Ceremony for Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander
The lights are on. The Warder and the Aspirant - the Knight Kadosh - are in
waiting outside the door.
The procession, formed on the outside, enters the Court Room in the following order.
Captain of the Guard
The procession will halt near the front, face inward and allow the judges to pass and take their places on the Bench. The other officers will then take their proper places.
First Judge, Seated: Herald, make proclamation that this Sovereign Tribunal is now in session, and that all who desire its judgment may draw near and they shall be heard.
The Herald goes to the entrance and proclaims: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! The Sovereign Tribunal is now in session. Whosoever hath been cited to appear before it, or whosoever hath petition, complaint, appeal or answer to make, let him now draw near, and he shall be heard. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
The Herald repeats the proclamation outside the door which is left slightly ajar so that his voice may be heard as from a distance. He then returns to his station, salutes the Judges in token of the performance of his duty and is seated.
Enter: Sir Herman, Hugh, Thomas and their Assistants.
If desired, the floor is now occupied by the Villagers in appropriate 14th Century costumes. They are seated under the direction of two Men-at-Arms. When all is in readiness:
First Judge: Captain of the Guard, have you knowledge of any who are entitled to our first consideration?
The Captain of the Guard rises, salutes, but before he speaks the Warder gives an alarm at the door.
Warder: * *** **** *.
Captain of the Guard: Illustrious Judges, there is an alarm at the entrance.
First Judge: Attend to the alarm and report.
Captain of the Guard goes to the door, ascertains the cause of the alarm, closes the door and reports. Remains at door.
Captain of the Guard: Illustrious Judges, a Knight Kadosh solicits the honor of being admitted among the members of this Sovereign Tribunal and, if found worthy, desires to be qualified for advancement. He has been examined by the proper officers who have found him worthy. He has many vouchers.
The First Judge addresses his colleagues: Illustrious Judges, shall he be admitted?
The Judges: Let him appear before us.
First Judge: Captain of the Guard, let the Knight Kadosh appear before us.
Captain of the Guard salutes, opens the door and says: The Knight Kadosh has permission to appear before this Sovereign Tribunal,
The Warder and the Knight Kadosh enter and proceed to the center. Captain of the Guard returns to his Station.
Warder: Illustrious Judges, I take the liberty of presenting to you William of Shrewsbury, a Knight Kadosh of the White and Black Eagle, who solicits the honor of being admitted as a member of this Sovereign Tribunal, and, if found worthy, desires to be qualified for advancement.
First Judge: Hath he, by sufficient service as a Knight Kadosh, learned the first lesson in the art of governing?
Warder: He hath, for he hath learned to govern himself.
First Judge: Is he true and trustworthy, honest, temperate, of equable temper, charitable of judgment, and of merciful impulses?
Warder: His brethren have thought him worthy to he admitted here.
First Judge: Illustrious Judges, there is a vacancy in this Sovereign Tribunal. What do you propose?
Second Judge: I propose that the vacancy he filled by the election or this Knight Kadosh, whom I believe to possess the necessary qualifications to fill this responsible station.
Third Judge: I fear the Knight Kadosh has not sufficient experience and practice in the rights and duties of members of this Sovereign Tribunal to be qualified to pass judgment upon the actions of others. He needs instruction.
Warder seats Knight near the front and retires to his station.
First Judge: Then let the Knight Kadosh give heed to the words of immortal wisdom once uttered by mortal lips that have long since been silent. We summon the Sages and Lawgivers of the Past.
The words of the Sages may be read by the Judges from Law books on the Bench, or recited impressively. If a more dramatic presentation is desired, each Sage, in the costume of his the, may speak from behind a scrim. There must be no impersonation of Jesus whose words, as recorded ia the New Testament, are reverently read or recited.
Alfred the Great (A.D. 871-899)
Second Judge: I am Alfred, King of Saxon England. I framed wise laws, made upright judges independent of my will and that of the people, and caused just and speedy judgment to be given.
In all my realm, justice and right were sold to none; denied to none; delayed to none. I slept little; I wrote much; I studied more. I reigned only to bless those over whom I had dominion.
Follow, then, my example, nor fear to sit in judgment on thy fellows.
Socrates (469-399 B.C.)
Third Judge: I am Socrates, philosopher, of Greece. I knew the holy mysteries and, in the groves of Athens, I taught that God is One and that the soul of man is immortal.
I taught obedience to the laws and decrees of the people of Athens, and the Council of Five Hundred. And when, by an unjust judgment, I was condemned to death, I refused to flee lest I should bring the law into disrepute.
If thou wouldst become a judge of others, first prepare thyself by learning to obey the law.
Confucius (551-478 B.C.)
Fourth Judge: I am Confucius who interpreted to the people of China the great laws of life. I said to them: Desire not for your country any benefit other than justice. The great law of Duty is to be looked for in Humanity.
Justice is equity, to render to every man that to which he is entitled.
He who would stand above the ordinary level of man should be free from prejudice, self-conceit and obstinacy, and be governed by the mandates of justice alone.
Zoroaster (?-660 B.C.)
Second Judge: I am Zoroaster whose words became law to the Persians. This was my teaching. He is the best servant of God whose heart is upright.
He alone is just who is charitable and merciful in judgment; and he alone is wise who thinks well, and not evil of other men.
Crime is not to be measured only by the issue of events, but also by the evil intentions of the doer. Study, therefore, the dominion of thyself, and hold it the noblest victory to triumph over thy passions.
Moses (?-1250 B.C.)
Third Judge: I am Moses, the leader and lawgiver of Israel. When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you.
