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VU 10

  

Adam de Lawton was born before 1200. According to the Legend of the Bleeding Wolf, he became Squire of Lawton quite by accident. His story is told, in part, through a number of articles written over several years. He was a real person though these accounts, based on real events, are fictional.

The Legend of the Bleeding Wolf

The story tells of what happened at this spot more than seven hundred years ago when John was King of England.

One day, King John was hunting in the great forest which covered most of the Cheshire Plain, giving shelter to wild boar, wolves and deer. During the chase, John lost his companions. As he was riding slowly along one of the deer paths, a great wolf sprang from the undergrowth full at the rider. The horse was startled and reared high, throwing the King to the ground. The frightened horse bolted through the trees. The wolf turned on the fallen King, but a nearby keeper, hearing the scuffle, had run towards the sounds. Seeing the wolf about to attack he drew his hunting knife, threw himself at the beast and plunged it into the snarling throat. It was a mortal blow, and the savage creature toppled over, blood streaming from the gaping wound. The King scrambled to his feet, badly shaken no doubt, but unhurt. The forester, recognizing the King, fell to one knee but was ordered to rise.

John: Thou art a brave man keeper. But for thee, yon great beast would have torn the life out o’ me. What is thy name, good fellow?

Keeper: Lawton, Sire.

John: Well, Lawton, thou hast saved my life, the life of the King of England, a goodly reward shall be thine. Seest yonder bleeding wolf? Take that as thy starting point, and all the land that thou canst walk over in one week shall be thine to hold and to keep. Moreover, the head of the wolf shall be on thy crest. Thy deed will go down in History.

And so it did. Lawton took the King at his word, covered as much ground as he could and took possession, thus founding his own estate. To commemorate the incident Lawton had built, on the spot where the wolf lay bleeding, an inn, which was aptly named “The Bleeding Wolf”.

Thus an incident which may have altered the course of history, and ended an unpopular reign, was the means of establishing a popular house, which stands yet today.

The Big Picture
Leo Lawton

I often think of our family tree back to it's earliest beginnings as "The Big Picture," and I am constantly trying to paint mental scenes back into the far reaches of the dim past. When I scrutinize these links, I think, this is why I am what I am. My cousins are the same in many respects because they share this same background, while at the same time they differ from me, because they also have a different set of genes than I.

I can also place myself at the opposite end of the spectrum, and think, that if I were that first original personthat can be found to start it all, then what shall become of my progeny. The oldest known Lawton that I am nowaware of, that can be traced to some of the present Lawtons, is one Adam de Lauton born before 1199. If I were fora moment to stand in Cheshire, England about the year 1200, and look 800 years into the future, what would I find? Would it be several family members clustered around my birthplace still, or would my family likely die out in one of the plagues that happen sporadically?

Can I, in my wildest imagination, dream of thousands of descendants scattered over far and distant lands? Peoplewould think me quite daft indeed if I mentioned that I thought my children's children's future generations might go to far lands hitherto unknown. Everybody knows full well that if a sailing vessel were to go West in the ocean it would fall off of the earth. How could my kith and kin possibly settle in some land called America that cannot possibly exist? Australia, that would mean Southern Land wouldn't it? Who thinketh that there can be land South of what is now known? It maketh my head hurt to think of 25 generations in the future. Unlikely!

We now return to my Big Picture to note that all within are my ancestors. This is a fine and grand pastime tosearch them all out, but what happened to all of the rest of Adam Lauton's descendants that are not my ancestors. They are all of as equal concern to Adam, as my ancestors are to me. We now begin to see the Bigger Picture. I am... therefore there are a thousand like me, that can all trace back to the same person. Each of us has our own ancestral tree which is different from all the rest, yet we are all related, no matter what country we live in, or what part of that country. Some parts of all of our ancestral trees, make up Adam's descendants tree, and we are all merely different limbs.

Since Adam stood so long ago quietly contemplating, much has happened. From the world as known at that time, many new and wonderful countries have been discovered by the Europeans as they have come to be known. As the years, and finally centuries passed, many of his descendants went off to new and exciting lands. Today, they are scattered throughout the known world.

