By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The History of England from the Norman Conquest to the Death of John (1066-1216)
Author: Adams, George Burton
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The History of England from the Norman Conquest to the Death of John (1066-1216)" ***


Seventy-five years have passed since Lingard completed his HISTORY OF
ENGLAND, which ends with the Revolution of 1688. During that period
historical study has made a great advance. Year after year the mass of
materials for a new History of England has increased; new lights have
been thrown on events and characters, and old errors have been
corrected. Many notable works have been written on various periods of
our history; some of them at such length as to appeal almost exclusively
to professed historical students. It is believed that the time has come
when the advance which has been made in the knowledge of English history
as a whole should be laid before the public in a single work of fairly
adequate size. Such a book should be founded on independent thought and
research, but should at the same time be written with a full knowledge
of the works of the best modern historians and with a desire to take
advantage of their teaching wherever it appears sound.

The vast number of authorities, printed and in manuscript, on which a
History of England should be based, if it is to represent the existing
state of knowledge, renders co-operation almost necessary and certainly
advisable. The History, of which this volume is an instalment, is an
attempt to set forth in a readable form the results at present attained
by research. It will consist of twelve volumes by twelve different
writers, each of them chosen as being specially capable of dealing with
the period which he undertakes, and the editors, while leaving to each
author as free a hand as possible, hope to insure a general similarity
in method of treatment, so that the twelve volumes may in their
contents, as well as in their outward appearance, form one History.

As its title imports, this History will primarily deal with politics,
with the History of England and, after the date of the union with
Scotland, Great Britain, as a state or body politic; but as the life of
a nation is complex, and its condition at any given time cannot be
understood without taking into account the various forces acting upon
it, notices of religious matters and of intellectual, social, and
economic progress will also find place in these volumes. The 'footnotes'
will, so far as is possible, be confined to references to authorities,
and references will not be appended to statements which appear to be
matters of common knowledge and do not call for support. Each volume
will have an Appendix giving some account of the chief authorities,
original and secondary, which the author has used. This account will be
compiled with a view of helping students rather than of making long
lists of books without any notes as to their contents or value. That the
History will have faults both of its own and such as will always in some
measure attend co-operative work, must be expected, but no pains have
been spared to make it, so far as may be, not wholly unworthy of the
greatness of its subject.

Each volume, while forming part of a complete History, will also in
itself be a separate and complete book, will be sold separately, and
will have its own index, and two or more maps.

Vol. I. to 1066. By Thomas Hodgkin, D.C.L., Litt.D., Fellow of
University College, London; Fellow of the British Academy.

Vol. II. 1066 to 1216. By George Burton Adams, M.A., Professor of
History in Yale University, New Haven Connecticut.

Vol. III. 1216 to 1377. By T. F. Tout, M.A., Professor of Medieval and
Modern History in the Victoria University of Manchester; formerly Fellow
of Pembroke College. Oxford.

Vol. IV. 1377 to 1485. By C. Oman, M.A., Fellow of All Souls' College,
and Deputy Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford.

Vol. V. 1485 to 1547. By H. A. L. Fisher, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of New
College, Oxford.

Vol. VI. 1547 to 1603. By A. F. Pollard, M.A., Professor of
Constitutional History in University College, London.

Vol. VII. 1603 to 1660. By F. C. Montague, M.A., Professor of History in
University College, London; formerly Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.

Vol. VIII. 1660 to 1702. By Richard Lodge, M.A., Professor of History in
the University of Edinburgh; formerly Fellow of Brasenose College,

Vol. IX. 1702 to 1760. By I. S. Leadam, M.A., formerly Fellow of
Brasenose College, Oxford.

Vol. X. 1760 to 1801. By the Rev. William Hunt, M.A., D.Litt., Trinity
College, Oxford.

Vol. XI. 1801 to 1837. By the Hon. George C. Brodrick, D.C.L., late
Warden of Merton College, Oxford, and J. K. Fotheringham, M.A., Magdalen
College, Oxford, Lecturer in Classics at King's College, London.

Vol. XII. 1837 to 1901. By Sidney J. Low, M.A., Balliol College, Oxford,
formerly Lecturer on History at King's College, London.


Edited by William Hunt, D.Litt., and
Reginald L. Poole, M.A.




Professor of History in Yale University



Oct., 1066.       After the battle of Hastings
Nov.              The march on London
                  Winchester occupied
                  London submits
25 Dec.           The coronation of William
Jan., 1067.       Regulations for government
                  The confiscation of lands
                  The introduction of feudalism
                  Power of the Norman duke
March-Dec.        William in Normandy
                  Revolts in England


Feb.-March, 1068. Conquest of the south-west
                  Coronation of Matilda
                  Summer. Final conquest of the north
                  Raid of Harold's sons
1069.             Danish invasion; the north rebels
Dec.              The harrying of Northumberland
Jan.-Feb., 1070.  Conquest of the west
                  Reformation of the Church
Aug.              Lanfranc made primate
                  Effect of the conquest on the Church
                  The king and the Church


1070-4.           The revolt in Ely
                  Norman families in England
                  Centralization of the State
                  The New Forest
Aug., 1072.       William invades Scotland
1073.             He subdues Maine
1075.             Revolt of Earls Roger and Ralph
1082.             The arrest of Bishop Odo
                  William's son Robert
1086.             The Domesday Book
9 Sept., 1087.    The death of William


26 Sept., 1087.   Coronation of William II.
Apr.-June, 1088.  The barons rebel.
Nov.              The trial of William of St. Calais
1095.             The revolt of Robert of Mowbray
28 May, 1089.     The death of Lanfranc
                  Ranulf Flambard
                  Troubles in Normandy
April, 1090.      The court resolves on war
Feb., 1091.       William invades Normandy
                  Malcolm attacks England
1092.             William occupies Carlisle
Nov., 1093.       Death of Malcolm and Margaret


Lent, 1093.       Illness of William II
March.            Anselm named archbishop
                  Conditions on which he accepted
Jan., 1094.       His first quarrel with the king
19 March.         William crosses to Normandy
1095.             Second quarrel with Anselm
March.            The case tried at Rockingham
1096.             Robert mortgages Normandy
1097.             Renewed quarrel with Anselm
Nov.              Anselm leaves England
1098.             Wars on the continent
2 Aug., 1100.     William II killed


2 Aug., 1100.     Henry claims the crown
5 Aug.            His coronation
                  His character
Aug.              His coronation charter
23 Sept.          Return of Anselm
11 Nov.           Henry's marriage
                  Beginning of investiture strife
                  Merits of the case
July, 1101.       Robert invades England
                  He yields to Henry
1102.             Robert of Bellême punished
1101-2.           Fruitless embassies to Rome
27 April, 1103.   Anselm again leaves England


1104.             Henry visits Normandy
1103-5.           Dealings with Anselm
21 July, 1105.    Meeting with Anselm and Adela
Aug., 1106.       The compromise and reconciliation


28 Sept., 1106.   The battle of Tinchebrai
                  Terms of investiture compromise
21 April, 1109.   Anselm's last years, and death
1109-11.          Reform of local courts
1109-14.          Marriage of Matilda and Henry V
1109-13.          War with Louis VI of France
                  Growing power of the Church


March, 1116.      William recognized as heir
                  Renewed war with France
1120.             An advantageous peace
25 Sept., 1120.   Henry's son William drowned
                  Robert made Earl of Gloucester
1123.             Revolt of Norman barons
Jan., 1127.       Matilda made Henry's heir
                  She marries Geoffrey of Anjou
1129.             A period of peace
1130.             The Pipe Roll of 1130
                  The Exchequer
                  Henry's charter to London
1 Dec, 1135.      His death


Dec., 1135.       Stephen of Boulogne secures London
                  Obtains support of the Church
                  His coronation
                  Normandy accepts Stephen
1136.             Charter to the Church
                  Matilda appeals to Rome
                  The first revolt
                  The impression created by Stephen
1137.             Stephen in Normandy


1138.             The beginning of civil war
                  The revolt around Bristol
22 Aug.           The battle of the Standard
June, 1139.       The arrest of the bishops
                  Matilda in England
1140.             Stephen's purchase of support
2 Feb., 1141.     The battle of Lincoln


March, 1141.      Matilda received in Winchester
24 June, 1141.    She is driven from London
                  Stephen released
1142-4.           Geoffrey conquers Normandy
1144.             The fall of Geoffrey de Mandeville
1149.             Henry of Anjou in England
1152.             He marries Eleanor of Aquitaine
1153.             Henry again in England
Nov.              He makes peace with Stephen


                  The character of Henry II
19 Dec., 1154.    His coronation
1155.             The pope's grant of Ireland
Jan., 1156.       Henry in Normandy
1158.             Treaty with Louis VII
June, 1159.       Attack on Toulouse
                  New forms of taxation
1162.             Thomas Becket made primate


1162.             The position of Becket
July, 1163.       First disagreement with Henry
                  The question of criminous clerks
1164.             The constitutions of Clarendon
Oct.              The trial of Becket
                  Becket flees from England
1165-70.          War between king and primate
14 June, 1170.    Young Henry crowned
July.             Henry and Becket reconciled
29 Dec.           Murder of Becket


Oct., 1171.       Henry II in Ireland
May, 1172.        Reconciled with the Church
                  Henry and his sons
                  Discontent of young Henry
1173.             Plans of Henry II in the southeast
                  Young Henry and the barons rebel
12 July, 1174.    Henry II's penance at Canterbury
12 July.          The king of Scotland captured
6 Aug.            Henry returns to Normandy
30 Sept.          Peace concluded


1175.             Government during peace
                  The homage of Scotland
                  Judicial reforms
                  Itinerant justices and jury
                  The common law
1176.             Young Henry again discontented
                  Affairs in Ireland
1177.             Dealings with France
1180.             Philip II king of France
1183.             War between Henry's sons
11 June.          Death of young Henry


1183.             Negotiations with France
1184-5.           The question of a crusade
1185.             John in Ireland
1186.             Philip II and Henry's sons
1187.             War with Philip II
                  Renewed call for a crusade
1188.             The Saladin tithe
                  A new war with Philip
Nov.              Richard abandons his father
4 July, 1189.     Peace forced on Henry
6 July.           Death of Henry II


1189.             Richard's first acts
                  Methods of raising money
                  Arrangements for Richard's absence
                  Conduct of William Longchamp
June, 1190.       Richard goes on the crusade
1191.             Events of the third crusade
                  Strife of John and Longchamp
Oct.              Longchamp deposed
                  Philip II intrigues with John


Dec., 1192.       Richard imprisoned in Germany
1193.             Negotiations for his release
16 March, 1194.   He reaches London
                  War with Philip II
                  Hubert Walter justiciar
15 Jan., 1196.    Treaty with France
                  Renewed war
7 Dec., 1197.     Bishop Hugh refuses Richard's demand
1198.             Financial difficulties
6 April, 1199.    The death of Richard
                  The growth of English towns


April, 1199.      John succeeds in Normandy
27 May.           Crowned in Westminster
                  Philip II takes Arthur's side
1200.             John's second marriage
1202.             Trial and sentence of John
1 Aug.            John captures Arthur
1203.             Siege of Château-Gaillard
24 June, 1204.    Capture of Rouen
1205.             French conquest checked in Poitou


1205.             Question of the Canterbury election
17 June, 1207.    The pope consecrates Langton
                  Taxation of the clergy
24 March, 1208.   The interdict proclaimed
                  Power of the king
Nov., 1209.       John excommunicated
1210.             Expedition to Ireland
1212.             Alliance against France
                  Philip II plans to invade England
May, 1213.        John yields to the pope


20 July, 1213.    The king absolved
                  Henry I's charter produced
Feb., 1214.       John invades Poitou
27 July.          Battle of Bouvines
                  The barons resist the king
                  The charter demanded
15 June, 1215.    Magna Carta granted
                  Civil strife renewed
                  The crown offered to Louis of France
21 May, 1216.     Louis lands in England
19 Oct., 1216.    The death of John


On authorities



1. England and the French Possessions of William I. (1087)
2. England and France, July, 1185



The battle of the 14th of October, 1066, was decisive of the struggle for
the throne of England, but William of Normandy was in no haste to gather
in the results of the victory which he had won. The judgment of heaven
had been pronounced in the case between him and Harold, and there was no
mistaking the verdict. The Saxon army was routed and flying. It could
hardly rally short of London, but there was no real pursuit. The Normans
spent the night on the battlefield, and William's own tent was pitched on
the hill which the enemy had held, and in the midst of the Saxon wounded,
a position of some danger, against which his friend and adviser, Walter
Giffard, remonstrated in vain. On the next day he fell back with his army
to Hastings. Here he remained five days waiting, the Saxon Chronicle
tells us, for the nation to make known its submission; waiting, it is
more likely, for reinforcements which were coming from Normandy. So keen
a mind as William's probably did not misjudge the situation. With the
only real army against him broken to pieces, with the only leaders around
whom a new army could rally dead, he could afford to wait. He may not
have understood the rallying power of the Saxon soldiery, but he probably
knew very well the character of the public men of England, who were left
alive to head and direct a new resistance. The only candidate for the
throne upon whom all parties could unite was a boy of no pronounced
character and no experience. The leaders of the nobility who should have
stood forth in such a crisis as the natural leaders of the nation were
men who had shown in the clearest way their readiness to sacrifice
England to their personal ambitions or grievances. At the head of the
Church were men of but little higher character and no greater capacity
for leadership, undisguised pluralists who could not avoid the charge of
disregarding in their own selfish interests the laws they were bound to
administer. London, where the greater part of the fugitives had gathered,
could hardly have settled upon the next step to be taken when William
began his advance, five days after the battle. His first objective point
was the great fortress of Dover, which dominated that important
landing-place upon the coast. On the way he stopped to give an example of
what those might expect who made themselves his enemies, by punishing the
town of Romney, which had ventured to beat off with some vigour a body of
Normans, probably one that had tried to land there by mistake.

Dover had been a strong fortress for centuries, perched on its cliffs as
high as an arrow can be shot, says one who may have been present at these
events, and it had been recently strengthened with new work. William
doubtless expected a difficult task, and he was correspondingly pleased
to find the garrison ready to surrender without a blow, an omen even more
promising than the victory he had gained over Harold. If William had
given at Romney an example of what would follow stubborn resistance, he
gave at Dover an example of how he proposed to deal with those who would
submit, not merely in his treatment of the surrendered garrison of the
castle, but in his payment of the losses of the citizens; for his army,
disappointed of the plunder which would have followed the taking of the
place by force, had burned the town or part of it. At Dover William
remained a week, and here his army was attacked by a foe often more
deadly to the armies of the Middle Ages than the enemies they had come
out to fight. Too much fresh meat and unaccustomed water led to an
outbreak of dysentery which carried off many and weakened others, who had
to be left behind when William set out again. But these losses were
balanced by reinforcements from Normandy, which joined him here or soon
afterwards. His next advance was towards Canterbury, but it had hardly
begun when delegations came up to meet him, bringing the submission of
that city and of other places in Kent. Soon after leaving Dover the duke
himself fell ill, very possibly with the prevailing disease, but if we
may judge by what seems to be our best evidence, he did not allow this to
interrupt his advance, but pushed on towards London with only a brief
stop at any point.[1] Nor is there any certain evidence to be had of
extensive harrying of the country on this march. His army was obliged to
live on what it could take from the inhabitants, and this foraging was
unquestionably accompanied with much unnecessary plundering; but there is
no convincing evidence of any systematic laying waste of large districts
to bring about a submission which everything would show to be coming of
itself, and it was not like William to ravage without need. He certainly
hesitated at no cruelty of the sort at times, but we can clearly enough
see reasons of policy in most at least of the cases, which may have made
the action seem to him necessary. Nearly all are instances either of
defensive action or of vengeance, but that he should systematically
ravage the country when events were carrying out his plan as rapidly as
could be expected, we have no reason to consider in accordance with
William's policy or temper. In the meantime, as the invading army was
slowly drawing near to London, opinion there had settled, for the time at
least, upon a line of policy. Surviving leaders who had been defeated in
the great battle, men high in rank who had been absent, some purposely
standing aloof while the issue was decided, had gathered in the city.
Edwin and Morcar, the great earls of north and middle England, heads of
the house that was the rival of Harold's, who seem to have been willing
to see him and his power destroyed, had now come in, having learned the
result of the battle. The two archbishops were there, and certain of the
bishops, though which they were we cannot surely tell. Other names we do
not know, unless it be that of Esegar, Harold's staller and portreeve of
London, the hero of a doubtful story of negotiations with the approaching
enemy. But other nobles and men of influence in the state were certainly
there, though their names are not recorded. Nor was a military force
lacking, even if the "army" of Edwin and Morcar was under independent and
not trustworthy command. It is clear that the tone of public opinion was
for further resistance, and the citizens were not afraid to go out to
attack the Conqueror on his first approach to their neighbourhood. But
from all our sources of information the fatal fact stands out plainly, of
divided counsels and lack of leadership. William of Malmesbury believed,
nearly two generations later, and we must agree with him, that if the
English could have put aside "the discord of civil strife," and have
"united in a common policy, they could have amended the ruin of the
fatherland." But there was too much self-seeking and a lack of
patriotism. Edwin and Morcar went about trying to persuade people that
one or the other of them should be made king. Some of the bishops appear
to have opposed the choice of any king. No dominating personality arose
to compel agreement and to give direction and power to the popular
impulse. England was conquered, not by the superior force and genius of
the Norman, but by the failure of her own men in a great crisis of her

The need of haste seems an element in the situation, and under the
combined pressure of the rapid approach of the enemy and of the public
opinion of the city--citizens and shipmen are both mentioned--the leaders
of Church and State finally came to an agreement that Edgar atheling
should be made king. It was the only possible step except that of
immediate submission. Grandson of Edmund Ironside, the king who had
offered stubborn and most skilful resistance to an earlier foreign
invader, heir of a house that had been royal since the race had had a
history, all men could unite upon him, and upon him alone, if there must
be a king. But there was no other argument in his favour. Neither the
blood of his grandfather nor the school of adversity had made of him the
man to deal with such a situation. In later life he impressed people as a
well-mannered, agreeable, and frank man, but no one ever detected in him
the stuff of which heroes are made. He was never consecrated king, though
the act would have strengthened his position, and one wonders if the fact
is evidence that the leaders had yielded only to a popular pressure in
agreeing upon him against their own preference, or merely of the haste
and confusion of events. One act of sovereignty only is attributed to
him, the confirmation of Brand, who had been chosen by the monks Abbot
of Peterborough, in succession to Leofric, of the house of Edwin and
Morcar, who had been present at the battle of Hastings and had died
soon after. William interpreted this reference of the election to Edgar
for confirmation as an act of hostility to himself, and fined the new
abbot heavily, but to us the incident is of value as evidence of the
character of the movement, which tried to find a national king in this
last male of Cerdic's line.

From Canterbury the invading army advanced directly upon London, and took
up a position in its neighbourhood. From this station a body of five
hundred horsemen was sent forward to reconnoitre the approaches to the
city, and the second battle of the conquest followed, if we may call that
a battle which seems to have been merely one-sided. At any rate, the
citizens intended to offer battle, and crossed the river and advanced
against the enemy in regular formation, but the Norman knights made short
work of the burgher battalions, and drove them back into the city with
great slaughter. The suburb on the south bank of the Thames fell into the
hands of the enemy, who burned down at least a part of it. William
gained, however, no further success at this point. London was not yet
ready to submit, and the river seems to have been an impassable barrier.
To find a crossing the Norman march was continued up the river, the
country suffering as before from the foraging of the army. The desired
crossing was found at Wallingford, not far below Oxford and nearly fifty
miles above London. That he could have crossed the river nearer the city
than this, if he had wished, seems probable, and considerations of
strategy may very likely have governed William's movements. Particularly
might this be the case if he had learned that Edwin and Morcar, with
their army, had abandoned the new king and retired northward, as some of
the best of modern scholars have believed, though upon what is certainly
not the best of evidence. If this was so, a little more time would surely
convince the Londoners that submission was the best policy, and the best
position for William to occupy would be between the city and this army in
the north, a position which he could easily reach, as he did, from his
crossing at Wallingford. If the earls had not abandoned London, this was
still the best position, cutting them off from their own country and the
city from the region whence reinforcements must come if they came at all.
A long sweep about a hostile city was favourite strategy of William's.

From some point along this line of march between Dover and Wallingford,
William had detached a force to secure the submission of Winchester. This
city was of considerable importance, both because it was the old royal
residence and still the financial centre of the state, and because it
was the abode of Edith, the queen of Edward the Confessor, to whom it
had been assigned as part of her dower. The submission of the city seems
to have been immediate and entirely satisfactory to William, who confirmed
the widowed Lady of England in her rights and showed later some favour to
the monks of the new minster. William of Poitiers, the duke's chaplain,
who possibly accompanied the army on this march,[2] and wrote an account
of these events not long afterwards, tells us that at Wallingford Stigand,
Archbishop of Canterbury, came in and made submission to his master. There
is no reason to doubt this statement, though it has been called in
question. The best English chroniclers omit his name from the list of
those who submitted when London surrendered. The tide of success had been
flowing strongly one way since the Normans landed. The condition of things
in London afforded no real hope that this tide could be checked. A man of
Stigand's type could be depended upon to see that if William's success was
inevitable, an early submission would be better than a late one. If
Stigand went over to William at Wallingford, it is a clear commentary on
the helplessness of the party of resistance in London.

From Wallingford William continued his leisurely march, leaving a trail
of devastation behind him through Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and
Hertfordshire, where he turned south towards London. But the city was
now convinced of the impossibility of resistance and was ready to yield
to the inevitable. How near the enemy was allowed to approach before
the step of actual surrender was taken is not quite certain. The
generally accepted opinion, on the authority of English chroniclers, is
that the embassy from London went to meet William at Berkhampsted,
thirty miles away, but if we could accept the suggestion which has been
made that Little Berkhampsted was the place intended, the distance
would agree better with the express statement of the chaplain, William
of Poitiers, that the city was in sight from the place of conference.
It is hard to avoid accepting William's statement, for it is precisely
the kind of thing which the men of the duke's army--which had been so
long approaching the city and thinking of its capture--would be likely
to notice and remember. It also agrees better with the probabilities
of the case. Thirty miles was still a safe distance, especially in
those days, and would allow much time for further debate and for the
unexpected to happen. Wherever the act of submission occurred, it was
in form complete and final for the city and for the chief men of
England. Edgar came to offer his useless and imperfect crown; Aldred,
Archbishop of York, was there to complete the submission of the Church;
bishops of several sees were also present, and chief men of the state,
among whom Edwin and Morcar are mentioned by one of the chroniclers who
had earlier sent them home to the north. Possibly he is right in both
statements, and the earls had returned to make their peace when they
saw that resistance was hopeless. These men William received most
kindly and with good promises, and Edgar in particular he embraced and
treated like a son.

This deputation from London, headed by their nominal king, came to offer
the crown to William. For him and for the Normans the decisive moment of
the expedition was now come. A definite answer must be made. According to
the account we are following, a kind of council of war of the Norman and
other barons and the leaders of the army seems to have been held, and to
this council William submitted the question whether it would be better to
take the crown now, or to wait until the country was more completely
subdued and until his wife Matilda could be present to share the honour
with him. This is the question which we are told was proposed, but the
considerations which seem to have led to the final decision bear less
upon this than upon the question whether William should be king at all or
not. We have before this date no record of any formal decision of this
question. It had been doubtless tacitly understood by all; the crown was
more or less openly the object of the expedition; but the time had now
come when the question stood as a sharp issue before William and before
his men and must be frankly met. If the Duke of the Normans was to be
transformed into the King of the English, it could be done only with the
loyal support of his Norman followers; nor is it at all likely that, in a
state so thoroughly feudal as Normandy, the suzerain would have ventured
to assume so great an increase of rank and probable power without the
express consent of his vassals, in disregard of what was certainly the
usual feudal practice. The decision of the council was favourable, and
William accepted the crown. Immediately a force of men was sent forward
to take military possession of the city and build, after the Norman
fashion, some kind of defences there, and to make suitable preparation
for the coming of the king who was to be. The interval William occupied
in his favourite amusement of the chase, and his army in continuing to
provide for their various wants from the surrounding country and that
with no gentle hand.

Whatever may have prevented the coronation of Edgar, there was to be no
unnecessary delay about William's. Christmas day, the nearest great
festival of the Church, was fixed upon for the ceremony, which was to
take place in the new abbey church of Westminster, where Harold had been
crowned and where the body of Edward lay. The consecration was to be
performed by Aldred, Archbishop of York. No Norman, least of all William,
who had come with the special blessing of the rightful pope, could allow
this sacred office to Stigand, whose way to the primacy had been opened
by the outlawry of the Norman archbishop Robert, and whose paillium was
the gift of a schismatic and excommunicated pope. With this slight
defect, from which Harold's coronation also suffered, the ceremony was
made as formal and stately as possible. Norman guards kept order about
the place; a long procession of clergy moved into the church, with the
duke and his supporting bishops at the end. Within, the old ritual of
coronation was followed as nearly as we can judge. Englishmen and
Frenchmen were asked in their own languages if they would have William to
be king, and they shouted out their approval; William then took oath to
defend the Church, to rule justly, to make and keep right law, and to
prevent disorders, and at last he was anointed and crowned and became
King of the English in title and in law. But all this had not taken place
without some plain evidence of the unusual and violent character of the
event. The Normans stationed without had mistaken the shouts of approval
which came from within for shouts of anger and protest, and in true
Norman fashion had at once fallen on whatever was at hand, people and
buildings, slaying and setting fire, to create a diversion and to be sure
of vengeance. In one point at least they were successful; the church was
emptied of spectators and the ceremony was finished, king and bishops
alike trembling with uncertain dread, in the light of burning buildings
and amid the noise of the tumult.

At the time of his coronation William was not far from forty years of
age. He was in the full tide of a vigorous physical life, in height and
size, about the average, possibly a trifle above the average, of the men
of his time, and praised for his unusual strength of arm. In mental gifts
he stood higher above the general run of men than in physical. As a
soldier and a statesman he was clear-headed, quick to see the right thing
to do and the right time to do it; conscious of the ultimate end and of
the combination of means, direct and indirect, slowly working out, which
must be made to reach it. But the characteristic by which he is most
distinguished from the other men of his time is one which he shares with
many of the conquerors of history--a characteristic perhaps indispensable
to that kind of success--an utterly relentless determination to succeed,
if necessary without hesitation at the means employed, and without
considering in the least the cost to others. His inflexible will greatly
impressed his own time. The men who came in contact with him were afraid
of him. His sternness and mercilessness in the enforcement of law, in the
punishment of crime, and in the protection of what he thought to be his
rights, were never relaxed. His laws were thought to be harsh, his
money-getting oppressive, and his forest regulations cruel and unjust.
And yet William intended to be, and he was, a good ruler. He gave his
lands, what was in those days the best proof of good government, and to
be had only of a strong king, internal peace. He was patient also, and
did not often lose control of himself and yield to the terrible passion
which could at last be roused. For thirty years, in name at least, he had
ruled over Normandy, and he came to the throne of England with a long
experience behind him of fighting against odds, of controlling a
turbulent baronage, and of turning anarchy into good order.

William was at last crowned and consecrated king of the English. But the
kingdom over which he could exercise any real rule embraced little more
than the land through which he had actually passed; and yet this fact
must not be understood to mean too much. He had really conquered England,
and there was no avoiding the result. Notwithstanding all the
difficulties which were still before him in getting possession of his
kingdom, and the length of time before the last lingering resistance was
subdued, there is no evidence anywhere of a truly national movement
against him. Local revolts there were, some of which seemed for a moment
to assume threatening proportions; attempts at foreign intervention with
hopes of native aid, which always proved fallacious; long resistance by
some leaders worthy of a better support, the best and bravest of whom
became in the end faithful subjects of the new king: these things there
were, but if we look over the whole period of the Conquest, we can only
be astonished that a handful of foreign adventurers overcame so easily a
strong nation. There is but one explanation to be found, the one to which
such national overthrow is most often due, the lack of leadership.

The panegyrist of the new king, his chaplain, William of Poitiers, leads
us to believe that very soon after the coronation William adopted
somewhat extensive regulations for the settlement of his kingdom and for
the restraint of disorders in his army. We may fairly insist upon some
qualification of the unfailing wisdom and goodness which this
semi-official historian attributes to his patron, but we can hardly do
otherwise than consider his general order of events correct, and his
account of what was actually done on the whole trustworthy. England had
in form submitted, and this submission was a reality so far as all were
concerned who came into contact with William or his army. And now the new
government had to be set going at once. Men must know what law was to be
enforced and under what conditions property was to be secure. The king's
own followers, who had won his kingdom for him, must receive the rewards
which they had expected; but the army was now a national and not an
invading army, and it must be restrained from any further indiscriminate
plunder or rioting. Two acts of William which we must assign to this time
give some evidence that he did not feel as yet altogether sure of the
temper of London. Soon after the ceremony at Westminster he retired to
Barking, a few miles distant, and waited there while the fortification in
the city was completed, which probably by degrees grew into the Tower.
And apparently at this time, certainly not long afterwards, he issued to
the bishop and the portreeve his famous charter for the city, probably
drawn up originally in the English language, or if not, certainly with an
English translation attached for immediate effect. In this charter the
clearest assurance is given on two points about which a great commercial
city, intimately concerned in such a revolution, would be most
anxious,--the establishment of law and the security of property. The king
pledges himself to introduce no foreign law and to make no arbitrary
confiscations of property. To win the steady adhesion of that most
influential body of men who were always at hand to bring the pressure of
their public opinion to bear upon the leaders of the state, the
inhabitants of London, this measure was as wise as was the building of
the Tower for security against the sudden tumults so frequent in the
medieval city, or even more dangerous insurrections.

At the same time strict regulations were made for the repression of
disorders in the army. The leaders were exhorted to justice and to avoid
any oppression of the conquered; the soldiers were forbidden all acts of
violence, and the favourite vices of armies were prohibited,--too much
drinking, we are told, lest it should lead to bloodshed. Judges were
appointed to deal with the offences of the soldiers; the Norman members
of the force were allowed no special privileges; and the control of law
over the army, says the king's chaplain, proudly, was made as strict as
the control of the army over the subject race. Attention was given also
to the fiscal system of the country, to the punishment of criminals, and
to the protection of commerce. Most of this we may well believe, though
some details of fact as well as of motive may be too highly coloured, for
our knowledge of William's attitude towards matters of this kind is not
dependent on the words of any panegyrist.

While William waited at Barking, other English lords in addition to those
who had already acknowledged him came in and made submission. The Norman
authorities say that the earls Edwin and Morcar were the chief of these,
and if not earlier, they must have submitted then. Two men, Siward and
Eldred, are said to have been relatives of the last Saxon king, but in
what way we do not know. Copsi, who had ruled Northumberland for a time
under Tostig, the brother of Harold, impressed the Norman writers with
his importance, and a Thurkill is also mentioned by name, while "many
other nobles" are classed together without special mention. Another great
name which should probably be added to this list is that of Waltheof,
Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon, of distinguished descent and destined
later to an unhappy fate. All of these the king received most kindly. He
accepted their oaths, restored to them all their possessions, and held
them in great honour.

But certainly not in all cases did things go so easily for the English.
Two bits of evidence, one in the Saxon Chronicle, that men bought their
lands of the king, and one in Domesday Book, a statement of the
condition of a piece of land "at the time when the English redeemed their
lands," lead us to infer that William demanded of the English that they
obtain from him in form a confirmation of their possessions for which
they were obliged to pay a price. No statement is made of the reasons by
which this demand was justified, but the temptation to regard it as an
application of the principle of the feudal relief is almost irresistible;
of the relief paid on the succession of a new lord, instead of the
ordinary relief paid on the recognition of the heir to the fief. If the
evidence were greater that this was a common practice in feudalism rather
than an occasional one, as it seems only to have been, it would give us
the simplest and most natural explanation of this act of William's. To
consider that he regarded all the land of the kingdom as rightly
confiscate, which has been suggested as an explanation, because of a
resistance which in many cases never occurred, and in most had not at the
time when this regulation must have been made, is a forced and unnatural
theory, and not in harmony with William's usual methods. To suppose that
he regarded this as an exceptional case, in which a relief on a change of
lords could be collected, is a less violent supposition. Possibly it was
an application more general than ordinary of the practice which was usual
throughout the medieval world of obtaining at a price, from a new king,
confirmations of the important grants of his predecessors. But any
explanation of the ground of right on which the king demanded this
general redemption of lands must remain from lack of evidence a mere
conjecture. The fact itself seems beyond question, and is an indication
of no little value of the views and intentions of the new king. The
kingdom was his; all the land must be held of him and with his formal
consent, but no uncalled-for disturbance of possession was to occur.

Beyond reasonable doubt at this time was begun that policy of actual
confiscation, where reasons existed, which by degrees transformed the
landed aristocracy from English into Norman. Those who had gained the
crown for the new king must receive the minor rewards which they had had
in view for themselves, and with no unnecessary delay. A new nobility
must be endowed, and policy would dictate also that at the earliest
moment the country should be garrisoned by faithful vassals of the king's
own, supplied with means of defending themselves and having
proportionately as much at stake in the country as himself. The lands and
property of those who had fought against him or who were irreconcilable
would be in his hands to dispose of, according to any theory of his
position which William might hold. The crown lands of the old kings were
of course his, and in spite of all the grants that were made during the
reign, this domain was increased rather than diminished under William.
The possessions of Harold's family and of all those who had fallen in the
battle with him were at once confiscated, and these seem to have sufficed
for present needs. Whatever may have been true later, we may accept the
conclusion that "on the whole William at this stage of his reign warred
rather against the memory of the dead than against the lives or fortunes
of the living."

These confiscated lands the king bestowed on the chiefs of his army. We
have little information of the way in which this change was carried out,
but in many cases certainly the possessions held by a given Saxon thane
in the days of Edward were turned over as a whole to a given Norman with
no more accurate description than that the lands of A were now to be the
lands of B. What lands had actually belonged to A, the old owner, was
left to be determined by some sort of local inquiry, but with this the
king did not concern himself beyond giving written orders that the change
was to be made. Often this turning over to a Norman of the estate of a
dispossessed Saxon resulted in unintended injustice and in legal quarrels
which were unsettled years afterwards. Naturally the new owner considered
himself the successor of the old one in all the rights which he
possessed. If for some of his manors the Saxon was the tenant of a church
or of an abbey, the Norman often seized upon these with the rest, as if
all were rightfully confiscated together and all held by an equally clear
title, and the Church was not always able, even after long litigation, to
establish its rights. We have little direct evidence as to the
relationship which such grants created between the recipient and the
king, or as to the kind of tenure by which they were held, but the
indirect evidence is constantly accumulating, and may be said to be now
indeed conclusive, that the relation and the tenure made use of were the
only ones with which the Normans were at this time familiar or which
would be likely to seem to them possible,--the relationship of vassal and
lord; and that with these first grants of land which the king made to his
followers was introduced into England that side of the feudal system
which Saxon England had never known, but which was, from this time on,
for nearly two centuries, to be the ruling system in both public and
private law.

In saying that the feudal system was introduced into England by these
grants, we must guard against a misconception. The feudal system, if we
use that name as we commonly do to cover the entire relations of the
society of that age, had two sides to it, distinct in origin, character,
and purpose. To any clear understanding of the organization of feudal
society, or of the change which its establishment made in English
history, it is necessary, although it is not easy, to hold these two
sides apart. There was in the practices and in the vocabulary of
feudalism itself some confusion of the two in the borderland that lay
between them, and the difficulty is made greater for us by the fact that
both sides were primarily concerned with the holding of land, and
especially by the fact that the same piece of land belonged at once to
both sides and was held at the same time by two different men, by two
different kinds of tenure, and under two different systems of law. The
one side may be called from its ruling purpose economic and the other
political. The one had for its object the income to be drawn from the
land; the other regarded chiefly the political obligations joined to the
land and the political or social rank and duties of the holders.

The economic side concerned the relations of the cultivators of the soil
with the man who was, in relation to them, the owner of that soil; it
regulated the tenures by which they held the little pieces which they
cultivated, their rights over that land and its produce, their
obligations to the owner of service in cultivating for him the lands
which he reserved for his own use, and, in addition, of payments to him
in kind and perhaps in money on a variety of occasions and occurrences
throughout the year; it defined and practically limited, also, the
owner's right of exaction from these cultivators. These regulations were
purely customary; they had grown up slowly out of experience, and they
were not written. But this was true also of almost all the law of that
age, and this law of the cultivators was as valid in its place as the
king's law, and was enforced in its own courts. It is true that most of
these men who cultivated the soil were serfs, at least not entirely free;
but that fact made no difference in this particular; they had their
standing, their voice, and their rights in their lord's "customary"
court, and the documents which describe to us these arrangements call
them, as they do the highest barons of the realm, "peers,"--that is,
peers of these customary courts. Not all, indeed, were serfs; many
freemen, small farmers, possibly it would not be wrong to say all who had
formerly belonged to that class, had been forced by one necessity or
another to enter into this system, to surrender the unqualified ownership
of their lands, and to agree to hold them of some lord, though traces of
their original full ownership may long have lingered about the land. When
they did this, they were brought into very close relations with the
unfree cultivators; they were parts of the same system and subject to
some of the same regulations and services but their land was usually held
on terms that were economically better than the serfs obtained, and they
retained their personal freedom. They were members of the lords' courts,
and there the serfs were their peers; but they were also members of the
old national courts of hundred and shire, and there they were the peers
of knights and barons.

This system, this economic side of feudalism, is what we know as the
manorial system. Its unit was the manor, an estate of land larger or
smaller, but large enough to admit of this characteristic organization,
managed as a unit, usually from some well-defined centre, the manor
house, and directed by a single responsible head, the lord's steward. The
land which constituted the manor was divided into two clearly
distinguished parts, the "domain" and the "tenures." The domain was the
part of each manor that was reserved for the lord's own use, and
cultivated for him by the labour of his tenants under the direction of
the steward, as a part of the services by which they held their lands;
that is, as a part of the rent paid for them. The returns from these
domain lands formed a very large part, probably the largest part, of the
income of the landlord class in feudal days. The "tenures" were the
holdings of the cultivators, worked for themselves by their own labour,
of varying sizes and held on terms of varying advantage, and usually
scattered about the manor in small strips, a bit here and another there.
Besides these cultivated lands there were also, in the typical manor,
common pasture lands and common wood lands, in which the rights of each
member of this little community were carefully regulated by the customary
law of the manor. This whole arrangement was plainly economic in
character and purpose it was not in the least political. Its object was
to get the soil cultivated, to provide mankind with the necessary food
and clothing, and the more fortunate members of the race with their
incomes. This purpose it admirably served in an age when local protection
was an ever present need, when the labouring man had often to look to the
rich and strong man of the neighbourhood for the security which he could
not get from the state. Whatever may have been the origin of this system,
it was at any rate this need which perpetuated it for centuries from the
fall of Rome to the later Middle Ages; and during this long time it was
by this system that the western world was fed and all its activities

This economic side of feudalism, this manorial system, was not introduced
into England by the Norman Conquest. It had grown up in the Saxon states,
as it had on the continent, because of the prevalence there of the
general social and economic conditions which favoured its growth. It was
different from the continental system in some details; it used different
terms for many things; but it was essentially the same system. It had its
body of customary law and its private courts; and these courts, like
their prototypes in the Prankish state, had in numerous cases usurped or
had been granted the rights and functions of the local courts of the
nation, and so had annexed a minor political function which did not
naturally belong to the system. Indeed, this process had gone so far that
we may believe that the stronger government of the state established by
the Conqueror found it necessary to check it and to hold the operation of
the private courts within stricter limits. This economic organization
which the Normans found in England was so clearly parallel with that
which they had always known that they made no change in it. They
introduced their own vocabulary in many cases in place of the Saxon; they
identified in some cases practices which looked alike but which were not
strictly identical; and they had a very decided tendency to treat the
free members of the manorial population, strongly intrenched as they were
in the popular courts, as belonging at the same time to both sides of
feudalism, the economic and the political: but the confusion of language
and custom which they introduced in consequence is not sufficient to
disguise from us the real relationships which existed. Nor should it be
in the opposite process, which was equally easy, as when the Saxon
chronicler, led by the superficial resemblance and overlooking the great
institutional difference, called the curia of William by the Saxon name
of witenagemot.

With the other side of feudalism, the political, the case was different.
That had never grown up in the Saxon world. The starting-points in
certain minor Roman institutions from which it had grown, seem to have
disappeared with the Saxon occupation of Britain. The general conditions
which favoured its development--the almost complete breakdown of the
central government and the difficult and interrupted means of
communication--existed in far less degree in the Saxon states than in the
more extensive Frankish territories. Such rudimentary practices as seem
parallel to early stages of feudal growth were more so in appearance than
in reality, and we can hardly affirm with any confidence that political
feudalism was even in process of formation in England before the
Conquest, though it would undoubtedly have been introduced there by some
process before very long.

The political feudal organization was as intimately bound up with the
possession of land as the economic, but its primary object was different.
It may be described as that form of organization in which the duties of
the citizen to the state had been changed into a species of land rent. A
set of legal arrangements and personal relationships which had grown up
wholly in the field of private affairs, for the serving of private ends,
had usurped the place of public law in the state. Duties of the citizen
and functions of the government were translated into its terms and
performed as incidents of a private obligation. The individual no longer
served in the army because this service was a part of his obligation as a
citizen, but because he had agreed by private contract to do so as a part
of the rent he was to pay for the land he held of another man. The
judicial organization was transformed in the same way. The national
courts disappeared, and their place was taken by private courts made up
of tenants. The king summoned at intervals the great men of Church and
State to gather round him in his council, law court, and legislature, in
so far as there was a legislature in that age, the curia regis, the
mother institution of a numerous progeny; but he did not summon them, and
they came no longer, because they were the great men of Church and State,
the wise men of the land, but because they had entered into a private
obligation with him to attend when called upon, as a return for lands
which he had given them; or, in other words, as Henry II told the bishops
in the Constitutions of Clarendon, because they were his vassals. Public
taxation underwent the same change, and the money revenue of the feudal
state which corresponds most nearly to the income of taxation, was made
up of irregular payments due on the occurrence of specified events from
those who held land of the king, and these in turn collected like
payments of their tenants; the relief, for instance, on the succession of
the heir to his father's holding, or the aids in three cases, on the
knighting of the lord's eldest son, the marrying of his eldest daughter,
and the ransom of his own person from imprisonment. The contact of the
central government with the mass of the men of the state was broken off
by the intervening series of lords who were political rulers each of the
territory or group of lands immediately subject to himself, and exercised
within those limits the functions which the general government should
normally exercise for the whole state. The payments and services which
the lord's vassals made to him, while they were of the nature of rent,
were not rent in the economic sense; they were important to the suzerain
less as matters of income than as defining his political power and
marking his rank in this hierarchical organization. The state as a whole
might retain its geographical outlines and the form of a common
government, but it was really broken up into fragments of varying size,
whose lords possessed in varying degrees of completeness the attributes
of sovereignty.