Thou shall not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil. Therefore, choose life that both thou and thy seed shall live.
Jesus of Nazareth
First Judge: Thou hast heard the words of the great sages, lawgivers and philosophers of antiquity. Behold! Points to a portrait of Jesus or holds aloft a New Testament. The greatest Teacher of all the ages. Listen reverently to his words.
If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall he judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
First Judge: William of Shrewsbury, wilt thou meditate upon all these words of wisdom and be guided by these precepts?
Wiliam of Shrewsbury: I will, so help me God.
First Judge: Illustrious Judges, is it your pleasure that the Aspirant be admitted as one of our number?
Fourth Judge, consulting papers: I protest against his promotion at this the. It is not enough to know the wisdom of the ages. A Judge must he free and clear of all suspicion, and I find that a serious charge has been brought against this Aspirant.
I have been informed that he is accused of violating his obligation as a Knight Kadosh of the Order of the White and Black Eagle. Would it not he well to pursue the complaint before considering his advancement?
course and communication with a profane, contrary to Capital 57 of the rules of our Order, be which heinous and multiplied guilt should he be cut off and cast out from our congregation were he the right hand and right eye thereof. To the Sovereign Tribunal, Herman of Goodalricke appeals.
At the conclusion of the reading he hands the charges to the Usher who hands them to the Clerk.
Sir Herman, as I have said, the Treasurer General of the Order, the fortunate possessor of one of the finest properties in this part of England, with many a fair rood of meadow and many a fat field and close, and Castle Goodalricke, yonder, because of his zeal for the honor and glory of his Order feels constrained...
Thomas: Methought my friend was to let the facts speak for themselves.
Hugh, with icy politeness: I am flattered by my friend’s attention to my observations. Again addressing the Court. Yet even so thou mayst feel impelled to the belief that behind the accusations moves some other influence, with private interest simulating credulity. But how absurd this premise considering Sir Herman ‘s wealth and position. Thou wilt not forget that the defendant is here, prepared to prove his innocence. What evidence he hath to support so curious a suggestion I know not. But be the proof awarded to him, I envy not my learned friend, Thomas FitzSimon, the task he undertaketh to sustain it in this Court, and before your Lordships. Full well. I know he will invoke your pity. Methinks my friend will lay stress upon the honors and titles of the accused, a man free-born, a member of an ancient and honorable society: a Knight Kadosli.
Thomas: Gramercy fur my learned friend’s anticipation of my case, emphytically however intelligent.
Hugh: Natheless, your Lordships will remember that if the accusation be true, there is upon the rolls of the Order, a forsworn Knight, a base violator of his Oath for which he should be forever cut off and cast out and his goods and chattels confiscated these charges, Sir Herman of Goodalricke standeth ready to prove by his body and suite of witnesses when and where the Court shall award.
And if William of Shrewsbury will confess this, that will seem fair to Sir Herman, but if he will deny it, wrongfully will he deny it, for Sir Herman hath here suite good and sufficient. to-wit, himself and Alan, a freeman and servant to Herman. He bows and sits down.
First Judge: William of Shrewsbury, your tale.
Thomas: Your Lordships, William of Shrewsbury, who is here, defendeth against Sir Herman, who is there, and against his suite of witnesses, the wrongs and braches and all that he, Sir Herman of Goodalricke, surmises against him word by word, thwert-ut-nay. And this he is ready and blithe to defend when and where he ought and the Court shall consider. He bows and sits down.
First Judge, addressing the Court: Fair Sirs, these being the allegations of the parties, which of them must go to the proof and to what proof must he go?
Fourth Judge: Reads not the rule that the defendant must prove? Et in hoc caso semper incumbit probatio neganti.
First Judge, to the Court: Ye who art of this mind, assent.
Judges, all: Ay.
First Judge: And to what proof must the defendant go? Proof by Battle or Proof by Oath of Witnesses?
Fourth Judge: I propose proof by oath of witnesses that we may hear and weigh their testimony.
First Judge: Fair Sirs, be that your judgment?
Judges, all: Ay.
First Judge: So be the Court’s decree. If the defendant disapprove, the cause is his. The law is awarded to him and on him the burden.
Thomas, rising: The defendant William of Shrewsbury again offers to make good his thwert-ut-nay having denied the charge, he now once more professeth willingness to defend. And he standeth ready to give gage and pledge as surety for the fulfillment of the judgement should the cause not he heard forthwith. He tenders a bond.
First Judge: The gage and pledge are waived. Proceed straightway. Make good thy thwert-ut-nay.
Thomas: The defendant calleth the plaintiff’s suite of witnesses. He sits down.
First Judge: Speak to the business.
Hugh of Humby rises. In a loud voice: Sir Herman of Goodalricke.
Sir Herman rises from his Brat and makes his way to the witness box, where he remains standing. The Clerk rises and faces the witness box. Sir Herman raises his right hand for oath.
Clerk, raises his hand: In the name of the Holy Trinity I swear, and this oath is in accordance with my knowledge, and it is true.
Herman: And it is true.
The Clerk resumes his seat.
Hugh: Thou art Sir Herman of Goodalricke, Treasurer General, Knights Kadosh of the Order of the White and Black Eagle?
Herman: In truth, I am.
Hugh: Thou dwellest at Castle Goodalricke in this shire?
Herman: That I do.
Hugh: This Knight, William of Shrewsbury, is known to thee?
Herman: I know him well.
Hugh: On what terms hast thou been with him?
Herman: Most friendly until late. He is a Knight of my Order and I was present at his dubbing.
Hugh: Didst thou hear him swear the oath?