I started my quest into Lawton ancestry to find where I came from. It has lead me to now wonder how all Lawtons attach to each other. Lawtons from all over the world write to ask me if I know how they fit in with my large database of Lawtons. What a grand and glorious undertaking this has become. As I correspond with these Lawtons from far away places I am trying to discover who they are, how they got there, as well as their relationship to all the rest of us.

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

Do you remember old Adam from 'The Big Picture'? Well, it seems one day in the year 1200 AD, the 2nd year of the reign of King John, he was standing around contemplating the future, when his better half asked "Are you still standing around doing nothing?" as better halves are wont to do.

Now Adam caught the tone of voice and decided the best thing to do under the circumstances was not to try to explainhow hard he was working, but to say "Did thee say something, dear"? They talked funny back then.

The little woman asked "Are you deaf or something, you bet your cottonpickin little fingers I said something"!

Whereupon Adam replied "What be thee talking about, cotton, wherefore have thou heard of this"?

Actually cotton had been known for at least 7,000 years before Christ in India, but the English did not know ofit until circa 1631 when it arrived from the American colonies. I wonder if George and Thomas didn't leave England for the new world to see where the stuff was coming from?

Wifey deciding to give it another shot at getting Adam to do something besides sit around and contemplate, went over to where Adam was sitting smoking a cigar and said to him, "Just what do you think you're doing, puffing on that tobacco, I need a set of cupboards built."

Adam, trying to continue this conversation, as it was better to talk than to do whatever it was his soulmate wanted him to do replied, "This is but a plant I found growing wild in yonder wood. How dost thou knoweth of this tobacco"?

How was wifey to know that tobacco was not to be known in Europe until some Italian named Columbus found theCarib Indians using it in Cuba in 1492.

The little Mrs. not having much luck getting Adam moving this day thought she might give one final go at it. As she walked toward the garden, she hollered back "Yoohoo, Adam, come help me pick a mess of maize for supper."

Poor old Adam, half asleep from all that thinking said "Now what is this maize that ye speaketh of woman, I know nothing of it's existence."

Once more poor Adam was muddled as to what to do with this wife that seemed to know of things that others knewnothing of. He did not believe her to be a witch, but how did she know of something called maize which Columbuswould find among the American Indians in 1498.

Just then there was a sharp noise and Adam awoke from his deep and dreamy sleep. It had seemed so real thesethings of which his dear wife had spoken. Could it possibly be..?

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

Surely you remember Adam. Well, it seems Adam had a couple of black sheep, so to speak, in his background,and wasn't about to tell everyone in future generations about it, so he sort of tucked them out of sight. He did such a good job that we supposed genealogists of this day and age, are having great difficulty in determining where he hid them.

One day while ruminating about where he may have came from, he got to thinking about where did his ancestors come from. After all, that's what ruminating is all about. Poor old Adam, not being the educated type, decided he would ask the scribe the next time he was around, what he thought about the whole situation. Sure enough the scribe came by, and Adam decided to take him to the local pub, named "The Bleeding Wolf Inn", and question him a bit.

"Set 'em up innkeeper" could be heard ringing through the room, as Adam and the scribe (by the name of Rufus) sat down at a table. Rufus proceeded to tell Adam what he had learned down through the years. It seems that in the 820's a fellow by the name of Egbert, who had been King of a tribe called the West Saxons since 802, won a series of battles and became King of all England, the first time it had ever been united under one ruler. At about the same time the Scandinavians swept down from the north and took over a portion of the continent that France had been claiming. These Normans, from Scandinavia, named their new country Normandy. It was technically an area of France but the Normans pretty much ran the place the way they wanted it run, and didn't pay too much attention to the French King.