This organization, however, never usurped the place of the state so
completely as might be inferred. It had grown up within the limits of a
state which was, during the whole period of its formation, nominally
ruled over by a king who was served by a more or less centralized
administrative system. This royal power never entirely disappeared. It
survived as the conception of government, it survived in the exercise of
some rights everywhere, and of many rights in some places, even in the
most feudal of countries. Some feeling of public law and public duty
still lingered. In the king's court, the curia regis, whether in
England or in France, there was often present a small group of members,
at first in a minor and subordinate capacity, who were there, not because
they were the vassals of the king, but because they were the working
members of a government machine. The military necessity of the state in
all countries occasionally called out something like the old general
levy. In the judicial department, in England at least, one important
class of courts, the popular county courts, was never seriously affected
by feudalism, either in their organization or in the law which they
interpreted. Any complete description of the feudal organization must be
understood to be a description of tendencies rather than of a realized
system. It was the tendency of feudalism to transform the state into a
series of principalities rising in tiers one above the other, and to get
the business of the state done, not through a central constitutional
machine, but through a series of graded duties corresponding to these
successive stages and secured by private agreements between the
landholders and by a customary law which was the outgrowth of such

At the date of the Norman Conquest of England, this tendency was more
nearly realized in France than anywhere else. Within the limits of that
state a number of great feudal principalities had been formed, duchies
and counties, round the administrative divisions of an earlier time as
their starting-point, in many of which the sovereign of the state could
exercise no powers of government. The extensive powers which the earlier
system had intrusted to the duke or count as an administrative officer of
the state he now exercised as a practically independent sovereign, and
the state could expect from this portion of its territory only the feudal
services of its ruler, perhaps ill-defined and difficult to enforce. In
some cases, however, this process of breaking up the state into smaller
units went no further. Normandy, with which we are particularly
concerned, was an instance of this fact. The duke was practically the
sole sovereign of that province. The king of France was entirely shut
out. Even the Church was under the unlimited control of the duke. And
with respect to his subjects his power was as great as with respect to
his nominal sovereign. Very few great baronies existed in Normandy formed
of contiguous territory and capable of development into independent
principalities, and those that did exist were kept constantly in the
hands of relatives of the ducal house and under strong control. Political
feudalism existed in Normandy in even greater perfection and in a more
logical completeness, if we regard the forms alone, its practices and
customs, than was usual in the feudal world of that age; but it existed
not as the means by which the state was broken into fragments, but as the
machinery by which it was governed by the duke. It formed the bond of
connexion between him and the great men of the state. It defined the
services which he had the right to demand of them, and which they in turn
might demand of their vassals. It formed the foundation of the army and
of the judicial system. Every department of the state was influenced by
its forms and principles. At the same time the Duke of Normandy was more
than a feudal suzerain. He had saved on the whole, from the feudal
deluge, more of the prerogatives of sovereignty than had the king of
France. He had a considerable non-feudal administrative system, though it
might not reach all parts of the duchy. The supreme judicial power had
never been parted with, and the Norman barons were unable to exercise in
its full extent the right of high justice. The oath of allegiance from
all freemen, whosesoever vassals they might be, traces of which are to be
found in many feudal lands and even under the Capetian kings, was
retained in the duchy. Private war, baronial coinage, engagements with
foreign princes to the injury of the duke,--these might occur in
exceptional cases during a minority or under a weak duke, or in time of
rebellion; but the strong dukes repressed them with an iron hand, and no
Norman baron could claim any of them as a prescriptive right. Feudalism
existed in Normandy as the organization of the state, and as the system
which regulated the relations between the duke and the knights and the
nobles of the land, but it did not exist at the expense of the sovereign
rights of the duke.

This was the system which was introduced fully formed into England with
the grants of land which the Conqueror made to his barons. It was the
only system known to him by which to regulate their relations to himself
and their duties to the state. To suppose a gradual introduction of
feudalism into England, except in a geographical sense, as the
confiscation spread over the land, is to misunderstand both feudalism
itself and its history. This system gave to the baron opportunities which
might be dangerous under a ruler who could not make himself obeyed, but
there was nothing in it inconsistent with the practical absolutism
exercised by the first of the Norman kings and by the more part of his
immediate successors. Feudalism brought in with itself two ideas which
exercised decisive influence on later English history. I do not mean to
assert that these ideas were consciously held, or that they could have
been formulated in words, though of the first at least this was very
nearly true, but that they unconsciously controlled the facts of the time
and their future development. One was the idea that all holders of land
in the kingdom, except the king, were, strictly speaking, tenants rather
than owners, which profoundly influenced the history of English law; the
other was the idea that important public duties were really private
obligations, created by a business contract, which as profoundly
influenced the growth of the constitution. Taken together, the
introduction of the feudal system was as momentous a change as any which
followed the Norman Conquest, as decisive in its influence upon the
future as the enrichment of race or of language; more decisive in one
respect, since without the consequences in government and constitution,
which were destined to follow from the feudalization of the English
state, neither race nor language could have done the work in the world
which they have already accomplished and are yet destined to perform in
still larger measure.

But, however profound this change may have been, it affected but a small
class, comparatively speaking. The whole number of military units, of
knights due the king in service, seems to have been something less than
five thousand.[3] For the great mass of the population, the working
substratum, whose labours sustained the life of the nation, the Norman
Conquest made but little change. The interior organization of the manor
was not affected by it. Its work went on in the same way as before.
There was a change of masters; there was a new set of ideas to interpret
the old relationship; the upper grades of the manorial population
suffered in some parts of England a serious depression. But in the main,
as concerned the great mass of facts, there was no change of importance.
Nor was there any, at first at least, which affected the position of the
towns. The new system allowed as readily as the old the rights which
they already possessed. In the end, the new ideas might be a serious
matter for the towns in some particulars, but at present the conditions
did not exist which were to raise these difficulties. At the time, to
the mass of the nation, to everybody indeed, the Norman Conquest might
easily seem but a change of sovereigns, a change of masters. It is
because we can see the results of the changes which it really introduced
that we are able to estimate their profound significance.

The spoiling of England for the benefit of the foreigner did not consist
in the confiscation of lands alone. Besides the forced redemption of
their lands, William seems to have laid a heavy tax on the nation, and
the churches and monasteries whose lands were free from confiscation seem
to have suffered heavy losses of their gold and silver and precious
stuffs. The royal treasure and Harold's possessions would pass into
William's hands, and much confiscated and plundered wealth besides. These
things he distributed with a free hand, especially to the churches of the
continent whose prayers and blessings he unquestionably regarded as a
strong reinforcement of his arms. Harold's rich banner of the fighting
man went to Rome, and valuable gifts besides, and the Norman
ecclesiastical world had abundant cause to return thanks to heaven for
the successes which had attended the efforts of the Norman military arm.
If William despatched these gifts to the continent before his own return
to Normandy, they did not exhaust his booty, for the wonder and
admiration of the duchy is plainly expressed at the richness and beauty
of the spoils which he brought home with him.

Having settled the matters which demanded immediate attention, the king
proceeded to make a progress through those parts of his kingdom which
were under his control. Just where he went we are not told, but he can
hardly have gone far outside the counties of southern and eastern England
which were directly influenced by his march on London. In such a progress
he probably had chiefly in mind to take possession for himself and his
men of confiscated estates and of strategic points. No opposition showed
itself anywhere, but women with their children appeared along the way to
beseech his mercy, and the favour which he showed to these suppliants was
thought worthy of special remark. Winchester seems to have been visited,
and secured by the beginning of a Norman castle within the walls, and the
journey ended at Pevensey, where he had landed so short a time before in
pursuit of the crown. William had decided that he could return to
Normandy, and the decision that this could be safely done with so small a
part of the kingdom actually in hand, with so few castles already built
or garrisons established, is the clearest possible evidence of William's
opinion of the situation. He would have been the last man to venture such
a step if he had believed the risk to be great. And the event justified
his judgment. The insurrectionary movements which called him back clearly
appear to have been, not so much efforts of the nation to throw off a
foreign yoke, as revolts excited by the oppression and bad government of
those whom he had left in charge of the kingdom.

On the eve of his departure he confided the care of his new kingdom to
two of his followers whom he believed the most devoted to himself, the
south-east to his half brother Odo, and the north to William Fitz Osbern.
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, but less an ecclesiastic, according to the ideals
of the Church, than a typically feudal bishop, was assigned the
responsibility for the fortress of Dover, was given large estates in Kent
and to the west of it, and was probably made earl of that county at this
time. William Fitz Osbern was the son of the duke's guardian, who had
been murdered for his fidelity during William's minority, and they had
been boys together, as we are expressly told. He was appointed to be
responsible for Winchester and to hold what might be called the marches,
towards the unoccupied north and west. Very probably at this time also he
was made Earl of Hereford? Some other of the leading nobles of the
Conquest had been established in their possessions by this date, as we
know on good evidence, like Hugh of Grantmesnil in Hampshire, but the
chief dependence of the king was apparently upon these two, who are
spoken of as having under their care the minor holders of the castles
which had been already established.

No disorders in Normandy demanded the duke's return. Everything had been
quiet there, under the control of Matilda and those who had been
appointed to assist her. William's visit at this time looks less like a
necessity than a parade to make an exhibition of the results of his
venture. He took with him a splendid assortment of plunder and a long
train of English nobles, among whom the young atheling Edgar, Stigand,
Archbishop of Canterbury, Earls Edwin and Morcar, Waltheof, son of
Siward, the Abbot of Glastonbury, and a thane of Kent, are mentioned by
name. The favour and honour with which William treated these men did not
disguise from them the fact that they were really held as hostages. No
business of especial importance occupied William during his nine months'
stay in Normandy. He was received with great rejoicing on every hand,
especially in Rouen, where Matilda was staying, and his return and
triumphal progress through the country reminded his panegyrist of the
successes and glories of the great Roman commanders. He distributed with
a free hand, to the churches and monasteries, the wealth which he had
brought with him. A great assembly gathered to celebrate with him the
Easter feast at the abbey of Fécamp. His presence was sought to add éclat
to the dedication of new churches. But the event of the greatest
importance which occurred during this visit to the duchy was the falling
vacant of the primacy of Normandy by the death of Maurilius, Archbishop
of Rouen. The universal choice for his successor was Lanfranc, the
Italian, Abbot of St. Stephen's at Caen, who had already made evident to
all the possession of those talents for government which he was to
exercise in a larger field. But though William stood ready, in form at
least, to grant his sanction, Lanfranc declined the election, which then
fell upon John, Bishop of Avranches, a friend of his. Lanfranc was sent
to Rome to obtain the pallium for the new archbishop, but his mission was
in all probability one of information to the pope regarding larger
interests than those of the archbishopric of Rouen.

In the meantime, affairs had not run smoothly in England. We may easily
guess that William's lieutenants, especially his brother, had not failed
on the side of too great gentleness in carrying out his directions to
secure the land with garrisons and castles. In various places unconnected
with one another troubles had broken out. In the north, where Copsi had
been made Earl of Northumberland, an old local dynastic feud was still
unsettled, and the mere appointment of an earl would not bring it to an
end. Copsi was slain by his rival, Oswulf, who was himself soon afterward
killed, but the Norman occupation had still to be begun. In the west a
more interesting resistance to the Norman advance had developed near
Hereford, led by Edric, called the Wild, descendant of a noble Saxon
house. He had enlisted the support of the Welsh, and in retaliation for
attacks upon himself had laid waste a large district in Herefordshire.
Odo had had in his county an insurrection which threatened for a moment
to have most serious consequences, but which had ended in a complete
failure. The men of Kent, planning rebellion, had sent across the channel
to Eustace, Count of Boulogne, who believed that he had causes of
grievance against William, and had besought him to come to their aid in
an attempt to seize the fortress of Dover. Eustace accepted the
invitation and crossed over at the appointed time, but his allies had not
all gathered when he arrived, and the unsteady character of the count
wrecked the enterprise. He attacked in haste, and when he failed to carry
the castle by storm, he retired in equal haste and abandoned the
undertaking. William judged him too important a man to treat with
severity, and restored him to his favour. Besides these signs which
revealed the danger of an open outbreak, William undoubtedly knew that
many of the English had left the country and had gone in various
directions, seeking foreign aid. His absence could not be prolonged
without serious consequences, and in December, 1067, he returned to

[1] William of Poitiers, in Migne's Patrologia Latina, cxlix,
1258, and see F. Baring, in Engl. Hist. Rev., xiii. 18 (1898).

[2] Orderic Vitalis, ii. 158 (ed. Le Prevost).

[3] Round, Feudal England, p. 292.



With William's return to England began the long and difficult task of
bringing the country completely under his control. But this was not a
task that called for military genius. Patience was the quality most
demanded, and William's patience gave way but rarely. There was no army
in the field against him. No large portion of the land was in
insurrection. No formal campaign was necessary. Local revolts had to be
put down one after another, or a district dealt with where rebellion was
constantly renewed. The Scandinavian north and the Celtic west were the
regions not yet subdued, and the seats of future trouble. Three years
were filled with this work, and the fifteen years that follow were
comparatively undisturbed. For the moment after his return, William was
occupied with no hostilities. The Christmas of 1067 was celebrated in
London with the land at peace, Normans and English meeting together to
all appearance with cordial good-will. A native, Gospatric, was probably
at this time made Earl of Northumberland, in place of Copsi, who had been
killed, though this was an exercise of royal power in form rather than in
reality, since William's authority did not yet reach so far. A Norman,
Remigius, was made Bishop of Dorchester, in place of Wulfwig, who had
died while the king was in Normandy, and William's caution in dealing
with the matter of Church reform is shown in the fact that the new bishop
received his consecration from Stigand. It is possible also that another
heavy tax was imposed at this time.

But soon after Christmas, William felt himself obliged to take the field.
He had learned that Exeter, the rich commercial city of the south-west,
was making preparations to resist him. It was in a district where Harold
and his family had had large possessions. His mother was in the city, and
perhaps others of the family. At least some English of prominence seem to
have rallied around them. The citizens had repaired and improved their
already strong walls. They had impressed foreigners, merchants even, into
their service, and were seeking allies in other towns. William's rule had
never yet reached into that part of England, and Exeter evidently hoped
to shut him out altogether. When the king heard of these preparations, he
acted with his usual promptitude, but with no sacrifice of his diplomatic
skill. The citizens should first be made to acknowledge their intentions.
A message was sent to the city, demanding that the oath of allegiance to
himself be taken. The citizens answered that they would take no oath, and
would not admit him within the walls, but that they were willing to pay
him the customary tribute. William at once replied that he was not
accustomed to have subjects on such conditions, and at once began his
march against the city. Orderic Vitalis thought it worthy of note, that
in this army William was using Englishmen for the first time as soldiers.

When the hostile army drew near to the town, the courage of some of the
leading men failed, and they went out to seek terms of peace. They
promised to do whatever was commanded, and they gave hostages, but on
their return they found their negotiations disavowed and the city
determined to stand a siege. This lasted only eighteen days. Some decided
advantage which the Normans gained--the undermining of the walls seems
to be implied--induced the city to try again for terms. The clergy,
with their sacred books and relics, accompanied the deputation, which
obtained from the king better promises than had been hoped for. For some
reason William departed from his usual custom of severity to those who
resisted. He overlooked their evil conduct, ordered no confiscations, and
even stationed guards in the gates to keep out the soldiers who would
have helped themselves to the property of the citizens with some
violence. But as usual he selected a site for a castle within the walls,
and left a force of chosen knights under faithful command, to complete
the fortification and to form the garrison. Harold's mother, Gytha, left
the city before its surrender, and finally found a refuge in Saint Omer,
in Flanders. Harold's sons also, if they were in Exeter, made their
escape before its fall.

After subduing Exeter, William marched with his army into Cornwall, and
put down without difficulty whatever resistance he found there. The
confiscation of forfeited estates was no doubt one object of his march
through the land, and the greater part of these were bestowed upon his
own half brother, Robert, Count of Mortain, the beginning of what grew
ultimately into the great earldom of Cornwall. In all, the grants which
were made to Robert have been estimated at 797 manors, the largest made
to any one as the result of the Conquest. Of these, 248 manors were in
Cornwall, practically the whole shire; 75 in Dorset, and 49 in
Devonshire. This was almost a principality in itself, and is alone nearly
enough to disprove the policy attributed to William of scattering about
the country the great estates which he granted. So powerful a possession
was the earldom which was founded upon this grant that after a time the
policy which had been followed in Normandy, in regard to the great
counties, seemed the only wise one in this case also, and it was not
allowed to pass out of the immediate family of the king until in the
fourteenth century it was made into a provision for the king's eldest
son, as it has ever since remained. These things done, William disbanded
his army and returned to spend Easter at Winchester.

Once more for a moment the land seemed to be at peace, and William was
justified in looking upon himself as now no longer merely the leader of a
military adventure, seeking to conquer a foreign state, but as firmly
established in a land where he had made a new home for his house. He
could send for his wife; his children should be born here. It should be
the native land of future generations for his family. Matilda came soon
after Easter, with a distinguished train of ladies as well as lords, and
with her Guy, Bishop of Amiens, who, Orderic tells us, had already
written his poem on the war of William and Harold. At Whitsuntide, in
Westminster, Matilda was crowned queen by Archbishop Aldred. Later in the
summer Henry, the future King Henry I, was born, and the new royal family
had completely identified itself with the new kingdom.

But a great task still lay before the king, the greatest perhaps that he
had yet undertaken. The north was his only in name. Scarcely had any
English king up to this time exercised there the sort of authority to
which William was accustomed, and which he was determined to exercise
everywhere. The question of the hour was, whether he could establish his
authority there by degrees, as he seemed to be trying to do, or only
after a sharp conflict. The answer to this question was known very soon
after the coronation of Matilda. What seemed to the Normans a great
conspiracy of the north and west was forming. The Welsh and English
nobles were making common cause; the clergy and the common people joined
their prayers; York was noted as especially enthusiastic in the cause,
and many there took to living in tents as a kind of training for the
conflict which was coming. The Normans understood at the time that there
were two reasons for this determination to resist by force any further
extension of William's rule. One was, the personal dissatisfaction of
Earl Edwin. He had been given by William some undefined authority, and
promoted above his brother, and he had even been promised a daughter of
the king's as his wife. Clearly it had seemed at one time very necessary
to conciliate him. But either that necessity had passed away, or William
was reluctant to fulfil his promise; and Edwin, discontented with the
delay, was ready to lead what was for him at least, after he had accepted
so much from William, a rebellion. He was the natural leader of such an
attempt; his family history made him that. Personal popularity and his
wide connexions added to his strength, and if he had had in himself the
gifts of leadership, it would not have been even then too late to dispute
the possession of England on even terms. The second reason given us is
one to which we must attach much greater force than to the personal
influence of Edwin. He in all probability merely embraced an opportunity.
The other was the really moving cause. This is said to have been the
discontent of the English and Welsh nobles under the Norman oppression,
but we must phrase it a little differently. No direct oppression had as
yet been felt, either in the north or west, but the severity of William
in the south and east, the widespread confiscations there, were
undoubtedly well known, and easily read as signs of what would follow in
the north, and already the borders of Wales were threatened n with the
pushing forward of the Norman lines, which went on so steadily and for so
long a time.

Whether or not the efforts which had been making to obtain foreign help
against William were to result finally in bringing in a reinforcement of
Scots or Danes, the union of Welshmen and Englishmen was itself
formidable and demanded instant attention. Early in the summer of 1068
the army began its march upon York, advancing along a line somewhat to
the west of the centre of England, as the situation would naturally
demand. As in William's earlier marches, so here again he encountered no
resistance. Whatever may have been the extent of the conspiracy or the
plans of the leaders, the entire movement collapsed before the Norman's
firm determination to be master of the kingdom. Edwin and Morcar had
collected an army and were in the field somewhere between Warwick and
Northampton, but when the time came when the fight could no longer be
postponed, they thought better of it, besought the king's favour again,
and obtained at least the show of it. The boastful preparations at York
brought forth no better result. The citizens went out to meet the king on
his approach, and gave him the keys of the city and hostages from among

The present expedition went no further north, but its influence extended
further. Ethelwin, the Bishop of Durham came in and made his submission.
He bore inquiries also from Malcolm, the king of Scots, who had been
listening to the appeals for aid from the enemies of William, and
preparing himself to advance to their assistance. The Bishop of Durham
was sent back to let him know what assurances would be acceptable to
William, and he undoubtedly also informed him of the actual state of
affairs south of his borders, of the progress which the invader had made,
and of the hopelessness of resistance. The Normans at any rate believed
that as a result of the bishop's mission Malcolm was glad to send down an
embassy of his own which tendered to William an oath of obedience. It is
not likely that William attached much weight to any profession of the
Scottish king's. Already, probably as soon as the failure of this
northern undertaking was apparent, some of the most prominent of the
English, who seem to have taken part in it, had abandoned England and
gone to the Scottish court. It is very possible that Edgar and his two
sisters, Margaret and Christina, sought the protection of Malcolm at this
time, together with Gospatric, who had shortly before been made Earl of
Northumberland, and the sheriff Merleswegen. These men had earlier
submitted to William, Merleswegen perhaps in the submission at
Berkhampsted, with Edgar, and had been received with favour. Under what
circumstances they turned against him we do not know, but they had very
likely been attracted by the promise of strength in this effort at
resistance, and were now less inclined than the unstable Edwin to profess
so early a repentance. Margaret, whether she went to Scotland at this
time or a little later, found there a permanent home, consenting against
her will to become the bride of Malcolm instead of the bride of the
Church as she had wished. As queen she gained, through teaching her wild
subjects, by the example of gentle manners and noble life, a wider
mission than the convent could have furnished her. The conditions which
Malcolm accepted evidently contained no demand as to any English
fugitives, nor any other to which he could seriously object. William was
usually able to discern the times, and did not attempt the impracticable.

William intended this expedition of his to result in the permanent
pacification of the country through which he had passed. There is no
record of any special severity attending the march, but certainly no one
was able to infer from it that the king was weak or to be trifled with.
The important towns he secured with castles and garrisons, as he had in
the south. Warwick and Northampton were occupied in this way as he
advanced, with York at the north, and Lincoln, Huntingdon, and Cambridge
along the east as he returned. A great wedge of fortified posts was thus
driven far into that part of the land from which the greatest trouble was
to be expected, and this, together with the general impression which his
march had made, was the most which was gained from it. Sometime during
this summer of 1068 another fruitless attempt had been made to disturb
the Norman possession of England. Harold's sons had retired, perhaps
after the fall of Exeter, to Ireland, where their father had formerly
found refuge. There it was not difficult to stir up the love of
plundering raids in the descendants of the Vikings, and they returned at
this time, it is said with more than fifty ships, and sailed up the
Bristol Channel. If any among them intended a serious invasion of the
island, the result was disappointing. They laid waste the coast lands;
attacked the city of Bristol, but were beaten off by the citizens; landed
again further down in Somerset, and were defeated in a great battle by
Ednoth, who had been Harold's staller, where many were killed on both
sides, including Ednoth himself; and then returned with nothing gained
but such plunder as they succeeded in carrying off. The next year they
repeated the attempt in the same style, and were again defeated, even
more disastrously, this time by one of the newcomers, Brian of Britanny.
Such piratical descents were not dangerous to the Norman government, nor
was a rally to beat them off any test of English loyalty to William.

Even the historian, Orderic Vitalis, half English by descent and wholly
so by birth, but writing in Normandy for Normans and very favourable to
William, or possibly the even more Norman William of Poitiers, whom he
may have been following, was moved by the sufferings of the land under
these repeated invasions, revolts, and harryings, and notes at the close
of his account of this year how conquerors and conquered alike were
involved in the evils of war, famine, and pestilence. He adds that the
king, seeing the injuries which were inflicted on the country, gathered
together the soldiers who were serving him for pay, and sent them home
with rich rewards. We may regard this disbanding of his mercenary troops
as another sign that William considered his position secure.

In truth, however, the year which was coming on, 1069, was another year
of crisis in the history of the Conquest. The danger which had been
threatening William from the beginning was this year to descend upon him,
and to prove as unreal as all those he had faced since the great battle
with Harold. For a long time efforts had been making to induce some
foreign power to interfere in England and support the cause of the
English against the invader. Two states seemed especially fitted for the
mission, from close relationship with England in the past,--Scotland and
Denmark. Fugitives, who preferred exile to submission, had early sought
the one or the other of these courts, and urged intervention upon their
kings. Scotland had for the moment formally accepted the Conquest.
Denmark had not done so, and Denmark was the more directly interested in
the result, not perhaps as a mere question of the independence of
England, but for other possible reasons. If England was to be ruled by a
foreign king, should not that king on historical grounds be a Dane rather
than a Norman? Ought he not to be of the land that had already furnished
kings to England? And if Sweyn dreamed of the possibility of extending
his rule, at such a time, over this other member of the empire of his
uncle, Canute the Great, he is certainly not to be blamed.

It is true that the best moment for such an intervention had been allowed
to slip by, the time when no beginning of conquest had been made in the
north, but the situation was not even yet unfavourable. William was to
learn, when the new year had hardly begun, that he really held no more of
the north than his garrisons commanded. Perhaps it was a rash attempt to
try to establish a Norman earl of Northumberland in Durham before the
land had been overawed by his own presence; but the post was important,
the two experiments which had been made to secure the country through the
appointment of English earls had failed, and the submission of the
previous summer might prove to be real. In January Robert of Comines was
made earl, and with rash confidence, against the advice of the bishop, he
took possession of Durham with five hundred men or more. He expected, no
doubt, to be very soon behind the walls of a new castle, but he was
allowed no time. The very night of his arrival the enemy gathered and
massacred him and all his men but two. Yorkshire took courage at this and
cut up a Norman detachment. Then the exiles in Scotland believed the time
had come for another attempt, and Edgar, Gospatric, and the others, with
the men of Northumberland at their back, advanced to attack the castle in
York. This put all the work of the previous summer in danger, and at the
call of William Malet, who held the castle for him, the king advanced
rapidly to his aid, fell unexpectedly on the insurgents, and scattered
them with great slaughter. As a result the Norman hold on York was
tightened by the building of a second castle, but Northumberland was
still left to itself.

William may have thought, as he returned to celebrate Easter at
Winchester, that the north had learned a lesson that would be sufficient
for some time, but he must have heard soon after his arrival that the men
of Yorkshire had again attacked his castles, though they had been beaten
off without much difficulty. Nothing had been gained by any of these
attempts, but they must have been indications to any abroad who were
watching the situation, and to William as well, that an invasion of
England in that quarter might hope for much local assistance. It was
nearly the end of the summer before it came, and a summer that was on the
whole quiet, disturbed only by the second raid of Harold's sons in the
Bristol Channel.

Sweyn of Denmark had at last made up his mind, and had got ready an
expedition, a somewhat miscellaneous force apparently, "sharked up" from
all the Baltic lands, and not too numerous. His fleet sailed along the
shores of the North Sea and first appeared off south-western England. A
foolish attack on Dover was beaten off, and three other attempts to land
on the east coast, where the country was securely held, were easily
defeated. Finally, it would seem, off the Humber they fell in with some
ships bearing the English leaders from Scotland, who had been waiting for
them. There they landed and marched upon York, joined on the way by the
men of the country of all ranks. And the mere news of their approach, the
prospect of new horrors to be lived through with no chance of mitigating
them, proved too much for the old archbishop, Aldred, and he died a few
days before the storm broke. William was hunting in the forest of Dean,
on the southern borders of Wales, when he heard that the invaders had
landed, but his over-confident garrison in York reported that they could
hold out for a year without aid, and he left them for the present to
themselves. They planned to stand a siege, and in clearing a space about
the castle they kindled a fire which destroyed the most of the city,
including the cathedral church; but when the enemy appeared, they tried a
battle in the open, and were killed or captured to a man.

The fall of York gave a serious aspect to the case, and called for
William's presence. Soon after the capture of the city the Danes had gone
back to the Humber, to the upper end of the estuary apparently, and there
they succeeded in avoiding attack by crossing one river or another as the
army of the king approached. In the meantime, in various places along the
west of England, insurrections had broken out, encouraged probably by
exaggerated reports of the successes of the rebels in the north. Only one
of these, that in Staffordshire, required any attention from William, and
in this case we do not know why. In all the other cases, in Devon, in
Somerset, and at Shrewsbury, where the Welsh helped in the attack on the
Norman castle, the garrisons and men of the locality unassisted, or
assisted only by the forces of their neighbours, had defended themselves
with success. If the Danish invasion be regarded as a test of the
security of the Conquest in those parts of England which the Normans had
really occupied, then certainly it must be regarded as complete.

Prom the west William returned to the north with little delay, and
occupied York without opposition. Then followed the one act of the
Conquest which is condemned by friend and foe alike. When William had
first learned of the fate of his castles in York, he had burst out into
ungovernable rage, and the mood had not passed away. He was determined to
exact an awful vengeance for the repeated defiance of his power. War in
its mildest form in those days was little regulated by any consideration
for the conquered. From the point of view of a passionate soldier there
was some provocation in this case. Norman garrisons had been massacred;
detached parties had been cut off; repeated rebellion had followed every
pacification. Plainly a danger existed here, grave in itself and inviting
greater danger from abroad. Policy might dictate measures of unusual
severity, but policy did not call for what was done, and clearly in this
case the Conqueror gave way to a passion of rage which he usually held in
check, and inflicted on the stubborn province a punishment which the
standard of his own time did not justify.

Slowly he passed with his army through the country to the north of York,
drawing a broad band of desolation between that city and Durham.
Fugitives he sought out and put to the sword, but even so he was not
satisfied. Innocent and guilty were involved in indiscriminate slaughter.
Houses were destroyed, flocks and herds exterminated. Supplies of food
and farm implements were heaped together and burned. With deliberate
purpose, cruelly carried out, it was made impossible for men to live
through a thousand square miles. Years afterwards the country was still a
desert; it was generations before it had fully recovered. The Norman
writer, Orderic Vitalis, perhaps following the king's chaplain and
panegyrist William of Poitiers, while he confesses here that he gladly
praised the king when he could, had only condemnation for this deed. He
believed that William, responsible to no earthly tribunal, must one day
answer for it to an infinite Judge before whom high and low are alike

Christmas was near at hand when William had finished this business, and
he celebrated at York the nativity of the Prince of Peace, doubtless with
no suspicion of inconsistency. Soon after Christmas, by a short but
difficult expedition, William drove the Danes from a position on the
coast which they had believed impregnable, and forced them to take to
their ships, in which, after suffering greatly from lack of supplies,
they drifted southward as if abandoning the land. During this expedition
also, we are told, Gospatric, who had rebelled the year before, and
Waltheof who had "gone out" on the coming of the Danes, made renewed
submission and were again received into favour by the king. The hopes
which the coming of foreign assistance had awakened were at an end.

One thing remained to be done. The men of the Welsh border must be taught
the lesson which the men of the Scottish border had learned. The
insurrection which had called William into Staffordshire the previous
autumn seems still to have lingered in the region. The strong city of
Chester, from which, or from whose neighbourhood at least, men had joined
the attack on Shrewsbury, and which commanded the north-eastern parts of
Wales, was still unsubdued. Soon after his return from the coast William
determined upon a longer and still more difficult winter march, across
the width of England, from York to Chester. It is no wonder that his army
murmured and some at least asked to be dismissed. The country through
which they must pass was still largely wilderness. Hills and forests,
swollen streams and winter storms, must be encountered, and the strife
with them was a test of endurance without the joy of combat. One
expedition of the sort in a winter ought to be enough. But William
treated the objectors with contempt. He pushed on as he had planned,
leaving those to stay behind who would, and but few were ready for open
mutiny. The hazardous march was made with success. What remained of the
insurrection disappeared before the coming of the king; it has left to us
at least no traces of any resistance. Chester was occupied without
opposition. Fortified posts were established and garrisons left there and
at Stafford. Some things make us suspect that a large district on this
side of England was treated as northern Yorkshire had been, and homeless
fugitives in crowds driven forth to die of hunger. The patience which
pardoned the faithlessness of Edwin and Waltheof was not called for in
dealing with smaller men.

From Chester William turned south. At Salisbury he dismissed with rich
rewards the soldiers who had been faithful to him, and at Winchester he
celebrated the Easter feast. There he found three legates who had been
sent from the pope, and supported by their presence he at last took up
the affairs of the English Church. The king had shown the greatest
caution in dealing with this matter. It must have been understood, almost
if not quite from the beginning of the Norman plan of invasion, that if
the attempt were successful, one of its results should be the revolution
of the English Church, the reform of the abuses which existed in it,
as the continental churchman regarded them, and as indeed they were.
During the past century a great reform movement, emanating from the
monastery of Cluny, had transformed the Catholic world, but in this
England had but little part. Starting as a monastic reformation, it
had just succeeded in bringing the whole Church under monastic control.
Henceforth the asceticism of the monk, his ideals in religion and
worship, his type of thought and learning, were to be those of the
official Church, from the papal throne to the country parsonage. It
was for that age a true reformation. The combined influence of the two
great temptations to which the churchmen of this period of the Middle
Ages were exposed--ignorance so easy to yield to, so hard to overcome,
and property, carrying with it rank and power and opening the way to
ambition for oneself or one's posterity--was so great that a rule of
strict asceticism, enforced by a powerful organization with fearful
sanctions, and a controlling ideal of personal devotion, alone could
overcome it. The monastic reformation had furnished these conditions,
though severe conflicts were still to be fought out before they would
be made to prevail in every part of western Europe. Shortly before the
appointment of Stigand to the archbishopric of Canterbury, these new
ideas had obtained possession of the papal throne in the person of Leo
IX, and with them other ideas which had become closely and almost
necessarily associated with them, of strict centralization under the
pope, of a theocratic papal supremacy, in line certainly with the
history of the Church, but more self-consciously held and logically
worked out than ever before.

In this great movement England had had no permanent share. Cut off from
easy contact with the currents of continental thought, not merely by the
channel but by the lack of any common interests and natural incentives to
common life, it stood in an earlier stage of development in
ecclesiastical matters, as in legal and constitutional. In organization,
in learning, and in conduct, ecclesiastical England at the eve of the
Norman Conquest may be compared not unfairly to ecclesiastical Europe of
the tenth century. There was the same loosening of the bonds of a common
organization, the same tendency to separate into local units shut up to
interest in themselves alone. National councils had practically ceased to
meet. The legislative machinery of the Church threatened to disappear in
that of the State. An outside body, the witenagemot, seemed about to
acquire the right of imposing rules and regulations upon the Church, and
another outside power, the king, to acquire the right of appointing its
officers. Quite as important in the eyes of the Church as the lack of
legislative independence was the lack of judicial independence, which was
also a defect of the English Church. The law of the Church as it bore
upon the life of the citizen was declared and enforced in the hundred or
shire court, and bishop and ealdorman sat together in the latter. Only
over the ecclesiastical faults of his clergy did the bishop have
exclusive jurisdiction, and this was probably a jurisdiction less well
developed than on the continent. The power of the primate over his
suffragans and of the bishop within his diocese was ill defined and
vague, and questions of disputed authority or doubtful allegiance
lingered long without exact decision, perhaps from lack of interest,
perhaps from want of the means of decision.

In learning, the condition was even worse. The cloister schools had
undergone a marked decline since the great days of Theodore and Alcuin.
Not merely were the parish priests ignorant men, but even bishops and
abbots. The universal language of learning and faith was neglected, and
in England alone, of all countries, theological books were written in the
local tongue, a sure sign of isolation and of the lack of interest in the
common philosophical life of the world. In moral conduct, while the
English clergy could not be held guilty of serious breaches of the
general ethical code, they were far from coming up to the special
standard which the canon law imposed upon the clergy, and which the
monastic reformation was making the inflexible law of the time. Married
priests abounded; there were said to be even married bishops. Simony was
not infrequent. Every churchman of high rank was likely to be a
pluralist, holding bishoprics and abbacies together, like Stigand, who
held with the primacy the bishopric of Winchester and many abbeys. That
such a man as Stigand, holding every ecclesiastical office that he could
manage to keep, depriving monasteries of their landed endowments with no
more right than the baron after him, refused recognition by every legally
elected pope, and thought unworthy to crown a king, or even in most cases
to consecrate a bishop, should have held his place for so many years as
unquestioned primate in all but the most important functions, is evidence
enough that the English Church had not yet been brought under the
influence of the great religious reformation of the eleventh century.

This was the chief defect of the England of that time--a defect upon all
sides of its life, which the Conquest remedied. It was an isolated land.
It stood in danger of becoming a Scandinavian land, not in blood merely,
or in absorption in an actual Scandinavian empire, but in withdrawal from
the real world, and in that tardy, almost reluctant, civilization which
was possibly a necessity for Scandinavia proper, but which would have
been for England a falling back from higher levels. It was the mission of
the Norman Conquest--if we may speak of a mission for great historical
events--to deliver England from this danger, and to bring her into the
full current of the active and progressive life of Christendom.

It was more than three years after the coronation of William before the
time was come for a thorough overhauling of the Church. So far as we
know, William, up to that time, had given no sign of his intentions. The
early adhesion of Stigand had been welcomed. The Normans seem to have
believed that he enjoyed great consideration and influence among the
Saxons, and he had been left undisturbed. He had even been allowed to
consecrate the new Norman bishop of Dorchester, which looks like an act
of deliberate policy. It had not seemed wise to alarm the Church so long
as the military issue of the invasion could be considered in any sense
doubtful, and not until the changes could be made with the powerful
support of the head of the Church directly expressed. It is a natural
guess, though we have no means of knowing, that Lanfranc's mission to
Rome in 1067 had been to discuss this matter with the Roman authorities,
quite as much as to get the pallium for the new Archbishop of Rouen. Now
the time had come for action.

Three legates of the pope were at Winchester, and there a council was
summoned to meet them. Two of the legates were cardinals, then a
relatively less exalted rank in the Church than later, but making plain
the direct support of the pope. The other was Ermenfrid, Bishop of Sion,
or Sitten, in what is now the Swiss canton of the Vallais. He had already
been in England eight years earlier as a papal legate, and he would bring
to this council ideas derived from local observation, as well as tried
diplomatic skill. Before the council met, the papal sanction of the
Conquest was publicly proclaimed, when the cardinal legates placed the
crown on the king's head at the Easter festival. On the octave of Easter,
in 1070, the council met. Its first business was to deal with the case of
Stigand. Something like a trial seems to have been held, but its result
could never have been in doubt. He was deprived of the archbishopric,
and, with that, of his other preferments, on three grounds: he had held
Winchester along with the primacy; he had held the primacy while Robert
was still the rightful archbishop according to the laws of the Church;
and he had obtained his pallium and his only recognition from the
antipope Benedict X. His brother, the Bishop of Elmham, was also deposed,
and some abbots at the same time.

An English chronicler of a little later date, Florence of Worcester,
doubtless representing the opinion of those contemporaries who were
unfavourable to the Normans, believed that for many of these depositions
there were no canonical grounds, but that they were due to the king's
desire to have the help of the Church in holding and pacifying his new
kingdom. We may admit the motive and its probable influence on the acts
of the time, without overlooking the fact that there would be likely to
be an honest difference in the interpretation of canonical rights and
wrongs on the Norman and the English sides, and that the Normans were
more likely to be right according to the prevailing standard of the
Church. The same chronicler gives us interesting evidence of the
contemporary native feeling about this council, and the way the rights of
the English were likely to be treated by it, in recording the fact that
it was thought to be a bold thing for the English bishop Wulfstan, of
Worcester, to demand his rights in certain lands which Aldred had kept in
his possession when he was transferred from the see of Worcester to the
archbishopric of York. The case was postponed, until there should be an
archbishop of York to defend the rights of his Church, but the brave
bishop had nothing to lose by his boldness. The treatment of the Church
throughout his reign is evidence of William's desire to act according to
established law, though it is also evidence of his ruling belief that the
new law was superior to the old, if ever a conflict arose between them.

Shortly after, at Whitsuntide, another council met at Windsor, and
continued the work. The cardinals had returned to Rome, but Ermenfrid was
still present. Further vacancies were made in the English Church in the
same way as by the previous council--by the end of the year only two, or
at most three, English bishops remained in office--but the main business
at this time was to fill vacancies. A new Archbishop of York, Thomas,
Canon of Bayeux, was appointed, and three bishops, Winchester, Selsey,
and Elmham, all of these from the royal chapel. But the most important
appointment of the time was that of Lanfranc, Abbot of St. Stephen's at
Caen, to be Archbishop of Canterbury. With evident reluctance he accepted
this responsible office, in which his work was destined to be almost as
important in the history of England as William's own. Two papal legates
crossing from England, Ermenfrid and a new one named Hubert, a synod of
the Norman clergy, Queen Matilda, and her son Robert, all urged him to
accept, and he yielded to their solicitation.

Lanfranc was at this time sixty-five years of age. An Italian by birth,
he had made good use of the advantages which the schools of that land
offered to laymen, but on the death of his father, while still a young
man, he had abandoned the path of worldly promotion which lay open before
him in the profession of the law, in which he had followed his father,
and had gone to France to teach and finally to become a monk. By 1045 he
was prior of the abbey of Bec, and within a few years he was famous
throughout the whole Church as one of its ablest theologians. In the
controversy with Berengar of Tours, on the nature of the Eucharist, he
had argued with great skill in favour of transubstantiation. Still more
important was the fact that his abilities and ideas were known to
William, who had long relied upon his counsel in the government of the
duchy, and that entire harmony of action was possible between them. He
has been called William's "one friend," and while this perhaps unduly
limits the number of the king's friends, he was, in the greatest affairs
of his reign, his firm supporter and wise counsellor.

