The Fieschi Letter in English and Latin

This post is designed to be a reference for future use. It is the full text of the Fieschi letter in English translation and in the original Latin, together with a word-for-word literal translation of the second half of the Letter, the section that the Auramala Project is concerned with verifying. We recommend the word-for-word translation, as it is the version which allows non-Latin speakers to get closest to the original text, and understand what we are dealing with. This is the text I will refer back to in later posts discussing the Letter and its contents.

It must be said, however, that the original document contains many abbreviations (conventional at the time), there are crossed-out words in some places, and some words and terms have dots placed under them. These graphic markings, which we cannot reproduce here, all had a meaning for the scribe and the people for whom the document was made. We will be discussing them in greater detail in a later post, as soon as we receive permission to publish our high-resolution images of the document from the Montpellier Archives.

First, the English translation:

In the name of the Lord, Amen. That which I heard of the confession of your father I wrote by my own hand and afterwards I took care to make it known to your highness.  First he says that feeling England in subversion against him, afterwards on the admonition of your mother, he withdrew from his family in the castle of the Earl Marshal by the sea, which is called Chepstow. Afterwards, driven by fear, he took a barque with lords Hugh Despenser and the Earl of Arundel and several others and made his way by sea to Glamorgan, and there he was captured, together with the said Lord Hugh and Master Robert Baldock; and they were captured by Lord Henry of Lancaster, and they led him to the castle of Kenilworth, and others were kept elsewhere at various places; and there he lost the crown by the insistence of many. Afterwards you were subsequently crowned on the feast of Candlemas next following. Finally they sent him to the castle of Berkeley. Afterwards the servant who was keeping him, after some little time, said to your father: Lord, Lord Thomas Gurney and Lord Simon Bereford, knights, have come with the purpose of killing you. If it pleases, I shall give you my clothes,  that you may better be able to escape. Then with the said clothes, as night was near, he went out of the prison; and when he had reached the last door without resistance, because he was not recognised, he found the porter sleeping, whom he quickly killed; and having got the keys of the door, he opened the door and went out, with his keeper who was keeping him. The said knights who had come to kill him, seeing that he had thus fled, fearing the indignation of the queen, even the danger to their persons, thought to put that aforesaid porter, his heart having been extracted, in a box, and maliciously presented to the queen the heart and body of the aforesaid porter as the body of your father, and as the body of the said king the said porter was buried in Gloucester. And after he had gone out of the prisons of the aforesaid castle, he was received in the castle of Corfe with his companion who was keeping him in the prisons by Lord Thomas, castellan of the said castle, the lord being ignorant, Lord John Maltravers, lord of the said Thomas, in which castle he was secretly for a year and a half.  Afterwards, having heard that the Earl of Kent, because he said he was alive, had been beheaded, he took a ship with his said keeper and with the consent and counsel of the said Thomas, who had received him, crossed into Ireland, where he was for nine months. Afterwards, fearing lest he be recognised there, having taken the habit of a hermit, he came back to England and landed at the port of Sandwich, and in the same habit crossed the sea to Sluys. Afterwards he turned his steps in Normandy and from Normandy, as many, going across through Languedoc, came to Avignon, where, having given a florin to the servant of the pope, sent by the said servant a document to Pope John, which pope had him called to him, and held him secretly and honourably for a further fifteen days. Finally, after various discussions, all things having been considered, permission having been received, he went to Paris, and from Paris to Brabant, from Brabant to Cologne so that out of devotion he might see The Three Kings, and leaving Cologne he crossed over Germany, that is to say, he headed for Milan in Lombardy, and from Milan he entered a certain hermitage of the castle of Milascio, in which hermitage he stayed for two years and a half; and because war overran the said castle, he changed himself to the castle of Cecima in another hermitage of the diocese of Pavia in Lombardy, and he was in this last hermitage for two years or thereabouts, always the recluse, doing penance and praying to God for you and other sinners.

In testimony of which I caused my seal to be affixed for the consideration of Your Highness. Your Manuele de Fieschi, notary the lord pope, your devoted servant.