Herman: Marry, that I did. He had the degree of knighthood from the sword of the Illustrious Commander. In the presence of his brother Knights, he swore not to countenance impostors, perjurers, apostates and traitors and was invested with the secrets of the Order and given as a token the jewel of a Knight Kadosh with his name inscribed thereon.
Hugh: Wilt thou look upon this warrant of the Secretary General of the Order?
Hugh of Humby hands the warrant to the Usher who passes it to Sir Herman, who glances at it.
Hugh: This records that William of Shrewsbury was duly created and proclaimed a Knight Kadosh on St. John Baptist Day of the present year?
Herman: Thou sayest truly.
First Judge: The Court would see the writing.
The Usher hands the warrant to the First Judge who examines it and passes it to the other members of the Court.
Hugh: Know ye what caused the rupture in your friendship?
Herman: Verily, the breach of his knightly obligations.
Hugh: Thou knowest that about a fortnight after St. John Baptist Day this Knight was traveling from Holt to Chester by the high Road?
Herman: That I do.
Hugh: Know ye what happened?
Herman: Ay. About midway on the high Road to Chester, another road branches off. It also goeth to Chester but by a shorter route. As it is poor and boggy, through rough, uneven country and fraught with danger, it is seldom traveled. Inferentially For reasons best known to himself, this Knight traveled the shorter road. Whether by design or accident, I am now more inclined to believe the former, the Knight fell in with a monk, a hearty fellow, who accosted him and engaged in pleasant talk. It was hale fellow well met. The Knight demanded wine which was given him by the jovial monk, but copious as were his drafts, his thirst was unslaked and he demanded more. This continued until the Knight was in his cups. The monk feigned suspicion and to test the Knight’s integrity, demanded of him the signs and passwords of a Knight Kadosh. At first the Knight hesitated, bat to the monk’s importunities and blandishments yielded, and there upon the public road, forthwith gave him the secrets of our Order.
Hugh: Knowest thou who was this jovial monk?
Herman: Ay, a man as I learned called Timothy of Bodenham. But a hood makes not a monk. Due inquiry at our holy houses disclosed him to be a thieving rogue, using a habit and bell and book to deceive the unwary and to snare the unsuspecting. As the monk was murdered ...
Thomas, rising: My Lords, I am loath to interrupt my friend or his witness, but go they not rather beyond the limits of relevance? A charge of murder has not been made .
Hugh, with assumed graciousness: Blithely will I oblige my friend, my Lords. To Thomas FitzSimon: We shall not pursue the tale of murder at present.
Thomas: I am beholden to my friend. I know he is always most willing to ...
First Judge, interrupting: The rules of evidence are in sooth rules of brevity; we must try for our own sakes to observe them.
Thomas FitzSimon resumes his seat.
Hugh: Methinks I have but one more question to put to thee, Sir Herman. Dost know the signs and passwords thus disclosed?
Herman: Here I have written them down for the information of the Court.
He produces a parchment which is handed the Usher and by him to the Court. Hugh of Humby resumes his seat, carefully scrutinizing the Court to assess the effect of his principal witness.
First Judge, examining the parchment and passing it to the other Judges: In truth the sacred words
a Knight Kadosh, and transcribed in Hebrew.
Thomas: May I see the parchment?
First Judge: You may. It is handed to him by the Usher.
Thomas, rising with exaggerated dignity to cross-examine and turning to Sir Herman with a suggestion of physical and mental appraisement: And so thou art the Lord of the acres and Castle of Goodalricke?
Herman: Ay, in sooth, that is so.
Thomas: By deed of purchase or by inheritance, may I inquire?
Herman: By deed of purchase from the Abbott of Lilleshall.
Thomas: Prithee, when?
Herman: Three years come Whitsuntide.
Thomas: About the the thou becamest the Treasurer General of Knights Kadosh of the Order of the White and Black Eagle?
Herman: What meanest thou?
Hugh: My Lord, is it meet for my friend to be so deliberately offensive in the form of his question?
First Judge: I warrant that Thomas FitzSimon is only cross examining from his instructions, which of course would involve; well, I think we must let him take his own course.
Thomas, to Hugh of Humby: I am grateful to my learned friend for his attempt to aid me to conduct my ease. To the witness: I wish to be quite clear. I am suggesting thou purchased thy lands and estate after thou hadst become Treasurer General of the Order.
Herman, heatedly: By the faith of mine Order, it’s a shameful lie without foundation.
Thomas: And prior to that the thou didst not have it quillet to thy name.
Herman: Palter not with me. That suggestion I shall not answer. It is a vile fabrication!
Hugh: Keep calm, Sir Herman.
Thomas: Marry. Then it would be a waste of the for me to put the question to thee straight. Thou wouldst deny it?
Herman: By the faith of my body, I would!
Thomas, to the Court: I’ll ask your Lordships to make a note of that reply. In the interest of the I can dispense with further questions of this ilk.
First Judge: The Court will appreciate any condensation which hath that result.
Thomas: And now with regard to the Knight. When made he the disclosures of which you complain?
Herman: A fortnight after St. John Baptist Day.
Thomas, offhand: Thou wert of course present and within sight and sound of this meeting with the monk?
Herman, somewhat abashed and hesitant: Nay, I was not.
Thomas, with emphasis: Oh, thou wert not! Then thou didst not witness the violation here related?
Herman: I dare be sworn he did so. Higg, the Son of Snell ...
Thomas, interrupting: Answer.
Herman: Nay, I did not, but Higg, the Son of Snell, my scrivener. He it was who saw these unhappy doings and from his fealty and oath recounted all to me.