"Innkeeper, another drink for Rufus and I," rang out once more. Adam knew that in order to keep Rufus talkinghe had to keep his vocal cords well lubricated, and as long as Rufus was enjoying it, he may as well also. Rufus told how for some 240 years things went along quite smoothly, and actually everyone was getting along fine in the area. The Normans had married into the local community in the north of France and taken many of their customs. In the year 1066 King Edward of England died. The throne was taken over by Harold, brother-in-law of Edward. Now the head of the Normans at the time happened to be William, second Cousin of Edward. It seems that Harold and William got into a snit with each other and William rounded up an Army and ferried them across the channel from Normandy to England. Harold, learning of this, rounded up his army also, and went to meet William to ask him politely to go home. William not liking that idea, decided to test Harold's army. When the testing was all over, Harold was dead, and his army defeated. William thereafter was called William the Conqueror, and installed as the King of England, as well as Normandy.

"Innkeeper, our cupeth are empty," said Adam. A little of this grog went a long way, and Adam was developing a lisp as the day progressed. Something about this grog made it a little hard to figure, but as best as he could come up with, this battle of Hastings as it was known, had happened along about the time his Great Great Grandfather had been born. Maybe that was why his Grandfather had spoken a mixture of French and English. Maybe people had came over from France to England after William the Conqueror became King of England.

"Innkeperr, Rufush an me needs anudder grog, if ye will be so kind." Wow, the room was spinning, and Adam had never known it even could before this. Now Adam, always knowing he had been born in England, was English, as far as he was concerned. But, Rufush was saying it might be that he was French. Then he had said that the French were not necessarily French either, but they might be Scandinavian. Shur was hard to unnerstan what Rufush was sayin'. Maybe he cud just hide his ancestors and nobuddy would never know he might not even be English. "Indkeper, cud me and Rufush hav anudder?"

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

The Pen Al Colony

Adam, and his wife Evelyn, were sitting on a couple of tree stumps in their front yard one day watching theirchildren grow, when it dawned on Adam that he and Eve (that was his pet name for her) had more than two children, and most other people did too. In fact, almost everybody he knew had several of these pint size monsters around the house.

Pondering the future some, as he often did, he got to wondering what would happen if this kept up. Was it possiblethat if everyone had more than two kids, then the whole country would fill up with them after a while. Say in maybe 400 years or something, there might not be room enough left for anyone else to be born. What do you suppose the king would do about that?

He thought about asking his friend Rufus, the scribe, but Rufus had been through town only some three months ago, and wasn't likely to be back for another year or two. Adam wasn't too sure he could stand Rufus coming any more often than that. His head still hurt from the last time he had a chat with him.

Adam was dreamily thinking that for one, they could take that Albert fellow who had stole his chickens a few days before, and ship him off somewhere else, and that would make room for at least one more, and England would be a lot better off without him, as far as he was concerned. Just wait until the future when there were a lot more of his kind, then what would they do?

Maybe they could all be shipped somewhere else, and then they could steal from each other, and leave honest folks alone. You know, he thought, I'll bet some day that's just what they'll do. Instead of putting them in pens here, they could send them off somewhere else, and they could start their own colony or something like that. They could call themselves the Pen Al Colony after that low down Albert.

But, where was there some place they could be sent?

In actuality the first English law that established deportation as a means of upholding the law was passed in 1597, but probably no one was deported until after the turn of the century. As well as the American Colonies, prisoners were sent to Gibraltar, and some of the Island Colonies. When America gained it's independence from Great Britain and prisoners could no longer be sent there, then Australia was developed for penal colonies, the first prisoners arriving in January 1788.

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

Windmills and Such

One day Adam was sitting staring off into space when who should happen down the road but good old Rufus. Hehadn't been along in many a day so Adam was glad to have a friend to talk to for a change.

"Hey, what's up Rufe, " Adam hollered when Rufus was still far down the road.

Rufus took a long look up into the air and replied, "Gosh I don't know Adam, I don't see anything. I'll tell you what though, a few weeks ago I was walking down a road and I spied something that looked different than anything else I had ever seen off in the distance so I went and looked it over."

Adam, always curious, hardly able to contain himself, said, "What did you see Rufe?"

Rufus went on to tell Adam how the top of this building was turning in the wind.

Adam questioned, "Are thee trying to tell me that the top of the building was spinning like a toy?"

"No, No," said Rufus, "I mean there was an article attached to the front of the building and it was turning in the wind."

"Well I never heard tell of anything like that" said Adam, "What do you suppose someone went and did something like that for?"