From the moment of his consecration, on August 29, 1070, the reformation
of the English Church went steadily on, until it was as completely
accomplished as was possible. The first question to be settled was perhaps
the most important of all, the question of unity of national organization.
The new Archbishop of York refused Lanfranc's demand that he should take
the oath of obedience to Canterbury, and asserted his independence and
coordinate position, and laid claim to three bordering bishoprics as
belonging to his metropolitan see,--Worcester, Lichfield, and Dorchester.
The dispute was referred to the king, who arranged a temporary compromise
in favour of Lanfranc, and then carried to the pope, by whom it was again
referred back to be decided by a council in England. This decision was
reached at a council in Windsor at Whitsuntide in 1072, and was in favour
of Lanfranc on all points, though it seems certain that the victory was
obtained by an extensive series of forgeries of which the archbishop
himself was probably the author.[4] It must be added, however, that the
moral judgment of that age did not regard as ours does such forgeries in
the interest of one's Church. If the decision was understood at the time
to mean that henceforth all archbishops of York should promise canonical
obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury, it did not permanently secure
that result. But the real point at issue in this dispute, at least for the
time being, was no mere matter of rank or precedence; it was as necessary
to the plans of Lanfranc and of the Church that his authority should be
recognized throughout the whole kingdom as it was to those of William. Nor
was the question without possible political significance. The political
independence of the north--still uncertain in its allegiance--would be far
easier to establish if it was, to begin with, ecclesiastically

Hardly less important than the settlement of this matter was the
establishment of the legislative independence of the Church. From the two
legatine councils of 1070, at Winchester and Windsor, a series begins of
great national synods, meeting at intervals to the end of the reign.
Complete divorce from the State was not at first possible. The council
was held at a meeting of the court, and was summoned by the king. He was
present at the sessions, as were also lay magnates of the realm, but the
questions proper to the council were discussed and decided by the
churchmen alone, and were promulgated by the Church as its own laws. This
was real legislative independence, even if the form of it was somewhat
defective, and before very long, as the result of this beginning, the
form came to correspond to the reality, and the process became as
independent as the conclusion.

William's famous ordinance separating the spiritual and temporal courts
decreed another extensive change necessary to complete the independence
of the Church in its legal interests. The date of this edict is not
certain, but it would seem from such evidence as we have to have been
issued not very long after the meeting of the councils of 1070. It
withdrew from the local popular courts, the courts of the hundred, all
future enforcement of the ecclesiastical laws, subjected all offenders
against these laws to trial in the bishop's court, and promised the
support of the temporal authorities to the processes and decisions of the
Church courts. This abolishing by edict of so important a prerogative of
the old local courts, and annulling of so large a part of the old law,
was the most violent and serious innovation made by the Conqueror in the
Saxon judicial system; but it was fully justified, not merely by the more
highly developed law which came into use as a result of the change, but
by the necessity of a stricter enforcement of that law than would ever be
possible through popular courts.

With these more striking changes went others, less revolutionary but
equally necessary to complete the new ecclesiastical system. The Saxon
bishops had many of them had their seats in unimportant places in their
dioceses, tending to degrade the dignity almost to the level of a rural
bishopric. The Norman prelates by degrees removed the sees to the chief
towns, changing the names with the change of place. Dorchester was
removed to Lincoln, Selsey to Chichester, Sherborne to Old Sarum, and
Elmham by two removes to Norwich. The new cities were the centres of life
and influence, and they were more suitable residences for barons of the
king, as the Norman bishops were. The inner organization of these
bishoprics was also improved. Cathedral chapters were reformed; in
Rochester and Durham secular canons were replaced by monastic clergy
under a more strict regime. New offices of law and administration were
introduced. The country priests were brought under strict control, and
earnest attempts were made to compel them to follow more closely the
disciplinary requirements of the Church.

The monastic system as it existed at the time of the Conquest underwent
the same reformation as the more secular side of the Church organization.
It was indeed regarded by the new ecclesiastical rulers as the source of
the Church's strength and the centre of its life. English abbots were
replaced by Norman, and the new abbots introduced a better discipline and
improvement in the ritual. The rule was more strictly enforced. Worship,
labour, and study became the constant occupations of the monks. Speedily
the institution won a new influence in the life of the nation. The number
of monks grew rapidly; new monasteries were everywhere established, of
which the best remembered, the Conqueror's abbey of Battle, with the high
altar of its church standing where Harold's standard had stood in the
memorable fight, is only an example. Many of these new foundations were
daughter-houses of great French monasteries, and it is a significant fact
that by the end of the reign of William's son Henry, Cluny, the source of
this monastic reformation for the world, had sent seventeen colonies into
England. Wealth poured into these establishments from the gifts of king
and barons and common men alike. Their buildings grew in number and in
magnificence, and the poor and suffering of the realm received their
share in the new order of things, through a wider and better organized

With this new monastic life began a new era of learning. Schools were
everywhere founded or renewed. The universal language of Christendom took
once more its proper place as the literary language of the cloister,
although the use of English lingered for a time here and there. England
caught at last the theological eagerness of the continent in the age when
the stimulus of the new dialectic method was beginning to be felt, and soon
demanded to be heard in the settlement of the problems of the thinking
world. Lanfranc continued to write as Archbishop of Canterbury.[5] Even
something that may be called a literary spirit in an age of general
barrenness was awakened. Poems were produced not unworthy of mention, and
the generation of William's sons was not finished when such histories had
been written as those of Eadmer and William of Malmesbury, superior in
conception and execution to anything produced in England since the days of
Bede. In another way the stimulus of these new influences showed itself in
an age of building, and by degrees the land was covered with those vast
monastic and cathedral churches which still excite our admiration and
reveal to us the fact that the narrow minds of what we were once pleased to
call the dark ages were capable, in one direction at least, of great and
lofty conceptions. Norman ideals of massive strength speak to us as clearly
from the arches of Winchester or the piers of Gloucester as from the firm
hand and stern rule of William or Henry.

In general the Conquest incorporated England closely, as has already been
said, with that organic whole of life and achievement which we call
Christendom. This was not more true of the ecclesiastical side of things
than of the political or constitutional. But the Church of the eleventh
century included within itself relatively many more than the Church of
to-day of those activities which quickly respond to a new stimulus and
reveal a new life by increased production. The constitutional changes
involved in the Conquest, and directly traceable to it through a long
line of descent, though more slowly realized and for long in less
striking forms, were in truth destined to produce results of greater
permanence and a wider influence. The final result of the Norman Conquest
was a constitutional creation, new in the history of the world. Nothing
like this followed in the sphere of the Church. But for a generation or
two the abundant vigour which flowed through the renewed religious life
of Europe, and the radical changes which were necessary to bring England
into full harmony with it, made the ecclesiastical revolution seem the
most impressive and the most violent of the changes which took place in
this age in English public organization and life. If we may trust a later
chronicler, whose record is well supported by independent and earlier
evidence, in the same year in which these legatine councils met, and in
which the reformation of the Church was begun, there was introduced an
innovation, so far as the Saxon Church is concerned, which would have
seemed to the leaders of the reform party hostile to their cause had they
not been so familiar with it elsewhere, or had they been conscious of the
full meaning of their own demands. Matthew Paris, in the thirteenth
century, records that, in 1070, the king decreed that all bishoprics and
abbacies which were holding baronies, and which heretofore had been free
from all secular obligations, should be liable to military service; and
caused to be enrolled, according to his own will, the number of knights
which should be due from each in time of war. Even if this statement were
without support, it would be intrinsically probable at this or some near
date. The endowment lands of bishopric and abbey, or rather a part of
these lands in each case, would inevitably be regarded as a fief held of
the crown, and as such liable to the regular feudal services. This was
the case in every feudal land, and no one would suppose that there should
be any exception in England. The amount of the service was arbitrarily
fixed by the king in these ecclesiastical baronies, just as it was in the
lay fiefs. The fact was important enough to attract the notice of the
chroniclers because the military service, regulated in this way, would
seem to be more of an innovation than the other services by which the
fief was held, like the court service, for example, though it was not so
in reality.

This transformation in life and culture was wrought in the English Church
with the full sanction and support of the king. In Normandy, as well as in
England, was this the case. The plans of the reform party had been carried
out more fully in some particulars in these lands than the Church alone
would have attempted at the time, because they had convinced the judgment
of the sovereign and won his favour. At every step of the process where
there was need, the power of the State had been at the command of the
Church, to remove abuses or to secure the introduction of reforms. But
with the theocratic ideas which went with these reforms in the teaching of
the Church William had no sympathy. The leaders of the reformation might
hold to the ideal supremacy of pope over king, and to the superior mission
and higher power of the Church as compared with the State, but there could
be no practical realization of these theories in any Norman land so long
as the Conqueror lived. In no part of Europe had the sovereign exercised
a greater or more direct power over the Church than in Normandy. All
departments of its life were subject to his control, if there was reason
to exert it. This had been true for so long a time that the Church was
accustomed to the situation and accepted it without complaint. This power
William had no intention of yielding. He proposed to exercise it in
England as he had in Normandy,[6] and, even in this age of fierce conflict
with its great temporal rival, the emperor, the papacy made no sharply
drawn issue with him on these points. There could be no question of the
headship of the world in his case, and on the vital moral point he was too
nearly in harmony with the Church to make an issue easy. On the importance
of obeying the monastic rule, the celibacy of the clergy, and the purchase
of ecclesiastical office, he agreed in theory with the disciples of
Cluny.[7] But, if he would not sell a bishopric, he was determined that
the bishop should be his man; he stood ready to increase the power and
independence of the Church, but always as an organ of the State, as a part
of the machine through which the government was carried on.

It is quite within the limits of possibility that, in his negotiations
with Rome before his invasion of England, William may have given the pope
to understand, in some indefinite and informal way, that if he won the
kingdom, he would hold it of St. Peter. In accepting the consecrated
banner which the pope sent him, he could hardly fail to know that he
might be understood to be acknowledging a feudal dependence. When the
kingdom was won, however, he found himself unwilling to carry out such an
arrangement, whether tacitly or openly promised. To Gregory VII's demand
for his fealty he returned a respectful but firm refusal. The sovereignty
of England was not to be diminished; he would hold the kingdom as freely
as his predecessors had done. Peter's pence, which it belonged of right
to England to pay, should be regularly collected and sent to Rome, but no
right of rule, even theoretical, over king or kingdom, could be allowed
the pope.

An ecclesiastical historian whose childhood and early youth fell in
William's reign, and who was deeply impressed with the strong control
under which he held the Church, has recorded three rules to govern the
relation between Church and State, which he says were established by
William.[8] These are: 1, that no one should be recognized as pope in
England except at his command, nor any papal letters received without his
permission; 2, that no acts of the national councils should be binding
without his sanction; 3, that none of his barons or servants should be
excommunicated, even for crimes committed, without his consent. Whether
these were consciously formulated rules or merely generalizations from his
conduct, they state correctly the principles of his action, and exhibit
clearly in one most important sphere the unlimited power established by
the Norman Conquest.

To this year, 1070, in which was begun the reformation of the Church,
was assigned at a later time another work of constitutional interest.
The unofficial compiler of a code of laws, the Leges Edwardi, written
in the reign of Henry I, and drawn largely from the legislation of the
Saxon kings, ascribed his work, after a fashion not unusual with
writers of his kind, to the official act of an earlier king. He relates
that a great national inquest was ordered by King William in this year,
to ascertain and establish the laws of the English. Each county elected
a jury of twelve men, who knew the laws, and these juries coming
together in the presence of the king declared on oath what were the
legal customs of the land. So runs the preface of the code which was
given out as compiled from this testimony. Such a plan and procedure
would not be out of harmony with what we know of William's methods
and policy. The machinery of the jury, which was said to be employed,
was certainly introduced into England by the first Norman king, and
was used by him for the establishment of facts, both in national
undertakings like the Domesday Book and very probably in local cases
arising in the courts. We know also that he desired to leave the old
laws undisturbed so far as possible, and the year 1070 is one in which
an effort to define and settle the future legal code of the state would
naturally fall. But the story must be rejected as unhistorical. An
event of such importance as this inquisition must have been, if it
took place, could hardly have occurred without leaving its traces in
contemporary records of some sort, and an official code of this kind
would have produced results in the history of English law of which we
find no evidence. The Saxon law and the machinery of the local courts
did survive the Conquest with little change, but no effort was made to
reduce the customs of the land to systematic and written form until a
later time, until a time indeed when the old law was beginning to give
place to the new.

[4] See H. Bohmer, Die Falschungen Erzbischof Lanfranks van Canterbury
(Leipzig, 1902).

[5] Böhmer, Kirche und Staat in England und in der Normandie,
pp. 103-106.

[6] Eadmer, Historia Novorum, p. 9.

[7] Böhmer, Kirche und Staat, pp. 126 ff.

[8] Eadmer, Hist. Nov., p. 10.



Political events had not waited for the reformation of the Church, and
long before these reforms were completed, England had become a thoroughly
settled state under the new king. The beginning of the year 1070 is a
turning-point in the reign of William. The necessity for fighting was not
over, but from this date onwards there was no more fighting for the
actual possession of the land. The irreconcilables had still to be dealt
with; in one small locality they retained even yet some resisting power;
the danger of foreign invasion had again to be met: but not for one
moment after William's return from the devastation of the north and west
was there even the remotest possibility of undoing the Conquest.

The Danes had withdrawn from the region of the Humber, but they had not
left the country. In the Isle of Ely, then more nearly an actual island
than in modern times, was a bit of unsubdued England, and there they
landed for a time. In this position, surrounded by fens and interlacing
rivers, accessible at only a few points, occurred the last resistance
which gave the Normans any trouble. The rich mythology which found its
starting-point in this resistance, and especially in its leader,
Hereward, we no longer mistake for history; but we should not forget that
it embodies the popular attitude towards those who stubbornly resisted
the Norman, as it was handed on by tradition, and that it reveals almost
pathetically the dearth of heroic material in an age which should have
produced it in abundance. Hereward was a tenant in a small way of the
abbey of Peterborough. What led him into such a determined revolt we do
not know, unless he was among those who were induced to join the Danes
after their arrival, in the belief that their invasion would be
successful. Nor do we know what collected in the Isle of Ely a band of
men whom the Peterborough chronicler was probably not wrong, from any
point of view, in calling outlaws. A force of desperate men could hope to
maintain themselves for some time in the Isle of Ely; they could not hope
for anything more than this. The coming of the Danes added little real
strength, though the country about believed for the moment, as it had
done north of the Humber, that the tide had turned. The first act of the
allies was the plunder and destruction of the abbey and town of
Peterborough shortly after the meeting of the council of Windsor. The
English abbot Brand had died the previous autumn, and William had
appointed in his place a Norman, Turold, distinguished as a good fighter
and a hard ruler. These qualities had led the king to select him for this
special post, and the plundering of the abbey, so far as it was not mere
marauding, looks like an answering act of spite. The Danes seem to have
been disposed at first to hold Peterborough, but Turold must have brought
them proposals of peace from William, which induced them to withdraw at
last from England with the secure possession of their plunder.

Hereward and his men accomplished nothing more that year, but others
gradually gathered in to them, including some men of note. Edwin and
Morcar had once more changed sides, or had fled from William's court to
escape some danger there. Edwin had been killed in trying to make his way
through to Scotland, but Morcar had joined the refugees in Ely. Bishop
Ethelwin of Durham was also there, and a northern thane, Siward Barn. In
1074 William advanced in person against the "camp of refuge." A fleet was
sent to blockade one side while the army attacked from the other. It was
found necessary to build a long causeway for the approach of the army and
around this work the fiercest fighting occurred; but its building could
not be stopped, and just as it was finished the defenders of the Isle
surrendered. The leaders were imprisoned, Morcar in Normandy for the rest
of William's reign. The common men were mutilated and released. Hereward
escaped to sea, but probably afterwards submitted to William and received
his favour. Edric the Wild, who had long remained unsubdued on the Welsh
borders, had also yielded before the surrender of the Isle of Ely, and
the last resistance that can be called in any sense organized was at an

The comparatively easy pacification of the land, the early submission to
their fate of so strong a nation, was in no small degree aided by the
completeness with which the country was already occupied by Norman
colonies, if we may call them so. Probably before the surrender of Ely
every important town was under the immediate supervision of some Norman
baron, with a force of his own. In all the strategically important places
fortified posts had been built and regular garrisons stationed. Even the
country districts had to a large extent been occupied in a similar way.
It is hardly probable that as late as 1072 any considerable area in
England had escaped extensive confiscations. Everywhere the Norman had
appeared to take possession of his fief, to establish new tenants, or to
bring the old ones into new relations with himself, to arrange for the
administration of his manors, and to leave behind him the agents who were
responsible to himself for the good conduct of affairs. If he made but
little change in the economic organization of his property, and disturbed
the labouring class but slightly or not at all, he would give to a wide
district a vivid impression of the strength of the new order and of the
hopelessness of any resistance.

Already Norman families, who were to make so much of the history of the
coming centuries, were rooted in the land. Montfort and Mortimer; Percy,
Beauchamp, and Mowbray; Ferrets and Lacy; Beaumont, Mandeville, and
Grantmesnil; Clare, Bigod, and Bohun; and many others of equal or nearly
equal name. All these were as yet of no higher than baronial rank, but if
we could trust the chroniclers, we should be able to make out in addition
a considerable list of earldoms which William had established by this
date or soon afterwards, in many parts of England, and in these were
other great names. According to this evidence, his two half brothers, the
children of his mother by her marriage with Herlwin de Conteville, had
been most richly provided for: Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, as Earl of Kent,
and Robert, Count of Mortain, with a princely domain in the south-west as
Earl of Cornwall. One of the earliest to be made an earl was his old
friend and the son of his guardian, William Fitz Osbern, who had been
created Earl of Hereford; he was now dead and was succeeded by his son
Roger, soon very justly to lose title and land. Shrewsbury was held by
Roger of Montgomery; Chester by Hugh of Avranches, the second earl;
Surrey by William of Warenne; Berkshire by Walter Giffard. Alan Rufus of
Britanny was Earl of Richmondshire; Odo of Champagne, Earl of Holderness;
and Ralph of Guader, who was to share in the downfall of Roger Fitz
Osbern, Earl of Norfolk. One Englishman, who with much less justice was
to be involved in the fate which rightly befell these two Norman earls,
was also earl at this time, Watheof, who had lately succeeded Gospatric
in the troubled earldom of Northumberland, and who also held the earldoms
of Northampton and Huntingdon. These men certainly held important
lordships in the districts named, but whether so many earldoms, in form
and law, had really been established by the Conqueror at this date, or
were established by him at any later time, is exceedingly doubtful. The
evidence of the chroniclers is easily shown to be untrustworthy in the
matter of titles, and the more satisfactory evidence which we obtain from
charters and the Domesday Book does not justify this extensive list.
But the historian does not find it possible to decide with confidence in
every individual case. Of the earldoms of this list it is nearly certain
that we must drop out those of Cornwall, Holderness, Surrey, Berkshire,
and Richmond, and almost or quite certain that we may allow to stand
those of Waltheof and William Fitz Osbern, of Kent, Chester, and

Independently of the question of evidence, it is difficult to see what
there was in the general situation in England which could have led the
Conqueror to so wide a departure from the established practice of the
Norman dukes as the creation of so many earls would be. In Normandy the
title of count was practically unknown outside the ducal family. The
feudal count as found in other French provinces, the sovereign of a
little principality as independent of the feudal holder of the province
as he himself was of the king, did not exist there. The four lordships
which bore the title of count, Talou or Arques, Eu, Evreux, and Mortain,
were reserved for younger branches of the ducal house, and carried with
them no sovereign rights. The tradition of the Saxon earldom undoubtedly
exercised by degrees a great influence on the royal practice in England,
and by the middle of the twelfth century earls existed in considerable
numbers; but the lack of conclusive evidence for the existence of many
under William probably reflects the fact of his few creations. But in the
cases which we can certainly trace to William, it was not the old Saxon
earldom which was revived. The new earldom, with the possible exception
of one or two earls who, like the old Prankish margrave, or the later
palatine count, were given unusual powers to support unusual military
responsibilities, was a title, not an office. It was not a government of
provinces, but a mark of rank; and the danger involved in the older
office, of the growth of independent powers within the state under local
dynasties which would be, though existing under other forms, as difficult
to control as the local dynasties of feudal France, was removed once for
all by the introduction of the Norman centralization. That no serious
trouble ever came from the so-called palatine earldoms is itself evidence
of the powerful monarchy ruling in England.

This centralization was one of the great facts of the Conquest. In it
resided the strength of the Norman monarchy, and it was of the utmost
importance as well in its bearing on the future history of England.
Delolme, one of the earliest of foreign writers on the English
constitution, remarks that the explanation of English liberty is to be
found in the absolute power of her early kings, and the most careful
modern student can do no more than amplify this statement. That this
centralization was the result of any deliberate policy on the part of
William can hardly be maintained. A conscious modification of the feudal
system as he introduced it into England, with a view to the preservation
of his own power, has often been attributed to the Conqueror. But the
political insight which would have enabled him to recognize the evil
tendencies inherent in the only institutional system he had ever known,
and to plan and apply remedies proper to counteract these tendencies but
not inconsistent with the system itself, would indicate a higher quality
of statesmanship than anything else in his career shows him to possess.
More to the purpose is the fact that there is no evidence of any such
modification, while the drift of evidence is against it. William was
determined to be strong, not because of any theory which he had formed of
the value of strength, or of the way to secure it, but because he was
strong and had always been so since he recovered the full powers of a
sovereign in the struggles which followed his minority. The concentration
of all the functions of sovereignty in his own hands, and the reservation
of the allegiance of all landholders to himself, which strengthened his
position in England, had strengthened it first in Normandy.

Intentional weakening of the feudal barons has been seen in the fact that
the manors which they held were scattered about in different parts of
England, so that the formation of an independent principality, or a quick
concentration of strength, would not be possible. That this was a fact
characteristic of England is probably true. But it is sufficiently
accounted for in part by the gradual spread of the Norman occupation, and
of the consequent confiscations and re-grants, and in part by the fact
that it had always been characteristic of England, so that when the
holding of a given Saxon thane was transferred bodily to the Norman
baron, he found his manors lying in no continuous whole. In any case,
however, the divided character of the Norman baronies in England must not
be pressed too far. The grants to his two half brothers, and the earldoms
of Chester and Shrewsbury on the borders of Wales, are enough to show
that William was not afraid of principalities within the state, and other
instances on a somewhat smaller scale could be cited. Nor ought
comparison to be made between English baronies, or earldoms even, and
those feudal dominions on the continent which had been based on the
counties of the earlier period. In these, sovereign rights over a large
contiguous territory, originally delegated to an administrative officer,
had been transformed into a practically independent power. The proper
comparison is rather between the English baronies of whatever rank and
those continental feudal dominions which were formed by natural process
half economic and half political, without definite delegation of
sovereign powers, within or alongside the provincial countships, and this
comparison would show less difference.

If the Saxon earl did not survive the Conquest in the same position as
before, the Saxon sheriff did. The office as the Normans found it in
England was in so many ways similar to that of the viscount, vicecomes,
which still survived in Normandy as an administrative office, that it was
very easy to identify the two and to bring the Norman name into common
use as an equivalent of the Saxon. The result of the new conditions was
largely to increase the sheriff's importance and power. As the special
representative of the king in the county, he shared in the increased
power of his master, practically the whole administrative system of the
state, as it affected its local divisions, was worked through him.
Administrator of the royal domains, responsible for the most important
revenues, vehicle of royal commands of all kinds, and retaining the
judicial functions which had been associated with the office in Saxon
times, he held a position, not merely of power but of opportunity.
Evidence is abundant of great abuse of power by the sheriff at the
expense of the conquered. Nor did the king always escape these abuses,
for the office, like that of the Carolingian count, to which it was in
many ways similar, contained a possibility of use for private and
personal advantage which could be corrected, even by so strong a
sovereign as the Anglo-Norman, only by violent intervention at intervals.

Some time after the Conquest, but at a date unknown, William set aside a
considerable portion of Hampshire to form a hunting ground, the New
Forest, near his residence at Winchester. The chroniclers of the next
generation describe the formation of the Forest as the devastation of a
large tract of country in which churches were destroyed, the inhabitants
driven out, and the cultivated land thrown back into wilderness, and they
record a contemporary belief that the violent deaths of so many members
of William's house within the bounds of the Forest, including two of his
sons, were acts of divine vengeance and proofs of the wickedness of the
deed. While this tradition of the method of making the Forest is still
generally accepted, it has been called in question for reasons that make
it necessary, in my opinion, to pronounce it doubtful. It is hardly
consistent with the general character of William. Such statements of
chroniclers are too easily explained to warrant us in accepting them
without qualification. The evidence of geology and of the history of
agriculture indicates that probably the larger part of this tract was
only thinly populated, and Domesday Book shows some portions of the
Forest still occupied by cultivators.[9] The forest laws of the Norman
kings were severe in the extreme, and weighed cruelly on beasts and men
alike, and on men of rank as well as simple freemen. They excited a
general and bitter hostility which lasted for generations, and prepared a
natural soil for the rapid growth of a partially mythical explanation to
account in a satisfactory way for the dramatic accidents which followed
the family of the Conqueror in the Forest, by the direct and tangible
wickedness which had attended the making of the hunting ground. It is
probable also that individual acts of violence did accompany the making,
and that some villages and churches were destroyed. But the likelihood is
so strong against a general devastation that history should probably
acquit William of the greater crime laid to his charge, and refuse to
place any longer the devastation of Hampshire in the same class with that
of Northumberland.

After the surrender of Ely, William's attention was next given to
Scotland. In 1070 King Malcolm had invaded northern England, but without
results beyond laying waste other portions of that afflicted country. It
was easier to show the Scots than the Danes that William was capable of
striking back, and in 1072, after a brief visit to Normandy, an army
under the king's command advanced along the east coast with an
accompanying fleet. No attempt was made to check this invasion in the
field, and only when William had reached Abernethy did Malcolm come to
meet him. What arrangement was made between them it is impossible to say,
but it was one that was satisfactory to William at the time. Probably
Malcolm became his vassal and gave him hostages for his good conduct, but
if so, his allegiance did not bind him very securely. Norman feudalism
was no more successful than the ordinary type, in dealing with a reigning
sovereign who was in vassal relations.

The critical years of William's conquest of England had been undisturbed
by any dangers threatening his continental possessions. Matilda, who
spent most of the time in Normandy, with her councillors, had maintained
peace and order with little difficulty; but in the year after his
Scottish expedition he was called to Normandy by a revolt in his early
conquest, the county of Maine, which it required a formidable campaign to
subdue. William's plan to attach this important province to Normandy by a
marriage between his son Robert and the youngest sister of the last count
had failed through the death of the proposed heiress, and the county had
risen in favour of her elder sister, the wife of the Italian Marquis Azo
or of her son. Then a successful communal revolution had occurred in the
city of Le Mans, anticipating an age of rebellion against the feudal
powers, and the effort of the commune to bring the whole county into
alliance with itself, though nearly successful for the moment at least,
had really prepared the way for the restoration of the Norman power by
dividing the party opposed to it. William crossed to Normandy in 1073,
leading a considerable army composed in part of English. The campaign was
a short one. Revolt was punished, as William sometimes punished it, by
barbarously devastating the country. Le Mans did not venture to stand a
siege, but surrendered on William's sworn promise to respect its ancient
liberty. By a later treaty with Fulk of Anjou, Robert was recognized as
Count of Maine, but as a vassal of Anjou and not of Normandy.

William probably returned to England after the settlement of these
affairs, but of his doings there nothing is recorded, and for some time
troubles in his continental dominions occupied more of his attention than
the interests of the island. He was in Normandy, indeed, during the whole
of that "most severe tempest," as a writer of the next generation called
it, which broke upon a part of England in the year 1075; and the first
feudal insurrection in English history was put down, as more serious ones
were destined to be before the fall of feudalism, by the king's officers
and the men of the land in the king's absence. To determine the causes of
this insurrection, we need to read between the lines of the story as it
is told us by the writers of that and the next age. Elaborate reasons for
their hostility to William's government were put into the mouths of the
conspirators by one of these writers, but these would mean nothing more
than a general statement that the king was a very severe and stern ruler,
if it were not for the more specific accusation that he had rewarded
those who had fought for him very inadequately, and through avarice had
afterward reduced the value even of these gifts.[10] A passage in a letter
of Lanfranc's to one of the leaders of the rebellion, Roger, Earl of
Hereford, written evidently after Roger's dissatisfaction had become known
but before any open rebellion, gives us perhaps a key to the last part of
this complaint.[11] He tells him that the king, revoking, we infer, former
orders, has directed his sheriffs not to hold any more pleas in the earl's
land until he can return and hear the case between him and the sheriffs.
In a time when the profits of a law court were important to the lord who
had the right to hold it, the entry of the king's officers into a
"liberty" to hear cases there as the representative of the king, and to
his profit, would naturally seem to the baron whose income was affected a
diminution of the value of his fief, due to the king's avarice. Nothing
could show us better the attitude natural to a strong king towards feudal
immunities than the facts which these words of Lanfranc's imply, and
though we know of no serious trouble arising from this reason for a
century or more, it is clear that the royal view of the matter never
changed, and finally like infringements on the baronial courts became one
of the causes of the first great advance towards constitutional liberty,
the Magna Carta.

This letter of Lanfranc's to Roger of Hereford is a most interesting
illustration of his character and of his diplomatic skill, and it shows
us clearly how great must have been his usefulness to William. Though it
is perfectly evident to us that he suspects the loyalty of Roger to be
seriously tempted, there is not a word of suspicion expressed in the
letter, but the considerations most likely to keep him loyal are strongly
urged. With the exception of the sentence about the sheriffs, and formal
phrases at the beginning and end, the letter runs thus: "Our lord, the
king of the English, salutes you and us all as faithful subjects of his
in whom he has great confidence, and commands us that as much as we are
able we should have care of his castles, lest, which God avert, they
should be betrayed to his enemies; wherefore I ask you, as I ought to
ask, most dear son, whom, as God is witness, I love with my whole heart
and desire to serve, and whose father I loved as my soul, that you take
such care of this matter and of all fidelity to our lord the king that
you may have the praise of God, and of him, and of all good men. Hold
always in your memory how your glorious father lived, and how faithfully
he served his lord, and with how great energy he acquired many things and
held them with great honour.... I should like to talk freely with you; if
this is your will, let me know where we can meet and talk together of
your affairs and of our lord the king's. I am ready to go to meet you
wherever you direct."

The letter had no effect. Roger seems to have been a man of violent
temper, and there was a woman in this case also, though we do not know
that she herself influenced the course of events. The insurrection is
said to have been determined upon, and the details of action planned,
at the marriage of Roger's sister to Ralph Guader, Earl of Norfolk, a
marriage which William had forbidden.

  There was that bride-ale
  That was many men's bale,

said the Saxon chronicler, and it was so indeed. The two chief
conspirators persuaded Earl Waltheof to join them, at least for the
moment, and their plan was to drive the king out of England and to
divide the kingdom between them into three great principalities, "for
we wish," the Norman historian Orderic makes them say, "to restore in
all respects the kingdom of England as it was formerly in the time of
King Edward," a most significant indication of the general opinion
about the effect of the Conquest, even if the words are not theirs.

After the marriage the Earls of Norfolk and Hereford separated to raise
their forces and bring them together, when they believed they would be
too strong for any force which could be raised to act against them. They
counted on the unpopularity of the Normans and on the king's difficulties
abroad which would prevent his return to England. The king did not
return, but their other hope proved fallacious. Bishop Wulfstan of
Worcester and Abbot Ethelwy of Evesham, both English prelates, with some
Norman help, cut off the line of communication in the west, and Earl
Roger could not force his way through. The two justiciars, William of
Warenne and Richard of Bienfaite, after summoning the earls to answer in
the king's court, with the aid of Bishop Odo and the Bishop of Coutances,
who was also a great English baron, raised an army of English as well as
Normans, and went to meet Earl Ralph, who was marching westwards.
Something like a battle took place, but the rebels were easily defeated.
Ralph fled back to Norwich, but it did not seem to him wise to stop
there. Leaving his wife to stand a siege in the castle, he sailed off to
hasten the assistance which had already been asked for from the Danes. A
Danish fleet indeed appeared off the coast, but it did nothing beyond
making a plundering raid in Yorkshire. Emma, the new-made wife of Earl
Ralph, seems to have been a good captain and to have had a good garrison.
The utmost efforts of the king's forces could not take the castle, and
she at last surrendered only on favourable terms. She was allowed to
retire to the continent with her forces. The terms which were granted
her, as they are made known in a letter from Lanfranc to William, are
especially interesting as giving us one of the earliest glimpses we have
of that extensive dividing out of land to under-vassals, the process of
subinfeudation, which must already have taken place on the estates
granted to the king's tenants in chief. A clear distinction was made
between the men who were serving Ralph because they held land of him, and
those who were merely mercenaries. Ralph's vassals, although they were in
arms against Ralph's lord, the king, were thought to be entitled to
better terms, and they secured them more easily than those who served him
for money. Ralph and Emma eventually lived out the life of a generation
of those days, on Ralph's Breton estates, and perished together in the
first crusade.

Their fellow-rebels were less fortunate. Roger surrendered himself to be
tried by the king's court, and was condemned "according to the Norman
law," we are told, to the forfeiture of his estates and to imprisonment
at the king's pleasure. From this he was never released. The family of
William's devoted guardian, Osbern, and of his no less devoted friend,
William Fitz Osbern, disappears from English history with the fall of
this imprudent representative, but not from the country. It has been
reserved for modern scholarship co prove the interesting fact of the
continuance for generations of the male line of this house, though in
minor rank and position, through the marriage of the son of Earl Roger,
with the heiress of Abergavenny in Wales.[12] The fate of Waltheof was
even more pathetic because less deserved. He had no part in the actual
rebellion. Whatever he may have sworn to do, under the influence of the
earls of stronger character, he speedily repented and made confession to
Lanfranc as to his spiritual adviser. Lanfranc urged him to cross at once
to Normandy and make his confession to the king himself. William received
him kindly, showed no disposition to regard the fault as a serious one,
and apparently promised him his forgiveness. Why, on his return to
England, he should have arrested him, and after two trials before his
court should have allowed him to be executed, "according to English law,"
we do not surely know. The hatred of his wife Judith, the king's niece,
is plainly implied, but is hardly enough to account for so radical a
departure from William's usual practice in this the only instance of a
political execution in his reign. English sympathy plainly took the side
of the earl. The monks of the abbey at Crowland, which he had favoured in
his lifetime, were allowed the possession of his body. Soon miracles were
wrought there, and he became, in the minds of monks and people, an
unquestioned martyr and saint.

This was the end of William's troubles in England which have any real
connexion with the Conquest. Malcolm of Scotland invaded Northumberland
once more, and harried that long-suffering region, but without result;
and an army of English barons, led by the king's son Robert, which
returned the invasion soon after, was easily able to force the king of
the Scots to renew his acknowledgment of subjection to England. The
failure of Walcher, Bishop of Durham, to keep his own subordinates in
order, led to a local riot, in which the bishop and many of his officers
and clergy were murdered, and which was avenged in his usual pitiless
style by the king's brother Odo. William himself invaded Wales with a
large force; received submissions, and opened the way for the extension
of the English settlements in that country. The great ambition of Bishop
Odo, and the increase of wealth and power which had come to him through
the generosity of his brother, led him to hope for still higher things,
and he dreamed of becoming pope. This was not agreeable to William, and
may even have seemed dangerous to him when the bishop began to collect
his friends and vassals for an expedition to Italy. Archbishop Lanfranc,
who had not found his brother prelate a comfortable neighbour in Kent,
suggested to the king, we are told, the exercise of his feudal rights
against him as his baron. The scene must have been a dramatic one, when
in a session of the curia regis William ordered his brother's arrest, and
when no one ventured to execute the order laid hands upon him himself,
exclaiming that he arrested, not the Bishop of Bayeux, but the Earl of
Kent. William must have had some strong reason for this action, for he
refused to consent to the release of his brother as long as he lived. At
one time what seemed like a great danger threatened from Denmark, in the
plans of King Canute to invade England with a vast host and deliver the
country from the foreigner. William brought over from Normandy a great
army of mercenaries to meet this danger, and laid waste the country
along the eastern coast that the enemy might find no supplies on landing;
but this Danish threat amounted to even less than the earlier ones, for
the fleet never so much as appeared off the coast. All these events are
but the minor incidents which might occur in any reign; the Conquest had
long been finished, and England had accepted in good faith her new

Much more of the last ten years of William's life was spent in Normandy
than in England. Revolts of unruly barons, attacks on border towns or
castles, disputes with the king of France, were constantly occupying him
with vexatious details, though with nothing of serious import. Most
vexatious of all was the conduct of his son Robert. With the eldest son
of William opens in English history a long line of the sons and brothers
of kings, in a few cases of kings themselves, who are gifted with popular
qualities, who make friends easily, but who are weak in character, who
cannot control men or refuse favours, passionate and selfish, hardly
strong enough to be violently wicked as others of the line are, but
causes of constant evil to themselves and their friends, and sometimes to
the state. And with him opens also the long series of quarrels in the
royal family, of which the French kings were quick to take advantage, and
from which they were in the end to gain so much. The ground of Robert's
rebellion was the common one of dissatisfaction with his position and his
father's refusal to part with any of his power in his favour. Robert was
not able to excite any real insurrection in Normandy, but with the aid of
his friends and of the French king he maintained a border war for some
time, and defended castles with success against the king. He is said
even, in one encounter, to have wounded and been on the point of slaying
his father. For some time he wandered in exile in the Rhine valley,
supported by gifts sent him by his mother, in spite of the prohibition of
her husband. Once he was reconciled with his father, only to begin his
rebellion again. When the end came, William left him Normandy, but people
thought at least that he did it unwillingly, foreseeing the evil which
his character was likely to bring on any land over which he ruled.

The year 1086 is remarkable for the formation of one of the most unique
monuments of William's genius as a ruler, and one of the most instructive
sources of information which we have of the condition of England during
his reign. At the Christmas meeting of the court, in 1085, it was
decided, apparently after much debate and probably with special reference
to the general land-tax, called the Danegeld, to form by means of
inquiries, officially made in each locality, a complete register of the
occupied lands of the kingdom, of their holders, and of their values. The
book in which the results of this survey of England were recorded was
carefully preserved in the royal treasury, and soon came to be regarded
as conclusive evidence in disputed questions which its entries would
concern. Not very long after the record was made it came to be popularly
known as the Domesday Book, and a hundred years later the writer on the
English financial system of the twelfth century, the author of the
"Dialogue concerning the Exchequer,"[13] explained the name as meaning
that the sentences derived from it were final, and without appeal, like
those of the last great day.

An especially interesting feature of this survey is the method which was
employed to make it. Two institutions which were brought into England by
the Conquest, the king's missi and the inquest, the forerunners of the
circuit judge and of the jury, were set in motion for this work; and the
organization of the survey is a very interesting foreshadowing of the
organization which a century later William's great-grandson was to give
to our judicial system in features which still characterize it, not
merely in England but throughout great continents of which William never
dreamed. Royal commissioners, or missi, were sent into each county. No
doubt the same body of commissioners went throughout a circuit of
counties. In each the county court was summoned to meet the
commissioners, just as later it was summoned to meet the king's justice
on his circuit. The whole "county" was present to be appealed to on
questions of particular importance or difficulty if it seemed necessary,
but the business of the survey as a rule was not done by the county
court. Each hundred was present by its sworn jury, exactly as in the
later itinerant justice court, and it was this jury which answered on
oath the questions submitted to it by the commissioners, exactly again as
in the later practice. Their knowledge might be reinforced, or their
report modified, by evidence of the men of the vill, or other smaller
sub-division of the county, who probably attended as in the older county
courts, and occasionally by the testimony of the whole shire; but in
general the information on which the survey was made up was derived from
the reports of the hundred juries. The questions which were submitted to
these juries show both the object of the survey and its thorough
character. They were required to tell the name of each manor and the name
of its holder in the time of King Edward and at the time of the inquiry;
the number of hides it contained; the number of ploughs employed in the
cultivation of the lord's domain land, and the number so used on the
lands held by the lord's men,--a rough way of determining the amount of
land under cultivation. Then the population of the manor was to be given
in classes: freemen and sokemen; villeins, cotters, and serfs; the amount
of forest and meadow; the number of pastures, mills, and fish-ponds; and
what the value of the manor was in the time of King Edward, at the date
of its grant by King William, and at the time of the inquiry. In some
cases evidently the jurors entered into such details of the live stock
maintained by the manor as to justify the indignant words of the Saxon
chronicler, that not "an ox nor a cow nor a swine was left that was not
set down in his writing."

The object of all this is plain enough. It was an assessment of the
property of the kingdom for purposes of taxation. The king wished to find
out, as indeed we are told in what may be considered a copy or an
abstract of the original writ directing the commissioners as to their
inquiries, whether he could get more from the kingdom in taxes than he
was then getting. But the record of this inquest has served far different
purposes in later times. It is a storehouse of information on many sides
of history, personal, family, geographical, and especially economic. It
tells us much also of institutions, but less than we could wish, and less
than it would have told us if its purpose had been less narrowly
practical. Indeed, this limiting of the record to a single definite
purpose, which was the controlling interest in making it, renders the
information which it gives us upon all the subjects in which we are now
most interested fragmentary and extremely tantalizing, and forces us to
use it with great caution. It remains, however, even with this
qualification, a most interesting collection of facts, unique in all the
Middle Ages, and a monument to the practical genius of the monarch who
devised it.

On August 1 of the same year in which the survey was completed, in a
great assembly on Salisbury Plain, an oath of allegiance to the king was
taken by all the land-holding men of England, no matter of whom they
held. This has been represented as an act of new legislation of great
institutional importance, but the view cannot be maintained. It is
impossible to suppose that all land-owners were present or that such an
oath had not been generally taken before; and the Salisbury instance was
either a renewal of it such as was occasionally demanded by kings of this
age, or possibly an emphatic enforcement of the principle in cases where
it had been neglected or overlooked, now perhaps brought to light by the

Already in 1083 Queen Matilda had died, to the lasting and sincere grief
of her husband; and now William's life was about to end in events which
were a fitting close to his stormy career. Border warfare along the
French boundary was no unusual thing, but something about a raid of the
garrison of Mantes, into Normandy, early in 1087, roused William's
especial anger. He determined that plundering in that quarter should
stop, and reviving old claims which had long been dormant he demanded the
restoration to Normandy of the whole French Vexin, of which Mantes was
the capital city. Philip treated his claims with contempt, and added a
coarse jest on William's corpulence which roused his anger, as personal
insults always did, to a white heat. The land around Mantes was cruelly
laid waste by his orders, and by a sudden advance the city was carried
and burnt down, churches and houses together. The heat and exertion of
the attack, together with an injury which he received while riding
through the streets of the city, by being thrown violently against the
pummel of his saddle by the stumbling of his horse, proved too much for
William in his physical condition, and he was carried back to Rouen to
die after a few weeks.