Now, the ‘original’ Latin:

Archives departementales d’Herault, Montpellier, GM 23, Cart. de Mag. Reg. A, fol. 86r.

In nomine Domini amen. Ea que audivi ex confessione patris vestri manu mea propria scripsci et propterea ad vestri dominacionem intimari curavi. Primo dicit quod sentiens Angliam in subversione contra ipsum, propterea monitu matris vestre, recessit a familia sua in castro Comitis Marescali supra mare, quod vocatur Gesosta. Postea, timore ductus, ascendit barcham unam con dominis Ugone Dispenssario et comiti Arundele et aliquibus aliis, et aplicuit in Glomorgam supra mare, et ibi fuit captus, una con domino dicto Ugone et magistro Roberto de Baldoli; et fuerunt capti per dominum Henricum de Longo Castello, et duxerunt ipsum in castro Chilon- gurda, et alii fuerunt alibi ad loca diversa; et ibi perdidit coronam ad requisicionem multorum. Postea subsequenter fuistis coronatus in proximiori festo Sancte Marie de la Candelor. Ultimum miserunt eum ad castrum de Berchele. Postea famulus qui custodiebat ipsum, post aliqua tempora, dixit patri vestro: Domine, dominus Thomas de Gornay et dominus Symon Desberfort, milites, venerunt causa interficiendi vos. Si placet, dabo vobis raubas meas, ut melius evadere possitis. Tunc con dictis raubis, hora quasi notis, exivit carcerem; et dum pervenisset usque ad ultimum ostium sine resistencia, quia non cognoscebatur, invenit ostiarium dormientem, quem subito interfecit; et receptis clavibus ostii, aperuit ostium et exivit, et custos suus qui eum custodiebat. Videntes dicti milites qui venerant ad interficiendum ipsum quod sic recesserat, dubitantes indignacionem regine, ymo periculum personarum, deliberarunt istum predictum porterium, extracto sibi corde, ponere in una cusia, et cor et corpus predicti proterii ut corpus patris vestri malicicse regine presentarunt, et ut corpus regis dictus porterius in Glocesta’ fuit sepultus. Et postquam exivit carceres castri antedicti, fuit receptatus in castro de Corf con socio suo qui custodiebat ipsum in carceribus per dominum Thomam, castellanum dicti castri, ignorante domino, domino Johanne Maltraverse, domino dicti Thome, in quo castro secrete fuit per annum cum dimidio. Postea, audito quod comes Cancii, quia dixerat eum vivere, fuerat decapitatus, ascendit unam navem cum dicto custode suo, et de voluntate et consilio dicti Thome qui ipsum receptaverat, et transivit in Yrlandam, ubi fuit per viiii menses. Postea dubitans ne ibi cognosceretur, recepto habitu unius heremite, redivit in Angliam, et aplicuit ad portum de Sandvic, et in eodem habitu transivit mare apud Sclusam. Postea diresit gressus suos in Normandia[m], et de Normandia, ut in pluribus, transeundo per Linguam Octanam, venit Avinionem, ubi, dato uno floreno uni servienti pape, misit per dictum servientem unam cedulam pape Johanni, qui papa eum ad se vocari fecit, et ipsum secrete tenuit honorifice ultra xv dies. Finaliter, post tractatus diversos, consideratis omnibus, recepta licencia, ivit Parisius, et de Parisius in Braybantia[m], de Braybantia in Coloniam, ut videret iii reges causa devocionis, et recedendo de Colonia per Alemaniam transivit sive peresit Mediolanum in Lombardiam, et de Mediolano intravit quoddam heremitorium castri Milasci, in quo heremitorio stetit per duos annos68 cum dimidio; et quia dicto castro guerra supervenit, mutavit se in castro Cecime, in alio heremitorio diocesis Papiensis in Lombardiam, et fuit in isto ultimo heremitorio per duos annos vel circa, semper inclusus, agendo penitenciam, et Deum pro vobis et aliis peccatoribus orando.

In quorum testimonium, sigillum, contemplacione vestre dominacionis, duxi apponen- dum. Vester Manuel de Flisco, domini pape notarius, devotus servitor vester.