Rufus began to explain to Adam how through some gears it was being used to pump water for the whole Tun and the wind was doing all the work.

"Well what a great idea," thought Adam, "What'll they think of next?"

Rufus went on to tell him how in another Tun they were using the same idea but were using the thing to grind grain and were calling it a wind mill.

Rufus finally noticed the strange thing Adam was sitting on and asked what it was. Adam told him how sometimes Eve wanted to move larger loads than she could carry so he had attached a wheel to a platform with handles and was calling it a barrow. Rufus said to Adam, "I think you are onto a whole new idea yourself. Why this will mean that people will now be able to carry loads maybe twice as big as they used to." "This will speed up getting food to the market and you may even become famous if people take to this idea of a wheeled barrow."

Adam, swelling with pride, told Rufus, "Well I knew I had a good idea here, but wait'll you see my next one." He then went on to tell Rufus how he was already forming a plan to attach one of these new windmills to the wheel of his barrow and he would have a wind driven wheeled barrow. Now if he could only talk Eve into holding up the handles while the wind drove his barrow he could ride on it. Maybe he would call this thing the automowheel.

Although known in Persia in the tenth century, the windmill was not introduced into northwestern Europe until the late 12th century. The wheelbarrow was, in fact, not known there until nearly a century later, but you have to remember that Adam was a man ahead of his time.

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

There is a tale that is told about Lawton Hall that states there is a door from an oak paneled dining room that descends into a tunnel. Dr. J. Phillip Dodd Ph.D. Honorary Editor Cheshire History states that it also connects to a drawing room.

The story is that Charles I became King of England in 1625 and just couldn't seem to get along with anybody.One thing led to another until in 1649 a group of his friends beheaded him, and his son Charles II technicallybecame King. However, Charles II was not too sure that he was ready to argue about who the next King was goingto be, so he became rather scarce around the castle, and few in the Kingdom knew where he was until 1660 when hefinally decided to take on the responsibility of his Kingly duties. It seems for at least some of that time he was a house guest at the Lawton Manor. John Alistair Lawton, the present owner of the Manorial House, stated in a talk given in 1989 to a group of American Lawtons that Charles II was in the Manor in the year 1656. While there, Charles II presented a silver goblet and a trinket box intricately carved with the Royal Arms, to the Lawton of the Manor. Many of the present generation seem to think that this is when the secret doors and tunnels were installed, as an escape route for Charles II, if necessary, but that is not so.

Actually back around 1200 when Adam lived on this same site he liked to have a night out with the boys from time to time, but Eve was not any too sure that this was such a great idea. Often when he came home Eve was waiting up for him, and was not in nearly as jolly a mood as he was. After one particularly stormy homecoming, to ease tensions, Adam suggested that maybe Eve should go visit her mother and father for a month or so.

Eve, believing that Adam wanted to carouse some more, would have no part of it for a while, but finally relented when Adam promised faithfully not to leave the property while she was gone.

As soon as Eve had departed Adam got a bunch of his friends over, and they began furiously digging a tunnel fromthe nearby woods to Adam's house. By the time Eve returned it was finished, complete with small trapdoor intohis workroom. What a relief it was to Eve not to have to wonder where Adam was at night. He had turned overa new leaf, and retired to his workshop night after night thereafter.

Little did anyone realize in 1656 that the tunnel had originally been dug for entering the area not leaving it. During July of 1997, The Lawton Heritage Society wondered if the tunnel was really there, or whether it was just a legend. They decided to experiment with dowsing.

This is the process of using various "divining rods" to tell if there are underground features.

There are many who think that underground water can be found in this manner. Using this process they discovered a total of four tunnels and wondered were there more, what they were built for, and by whom?

We know!

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

Most everyone has heard the tale of how a Lawton saved the king from the wolf, and was awarded a tract of land for his heroism. We have heard how brave he was on that fateful day, when his life was changed forever from pauper to landholder. We all think of how it must have been to stand in front of the ferocious wolf to protect his king. What fortitude in the face of adversity! Let me tell you how it really happened!