A monastic chronicler of a little later date, Orderic Vitalis, gives us a
detailed account of his death-bed repentance, but it was manifestly
written rather for the edification of the believer than to record
historical fact. It is interesting to note, however, that while William
is made to express the deepest sorrow for the numerous acts of wrong
which were committed in the process of the Conquest of England, there is
no word which indicates any repentance for the Conquest itself or belief
on William's part that he held England unjustly. He admits that it did
not come to him from his fathers, but the same sentence which contains
this admission affirms that he had gained it by the favour of God. It has
been strongly argued from these words, and from others like them, which
are put into the mouth of William later in this dying confession, when he
comes to dispose of his realms and treasures, that William was conscious
to himself that he did not possess any right to the kingdom of England
which he could pass on hereditarily to his heirs. These words might
without violence be made to yield this meaning, and yet it is impossible
to interpret them in this way on any sound principle of criticism,
certainly not as the foundation of any constitutional doctrine. There is
not a particle of support for this interpretation from any other source;
everything else shows that his son William succeeded him in England by
the same right and in the same way that Robert did in Normandy. William
speaks of himself in early charters, as holding England by hereditary
right. He might be ready to acknowledge that it had not come to him by
such right, but never that once having gained it he held it for himself
and his family by any less right than this. The words assigned to William
on his death-bed should certainly be interpreted by the words of the same
chronicler, after he has finished the confession; and these indicate some
doubt on William's part as to the effect of his death on the stability of
his conquest in England, and his great desire to hasten his son William
off to England with directions to Lanfranc as to his coronation before
the news of his own death should be spread abroad. They imply that he is
not sure who may actually become king in the tumults which may arise when
it becomes known that his own strong rule is ended; that rests with God:
but they express no doubt of the right of his heirs, nor of his own right
to determine which one among them shall succeed him.

With reluctance, knowing his disposition, William conceded Normandy to
Robert. The first-born son was coming to have special rights. More
important in this case was the fact that Robert's right to Normandy had
been formally recognized years before, and that recognition had never
been withdrawn. The barons of the duchy had sworn fealty to him as his
father's successor, and there was no time to put another heir in his
place, or to deal with the opposition that would surely result from the
attempt. William was his father's choice for England, and he was
despatched in all haste to secure the crown with the aid of Lanfranc. To
Henry was given only a sum of money, joined with a prophecy that he
should eventually have all that the king had had, a prophecy which was
certainly easy after the event, when it was written down, and which may
not have been difficult to a father who had studied carefully the
character of his sons. William was buried in the church of St. Stephen,
which he had founded in Caen, and the manner in which such foundations
were frequently made in those days was illustrated by the claim, loudly
advanced in the midst of the funeral service, that the land on which the
participants stood had been unjustly taken from its owners for the
Conqueror's church. It was now legally purchased for William's burial
place. The son, who was at the moment busy securing his kingdom in
England, afterwards erected in it a magnificent tomb to the memory of his

[9] Round, Victoria History of Hampshire, i. 412-413. But See
F. Baring in Engl. Hist. Rev. xvi. 427-438 (1901).

[10] Orderic Vitalis, ii. 260.

[11] Lanfranc, Opera (ed. Giles), i. 64.

[12] Round, Peerage Studies, pp. 181 ff.

[13] Dialogus de Scaccario, i. 16 (ed. Hughes, p. 108).



William, the second son of the Conqueror, followed with no filial
compunction his father's command that he should leave his death-bed and
cross the channel at once to secure the kingdom of England. At the port
of embarkation he learned that his father had died, but he did not turn
back. Probably the news only hastened his journey, if this were possible.
In England he went first to Winchester to get possession of his father's
great treasure, and then to Canterbury with his letter to Lanfranc.
Nowhere is there any sign of opposition to his succession, or of any
movement in favour of Robert, or on Robert's part, at this moment. If the
archbishop had any doubts, as a man of his good judgment might well have
had, knowing the new king from his boyhood, they were soon quieted or he
resolved to put them aside. He had, indeed, no alternative. There is
nothing to indicate that the letter of his dying master allowed him any
choice, nor was there any possible candidate who gave promise of a better
reign, for Lanfranc must have known Robert as well as he knew William.
Together they went up to London, and on September 26, 1087, hardly more
than two weeks after he left his father's bedside, William was crowned
king by Lanfranc. The archbishop took of him the customary oath to rule
justly and to defend the peace and liberty of the Church, exacting a
special promise always to be guided by his advice; but there is no
evidence of any unusual assembly in London of magnates or people, of any
negotiations to gain the support of persons of influence, or of any
consent asked or given. The proceedings throughout were what we should
expect in a kingdom held by hereditary right, as the chancery of the
Conqueror often termed it, and by such a right descending to the heir.
This appearance may possibly have been given to these events by haste and
by the necessity of forestalling any opposition. Men may have found
themselves with a new king crowned and consecrated as soon as they
learned of the death of the old one; but no objection was ever made.
Within a few months a serious insurrection broke out among those who
hoped to make Robert king, but no one alleged that William's title was
imperfect because he had not been elected. If the English crown was held
by the people of the time to be elective in any sense, it was not in the
sense which we at present understand by the word "constitutional."

Immediately after the coronation, the new king went back to Winchester to
fulfil a duty which he owed to his father. The great hoard which the
Conqueror had collected in the ancient capital was distributed with a
free hand to the churches of England. William II was as greedy of money
as his father. His exactions pressed even more heavily on the kingdom,
and the Church believed that it was peculiarly the victim of his
financial tyranny, but he showed no disposition to begrudge these
benefactions for the safety of his father's soul. Money was sent to each
monastery and church in the kingdom, and to many rich gifts of other
things, and to each county a hundred pounds for distribution to the poor.

Until the following spring the disposition of the kingdom which Lanfranc
had made was unquestioned and undisturbed. William II wore his crown at
the meeting of the court in London at Christmas time, and nothing during
the winter called for any special exertion of royal authority on his
part. But beneath the surface a great conspiracy was forming, for the
purpose of overthrowing the new king and of putting his brother Robert in
his place. During Lent the movers of this conspiracy were especially
active, and immediately after Easter the insurrection broke out. It was
an insurrection in which almost all the Norman barons of England took
part, and their real object was the interest neither of king nor of
kingdom, but only their own personal and selfish advantage. A purely
feudal insurrection, inspired solely by those local and separatist
tendencies which the feudal system cherished, it reveals, even more
clearly than the insurrection of the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk under
William I, the solid reserve of strength in the support of the nation
which was the only thing that sustained the Norman kingship in England
during the feudal age.

The writers upon whom we depend for our knowledge of these events
represent the rebellious barons as moved by two chief motives. Of these
that which is put forward as the leading motive is their opposition to
the division of the Norman land into two separate realms, by the
succession of the elder brother in Normandy and of the younger in
England. The fact that these barons held fiefs in both countries, and
under two different lords, certainly put them in an awkward position, but
in one by no means uncommon throughout the feudal world. A suzerain of
the Norman type, however, in the event of a quarrel between the king and
the duke, could make things exceedingly uncomfortable for the vassals who
held of both, and these men seem to have believed that their divided
allegiance would endanger their possessions in one land or the other.
They were in a fair way, they thought, to lose under the sons the
increase of wealth and honours for which they had fought under the
father. A second motive was found in the contrasted characters of the two
brothers. Our authorities represent this as less influential than the
first, but the circumstances of the case would lead us to believe that it
had equal weight with the barons. William they considered a man of
violence, who was likely to respect no right; Robert was "more
tractable." That Robert was the elder son, that they had already sworn
allegiance to him, while they owed nothing to William, which are
suggested as among their motives, probably had no real influence in
deciding their action. But the other two motives are so completely in
accord with the facts of the situation that we must accept them as giving
the reasons for the insurrection. The barons were opposed to the
separation of the two countries, and they wished a manageable suzerain.

The insurrection was in appearance an exceedingly dangerous one. Almost
every Norman baron in England revolted and carried his vassals with him.
Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, the king's uncle, was the prime mover in the
affair. He had been released from his prison by the Conqueror on his
death-bed, and had been restored by William II to his earldom of Kent;
but his hope of becoming the chief counsellor of the king, as he had
become of Robert in Normandy, was disappointed. With him was his brother,
Robert of Cornwall, Count of Mortain. The other great baron-bishop of the
Conquest, Geoffrey of Coutances, was also in insurrection, and with him
his nephew, Robert of Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland. Another leading
rebel was Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury, with his three sons, the chief of
whom, Robert of Bellême, was sent over from Normandy by Duke Robert, with
Eustace of Boulogne, to aid the insurrection in England until he should
himself be able to cross the channel. The treason of one man, William of
St. Calais, Bishop of Durham, was regarded by the English writers as
particularly heinous, if indeed we are right in referring their words to
him and not to Bishop Odo; it is at least evident from the sequel that
the king regarded his conduct in that light. The reason is not altogether
clear, unless it be that the position of greatest influence in England,
which Bishop Odo had desired in vain, had been given him by the king.
Other familiar names must be added to these: William of Eu, Roger of
Lacy, Ralph of Mortimer, Roger Bigod, Hugh of Grantmesnil. On the king's
side there were few Norman names to equal these: Hugh of Avranches, Earl
of Chester, William of Warenne, and of course the vassals of the great
Archbishop Lanfranc. But the real strength of the king was not derived
from the baronial elements. The castles in most of the great towns
remained faithful, and so did nearly all the bishops and the Church as a
whole. But the weight which turned the scale and gave the decision to the
king, was the support of the great mass of the nation, of the English as
opposed to the Norman.

For so great a show of strength, the insurrection was very short-lived,
and it was put down with almost no fighting. The refusal of the barons to
come to the Easter court, April 14, was their first overt act of
rebellion, though it had been evident in March that the rebellion was
coming, and before the close of the summer confiscation or amnesty had
been measured out to the defeated rebels. We are told that the crown was
offered to Robert and accepted by him, and great hopes were entertained
of decisive aid which he was to send; but nothing came of it. Two sieges,
of Pevensey castle and of Rochester castle, were the most important
military events. There was considerable ravaging of the country by the
rebels in the west, and some little fighting there. The Bishop of
Coutances and his nephew seized Bristol and laid waste the country about,
but were unsuccessful in their siege of Ilchester. Roger of Lacy and
others collected a force at Hereford, and advanced to attack Worcester,
but were beaten off by the Norman garrison and the men of Bishop
Wulfstan. Minor incidents of the same kind occurred in Gloucestershire,
Leicestershire, Norfolk, and the north. But the decisive events were in
the south-east, in the operations of the king against his uncle Odo. At
London William called round him his supporters, appealing especially to
the English, and promising to grant good laws, to levy no unjust taxes,
and to allow men the freedom of their woods and of hunting. With an army
which did not seem large, he advanced against Rochester, where the Bishop
of Bayeux was, to strike the heart of the insurrection.

Tunbridge castle, which was held for Odo, was first stormed, and on the
news of this Odo thought it prudent to betake himself to Pevensey, where
his brother, Robert of Mortain, was, and where reinforcements from Robert
of Normandy would be likely to land. William at once turned from his
march to Rochester and began the siege of Pevensey. The Norman
reinforcements which Robert finally sent were driven back with great
loss, and after some weeks Pevensey was compelled to surrender. Bishop
Odo agreed to secure the surrender of Rochester, and then to retire from
England, only to return if the king should send for him. But William
unwisely sent him on to Rochester with a small advance detachment, to
occupy the castle, while he himself followed more slowly with the main
body. The castle refused to surrender. Odo's expression of face made
known his real wishes, and was more convincing than his words. A sudden
sally of the garrison overpowered his guards, and the bishop was carried
into the castle to try the fortune of a siege once more. For this siege
the king again appealed to the country and called for the help of all
under the old Saxon penalty of the disgraceful name of "nithing." The
defenders of the castle suffered greatly from the blockade, and were soon
compelled to yield upon such terms as the king pleased, who was with
difficulty persuaded to give up his first idea of sending them all to the

The monk Orderic Vitalis, who wrote an account of these events a
generation after they occurred, was struck with one characteristic of
this insurrection, which the careful observer of any time would hardly
fail to notice. He says: "The rebels, although they were so many and
abundantly furnished with arms and supplies, did not dare to join battle
with the king in his kingdom." It was an age, to be sure, when wars were
decided less by fighting in the open field than by the siege and defence
of castles; and yet the collapse of so formidable an insurrection as
this, after no resistance at all in proportion to its apparent fighting
strength, is surely a significant fact. To notice here but one inference
from it, it means that no one questioned the title of William Rufus to
the throne while he was in possession. Though he might be a younger son,
not elected, but appointed by his father, and put into the kingship by
the act of the primate alone, he was, to the rebellious barons as to his
own supporters, the rightful king of England till he could be overthrown.

The insurrection being put down, a general amnesty seems to have been
extended to the rebels. The Bishop of Bayeux was exiled from England;
some confiscations were made, and some rewards distributed; but almost
without exception the leaders escaped punishment. The most notable
exception, besides Odo, was William of St. Calais, the Bishop of Durham.
For some reason, which does not clearly appear, the king found it
difficult to pardon him. He was summoned before the king's court to
answer for his conduct, and the account of the trial which followed in
November of this year, preserved to us by a writer friendly to the bishop
and present at the proceedings, is one of the most interesting and
instructive documents which we have from this time. William of St.
Calais, as the king's vassal for the temporalities of his bishopric, was
summoned before the king's feudal court to answer for breach of his
feudal obligations. William had shown, in one of the letters which he had
sent to the king shortly before the trial, that he was fully aware of
these obligations; and the impossibility of meeting the accusation was
perfectly clear to his mind. With the greatest subtlety and skill, he
sought to take advantage of his double position, as vassal and as bishop,
and to transfer the whole process to different ground. With equal skill,
and with an equally clear understanding of the principles involved,
Lanfranc met every move which he made.[14]

From the beginning the accused insisted upon the privileges of his order.
He would submit to a canonical trial only. He asked that the bishops
should appear in their pontificals, which was a request that they judge
him as bishops, and not as barons. Lanfranc answered him that they could
judge him well enough clad as they were. William demanded that his
bishopric should be restored to him before he was compelled to answer,
referring to the seizing of his temporalities by the king. Lanfranc
replied that he had not been deprived of his bishopric. He refused to
plead, however, until the point had been formally decided, and on the
decision of the court against him, he demanded the canonical grounds on
which they had acted. Lanfranc replied that the decision was just, and
that he ought to know that it was. He requested to be allowed to take
counsel with the other bishops on his answer, and Lanfranc explained that
the bishops were his judges and could not be his counsel, his answer
resting on a principle of the law necessary in the courts of public
assembly, one which gave rise to elaborate regulations in some feudal
countries. Bishop William finally refused to accept the judgment of the
court on several grounds, but especially because it was against the
canons; and Lanfranc explained at greater length than before, that he had
not been put on trial concerning his bishopric, but concerning his fief,
as the Bishop of Bayeux had been tried under William I. But all argument
was in vain. The bishop could not safely yield, and he insisted on his
appeal to Rome. On his side the king insisted on the surrender of the
bishop's castle, the last part of his fief which he still held, and was
sustained by the court in this demand. The bishop demurred, but at last
yielded the point to avoid arrest, and after considerable delay, he was
allowed to cross over to the continent. There he was welcomed by Robert
and employed in Normandy, but he never went any farther nor pushed his
appeal to Rome, which in all probability he had never seriously intended,
though there is evidence that the pope was disposed to take up his cause.
Throughout the case the king was acting wholly within his right,
regarding the bishop as his vassal; and Lanfranc's position in the trial
was in strict accordance with the feudal law.

This was the end of serious rebellion against King William Rufus. Seven
years later, in 1095, a conspiracy was formed by some of the barons who
had been pardoned for their earlier rebellion, which might have resulted
in a widespread insurrection but for the prompt action of William. Robert
of Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, who had inherited the 280 manors of
his uncle, the Bishop of Coutances, and was now one of the most powerful
barons of the kingdom, had been summoned to the king's court, probably
because the conspiracy was suspected, since it was for a fault which
would ordinarily have been passed over without remark, and he refused to
appear. The king's hands were for the moment free, and he marched at once
against the earl. By degrees the details of the conspiracy came out. From
Nottingham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was accompanying the march,
was sent back to Kent to hold himself in readiness at a moment's notice
to defend that part of England against an expected landing from Normandy.
This time it had been planned to make Stephen of Aumale, a nephew of the
Conqueror, king in William's place; but no Norman invasion occurred. The
war was begun and ended by the siege and surrender of Mowbray's two
castles of Tynemouth and Bamborough. In the siege of the latter, Mowbray
himself was captured by a trick, and his newly married wife was forced to
surrender the castle by the threat of putting out his eyes. The earl was
thrown into prison, where, according to one account, he was held for
thirty years. Treachery among the traitors revealed the names of the
leaders of the plot, and punishments were inflicted more generally than
in 1088, but with no pretence of impartiality. A man of so high rank and
birth as William of Eu was barbarously mutilated; one man of minor rank
was hanged; banishment and fines were the penalties in other cases.
William of St. Calais, who had been restored to his see, fell again under
the suspicion of the king, and was summoned to stand another trial, but
he was already ill when he went up to the court, and died before he could
answer the charges against him. There were reasons enough in the heavy
oppressions of the reign why men should wish to rebel against William,
but he was so fixed in power, so resolute in action, and so pitiless
towards the victims of his policy, that the forming of a dangerous
combination against him was practically impossible.

The contemporary historians of his reign tell us much of William's
personality, both in set descriptions and in occasional reference and
anecdote. It is evident that he impressed in an unusual degree the men of
his own time, but it is evident also that this impression was not so much
made by his genius as a ruler or a soldier, by the possession of the
gifts which a great king would desire, as by something in his spirit and
attitude towards life which was new and strange, something out of the
common in words and action, which startled or shocked men of the common
level and seemed at times to verge upon the awful. In body he was shorter
than his father, thick-set and heavy, and his red face gave him the name
Rufus by which he was then and still is commonly known. Much of his
father's political and military ability and strength of will had
descended to him, but not his father's character and high purpose. Every
king of those times thought chiefly of himself, and looked upon the state
as his private property; but the second William more than most. The money
which he wrung from churchman and layman he used in attempts to carry out
his personal ambitions in Normandy, or scattered with a free hand among
his favourites, particularly among the mercenary soldiers from the
continent, with whom he especially loved to surround himself, and whose
licensed plunderings added greatly to the burden and tyranny of his
reign. But the ordinary doings of a tyrant were not the worst things
about William Rufus. Effeminate fashions, vices horrible and unheard-of
in England, flourished at his court and threatened to corrupt the nation.
The fearful profanity of the king, his open and blasphemous defiance of
God, made men tremble, and those who were nearest to him testified "that
he every morning got up a worse man than he lay down, and every evening
lay down a worse man than he got up."

In the year after the suppression of the first attempt of the barons
against the king, but before other events of political importance had
occurred, on May 28, 1089, died Lanfranc, the great Archbishop of
Canterbury, after nearly nineteen years of service in that office. Best
of all the advisers of the first William, he was equally with him
conqueror of England, in that conquest of laws and civilization which
followed the mere conquest of arms. Not great, though famous as a
theologian and writer, his powers were rather of a practical nature. He
was skilful in the management of men; he had a keen appreciation of legal
distinctions, and that comprehensive sight at the same time of ends and
means which we call the organizing power. He was devoted to that great
reformation in the religious and ecclesiastical world which occurred
during his long life, but he was devoted to it in his own way, as his
nature directed. He saw clearly, for one thing, that the success of that
reformation in England depended on the maintenance of the strong
government of the Norman kings; and from his loyalty to them he never
swerved, serving them with wise counsel and with all the resources at his
command. Less of a theologian and idealist than his successor Anselm,
more of a lawyer and statesman, he could never have found himself, for
another thing, in that attitude of opposition to the king which fills so
much of his successor's pontificate.

As his life had been of constant service to England, his death was an
immediate misfortune. We cannot doubt the opinion expressed by more than
one of the writers of the next reign, that a great change for the worse
took place in the actions of the king after the death of Lanfranc. The
aged archbishop, who had been in authority since his childhood, who might
seem to prolong in some degree the reign or the influence of his father,
acted as a restraining force, and the true character of William expressed
itself freely only when this was removed. In another way also the death
of Lanfranc was a misfortune to England. It dates the rise to influence
with the king of Ranulf Hambard, whose name is closely associated with
the tyranny of Rufus; or if this may already have begun, it marks his
very speedy attainment of what seems to have been the complete control of
the administrative and judicial system of the kingdom. Of the early
history of Ranulf Flambard we know but little with certainty. He was of
low birth, probably the son of a priest, and he rose to his position of
authority by the exercise of his own gifts, which were not small. A
pleasing person, ingratiating manners, much quickness and ingenuity of
mind, prodigality of flattery, and great economy of scruples,--these were
traits which would attract the attention and win the favour of a man like
William II. In Ranulf Flambard we have an instance of the constantly
recurring historical fact, that the holders of absolute power are always
able to find in the lower grades of society the ministers of their
designs who serve them with a completeness of devotion and fidelity which
the master rarely shows in his own interest, and often with a genius
which he does not himself possess.

Our knowledge of the constitutional details of the reign either of
William I or William II is very incomplete, and it is therefore difficult
for us to understand the exact nature of the innovations made by Ranulf
Flambard. The chroniclers leave us no doubt of the general opinion of
contemporaries, that important changes had been made, especially in the
treatment of the lands of the Church, and that these changes were all in
the direction of oppressive exactions for the benefit of the king. The
charter issued by Henry I at the beginning of his reign, promising the
reform of various abuses of his brother's reign, confirms this opinion.
But neither the charter nor the chroniclers enable us to say with
confidence exactly in what the innovations consisted. The feudal system
as a system of military tenures and of judicial organization had
certainly been introduced by William the Conqueror, and applied to the
great ecclesiastical estates of the kingdom very early in his reign. That
all the logical deductions for the benefit of the crown which were
possible from this system, especially those of a financial nature, had
been made so early, is not so certain. In the end, and indeed before very
long, the feudal system as it existed in England became more logical in
details, more nearly an ideal feudalism, with reference to the rights of
the crown, than anywhere else in Christendom. It is quite within the
bounds of possibility that Ranulf Flambard, keen of mind, working under
an absolute king, whose reign was followed by the longer reign of another
absolute king, not easily forced to keep the promises of his coronation
charter, may have had some share in the logical carrying out of feudal
principles, or in their more complete application to the Church, which
would be likely to escape feudal burdens under a king of the character of
the first William. Indeed, such a complete application of the feudal
rights of the crown to the Church, the development of the so-called
regalian rights, was at this date incomplete in Europe as a whole, and
according to the evidence which we now have, the Norman in England was a
pioneer in that direction.

The loudest complaints of these oppressions have come down to us in
regard to Canterbury and the other ecclesiastical baronies which fell
vacant after the death of Lanfranc. This is what we should expect: the
writers are monks. It seems from the evidence, also, that in most cases
no exact division had as yet been made between those lands belonging to a
monastic bishop or an abbot, which should be considered particularly to
form the barony, and those which should be assigned to the support of the
monastic body. Such a division was made in time, but where it had not
been made before the occurrence of a vacancy, it was more than likely
that the monks were placed on very short commons, and the right of the
king to the revenues interpreted in the most ample sense. The charter of
Henry I shows that in the case of lay fiefs the rights of the king,
logically involved in the feudal system, had been stretched to their
utmost limit, and even beyond. It would be very strange if this were not
still more true in the case of ecclesiastical fiefs. The monks, we may be
sure, had abundant grounds for their complaints. But we should notice
that what they have in justice to complain of is the oppressive abuse of
real rights. The system of Ranulf Flambard, so far as we can determine
what it was, does not differ in its main features from that which was in
operation without objection in the time of Henry II. The vacant
ecclesiastical, like the vacant lay, fief fell back into the king's
domain. It is difficult to determine just what its legal status was then
considered to be, but it was perhaps regarded as a fief reverting on
failure of heirs. Certainly it was sometimes treated as only an escheated
or forfeited lay fief would be treated. Its revenues might be collected
by the ordinary machinery, as they had been under the bishop, and turned
into the king's treasury; or it might be farmed out as a whole to the
highest bidder. There could be no valid objection to this. If the legal
position which Lanfranc had so vigorously defended was correct, that a
bishop might be tried as a baron by a lay court and a lay process, with
no infringement of his ecclesiastical rights, then there could be no
defence against this further extension of feudal principles. Relief,
wardship, and escheat were perfectly legitimate feudal rights, and there
was no reason which the state would consider valid why they should not be
enforced in all fiefs alike. The case of the Bishop of Durham, in 1088,
had already established a precedent for the forfeiture of an
ecclesiastical barony for the treason of its holder, and in that case the
king had granted fiefs within that barony to his own vassals. Still more
clearly would such a fief return to the king's hands, if it were vacant.
But if the right was clear, it might still be true that the enforcement
of it was new and accompanied with great practical abuses. Of this much
probably we must hold Ranulf Flambard guilty.

The extension and abuse of feudal law, however, do not fill up the
measure of his guilt. Another important source of royal revenue, the
judicial system, was put under his control, and was forced to contribute
the utmost possible to the king's income. That the justiciarship was at
this time as well defined an office, or as regularly recognized a part of
the state machinery, as it came to be later, is hardly likely. But that
some officer should be clothed with the royal authority for a special
purpose, or in the absence of the king for general purposes, was not an
uncommon practice. In some such way as this Ranulf Flambard had been
given charge of the king's interests in the judicial system, and had much
to do by his activities in that position with the development of the
office of justiciar. Exactly what he did in this field is as uncertain as
in that of feudal law, though the one specific instance which we have on
record shows him acting in a capacity much like that of the later
itinerant justice. However this may be, the recorded complaints of his
oppressions as judge, though possibly less numerous and detailed than of
his mistreatment of the Church, are equally bitter. He was the despoiler
of the rich, the destroyer of the poor. Exactions already heavy and
unjust he doubled. Money alone decided cases in the courts. Justice and
the laws disappeared. The rope was loosened from the very neck of the
robber if he had anything of value to promise the king; while the popular
courts of shires and hundreds were forced to become engines of extortion,
probably by the employment of the sheriffs, who were allowed to summon
them, not according to the old practice, but when and where it suited
their convenience. The machinery of the state and the interpretation of
its laws were, in days like these, completely at the mercy of a tyrannous
king and an unscrupulous minister. No system of checks on absolute power
had as yet been devised; there were no means of expressing public
discontent, nor any form of appeal but insurrection, and that was
hopeless against a king so strong as Rufus. The land could only suffer
and wait, and at last rejoice that the reign was no longer. In the
meantime, from the beginning of Robert's rule in the duchy across the
channel, the condition of things there had been a standing invitation to
his brother to interfere. Robert is a fair example of the worst type of
men of the Norman-Angevin blood. Not bad in intention, and not without
abilities, he was weak with that weakness most fatal of all in times when
the will of the ruler gave its only force to law, the inability to say
no, the lack of firm resisting power. The whole eleventh century had been
nourishing the growth, in the favouring soil of feudalism, of the manners
and morals of chivalry. The generation to which William and Robert
belonged was more strongly influenced in its standards of conduct by the
ideals of chivalry than by any other ethical code, and both these princes
are examples of the superior power of these ideals. In the age of
chivalry no princely virtue was held of higher worth than that of
"largesse," the royal generosity which scattered gifts on all classes
with unstinted hand; but Robert's prodigality of gifts was greater than
the judgment of his own time approved, and, combined with the inability
to make himself respected or obeyed, which often goes with such
generosity, it was the source of most of his difficulties. His ideal
seemed to be that every man should have what he wanted, and soon it was
apparent that he had retained very little for himself.

The castles of Normandy were always open to the duke, and William the
Conqueror had maintained garrisons of his own in the most important of
them, to insure the obedience of their holders. The first move that was
made by the barons of Normandy, on the news of William's death, was to
expel these garrisons and to substitute others of their own. The example
was set by Robert of Bellême, the holder of a powerful composite lordship
on the south-west border and partly outside the duchy. On his way to
William's court, he heard of the duke's death, and he instantly turned
about, not merely to expel the ducal garrisons from the castles of his
own fiefs, but to seize the castles of his neighbours which he had reason
to desire, and some of these he destroyed and some he held for himself.
This action is typical of the influence of Robert's character on
government in Normandy. Contempt for the authority of the duke meant not
merely that things which belonged to him would be seized upon and his
rights denied, but also that the property and rights of the weak, and
even of those who were only a little weaker than their neighbours, were
at the mercy of the stronger.

Duke Robert's squandering of his resources soon brought him to a want of
ready money intolerable to a prince of his nature, and his mind turned at
once with desire to the large sum in cash which his father had left to
Henry. But Henry was not at all of the stamp of Robert. He was perfectly
clear headed, and he had no foolish notions about the virtue of
generosity. He preferred to buy rather than to give away. A bargain was
struck between them, hardly six months after their father's death, and
the transaction is characteristic of the two brothers. For three thousand
pounds of silver, Henry purchased what people of the time regarded as a
third of Robert's inheritance, the lordship of the Cotentin, with its
important castles, towns, and vassals. The chroniclers call him now Count
of the Cotentin, and he there practised the art of government for a time,
and, in sharp contrast to Robert, maintained order with a strong hand.
During the same summer of 1088, Henry crossed over to England to get
possession of the lands of his mother Matilda, which she had bequeathed
to him on her death. This inheritance he does not seem to have obtained,
at least not permanently; but there was no quarrel between him and
William at that time. In the autumn he returned to Normandy, taking with
him Robert of Bellême. Robert had been forgiven his rebellion by the
king, and so clear was the evidence that Henry and Robert of Bellême had
entered into some kind of an arrangement with King William to assist his
designs on Normandy, or so clear was it made to seem to Duke Robert, that
on their landing he caused them both to be arrested and thrown into
prison. On the news of this the Earl of Shrewsbury, the father of Robert
of Bellême, crossed over from England to the aid of his son, and a short
civil war followed, in the early part of the next year, in which the
military operations were favourable to the duke, but his inconstancy and
weakness of character were shown in his releasing Robert of Bellême at
the close of the war as if he had himself been beaten. Henry also was
soon released, and took up again his government of the Cotentin.

William may have felt that Robert's willingness to accept the crown of
England from the rebel barons gave him the right to take what he could
get in Normandy, though probably he was not particularly troubled by the
question of any moral justification of his conduct. Opportunity would be
for him the main consideration, and the growing anarchy in the duchy
furnished this. Private war was carried on without restraint in more than
one place, and though the reign of a weak suzerain was to the advantage
of the rapacious feudal baron, many of the class preferred a stronger
rule. The arguments also in favour of a union of the kingdom and the
duchy, which had led to the rebellion against William, would now, since
that attempt had failed, be equally strong against Robert. For William no
motive need be sought but that of ambition, nor have we much right to say
that in such an age the ambition was improper. The temptation which the
Norman duchy presented to a Norman king of England was natural and
irresistible, and we need only note that with William II begins that
determination of the English kings to rule also in continental dominions
which influences so profoundly their own history, and hardly less
profoundly the history of their island kingdom, for centuries to come. To
William the Conqueror no such question could ever present itself, but the
moment that the kingdom and the duchy were separated in different hands
it must have arisen in the mind of the king.

But if William did not himself care for any moral justification of his
plans, he must make sure of the support of his English vassals in such an
undertaking; and the policy of war against Robert was resolved upon in a
meeting of the court, probably the Easter meeting of 1090. But open war
did not begin at once. William contented himself for some months with
sending over troops to occupy castles in the north-eastern portion of
Normandy, which were opened to him by barons who were favourable to his
cause or whose support was purchased. The alarm of Robert was soon
excited by these defections, and he appealed to his suzerain, King Philip
I of France, for aid. If the policy of ruling in Normandy was natural for
the English king, that of keeping kingdom and duchy in different hands
was an equally natural policy for the French king. It is hardly so early
as this, however, that we can date the beginning of this which comes in
the end to be a ruling motive of the Capetian house. Philip responded to
his vassal's call with a considerable army, but the money of the king of
England quickly brought him to a different mind, and he retired from the
field, where he had accomplished nothing.

In the following winter, early in February of 1091, William crossed over
into Normandy to look after his interests in person. The money which he
was wringing from England by the ingenuity of Ranulf Flambard he
scattered in Normandy with a free hand, to win himself adherents, and
with success. Robert could not command forces enough to meet him in the
field, and was compelled to enter into a treaty with him, in which, in
return for some promises from William, he not merely accepted his
occupation of the eastern side of the duchy, which was already
accomplished, but agreed to a similar occupation by William of the
north-western corner.

Cherbourg and Mont-Saint-Michel, two of the newly ceded places, belonged
to the dominions which "Count" Henry had purchased of his brother, and
must be taken from him by force. William and Robert marched together
against him, besieged him in his castle of Mont-Saint-Michel, and
stripped him of his lordship. Robert received the lion's share of the
conquest, but William obtained what he wished. Henry was once more
reduced to the condition of a landless prince, but when William returned
to England in August of this year both his brothers returned with him,
and remained there for some time.

William had been recalled to England by the news that King Malcolm of
Scotland had invaded England during his absence and harried
Northumberland almost to Durham. Malcolm had already refused to fulfil
his feudal obligations to the new king of England, and William marched
against him immediately on his return, taking his two brothers with him.
At Durham Bishop William of St. Calais, who had found means to reconcile
himself with the king, was restored to his rights after an exile of three
years. The expedition to Scotland led to no fighting. William advanced
with his army to the Firth of Forth. Malcolm met him there with an army
of his own, but negotiations were begun and conducted for William by his
brother Robert, and for Malcolm by the atheling Edgar, whose expulsion
from Normandy had been one of the conditions of the peace between William
and Robert. Malcolm at last agreed to acknowledge himself the man of
William II, with the same obligations by which he had been bound to his
father, and the king returned to England, as he had gone, by way of
Durham. Very likely something in this expedition suggested to William
that the north-western frontier of England needed rectification and
defence. At any rate, early in the spring of the next year, 1092, he
marched against Carlisle, expelled Dolphin, son of the Gospatric of
William the Conqueror's time, who was holding it under Malcolm of
Scotland, built and garrisoned a castle there, and after his return to
the south sent a colony of English families to occupy the adjacent
country. This enlargement of the area of England was practically a
conquest from the king of Scotland, and it may have been, in violation of
the pledge which William had just given, to restore to Malcolm all his
former possessions. Something, at least, led to immediate complaints from
Malcolm, which were without avail, and a journey that he made by
invitation the next year, to confer with William at Gloucester, resulted
only in what he regarded as further humiliating treatment. On his return
to Scotland he immediately took arms, and again invaded Northumberland.
This, however, was destined to be the last of his incursions, for he was
killed, together with his eldest son, Edward, near Alnwick, on the
eastern coast. The news of the death of her husband and son at once
proved fatal to Queen Margaret. A reaction followed against English
influence in the state, which she had supported, and a conflict of
parties and a disputed succession gave to William an opportunity to
interfere in favour of candidates of his own, though with little real
success. At least the north of England was relieved of the danger of
invasion. This year was also marked by important advances in the conquest
of South Wales by the Norman barons of the country.

[14] Dugdale, Monasticon, ed. 1846, 1.244 ff--and Symeon of Durham,
Deinjusta Vexations (Rolls series), i. 170 ff.



In following the history of Malcolm of Scotland we have passed by events
of greater importance which make the year 1093 a turning-point in the
reign of William Rufus. The appointment of Anselm to the archbishopric of
Canterbury divides the reign into two natural divisions. In the first
period William secures his hold on power, develops his tyrannous
administrative system and his financial extortions, begins his policy of
conquest in Normandy, forces Scotland to recognize his supremacy, and
rounds off his kingdom towards the north-west. The second period is more
simple in character, but its events are of greater importance. Apart from
the abortive rebellion of Robert of Mowbray, which has already been
narrated, William's authority is unquestioned. Flambard's machine appears
to run smoothly. Monks record their groans and give voice to their
horror, but the peace of the state is not disturbed, nor are precautions
necessary against any foreign enemy. Two series of events fill up the
history of the period, both of great and lasting interest. One is the
long quarrel between the king and the archbishop, which involve the
whole question of the relation between Church and State in the feudal
age; and the other is the king's effort to gain possession of Normandy,
the introductory chapter of a long history.

Early in Lent, 1093, or a little earlier, King William fell sick at a
royal manor near to Gloucester, and was carried in haste into that city.
There he lay during the rest of Lent, so ill that his death was expected
at any moment, and it was even reported that he had died. Brought face to
face with death, the terrors of the world to come seized hold of him. The
medieval sinner who outraged the moral sentiment of his time, as William
did, was sustained by no philosophical doubt of the existence of God or
belief in the evolutionary origin of ethics. His life was a reckless
defiance or a careless disregard of an almighty power, whose
determination and ability to punish him, if not bought off, he did not
question. The torments of a physical hell were vividly portrayed on all
occasions, and accepted by the highest as well as the lowest as an
essential part of the divine revelation. William was no exception to this
rule. He became even more shockingly defiant of God after his recovery
than he had been before. God, he declared to the Bishop of Rochester,
should never have in him a good man because of the evil which He had done
him. And God let him have what he wished, adds the pious historian,
according to the idea of good which he had formed. And yet, if he had
been allowed time for a death-bed repentance at the end of his life, he
would have yielded undoubtedly to the same vague terrors, and have made a
hasty bid for safety with gifts and promises. At any rate now, when the
nobles and bishops who came to visit him suggested that it was time for
him to make atonement for his evil deeds, he eagerly seized upon the
chance. He promised to reform his life, to protect the churches, and not
put them up any more for sale, to annul bad laws, and to decree good
ones; and bishops were sent to lay these promises on the altar. Some of
his good resolutions could only be carried out by virtue of a royal writ,
and an order was drawn up and sealed, commanding the release of
prisoners, the remission of debts due the crown, and the forgiving of
offences. Great was the rejoicing at these signs of reformation, and
prayers were, everywhere offered for so good a king, but when he had once
recovered, his promises were as quickly forgotten as the very similar
ones which he had made in the crisis of the rebellion of loss. William
probably still believed, when he found himself restored to health, that
nobody can keep all his promises, as he had answered when Lanfranc
remonstrated with him on the violation of his coronation pledges. Before
his recovery, however, he took one step in the way of reformation from
which he did not draw back. He appointed a new Archbishop of Canterbury.
It was the fear of death alone which wrung this concession from the king,
and it shows a clear consciousness on his part of the guilt of retaining
the archbishopric in his hands. Only a few weeks earlier, at the meeting
of the Christmas court, when the members had petitioned that he would be
graciously pleased to allow prayers to be offered that he might be led to
see the wrong which he was doing, he had answered with contempt, "Pray as
much as you like; I shall do what I please. Nobody's praying is going to
change my mind." Now, however, he was praying himself, and anxious to get
rid of this guilt. The man whom all England with one voice declared to be
the ideal archbishop was at hand, and the king besought him most
earnestly to accept the appointment, and so to aid him in his endeavour
to save his soul.

This man was Anselm, now abbot of the famous monastery of Bec, where
Lanfranc had been at one time prior. Born sixty years before, at Aosta,
in the kingdom of Burgundy, in the later Piedmont, he had crossed into
France, like Lanfranc, led by the desire of learning and the religious
life. Finally he had become a monk at Bec, and had devoted himself to
study and to theological writing. Only with great reluctance, and always
imperfectly, did he attend to the administrative duties which fell to him
as he was made first prior and then abbot of the monastery. His cast of
mind was wholly metaphysical, his spirit entirely of the cloister and the
school. The monastic life, free from the responsibilities of office,
exactly suited him, and he was made for it. When all England was
importuning him to accept the primacy, he shrank back from it with a
reluctance which was wholly genuine, and an obstinacy which belonged also
to his nature. He felt himself unfitted for the place, and he foresaw the
result. He likened his future relation with the king to that of a weak
old sheep yoked with an untamed bull. In all this he was perfectly right.
That harmony which had existed between Lanfranc and the Conqueror,
because each understood the other's position and rights and was
interested in his work, was never for a moment possible between Anselm
and William Rufus; and this was only partly due to the character of the
king. So wholly did the archbishop belong to another world than the
king's that he never appreciated the double position in which his office
placed him. One side of it only, the ecclesiastical, with its duties and
rights and all their logical consequences, he clearly saw. At the
beginning of his primacy, he seemed to understand, and he certainly
accepted, the feudal relationship in which he was placed to the king, but
the natural results of this position he never admitted. His mind was too
completely taken up with the other side of things; and with his fixedness
of purpose, almost obstinacy of character, and the king's wilfulness,
conflict was inevitable.

It was only with great difficulty that Anselm was brought to accept the
appointment. Being in England on a visit to Hugh, Earl of Chester, he had
been brought to the king's bedside when he fell sick, as the man best
able to give him the most certain spiritual comfort; and when William had
been persuaded of his guilt in keeping the primacy so long vacant, Anselm
was dragged protesting to the presence of the sick man, and his fingers
were partially forced open to receive the pastoral staff which William
extended to him. Then he was carried off, still protesting, to a church
near by, where the religious ceremonies usual on the appointment of a
bishop were performed. Still Anselm refused to yield to this friendly
violence. He returned immediately to the king, predicted his recovery,
and declared that he had not accepted the primacy, and did not accept it,
in spite of all that had been done. For some reason, however, William
adhered to this much of his reformation. He gave order for the immediate
transfer to his appointee of all that pertained to the archbishopric, and
sent to Normandy for the consent of the secular and ecclesiastical
superiors of Anselm, the duke and the Archbishop of Rouen, and of the
monks of his abbey. At length Anselm yielded, not because his judgment
had been changed as to the wisdom of the appointment, but sacrificing
himself rather, in the monastic spirit, to the call of Heaven.

It was near the end of September, however, before the new archbishop was
enthroned. Several matters had first to be arranged to the satisfaction
of Anselm, and among these were three conditions which he presented to be
agreed to by the king. William was probably ready to agree without
hesitation that he would take the archbishop as his guide and director in
religious matters, and equally ready to pay no attention to the promise
afterward. A more difficult condition was, that all the lands which had
belonged to the church of Canterbury at Lanfranc's death should be
restored, including, evidently, certain lands which William had granted
to his own men. This condition would show that the king had treated the
archbishopric as a forfeited fief, and that its lands had been alienated
on terms unfavourable to the Church. William hesitated long on this
condition, and tried to persuade Anselm to waive it; but the letters of
the future archbishop show that his conscience was deeply engaged and
would not permit him to agree to anything that would impoverish his see,
and the king must have yielded in the end. The third condition was, that
Anselm should be allowed to continue in the obedience of Pope Urban II,
whom he had already acknowledged in Normandy. This must also have been a
disagreeable condition to the king. The divided state of Christendom,
into which it had been thrown by the conflict between the pope and the
emperor on the question of investitures, was favourable to that
autocratic control of the Church which William Rufus desired to maintain.
He had no wish to decide between the rival popes, nor was he willing to
modify his father's rule that no pope should be recognized by the English
Church without the king's consent. We are not told that in this
particular he made anything more than a vague promise to do what he ought
to do, but very likely Anselm may have regarded this point more as a
warning to the king of his own future action than as a necessary
condition of his acceptance of the archbishopric.