Finally, the word-for-word translation of the second half (from the prison-break onwards). You will find in brackets prepositions, pronouns and other words that are implicit in the case or tense of the Latin word being translated.  We would love you to check the text with your trusty Latin-English dictionary, but you should look for the words NOT in brackets in the English.

et postquam exivit carceres castri antedicti
and after (he) exited (the) prison (of the) castle aforementioned
fuit receptatus in castro de Corf con socio
(he) was received in (the) castle of Corf with friend
suo qui custodiebat ipsum in carceribus per
his which gaurded him in (the) prison By means of
dominum Thomam castellanum dicti castri
sir Thomas (the) castellan (of the) said castle
ignorante domino domino Iohanne
(being) ignorant (the) lord sir John
Maltraverse domino dicti Thome
Maltraverse lord (of) said Thomas
in quo castro secrete fuit per annum cum
in which castle secretly (he) was for (a) year with
dimidio postea audito quod comes Cancii quia
half afterwards heard that (the) count (of) Kent because
dixerat eum vivere fuerat decapitatus ascendit
(he) had said him to live (he) had been decapitated ascended
unam navim cum dicto custode suo et de
a ship with said guardian his and by (the)
voluntate et consilio dicti Thome qui ipsum
will and counsel (of) said Thomas who him
receptaverat et transivit in Yrlandam ubi fuit per
(had) received and crossed to Ireland where (he) was for
viiii menses postea dubitans ne ibi
viiii months afterwards doubting that there
cognosceretur recepto habitu unius heremite
(he) might be recognised received (the) habit (of) a hermit
redivit in Angliam et applicuit ad portum
(he) returned to England and (he) landed at (the) port
de Sandvic et in eodem habitu transivit
of Sandwich and in that same habit (he) crossed
mare apud Sclusam postea diresit gressus
by sea at Sluys afterwards (he) directed steps
suos in Normandiam et de Normandia ut in pluribus
his to Normandy and from Normandy as (-) many
transeundo per Linguam Occitanam venit Avinionem
crossing through Lingua d’Oc (he) came (to) Avignon
ubi dato uno floreno uni servienti pape
where given a floren (to) one servant (of the) Pope
misit per dictum servientem unam cedulam
(he) sent by said servant a note
pape Johanni qui papa eum ad se vocari
(to) Pope John which Pope him to himself call
fecit et ipsum secrete tenuit honorifice ultra xv
(he) made and him secretly held honorably further xv
dies finaliter post tractatus diversos consideratis
days finally after discussions many considered
omnibus recepta licencia ivit Parisius et de
everything received license (he) went (to) Paris and from
Parisius in Braybantiam de Braybantia in Coloniam ut
Paris to Brabant from Brabant to Cologne so as
videret iii reges causa devocionis et recedendo
(he) could see iii kings due to devotion and leaving
de Colonia per Alemaniam transivit sive
from Cologne through Germany (he) crossed or
peresit Mediolanum in Lombardiam et de
(he) came to Milano in Lombardy and from
Mediolano intravit quoddam heremitorium castri
Milan (he) entered a certain hermitage (of) castle
Milasci in quo heremitorio stetit per duos
Milascio in which hermitage (he) stayed for two
annos cum dimidio et quia dicto
years with half and because (to) said
castro guerra supervenit mutavit se
castle war overcame (he) changed himself
in castro Cecime in alio heremitorio diocesis
to castle Cecima in another hermitage (of the) diocese
Papiensis in Lombardiam et fuit in isto ultimo
(of) Pavia in Lombardy and (he) was in this last
heremitorio per duos annos vel circa semper
hermitage for two years or about always
inclusus agendo penitenciam et Deum pro vobis
closed away doing penance and God for you
et aliis peccatoribus Orando.
and other sinners Praying.
In quorum testimonium sigillum contemplacione
In of which testimony (my) seal (for the) contemplation
vestre dominacionis duxi apponendum.
(of) your lordship (I) ordered attached.
Vester Manuel de Flisco domini pape
Your Manuel of Fieschi (of the) lord Pope
notarius devotus servitor vester
notary devoted servant yours
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