Thomas: Sayest thou so! And where is Higg, the Son of Snell? Is he of thy suite of witnesses?
Herman: Alas, he has gone on an errand to a distant part of the realm and is now absent. Is not the word of a dubbed Knight ...?
Thomas, interrupting again: And when didst thou send him away?
Herman: A fortnight after St. John Baptist Day.
Thomas: The very day this Knight is alleged to have breached his oath?
Herman, reluctantly: That is so.
Thomas: And that was a month past and Higg, the Son of Snell, hath not returned?
Herman, with irritation: And what hath that to do with this?
Thomas: That concerns thee nothing, Sir Herman. I give thee no answer now. He pauses. As to the parchment which thou hast presented to the Court is that in your handwriting?
Herman: Nay, it was transcribed at the the Higg, the Son of Smell, my scrivener, that a record of the Knight’s transgression might be made and not forgotten.
Thomas: Look thou at that parchment!
The Usher passes it to Sir Herman, who scrutinizes it with irritation. Usher remains by the box until the First Judge asks for the parchment.
In what script is it written?
Herman: In Hebrew.
Thomas: I ween thou canst read it?
Herman: Alack, I cannot. I can speak thee words by rote but Hebrew script I cannot read.
Thomas: And if its date is after Higg, your scrivener, was sent away what wouldst thou say to that?
Herman does not answer.
First Judge: Prithee let me look at the parchment again.
The Usher takes it from Sir Herman and hands it to the Judge.
Thomas: Doth not that parchment recall anything to thee?
Herman, with assumed indifference: Not that I know.
Thomas: What a pity! Dost mean to suggest to this Court that thou rememberest. not the circumstances of its writing well?
First Judge: It may be my fault. Thomas FitzSimon, but I see hot how that will avail.
Thomas: It is a link in the chain, my Lord.
First Judge: Hath it not been said that the strength of a chain is that of its weakest link?
Thomas: Verily my Lord, I hope my chain will bear whatever weight I put upon it.
First Judge: We must wait and see. Yes, Thomas FitzSimon ...
Thomas: That is all for the nonce. He sits down.
Hugh, rising with bland assurance: Your Lordships, methinks there is naught I need clear up by more questions of Sir Herman, in spite of my learned friend’s curiosity.
Sir Herman with a bow to the Judge proceeds to leave the box and moves to his former seat. His manner reveals an expression of confidence that his testimony has not been refuted. Hugh of Humby resumes his seat and examines his papars. After a pause, Hugh of Humby rises.
Hugh, in a loud voice: Alan, the herdsman.
Alan, the herdsman, rises from his seat and makes his way to the witness box, where he remains standing. The Cherk rises and faces the witness box. Alan raises right hand.
Clerk, raises hand: In the name of the Holy Trinity I swear, and this oath is in accordance with my knowledge, and it is true.
Alan: And it is true.
The Clerk resumes his seat.
Hugh: Thou art Alan, the herdsman?
Alan: Ay, that I be. Serf to my Lord, Herman of Goodalricke.
Hugh: A fortnight after St. John Baptist Day, where didst thou graze the cattle of thy liege?
Alan: In the skirt o’ the wood where the side road joins the High Road from Chester to Holt.
Hugh: Didst thou see anyone on the side road that day?
Alan: Ay, that I did. A pious monk, whom I knew not and the Knight yonder. Indicating Aspirant.
Alan: At the old sheep cote near the spring.
Hugh: Didst thou ever see the monk before?
Alan: Nay, this was the first day, though oft have I been there.
Hugh: Sawest thou this Knight there with him?
Alan: Ay, on the side road. He passed that way.
Hugh: What did they there?
Alan: They were drunk with wine. They made much merriment.
Hugh: Didst hear what they said?
Alan: Nay, I tarried far away. I was afraid.
Hugh: What did the Knight?
Alan: I espied him doing this. Gives the sign of a Knight Kadosh.
First Judge, aside to the Judges: The sign of a Knight Kadosh.
Fourth Judge, aside: Ay, that is true. The other Judges nod assent.
Alan: Thus he did many times. And then the monk poured more wine. There was much revelry. Then they quarreled and drew swords and shouted. Having no sword and buckler and fearful of being caught in the fray, I ran away. After the hue and cry, I returned. The Knight was gone and the monk lay dead upon the ground.
Hugh: What found ye there?
Richard O’Banbury, a tinker, enters in some agitation and hands a paper to the Captain of the Guard. The Captain of the Guard motions the tinker to a seat.
Alan: In sooth only this, a token.
He produces the jewel of a Knight Kadosh.
Hugh: Is there an inscription?
Alan: Fain would I read what is written here but I cannot.
The Usher takes the jewel from Alan and hands it to the Clerk.
Clerk: William of Shrewsbury. A Knight Kadosh of the Order of the White and Black Eagle, St. John Baptist Day, Anno Domini 1315.
The Clerk hands the jewel to the First Judge, who scrutinizes it.
Hugh: Methinks I shall ask no more questions, my Lords.
Hugh of Humby sits down, and Thomas FitzSimon rises to cross examine. The C. of G. steps forward.
C. of G.: Illustrious Judges, this man, a tinker by trade, sore distraught, fetched this to the Court and craves immediate consideration. It is a parchment wrapped about a stone and thrown in his path.
He hands the stone and parchment to the Clerk, who hands it to the First Judge.
First Judge: This appeareth to be an old indenture with writing on the reverse side. The words are "To the high Court; In durance vile without a trial!" It bearepth no name. Turning to Richard O‘Banbury, the tinker: Who and whence art thou?