It was the year 1216, the 17th year of King John's reign. Adam Lawton was a mere stripling of17 at the time. He was not averse to working, mind you, but would rather not if there were some other way to make a living. He was dreamily walking one day thinking about life in general, and the present class system in particular. The king held all land in his kingdom by virtue of power. As he could not hold it without the aid of others, he gave large estates to those who promised to support him in time of need. These landowners were called knights, nobles, and lords, and they in turn could not manage their land by themselves, so they retained a lesser class of people called villeins to assist them in working their holdings.

Villeins were, like the fences, part of the estate and were bought and sold with it, but were not slaves in thefact they could not be sold apart from the estate. Most were given small plots of land in order that they might raise their own food. Half of their time must be spent on the lord's land, and they also had to give him a portion of their produce.

On this particular day Adam was sent to work in his lord's field. He toiled for a short while, and then felt heought to take a break in yonder wood. He absent-mindedly picked up a walking stick as he entered the trees. After walking a sufficient distance into the wood he proceeded to drop his trousers to perform a duty. Suddenly he heard this commotion coming toward him. He had no idea what was going on, but thought he had better get back to work quickly, or he was going to be in deep trouble. He turned to run toward the field, but being a bit on the clumsy side, and forgetting that his trousers were around his ankles, he tripped, fell headlong, hit his head on a rock, and his walking stick flew into the air. A huge wolf leaped through the air at that precise moment, and the walking stick flying from Adam's grasp hit it in the middle of the back knocking it to the ground.

As Adam lay on the ground in a semiconscious state, a horseman loomed over him.

Groggily Adam noted him to be of regal appearance, and thinking that the lord, must be looking for him, Adam attempted to explain how he had merely stepped into the wood on a call of nature. The horseman told Adam he wanted none of his talk, "You have saved my life from the attack of the wicked wolf, and I see by your distress it must have been a great battle." Adam said, "What?" The horseman said, "Yes, you are a brave young man." Adam, seeing which way the wind was blowing on this day replied, "I am?"

The horseman stated, "I am King John, and your bravery has earned you land enough to sustain you through your days."

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

Adam spotted Rufus shuffling down the road, little puffs of dust rising around his feet. He knew it was goingto be just one of those days.

As Rufus neared, Adam asked what he might have seen new and different in his travels. Rufus sort of rested his chin in his left hand, mused for a while, and said to Adam, "Well, I did see a few knights with those new painted shields."

Adam asked, "What do you mean Rufe? I don't believe I've ever seen such a thing."

Rufus explained that about 75 years ago, in 1127, Count Geoffrey had married the king's daughter and the king had given him a fancy painted shield, blue with golden lions. Adam asked, "You mean he had to give him this fancy shield to get him to take her?"

"No Adam, it was just a nice little gift."

Now it seemed, that all of the knights wanted to paint their shields. Adam asked, "Well, does this keep the evilspirits away, or what?" Rufus explained to him that it was so the knights could be told apart when they were in full armor, and the warriors would know who to rally around. Rufus went on to tell Adam that some of the titled gentlemen landowners were developing them also, even though they were never going to go to battle.

Rufe suggested to Adam that he ought to have one so that people might know who he was. Adam asked, "You meanI should have a painted shield so Eve will know who I am?"

"No, no, Adam just so other folks will know that you are a landowner, and a gentleman."

"Well, what would I paint on it?"

"You own the fishery so how about putting some fish on it?"

"You think I should paint a shield, and carry dead fish on it?"

"No, not carry them silly. Paint them on it. Some nice fish, not them smelly ones you sell. How about some Dolphins, maybe?"

So it came to be that the Lawton Coat of Arms was a golden shield with a red chevron and three red dolphins.It remained so until some time in the first half of the 14th century. During that period Adam's g g granddaughter, Agnes married Thomas de Davenport who took the name of the manor and became Thomas de Lawton. He combined the Lawton and Davenport Arms, and the Lawton Arms remained a golden shield with red chevron, but became differenced with two red crosses above the chevron and a blue dolphin below. These Arms were carried until 1572 when the present Arms were granted.

