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occurred within the diocese of the Bishop of Salisbury it was resolved that the cause should be undertaken by that prelate, Robert Bingham. Repairing therefore to Devizes Castle, he solemnly adjured the guilty parties to redress the wrong committed, by replacing the fugitive within the pale of sanctuary, or to suffer the Church's penalty on incorrigible wrong-doers. The Governor was deaf to all solicitations, and the Bishop having pronounced a sentence of excommunication upon the whole garrison quitted the castle for London. The prelates then in a body carried their cause before the King, and were so far successful as to obtain an order directing Hubert to be reconveyed into St. John's Church; though Henry at the same time sent the following secret despatch to the Sheriff of Wilts.
“It is commanded to the Sheriff of Wilts that as he loves his own body, he be at Devizes in propriâ personâ with the posse comitatus on Wednesday the morrow of St. Luke the Evangelist in the early morning, and by keeping Hubert de Burgh within the church of St. John both day and night, to prevent his escape by any means. Dated at Westminster 15 Oct. 17th Henry III.”
He also dispatched two of his Justices Ralph de Bray and Ralph de Norwich, to offer to the prisoner either a fair hearing in the King's court in accordance with the conditions of his imprisonment, or a pass to quit the realm for life; but in case of his refusal to accept either, then the Sheriff's men were to guard the church and cemetery with all diligence.
But the disordered state of the country rendered all these precautions unavailing. Hubert was carried back to his sanctuary and the church was instantly environed to prevent his exit; but assistance was nearer at hand than his enemies
1 The nominal Sheriff at this time pears both before and after these was Ela Countess of Salisbury. Her events. See Jackson's List, Wiltexecutive deputy may have been shire Magazine. " John the Dane” whose name ap
looked for. On the very morrow after his restoration, a troop of Pembroke's adherents, headed by Gilbert Bassett, suddenly burst into the churchyard, scattered the Sheriff's posse comitatus, and drew the shivering prisoner forth from his living sepulchre. His shackles they swiftly knocked from his limbs, then seating him on a mailed steed, bore him off in triumph to the mountains of Wales.
Though at liberty, he was now in alliance with the King's declared emeny: but the Earl of Pembroke falling in the succeeding year by the dagger of a false friend, a general amnesty was agreed upon at Gloucester, whereby Hubert with the other insurgents was reinstated (outwardly) in the Royal favour; a proceeding facilitated by the fact that his old enemy the Bishop of Winchester had already retreated in disgrace from England, and was gone to Rome: this was in April 1234. Hubert relinquished the office of Justiciary and sought to live in tranquility, but soon discovered that nothing could permanently secure the King's grace. The fact was he was still too wealthy. After giving undeniable proofs of loyalty during five years, besides submitting to a heavy fine, a new quarrel was fastened upon him on some frivolous pretence, and he was actually summoned to take his trial on eight counts, some of them containing charges which the treaty at Gloucester had already obliterated. One of these [and the only one we need mention was for breaking prison at Devizes in violation of his oath there to remain ! the indictment averring that, “whereas Hubert de Burgh had placed himself in the prison of our lord the King, and by the agreement made between them, he was to be regarded as an outlaw should he venture to escape without royal licence, neverthless he did so escape,” &c., &c.
To this, Master Lawrence of St. Albans, clerk, Hubert de Burgh's advocate, made reply as follows:"Hubert de Burgh makes answer that he entered into no such agreement: And he says, that when he was in the custody of the four Earls of England who had it in command that no danger should happen to his person, those keepers who were bound to defend him from harm were afterwards removed, he knows not by whom; so that he was reasonably in fear for himself; and particularly since the Bishop of Winchester became Councillor for the lord the King, who had threatened him, as all England knows, and the castle of Devizes was placed in the custody of Peter de Rival. As therefore the guard which by agreement should have protected him while he was so in custody, was removed, it was no wonder if he fled for shelter to the church: and this he would on no account have done if the agreement as to safe custody had been kept with him. As to what is said of the outlawry he made no such agreement: it was not possible that any good man and true could be outlawed by agreement, such being the punishment of evil-doers, not of well-doers. For himself, he had always desired and offered to stand to the judgment of his peers. He also reminded his judges that when at length he returned to the peace of the King, all the premises were pardoned, and the outlawry proclaimed void by all the Earls of England, by the King's letters, and judgment made at Gloucester before all the Bishops and Barons,” &c., &c.
Matthew Paris says he fully proved his innocency, notwithstanding the King's efforts to secure the prisoner's conviction: but in order to evade an unjust sentence he found it necessary to make a peace-offering by surrendering to the Crown four of his favourite castles, viz., Blanch, Grosmund in Wales, Skenefrith, and Hatfield. This trial took place in 23rd Henry III. See the State Trials where it is recorded in full. Hubert survived the prosecution six years, and was buried in the monastery of the Friars-preachers now called Blackfriars. His daughter Margotta who inherited the manor and royalty of Elmore, Co. Gloucester, became the wife of Anselme de Guise, whose descendant Eleanor Guise marrying Lawrence Washington of Garsden, Sheriff of Wilts in 1651, became the ancestor of Lawrence Earl Ferrars who perished