All these preliminaries being settled in some form satisfactory to
Anselm, he yielded to the universal desire, and was enthroned on
September 25. The rejoicing of this day at Canterbury was not allowed to
go on, however, without interruption by the king. Ranulf Flambard
appeared in person and served a writ on the new archbishop, summoning him
to answer in some suit in the king's court. The assurance of Anselm's
friend and biographer, Eadmer, that this action concerned a matter wholly
within the province of the Church, we can hardly accept as conclusive
evidence of the fact; but Anselm was certainly right in regarding such an
act on this day as foreboding greater troubles to come. On December 4,
Anselm was consecrated at an assembly of almost all the bishops of
England, including Thomas, Archbishop of York. The occasion is noteworthy
because the Archbishop of York interrupted the proceedings to object to
the term "metropolitan of all Britain," applied to the church of
Canterbury, calling attention to the fact that the church of York was
known to be metropolitan also. The term primate was at once substituted
for that of metropolitan, since the archbishops of Canterbury did not
claim the right to exercise an administrative authority within the see of

It is interesting to notice, in view of the conflict on investitures
which was before long to begin in England, and which had already been for
years so bitterly fought upon the continent, that all these events
happened without the slightest questioning on the part of any one of the
king's sole right to dispose of the highest see of the realm as he
pleased. There was no suggestion of the right of election, no objection
to lay investiture, no protest from any one. Anselm accepted investiture
with the staff from the hand of the king without remark. He acknowledged
his feudal relation to him, swore fealty to him as a vassal,[15] and was
ready to perform his obligations of feudal service, at least upon his own
interpretation of their extent. A little later, in 1095, after the first
serious conflict between himself and the king, when the papal legate in
England took of him his oath of fealty to the pope, the oath contained the
usual Norman clause reserving his fealty to the king. A clause in the
bishop's oath to the pope so unusual as this could not have passed in
that age without notice. It occasioned instant criticism from strict
ecclesiastics on the continent, and it must have been consciously inserted
by Anselm and consciously accepted by the legate. Such facts as these,
combined with the uncompromising character of Anselm, are more striking
evidence of the absolutism of the Norman monarchy than anything which
occurred in the political world during this period.

Within a few days after his consecration, Anselm set out from Canterbury
to attend the Christmas meeting of the king's court at Gloucester. There
he was well received by the king, but the most important business before
the court was destined to lead to the first breach between them. Robert
of Normandy had grown tired of his brother's long delay in keeping the
promises which he had made in the treaty of Caen. Now there appeared at
Gloucester a formal embassy from him, authorized to declare William
forsworn and faithless, and to renounce all peace and agreement with him
unless he held to the treaty or exculpated himself in due form. There
could be no hesitation about an answer to this demand. It is more than
likely that William himself, within a short time, would have sought for
some excuse to begin again his conquest of Normandy, if Robert had not
furnished him this one. War was at once resolved upon, and preparations
made for an immediate campaign. The most important preliminary question,
both for William and for England, was that of money, and on this question
the scruples of Anselm and the will of the king first came into
collision. Voluntary aids, donations of money for the special
undertakings or necessities of the king, were a feature of William's
financial management, though their voluntary character seems often to
have been more a matter of theory than of reality. If the sum offered was
not so large as the king expected, he refused to accept it and withdrew
his favour from the delinquent until he received the amount he thought
proper. Anselm was persuaded by his friends to conform to this custom,
and hoping that he might in this way secure the favour and support of the
king in his ecclesiastical plans, he offered him five hundred pounds of
silver. At first William was pleased with the gift and accepted it, but
his counsellors advised him that it was too small, and Anselm was
informed that it would not be received. The archbishop's attempt to
persuade William to take the money only called out an angry answer. "Keep
your own to yourself," the king said, "I have enough of mine;" and Anselm
went away rejoicing that now evil-minded men would have no occasion to
say that he had bought his office, and he promised the money to the poor.
The archbishop was acting here entirely within his legal rights, but it
was not an auspicious beginning of his pontificate. Within a few weeks
the prelates and nobles of England were summoned to meet again--at
Hastings, from which port the king intended to cross to Normandy. The
weather was for some weeks unfavourable, and during the delay the church
of the new abbey of Battle was dedicated; Robert Bloet, who had been
appointed Bishop of Lincoln while the king was in fear of death, was
consecrated, though Anselm himself had not as yet received his pallium
from the pope; and Herbert Losinga, Bishop of Thetford, who had bought
his bishopric from the king and afterwards, apparently in repentance, had
personally sought the confirmation of the pope, was suspended from his
office because he had left the realm without the permission of the king
and had sought from the unacknowledged Pope Urban the bishopric which the
king asserted his full right to confer. He afterwards recovered William's
favour and removed his see to Norwich. At Hastings, in a personal
interview with the king, Anselm sought permission to hold a synod of the
kingdom, which had not up to this time been allowed during the reign, and
remonstrated with him in the plainest language for keeping so many
monasteries without abbots while he used their revenues for wars and
other secular purposes. In both respects William bluntly refused to
change his conduct, and when Anselm sought through the bishops the
restoration of his favour, refused that also "because," he said, "I do
not know why I should grant it." When it was explained to Anselm that
this was a formula of the king's which meant that his favour was to be
bought, he refused on grounds of policy as well as of principle to
increase, or even to renew, his former offer. This seemed like a final
breach with the king. William's anger was great when he heard of Anselm's
decision. He declared that he would hate him constantly more and more,
and never would hold him for his spiritual father or a bishop. "Let him
go home as soon as he likes," he cried, "he need not wait any longer to
give his blessings to my crossing over" and Anselm departed at once from

On March 19, 1094, William at last crossed to Normandy. The campaign
which followed was without decisive results. He was no nearer the
conquest of the duchy at the end than at the beginning. Indeed, we can
hardly say that the campaign had an end. It died away by degrees, but no
formal peace was made, and the duchy came finally into the hands of
William, not by conquest, but by other means. On William's landing an
attempt was made to renew the peace at an interview between him and
Robert, but without avail. Then those who had signed the treaty of Caen
as guarantors, twelve barons for Robert and twelve for William, were
called upon to say who was acting in violation of the treaty. They
decided, apparently without disagreement, against William, but he refused
to be bound by their verdict. The war which followed was a typical feudal
war, the siege of castles, the capture of men and towns. Robert called in
once more his suzerain, Philip of France, to his aid, and captured two
important castles, that of Argentan towards the south, and that of La
Houlme in the north-west. William then took a step which illustrates
again the extent of his power and his arbitrary use of it. He ordered a
levy of ten thousand men from England to be sent him in Normandy, and
when they had assembled at Hastings, Ranulf Flambard, by the king's
orders we are told, took from them the ten shillings which each man had
been furnished for his expenses, and sent them home. Robert and Philip
were now marching against William at Eu, and it was probably by the
liberal use of this money that "the king of France was turned back by
craft and all the expedition dispersed." About the same time William sent
for his brother Henry to join him. Henry had reappeared in western
Normandy not long before, and had begun the reconstruction of his power
there. Invited by the inhabitants of Domfront to protect them against
Robert of Bellême, he had made that place a starting-point from which he
had recovered a considerable part of his earlier possessions. Now William
sent ships to bring him by sea to Eu, probably wishing to use his
military skill against their common enemy. For some reason, however, the
ships departed from their course, and on the last day of October he
landed at Southampton, where he stayed some weeks. On December 28,
William also returned to England, and in the spring, Henry was sent back
to Normandy with supplies of money to keep up the war against Robert.

The year 1094 had been a hard one for both England and Normandy. The
duchy had suffered more from the private wars which prevailed everywhere,
and which the duke made no effort to check, than from the invasion of
William. England in general had had peace, under the strong hand of the
king, but so heavy had been the burden of the taxation which the war in
Normandy had entailed that agriculture declined, we are told, and famine
and pestilence followed. In the west the Welsh had risen against the
Norman lords, and had invaded and laid waste parts of the English border
counties. In Scotland William's ally, Duncan, had been murdered, and his
uncle, Donald, who represented the Scottish national party, had been made
king in his place. William found difficulties enough in England to occupy
him for some time, particularly when, as was told above, the refusal of
Robert of Mowbray to appear at court in March revealed the plans of the
barons for another insurrection.

Before he could attempt to deal with any of these difficulties, however,
another question, more troublesome still, was forced upon the king. A few
weeks after his landing Anselm came to him and asked leave to go to Rome
to get his pallium from the pope. "From which pope?" asked the king.
Anselm had already given warning of the answer which he must make, and at
once replied, "From Urban." Here was joined an inevitable issue between
the king and the archbishop; inevitable, not because of the character of
the question but because of the character of the two men. No conflict
need have arisen upon this question. When Anselm had remonstrated with
the king on the eve of his Norman expedition, about the vacant abbeys
that were in his hands, William in anger had replied that Lanfranc would
never have dared to use such language to his father. We may be sure for
one thing, that Lanfranc would have dared to oppose the first William
with all his might, if he had thought the reason sufficient, but also
that his more practical mind would never have allowed him to regard this
question as important enough to warrant the evils that would follow in
the train of an open quarrel between king and primate. During the last
years of Lanfranc's life, at least from 1084, no pope had been formally
recognized in England. To Anselm's mind, however, the question was one of
vital importance, where delay would be the sacrifice of principle to
expediency. On the other hand, it seems clear to us, looking back on
these events, that William, from the strength of his position in England,
could have safely overlooked Anselm's personal recognition of Urban, and
could have tacitly allowed him even to get his pallium from the pope
without surrendering anything of his own practical control of the Church.
William, however, refused to take this course. Perhaps he had come to see
that a conflict with Anselm could not be avoided, and chose not to allow
him any, even merely formal, advantages. The student of this crisis is
tempted to believe, from the facts of this case, from the king's taking
away "the staff" from the Bishop of Thetford, if the words used refer to
anything more than a confiscation of his fief, and especially from his
steady refusal to allow the meeting of a national council, that William
had conceived the idea of an independent Church under his supreme control
in all that pertained to its government, and that he was determined to be
rid of an Archbishop of Canterbury, who would never consent to such a

Of the dispute which followed we have a single interesting and detailed
account, written by Eadmer who was in personal attendance on Anselm
through it all, but it is the account of a devoted partisan of the
archbishop which, it is clear, we cannot trust for legal distinctions,
and which is not entirely consistent with itself. According to this
narrative, William asserted that Anselm's request, as amounting to an
official recognition of one of the two popes, was an attack upon his
sovereignty as king. This Anselm denied,--he could not well appreciate
the point,--and he affirmed that he could at the same time be true to the
pope whom he had recognized and to the king whose man he was. This was
perfectly true from Anselm's point of view, but the other was equally
true from William's. The fundamental assumptions of the two men were
irreconcilable. The position of the bishop in a powerful feudal monarchy
was an impossible one without some such practical compromise of tacit
concessions from both sides, as existed between Lanfranc and William I.
Anselm desired that this question, whether he could not at the same time
preserve his fidelity to both pope and king, be submitted to the decision
of the king's court, and that body was summoned to meet at Rockingham
castle at an early date. The details of the case we cannot follow. The
king appears to have been desirous of getting a condemnation of Anselm
which would have at least the practical effect of vacating the
archbishopric, but he met with failure in his purpose, whatever it was,
and this it seems less from the resistance of the bishops to his will
than from the explicit refusal of the lay barons to regard Anselm as no
longer archbishop. The outcome of the case makes it clear that there was
in Anselm's position no technical violation of his feudal obligations to
the king. At last the actual decision of the question was postponed to a
meeting to be held on the octave of Whitsuntide, but in the meantime the
king had put into operation another plan which had been devised for
accomplishing his wish. He secretly despatched two clerks of his chapel
to Italy, hoping, so at least Anselm's biographer believed, to obtain, as
the price of his recognition of Urban, the deposition of Anselm by the
authority of the pope for whom he was contending. The opportunity was
eagerly embraced at Rome. A skilful and not over-scrupulous diplomatist,
Walter, Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, was immediately sent back to England
with the messengers of Rufus, doubtless with instructions to get as much
as possible from the king without yielding the real principle involved in
Anselm's case. In the main point Walter was entirely successful. The man
of violent temper is not often fitted for the personal conflicts of
diplomacy; at least in the strife with the papal legate the king came off
second best. It is more to be wondered at that a man of so acute a mind
as William of St. Calais, who was now one of the king's most intimate
advisers, did not demand better guarantees.

Cardinal Walter carefully abstained at first from any communication with
Anselm. He passed through Canterbury without the archbishop's knowledge;
he seemed to acquiesce in the king's view of the case. William believed
that everything was going as he wished, and public proclamation was made
that Urban was to be obeyed throughout his dominions. But when he pressed
for a deposition of Anselm, he found that this had not been included in
the bargain; nor could he gain, either from the legate or from Anselm,
the privilege of bestowing the pallium himself. He was obliged to yield
in everything which he had most desired; to reconcile himself publicly
with the archbishop, and to content himself with certain not unimportant
concessions, which the cardinal wisely yielded, but which brought upon
him the censure of the extreme Church party. Anselm promised to observe
faithfully the laws and customs of the kingdom; at this time also was
sworn his oath of fidelity to the pope, with the clause reserving his
fealty to the king; and Cardinal Walter formally agreed that legates
should be sent to England only with the consent of the king. But in the
most important points which concerned the conflict with the archbishop
the king had been defeated. Urban was officially recognized as pope, and
the legate entered Canterbury in solemn procession, bearing the pallium,
and placed it on the altar of the cathedral, from which Anselm took it as
if he had received it from the hands of the pope.

Inferences of a constitutional sort are hardly warranted by the character
of our evidence regarding this quarrel, but the facts which we know seem
to imply that even so powerful and arbitrary a king as William Rufus
could not carry out a matter on which his heart was so set as this
without some pretence of legal right to support him, at least in the case
of so high a subject as the Archbishop of Canterbury; and that the barons
of the kingdom, with the law on their side, were able to hold the king's
will in check. Certainly the different attitude of the barons in the
quarrel of 1097, where Anselm was clearly in the wrong, is very

Already before the close of this business the disobedience of Robert of
Mowbray had revealed to the king the plot against him, and a considerable
part of the summer of 1095 was occupied in the reduction of the
strongholds of the Earl of Northumberland. In October the king invaded
Wales in person, but found it impossible to reach the enemy, and retired
before the coming on of winter. In this year died the aged Wulfstan,
Bishop of Worcester, the last of the English bishops who survived the
Conquest. His bishopric fell into the hands of Flambard, and furnishes us
one of the best examples we have of his treatment of these fiefs. On the
first day of the next year died also William of St. Calais, Bishop of
Durham, who had once more fallen under the king's displeasure for some
reason, and who had been compelled to come up to the Christmas court,
though too ill to travel. He left incomplete his new cathedral of Durham,
which he had begun on a splendid scale soon after his return from exile
early in the reign, beginning also a new period in Norman architecture of
lighter and better-proportioned forms, with no sacrifice of the
impression of solid strength.

This year of 1096, which thus began for England with the death of one of
the ablest of her prelates, is the date of the beginning for Europe as a
whole of one of the most profound movements of medieval times. The
crusades had long been in preparation, but it was the resolution and
eloquence of Pope Urban which turned into a definite channel the strong
ascetic feeling and rapidly growing chivalric passion of the west, and
opened this great era. The Council of Clermont, at which had occurred
Urban's famous appeal and the enthusiastic vow of the crusaders, had been
held in November, 1095, and the impulse had spread rapidly to all parts
of France. The English nation had no share in this first crusade, and but
little in the movement as a whole; but its history was from the beginning
greatly influenced by it. Robert of Normandy was a man of exactly the
type to be swept away by such a wave of enthusiasm, and not to feel the
strength of the motives which should have kept him at home. His duty as
sovereign of Normandy, to recover the castles held by his brother, and to
protect his subjects from internal war, were to him as nothing when
compared with his duty to protect pious pilgrims to the tomb of Christ,
and to deliver the Holy Land from the rule of the infidel. William Rufus,
on the other hand, was a man to whom the motives of the crusader would
never appeal, but who stood ready to turn to his own advantage every
opportunity which the folly of his brother might offer. Robert's most
pressing need in such an undertaking was for money, and so much more
important did this enterprise seem to him than his own proper business
that he stood ready to deliver the duchy into the hands of his brother,
with whom he was even then in form at war for its possession, if he could
in that way obtain the necessary resources for his crusade. William was
as eager to get the duchy as Robert was to get the money, and a bargain
was soon struck between them. William carried over to Normandy 10,000
marks--the mark was two-thirds of a pound--and received from Robert, as a
pledge for the payment of the loan, the possession of the duchy for a
period of at least three years, and for how much longer we cannot now
determine with certainty, but for a period which was probably intended to
cover Robert's absence. The duke then set off at once on his crusade,
satisfied with the consciousness that he was following the plain path of
duty. With him went his uncle, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, to die in Sicily in
the next winter.

William had bought the possession of Normandy at a bargain, but he did
not propose to pay for it at his own cost. The money which he had spent,
and probably more than that, he recovered by an extraordinary tax in
England, which excited the bitter complaints of the ecclesiastical
writers. If we may trust our interpretation of the scanty accounts which
have reached us, this money was raised in two ways, by a general land-tax
and by additional personal payments from the king's own vassals. By grant
of the barons of England a Danegeld of four shillings on the hide, double
the usual tax, was collected, and this even from the domain lands of the
Church, which it was asserted, though with doubtful truth, had always
been exempt. The clergy paid this tax, but entered formal protest against
it, probably in order to prevent, if possible, the establishment of a
precedent against their liberties. The additional payment suggested by
some of the chroniclers is to be seen in detail in the case of Anselm,
who regarded this as a reasonable demand on the part of the king, and
who, besides passing over to the treasury what he collected from his men,
made on advice a personal payment of 200 marks, which he borrowed from
the Canterbury monks on the security of one of his domain manors. Not
all the churches were so fortunate as to have the ready money in the
treasury, and in many cases ornaments and sacred utensils were
sacrificed, while the lay lords undoubtedly recovered their payments by
like personal auxilia from their men, until the second tax really
rested like the first upon the land. The whole formed a burden likely to
cripple seriously the primitive agriculture of the time, as we are told
that it did.

Having taken possession of Normandy, William returned to England at
Easter in 1097. The Welsh had been making trouble again, and the king
once more marched against them in person; but a country like Wales was
easily defended against a feudal army, and the expedition accomplished
little and suffered much, especially in the loss of horses. William
returned probably in no very amiable mood, and at once sent off a letter
to Anselm complaining that the contingent of knights which he had sent to
meet his obligation of service in the campaign was badly furnished and
not fit for its duties, and ordered him to be ready to do him right
according to the sentence of the king's court whenever he should bring
suit against him. To this letter Anselm paid no attention, and he
resolved to let the suit against him go by default, on the ground that
everything was determined in the court by the will of the king, and that
he could get no justice there. In taking this position, the archbishop
was putting himself in the wrong, for the king was acting clearly within
his legal rights; but this fact Anselm probably did not understand. He
could not enter into the king's position nor his own in relation to him,
but he might have remembered that two years before, for once at least,
the king had failed to carry through his will in his court.

The case came on for trial at the Whitsuntide court at Windsor, but
before anything was determined Anselm sent by certain barons to ask the
king's leave to go to Rome, which was at once refused. This action was
evidently not intended by Anselm as an appeal of the case to Rome, nor
was it so understood by the king; but for some reason the suits against
him were now dropped. Anselm's desire to visit Rome apparently arose from
the general condition of things in the kingdom, from his inability to
hold synods, to get important ecclesiastical offices filled, or to reform
the evils of government and morals which prevailed under William. In
other words, he found himself nominally primate of England and
metropolitan of the great province of Canterbury, but in reality with
neither power nor influence. Such a condition of things was intolerable
to a man of Anselm's conscientiousness, and he had evidently been for
some time coming to the conclusion that he must personally seek the
advice of the head of the Church as to his conduct in such a difficult
situation. He had now definitely made up his mind, and as the Bishop of
Winchester told him at this time, he was not easy to be moved from a
thing he had once undertaken. He repeated his request in August, and
again in October of the same year. On the last occasion William lost his
temper and threatened him with another suit in the court for his
vexatious refusal to abide by the king's decision. Anselm insisted on his
right to go. William pointed out to him, that if he was determined to go,
the result would be the confiscation of the archbishopric,--that is, of
the barony. Anselm was not moved by this. Then the bishops attempted to
show him the error of his ways, but there was so little in common between
their somewhat worldly position as good vassals of the king, and his
entire other-worldliness, that nothing was gained in this way. Finally,
William informed him that if he chose he might go, on the conditions
which had been explained to him,--that is, of the loss of all that he
held of the king. This was permission enough for Anselm, and he at once
departed, having given his blessing to the king.

No case could be more typical than this of the irreconcilable conflict
between Church and State in that age, irreconcilable except by mutual
concessions and compromise, and the willingness of either to stand partly
in the position of the other. If we look at the matter from the political
side, regarding the bishop as a public officer, as a baron in a feudally
organized state, the king was entirely right in this case, and fully
justified in what he did. Looking at the Church as a religious
institution, charged with a spiritual mission and the work of moral
reformation, we must consider Anselm's conduct justified, as the only
means by which he could hope to obtain freedom of action. Both were in a
very real sense right in this quarrel, and both were wrong. Not often
during the feudal period did this latent contradiction of rights come to
so open and plain an issue as this. That it did so here was due in part
to the character of the king, but in the main to the character of the
archbishop. Whether Lanfranc could have continued to rule the Church in
harmony with William Rufus is an interesting question, but one which we
cannot answer. He certainly would not have put himself legally in the
wrong, as Anselm did, and he would have considered carefully whether the
good to be gained for the cause of the Church from a quarrel with the
king would outweigh the evil. Anselm, however, was a man of the
idealistic type of mind, who believed that if he accepted as the
conditions of his work the evils with which he was surrounded, and
consented to use the tools that he found ready to his hand, he had made,
as another reformer of somewhat the same type once said of the
constitution of the United States in the matter of slavery, "a covenant
with death and an agreement with hell."

Anselm left England early in November, 1097, not to return during the
lifetime of William. If he had hoped, through the intervention of the
pope, to weaken the hold of the king on the Church of England, and to be
put in a position where he could carry out the reforms on which his heart
was set, he was doomed to disappointment. After a stay of some months at
Lyons, with his friend Archbishop Hugh, he went on to Rome, where he was
treated with great ceremonial honour by the pope, but where he learned
that the type of lofty and uncompromising independence which he himself
represented was as rare in the capital of the Christian world as he had
found it among the bishops of England. There, however, he learned a
stricter doctrine on the subject of lay investitures, of appointments to
ecclesiastical office by kings and princes, than he had yet held, so that
when he finally returned to England he brought with him the germs of
another bitter controversy with a king, with whom but for this he might
have lived in peace.

In the same month with Anselm, William also crossed to Normandy, but
about very different business. Hardly had he obtained possession of the
duchy when he began to push the claims of the duke to bordering lands, to
the French Vexin, and to the county of Maine, claims about which his
brother had never seriously concerned himself and which, in one case,
even his father had allowed to slumber for years. Robert had, indeed,
asserted his claim to Maine after the death of his father, and had been
accepted by the county; but a revolt had followed in 1190, the Norman
rule had been thrown off, and after a few months Elias of La Fleche, a
baron of Maine and a descendant of the old counts, had made himself
count. He was a man of character and ability, and the peace which he
established was practically undisturbed by Robert; but the second William
had no mind to give up anything to which he could lay a claim. He
demanded of the French king the surrender of the Vexin, and warned Elias,
who had taken the cross, that the holy errand of the crusade would not
protect his lands during his absence. War followed in both cases,
simultaneous wars, full of the usual incidents, of the besieging of
castles, the burning of towns, the laying waste of the open country; wars
in which the ruin of his peasantry was almost the only way of coercing
the lord. William's operations were almost all successful, but he died
without accomplishing all that he had hoped for in either direction. In
the Vexin he captured a series of castles, which brought him almost to
Paris; in Maine he captured Le Mans, lost it again, and finally recovered
its possession, but the southern part of the county and the castles of
Elias there he never secured.

In the year 1098 Magnus, king of Norway, had appeared for a moment with a
hostile fleet off the island of Anglesey. Some reason not certainly known
had brought him round Scotland, perhaps to make an attack on Ireland. He
was the grandson of the King Harold of Norway, who had invaded England on
the eve of the Norman Conquest and perished in the battle of Stamford
Bridge, and he had with him, it is said, a son of Harold of England: to
him the idea of a new invasion of England would not seem strange. At any
rate, after taking possession of the Isle of Man, he came to the help of
the Welsh against the earls, Hugh of Chester and Hugh of Shrewsbury, who
were beginning the conquest of Anglesey. The incident is noteworthy
because, in the brief fighting which occurred, the Earl of Shrewsbury was
slain. His death opened the way for the succession of his brother, Robert
of Bellême, to the great English possessions of their father in Wales,
Shropshire, and Surrey, to which he soon added by inheritance the large
holdings of Roger of Bully in Yorkshire and elsewhere. These
inheritances, when added to the lands, almost a principality in
themselves, which he possessed in southern Normandy and just over the
border in France, made him the most powerful vassal of the English king.
In character he had inherited far more from his tyrannous and cruel
mother, Mabel, daughter of William Talvas of Bellême, than from his more
high-minded father, Roger of Montgomery, the companion of the Conqueror.
As a vassal he was utterly untrustworthy, and he had become too powerful
for his own safety or for that of the king.

Some minor events of these years should be recounted. In 1097 William had
sent Edgar the atheling to Scotland with an army, King Donald had been
overthrown, and Edgar's nephew, himself named Edgar, with the support of
the English king, had been made king. In 1099 Ranulf Flambard received
the reward of his faithful services, and was made Bishop of Durham, in
some respects the most desirable bishopric in England. Greater prospects
still of power and dominion were opened to William a few months before
his death, by the proposition of the Duke of Aquitaine to pledge him his
great duchy for a sum of money to pay the expenses of a crusade. To add
to the lands he already ruled those between the Loire and the Garonne
would be almost to create a new monarchy in France and to threaten more
dangerously at this moment the future of the Capetian kingdom than did
two generations later the actual union of these territories and more
under the king of England.

But William was now rapidly approaching the term of his life. The
monastic chronicles, written within a generation or two later, record
many visions and portents of the time foreshadowing the doom which was
approaching, but these are to us less records of actual facts than
evidences of the impression which the character and government of the
king had made, especially upon the members of the Church. On August 2,
1100, William rode out to hunt in the New Forest, as was his frequent
custom. In some way, how we do not know, but probably by accident, he was
himself shot with an arrow by one of his company, and died almost
instantly. Men believed, not merely that he was justly cut off in his
sins with no opportunity for the final offices of the Church, but that
his violent death was an instance, the third already, of the doom which
followed his father's house because of the evil that was done in the
making of the Forest. The king's body was brought to Winchester, where it
was buried in the old minster, but without the ordinary funeral rites.
One of his companions that day, Walter Tirel, a French baron who had been
attracted to the service of the king by the prospect of rich reward which
it offered, was thought to have been responsible for his death, and he
fled in haste and escaped to his home; but he afterwards solemnly
declared, when there would have been no danger to himself in confession,
that it was not his arrow that slew the king, and whose it was will never
be known.

[15] Eadmer, Hist. Nov., p. 41.



In the hunting party which William Rufus led out on August 2, 1100, to
his mysterious death in the New Forest, was the king's younger brother,
Henry. When the cry rang through the Forest that the king was dead, Henry
seized the instant with the quick insight and strong decision which were
marked elements of his genius. He rode at once for Winchester. We do not
even know that he delayed long enough to make sure of the news by going
to the spot where his brother's body lay. He rode at full speed to
Winchester, and demanded the keys of the royal treasury, "as true heir,"
says Ordesic Vitalis, one of the best historians of Henry's reign,
recording rather, it is probable, his own opinion than the words of the
prince. Men's ideas were still so vague, not yet fixed and precise as
later, on the subject of rightful heirship, that such a demand as
Henry's--a clear usurpation according to the law as it was finally to
be--could find some ground on which to justify itself; at least this,
which his historian suggests and which still meant much to English minds,
that he was born in the purple, the son of a crowned king.

But not every one was ready to admit the claim of Henry. Between him and
the door of the treasury William of Breteuil, who also had been of the
hunting party and who was the responsible keeper of the hoard, took his
stand. Against the demand of Henry he set the claim of Robert, the better
claim according even to the law of that day, though the law which he
urged was less that which would protect the right of the eldest born than
the feudal law regarding homage done and fealty sworn. "If we are going
to act legally," he said to Henry, "we ought to remember the fealty which
we have promised to Duke Robert, your brother. He is, too, the eldest
born son of King William, and you and I, my Lord Henry, have done him
homage. We ought to keep faith to him absent in all respects as if he
were present." He followed his law by an appeal to feeling, referring to
Robert's crusade. "He has been labouring now a long time in the service
of God, and God has restored to him, without conflict, his duchy, which as
a pilgrim he laid aside for love of Him." Then a strife arose, and a
crowd of men ran together to the spot. We can imagine they were not
merely men of the city, but also many of the king's train who must have
ridden after Henry from the Forest. Whoever they were, they supported
Henry, for we are told that as the crowd collected the courage of the
"heir who was demanding his right" increased. Henry drew his sword and
declared he would permit no "frivolous delay." His insistence and the
support of his friends prevailed, and castle and treasury were turned
over to him.[16]

This it was which really determined who should be king. Not that the
question was fully settled then, but the popular determination which
showed itself in the crowd that gathered around the disputants in
Winchester probably showed itself, in the days that followed, to be the
determination of England in general, and thus held in check those who
would have supported Robert, while Henry rapidly pushed events to a
conclusion and so became king. There is some evidence that, after the
burial of William, further discussion took place among the barons who
were present, as to whether they would support Henry or not, and that
this was decided in his favour largely by the influence of Henry of
Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, son of his father's friend and counsellor, the
Count of Meulan. But we ought not to allow the use of the word witan in
this connexion, by the Saxon chronicler, or of "election" by other
historians or by Henry himself, to impose upon us the belief in a
constitutional right of election in the modern sense, which could no more
have existed at that time than a definite law of inheritance. In every
case of disputed succession the question was, whether that one of the
claimants who was on the spot could secure quickly enough a degree of
support which would enable him to hold the opposition in check until he
became a crowned king. A certain amount of such support was indispensable
to success. Henry secured this in one way, Stephen in another, and John
again in a third. In each case, the actual events show clearly that a
small number of men determined the result, not by exercising a
constitutional right of which they were conscious, but by deciding for
themselves which one of the claimants they would individually support.
Some were led by one motive, and some by another. In Henry's case we
cannot doubt that the current of feeling which had shown itself in
Winchester on the evening of the king's death had a decisive influence on
the result, at least as decisive as the early stand of London was
afterwards in Stephen's case.

Immediately, before leaving Winchester, Henry performed one royal act of
great importance to his cause, and skilfully chosen as a declaration of
principles. He appointed William Giffard, who had been his brother's
chancellor, Bishop of Winchester. This see had been vacant for nearly
three years and subject to the dealings of Ranulf Flambard. The immediate
appointment of a bishop was equivalent to a proclamation that these
dealings should now cease, that bishoprics should no longer be kept
vacant for the benefit of the king, and it was addressed to the Church,
the party directly interested and one of the most powerful influences in
the state in deciding the question of succession. The speed with which
Henry's coronation was carried through shows that the Church accepted his

There was no delay in Winchester. William was killed on the afternoon of
Thursday, August 2; on Sunday, Henry was crowned in Westminster, by
Maurice, Bishop of London. Unhesitating determination and rapid action
must have filled the interval. Only a small part of England could have
learned of William's death when Henry was crowned, and he must have known
at the moment that the risk of failure was still great. But everything
indicates that Henry had in mind a clearly formed policy which he
believed would lead to success, and he was not the man to be afraid of
failure. The Archbishop of Canterbury was still in exile; the Archbishop
of York was far away and ill; the Bishop of London readily performed the
ceremony, which followed the old ritual. In the coronation oath of the
old Saxon formula, Henry swore, with more intention of remembering it
than many kings, that the Church of God and all Christian people he would
keep in true peace, that he would forbid violence and iniquity to all
men, and that in all judgments he would enjoin both justice and mercy.

The man who thus came to the throne of England was one of her ablest
kings. We know far less of the details of his reign than we could wish.
Particularly scanty is our evidence of the growth in institutions which
went on during these thirty-five years, and which would be of especial
value in illustrating the character and abilities of the king. But we
know enough to warrant us in placing Henry beyond question in the not
long list of statesmen kings. Not without some trace of the passions
which raged in the blood of the Norman and Angevin princes, he exceeded
them all in the strength of his self-control. This is the one most marked
trait which constantly recurs throughout the events of his long reign.
Always calm, we are sometimes tempted to say even cold, he never lost
command of himself in the most trying circumstances. Perfectly
clear-headed, he saw plainly the end to be reached from the distant
beginning, and the way to reach it, and though he would turn aside from
the direct road for policy's sake, he reached the goal in time. He knew
how to wait, to allow circumstances to work for him, to let men work out
their own destruction, but he was quick to act when the moment for action
came. Less of a military genius than his father, he was a greater
diplomatist. And yet perhaps we call him less of a military genius than
his father because he disliked war and gave himself no opportunities
which he could avoid; but he was a skilful tactician when he was forced
to fight a battle. But diplomacy was his chosen weapon, and by its means
he won battles which most kings would have sought to win by the sword.
With justice William of Malmesbury applied to him the words of Scipio
Africanus: "My mother brought me forth a general, not a mere soldier."

These were the gifts of nature. But when he came to the throne, he was a
man already disciplined in a severe school. Ever since the death of his
father, thirteen years before, when he was not yet twenty, the events
which had befallen him, the opportunities which had come to him, the
inferences which he could not have failed to make from the methods of his
brothers, had been training him for the business of his life. It was not
as a novice, but as a man experienced in government, that he began to
reign. And government was to him a business. It is clear that Henry had
always far less delight in the ordinary or possible glories of the
kingship than in the business of managing well a great state; and a name
by which he has been called, "The Lion of Justice," records a judgment of
his success. Physically Henry followed the type of his house. He was
short and thick-set, with a tendency to corpulence. He was not "the Red";
the mass of his black hair and his eyes clear and serene struck the
observer. Naturally of a pleasant disposition and agreeable to those
about him, he was quick to see the humorous side of things and carried
easily the great weight of business which fell to him. He was called
"Beauclerc," but he was never so commonly known by this name as William
by his of "Rufus." But he had, it would seem with some justice, the
reputation of being a learned king. Some doubtful evidence has been
interpreted to mean that he could both speak and read English. Certainly
he cherished a love of books and reading remarkable, at that time, in a
man of the world, and he seems to have deserved his reputation of a
ready, and even eloquent, speaker.

It was no doubt partly due to Henry's love of business that we may date
from his reign the beginning of a growth in institutions after the
Conquest. The machinery of good government interested him. Efforts to
improve it had his support. The men who had in hand its daily working in
curia regis and exchequer and chancery were certain of his favour, when
they strove to devise better ways of doing things and more efficient
means of controlling subordinates. But the reign was also one of advance
in institutions because England was ready for it. In the thirty-five
years since the Conquest, the nation which was forming in the island had
passed through two preparatory experiences. In the first the Norman, with
his institutions, had been introduced violently and artificially, and
planted alongside of the native English. It had been the policy of the
Conqueror to preserve as much as possible of the old while introducing
the new. This was the wisest possible policy, but it could produce as yet
no real union. That could only be the work of time. A new nation and a
new constitution were foreshadowed but not yet realized. The elements
from which they should be made had been brought into the presence of each
other, but not more than this was possible. Then followed the reign of
William II. In this second period England had had an experience of one
side, of the Norman side, carried to the extreme. The principles of
feudalism in favour of the suzerain were logically carried out for the
benefit of the king, and relentlessly applied to the Church as to the lay
society. That portion of the old English machinery which the Conqueror
had preserved fell into disorder, and was misused for royal, and worse
still, for private advantage. This second period had brought a vivid
experience of the abuses which would result from the exaggeration of one
of the elements of which the new state was to be composed at the expense
of the other. One of its most important results was the reaction which
seems instantly to have shown itself on the death of William Rufus, the
reaction of which Henry was quick to avail himself, and which gives us
the key to an understanding of his reign.

It is not possible to cite evidence from which we may infer beyond the
chance of question, either a popular reaction against the tyranny of
William Rufus, or a deliberate policy on the part of the new king to make
his hold upon the throne secure by taking advantage of such a reaction.
It is perhaps the duty of the careful historian to state his belief in
these facts, in less dogmatic form. And yet, when we combine together the
few indications which the chroniclers give us with the actual events of
the first two years of Henry's reign, it is hardly possible to avoid such
a conclusion. Henry seems certainly to have believed that he had much to
gain by pledging himself in the most binding way to correct the abuses
which his brother had introduced, and also that he could safely trust his
cause to an English, or rather to a national, party against the element
in the state which seemed unassimilable, the purely Norman element.

On the day of his coronation, or at least within a few days of that
event, Henry issued, in form of a charter,--that is, in the form of a
legally binding royal grant,--his promise to undo his brother's misdeeds;
and a copy of this charter, separately addressed, was sent to every
county in England. Considered both in itself as issued in the year 1100,
and in its historical consequences, this charter is one of the most
important of historical documents. It opens a long list of similar
constitutional documents which very possibly is not yet complete, and it
is in form and spirit worthy of the best of its descendants. Considering
the generally unformulated character of feudal law at this date, it is
neither vague nor general. It is to be noticed also, that the practical
character of the Anglo-Saxon race rules in this first charter of its
liberties. It is as business-like and clean cut as the Bill of Rights, or
as the American Declaration of Independence when this last gets to the
business in hand.

The charter opens with an announcement of Henry's coronation. In true
medieval order of precedence, it promises first to the Church freedom
from unjust exactions. The temporalities of the Church shall not be sold
nor put to farm, nor shall anything be taken from its domain land nor
from its men during a vacancy. Then follows a promise to do away with all
evil customs, and a statement that these in part will be enumerated. Thus
by direct statement here and elsewhere in the charter, its provisions are
immediately connected with the abuses which William II had introduced,
and the charter made a formal pledge to do away with them. The first
promises to the lay barons have to do with extortionate reliefs and the
abuse of the rights of wardship and marriage. The provision inserted in
both these cases, that the barons themselves shall be bound by the same
limitations in regard to their men, leads us to infer that William's
abuses had been copied by his barons, and suggests that Henry was looking
for the support of the lower ranks of the feudal order. Other promises
concern the coinage, fines, and debts due the late king, the right to
dispose by will of personal property, excessive fines, and the punishment
of murder. The forests Henry announces he will hold as his father held
them. To knights freedom of taxation is promised in the domain lands
proper of the estates which they hold by military service. The law of
King Edward is to be restored with those changes which the Conqueror had
made, and finally any property of the crown or of any individual which
has been seized upon since the death of William is to be restored under
threat of heavy penalty.

So completely does this charter cover the ground of probable abuses in
both general and local government, when its provisions are interpreted as
they would be understood by the men to whom it was addressed, that it is
not strange if men thought that all evils of government were at an end.
Nor is it strange in turn, that Henry was in truth more severe upon the
tyranny of his brother while he was yet uncertain of his hold upon the
crown, than in the practice of his later years. As a matter of fact, not
all the promises of the charter were kept. England suffered much from
heavy financial exactions during his reign, and the feudal abuses which
had weighed most heavily on lay and ecclesiastical barons reappeared in
their essential features. They became, in fact, recognized rights of the
crown. Henry was too strong to be forced to keep such promises as he
chose to forget, and it was reserved for a later descendant of his,
weaker both in character and in might of hand, to renew his charter at a
time when the more exact conception, both of rights and of abuses, which
had developed in the interval, enabled men not merely to enlarge its
provisions but to make them in some particulars the foundation of a new
type of government. Events rapidly followed the issue of the charter
which were equally emphatic declarations of Henry's purpose of reform,
and some of which at least would seem like steps in actual fulfilment of
the promises of the charter. Ranulf Flambard was arrested and thrown into
the Tower; on what charge or under what pretence of right we do not know,
but even if by some exercise of arbitrary power, it must have been a very
popular act. Several important abbacies which had been held vacant were
at once filled. Most important of all, a letter was despatched to
Archbishop Anselm, making excuses for the coronation of the king in his
absence, and requesting his immediate return to England. Anselm was at
the abbey of La Chaise Dieu, having just come from Lyons, where he had
spent a large part of his exile, when the news came to him of the death
of his royal adversary. He at once started for England, and was on his
way when he was met at Cluny by Henry's letter. Landing on September 23,
he went almost immediately to the king, who was at Salisbury. There two
questions of great importance at once arose, in one of which Anselm was
able to assist Henry, while the other gave rise to long-continued
differences between them.

The question most easily settled was that of Henry's marriage. According
to the historians of his reign, affection led Henry to a marriage which
was certainly most directly in line with the policy which he was carrying
out. Soon after his coronation, he proposed to marry Edith, daughter of
Malcolm, king of Scotland, and of Margaret, sister of the atheling Edgar.
She had spent almost the whole of her life in English monasteries, a good
part of it at Romsey, where her aunt Christina was abbess. Immediately
the question was raised, whether she had not herself taken the veil,
which she was known to have worn, and therefore whether the marriage was
possible. This was the question now referred to Anselm, and he made a
most careful examination of the case, and decision was finally pronounced
in a council of the English Church. The testimony of the young woman
herself was admitted and was conclusive against any binding vow. She had
been forced by her aunt to wear the veil against her will as a means of
protection in those turbulent times, but she had always rejected it with
indignation when she had been able to do so, nor had it been her father's
intention that she should be a nun. Independent testimony confirmed her
assertion, and it was formally declared that she was free to marry. The
marriage took place on November 11, and was celebrated by Anselm, who
also crowned the new queen under the Norman name of Matilda, which she

No act which Henry could perform would be more pleasing to the nation as
a whole than this marriage, or would seem to them clearer proof of his
intention to rule in the interest of the whole nation and not of himself
alone, or of the small body of foreign oppressors. It would seem like the
expression of a wish on Henry's part to unite his line with that of the
old English kings, and to reign as their representative as well as his
father's, and it was so understood, both by the party opposed to Henry
and by his own supporters. Whatever we may think of the dying prophecy
attributed to Edward the Confessor, that the troubles which he foresaw
for England should end when the green tree--the English dynasty--cut off
from its root and removed for the space of three acres' breadth--three
foreign reigns--should without human help be joined to it again and bring
forth leaves and fruit, the fact that it was thought, in Henry's reign,
to have been fulfilled by his marriage with Matilda and by the birth of
their children, shows plainly enough the general feeling regarding the
marriage and that for which it stood. The Norman sneer, in which the king
and his wife are referred to as Godric and Godgifu, is as plain an
indication of the feeling of that party. Such a taunt as this could not
have been called out by the mere marriage, and would never have been
spoken if the policy of the king, in spite of the marriage, had been one
in sympathy with the wishes of the extreme Norman element.

