a fair daughter named Isabel, married into England to king Edward the second ; and these three sons, the eldest named Louis, who was king of Navarre in his father's days and was called king Louis Hutin, the second had to name Philip the Great or the Long, and the third was called Charles; and all three were kings of France after iheir father's decease by right succession each after other, without having any issue male of their bodies lawfully begotten. So that after the death of Charles, last king of the three, the twelve peers and all the barons of France would not give the realm to Isabel the sister, who was queen of England, because they said and maintained, and yet do, that the realm of France is so noble that it ought not to go to a woman, and so consequently to Isabel, nor to the king of England her eldest son for they determined the son of. the woman to have no right nor succession by his mother, since they declared the mother to have no right :' so that by these reasons the twelve peers and barons of France by their common accord did give the realm of France to the lord Philip of Valois, nephew sometime to Philip le Beau king of France, and so put out the queen of England and her son, who was as the next heir male, as son to the sister of Charles, last king of France. Thus went the realm of France out of the right lineage, as it seemed to many folk, whereby great wars hath moved and fallen, and great destructions of people and countries in the realm of France and other places, as ye may hereafter [see]. This is the very right foundation of this history, to recount the great enterprises and great feats of arms that have fortuned and fallen. Sith the time of the good Charlemagne king of France there never fell so great adventures.
Of the earl Thomas of Lancaster and twenty-two other of the great lords and knights of England, that were beheaded.
THE foresaid king Edward the second, father to the noble king Edward the third, on whom our matter is founded, this said king governed right diversely his realm by the exhortation of sir Hugh Spencer, who had been nourished with him sith the beginning of. his yongth ; the which sir Hugh had so enticed the king, that his father and he were the greatest masters in all the realm, and by envy thought to surmount all other barons of England ; whereby after the great discomfiture that the Scots had made at Stirling great murmuring there arose in England between. the noble barons and the king's council, and namely against sir Hugh Spencer. They put on him that by his counsel they were discomfited, and that he was favourable to the king of Scots. And on this point the barons had divers times communication together, to be advised what they might do, whereof Thomas earl of Lancaster, who was uncle to the king, was chief. And anon when sir Hugh Spencer had espied this, he purveyed for remedy, for he was so great with the king and so near him, that he was more beloved with the king than all the world after. So on a day he came to the king and said, `Sir, certain lords of your realm have made alliance together against you, and without ye take heed thereto betimes, they purpose to put you out of your realm': and so by his malicious means he caused that the king made all the said lords to be taken, and their heads to be stricken off without delay, and without knowledge or answer to any cause. First of all sir Thomas earl of Lancaster, who was a noble and a wise, holy knight, and hath done sith many fair miracles in Pomfret, where he was beheaded, for the which deed the said sir Hugh Spencer achieved great hate in all the realm, and specially of the queen and of the earl of Kent, brother to the king. And when he perceived the dis pleasure of the queen, by his subtle wit he set great discord between the king and the queen, so that the king would not see the queen nor come in her company, the which discord endured a long space. Then was it skewed to the queen secretly and to the earl of Kent, that without they took good heed to themselves, they were likely to be destroy