure how or when Kent told Melton that Ed II was alive (or at least, that he thought he was), but Melton was a close friend and supporter of Ed II, so he was a natural person to tell, I suppose. And Melton's letter shows he enthusiastically he set about trying to help Ed.

_________________
"Sans lui n'estoit rien fait, et par lui estoit tous fait, et le creoit li rois plus que tout le monde." Without him nothing is done and through him everything is done, and the king trusts him more than any other: Hugh Despenser the Younger and Edward II
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