But if it was Henry's policy to win the support of the nation as a whole,
and to make it clear that he intended to undo the abuses of his brother,
he had no intention of abandoning any of the real rights of the crown.
The second question which arose on the first meeting of Anselm and Henry
involved a point of this kind. The temporalities of the Archbishop of
Canterbury were still in the king's hands, as seized by William Rufus on
Anselm's departure. Henry demanded that Anselm should do homage for this
fief, as would any baron of the king, and receive it from his hand. To
the astonishment of every one, Anselm flatly refused. In answer to
inquiries, he explained the position of the pope on the subject of lay
investiture, declared that he must stand by that position, and that if
Henry also would not obey the pope, he must leave England again. Here was
a sharp issue, drawn with the greatest definiteness, and one which it was
very difficult for the king to meet. He could not possibly afford to
renew the quarrel with Anselm and to drive him into exile again at this
moment, but it was equally impossible for him to abandon this right of
the crown, so long unquestioned and one on which so much of the state
organization rested. He proposed a truce until Easter, that the question
might be referred to the pope, in the hope that he would consent to
modify his decrees in view of the customary usages of the kingdom, and
agreeing that the archbishop should, in the meantime, enjoy the revenues
of his see. To this delay Anselm consented, though he declared that it
would be useless.

According to the archbishop's devoted friend and biographer, Eadmer, who
was in attendance on him at this meeting at Salisbury, Anselm virtually
admitted that this was a new position for him to take. He had learned
these things at Rome, was the explanation which was given; and this was
certainly true, though his stay at Lyons, under the influence of his
friend, Archbishop Hugh, a strong partisan of the papal cause, was equally
decisive in his change of views.[17] He had accepted investiture
originally from the hand of William Rufus without scruple; he had never
objected to it with regard to any of that king's later appointments. In
the controversy which followed with Henry, there is nothing which shows
that his own conscience was in the least degree involved in the question.
He opposed the king with his usual unyielding determination, not because
he believed himself that lay investiture was a sin, but because pope and
council had decided against it, and it was his duty to maintain their

This was a new position for Anselm to take; it was also raising a new
question in the government of England. For more than a quarter of a
century the papacy had been fighting this battle against lay investiture
with all the weapons at its disposal, against its nearest rival, the
emperor, and with less of open conflict and more of immediate success in
most of the other lands of Europe. But in the dominions of the Norman
princes the question had never become a living issue. This was not
because the papacy had failed to demand the authority there which it was
striving to secure elsewhere. Gregory VII had laid claim to an even more
complete authority over England than this. But these demands had met with
no success. Even as regards the more subordinate features of the
Hildebrandine reformation, simony and the celibacy of the clergy, the
response of the Norman and English churches to the demand for
reformation had been incomplete and half-hearted, and not even the
beginning of a papal party had shown itself in either country. This
exceptional position is to be accounted for by the great strength of the
crown, and also by the fact that the sovereign in his dealings with the
Church was following in both states the policy marked out by a long
tradition. Something must also be attributed, and probably in Normandy as
well as in England, to the clearness with which Lanfranc perceived the
double position of the bishop in the feudal state. The Church was an
important part of the machinery of government, and as such its officers
were appointed by the king, and held accountable to him for a large part
at least of their official action. This was the theory of the Norman
state, and this theory had been up to this time unquestioned. It is
hardly too much to call the Norman and English churches, from the
coronation of William I on to this time, practically independent national
churches, with some relationship to the pope, but with one so external in
its character that no serious inconvenience would have been experienced
in their own government had some sudden catastrophe swept the papacy out
of existence.

It was, however, in truth impossible for England to keep itself free from
the issue which had been raised by the war upon lay investiture. The real
question involved in this controversy was one far deeper than the
question of the appointment of bishops by the sovereign of the state.
That was a point of detail, a means to the end; very important and
essential as a means, but not the end itself. Slowly through centuries of
time the Church had become conscious of itself. Accumulated precedents of
the successful exercise of power, observation of the might of
organization, and equally instructive experience of the weakness of
disorganization and of the danger of self-seeking, personal or political,
in the head of the Christian world, had brought the thinking party in the
Church to understand the dominant position which it might hold in the
world if it could be controlled as a single organization and animated by
a single purpose. It was the vision of the imperial Church, free from all
distracting influence of family or of state, closely bound together into
one organic whole, an independent, world-embracing power: more than this
even, a power above all other powers, the representative of God, on
earth, to which all temporal sovereigns should be held accountable.

That the Church failed to gain the whole of that for which it strove was
not the fault of its leaders. A large part of the history of the world in
the eleventh and twelfth centuries is filled with the struggle to create,
in ideal completeness, this imperial Church. The reformation of Cluny had
this for its ultimate object. From the beginning made by that movement,
the political genius of Hildebrand sketched the finished structure and
pointed out the means to be employed in its completion. That the emperor
was first and most fiercely attacked was not due to the fact that he was
a sinner above all others in the matter of lay investiture or simony. It
was the most urgent necessity of the case that the papacy should make
itself independent of that power which in the past had exercised the most
direct sovereignty over the popes, and before the conflict should end be
able to take its seat beside the empire as an equal, or even a superior,
world power. But if the empire must be first overcome, no state could be
left out of this plan, and in England as elsewhere the issue must sooner
or later be joined.

It must not be understood that mere ambition was at the bottom of this
effort of the Church. Of ambition in the ordinary sense it is more than
probable that no leader of this movement was conscious. The cause of the
Church was the cause of God and of righteousness. The spiritual power
ought justly to be superior to the temporal, because the spiritual
interests of men so far outweigh their temporal. If the spiritual power
is supreme, and holds in check the temporal, and calls the sovereign to
account for his wrong-doing, the way of salvation will be easier for all
men, and the cause of righteousness promoted. If this kind of a Church is
to be organized, and this power established in the world, it is essential
that so important an officer in the system as the bishop should be chosen
by the Church alone, and with reference alone to the spiritual interests
which he is to guard, and the spiritual duties he must perform. Selection
by the state, accountability to the state, would make too serious a flaw
in the practical operation of this system to be permitted. The argument
of the Church against the practice of lay investiture was entirely sound.

On the other hand, the argument of the feudal state was not less sound.
It is difficult for us to get a clear mental picture of the organization
of the feudal state, because the institutions of that state have left few
traces in modern forms of government. The complete transformation of the
feudal baronage into a modern nobility, and the rise on the ruins of the
feudal state of clearly defined, legislative, judicial, and
administrative systems have obscured the line of direct descent. But the
feudal baron was very different from a modern noble, and there was no
bureaucracy and no civil service in the feudal state beyond their mere
beginnings in the personal servants of the king. No function of
government was the professional business of any one, but legislative,
judicial, administrative, financial, and military operations were all
incidental to something else. This may not seem true of the sheriff; but
that he had escaped transformation, after the feudalization of England,
into something more than an administrative officer makes the Norman state
somewhat exceptional at that time, and the history of this office, even
under the most powerful of kings, shows the strength of the tendency
toward development in the direction of a private possession. Even while
remaining administrative, the office was known to the Normans by a name
which to some extent in their own home, and generally elsewhere, had come
to be an hereditary feudal title,--the viscount. In this system of
government, the baron was the most essential feature. Every kind of
government business was performed in the main through him, and as
incidental to his position as a baron. The assembly of the barons, the
curia regis, whether the great assembly of all the barons of the
kingdom, meeting on occasions by special summons, or the smaller assembly
in constant attendance on the king, was the primitive and
undifferentiated machine by which government was carried on. If the
baronage was faithful to the crown, or if the crown held the baronage
under a strong control, the realm enjoyed good government and the nation
bore with comparatively little suffering the burdens which were always
heavy. If the baronage was out of control, government fell to pieces, and
anarchy and oppression took its place.

In this feudal state, however, a bishop was a baron. The lands which
formed the endowment of his office--and in those days endowment could
take no other form--constituted a barony. The necessity of a large income
and the generosity of the faithful made of his endowment a great fief. It
is important to realize how impossible any other conception than this was
to the political half of the world. In public position, influence upon
affairs, wealth, and popular estimation, the bishop stood in the same
class with the baron. The manors which were set aside from the general
property of the Church to furnish his official income would, in many
cases, provide for an earldom. In fitness to perform the manifold
functions of government which fell to him, the bishop far exceeded the
ordinary baron. The state could not regard him as other than a baron; it
certainly could not dispense with his assistance. It was a matter of
vital importance to the king to be able to determine what kind of men
should hold these great fiefs and occupy these influential positions in
the state, and to be able to hold them to strict accountability. The
argument of the state in favour of lay investiture was as sound as the
argument of the Church against it.

Here was a conflict of interests in which no real compromise was
possible. Incidental features of the conflict might be found upon which
the form of a compromise could be arranged. But upon the one essential
point, the right of selecting the man, one or the other of the parties
whose interests were involved must give way. It is not strange that in
the main, except where the temporary or permanent weakness of the
sovereign made an exception, that interest which seemed to the general
run of men of most immediate and pressing importance gained the day, and
the spiritual gave way to the temporal. But in England the conflict was
now first begun, and the time of compromise had not yet come. Henry's
proposal to Anselm of delay and of a new appeal to the pope was chiefly a
move to gain time until the situation of affairs in England should turn
more decidedly in his favour. He especially feared, Eadmer tells us, lest
Anselm should seek out his brother Robert and persuade him--as he easily
could--to admit the papal claims, and then make him king of England.

Robert had returned to Normandy from the Holy Land before the arrival of
Anselm in England. He had won much glory on the crusade, and in the rush
of events and in the constant fighting, where responsibility for the
management of affairs did not rest upon him alone, he had shown himself a
man of energy and power. But he came back unchanged in character. Even
during the crusade he had relapsed at times into his more indolent and
careless mood, from which he had been roused with difficulty. In southern
Italy, where he had stopped among the Normans on his return, he had
married Sibyl, daughter of Geoffrey of Conversana, a nephew of Robert
Guiscard, but the dowry which he received with her had rapidly melted
away in his hands. He was, however, now under no obligation to redeem
Normandy. The loan for which he had pledged the duchy was regarded as a
personal debt to William Rufus, not a debt to the English crown, and
Henry laid no claim to it. Robert took possession of Normandy without
opposition from any quarter. It is probable that if Robert had been left
to himself, he would have been satisfied with Normandy, and that his
easy-going disposition would have led him to leave Henry in undisturbed
possession of England. But he was not left to himself. The events which
had occurred soon after the accession of William Rufus repeated
themselves soon after Henry's. No Norman baron could expect to gain any
more of the freedom which he desired under Henry than he had had under
William. The two states would also be separated once more if Henry
remained king of England. Almost all the Normans accordingly applied to
Robert, as they had done before, and offered to support a new attempt to
gain the crown. Robert was also urged forward by the advice of Ranulf
Flambard, who escaped from the Tower in February, 1101, and found a
refuge and new influence in Normandy. Natural ambition was not wanting to
Robert, and in the summer of 1101 he collected his forces for an invasion
of England.

Though the great Norman barons stood aloof from him--Robert of Bellême
and his two brothers Roger and Arnulf, William of Warenne, Walter
Giffard, and Ivo of Grantmesnil, with others--Henry was stronger in
England than Robert. No word had yet been received from Rome in answer to
the application which he had made to the pope on the subject of the
investiture; and in this crisis the king was liberal with promises to the
archbishop, and Anselm was strongly on his side with the Church as a
whole. His faithful friends, Robert, Count of Meulan, and his brother
Henry, Earl of Warwick, were among the few whom he could trust. But his
most important support he found, as his brother William had found it in
similar circumstances, in the mass of the nation which would now be even
more ready to take the side of the king against the Norman party.

Henry expected the invaders to land at Pevensey, but apparently, with the
help of some part of the sailors who had been sent against him, Robert
landed without opposition at Portsmouth, towards the end of July, 1101.
Thence he advanced towards London, and Henry went to meet him. The two
armies came together near Alton, but no battle was fought. In a conflict
of diplomacy, Henry was pretty sure of victory, and to this he preferred
to trust. A meeting of the brothers was arranged, and as a result Robert
surrendered all the real advantages which he had crossed the channel to
win, and received in place of them gains which might seem attractive to
him, but which must have seemed to Henry, when taken all together, a
cheap purchase of the crown. Robert gave up his claim to the throne and
released Henry, as being a king, from the homage by which he had formerly
been bound. Henry on his side promised his brother an annual payment of
three thousand marks sterling, and gave up to him all that he possessed
in Normandy, except the town of Domfront, which he had expressly promised
not to abandon. It was also agreed, as formerly between Robert and
William Rufus, that the survivor should inherit the dominions of the
other if he died without heirs. A further provision concerned the
adherents of each of the brothers during this strife. Possessions in
England of barons of Normandy, which had been seized by Henry because of
their fidelity to Robert, should be restored, and also the Norman estates
of English barons seized by Robert, but each should be free to deal with
the barons of his own land who had proved unfaithful. This stipulation
would be of especial value to Henry, who had probably not found it
prudent to deal with the traitors of his land before the decision of the
contest; but some counter-intrigues in Normandy in favour of Henry were
probably not unknown to Robert.

Robert sent home at once a part of his army, but he himself remained in
England long enough to witness in some cases the execution by his brother
of the provision of the treaty concerning traitors. He took with him, on
his return to Normandy, Orderic Vitalis says, William of Warenne and many
others disinherited for his sake. Upon others the king took vengeance one
at a time, on one pretext or another, and these included at least Robert
of Lacy, Robert Malet, and Ivo of Grantmesnil. The possessions of Ivo in
Leicestershire passed into the hands of the faithful Robert, Count of
Meulan--faithful to Henry if not to the rebel who sought his help--and
somewhat later became the foundation of the earldom of Leicester.

Against the most powerful and most dangerous of the traitors, Robert of
Bellême, Henry felt strong enough to take steps in the spring of 1102. In
a court in that year Henry brought accusation against Robert on
forty-five counts, of things done or said against himself or against his
brother Robert. The evidence to justify these accusations Henry had been
carefully and secretly collecting for a year. When Robert heard this
indictment, he knew that his turn had come, and that no legal defence was
possible, and he took advantage of a technical plea to make his escape.
He asked leave to retire from the court and take counsel with his men. As
this was a regular custom leave was granted, but Robert took horse at
once and fled from the court. Summoned again to court, Robert refused to
come, and began to fortify his castles. Henry on his side collected an
army, and laid siege first of all to the castle of Arundel. The record of
the siege gives us an incident characteristic of the times. Robert's men,
finding that they could not defend the place, asked for a truce that they
might send to their lord and obtain leave to surrender. The request was
granted, the messengers were sent, and Robert with grief "absolved them
from their promised faith and granted them leave to make concord with the
king." Henry then turned against Robert's castles in the north. Against
Blyth he marched himself, but on his approach he was met by the townsmen
who received him as their "natural lord." To the Bishop of Lincoln he
gave orders to besiege Tickhill castle, while he advanced towards the
west, where lay Robert's chief possessions and greatest strength.

In his Shrewsbury earldom Robert had been preparing himself for the final
struggle with the king ever since he had escaped his trial in the court.
He counted upon the help of his two brothers, whose possessions were also
in those parts, Arnulf of Pembroke, and Roger called the Poitevin, who
had possession of Lancaster. The Welsh princes also stood ready, as their
countrymen stood for centuries afterwards, to combine with any party of
rebellious barons in England, and their assistance proved of as little
real value then as later. With these allies and the help of Arnulf he
laid waste a part of Staffordshire before Henry's arrival, the Welsh
carrying off their plunder, including some prisoners. Robert's chief
dependence, however, must have been upon his two very strong castles of
Bridgenorth and Shrewsbury, both of which had been strengthened and
provisioned with care for a stubborn resistance.

Henry's first attack with what seems to have been a large force was on
Bridgenorth castle. Robert had himself chosen to await the king's attack
in Shrewsbury, and had left three of his vassals in charge of
Bridgenorth, with a body of mercenaries, who often proved,
notwithstanding the oaths of vassals, the most faithful troops of feudal
days. He had hoped that his Welsh friends would be able to interfere
seriously with Henry's siege operations, but in this he was disappointed.
The king's offers proved larger than his, at least to one of the princes,
and no help came from that quarter. One striking incident of this siege,
though recorded by Orderic Vitalis only, is so characteristic of the
situation in England, at least of that which had just preceded the
rebellion of Robert, and bears so great an appearance of truth, that it
deserves notice. The barons of England who were with the king began to
fear that if he were allowed to drive so powerful an earl as Robert of
Bellême to his ruin the rest of their order would be henceforth at his
mercy, and no more than weak "maid-servants" in his sight. Accordingly,
after consulting among themselves, they made a formal attempt to induce
the king to grant terms to Robert. In the midst of an argument which the
king seems to have been obliged to treat with consideration, the shouts
of 3000 country soldiers stationed on a hill near by made themselves
heard, warning Henry not to trust to "these traitors," and promising him
their faithful assistance. Encouraged by this support, the king rejected
the advice of the barons.

The siege of Bridgenorth lasted three weeks. At the end of that time,
Henry threatened to hang all whom he should capture, unless the castle
were surrendered in three days; and despite the resistance of Robert's
mercenaries, the terms he offered were accepted. Henry immediately sent
out his forces to clear the difficult way to Shrewsbury, where Robert,
having learned of the fall of Bridgenorth, was awaiting the issue,
uncertain what to do. One attempt he made to obtain for himself
conditions of submission, but met with a flat refusal. Unconditional
surrender was all that Henry would listen to. Finally, as the king
approached, he went out to meet him, confessed himself a traitor and
beaten, and gave up the keys of the town. Henry used his victory to the
uttermost. Personal safety was granted to the earl, and he was allowed to
depart to his Norman possessions with horses and arms, but this was all
that was allowed him. His vast possessions in England were wholly
confiscated; not a manor was left him. His brothers soon afterwards fell
under the same fate, and the most powerful and most dangerous Norman
house in England was utterly ruined. For the king this result was not
merely the fall of an enemy who might well be feared, and the acquisition
of great estates with which to reward his friends; it was a lesson of the
greatest value to the Norman baronage. Orderic Vitalis, who gives us the
fullest details of these events states this result in words which cannot
be improved upon: "And so, after Robert's flight, the kingdom of Albion
was quiet in peace, and King Henry reigned prosperously three and thirty
years, during which no man in England dared to rebel or to hold any
castle against him."

From these and other forfeitures Henry endowed a new nobility, men of
minor families, or of those that had hitherto played no part in the
history of the land. Many of them were men who had had their training and
attracted the king's attention in the administrative system which he did
so much to develop, and their promotion was the reward of faithful
service. These "new men" were settled in some numbers in the north, and
scholars have thought they could trace the influence of their
administrative training and of their attitude towards the older and more
purely feudal nobility in the events of a century later in the struggle
for the Great Charter.

These events, growing directly out of Robert's attempt upon England, have
carried us to the autumn of 1102; but in the meantime the equally
important conflict with Anselm on the subject of investitures had been
advanced some stages further. The answer of Pope Paschal II to the
request which had been made of him, to suspend in favour of England the
law of the Church against lay investitures, had been received at least
soon after the treaty with Robert. The answer was a flat refusal, written
with priestly subtlety, arguing throughout as if what Henry had demanded
was the spiritual consecration of the bishops, though it must be admitted
that in the eyes of men who saw only the side of the Church the
difference could not have been great. So far as we know, Henry said
nothing of this answer. He summoned Anselm to court, apparently while his
brother was still in England, and peremptorily demanded of him that he
should become his man and consecrate the bishops and abbots whom he had
appointed, as his predecessors had done, or else immediately leave the
country. It is uncertain whether the influence of Robert had anything to
do with this demand, as Eadmer supposed, but the recent victory which the
king had gained, and the greater security which he must have felt,
doubtless affected its peremptory character. Anselm again based his
refusal of homage on his former position, on the doctrine which he had
learned at Rome. Of this Henry would hear nothing; he insisted upon the
customary rights of English kings. The other alternative, however, which
he offered the archbishop, or with which he threatened him, of departure
from England, Anselm also declined to accept, and he returned to
Canterbury to carry on his work quietly and to await the issue.

This act of Anselm's was a virtual challenge to the king to use violence
against him if he dared, and such a challenge Henry was as yet in no
condition to take up. Not long after his return to Canterbury, Anselm
received a friendly letter from the king, inviting him to come to
Westminster, to consider the business anew. Here, with the consent of the
assembled court, a new truce was arranged, and a new embassy to Rome
determined on. This was to be sent by both parties and to consist of
ecclesiastics of higher rank than those of the former embassy, who were
to explain clearly to the pope the situation in England, and to convince
him that some modification of the decrees on the subject would be
necessary if he wished to retain the country in his obedience. Anselm's
representatives were two monks, Baldwin of Bee and Alexander of
Canterbury; the king's were three bishops, Gerard of Hereford, lately
made Archbishop of York by the king, Herbert of Norwich, and Robert of

The embassy reached Rome; the case was argued before the pope; he
indignantly refused to modify the decrees; and the ambassadors returned
to England, bringing letters to this effect to the king and to the
archbishop. Soon after their return, which was probably towards the end
of the summer, 1102, Anselm was summoned to a meeting of the court at
London, and again required to perform homage or to cease to exercise his
office. He of course continued to refuse, and appealed to the pope's
letters for justification. Henry declined to make known the letter he had
received, and declared that he would not be bound by them. His position
was supported by the three bishops whom he had sent to Rome, who on the
reading of the letter to Anselm declared that privately the pope had
informed them that so long as the king appointed suitable men he would
not be interfered with, and they explained that this could not be stated
in the letters lest the news should be carried to other princes and lead
them to usurp the rights of the Church. Anselm's representatives
protested that they had heard nothing of all this, but it is evident that
the solemn assertion of the three bishops had considerable weight, and
that even Anselm was not sure but that they were telling the truth.

On a renewed demand of homage by the king, supported by the bishops and
barons of the kingdom, Anselm answered that if the letters had
corresponded to the words of the bishops, very likely he would have done
what was demanded as the case stood, he proposed a new embassy to Rome to
reconcile the contradiction, and in the meantime, though he would not
consecrate the king's nominees, he agreed not to regard them as
excommunicate. This proposal was at once accepted by Henry, who regarded
it as so nearly an admission of his claim that he immediately appointed
two new bishops: his chancellor, Roger, to Salisbury, and his larderer,
also Roger, to Hereford.

Perhaps in the same spirit, regarding the main point as settled, Henry
now allowed Anselm to hold the council of the English Church which
William Rufus had so long refused him. The council met at Westminster and
adopted a series of canons, whose chief object was the complete carrying
out of the Gregorian reformation in the English Church. The most
important of them concerned the celibacy of the priesthood, and enacted
the strictest demands of the reform party, without regard to existing
conditions. No clerics of any grade from subdeacon upward, were to be
allowed to marry, nor might holy orders be received hereafter without a
previous vow of celibacy. Those already married must put away their
wives, and if any neglected to do so, they were no longer to be
considered legal priests, nor be allowed to celebrate mass. One canon,
which reveals one of the dangers against which the Church sought to guard
by these regulations, forbade the sons of priests to inherit their
father's benefices. It is very evident from these canons, that this part
of the new reformation had made but little, if any, more headway in
England than that which concerned investiture, and we know from other
sources that the marriage of secular clergy was almost the rule, and that
the sons of priests in clerical office were very numerous. Less is said
of the other article of the reform programme, the extinction of the sin
of simony, but three abbots of important monasteries, recently appointed
by the king, were deposed on this ground without objection. This
legislation, so thorough-going and so regardless of circumstances, is an
interesting illustration of the uncompromising character of Anselm,
though it must be noticed that later experience raised the question in
his mind whether some modifications of these canons ought not to be made.

That Henry on his side had no intention of surrendering anything of his
rights in the matter of investiture is clearly shown, about the same
time, by his effort to get the bishops whom he had appointed to accept
consecration from his very useful and willing minister, Gerard,
Archbishop of York. Roger the larderer, appointed to Hereford, had died
without consecration, and in his place Reinelm, the queen's chancellor,
had been appointed. When the question of consecration by York was raised,
rather than accept it he voluntarily surrendered his bishopric to the
king. The other two persons appointed, William Giffard of Winchester, and
Roger of Salisbury, seemed willing to concede the point, but at the last
moment William drew back and the plan came to nothing. The bishops,
however, seem to have refused consecration from the Archbishop of York
less from objection to royal investiture than out of regard to the claims
of Canterbury. William Giffard was deprived of his see, it would seem by
judicial sentence, and sent from the kingdom.

About the middle of Lent of the next year, 1103, Henry made a new attempt
to obtain his demands of Anselm. On his way to Dover he stopped three
days in Canterbury and required the archbishop to submit. What followed
is a repetition of what had occurred so often before. Anselm offered to
be guided by the letters from Rome, in answer to the last reference
thither, which had been received but not yet read. This Henry refused. He
said he had nothing to do with the pope. He demanded the rights of his
predecessors. Anselm on his side declared that he could consent to a
modification of the papal decrees only by the authority which had made
them. It would seem as if no device remained to be tried to postpone a
complete breach between the two almost co-equal powers of the medieval
state; but Henry's patience was not yet exhausted, or his practical
wisdom led him to wish to get Anselm out of the kingdom before the breach
became complete. He begged Anselm to go himself to Rome and attempt what
others had failed to effect. Anselm suspected the king's object in the
proposal, and asked for a delay until Easter, that he might take the
advice of the king's court. This was unanimous in favour of the attempt,
and on April 27, 1103, he landed at Wissant, not an exile, but with his
attendants, "invested with the king's peace."

Four years longer this conflict lasted before it was finally settled by
the concordat of August, 1107; but these later stages of it, though not
less important considered in themselves, were less the pressing question
of the moment for Henry than the earlier had been. They were rather
incidents affecting his gradually unfolding foreign policy, and in turn
greatly affected by it. From the fall of Robert of Bellême to the end of
Henry's reign, the domestic history of England is almost a blank. If we
put aside two series of events, the ecclesiastical politics of the time,
of which interested clerks have given us full details, and the changes in
institutions which were going on, but which they did not think posterity
would be so anxious to understand, we know of little to say of this long
period in the life of the English people. The history which has survived
is the history of the king, and the king was in the main occupied upon
the continent. But in the case of Henry I, this is not improperly English
history. It was upon no career of foreign conquest, no seeking after
personal glory, that Henry embarked in his Norman expeditions. It was to
protect the rights of his subjects in England that he began, and it was
because he could accomplish this in no other way that he ended with the
conquest of the duchy and the lifelong imprisonment of his brother. There
were so many close bonds of connexion between the two states that England
suffered keenly in the disorders of Normandy, and the turbulence and
disobedience of the barons under Robert threatened the stability of
Henry's rule at home.

[16] Ordetic Vitalis, iv. 87 f.

[17] Liebermami, Anselm und Hugo van Lyon, in Aufsätze dem
Andenken an Georg Waitz gewidmet.



Robert of Bellême had lost too much in England to rest satisfied with the
position into which he had been forced. He was of too stormy a
disposition himself to settle down to a quiet life on his Norman lands.
Duke Robert had attacked one of his castles, while Henry was making war
upon him in England, but, as was usual in his case, totally failed; but
it was easy to take vengeance upon the duke, and he was the first to
suffer for the misfortunes of the lord of Bellême. All that part of
Normandy within reach of Robert was laid waste; churches and monasteries
even, in which men had taken refuge, were burned with the fugitives.
Almost all Normandy joined in planning resistance. The historian,
Orderic, living in the duchy, speaks almost as if general government had
disappeared, and the country were a confederation of local states. But
all plans were in vain, because a "sane head" was lacking. Duke Robert
was totally defeated, and obliged to make important concessions to Robert
of Bellême. At last Henry, moved by the complaints which continued to
come to him from churchmen and barons of Normandy, some of whom came over
to England in person, as well as from his own subjects, whose Norman
lands could not be protected, resolved himself to cross to Normandy. This
he did in the autumn of 1104, and visited Domfront and other towns which
belonged to him. There he was joined by almost all the leading barons of
Normandy, who were, indeed, his vassals in England, but who meant more
than this by coming to him at this time.

The expedition, however, was not an invasion. Henry did not intend to
make war upon his brother or upon Robert of Bellême. It was his intention
rather to serve notice on all parties that he was deeply interested in
the affairs of Normandy and that anarchy must end. To his brother Robert
he read a long lecture, filled with many counts of his misconduct, both
to himself personally and in the government of the duchy. Robert feared
worse things than this, and that he might turn away his brother's wrath,
ceded to him the county of Evreux, with the homage of its count, William,
one of the most important possessions and barons of the duchy. Already in
the year before Robert had been forced to surrender the pension Henry had
promised him in the treaty which they had made after Robert's invasion.
This was because of a rash visit he had paid to England without
permission, at the request of William of Warenne, to intercede for the
restoration of his earldom of Surrey. By these arrangements Robert was
left almost without the means of living, but he was satisfied to escape
so easily, for he feared above all to be deprived of the name of duke and
the semblance of power. Before winter came on the king returned to

In this same year, following out what seems to have been the deliberate
purpose of Henry to crush the great Norman houses, another of the most
powerful barons of England was sent over to Normandy, to furnish in the
end a strong reinforcement to Robert of Bellême, a man of the same stamp
as himself, namely William of Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, the king's own
cousin. At the time of Henry's earliest troubles with his brother Robert,
William had demanded the inheritance of their uncle Odo, the earldom of
Kent. The king had delayed his answer until the danger was over, had then
refused the request, and shortly after had begun to attack the earl by
suits at law. This drove him to Normandy and into the party of the king's
open enemies. On Henry's departure, Robert with the help of William began
again his ravaging of the land of his enemies, with all the former
horrors of fire and slaughter. The peasants suffered with the rest, and
many of them fled the country with their wives and children.

If order was to be restored in Normandy and property again to become
secure, it was clear that more thorough-going measures than those of
Henry's first expedition must be adopted. These he was now determined to
take, and in the last week of Lent, 1105, he landed at Barfleur, and
within a few days stormed and destroyed Bayeux, which had refused to
surrender, and forced Caen to open its gates. Though this formed the
extent of his military operations in this campaign, a much larger portion
of Normandy virtually became subject to him through the voluntary action
of the barons. And in a quite different way his visit to Normandy was of
decisive influence in the history of Henry and of England. As the
necessity of taking complete possession of the duchy, in order to secure
peace, became clear to Henry, or perhaps we should say as the vision of
Normandy entirely occupied and subject to his rule rose before his mind,
the conflict with Anselm in which he was involved began to assume a new
aspect. As an incident in the government of a kingdom of which he was
completely master, it was one thing; as having a possible bearing on the
success with which he could conquer and incorporate with his dominions
another state, it was quite another.

Anselm had gone to Rome toward the end of the summer of 1103. There he
had found everything as he had anticipated. The argument of Henry's
representative that England would be lost to the papacy if this
concession were not granted, was of no avail. The pope stood firmly by
the decrees against investiture. But Henry's ambassador was charged with
a mission to Anselm, as well as to the pope; and at Lyons, on the journey
back, the archbishop was told that his return to England would be very
welcome to the king when he was ready to perform all duties to the king
as other archbishops of Canterbury had done them. The meaning of this
message was clear. By this stroke of policy, Henry had exiled Anselm,
with none of the excitement or outcry which would have been occasioned by
his violent expulsion from the kingdom.

On the return of his embassy from Rome, probably in December, 1103, Henry
completed the legal breach between himself and Anselm by seizing the
revenues of the archbishopric into his own hands. This, from his
interpretation of the facts, he had a perfect right to do, but there is
very good ground to suppose that he might not have done it even now, if
his object had been merely to punish a vassal who refused to perform his
customary services. Henry was already looking forward to intervention in
Normandy. His first expedition was not made until the next summer, but it
must by this time have been foreseen, and the cost must have been
counted. The revenues of Canterbury doubtless seemed quite worth having.
Already, in 1104, we begin to get complaints of the heavy taxation from
which England was suffering. In the year of the second expedition, 1105,
these were still more frequent and piteous. Ecclesiastics and Church
lands bore these burdens with the rest of the kingdom, and before the
close of this year we are told that many of the evils which had existed
under William Rufus had reappeared.[18]

True to his temporizing policy, when complaints became loud, as early as
1104, Henry professed his great desire for the return of Anselm, provided
always he was willing to observe the customs of the kingdom, and he
despatched another embassy to Rome to persuade the pope to some
concession. This was the fifth embassy which he had sent with this
request, and he could not possibly have expected any other answer than
that which he had already received. Soon a party began to form among the
higher clergy of England, primarily in opposition to the king, and, more
for this reason probably than from devotion to the reformation, in
support of Anselm, though it soon began to show a disposition to adopt
the Gregorian ideas for which Anselm stood. This disposition was less
due to any change of heart on their part than to the knowledge which they
had acquired of their helplessness in the hands of an absolute king, and
of the great advantage to be gained from the independence which the
Gregorian reformation would secure them. Even Gerard of York early
showed some tendency to draw toward Anselm, as may be seen from a letter
which he despatched to him in the early summer of 1105, with some
precautions, suppressing names and expressions by which the writer might
be identified.[19] Toward the end of the year he joined with five other
bishops, including William Giffard, appointed by Henry to Winchester, in
a more open appeal to Anselm, with promise of support. How early Henry
became aware of this movement of opposition is not certain, but we may be
sure that his department of secret service was well organized. We shall
not be far wrong if we assign to a knowledge of the attitude of powerful
churchmen in England some weight among the complex influences which led
the king to the step which he took in July of this year.

In March, 1105, Pope Paschal II, whose conduct throughout this
controversy implies that he was not more anxious to drive matters to open
warfare than was Henry, advanced so far as to proclaim the
excommunication of the Count of Meulan and the other counsellors of the
king, and also of those who had received investiture at his hand. This
might look as if the pope were about to take up the case in earnest and
would proceed shortly to excommunicate the king himself. But Anselm
evidently interpreted it as the utmost which he could expect in the way
of aid from Rome, and immediately determined to act for himself. He left
Lyons to go to Reims, but learning on the way of the illness of the
Countess of Blois, Henry's sister Adela, he went to Blois instead, and
then with the countess, who had recovered, to Chartres. This brought
together three persons deeply interested in this conflict and of much
influence in England and with the king Anselm, who was directly
concerned; the Countess Adela, a favourite with her brother and on
intimate terms with him and Bishop Ivo of Chartres, who had written much
and wisely on the investiture controversy. And here it seems likely were
suggested, probably by Bishop Ivo, and talked over among the three, the
terms of the famous compromise by which the conflict was at last ended.

Anselm had made no secret of his intention of proceeding shortly to the
excommunication of Henry. The prospect excited the liveliest apprehension
in the mind of the religiously disposed Countess Adela, and she bestirred
herself to find some means of averting so dread a fate from her brother.
Henry himself had heard of the probability with some apprehension, though
of a different sort from his sister's. The respect which Anselm enjoyed
throughout Normandy and northern France was so great that, as Henry
looked forward to an early conquest of the duchy, he could not afford to
disregard the effect upon the general feeling of an open declaration of
war by the archbishop. The invitation of the king of France to Anselm, to
accept an asylum within his borders, was a plain foreshadowing of what
might follow.[20] Considerations of home and foreign politics alike
disposed Henry to meet halfway the advances which the other side was
willing to make under the lead of his sister.

With the countess, Anselm entered Normandy and met Henry at Laigle on
July 21, 1105. Here the terms of the compromise, which were more than two
years later adopted as binding law, were agreed upon between themselves,
in their private capacity. Neither was willing at the moment to be
officially bound. Anselm, while personally willing, would not formally
agree to the concessions expected of him, until he had the authority of
the pope to do so. Subsequent events lead us to suspect that once more
Henry was temporizing. Anselm was not in good health. He was shortly
after seriously ill. It is in harmony with Henry's policy throughout, and
with his action in the following months, to suppose that he believed the
approaching death of the archbishop would relieve him from even the
slight concessions to which he professed himself willing to agree. It is
not the place here to state the terms and effect of this agreement, but
in substance Henry consented to abandon investiture with the ring and
staff, symbols of the spiritual office; and Anselm agreed that the
officers of the Church should not be excommunicated nor denied
consecration if they received investiture of their actual fiefs from the
hand of the king. Henry promised that an embassy should be at once
despatched to Rome, to obtain the pope's consent to this arrangement, in
order that Anselm, to whom the temporalities of his see were now
restored, might be present at his Christmas court in England.

Delay Henry certainly gained by this move. The forms of friendly
intercourse were restored between himself and Anselm. The excommunication
was not pronounced. The party of the king's open enemies in Normandy, or
of those who would have been glad to be his open enemies in France, if
circumstances had been favourable, was deprived of support from any
popular feeling of horror against an outcast of the Church. But he made
no change in his conduct or plans. By the end of summer he was back in
England, leaving things well under way in Normandy. Severer exactions
followed in England, to raise money for new campaigns. One invention of
some skilful servant of the king's seemed to the ecclesiastical
historians more intolerable and dangerous than anything before. The
king's justices began to draw the married clergy before the secular
courts, and to fine them for their violation of the canons. By
implication this would mean a legal toleration of the marriage, on
payment of fines to the king, and thus it would cut into the rights of
the Church in two directions. It was the trial of a spiritual offence in
a secular court, and it was the virtual suspension of the law of the
Church by the authority of the State. Still no embassy went to Rome.
Christmas came and it had not gone. Robert of Bellême, alarmed at the
plans of Henry, which were becoming evident, came over from Normandy to
try to make some peaceable arrangement with the king, but was refused all
terms. In January, 1106, Robert of Normandy himself came over, to get, if
possible, the return of what he had lost at home; but he also could
obtain nothing. All things were in Henry's hands. He could afford to
refuse favours, to forget his engagements, and to encourage his servants
in the invention of ingenious exactions.

But Anselm was growing impatient. New appeals to action were constantly
reaching him from England. The letter of the six bishops was sent toward
the close of 1105. He himself began again to hint at extreme measures,
and to write menacing letters to the king's ministers. Finally, early in
1106, the embassy was actually sent to Rome. Towards the end of March the
Roman curia took action on the proposal, and Anselm was informed, in a
letter from the pope, that the required concessions would be allowed. The
pope was disposed to give thanks that God had inclined the king's heart
to obedience; yet the proposal was approved of, not as an accepted
principle, but rather as a temporary expedient, until the king should be
converted by the preaching of the archbishop, to respect the rights of
the Church in full. But Anselm did not yet return to England. Before the
envoys came back from Rome, Henry had written to him of his expectation
of early crossing into Normandy. On learning that the compromise would be
accepted by the pope, Henry had sent to invite him at once to England,
but Anselm was then too ill to travel, and he continued so for some time.
It was nearly August before Henry's third expedition actually landed in
Normandy, and on the 15th of that month the king and the archbishop met
at the Abbey of Bee, and the full reconciliation between them took place.
Anselm could now agree to the compromise. Henry promised to make
reformation in the particulars of his recent treatment of the Church, of
which the archbishop complained. Then Anselm crossed to Dover, and was
received with great rejoicing.

The campaign upon which Henry embarked in August ended by the close of
September in a success greater than he could have anticipated. He first
attacked the castle of Tinchebrai, belonging to William of Mortain, and
left a fortified post there to hold it in check. As soon as the king had
retired, William came to the relief of his castle, reprovisioned it, and
shut up the king's men in their defences. Then Henry advanced in turn
with his own forces and his allies, and began a regular siege of the
castle. The next move was William's, and he summoned to his aid Duke
Robert and Robert of Bellême, and all the friends they had left in
Normandy. The whole of the opposing forces were thus face to face, and
the fate of Normandy likely to be settled by a single conflict. Orderic,
the historian of the war, notes that Henry preferred to fight rather than
to withdraw, as commanded by his brother, being willing to enter upon
this "more than civil war for the sake of future peace."

In the meantime, the men of religion who were present began to exert
themselves to prevent so fratricidal a collision of these armies, between
whose opposing ranks so many families were divided. Henry yielded to
their wishes, and offered to his brother terms of reconciliation which
reveal not merely his belief in the strength of his position in the
country and his confidence of success, but something also of his general
motive. The ardour of religious zeal which the historian makes Henry
profess we may perhaps set aside, but the actual terms offered speak for
themselves. Robert was to surrender to Henry all the castles and the
jurisdiction and administration of the whole duchy. This being done,
Henry would turn over to him, without any exertion on his part, the
revenues of half the duchy to enjoy freely in the kind of life that best
pleased him. If Robert had been a different sort of man, we should
commend his rejection of these terms. Possibly he recalled Henry's
earlier promise of a pension, and had little confidence in the certainty
of revenues from this source. But Henry, knowing the men whose advice
Robert would ask before answering, had probably not expected his terms to
be accepted.

The battle was fought on September 28, and it was fiercely fought, the
hardest fight and with the largest forces of any in which Normans or
Englishmen had been engaged for forty years. The main body of both armies
fought on foot. The Count of Mortain, in command of Robert's first
division, charged Henry's front, but was met with a resistance which he
could not overcome. In the midst of this struggle Robert's flank was
charged by Henry's mounted allies, under Count Elias of Maine, and his
position was cut in two. Robert of Bellême, who commanded the rear
division, seeing the battle going against the duke, took to flight and
left the rest of the army to its fate. This was apparently to surrender
in a body. Henry reports the number of common soldiers whom he had taken
as ten thousand, too large a figure, no doubt, but implying the capture
of Robert's whole force. His prisoners of name comprised all the leaders
of his brother's side except Robert of Bellême, including the duke
himself, Edgar the English atheling, who was soon released, and William
of Mortain. The victory at once made Henry master of Normandy. There
could be no further question of this, and it is of interest to note that
the historian, William of Malmesbury, who in his own person typifies the
union of English and Norman, both in blood and in spirit, records the
fact that the day was the same as that on which the Conqueror had landed
forty years earlier, and regards the result as reversing that event, and
as making Normandy subject to England. This was not far from its real
historical meaning.