Richard, with elaborate obeisance: And may it please your Lordships, Dick O‘Banbury, a tinker. I'm from a distant shire. Folkless and sacless am I in town and from town, in the forest as in the field. Marry, I mend pots, pans, kettles ...
First Judge: Mostly in taverns, I warrant. Canst thou show the place where this was found?
Richard: Ay, beshrew me for a false hearted knave if I cannot. Whilst I was coming down the path back o’ the hills; Oh, it was blithe. The skylark was singing and I was singing, and as I passed the tall tower...
First Judge: Cease thy prattle. To C. of G. Captain of the Guard, take sufficient guards, go thou with this fellow to the place where the stone was found and if the captive be held falsely, produce him here, in the King’s name.
The C. of G. and guards accompany Richard O‘Banbury and go out. The First Judge minds to Thomas FitzSimon as an indication to proceed.
Thomas: Prithee good fellow, how long hast thou been herdsman for Sir Herman?
Alan: Marry, ever since he is Lord of Goodalricke.
Thomas: Three years come Whitsuntide?
Alan: In truth.
Thomas: And didst thou hide in a cottage by the weir?
Alan: Ay, that I did ‘til St. John Baptist Day.
Thomas, in affected surprise: Ah, and thou bidest not there now?
Alan: Nay, I dwell at the castle with my liege Lord.
Thomas: Since St. John Baptist Day?
Alan: That I do.
Thomas: And now thou hast good cheer and soft lodgings. In sooth that is most generous of Sir Herman. No further questions, my Lords.
First Judge: You are excused.
Alan leaves the box and resumes his seat.
First Judge: Hugh of Humby, is that thy tale!
Hugh, rises and replies to the Court: Illustrious Judge, it is.
First Judge: Thomas FitzSimon, proceed for the defendant.
Hugh of Humby sits down and Thomas FitzSimon rises.
Thomas: Illustrious Judges, on vouching the cause of this Knight, William of Shrewsbury, I shall emulate my friend’s uncharacteristic brevity. I make only this observation. It were deep pity for the plaintiff, in a case like this, for the principal witness to be absent on a journey! Without Higg, the Son of Snell, the plaintiff’s accusation resteth almost wholly on hearsay. In view of the circumstances I may pray indulgence of the Court. I have at least a score of witnesses here prepared to sum port the good name of the defendant. I know not whether I shall find it necessary to call them. Marry, my Lords, this case would last forever, were I to call every one.
First Judge: Idle rumors and reports of course are not proofs. However, the Court will not forget, nor, I am sure, will Hugh of Humby, that in this ease the defendant must prove his tale; the burden is on him.
Thomas: I shall not forget, my Lords, and I warrant the defendant is armed in proof. In a loud voice: Ralph of Bideford.
Ralph of Bideford, a pilgrim from the Holy Land, rises from his seat and makes his way to the witness box, where he remains standing, right hand raised. The Clerk rises.
Clerk, raises right hand: In the name of the Holy Trinity, I swear and this oath is in accordance with my knowledge, and it is true.
Ralph: And it is true.
Thomas: Thou art Ralph of Bideford?
Ralph: Ay, that I am.
Thomas: A Pilgrim just returned from the Holy Land?
Ralph: In truth, I am..
Thomas: On a day a fortnight after the feast of St. John Baptist Day, traveled thou from Chester to Holt?
Ralph: In sooth, I did.
Thomas: By the side road?
Ralph: By the side road, on foot.
Thomas: It hath been reported that this Knight indicating Aspirant was on that day in company with a certain monk, yelept Timothy of Bodenham; that the monk wishing to test the integrity and valor of the Knight, demanded the password and sign of his Order. Know ye of this affair?
Ralph: Illustrious Judges, this worthy Knight I know, for he befriended me. I espied his meeting with the monk. The lusty fellow invited him to his retreat, used many gentle words and much affected kindness, made him large offers of gold, and finally by threats and violence sought to extort from the Knight the secrets of his Order, but all in vain. The Knight refused. Sore wroth, he then assailed the Knight with his sword, and a contest ensued.
Thomas: Where wast thou?
Ralph: Weak from my wounds received from a robber band, I was resting by the spring near the old sheep cote on the side road to Chester.
Thomas: And this ye both saw and heard?
Ralph: Ay, that I did with my own eyes and ears.
Thomas: And didst thou give assistance to this Knight?
Ralph: Alack, being unarmed, I could not, but straightway went in search of help, and sent a Templar
to aid the Knight.
Thomas: That is all,
Thomas FitzSimon sits down, Hugh of Humby rises to cross-examine.
Hugh: More than a twelvemonth hath passed since thou left England for the Holy Land?
Ralph: Verily, twelve months and more.
Hugh: And where didst thou dwell before that?
Ralph, with hesitation: Divers places.
Hugh, after a significant pause: Didst thou not spend nine months in London pause in jail?
Ralph, with obvious discomfiture: Illustrious Judges, is it meet for the Sergeant to pry into my private troubles?
First Judge: Of a truth he is in cross-examination. Answer learned Counsel's questions. He seeks to learn whether thou art a person to be believed on thine oath.
Hugh, blandly: Did I surmise right as to thy dwelling place during those nine months!
Ralph, curtly: Ay.
Hugh: That was for robbery?
Hugh: And then ye went beyond the sea?
Ralph: In sooth to expiate my sins. That may sound ...
First Judge, interrupting: I have no doubt the Court understands the reasons for thy departure.
