Friday, June 1, 2018

King Edward I's Letter on the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid


Summary: King Edward I may have gotten the fastest, truest answer to one of six questions in his letter June 6, 1303, on the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid.


King Edward I looked to John de Drokensford, trusted Keeper of the King's Wardrobe, for assistance in securing answers to six critical questions for investigating the 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid; tomb of John de Drokensford, Cathedral Church of St. Andrew (popular name: Wells Cathedral), Wells, Somerset, Southwest England; March 19, 2008: Rodw, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A king's asking six questions June 6, 1303, about the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid allowed royal appointees to apply an analytical approach that recovered much treasure and resulted in seven hangings.
A courier brought news of the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid April 30-May 3, 1303, to the English royal camp in Linlithgow, Scotland, June 6, 1303. King Edward I (June 17, 1239-July 7, 1307) counted upon continuing his campaigns against the Scots through the financial combination of crown jewels and wool taxes. He defaulted on debts to Flanders and directed all available resources into a 3,500-man army, movable bridges over the Forth, 173 ships and sulphur for cannons.
Edward estimated the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid at £100,000 in fiscal year 1302/1303 when his King's Wardrobe entered £120,520 in receipts and expended almost £140,000.

One perpetrator or many ferreted coins, gems, icons, jewels, plateware and vessels from the neighboring Abbey through Edward's Westminster Palace gates and grounds and Kings Bridge.
Henry de Cherring, Westminster Coroner, got news May 25, 1303, of Isabella/Mathilda Lovett/Lovitt glimpsing treasure around or in St. Margaret's cemetery near the Abbey and Palace. Kings Chapel, Hall, House and Wardrobe staff heard of gems, gold and silver in ditches and fields and on Colchester, London and Northampton precious metal markets. Their courier, by London to Linlithgow roads or Port of London ship, informed their king June 3, 1303, of "the testimony of faithful and loyal people."
Paul Doherty's The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303 judges the informants the Constable of the Tower of London and the Keeper of the King's Wardrobe.

Edward kept documents and the Royal Treasury in Westminster Abbey and the royal storehouse in the Tower of London near royal armorer, fletcher and smith workshops.
The Abbey's Pyx Chamber lodged monastic and royal documents and monastic treasures even as the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid looted the Abbey's Chapter House Crypt. Edward made John de Drokensford (Feb. 5, 1260-May 9, 1329) Keeper of the King's Wardrobe responsible for the Royal Treasury and Ralph de Sandwich Tower Constable. He notified Drokensford and "well beloved and faithful" John Bakewell, Roger de Southcote, Walter of Gloucester and Sandwich that he needed one investigator and four justices.
Six questions from Edward oriented London investigations and London and Middlesex and Surrey Shire inquiries toward "a hasty remedy" of the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury.

Edward prioritized as the top three questions "Who are the malefactors? Who knew about the robbery? Who offered and gave the robbers help, counsel and assistance?"
Edward queued up next, "Who knowingly received the said treasure? How was the said treasure taken and how much? In whose hands is the treasure now?" The fifth question least resisted rapid resolution because of Drokensford's reliance upon his Cofferer Ralph de Manton's (died Feb. 26, 1303) 20-plus-page inventory from Nov. 1300. Drokensford searched the Crypt with his Cofferer, Walter de Bedwyn, May 25, 1303, and scheduled their formal audit, with Manton's ledgers for comparison, June 20-22, 1303.
It perhaps turned out fastest and truest of all to trace £100,000 in stolen treasure through a forced window during the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury raid.

News of the 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid reached King Edward I after Westminster coroner Henry de Cherring learned of treasure sightings by an elderly woman, Isabella/Mathila Lovett/Lovit, in St. Margaret's Churchyard, alongside Westminster Abbey's north entrance; St. Margaret's Church from the northwest: Edward Walford's Old and New London, vol. III (1881), page 565, Public Domain, via Internet Archive

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
King Edward I looked to John de Drokensford, trusted Keeper of the King's Wardrobe, for assistance in securing answers to six critical questions for investigating the 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid; tomb of John de Drokensford, Cathedral Church of St. Andrew (popular name: Wells Cathedral), Wells, Somerset, Southwest England; March 19, 2008: Rodw, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johndrokensfield.JPG
News of the 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid reached King Edward I after Westminster coroner Henry de Cherring learned of treasure sightings by an elderly woman, Isabella/Mathilda Lovett/Lovit, in St. Margaret's Churchyard, alongside Westminster Abbey's north entrance; St. Margaret's Church from the northwest: Edward Walford's Old and New London, vol. III (1881), page 565, Public Domain, via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/oldnewlondonnarr03thor#page/565/mode/1up

For further information:
Doherty, Paul. 2005. The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303: The Extraordinary Story of the First Big Bank Raid in History. New York NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers.
Harrod, Henry. 31 March 1870. "On the Crypt of the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey." Chapter XXIII, pp. 373-382 in Archaeologia: or Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity. Published by the Society of Antiquaries of London. Vol. XIV.
Available via HathiTrust @ https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101076451788?urlappend=%3Bseq=163
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/stream/archaeologiaopt244sociuoft#page/373/mode/1up
Keay, Anna. 2011. The Crown Jewels. London UK: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Marriner, Derdriu. 20 April 2018. "Richard Puddlicott and the Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid, 1303." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/04/richard-puddlicott-and-westminster.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 4 May 2018. "Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid in April and May 1303 in England." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/05/westminster-abbey-royal-treasury-raid.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 11 May 2018. "Mysteries of the April-May 1303 Westminster Abbey Royal Treasury Raid." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2018/05/westminster-abbey-royal-treasury-raid.html
Walford, Edward. 1881. Old and New London: A Narrative of Its History, Its People, and Its Places. Vol. III: Westminster and the Western Suburbs. London, Paris and New York: Cassell Petter & Galpin.
Available via Internet Archive @ https://archive.org/details/oldnewlondonnarr03thor


No comments:

Post a Comment