Robert clearly recognized the completeness of Henry's success. By his
orders Falaise was surrendered, and the castle of Rouen; and he formally
absolved the towns of Normandy in general from their allegiance to
himself. At Falaise Robert's young son William, known afterwards as
William Clito, was captured and brought before Henry. Not wishing himself
to be held responsible for his safety, Henry turned him over to the
guardianship of Elias of Saint-Saens, who had married a natural daughter
of Robert's. One unsought-for result of the conquest of Normandy was that
Ranulf Flambard, who was in charge of the bishopric of Lisieux, succeeded
in making his peace with the king and obtained his restoration to Durham,
but he never again became a king's minister. Only Robert of Bellême
thought of further fighting. As a vassal of Elias, Count of Maine, he
applied to him for help, and promised a long resistance with his
thirty-four strong castles. Elias refused his aid, pointed out the
unwisdom of such an attempt, defended Henry's motives, and advised
submission, promising his good influences with Henry. This advice Robert
concluded to accept. Henry, on his side, very likely had some regard to
the thirty-four castles, and decided to bide his time. Peace, for the
present, was made between them.

Some measures which Henry considered necessary for the security of
Normandy, he did not think it wise to carry out by his own unsupported
action. In the middle of October a great council of Norman barons was
called to meet at Lisieux. Here it was decreed that all possessions which
had been wrongfully taken from churches or other legitimate holders
during the confusion of the years since the death of William the
Conqueror should be restored, and all grants from the ducal domain to
unworthy persons, or usurpations which Robert had not been able to
prevent, were ordered to be resumed. It is of especial interest that the
worst men of the prisoners taken at Tinchebrai were here condemned to
perpetual imprisonment. The name of Robert is not mentioned among those
included in this judgment, and later Henry justifies his conduct toward
his brother on the ground of political necessity, not of legal right. The
result of all these measures--we may believe it would have been the
result of the conquest alone--was to put an end at once to the disorder,
private warfare, and open robbery from which the duchy had so long
suffered. War enough there was in Normandy, in the later years of Henry's
reign, but it was regular warfare. The license of anarchy was at an end.
Robert was carried over to England, to a fate for which there could be
little warrant in strict law, but which was abundantly deserved and fully
supported by the public opinion of the time. He was kept in prison in one
royal castle or another until his death twenty-eight years later. If
Henry's profession was true, as it probably was, that he kept him as a
royal prisoner should be kept, and supplied him with the luxuries he
enjoyed so much, the result was, it is possible, not altogether
disagreeable to Robert himself. Some time later, when the pope
remonstrated with Henry on his conduct, and demanded the release of
Robert, the king's defence of his action was so complete that the pope
had no reply to make. Political expediency, the impossibility of
otherwise maintaining peace, was the burden of his answer, and this, if
not actual justice, must still be Henry's defence for his treatment of
his brother.

Henry returned to England in time for the Easter meeting of his court,
but the legalization of the compromise with Anselm was deferred to
Whitsuntide because the pope was about to hold a council in France, from
which some action affecting the question might be expected. At
Whitsuntide Anselm was ill, and another postponement was necessary. At
last, early in August, at a great council held in the king's palace in
London, the agreement was ratified. No formal statement of the terms of
this compromise has been given us by any contemporary authority, but such
accounts of it as we have, and such inferences as seem almost equally
direct, probably leave no important point unknown. Of all his claims,
Henry surrendered only the right of investiture with ring and staff.
These were spiritual symbols, typical of the bishop's relation to his
Church and of his pastoral duties. To the ecclesiastical mind the
conferring of them would seem more than any other part of the procedure
the actual granting of the religious office, though they had been used by
the kings merely as symbols of the fief granted. Some things would seem
to indicate that the forms of canonical election were more respected
after this compromise than they had been before, but this is true of
forms only, and if we may judge from a sentence in a letter to the pope,
in which Anselm tells him of the final settlement, this was not one of
the terms of the formal agreement, and William of Malmesbury says
distinctly that it was not. In all else the Church gave way to the king.
He made choice of the person to be elected, with such advice and counsel
as he chose to take, and his choice was final. He received the homage and
conferred investiture of the temporalities of the office of the new
prelate as his father and brother had done. Only when this was completed
to the king's satisfaction, and his permission to proceed received, was
the bishop elect consecrated to his spiritual office.

To us it seems clear that the king had yielded only what was a mere form,
and that he had retained all the real substance of his former power, and
probably this was also the judgment of the practical mind of Henry and of
his chief adviser, the Count of Meulan. We must not forget, however, that
the Church seemed to believe that it had gained something real, and that
a strong party of the king's supporters long and vigorously resisted
these concessions in his court. The Church had indeed set an example, for
itself at least, of successful attack on the absolute monarchy, and had
shown that the strongest of kings could be forced to yield a point
against his will. Before the century was closed, in a struggle even more
bitterly fought and against a stronger king, the warriors of the Church
looked back to this example and drew strength from this success. It is
possible, also, that these cases of concession forced from reluctant
kings served as suggestion and model at the beginning of a political
struggle which was to have more permanent results. All this, however, lay
yet in the future, and could not be suspected by either party to this
earliest conflict.

The agreement ratified in 1107 was the permanent settlement of the
investiture controversy for England, and under it developed the practice
on ecclesiastical vacancies which we may say has continued to the present
time, interrupted under some sovereigns by vacillating practice or by a
more or less theoretical concession of freedom of election to the Church.
Henry's grandson, Henry II, describes this practice as it existed in his
day, in one of the clauses of the Constitutions of Clarendon. The clause
shows that some at least of the inventions of Ranulf Flambard had not
been discarded, and there is abundant evidence to show that the king was
really stating in it, as he said he was, the customs of his grandfather's
time. The clause reads: "When an archbishopric or bishopric or abbey or
priory of the king's domain has fallen vacant, it ought to be in the
king's hands, and he shall take thence all the returns and revenues as
domain revenues, and when the time has come to provide for the Church,
the king shall call for the chief persons of the Church [that is, summon
a representation of the Church to himself], and in the king's chapel the
election shall be made with the assent of the king and with the counsel
of those ecclesiastics of the kingdom whom he shall have summoned for
this purpose, and there the elect shall do homage and fealty to the king,
as to his liege lord, of his life and limb and earthly honour, saving his
order, before he shall be consecrated."

This long controversy having reached a settlement which Anselm was at
least willing to accept, he was ready to resume the long-interrupted
duties of primate of Britain. On August 11, assisted by an imposing
assembly of his suffragan bishops, and by the Archbishop of York, he
consecrated in Canterbury five bishops at once, three of these of
long-standing appointment,--William Giffard of Winchester, Roger of
Salisbury, and Reinelm of Hereford; the other two, William of Exeter and
Urban of Landaff, recently chosen. The renewed activity of Anselm as head
of the English Church, which thus began, was not for long. His health had
been destroyed. His illness returned at frequent intervals, and in less
than two years his life and work were finished. These months, however,
were filled with considerable activity, not all of it of the kind we
should prefer to associate with the name of Anselm. Were we shut up to
the history of this time for our knowledge of his character, we should be
likely to describe it in different terms from those we usually employ.
The earlier Anselm, of gentle character, shrinking from the turmoil of
strife and longing only for the quiet of the abbey library, had
apparently disappeared. The experiences of the past few years had been,
indeed, no school in gentleness, and the lessons which he had learned at
Rome were not those of submission to the claims of others. In the great
council which ratified the compromise, Anselm had renewed his demand for
the obedience of the Archbishop of York, and this demand he continued to
push with extreme vigour until his death, first against Gerard, who died
early in 1108, and then against his successor, Thomas, son of Bishop
Samson of Worcester, appointed by Henry. A plan for the division of the
large diocese of Lincoln, by the creation of a new diocese of Ely, though
by common consent likely to improve greatly the administration of the
Church, he refused to approve until the consent of the pope had been
obtained. He insisted, against the will of the monks and the request of
the king, upon the right of the archbishop to consecrate the abbot of St.
Augustine's, Canterbury, in whatever church he pleased, and again, in
spite of the king's request, he maintained the same right in the
consecration of the bishop of London. The canon law of the Church
regarding marriage, lay or priestly, he enforced with unsparing rigour.
Almost his last act, it would seem, before his death, was to send a
violent letter to Archbishop Thomas of York, suspending him from his
office and forbidding all bishops of his obedience, under penalty of
"perpetual anathema," to consecrate him or to communicate with him if
consecrated by any one outside of England. On April 21, 1109, this stormy
episcopate closed, a notable instance of a man of noble character, and in
some respects of remarkable genius, forced by circumstances out of the
natural current of his life into a career for which he was not fitted.

For Henry these months since the conquest of Normandy and, the settlement
of the dispute with Anselm had been uneventful. Normandy had settled into
order as if the mere change of ruler had been all it needed, and in
England, which now occupied Henry's attention only at intervals, there
was no occasion of anxiety. Events were taking place across the border of
Normandy which were to affect the latter years of Henry and the future
destinies of England in important ways. In the summer of 1108, the long
reign of Philip I of France had closed, and the reign, nearly as long, of
his son, Louis VI, had begun, the first of the great Capetian kings, in
whose reign begins a definite policy of aggrandizement for the dynasty
directed in great part against their rivals, the English kings. Just
before the death of Anselm occurred that of Fulk Rechin, Count of Anjou,
and the succession of his son Fulk V. He was married to the heiress of
Maine, and a year later this inheritance, the overlordship of which the
Norman dukes had so long claimed, fell in to him. Of Henry's marriage
with Matilda two children had been born who survived infancy,--Matilda,
the future empress, early in 1102, and William in the late summer or
early autumn of 1103. The queen herself, who had for a time accompanied
the movements of her husband, now resided mostly at Westminster, where
she gained the fame of liberality to foreign artists and of devotion to
pious works.

It was during a stay of Henry's in England, shortly after the death of
Anselm, that he issued one of the very few documents of his reign which
give us glimpses into the changes in institutions which were then taking
place. This is a writ, which we have in two slightly varying forms, one
of them addressed to Bishop Samson of Worcester, dealing with the local
judicial system. From it we infer that the old Saxon system of local
justice, the hundred and county courts, had indeed never fallen into
disuse since the days of the Conquest, but that they had been subjected
to many irregularities of time and place, and that the sheriffs had often
obliged them to meet when and where it suited their convenience; and we
are led to suspect that they had been used as engines of extortion for
the advantage both of the local officer and of the king. All this Henry
now orders to cease. The courts are to meet at the same times and places
as in the days of King Edward, and if they need to be summoned to special
sessions for any royal business, due notice shall be given.

Even more important is the evidence which we get from this document of a
royal system of local justice acting in conjunction with the old system
of shire courts. The last half of the writ implies that there had arisen
thus early the questions of disputed jurisdiction, of methods of trial,
and of attendance at courts, with which we are familiar a few generations
later in the history of English law. Distinctly implied is a conflict
between a royal jurisdiction on one side and a private baronial
jurisdiction on the other, which is settled in favour of the lord's
court, if the suit is between two of his own vassals; but if the
disputants are vassals of two different lords, it is decided in favour of
the king's,--that is, of the court held by the king's justice in the
county, who may, indeed, be no more than the sheriff acting in this
capacity. This would be in strict harmony with the ruling feudal law of
the time. But when the suit comes on for trial in the county court, it is
not to be tried by the old county court forms. It is not a case in the
sheriffs county court, the people's county court, but one before the
king's justice, and the royal, that is, Norman method of trial by duel is
to be adopted. Finally, at the close of the writ, appears an effort to
defend this local court system against the liberties and immunities of
the feudal system, an attempt which easily succeeded in so far as it
concerned the king's county courts, but failed in the case of the purely
local courts.[21]

If this interpretation is correct, this writ is typical of a process of
the greatest interest, which we know from other sources was
characteristic of the reign, a process which gave their peculiar form to
the institutions of England and continued for more than a century. By
this process the local law and institutions of Saxon England, and the
royal law and central institutions of the Normans, were wrought into a
single and harmonious whole. This process of union which was long and
slow, guided by no intention beyond the convenience of the moment,
advances in two stages. In the first, the Norman administration, royal
and centralized, is carried down into the counties and there united, for
the greater ease of accomplishing certain desired ends of administration,
with the local Saxon system. This resulted in several very important
features of our judicial organization. The second stage was somewhat the
reverse of this. In it, certain features which had developed in the local
machinery, the jury and election, are adopted by the central government
and applied to new uses. This was the origin of the English parliamentary
system. It is of the first of these stages only that we get a glimpse, in
this document, and from other sources of the reign of Henry, and these
bits of evidence only allow us to say that those judicial arrangements
which were put into organized form in his grandson's reign had their
beginning, as occasional practices, in his own. Not long after the date
of this charter, a series of law books, one of the interesting features
of the reign, began to appear. Their object was to state the old laws of
England, or these in connexion with the laws then current in the courts,
or with the legislation of the first of the Norman kings. Private
compilations, or at most the work of persons whose position in the
service of the state could give no official authority to their codes,
their object was mainly practical; but they reveal not merely a general
interest in the legal arrangements existing at the moment, but a clear
consciousness that these rested upon a solid substratum of ancient law,
dating from a time before the Conquest. Towards this ancient law the
nation had lately turned, and had been answered by the promise in Henry's
coronation charter. Worn with the tyranny of William Rufus, men had
looked back with longing to the better conditions of an earlier age, and
had demanded the laws of Edward or of Canute, as, under the latter, men
had looked back to the laws of Edgar, demanding laws, not in the sense of
the legislation of a certain famous king, but of the whole legal and
constitutional situation of earlier times, thought of as a golden age
from which the recent tyranny had departed. What they really desired was
never granted them. The Saxon law still survived, and was very likely
renewed in particulars by Henry I, but it survived as local law and as
the law of the minor affairs of life. The law of public affairs and of
all great interests, the law of the tyranny from which men suffered, was
new. It made much use of the local machinery which it found but in a new
way, and it was destined to be modified in some points by the old law,
but it was new as the foundation on which was to be built the later
constitution of the state. The demand for the laws of an earlier time did
not affect the process of this building, and the effort to put the
ancient law into accessible form, which may have had this demand as one
of its causes, is of interest to the student of general history chiefly
for the evidence it gives of the great work of union which was then going
on, of Saxon and Norman, in law as in blood, into a new nation.

It was during the same stay in England that an opportunity was offered to
Henry to form an alliance on the continent which promised him great
advantages in case of an open conflict with the king of France. At
Henry's Whitsuntide court, in 1109, appeared an embassy from Henry V of
Germany, to ask for the hand of his daughter, then less than eight years
old. This request Henry would not be slow to grant. Conflicting policies
would never be likely to disturb such an alliance, and the probable
interest which the sovereign of Germany would have in common with himself
in limiting the expansion of France, or even in detaching lands from her
allegiance, would make the alliance seem of good promise for the future.
On the part of Henry of Germany, such a proposal must have come from
policy alone, but the advantage which he hoped to gain from it is not so
easy to discover as in the case of Henry of England. If he entertained
any idea of a common policy against France, this was soon dropped, and
his purpose must in all probability be sought in plans within the empire.
Henry's recent accession to the throne of Germany had been followed by--a
change of policy. During the later years of his unfortunate father, whose
stormy reign had closed in the triumph of the two enemies whom he had
been obliged to face at once, the Church of Gregory VII, contending with
the empire for equality and even for supremacy, and the princes of
Germany, grasping in their local dominions the rights of sovereignty, the
ambitious prince had fought against the king, his father. But when he had
at last become king himself, his point of view was changed. The conflict
in which his father had failed he was ready to renew with vigour and with
hope of success. That he should have believed, as he evidently did, that
a marriage with the young English princess was the most useful one he
could make in this crisis of his affairs is interesting evidence, not
merely of the world's opinion of Henry I, but also of the rank of the
English monarchy among the states of Europe.

Just as she was completing her eighth year, Matilda was sent over to
Germany to learn the language and the ways of her new country. A stately
embassy and a rich dower went with her, for which her father had provided
by taking the regular feudal aid to marry the lord's eldest daughter, at
the rate of three shillings per hide throughout England. On April 10,
1110, she was formally betrothed to the emperor-elect at Utrecht. On July
25, she was crowned Queen of Germany at Mainz. Then she was committed to
the care of the Archbishop of Trier, who was to superintend her
education. On January 7,1114, just before Matilda had completed her
twelfth year, the marriage was celebrated at Mainz, in the presence of a
great assembly. All things had been going well with Henry. In Germany and
in Italy he had overcome the princes and nobles who had ventured to
oppose him. The clergy of Germany seemed united on his side in the still
unsettled investiture conflict with the papacy. The brilliant assembly of
princes of the empire and foreign ambassadors which gathered in the city
for this marriage was in celebration as well of the triumph of the
emperor. On this great occasion, and in spite of her youth, Matilda bore
herself as a queen, and impressed those who saw her as worthy of the
position, highest in rank in the world, to which she had been called. To
the end of her stay in Germany she retained the respect and she won the
hearts of her German subjects.

By August, 1111, King Henry's stay in England was over, and he crossed
again to Normandy. What circumstances called him to the continent we do
not know, but probably events growing out of a renewal of war with Louis
VI, which seems to have been first begun early in 1109.[22] However this
may be, he soon found himself in open conflict all along his southern
border with the king of France and the Count of Anjou, with Robert of
Bellême and other barons of the border to aid them. Possibly Henry feared
a movement in Normandy itself in favour of young William Clito, or learned
of some expression of a wish not infrequent among the Norman barons in
times a little later, that he might succeed to his father's place. At any
rate, at this time, Henry ordered Robert of Beauchamp to seize the boy in
the castle of Elias of Saint-Saens, to whom he had committed him five
years before. The attempt failed. William was hastily carried off to
France by friendly hands, in the absence of his guardian. Elias joined him
soon after, shared his long exile, and suffered confiscation of his fief
in consequence. It would not be strange if Henry was occasionally
troubled, in that age of early but full-grown chivalry, by the sympathy of
the Norman barons with the wanderings and friendless poverty of their
rightful lord; but Henry was too strong and too severe in his punishment
of any treason for sympathy ever to pass into action on any scale likely
to assist the exiled prince, unless in combination with some strong enemy
of the king's from without.

Henry would appear at first sight greatly superior to Louis VI of France
in the military power and resources of which he had immediate command, as
he certainly was in diplomatic skill. The Capetian king, master only of
the narrow domains of the Isle of France, and hardly of those until the
constant fighting of Louis's reign had subdued the turbulent barons of
the province; hemmed in by the dominions, each as extensive as his own,
of the great barons nominally his vassals but sending to his wars as
scanty levies as possible, or appearing openly in the ranks of his
enemies as their own interests dictated; threatened by foreign foes, the
kings of England and of Germany, who would detach even these loosely held
provinces from his kingdom,--the Capetian king could hardly have defended
himself at this epoch from a neighbour so able as Henry I, wielding the
united strength of England and Normandy, and determined upon conquest.
The safety of the Capetian house was secured by the absence of both these
conditions. Henry was not ambitious of conquest; and as his troubles with
France increased so did dissensions in Normandy, which crippled his
resources and divided his efforts. The net result at the close of Henry's
reign was that the king of England was no stronger than in 1110, unless
we count the uncertain prospect of the Angevin succession; while the king
of France was master of larger resources and a growing power.

It seems most likely that it was in the spring of 1109 that the rivalry
of the two kings first led to an open breach. This was regarding the
fortress of Gisors, on the Epte, which William Rufus had built against
the French Vexin. Louis summoned Henry either to surrender or to demolish
it, but Henry refused either alternative, and occupied it with his
troops. The French army opposed him on the other side of the river, but
there was no fighting. Louis, who greatly enjoyed the physical pleasure
of battle, proposed to Henry that they should meet on the bridge which
crossed the river at this point, in sight of the two armies, and decide
their quarrel by a duel. Henry, the diplomatist and not the fighter,
laughed at the proposition. In Louis's army were two men, one of whom had
lately been, and the other of whom was soon to be, in alliance with
Henry, Robert of Jerusalem, Count of Flanders, and Theobald, Count of
Blois, eldest son of Henry's sister and brother of his successor as king,
Stephen of England. Possibly a truce had soon closed this first war, but
if so, it had begun again in the year of Henry's crossing, 1111; and the
Count of Blois was now in the field against his sovereign and defeated
Louis in a battle in which the Count of Flanders was killed. The war with
Louis ran its course for a year and a half longer without battles.
Against Anjou Henry built or strengthened certain fortresses along the
border and waited the course of events.

On November 4, 1112, an advantage fell to Henry which may have gone far
to secure him the remarkable terms of peace with which the war was
closed. He arrested Robert of Bellême, his constant enemy and the enemy
of all good men, "incomparable in all forms of evil since the beginning
of Christian days." He had come to meet the king at Bonneville, to bring
a message from Louis, thinking that Henry would be obliged to respect his
character as an envoy. Probably the king took the ground that by his
conduct Robert had forfeited all rights, and was to be treated
practically as a common outlaw. At any rate, he ordered his arrest and
trial. On three specific counts--that he had acted unjustly toward his
lord, that summoned three times to appear in court for trial he had not
come, and that as the king's viscount he had failed to render account of
the revenues he had collected--he was condemned and sentenced to
imprisonment. On Henry's return to England he was carried over and kept
in Wareham castle, where he was still alive in 1130. The Norman historian
Orderic records that this action of Henry's met with universal approval
and was greeted with general rejoicing.

During Lent of the next year, 1113, Henry made formal peace with both his
enemies, the king of France and the Count of Anjou. The peace with the
latter was first concluded. It was very possibly Fulk's refusal to
recognize Henry's overlordship of Maine that occasioned the war. To this
he now assented. He did homage for the county, and received investiture
of it from the hand of the king. He also promised the hand of his
daughter Matilda to Henry's son William. Henry, on his side, restored to
favour the Norman allies of Fulk. A few days later a treaty was made at
Gisors, with the king of France. Louis formally conceded to Henry the
overlordship of Bellême, which had not before depended upon the duchy of
Normandy, and that of Maine, and Britanny. In the case of Maine and of
Britanny this was the recognition of long-standing claims and of
accomplished facts, for Count Alan Fergant of Britanny, as well as Fulk
of Anjou, had already become the vassal of Henry, and had obtained the
hand of a natural daughter of the king for his son Conan, who in this
year became count. But the important lordship of Bellême was a new
cession. It was not yet in Henry's hands, nor had it been reckoned as a
part of Normandy, though the lords of Bellême had been also Norman
barons. Concessions such as these, forming with Normandy the area of many
a kingdom, were made by a king like Louis VI, only under the compulsion
of necessity. They mark the triumph of Henry's skill, of his vigorous
determination, and of his ready disregard of the legal rights of others,
if they would not conform to his ideas of proper conduct or fit into his
system of government. The occupation of Bellême required a campaign.
William Talvas, the son of Robert, while himself going to defend his
mother's inheritance of Ponthieu, had left directions with the vassals of
Bellême for its defence, but the campaign was a short one. Henry,
assisted by his new vassal, the Count of Anjou, and by his nephew,
Theobald of Blois, speedily reduced city and lordship to submission.

Orderic Vitalis, who was living in Normandy at this time, in the
monastery of St. Evroul, declares that following this peace, made in the
spring of 1113, for five years, Henry governed his kingdom and his duchy
on the two sides of the sea with great tranquillity. These years, to the
great insurrection of the Norman barons in 1118, were not entirely
undisturbed, but as compared with the period which goes before, or with
that which follows, they deserve the historian's description. One great
army was led into Wales in 1114, and the Welsh princes were forced to
renew their submission. Henry was apparently interested in the slow
incorporation of Wales in England which was going forward, but prudently
recognized the difficulties of attempting to hasten the process by
violence. He was ready to use the Church, that frequent medieval engine
of conquest, and attempted with success, both before this date and later,
to introduce English bishops into old Welsh sees. From the early part of
this reign also dates the great Flemish settlement in Pembrokeshire,
which was of momentous influence on all that part of Wales.

These years were also fully occupied with controversies in the Church,
whose importance for the state Henry clearly recognized. Out of the
conflict over investitures, regarded from the practical side, the Norman
monarchy had emerged, as we have seen, in triumph, making but one slight
concession, and that largely a matter of form. From the struggle with
the empire on the same issue, which was at this date still unsettled, the
Church was destined to gain but little more, perhaps an added point of
form, depending for its real value on the spirit with which the final
agreement was administered. In the matter of investitures, the Church
could claim but little more than a drawn battle on any field; and yet, in
that great conflict with the monarchies of Europe into which the papacy
had been led by the genius of Hildebrand, it had gained a real and great
victory in all that was of the most vital importance. The pope was no
longer the creature and servant of the emperor; he was not even a bishop
of the empire. In the estimation of all Christendom, he occupied an equal
throne, exercised a co-ordinate power, and appeared even more directly as
the representative of the divine government of the world. Under his rule
was an empire far more extensive than that which the emperor controlled,
coming now to be closely centralized with all the machinery of
government, legal, judicial, and administrative, highly organized and
pervaded from the highest to the lowest ranks with a uniform theory of
the absolute right of the ruler and of the duty of unquestioning
obedience which the most perfect secular absolutism would strive in vain
to secure. To have transformed the Church, which the emperor Henry III
had begun to reform in 1046, into that which survived the last year of
his dynasty, was a work of political genius as great as history records.

It was not before the demand of the pope in the matter of investiture
that the Norman absolute government of the Church went down. It fell
because the Norman theory of the national Church, closely under the
control of the state in every field of its activity, a part of the state
machinery, and a valuable assistant in the government of the nation, was
undermined and destroyed by a higher, and for that age a more useful,
conception. When the idea of the Church as a world-wide unity, more
closely bound to its theocratic head than to any temporal sovereign, and
with a mission and responsibility distinct from those of the state, took
possession of the body of the clergy, as it began to do in the reign of
Henry, it was impossible to maintain any longer the separateness of the
Norman Church. But the incorporation of the Norman and English churches
in the papal monarchy meant the slipping from the king's hands of power
in many individual cases, which the first two Norman kings had exercised
without question, and which even the third had continued to exercise.

The struggle of York to free itself from the promise of obedience to
Canterbury was only one of the many channels through which these new
ideas entered the kingdom. A new tide of monasticism had arisen on the
continent, which did not spend itself even with the northern borders of
England. The new orders and the new spirit found many abiding places in
the kingdom, and drew laity as well as clergy under their strong
influence. This was especially, though not alone, true of the Augustinian
canons, who possessed some fifty houses in England at the close of
Henry's reign, and in the later years of his life, of the Cistercians,
with whose founding an English saint, Stephen Harding, had had much to
do, and some of whose monasteries founded in this period, Tintern,
Rievaulx, Furness, and Fountains, are still familiar names, famous for
the beauty of their ruins. This new monasticism had been founded wholly
in the ideas of the new ecclesiastical monarchy, and was an expression of
them. The monasteries it created were organized, not as parts of the
state in which they were situated, but as parts of a great order,
international in its character, free from local control, and, though its
houses were situated in many lands, forming almost an independent state
under the direct sovereignty of the pope. The new monarchical papacy,
which emerged from the conflicts of this period, occupied Christendom
with its garrisons in these monastic houses, and every house was a source
from which its ruling ideas spread widely abroad.

A new education was also beginning in this same period, and was growing
in definiteness of content and of organization, in response to a demand
which was becoming eager. At many centres in Europe groups of scholars
were giving formal lectures on the knowledge of the day, and were
attracting larger and larger numbers of students by the fame of their
eloquence, or by the stimulus of their new method. The beginnings of
Oxford as a place of teachers, as well as of Paris, reach back into this
time. The ambitious young man, who looked forward to a career in the
Church, began to feel the necessity of getting the training which these
new schools could impart. The number of students whom we can name, who
went from England to Paris or elsewhere to study, is large for the time;
but if we possessed a list of all the English students, at home or
abroad, of this reign, we should doubtless estimate the force of this
influence more highly, even in the period of its beginning. For the ideas
which now reigned in the Church pervaded the new education as they did
the new monasticism. There was hardly a source, indeed, from which the
student could learn any other doctrine, as there has remained none in the
learning of the Roman Church to the present day. The entire literature of
the Church, its rapidly forming new philosophy and theology, its already
greatly developed canon law, breathed only the spirit of a divinely
inspired centralization. And the student who returned, very likely to
rapid promotion in the English Church, did not bring back these ideas for
himself alone. He set the fashion of thinking for his less fortunate

It was by influences like these that the gradual and silent transformation
was wrought which made of the English Church a very different thing at the
end of these thirty-five years from what it had been at the beginning of
the reign. The first two Norman kings had reigned over a Church which knew
no other system than strict royal control. Henry I continued to exercise
to the end of his reign, with only slight modification and the faint
beginnings of change, the same prerogatives, but it was over a Church
whose officers had been trained in an opposing system, and now profoundly
disbelieved in his rights. How long would it avail the Norman monarchy
anything to have triumphed in the struggle of investitures, when it could
no longer find the bishop to appoint who was not thoroughly devoted to the
highest papal claims? The answer suggested, in its extreme form, is too
strong a statement for the exact truth; for in whatever age, or under
whatever circumstances, a strong king can maintain himself, there he can
always find subservient tools. But the interested service of individuals
is a very different foundation of power from the traditional and
unquestioning obedience of a class. The history of the next age shows
that the way had been prepared for rapid changes, when political
conditions would permit; and the grandson of the first Henry found
himself obliged to yield, in part at least, to demands of the Church
entirely logical in themselves, but unheard of in his grandfather's time.

[18] Eadmer, p. 172.

[19] Liebermann, Quadripartitus, p. 155.

[20] Anselm, Epist. iv. 50, 51; Luchaire, Louis VI, Annales, No. 31.

[21] See American Historical Review, viii, 478.

[22] Luchaire, Louis VI, Annales, p. cxv.



We need not enter into the details of the long struggle between
Canterbury and York. The archbishopric of Canterbury was vacant for five
years after the death of Anselm; its revenues went to support the various
undertakings of the king. In April, 1114, Ralph of Escures, Bishop of
Rochester, was chosen Anselm's successor. The archbishopric of York had
been vacant only a few months, when it was filled, later in the summer,
by the appointment of Thurstan, one of the king's chaplains. The question
of the obligation of the recently elected Archbishop of York to bind
himself to obedience to the primate of Britain, whether settled as a
principle or as a special case, by an English council or by the king or
under papal authority, arose anew with every new appointment. In the
period which follows the appointment of Thurstan, a new element of
interest was added to the dispute by the more deliberate policy of the
pope to make use of it to gain a footing for his authority in England,
and to weaken the unity and independence of the English Church. This
attempt led to a natural alliance of parties, in which, while the issue
was at bottom really the same, the lines of the earlier investiture
conflict were somewhat rearranged. The pope supported the claim of York,
while the king defended the right of Canterbury as bound up with his own.

At an important meeting of the great council at Salisbury, in March,
1116, the king forced upon Thurstan the alternative of submission to
Canterbury or resignation. The barons and prelates of the realm had been
brought together to make formal recognition of the right to the
succession of Henry's son William, now fourteen years of age. Already in
the previous summer this had been done in Normandy, the barons doing
homage and swearing fealty to the prince. Now the English barons followed
the example, and, by the same ceremony, the strongest tie known to the
feudal world, bound themselves to accept the son as their lord on the
death of his father. The prelates, for their part, took oath that if they
should survive Henry, they would recognize William as king, and then do
homage to him in good faith. The incident is interesting less as an
example of this characteristic feudal method of securing the succession,
for this had been employed since the Conquest both in Normandy and in
England, than because we are told that on this occasion the oath was
demanded, not merely of all tenants in chief, but of all inferior
vassals. If this statement may be accepted, and there is no reason to
doubt it, we may conclude that the practice established by the Conqueror
at an earlier Salisbury assembly had been continued by his sons. This was
a moment when Henry was justified in expressing his will, even on a
matter of Church government, in peremptory command, and when no one was
likely to offer resistance. Thurstan chose to surrender the
archbishopric, and promised to make no attempt to recover it; but
apparently the renunciation was not long regarded as final on either
side. He was soon after this with the king in Normandy, but he was
refused the desired permission to go to Rome, a journey which Archbishop
Ralph soon undertook, that he might try the influence of his presence
there in favour of the cause of Canterbury and against other pretensions
of the pope.

From the date of this visit to Normandy, in the spring of 1116, Henry's
continental interests mix themselves with those of the absolute ruler of
the English Church, and he was more than once forced to choose upon which
side he would make some slight concession or waive some right for the
moment. Slowly the sides were forming themselves and the opposing
interests growing clear, of a great conflict for the dominion of northern
France, a conflict forced upon the English king by the necessity of
defending the position he had gained, rather than sought by him in the
spirit of conquest, even when he seemed the aggressor; a conflict in
which he was to gain the victory in the field and in diplomacy, but to be
overcome by the might of events directed by no human hand and not to be
resisted by any.

The peace between Henry and Louis, made in the spring of 1113, was broken
by Henry's coming to the aid of his nephew, Theobald of Blois. Theobald
had seized the Count of Nevers on his return from assisting Louis in a
campaign in the duchy of France in 1115. The cause was bad, but Henry
could not afford to see so important an ally as his nephew crushed by his
enemies, especially as his dominions were of peculiar strategical value
in any war with the king of France. To Louis's side gathered, as the war
developed, those who had reason from their position to fear what looked
like the policy of expansion of this new English power in north-western
France, especially the Counts of Flanders and of Anjou. The marriage of
Henry's son William with Fulk's daughter had not yet taken place, and the
Count of Anjou might well believe--particularly from the close alliance
of Henry with the rival power of Blois--that he had more to fear than to
hope for from the spread of the Norman influence. At the same time the
division began to show itself among the Norman barons, of those who were
faithful to Henry and those who preferred the succession of Robert's son
William; and it grew more pronounced as the war went on, for Louis took
up the cause of William as the rightful heir of Normandy. In doing this
he began the policy which the French kings followed for so many years,
and on the whole with so little advantage, of fomenting the quarrels in
the English royal house and of separating if possible the continental
possessions from the English.

On Henry's side were a majority of the Norman barons and the counts of
Britanny and of Blois. For the first time, also, appeared upon the stage
of history in this war Henry's other nephew, Stephen, who was destined to
do so much evil to England and to Henry's plans before his death. His
uncle had already made him Count of Mortain. The lordship of Bellême,
which Henry had given to Theobald, had been by him transferred to Stephen
in the division of their inheritance. It was probably not long after this
that Henry procured for him the hand of Matilda, heiress of the county of
Boulogne, and thus extended his own influence over that important
territory on the borders of Flanders. France, Flanders, and Anjou
certainly had abundant reason to fear the possible combination into one
power of Normandy, Britanny, Maine, Blois, and Boulogne, and that a power
which, however pacific in disposition, showed so much tendency to
expansion. For France, at least, the cause of this war was not the
disobedience of a vassal, nor was it to be settled by the siege and
capture of border castles.

The war which followed was once more not a war of battles. Armies, large
for the time, were collected, but they did little more than make
threatening marches into the enemy's country. In 1118 the revolt of the
Norman barons, headed by Amaury of Montfort, who now claimed the county
of Evreux, assumed proportions which occasioned the king many
difficulties. This was a year of misfortunes for him. The Count of Anjou,
the king of France, the Count of Flanders, each in turn invaded some part
of Normandy, and gained advantages which Henry could not prevent. Baldwin
of Flanders, however, returned home with a wound from an arrow, of which
he shortly died. In the spring of this year Queen Matilda died, praised
by the monastic chroniclers to the last for her good deeds. A month later
Henry's wisest counsellor, Robert of Meulan, died also, after a long life
spent in the service of the Conqueror and of his sons. The close of the
year saw no turn of the tide in favour of Henry. Evreux was captured in
October by Amaury of Montfort, and afterwards Alençon by the Count of

The year 1119, which was destined to close in triumph for Henry, opened
no more favourably. The important castle of Les Andelys, commanding the
Norman Vexin, was seized by Louis, aided by treachery. But before the
middle of the year, Henry had gained his first great success. He induced
the Count of Anjou, by what means we do not know,--by money it was
thought by some at the time,--to make peace with him, and to carry out
the agreement for the marriage of his daughter with the king's son. The
county of Maine was settled on the young pair, virtually its transfer to
Henry. At the same time, Henry granted to William Talvas, perhaps as one
of the conditions of the treaty, the Norman possessions which had
belonged to his father, Robert of Bellême. In the same month, June, 1119,
Baldwin of Flanders died of the wound which he had received in Normandy,
and was succeeded by his nephew, Charles the Good, who reversed Baldwin's
policy and renewed the older relations with England. The sieges of
castles, the raiding and counter-raiding of the year, amounted to little
until, on August 20, while each was engaged in raiding, the opposing
armies commanded by the two kings in person unexpectedly found themselves
in the presence of one another. The battle of Bremule, the only encounter
of the war which can be called a battle, followed. Henry and his men
again fought on foot, as at Tinchebrai, with a small reserve on
horseback. The result was a complete victory for Henry. The French army
was completely routed, and a large number of prisoners was taken, though
the character which a feudal battle often assumed from this time on is
attributed to this one, in the fact reported that in the fighting and
pursuit only three men were killed.

A diplomatic victory not less important followed the battle of Bremule by
a few weeks. The pope was now in France. His predecessor, Gelasius II,
had been compelled to flee from Italy by the successes of the Emperor
Henry V, and had died at Cluny in January, 1119, on his way to the north.
The cardinals who had accompanied him elected in his stead the Archbishop
of Vienne, who took the name of Calixtus II. Gelasius in his short and
unfortunate reign had attempted to interfere with vigour in the dispute
between York and Canterbury, and had summoned both parties to appear
before him for the decision of the case. This was in Henry's year of
misfortunes, 1118, and he was obliged to temporize. The early death of
Gelasius interrupted his plan, but only until Calixtus II was ready to go
on with it. He called a council of the Church to meet at Reims in
October, to which he summoned the English bishops, and where he proposed
to decide the question of the obedience of York to Canterbury. Henry
granted a reluctant consent to the English bishops to attend this
council, but only on condition that they would allow no innovations in
the government of the English Church. To Thurstan of York, to whom he had
restored the temporalities of his see, under the pressure of
circumstances nearly two years before, he granted permission to attend on
condition that he would not accept consecration as archbishop from the
pope. This condition was at once violated, and Thurstan was consecrated
by the pope on October 19. Henry immediately ordered that he should not
be allowed to return to any of the lands subject to his rule.

At this council King Louis of France, defeated in the field and now
without allies, appealed in person to the pope for the condemnation of
the king of England. He is said, by Orderic Vitalis who was probably
present at the council and heard him speak, to have recited the evil
deeds of Henry, from the imprisonment of Robert to the causes of the
present war. The pope himself was in a situation where he needed to
proceed with diplomatic caution, but he promised to seek an interview
with Henry and to endeavour to bring about peace. This interview took
place in November, at Gisors, and ended in the complete discomfiture of
the pope. Henry was now in a far stronger position than he had been at
the beginning of the year, and to the requests of Calixtus he returned
definite refusals or vague and general answers of which nothing was to be
made. The pope was even compelled to recognize the right of the English
king to decide when papal legates should be received in the kingdom.
Henry was, however, quite willing to make peace. He had won over Louis's
allies, defeated his attempt to gain the assistance of the pope, and
finally overcome the revolted Norman barons. He might reasonably have
demanded new advantages in addition to those which had been granted him
in the peace of 1113, but all that marks this treaty is the legal
recognition of his position in Normandy. Homage was done to Louis for
Normandy, not by Henry himself, for he was a king, but by his son William
for him. It is probable that at no previous date would this ceremony have
been acceptable, either to Louis or to Henry. On Louis's part it was not
merely a recognition of Henry's right to the duchy of Normandy, but it
was also a formal abandonment of William Clito, and an acceptance of
William, Henry's son, as the heir of his father. This act was accompanied
by a renewal of the homage of the Norman barons to William, whether made
necessary by the numerous rebellions of the past two years, or desirable
to perfect the legal chain, now that William had been recognized as heir
by his suzerain, a motive that would apply to all the barons.

This peace was made sometime during the course of the year 1120. In
November Henry was ready to return to England, and on the 25th he set
sail from Barfleur, with a great following. Then suddenly came upon him,
not the loss of any of the advantages he had lately gained nor any
immediate weakening of his power, but the complete collapse of all that
he had looked forward to as the ultimate end of his policy. His son
William embarked a little later than his father in the White Ship, with
a brilliant company of young relatives and nobles. They were in a very
hilarious mood, and celebrated the occasion by making the crew drunk.
Probably they were none too sober themselves; certainly Stephen of Blois
was saved to be king of England in his cousin's place, by withdrawing to
another vessel when he saw the condition of affairs on the White Ship.
It was night and probably dark. About a mile and a half from Barfleur the
ship struck a rock, and quickly filled and sank. It was said that William
would have escaped if he had not turned back at the cries of his sister,
Henry's natural daughter, the Countess of Perche. All on board were
drowned except a butcher of Rouen. Never perished in any similar calamity
so large a number of persons of rank. Another child of Henry's, his
natural son Richard, his niece Matilda, sister of Theobald and Stephen, a
nephew of the Emperor Henry V, Richard, Earl of Chester, and his brother,
the end of the male line of Hugh of Avranches, and a crowd of others of
only lesser rank. Orderic Vitalis records that he had heard that eighteen
ladies perished, who were the daughters, sisters, nieces, or wives of
kings or earls. Henry is said to have fallen to the ground in a faint
when the news was told him, and never to have been the same man again.

But if Henry could no longer look forward to the permanence in the second
generation of the empire which he had created, he was not the man to
surrender even to the blows of fate. The succession to his dominions of
Robert's son William, who had been so recently used by his enemies
against him, but who was now the sole male heir of William the Conqueror,
was an intolerable idea. In barely more than a month after the death of
his son, the king took counsel with the magnates of the realm, at a great
council in London, in regard to his remarriage. In less than another
month the marriage was celebrated. Henry's second wife was Adelaide,
daughter of Geoffrey, Duke of Lower Lorraine, a vassal of his son-in-law,
the emperor, and his devoted supporter, as well as a prince whose
alliance might be of great use in any future troubles with France or
Flanders. This marriage was made chiefly in hope of a legitimate heir,
but it was a childless marriage, and Henry's hope was disappointed.

For something more than two years after this fateful return of the king
to England, his dominions enjoyed peace scarcely broken by a brief
campaign in Wales in 1121. At the end of 1120, Archbishop Thurstan, for
whose sake the pope was threatening excommunication and interdict, was
allowed to return to his see, where he was received with great rejoicing.
But the dispute with Canterbury was not yet settled. Indeed, he had
scarcely returned to York when he was served with notice that he must
profess, for himself at least, obedience to Canterbury, as his
predecessors had done. This he succeeded in avoiding for a time, and at
the beginning of October, in 1122, Archbishop Ralph of Canterbury died,
not having gained his case. An attempt of Calixtus II to send a legate to
England, contrary to the promise he had made to Henry at Gisors, was met
and defeated by the king with his usual diplomatic skill, so far as the
exercise of any legatine powers is concerned, though the legate was
admitted to England and remained there for a time. In the selection of a
successor to Ralph of Canterbury a conflict arose between the monastic
chapter of Christ church and the bishops of the province, and was decided
undoubtedly according to the king's mind in favour of the latter, by the
election of William of Corbeil, a canon regular. Another episcopal
appointment of these years illustrates the growing importance in the
kingdom of the great administrative bishop, Roger of Salisbury, who seems
to have been the king's justiciar, or chief representative, during his
long absences in Normandy. The long pontificate of Robert Bloet, the
brilliant and worldly Bishop of Lincoln, closed at the beginning of 1123
by a sudden stroke as he was riding with the king, and in his place was
appointed Roger's nephew, Alexander.

