CHAPTER VII. THE STRIFE WITH THE CHURCH
So sudden was his journey that a rumour spread that he had fled over sea to avoid the interdict proclaimed by Thomas. But during his absence trouble had been steadily growing in England. In his sore straits for money during these last years, Henry could not always be particular as to means. Jews were robbed and banished; the bishopric of Lincoln was added to the half-dozen sees already vacant, and its treasure swept into the royal Hoard; an "aid" was raised for the marriage of his daughter, and a terrible list of fines levied under the Assize of Clarendon. The sums raised told, in fact, of the general increase of wealth. The national income, which at the beginning of Henry's reign had been but L22,000, was raised in the last year to L48,000, and an enormous treasure had been accumulated said to be equal to 100,000 marks, or, by another account, to be worth L900,000. The increase of trade was shown by the growing numbers of Jews, the bankers and usurers of the time. At the beginning of Henry's reign they were still so few that it was possible to maintain a law which forbade their burial anywhere save in one cemetery near London. Before its close their settlements were so numerous that Jewish burial-grounds had to be established near every great town. Their banking profits were enormous, and Christians who saw the wages of sin heaped up before their eyes, looked wistfully at a business forbidden by the ecclesiastical standard of morals of that day.