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

Well, here comes Rufus again! It seems he comes along every three months or so any more. "Good!" Adam was thinking of asking him about this Magna Carta thing anyway. It was something King John had done in 1215, the year before he gave Adam his land, but he didn't know much about it. When the king granted it he was just a villien, and had no worries of what the king was doing, but now that he was a gentleman land owner he wondered what it was all about.

After high fives to Adam, a smooch on the cheek for the missus, candy for the kids, and a pat for the dog, Rufus and Adam started some serious conversation. "Hey Rufe, what do you know about this Magna Carta thing that King John granted?" said Adam. Rufus tugged his red beard as he often did, and thought about what the Magna Carta meant to Adam.

"First of all, it's not exactly new" spoke Rufus, "as it is merely a newer version of what King Henry I put out backin 1100."

"If Hank already granted the thing over a hundred years ago, what was John messing with it for a couple of years ago?"

Rufus took a step back, cleaned his left ear with a twig, and tried to explain to Adam that during the last century or so the kings had been slowly taking away the lord's powers. The noblemen did not like this idea a bit so they were on the verge of revolt. In order to calm things down King John had spelled out the rights of the noblemen. This was basically the first time in English history that the king had acceded that he was subject to any law.

"You mean I got rights and I don't have to listen to Eve's nagging all the time," asked Adam?

"You certainly do have rights Adam" said Rufus, "but I'm not sure it pertains to you sneaking out and drinkingwhen Eve isn't watching you."

"Do I got rights or not," asked Adam?

"Yes, but they pertain to taxation, laws, property rights, and things like that Adam."

"Oh I thought maybe there for a minute it was good for something."

"It is good for a lot of things Adam. It spells out all of the things the king will do for you if you agree toprotect him in time of need."

Adam thought about it for a minute or so and guessed it was the least he could do for the king as longas he had given Adam his land. "I still wish he would have thrown something in there about Eve's nagging though."

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Best because Adam could see his old pal, Rufus the scribe, nearing with each plodding step down the dusty road. Worst because Adam had just got wind of something called an income tax. It didn't seem right to Adam. As best as he had it figgered, he had to pay the king just cuz the king wanted him to.

"Hey Rufe, you old quill pusher you. What have you been up to since I last laid eyes on you? Have you scribedany of them Magna Carta things like you was telling me about last time you was here?"

"No, Adam, I don't write stuff for the king. He doesn't even know I exist. If he did he'd figure out some wayto tax me for that."

Adam, feigning ignorance, which sometimes was not too difficult for him to do, asked, "What are you ramblingon about Rufe? What's this stuff about a tax?

What's a tax?"

Rufus tried explaining to Adam that the king had just started a new way to make money. He was calling it anincome tax which had never existed in all of England prior to this. The king was requiring all who had anincome to give him 1/13 of it each year. It was up to the sheriff to collect it. King John said he needed it as the previous king, his brother Richard the Lionhearted, had left the kingly coffers empty through his always running off to conquer somebody. Now John was trying to retain the land that Richard had won, but needed money to supply an army.

Adam asked, "My old dog is agonna have puppies. Do you think she is supposed to have exactly 13 so the kingcan have one?"

Rufus answered, "I don't think the king is too interested in puppies Adam. I believe it pertains more tomoney that you make in whatever manner."

Adam decided that it was okay, he guessed, if King John needed the money. After all theking had given him his land and made him a squire. Surely the king would use it well, and conquer vast lands making England a stronger country. Anyway it would only be a short lived thing, and people in the future would never even remember it, much less have to pay it.

Little did Adam know that John would lose practically all lands that Richard had gained while he was king, and that income taxes were there to stay.

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

Adam had a headache, and Eve was babbling on something about tending the garden. He had descended to his cellar workshop the night before, and after working on some toys for the kids for a while, he had developed an awful thirst. His wife didn't know about the tunnel from his workshop that ended out in yonder wood, so Adam had decided to go to the pub for just one quick pint of ale. Now a pint of ale was bound to quench his thirst, he'd be right back, no one would be the wiser, and he could continue at his work.