Hugh, rising: Illustrious Judges, what think ye of this man’s tale? Is he a lawful man, having breached the peace of the King? What act in law can a man attainted ...? He resumes his seat.
Fourth Judge: ’Tis true. Thou needst say no more. Of every proprietary, possessory and contractual right he is deprived. Every bond of homage and fealty hath been dissolved. He can do no act of law. Ralph leaves.
First Judge: I must say I noted full well those last answers of Ralph of Bideford.
Thomas, impatiently: Quite so, my Lord. Of course the value of his tale is a question for the Court.
First Judge: What thou sayest is true. I thought it might be of aid if I indicated what was passing through my mind.
Thomas, almost brusquely: Grateful am I to your Lordship. It is of great assistance.
First Judge: Wilt thou call thy next witness?
Thomas, with apparent discomfiture at the turn the testimony has taken: I am in difficulty, my Lords. I know not whom to call next. We relied upon the Templar who succored this Knight indicating the Aspirant. But search for him hath been fruitless.
Hugh, interrupting satirically: It were a deep pity in a case like this for a principal witness to be away ...
Thomas, to the Court: My Lords, I must protest against my friend’s gratuitous interruptions.
First Judge: We deprecate interruption or Counsel unless it involves correction of facts.
Thomas, with weary martyrdom: If my learned friend will allow me a few undisturbed moments. A
Templar came to this Knight’s assistance and was of a certainty present ...
Hugh: Blithe would I be, if my friend would explain just what relevance this Templar ...
Thomas, irritably: Blithe would I be if my friend would refrain from these constant interruptions!
First Judge: Proceed, Thomas FitzSimon.
Thomas: To the assistance of this Knight he waits for another interruption which is not forthcoming came a Templar who drew his sworth in his behalf. The blows fell thick and fast but every stroke was stoutly met and parried. At last this Templar dealt a heavy blow which brought the monk to the ground, but even as he did so did the monk bear down on the Templar’s guard, wounding him sorely ...
First Judge, interrupting: If thou hast further witness to call, that witness must straightway go into the box, or thy case is closed.
There is a pause during which Thomas FitzSimon talks excitedly with his client. The desperate situation he is in is apparent.
Hugh, rising with self-assurance: William of Shrewsbury has had time and counsel for his cause.
Whilst I do not wish it to appear that it is the desire of my client to snatch a verdict ...
The Guards enter quickly and in some excitement with Higg, the Son of Snell. Richard O’Banbury is with them.
Herman, rises front his seat in horrified amazement: Thou wretched varlet, get thee hence! Who gave thee permission to come here!
Clerk: Silence! Silence!
Thomas, springing to his feet with sudden realization: My Lord, my next witness.
First Judge: Well, will you call him?
Thomas: I call this man who stands now before the Court.
First Judge: Be not hasty, Thomas FitzSimon. First let us question this fellow, he is not of thy suite of witnesses.
C. of G.: Illustrious Judges, this man, who claims to be scrivener for Sir Herman, we found locked in the tall tower of Castle Goodalricke. He claims commission of no offense and to be confined without trial on the order of his liege, Sir Herman.
Herman: It is a lie, I say.
First Judge, to Herman: Silence, Sir Herman. Thou hast been warned before. To man in custody: Who art thou, that doth say this?
Higg: My name is Higg, Son of Snell.
First Judge: ’Tis a grave charge thou makest. To C. of G.: Hold thou this man till we have time to inquire further.
Thomas: My Lords, your pardon. I assure thee, I disrespect not the order of your Lordship, but I called this man indicating Higg as my witness.
First Judge: Sayest thou so! This is uncommon.
Thomas: This is an uncommon case, my Lords.
First Judge: So it seems. We appear to be departing from the wonted course. Thou seemest to be taking a great risk.
Thomas, in a loud voice: Higg, Son of Snell.
Higg goes reluctantly into the box, raises hand for oath.
Clerk, rises. right hand raised: In the name of the Holy Trinity, I swear and this oath is in accordance with my knowledge, and it is true.
Higg: And it is true.
The Clerk sits down.
Thomas: Thou art Higg, the Son of Snell, and the scrivener of Sir Herman, yonder?
Thomas: How long his scrivener?
Higg: Almost a decade.
Thomas: Dost thou write and in what script?
Higg: Ay, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
Thomas: Thou wert locked in the tall tower of Castle Goodalricke?
Higg: In sooth, since a fortnight after St. .John Baptist Day.
Thomas: Ah, sinec a fortnight after St. John Baptist Day! And who confined you?
Higg: Sir Herman, yonder.
Thomas: And, prithee, tell me why.
Higg, appealing to the Court: My Lords, must I submit to these questions?
First Judge: Thomas FitzSimon doth only that which he is entitled to regard as his duty to his client.
Higg: His client! But this man I know not. By the Holy flood never have I seen him.
First Judge: This is William of Shrewsbury against whom Sir Herman of Goodalricke appealeth.
Higg, with surprise pointing to the Knight and calling him by name: Of this resolute man I can speak. ‘Tis he whose life was saved by one, a Templar.
First Judge: knowest thou the Templar?
Higg: By repute only; he was a stranger in these parts.
First Judge, to Thomas FitzSimon: Be this the Templar of whom thou speakest?
Thomas: Ay, verily; but we know not where to search him out. In the rout which followed the combat, this Knight and the Templar were separated. From that day, we know not whither he went. Alack, we know not even his name. As the Templar was sorely wounded mayhap he is dead. Without him ... he gives a gesture of despair.
Dick O’Banbury, interrupting rudely: Your reverence and may it please your grace, I partly know such a man. A Templar sore wounded? He carries at St. Albans convent hard by. There I saw him when I mended the pots and pans for the Abbess.
