1391 Recall

In fact the King was so unamused by what he saw as the malign influence of Adam over the papal court in Rome that he decided to recall all the English clergy living overseas. He suggested that any who did not return might be deprived of their livings by the will of the King thereby striking a blow at papal authority. He almost certainly had no right to deprive the majority of clergy of their benefices but he would in practise be able to deprive them of the benefices they had in England. Many of Adam's followers had benefices in other parts of Europe out of Richard's reach.

Nonetheless, the demand of his King put Adam in a difficult position. To refuse might cost him dear, certainly it could cut of the funds from Somersham and York but it would also make it increasingly unlikely that he would ever return home. On the other hand if he did obey, he would be completely at the mercy of his sovereign and Adam had already had one near encounter with death. He surely did not relish the prospect of a repeat performance now that he was in his 60's. On the other hand there can be very little doubt as to who Richard had in mind when he made his declaration. Pope Boniface had to tread carefully and he tried to make common cause with Richard in the hope that things might calm down a bit. The last line of Capgreave’s account seems to hint at two people, the first Adam, the second Boniface.


In these days was proclamation by consent of the King that every beneficed man that was in the Court of Rome should be at home by the Feast of Saint Nicholas. This cry stunned greatly the court (of Rome) and caused that the Pope sent an Abbot to the King bringing such message. First he commended the King for his faith and truth, that he held ever with the Church against the Antipope which Antipope was greatly supported by the Kings of France and Spain. Then said he that the Pope marvelled much of certain statutes which were made in this land against the liberty of the Church; and for the Pope supposed that it was not the King's will (i.e. he had been badly advised) therefore he sent his messenger to steer the King that such statutes should be abrogated which were against the liberty of Holy Church and especially these two Quare Impedit and Premunire Facias. Also he notified unto the King that the Antipope and the King of France be thus accorded, that the said King of France with the help of the Duke of Burgundy and others shall set the Antipope in the seat of Rome and the same Antipope shall make the King of France, emperor; and other Dukes he shall install in the lordships of Italy. Also he informed the King what peril should fall if the Antipope and the King were thus accorded and the King of France be emperor, he should by that way challenge the dominion of England. Therefore the pope counselled the King that he should make no peace with the King of France but on this condition, that the King of France shall favour the opinion of the true Pope and suffer none of his people to fight against him. These and many other things were put in delay till the next parliament which was at Hallowmass (All Saints Day, November 1st). And for the promotions of him that dwelled in Rome it would not be granted, but for the favour of the Pope, they granted him his provisions till the next parliament.

The Chronicle of England by John Capgreave (ed. Rev Francis Hingeston 1858)


To the sheriff of Kent. Order at his peril by the advice of the lords and great men of the realm and others of the Council, to cause a proclamation to be made in the county court and in all cities, boroughs, market towns etc that all lieges in the court of Rome shall under pain of forfeiture of life, limb etc hasten towards the realm so that they shall be within the same before St Martin in winter next at the latest and that no man shall bring within the realm any bulls or papal letters, processes, instruments or aught else to annul the statutes, laws and customs of the realm.......as it is newly come to the King's knowledge that great number of his lieges in foreign parts are suing to annul or quash divers statutes made for the common weal of the realm by the King and his forefathers and by the lords, great me and commons and doing other mischief in contempt of the King, to his prejudice and the hurt of the realm and people.

Close Rolls 3rd May 1391