When he arrived at the Bleeding Wolf Inn, who just happened to be there, but his old friend Rufus the scribe. When Rufus saw Adam coming in he asked the innkeeper to set up a pint for his friend. This done, the two old friends discussed the state of current events as is often done yet today. After some time had passed their flagons had emptied, and Adam, not to be outdone by Rufus, ordered up a round. One thing led to another, and much time passed before Adam finally staggered home caroming off the sides of the tunnel.

During the course of their discussions talk came around to the good King John. Rufus told Adam that after John had signed that Magna Carta thing, the barons still mistrusted him. They seized London and the eastern countries, and offered the crown to Louis Philip's son, of France. At this turn of events, John confined the rebels to London and regained control of the country. After subduing East Anglia to the north of London, John, in a hurry to get to Lincolnshire, decided to cross the Wash, a large bay on England's eastern coast. While making this crossing, on October 12, 1216 he lost all of the treasures and loot that he had just won. One week later October 19, 1216 he was stricken with a fever and died.

This being the first that Adam had heard of this event he became very sad, and Rufus bought him another pint to try and console him a bit. Adam asked who then was the king now, and Rufus told him that this had passed to John's nine year old son, Henry III. He went on to say that a board of regents would assist the young king in his duties. Thus power was shifting, through the board of regents, somewhat from the king to the barons. Upon hearing that, even though John was dead, his estate was not in jeopardy, Adam began to feel a little better. To show his uplifted spirit, he bought another round as he and Rufus talked on……..Adam had a headache!

A Day in the Life of Adam de Lauton
Leo Lawton

It had been nearly three years since Adam had last spied Rufus walking down the dusty road towards his home, so he wasunprepared for the sight this day. However from nearly as far as he could see Adam recognized the long lanky figure shuffling along.

Rufe, what a sight for sore eyes," he greeted his old friend. Rufus handed a small coin to each of the kids, andgave Eve his customary smooch on the cheek, before he answered his old friend. "Adam, I've been to far away places,and seen sights most people never will, but none were as joyous as seeing your ugly face again."

Adam, used to this sort of banter from his old friend, said, "Well just what sort of things have you seen lately?" Rufus began telling him of the new towns springing up here, and there, and all over the place. Adam asked, "You mean people just up and begin to live in towns for the heck of it?"

"No Adam, not exactly, it seems that people, like yourself, who own some land have become better at growing crops and such these days, to the point they have more than their needs of grain, animals, wool, milk, cheese, and garden stuff, creating extra to sell. Because of this not so many people have to till the land to survive. Some of them have become dealers in goods. They buy from the farmer and resell to those who need it. These dealers, in turn, buy goods from a large city, and sell or exchange them back to the people growing the foods. This means there are more and more people earning a living separate from the farms. They are grouping together in close-knit towns to make it easier for them to provide for each other. As these people grow in numbers in a town, new opportunities arise, such as shoemakers, clothiers, and other makers of necessary items."

Adam thinking about all this said, "Rufus you're right, of course. Two new towns have formed near here recently too, but I thought nothing but thieves and robbers lived there. They want me to bring them my wheeled barrow full of extra crops, and don't want to give anything in return, but those little things they call coins. What good are them things? I can't eat them or find much of any other use for them but maybe decorations. I got a few of them and put them on a string that Eve wears around her neck. She thinks that's sort of different, but they ain't good for much of nothing else that I can find."

Rufus, not realizing some folks didn't understand a money system, began to explain to good old Adam how the coins could be exchanged for other things, like shoes, clothing, or other foods and spices that he could not grow. At the same time, the merchants in the towns often knew what the people in a larger city wanted in the line of clothing and such that the farmers or small village citizens could offer.

Adam said, "Well I often thought those little round things ought to be good for something, but I never would have guessed that those town thieves would give me mead for them. Maybe all of them guys ain't so bad after all."

Rufus said, "Well, I don't know about your getting mead with them, but they sure have made my life a lot easier. I won't have to travel so far now to make a living. Most of these merchants need someone to help them keep records of their dealing. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to stay in just one town for the rest of my life. Time'll tell." As an afterthought he spoke again, "I'm not sure if I want to stay in Church Lawton with you though! I'm not sure this town is big enough for both of us!"

 

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