First Judge: Hie thee straightway and fetch him. And if thou tarry, a flogging for thy quittance.
Richard O’Danbury goes ont with the C. of G.
To Higg: Answer thou the questions Thomas FitzSimon asks.
Thomas: I assume, my Lords, this witness knoweth his rights in respect to his appearance here.
First Judge: Thou art giving evidence of thine own will and freely?
Higg looks miserably puzzled and makes no reply. He glances helplessly, first at the Court and then at Sir Herman.
Thomas: Well, Higg, Son of Snell, and why art thou mute?
Higg: Nay, not of my own free will.
First Judge: How meanest thou?
Higg: My Lords, I’m in great grievance from the cruelty of my liege and master yonder. I’m fearful if I testify ...
First Judge: Protection is vouchsafed thee.
Thomas FitzSimon receives parchment from Usher who has procured it from the First Judge.
Thomas: First look upon this parchment. Hast thou ever seen this writing before?
The Usher hands the parchment to Higg.
Higg: Ay. I penned it.
Thomas: In what script is it written?
Higg: In Hebrew.
Thomas: Dost know the import of these words?
Higg: Nay, I do not. I set them down at the instance of Sir Herman.
Higg: In the tall tower.
Thomas: In the tall tower?
Higg: Ay. Sir Herman came in the dead of night and told me if I wrote those words he would requite me well and release me three days hence.
Herman: That is untrue! Never ...
Hugh of Humby restrains him.
Thomas: Did he so! And when were those words written?
Higg: Marry, only three days last past. See, the date is here.
Thomas: In Hebrew, also?
Thomas: Dost know can Sir Herman read and write Hebrew?
Higg: He cannot, that I know.
Thomas: Dost know why Sir Herman held thee in durance?
Higg: Knowing that I was apprised of his defalcations and to suppress the information ...
Thomas: Prithee, what defalcations?
Higg: Sir Herman, since three years come Whitsuntide, has been Treasurer General or Knights Kadosh of the Order of the White and Black Eagle. The monies of the Order were in his strong box. To purchase certain lands, withal ...
Thomas: Castle Goodalricke?
Higg: Ay, and its acres. Sir Herman, for his own use, took these monies. This 1 know full welt, as I keep the tally. And as the time came for his accounting ...
Herman, springing to his feet: ’Tis a vile slander. Will the Court believe ...
First Judge: Thy actions betray thee, Sir Herman. The Court will brook no further interruptions. Guard, see ye to it.
A Guard takes a place near Sir Herman.
Thomas, continuing: And as the time came for his accounting he was sore distraught about refunding?
Higg: Ay, that he was. Then he contrived a plan with one Timothy of Bodenham, a thieving rogue, whereby said Timothy, transmewed as a reverent impostor, was to waylay travelers upon the road and rob them. In return for protection and a third or the booty he was bound to pay over the other two-thirds to Sir Herman. Thus might the treasury be replenished and naught discovered. I know this of a truth, for at my liege’s command I drew the articles of the combination which Sir Herman and the monk did indenture. Sir Herman’s portion, of the parchment I kept safe.
Thomas: Is this Sir Herman's part of indenture?
The Usher shows it ti the witness.
Higg: Ay, the very same. I wrote a message here indicating and threw it from my cell in the high tower to a passerby, hoping thereby to obtain release and redress. It was the only parchment at hand.
Thomas: And pray tell where is the other part? Keeps parchment.
Higg: Given to Timothy of Bodenham. Without it this writing means naught. It cannot be proven.
The Usher hands the parchment tot Thomas FitzSimon.
Thomas: This is penned in thy hand?
Higg: Ay, that it is. A fortnight after St. John Baptist Day, Timothy of Bodenham was killed in combat with a Knight called William of Shrewsbury and the Templar of whom I spoke. If the monk had perchance confessed or his part of the indenture should have come to this Knight’s possession then all might have become known. Of this Sir Herman was fearful. By oath he menaced revenge upon this Knight, thus to cloak his own iniquity.
Herman, springing to his feet in anger and brushing aside his Guard: My Lords, will you take the word of a cowan, a prattling fool, against that of a dubbed Knight?
First Judge: Silence, Herman of Goodalricke. We will hear this man out.
Higg: Natheless, what I say is true. He sought to enlist me in his unholy enterprise, but I refused. He plotted the doom of this good knight to save his own self from disgrace. To insure my silence he beat me and locked me in the tall tower.
Herman, impassioned: It is false, I say. This churl ...
Hugh: Silence, Sir Herman. Motioning to Sir Herman to sit down and addressing the Court: My Lords, it has become my duty to proceed upon an unusual course. It is manifest that the defendant has been the victim of an appalling mistake. If your Lordships ...
First Judge: Be advised, Hugh of Humby, henceforth heat not the furnace for thy foe so hot that it doth singe thyself.
Thomas, to the witness: Stand down.
Richard, entering and without address to the Court: An’t like your Lordships ...
First Judge: Hold, saucy fellow, deserve we no more reverence?
Richard: Humbly do I entreat your Lordships’ pardon; my haste made me unmannerly; but the tidings which I bring will make my boldness manners. The Templar attends your pleasure. Grandiloquent gesture.
First Judge: And in good time he comes. Give him entrance.
The C. of G. ushers in Robert FitzWalter, the Templar, who stands before the Court.
Robert: Illustrious Judges, I hope I am not too late. This fellow who was sent, pray’d me to make great haste.
First Judge: Thy name?
Robert: Robert FitzWalter.
First Judge: Robert FitzWalter, look upon this man indicating the Knight Kadosh. Knowest thou him?
Robert: Ay, that I do! May it please you, it is my sworn duty to protect pilgrims traveling from afar. 0n a day a fortnight after St. John Baptist Day, a pilgrim informed me of the desperate plight of this Knight and his sore distress because of his encounter with a false monk, who, enticing travelers to his hut betrayed them to a band of thieves. I hastened to this man’s relief and rejoice that I arrived in tume to save him from certain death. The ruffians fled. We sought them up hill and down dale but the crafty foxes escaped
He produces the other half of the indenture and hands it to the Court.
But alack, as the other half of the parchment is missing it cannot be read.
Thomas, with triumphant anticipation: Prithee give me the parchment?
At a nod from the Judge, the Templar stands aside.
Thomas, advancing eagerly to the Bench, both parts of the indenture in his hands: Your Lordships, see, the indentured parts make one.
The Judges rise with same eagerness which is palpably shared by all the Court.
Thomas, reads: This indemiture made the 8th day of July Anno Domini,
1315 between Herman of Goodalricke and Timothy of
Bodenham, at the Castle of Goodalricke in the shire of
Witnesseth. The said Timothy of Bodenham agrees to
divide and pay over to Herman of Goodalricke tow thirds
of all he may find or acquire upon the Hight Road whether
of jewels or monies or other chattels of vaine.
And Sir Herman of Goodalricke aforesaid agrees to
give protection, by arms and men if necessary as may seem
meet for the said Timothy of Bodenham, who shall retain
one third of said chattels et cetera for his share.
Signed and sealed
Herman of Goodalricke Timothy of Bodenham
He hands the parchments to the Court. He returns to his seat. Herman of Goodalricke attempts to leave the room but the Captain of the Guard bars his exit.
Herman, with rising anger: Illustrious Judges. Let me go forth, I pray; my honor is impeached. At the proper the and place I will defend it with my body and with that sword which has so often fought for Christendom.
First Judge: Secure this perjurer. Captain of the Guard, execute your office.
The Guards retire with Herman of Goodalricke protesting.
Fourth Judge: Were it not well, Honorable Judges, that we examine into the life and conversation of this Herman of Goodalricke?
First Judge: We will search to the bottonn this riddle of iniquity. Resuming decorum: And now, fair Sirs, being certified of the facts as to this Knigt, William of Shrewsbury, what is thy verdict?
Fourth Judge: Whereas the defendant hath produced sufficient suit, therefore be it considered that the plaintiff take nothing by his writ.
First Judge: Illustrious Judges, do ye concur?
Judges, all: Ay.
First Judge: I take it by all voices, that we are agreed. Therefore be it considered that the said William of Shrewsbury do go hence quit and free of the said Herman of Goodalricke and that the said Herman be in mercy. To the Clerk: Let it be so engrossed in the year book.
Hugh, rising and turning deferentially to Thomas FitzSimon: Which leaves my client to the tender mercies of my friend.
Thomas, with formal politeness: You mean my generous instincts, Hugh of Humby.
Hugh of Humby bows to the Court and goes out with his assistant.
Thomas, continuing: To you, my Lords, William of Shrewsbury is in much beholden. Ye have done him right and justice and ye shall find him thankful.
Thomas and his assistant find other seats in the Court Room.
First Judge: Illustrious Judges, is it your pleasure that William of Shrewsbury be admitted as one of our number?
All Judges: Ay!
First Judge: William of Shrewsbury, stand forth. Aspirant proceeds to front of Bench. You have passed unseathed through the fire of false accusations. You stand lucre secure in your unsullied loyalty and honor. Because you have been judged, and have judged yourself, you may dare to judge others.
Is it still your desire that you be admitted as one of our number?
William: Ay, my Lord, it is.
First Judge: Hear, then, the pledges of this high office. Be reverent, and attentive, with no thought in your heart, and no word upon your lips, but those of soberness and truth.
Second Judge: Do you solemnly and sincerely vow, that you will carefully examine all cases brought before you for judgment; listen attentively to every argument that may be urged therein; faithfully and impartially weigh both evidence and argument; with no othiner purpose then that of giving a true, just, equitable and merciful judgment?
Aspirant: I do.
Third Judge: Do you solemnly vow that you will never sit in judgment in any case where you may entertain feelings of enmity or ill will, prejudice or dislike?
Aspirant: I do.
First Judge: Raise your right hand toward heaven. and repeat after me: All this I solemnly vow on my knightly word of honor, expecting to be judged as I judge others, and may God keep me steadfast. Amen.
First Judge: You will take your place on the Bench and be seated with your peers. At the next assizeof this Sovereign Tribunal, you will appear in the habitaments of your high office.
Illustrious Judges, have you anything further to propose to this Sovereign Tribunal, at this time?
First Judge: Herald, make proclamation that the present session of this Sovereign Tribunal is closed.
Herald goes to entrance and proclaims: Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! The present session of this Sovereign Tribunal is closed. Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
Villagers leave the room under the direction of the Men-at-Arms, then the Guards open ranks at the door. The officers of the Court and the Judges march out. The First Judge, walking alone, is the last to leave.
Immediately after the close of the drama of thee 31º, the
Commander-in-Chief, or some one deputized by him, will close the Consistory.
Commander-in-Chief, knocks * * *; all rise: To order, Brethren, on the Sign of Fidelity.
To the glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe; in the name and under the auspices of the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the Thirty-third and last degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America, and by virtue of the authority upon me conferred, I declare the works of ... Consistory closed.