During this period also, probably within a year after the death of his
son William, Henry took measures to establish the position of one of his
illegitimate sons, very likely with a view to the influence which he
might have upon the succession when the question should arise. Robert of
Caen, so called from the place of his birth, was created Earl of
Gloucester, and was married to Mabel, heiress of the large possessions of
Robert Fitz Hamon in Gloucester, Wales, and Normandy. Robert of
Gloucester, as he came to be known, was the eldest of Henry's
illegitimate sons, born before his father's accession to the throne, and
he was now in the vigour of young manhood. He was also, of all Henry's
children of whom we know anything, the most nearly like himself, of more
than average abilities, patient and resourceful, hardly inheriting in
full his father's diplomatic skill but not without gifts of the kind, and
earning the reputation of a lover of books and a patron of writers. A
hundred years earlier there would have been no serious question, in the
circumstances which had arisen, of his right to succeed his father, at
least in the duchy of Normandy. That the possibility of such a succession
was present in men's minds is shown by a contemporary record that the
suggestion was made to him on the death of Henry, and rejected at once
through his loyalty to his sister's son. Whether this record is to be
believed or not, it shows that the event was thought possible.[23]

Certainly there was no real movement, not even the slightest, in his
favour, and this fact reveals the change which had taken place in men's
ideas of the succession in a century. The necessity of legitimate birth
was coming to be recognized as indisputable, though it had not been by
the early Teutonic peoples. Of the causes of this change, the teachings
of the Church were no doubt the most effective, becoming of more force
with its increasing influence, and especially since, as a part of the
Hildebrandine reformation, it had insisted with so much emphasis on the
fact that the son of a married priest could have no right of succession
to his father's benefice, being of illegitimate birth; but the teachings
of the sacredness of the marriage tie, of the sinfulness of illicit
relations, and of the nullity of marriage within the prohibited degrees,
were of influence in the change of ideas. It is also true that men's
notions of the right of succession to property in general were becoming
more strict and definite, and very possibly the importance of the
succession involved in this particular case had its effect. One may
almost regret that this change of ideas, which was certainly an advance
in morals, as well as in law, was not delayed for another generation; for
if Robert of Gloucester could have succeeded on the death of Henry
without dispute, England would have been saved weary years of strife and

The death of the young William was a signal to set Henry's enemies in
motion again. But they did not begin at once. Henry's position was still
unweakened. Very likely his speedy marriage was a notice to the world that
he did not propose to modify in the least his earlier plans. Probably
also the absence of Fulk of Anjou, who had gone on a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem soon after his treaty of 1119 with Henry, was a cause of delay,
for the natural first move would be for him to demand a return of his
daughter and her dowry. Fulk's stay was not long in the land of which he
was in a few years to be king, and on his return he at once sent for his
daughter, probably in 1121. She returned home, but as late as December,
1122, there was still trouble between him and Henry in regard to her
dowry, which Henry no doubt was reluctant to surrender.

About the same time, Henry's old enemy, Amaury of Montfort, disliking the
strictness of Henry's rule and the frequency of his demands for money,
began to work among the barons of Normandy and with his nephew, the Count
of Anjou, in favour of William Clito. It was already clear that Henry's
hope of another heir was likely to be disappointed, and Normandy would
naturally be more easily attracted to the son of Robert than England The
first step was one which did not violate any engagement with Henry, but
which was, nevertheless, a decided recognition of the claims of his
nephew, and an open attack on his plans. Fulk gave his second daughter,
Sibyl, in marriage to William Clito, and with her the county of Maine,
which had been a part of Matilda's dower on her marriage with Henry's son
William. Under the circumstances, this was equivalent to an announcement
that he expected William Clito to be the Duke of Normandy. Early in 1123,
Henry sent over troops to Normandy, and in June of that year he crossed
himself, to be on the spot if the revolt and war which were threatening
should break out. In September the discontented barons agreed together to
take arms. It is of interest that among these was Waleran of Meulan, the
son of the king's faithful counsellor, Count Robert. Waleran had
inherited his father's Norman possessions while his brother Robert had
become Earl of Leicester in England.

In all this the hand of Louis, king of France, was not openly seen.
Undoubtedly, however, the movement had his encouragement from the
beginning, and very likely his promise of open support when the time
should come. The death of the male heir to England and Normandy would
naturally draw Henry's daughter Matilda, and her husband the emperor,
nearer to him; and of this, while Henry was still in England, some
evidence has come down to us though not of the most satisfactory kind.
Any evidence at the time that this alliance was likely to become more
close would excite the fear of the king of France and make him ready to
support any movement against the English king. Flanders would feel the
danger as keenly, and in these troubles Charles the Good abandoned his
English alliance and supported the cause of France.

The contest which followed between the king and his revolted barons is
hardly to be dignified with the name of war. The forced surrender of a
few strongholds, the long siege of seven weeks, long for those days, of
Waleran of Meulan's castle, of Pont Audemer and its capture, and the
occupation of Amaury of Montfort's city of Evreux, filled the remainder
of the year 1123, and in March of 1124 the battle of Bourgtheroulde, in
which Ralph, Earl of Chester, defeated Amaury and Waleran and captured a
large number of prisoners, virtually ended the conflict. Upon the leaders
whom he had captured Henry inflicted his customary punishment of long
imprisonment, or the worse fate of blinding. The Norman barons had taken
arms, and had failed without the help from abroad which they undoubtedly
expected. We do not know in full detail the steps which had been taken to
bring about this result, but it was attributed to the diplomacy of Henry,
that neither Fulk of Anjou nor Louis of France was able to attack him.

Henry probably had little difficulty in moving his son-in-law, the
emperor Henry V, to attack Louis of France. Besides the general reason
which would influence him, of willingness to support Matilda's father at
this time, and of standing unfriendliness with France, he was especially
ready to punish the state in which successive popes had found refuge and
support when driven from Italy by his successes. The policy of an attack
on Louis was not popular with the German princes, and the army with which
the Emperor crossed the border was not a large one. To oppose him, Louis
advanced with a great and enthusiastic host. Taking in solemn ceremony
from the altar of St Denis the oriflamme, the banner of the holy defender
of the land, he aroused the patriotism of northern France as against a
hereditary enemy. Even Henry's nephew, Theobald of Blois, led out his
forces to aid the king. The news of the army advancing against them did
not increase the ardour of the German forces; and hearing of an
insurrection in Worms, the Emperor turned back, having accomplished
nothing more than to secure a free hand for Henry of England against the
Norman rebels.

Against Fulk of Anjou Henry seems to have found his ally in the pope. The
marriage of William Clito with Sibyl, with all that it might carry with
it, was too threatening a danger to be allowed to stand, if in any way it
could be avoided. The convenient plea of relationship, convenient to be
remembered or forgotten according to the circumstances, was urged upon
the pope. The Clito and his bride were related in no nearer degree than
the tenth, according to the reckoning of the canon law, which prohibited
marriage between parties related in the seventh degree, and Henry's own
children, William in his earlier, and Matilda in her later marriage, with
the sister and brother of Sibyl, were equally subject to censure. But
this was a different case. Henry's arguments at Rome--Orderic tells us
that threats, prayers, and money were combined--were effective, and the
marriage was ordered dissolved. Excommunication and interdict were
necessary to enforce this decision; but at last, in the spring of 1125,
Fulk was obliged to yield, and William Clito began his wanderings once
more, followed everywhere by the "long arm" of his uncle.

At Easter time in 1125, probably a few days before the date of the papal
bull of interdict which compelled the dissolution of the marriage of
William and Sibyl, a papal legate, John of Crema, landed in England.
Possibly this departure from Henry's practice down to this time was a
part of the price which the papal decision cost. The legate made a
complete visitation of England, had a meeting with the king of Scots, and
presided at a council of the English Church held in September, where the
canons of Anselm were renewed in somewhat milder form. On his return to
Rome in October, he was accompanied by the Archbishops of Canterbury and
York, who went there about the still unsettled question of the obedience
of the latter. Not even now was this question settled on its merits, but
William of Corbeil made application, supported by the king, to be
appointed the standing papal legate in Britain. This request was granted,
and formed a precedent which was followed by successive popes and
archbishops. This appointment is usually considered a lowering of the
pretensions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and an infringement of the
independence of the English Church, and to a considerable extent this is
true. Under a king as strong as Henry I, with an archbishop no stronger
than William of Corbeil, or, indeed, with one not exceptionally strong,
the papal authority gained very little from the arrangement. But it was a
perpetual opportunity; it was a recognition of papal right. Under it the
number of appeals to Rome increased; it marks in a legal way the advance
of papal authority and of a consciousness of unity in the Church since
the accession of the king, and it must have been so regarded at Rome. The
appointment gave to Canterbury at once undoubted supremacy over York, but
not on the old grounds, and that question was passed on to the future
still unsettled.

In the spring of 1125 also occurred an event which again changed the
direction of Henry's plans. On May 23, the emperor Henry V died, without
children by his marriage to Matilda. The widowed Empress, as she was
henceforth called by the English though she had never received the
imperial crown, obeyed her father's summons to return to him in Normandy
with great reluctance. She had been in Germany since her early childhood,
and she was now twenty-three years of age. She could have few
recollections of any other home. She loved the German people, and was
beloved by them. We are told even that some of them desired her to reign
in her husband's stead, and came to ask her return of Henry. But the
death of her husband had rendered her succession to the English throne a
matter of less difficulty, and Henry had no mind to sacrifice his own
plans for the benefit of a foreign people. In September, 1126, he
returned with Matilda to England, and in January following, at a great
council in London, he demanded and obtained of the baronage, lay and
spiritual, an oath to accept Matilda as sovereign if he should die
without a male heir. The inference is natural from the account William of
Malmesbury gives of this event, that in the argument before the council
much was made of the fact that Matilda was a descendant of the old Saxon,
as well as of the Norman, line. It is evident, also, that there was
hesitation on the part of the barons, and that they yielded reluctantly
to the king's demand.

The feudalism of France and England clearly recognized the right of women
to succeed to baronies, even of the first importance, though with some
irregularities of practice and the feudal right of marriage which the
English kings considered so important rested, in the case of female
heirs, on this principle. The king's son, Robert of Gloucester, and his
nephew Stephen, now Count of Boulogne, who disputed with one another the
right to take this oath to Matilda's succession next after her uncle,
David, king of Scots, had both been provided for by Henry in this way.
Still, even in these cases, a difference was likely to be felt between
succession to the barony itself, and to the title and political authority
which went with it, and the difference would be greater in the case of
the highest of titles, of the throne of such a dominion as Henry had
brought together. Public law in the Spanish peninsula had already, in one
case, recognized the right of a woman to reign, but there had been as yet
no case in northern Europe. The dread of such a succession was natural,
in days when feudal turbulence was held in check only by the reigning
king, and when even this could be accomplished only by a king of
determined force. The natural feeling in such cases is undoubtedly
indicated by the form of the historian's statement referred to above,
that Robert of Gloucester declined the suggestion that he should be king
out of loyalty to "his sister's son." It was the feeling that the female
heir could pass the title on to her son, rather than that she could hold
it herself.

William of Malmesbury states, in his account of these events, that he had
often heard Bishop Roger of Salisbury say that he considered himself
released from this oath to Matilda because it had been taken on condition
that she should not be married out of the kingdom except with the counsel
of the barons.[24] The writer takes pains at the same time to say that he
records this fact rather from his sense of duty as a historian than
because he believes the statement. It has, however, a certain amount of
inherent probability. To consult with his vassals on such a question was
so frequently the practice of the lord, and it was so entirely in line
with feudal usage, that the barons would have had some slight ground on
which to consider themselves released from this oath, even if such a
specific promise had not been made, nor is it likely that Henry would
hesitate to make it if he thought it desired. It is indeed quite possible
that Henry had not yet determined upon the plan which he afterwards
carried out, though it may very likely have been in his mind, and that he
was led to this by events which were taking place at this very time in

Matilda's return to her father, and Henry's evident intention to make her
the heir of his dominions, of Normandy as well as of England, seem to
have moved King Louis to some immediate action in opposition. The
separation of the duchy from the kingdom, so important for the
interests of the Capetian house, could not be hoped for unless this plan
was defeated. The natural policy of opposition was the support of William
Clito. At a great council of his kingdom, meeting at the same time with
Henry's court in which Matilda's heirship was recognized, the French king
bespoke the sympathy and support of his barons for "William of Normandy."
The response was favourable, and Louis made him a grant of the French
Vexin, a point of observation and of easy approach to Normandy. At the
same time, a wife was given William in the person of Jeanne, half sister
of Louis's queen, and daughter of the Marquis of Montferrat. A few weeks
later William advanced with an armed force to Gisors, and made formal
claim to Normandy.

It was hardly these events, though they were equivalent to a formal
notification of the future policy of the king of France, which brought
Henry to a decision as to his daughter's marriage. On March 2, the Count
of Flanders, Charles the Good, was foully murdered in the Church of St.
Donatian at Bruges. He was without children or near relatives, and
several claimants for the vacant countship at once appeared. Even Henry I
is said to have presented his claim, which he would derive from his
mother, but he seems never seriously to have prosecuted it. Louis, on the
contrary, gave his whole support to the claim of William Clito, and
succeeded with little difficulty in getting him recognized by most of the
barons and towns as count. This was a new and most serious danger to
Henry's plans, and he began at once to stir up troubles for the new count
among his vassals, by the support of rival claimants, and in alliance
with neighbouring princes. But the situation demanded measures of direct
defence, and Henry was led to take the decisive step, so eventful for all
the future history of England, of marrying Matilda a second time.
Immediately after Whitsuntide of 1127, Matilda was sent over to Normandy,
attended by Robert of Gloucester and Brian Fitz Count, and at Rouen was
formally betrothed by the archbishop of that city to Geoffrey, son of
Fulk of Anjou. The marriage did not take place till two years later.

For this marriage no consent of English or Norman barons was asked, and
none was granted. Indeed, we are led to suspect that Henry considered it
unlikely that he could obtain consent, and deemed it wiser not to let his
plans be known until they were so far accomplished as to make opposition
useless. The natural rivalry and hostility between Normandy and Anjou had
been so many times passed on from father to son that such a marriage as
this could seem to the Norman barons nothing but a humiliation, and to
the Angevins hardly less than a triumph. The opposition, however, spent
itself in murmurs. The king was too strong. Probably also the political
advantages were too obvious to warrant any attempt to defeat the scheme.
Matilda herself is said to have been much opposed to the marriage, and
this we can easily believe. Geoffrey was more than ten years her junior,
and still a mere boy. She had but recently occupied the position of
highest rank in the world to which a woman could attain. She was
naturally of a proud and haughty spirit. We are told nothing of the
arguments which induced her to consent; but in this case again the
political advantage, the necessity of the marriage to the security of her
succession, must have been the controlling motive.

That these considerations were valid, that Henry was fully justified in
taking this step in the circumstances which had arisen, is open to no
question, if the matter is regarded as one of cold policy alone. To leave
Matilda's succession to the sole protection of the few barons of England,
who were likely to be faithful, however powerful they might be, would
have been madness under the new conditions. With William Clito likely to
be in possession of the resources of a strong feudal state, heartily
supported by the king of France, felt by the great mass of Norman barons
to be the rightful heir, and himself of considerable energy of character,
the odds would be decidedly in favour of his succession. The balance
could be restored only by bringing forward in support of Matilda's claim
a power equal to William's and certain not to abandon her cause. Henry
could feel that he had accomplished this by the marriage with Geoffrey,
and he had every reason to believe that he had converted at the same time
one of the probable enemies of his policy into its most interested
defender. Could he have foreseen the early death of William, he might
have had reason to hesitate and to question whether some other marriage
might not lead to a more sure success. That this plan failed in the end
is only a proof of Henry's foresight in providing, against an almost
inevitable failure, the best defence which ingenuity could devise.

William Clito's tenure of his countship was of but little more than a
year, and a year filled with fighting. Boulogne was a vassal county of
Flanders; but the new count, Stephen, undoubtedly carrying out the
directions of his uncle, refused him homage, and William endeavoured to
compel his obedience by force. Insurrections broke out behind him, due in
part to his own severity of rule; and the progress of one of his rivals
who was destined to succeed him, Dietrich of Elsass, was alarming. Louis
attempted to come to his help, but was checked by a forward move of Henry
with a Norman army. The tide seemed about to turn in Henry's favour once
more, when it was suddenly impelled that way by the death of William.
Wounded in the hand by a spear, in a fight at Alost, he died a few days
later. His father was still alive in an English prison, and was informed
in a dream, we are told, of this final blow of fortune. But for Henry
this opportune death not merely removed from the field the most dangerous
rival for Matilda's succession, but it also re-established the English
influence in Flanders. Dietrich of Elsass became count, with the consent
of Louis, and renewed the bond with England. Not long afterwards by the
influence of Henry he obtained as wife, Geoffrey of Anjou's sister Sibyl,
who had been taken from William Clito.

Geoffrey and Matilda were married at Le Mans, on June g, 1129, by the
Bishop of Avranches, in the presence of a brilliant assembly of nobles
and prelates, and with the appearance of great popular rejoicing. After a
stay there of three weeks, Henry returned to Normandy, and Matilda, with
her husband and father-in-law, went to Angers. The jubilation with which
the bridal party was there received was no doubt entirely genuine.
Already before this marriage an embassy from the kingdom of Jerusalem had
sought out Fulk, asking him to come to the aid of the Christian state,
and offering him the hand of the heiress of the kingdom with her crown.
This offer he now accepted, and left the young pair in possession of
Anjou. But this happy outcome of Henry's policy, which promised to settle
so many difficulties, was almost at the outset threatened with disaster
against which even he could not provide. Matilda was not of gentle
disposition. She never made it easy for her friends to live with her, and
it is altogether probable that she took no pains to conceal her scorn of
this marriage and her contempt for the Angevins, including very likely
her youthful husband. At any rate, a few days after Henry's return to
England, July 7,1129, he was followed by the news that Geoffrey had
repudiated and cast off his wife, and that Matilda had returned to Rouen
with few attendants. Henry did not, however, at once return to Normandy,
and it was two full years before Matilda came back to England.

The disagreement between Geoffrey and Matilda ran its course as a family
quarrel. It might endanger the future of Henry's plans, but it caused him
no present difficulty. His continental position was now, indeed, secure
and was threatened during the short remainder of his life by none of his
enemies, though his troubles with his son-in-law were not yet over. The
defeat of Robert and the crushing of the most powerful nobles had taught
the barons a lesson which did not need to be repeated, and England was
not easily accessible to the foreign enemies of the king. In Normandy the
case was different, and despite Henry's constant successes and his
merciless severity, no victory had been final so long as any claimant
lived who could be put forward to dispute his possession. Now followed
some years of peace, in which the history of Normandy is as barren as the
history of England had long been, until the marriage of Matilda raised up
a new claimant to disturb the last months of her father's life. During
Henry's last stay in Normandy death had removed one who had once filled a
large place in history, but who had since passed long years in obscurity.
Ranulf Flambard died in 1128, having spent the last part of his life in
doing what he could to redeem the earlier, by his work on the cathedral
of Durham, where in worthy style he carried on the work of his
predecessor, William of St. Calais. Soon after died William Giffard, the
bishop whom Henry had appointed before he was himself crowned, and in his
place the king appointed his nephew, Henry of Blois, brother of Count
Stephen, who was to play so great a part in the troubles that were soon
to begin. About the same time we get evidence that Henry had not
abandoned his practice of taking fines from the married clergy, and of
allowing them to retain their wives.

The year 1130, which Henry spent in England, is made memorable by a
valuable and unique record giving us a sight of the activities of his
reign on a side where we have little other evidence. The Pipe Roll of that
year has come down to us.[25] The Pipe Rolls, so called apparently from
the shape in which they were filed for preservation, are the records of
the accounting of the Exchequer Court with the sheriffs for the revenues
which they had collected from their counties, and which they were bound to
hand over to the treasury. From a point in the reign of Henry's grandson,
these rolls become almost continuous, and reveal to us in detail many
features of the financial system of these later times. This one record
from the reign of the first Henry is a slender foundation for our
knowledge of the financial organization of the kingdom, but from it we
know with certainly that this organization had already begun as it was
afterward developed.

It has already been said that the single organ of the feudal state, by
which government in all its branches was carried on, was the curia
regis. We shall find it difficult to realize a fact like this, or to
understand how so crude a system of government operated in practice,
unless we first have clearly in mind the fact that the men of that time
did not reason much about their government. They did not distinguish one
function of the state from another, nor had they yet begun to think that
each function should have its distinct machinery in the governmental
system. All that came later, as the result of experience, or more
accurately, of the pressure of business. As yet, business and machinery
both were undeveloped and undifferentiated. In a single session of the
court advice might be given to the king on some question of foreign
policy and on the making or revising of a law; and a suit between two of
the king's vassals might be heard and decided: and no one would feel that
work of different and somewhat inconsistent types had been done. One
seemed as properly the function of the assembly as the other. In the
composition of the court, and in the practice as to time and place of
meeting, there was something of the same indefiniteness. The court was
the king's. It was his personal machine for managing the business of his
great property, the state. As such it met when and where the king
pleased, certain meetings being annually expected; and it was composed of
any persons who stood in immediate relations with the king, and whose
presence he saw fit to call for by special or general summons, his
vassals and the officers of his household or government. If a vassal of
the king had a complaint against another, and needed the assistance of
the king to enforce his view of the case, he might look upon his standing
in the curia regis as a right; but in general it was a burden, a
service, which could be demanded of him because of some estate or office
which he held.

In the reign of the first Henry we can indeed trace the beginnings of
differentiation in the machinery of government, but the process was as
yet wholly unconscious. We find in this reign evidence of a large
curia regis and of a small curia regis. The difference had probably
existed in the two preceding reigns, but it now becomes more apparent
because the increasing business of the state makes it more prominent.
More frequent meetings of the curia regis were necessary, but the
barons of the kingdom could not be in constant attendance at the court
and occupied with its business. The large court was the assembly of all
the barons, meeting on occasions only, and on special summons. The
small court was permanently in session, or practically so, and was
composed of the king's household officers and of such barons or bishops
as might be in attendance on the king or present at the time. The
distinction thus beginning was destined to lead to most important
results, plainly to be seen in the constitution of to-day, but it was
wholly unnoticed at the time. To the men of that time there was no
distinction, no division. The small curia regis was the same as the
larger; the larger was no more than the smaller. Who attended at a
given date was a matter of convenience, or of precedent on the three
great annual feasts, or of the desire of the king for a larger body of
advisers about some difficult question of policy; but the assembly was
always the same, with the same powers and functions, and doing the same
business. Cases were brought to the smaller body for trial, and its
decision was that of the curia regis. The king asked advice of it,
and its answer was that of the council. The smaller was not a committee
of the larger. It did not act by delegated powers. It was the curia
regis itself. In reality differentiation of old institutions into new
ones had begun, but the beginning was unperceived.

It was by a process similar to this that the financial business of the
state began to be set off from the legislative and judicial, though it
was long before it was entirely dissociated from the latter, and only
gradually that the Exchequer Court was distinguished from the curia
regis. The sheriffs, as the officers who collected the revenues of the
king, each in his own county, were responsible to the curia regis.
probably from early times the mechanical labour of examining and
recording the accounts had been performed by subordinate officials; but
any question of difficulty which arose, any disputed point, whether
between the sheriff and the state or between the sheriff and the
taxpayer, must have been decided by the court itself, though probably by
the smaller rather than by the larger body. Certainly it is the small
curia regis which has supervision of the matter when we get our first
glimpse of the working of this machinery. Already at this date a procedure
had developed for examining and checking the sheriff's accounts, which is
evidently somewhat advanced, but which is interesting to us because still
so primitive. Twice a year, at Easter and at Michaelmas, the court met
for the purpose, under an organization peculiar to this work, and with
some persons especially assigned to it; and it was then known as the
Exchequer. The name was derived from the fact that the method of
balancing accounts reminded one of the game of chess. Court and sheriff
sat about a table of which the cloth was divided into squares, seven
columns being made across the width of the cloth, and these divided by
lines running through the middle along the length of the table, thus
forming squares. Each perpendicular column of squares stood for a fixed
denomination of money, pence, shillings, pounds, scores of pounds,
hundreds of pounds, etc. The squares on the upper side of the table
stood for the sum for which the sheriff was responsible, and when this
was determined the proper counters were placed on their squares to set
out the sum in visible form, as on an abacus. The squares of the lower
side of the table were those of the sheriffs credits, and in them
counters were placed to represent the sum for which the sheriff could
submit evidence of payments already made. Such payments the sheriff was
constantly making throughout the year, for fixed expenses of the state or
on special orders of the king for supplies for the court, for transport,
for the keeping of prisoners, for public works, and for various other
purposes. The different items of debt and credit were noted down by
clerks for the permanent record. When the account was over, a simple
process of subtracting the counters standing in the credit squares from
those in the debit showed the account balanced, or the amount due from
the sheriff, or the credit standing in his favour, as the case might be.

At the Easter session of the court the accounts for the whole year were
not balanced, the payment then made by the sheriff being an instalment
on account, of about one-half the whole sum due for the year. For this
he received a tally stick as a receipt, in which notches of different
positions and sizes stood for the sum he had paid. A stick exactly
corresponding was kept by the court, split off, indeed, from his, and
the matching of the two at the Michaelmas session, when the year's
account was finally closed, was the sheriff's proof of his former
payment. The revenue of which the sheriff gave account in this way
consisted of a variety of items. The most important was the firma
comitatus, the farm or annual sum which the sheriff paid for his
county as the farmer of its revenue. This was made up of the estimated
returns from two sources, the rents from the king's lands in the county,
and the share of the fines which went to the king from cases tried in
the old popular courts of shire and hundred. The administration of
justice was a valuable source of income in feudal days, whether to the
king or to the lord who had his own court. But the fines which helped
to make up the ferm of the county were not the only ones for which the
sheriff accounted. He had also to collect, or at least in a general way
to be responsible for, the fines inflicted in the king's courts as held
in his county by the king's justices on circuits, and these were frequent
in Henry's time. If a Danegeld or an aid was taken during the year, this
must also be accounted for, together with such of the peculiarly feudal
sources of income, ward-ships, marriages, escheats, etc., as were in the
sheriffs hands. On the roll appear also numerous entries of fees paid by
private persons to have their cases tried in the king's courts, or to
have the king's processes or officers for the enforcement of their

Altogether the items were almost as numerous as in a modern budget, but
one chief source of present revenue, the customs duties, is conspicuously
absent, and the general aspect of the system is far more that of income
from property than in a modern state, even fines and fees having a
personal rather than a political character. A careful estimate of all the
revenue accounted for in this Pipe Roll of 1130 shows that Henry's annual
income probably fell a little short of 30,000 English pounds in the money
of that day, which should be equal in purchasing power, in money of our
time, to a million and a half or two million pounds.[26] This was a large
revenue for the age. Henry knew the value of money for the ends he wished
to accomplish, and though he accumulated large store of it, he spent it
unsparingly when the proper time came. England groaned constantly under
the heavy burden of his taxes, and the Pipe Roll shows us that there was
ground for these complaints. The Danegeld, the direct land-tax, had been
taken for some years before this date, with the regularity of a modern
tax, and as it was taken at a rate which would make it in any age a heavy
burden, we can well believe that it was found hard to bear in a time
when the returns of agriculture were more uncertain than now, and when
the frequently occurring bad seasons were a more serious calamity.
Economically, however, England was well-to-do. She had enjoyed during
Henry's reign a long age of comparative quiet. For nearly a generation
and a half, as the lives of men then averaged, there had been no war,
public or private, to lay waste any part of the land. In fact, since
early in the reign of Henry's father, England had been almost without
experience of the barbarous devastation that went with war in feudal
days. Excessive taxation and licensed oppression had seemed at times a
serious burden. Bad harvests and the hunger and disease against which the
medieval man could not protect himself had checked the growth of wealth
and population. Yet on the whole the nation had gained greatly in three

Especially is this to be seen in the development of the towns, in the
growth of a rich burgher class containing many foreign elements, Norman,
Flemish, and Jewish, and living with many signs of comfort and luxury, as
well as in the indications of an active and diversified commercial life.
The progress of this portion of the nation, the larger portion in numbers
but making little show in the annals of barons and bishops whose more
dramatic activities it supported is marked in an interesting way by a
charter granted by Henry to London, in the last years of his reign.[27]
His father had put into legal form a grant to the city, but it was not,
strictly speaking, a city charter. It was no more than a promise that law
and property should be undisturbed. Henry's charter goes much beyond this,
though it tells us no more of the internal government of the city. In
return for a rent of L300 a year, the king abandoned to the city all his
revenues from Middlesex, and because he would have no longer any interest
in the collection of these revenues the city might choose its own sheriff,
and presumably collect them for itself. The king's pleas were surrendered,
the city was to have its own justiciar, and to make this concession a real
one, no citizen need plead in any suit outside the city walls. Danegeld
and murder fines were also given up, and the local courts of the city were
to have their regular sittings. Behind a grant like this must lie some
considerable experience of self-government, a developed and conscious
capacity in the citizens to organize and handle the machinery of
administration. But of this there is no hint in the charter, nor do we
know much of the inner government of London till some time later. Of the
wealth and power of the city the charter speaks still more plainly, and of
this there was to be abundant evidence in the period which follows the
close of Henry's reign.

Henry's stay in England at this time was not long. Towards the end of the
summer he returned to Normandy, though with what he was occupied there we
have little knowledge. A disputed election to the papacy had taken place,
and the pope of the reform party, Innocent II, had come to France, where
that party was strong. The great St. Bernard, the most influential
churchman of his time, had declared for him, and through his influence
Henry, who met Innocent in January, 1131, recognized him as the rightful
pope. In the following summer he returned to England, and brought back
with him Matilda, who had now been two full years separated from her
husband; but about this time Geoffrey thought better of his conduct, or
determined to try the experiment of living with his wife again, and sent a
request that Matilda be sent back to him. What answer should be given him
was considered in a meeting of the great council at Northampton, September
8, almost as if her relationship with Geoffrey were a new proposition; and
it was decided that she should go. A single chronicler records that Henry
took advantage of this coming together of the barons at the meeting of the
court to demand fealty to Matilda, both from those who had formerly sworn
it and from those who had not.[28] Such a fact hardly seems consistent
with the same chronicler's record of the excuse of Roger, Bishop of
Salisbury, for violating his oath; but if it occurred, as this repetition
of the fealty was after Matilda's marriage with Geoffrey and immediately
after a decision of the baronage that she should return to him, it would
make the bishop's argument a mere subterfuge or, at best, an exception
applying to himself alone. Matilda immediately went over to Anjou, where
she was received with great honour.

Few things remain to be recorded of the brief period of life left to the
king. He had been interested, as his brother had been, in the extension
of English influence in Cumberland, and now he erected that county into a
new bishopric of Carlisle, in the obedience of the Archbishop of York. On
March 25, 1133, was born Matilda's eldest son, the future Henry II; and
early in August the king of England crossed the channel for the last
time, undoubtedly to see his grandson. On June 1, of the next year, his
second grandson, Geoffrey, was born. A short time before, the long
imprisonment of Robert of Normandy closed with his death, and the future
for which Henry had so long worked must have seemed to him secure. But
his troubles were not over. The medieval heir was usually in a hurry to
enter into his inheritance, and Geoffrey of Anjou, who probably felt his
position greatly strengthened by the birth of his son, was no exception
to the rule. He demanded possessions in Normandy. He made little wars on
his own account. Matilda, who seems now to have identified herself with
her husband's interests, upheld his demands. Some of the Norman barons,
who were glad of any pretext to escape from the yoke of Henry, added
their support, especially William Talvas, the son of Robert of Bellême,
who might easily believe that he had a long account to settle with the
king. But Henry was still equal to the occasion. A campaign of three
months, in 1135, drove William Talvas out of the country and brought
everything again under the king's control, though peace was not yet made
with his belligerent son-in-law. Then came the end suddenly. On November
25, Henry, still apparently in full health and vigour, planning a hunt
for the next day, ate too heartily of eels, a favourite dish but always
harmful to him, and died a week later, December 1, of the illness which
resulted. Asked on his death-bed what disposition should be made of the
succession, he declared again that all should go to Matilda, but made no
mention of Geoffrey.

Henry was born in 1068, and was now past the end of his sixty-seventh
year. His reign of a little more than thirty-five years was a long one,
not merely for the middle ages, when the average of human life was short,
but for any period of history. He was a man of unusual physical vigour.
He had been very little troubled with illness. His health and strength
were still unaffected by the labours of his life. He might reasonably
have looked forward to seeing his grandson, who was now nearing the end
of his third year, if not of an age to rule, at least of an age to be
accepted as king with a strong regency under the leadership of Robert of
Gloucester. A few years more of life for King Henry might have saved
England from a generation that laboured to undo his work.

With the death of Henry I a great reign in English history closed.
Considered as a single period, it does not form an epoch by itself. It is
rather an introductory age, an age of beginnings, which, interrupted by a
generation of anarchy, were taken up and completed by others. We are
tempted to suspect that these others receive more credit for the
completed result than they really deserve, because we know their work so
well and Henry's so imperfectly. Certainly, we may well note this fact,
that every new bit of evidence which the scholar from time to time
rescues from neglect tends to show that the special creations for which
we have distinguished the reign of Henry's grandson, reach further back
in time than we had supposed. To this we may add the fact that, wherever
we can follow in detail the action of the king, we find it the action of
a man of political genius. Did we know as much of Henry's activity in
government and administration as we do of the carrying out of his foreign
policy, it is more than probable that we should find in it the clear
marks of creative statesmanship. Not the least important of Henry's
achievements of which we are sure was the peace which he secured and
maintained for England with a strong and unsparing hand. More than thirty
years of undisturbed quiet was a long period for any land in the middle
ages, and during that time the vital process of union, the growing
together in blood and laws and feeling of the two great races which
occupied the land, was going rapidly forward.

[23] Gesta Stephani (Rolls Series), p. 10.

[24] William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, sec. 452.

[25] Edited by Joseph Hunter and published by the Record Commission
in 1833.

[26] Ramsay, Foundations of England, ii, 328.

[27] Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 347 ff.

[28] W. Malm., Historia Novella, sec. 455, and cf. sec. 452.



Earls and barons, whom the rumour of his illness had drawn together,
surrounded the death-bed of Henry I and awaited the result. Among them
was his natural son Robert of Gloucester; but his legal heiress, the
daughter for whom he had done so much and risked so much, was not there.
The recent attempt of her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou, to gain by force
the footing in Normandy which Henry had denied him, had drawn her away
from her father, and she was still in Anjou. It was afterward declared
that Henry on his death-bed disinherited her and made Stephen of Boulogne
heir in her place; but this is not probable, and it is met by the
statement which we may believe was derived directly from Robert of
Gloucester, that the dying king declared his will to be still in her
favour. However this may be, no steps were taken by any one in Normandy
to put Matilda in possession of the duchy, or formally to recognize her
right of succession. Why her brother Robert did nothing and allowed the
opportunity to slip, we cannot say. Possibly he did not anticipate a
hostile attempt. At Rouen, whither Henry's body was first taken, the
barons adopted measures to preserve order and to guard the frontiers,
which show that they took counsel on the situation; but nothing was done
about the succession.

In the meantime, another person, as deeply interested in the result, did
not wait for events to shape themselves. Stephen of Boulogne had been a
favourite nephew of Henry I and a favourite at his uncle's court, and he
had been richly provided for. The county of Mortain, usually held by some
member of the ducal house, had been given him; he had shared in the
confiscated lands of the house of Bellême; and he had been married to the
heiress of the practically independent county of Boulogne, which carried
with it a rich inheritance in England. Henry might very well believe that
gratitude would secure from Stephen as faithful a support of his
daughter's cause as he expected from her brother Robert. But in this he
was mistaken. Stephen acted so promptly on the news of his uncle's death
that he must already have decided what his action would be.

When he heard that his uncle had died, Stephen crossed at once to
England. Dover and Canterbury were held by garrisons of Earl Robert's and
refused him admittance, but he pushed on by them to London. There he was
received with welcome by the citizens. London was in a situation to hail
the coming of any one who promised to re-establish order and security,
and this was clearly the motive on which the Londoners acted in all that
followed. A reign of disorder had begun as soon as it was known that the
king was dead, as frequently happened in the medieval state, for the
power that enforced the law, or perhaps that gave validity even to the
law and to the commissions of those who executed it, was suspended while
the throne was vacant. A great commercial city, such as London had grown
to be during the long reign of Henry, would suffer in all its interests
from such a state of things. Indeed, it appears that a body of
plunderers, under one who had been a servant of the late king's, had
established themselves not far from the city, and were by their
operations manufacturing pressing arguments in favour of the immediate
re-establishment of order. It is not necessary to seek for any further
explanation of the welcome which London extended to Stephen. Immediately
on his arrival a council was held in the city, probably the governing
body of the city, the municipal council if we may so call it, which
determined what should be done. Negotiations were not difficult between
parties thus situated, and an agreement was speedily reached. The city
bound itself to recognize Stephen as king, and he promised to put down
disorder and maintain security. Plainly from the account we have of this
arrangement, it was a bargain, a kind of business contract; and Stephen
proceeded at once to show that he intended to keep his side of it by
dispersing the robber band which was annoying the city and hanging its

It is unnecessary to take seriously the claim of a special right to fill
the throne when it was vacant, which the citizens of London advanced for
themselves according to a contemporary historian of these events.[29] This
is surely less a claim of the citizens than one invented for them by
a partisan who wishes to make Stephen's position appear as strong as
possible; and no one at the time paid any attention to it. Having secured
the support of London, after what can have been only a few days' stay,
Stephen went immediately to Winchester. Before he could really believe
himself king, he had to secure the royal treasures and more support than
he had yet gained. Stephen's own brother Henry, who owed his promotion in
the Church, as Stephen did his in the State, to his uncle, was at this
time Bishop of Winchester; and it was due to him, as a contemporary
declares, that the plan of Stephen succeeded, and the real decision of the
question was made, not at London, but at Winchester.[30] Henry went out
with the citizens of Winchester to meet his brother on his approach, and
he was welcomed as he had been at London. Present there or coming in soon
after, were the Archbishop William of Canterbury, Roger, Bishop of
Salisbury, the head of King Henry's administrative system, and seemingly a
few, but not many, barons. On the question of making Stephen king, the
good, though not strong, Archbishop of Canterbury, was greatly troubled by
the oath which had been sworn in the interest of Matilda. "There are not
enough of us here," his words seem to mean, "to decide upon so important a
step as recognizing this man as king, when we are bound by oath to
recognize another."[31]

Though our evidence is derived from clerical writers, who might
exaggerate the importance of the point, it seems clear from a number of
reasons that this oath to Matilda was really the greatest difficulty in
Stephen's way. That it troubled the conscience of the lay world very much
does not appear, nor that it was regarded either in Normandy or England
as settling the succession. If the Norman barons had been bound by this
oath as well as the English, as is altogether probable, they certainly
acted as if they considered the field clear for other candidates. But it
is evident that the oath was the first and greatest difficulty to be
overcome in securing for Stephen the support of the Church, and this was
indispensable to his success. The active condemnation of the breaking of
this oath survived for a long time in the Church, and with characteristic
medieval logic the fate of those few who violated their oaths and met
some evil end was pointed to as a direct vengeance of God, while that of
the fortunate majority of the faithless is passed over in silence,
including the chief traitor Hugh Bigod, who, as Robert of Gloucester
afterwards declared, had twice sworn falsely, and made of perjury an
elegant accomplishment.[32]

If the scruples of the archbishop were to be overcome, it could not be
done by increasing the number of those who were present to agree to the
accession of Stephen. No material increase of the party of his adherents
could be expected before the ceremony of coronation had made him actual
king. It seems extremely probable that it was at this crisis of affairs,
that the scheme was invented to meet the hesitation of the archbishop; and
it was the only way in which it could have been overcome at the moment.
Certain men stepped forward and declared that at the last Henry repented
of having forced his barons to take this oath, and that he released them
from it. It is hardly possible to avoid the accumulated force of the
evidence which points to Hugh Bigod as the peculiarly guilty person, or to
doubt it was here that he committed the perjury of which so many accused
him. He is said to have sworn that Henry cut off Matilda from the
succession and appointed Stephen his heir; but he probably swore to no
more than is stated above.[33] That Matilda was excluded would be an
almost necessary inference from it, and that Stephen was appointed heir in
her place natural embroidery upon it. Nor can there be any reasonable
doubt, I think, that his oath was deliberately false. Who should be made
to bear the guilt of this scheme, if such it was, cannot be said. It is
hardly likely that Henry of Winchester had any share in it. Whether true
or false, the statement removed the scruples of the archbishop and secured
his consent to Stephen's accession.

With this declaration of Hugh Bigod's, however, was coupled another
matter more of the nature of a positive inducement to the Church. Bishop
Henry seems to have argued with much skill, and very likely to have
believed himself, that if they should agree to make his brother king, he
would restore to the Church that freedom from the control of the State
for which it had been contending since the beginning of the reign of
Henry I, and which was now represented as having been the practice in the
time of their grandfather, William the Conqueror. Stephen agreed at once
to the demand. He was obliged to pay whatever price was set upon the
crown by those who had the disposal of it; but of all the promises which
he made to secure it, this is the one which he came the nearest to
keeping. He swore to "restore liberty to the Church and to preserve it,"
and his brother pledged himself that the oath would be kept. Besides the
adhesion of the Church, Stephen secured at Winchester the royal treasure
which had been accumulated by his uncle and which was not small, and the
obedience of the head of the administrative system, Roger of Salisbury,
who seems to have made no serious difficulty, but who excused his
violation of his oath to Matilda by another pretext, as has already been
mentioned, than the one furnished by Hugh Bigod.

With the new adherents whom he had gained, Stephen at once returned from
Winchester to London for his formal coronation. This took place at
Westminster, probably on December 22, certainly within a very few days of
that date. His supporters were still a very small party in the state.
Very few of the lay barons had as yet declared for him. His chief
dependence must have been upon the two cities of London and Winchester,
and upon the three bishops who had come to his coronation with him, and
who certainly held positions of influence and power in Church and State
far beyond that of the ordinary bishop. At his coronation Stephen renewed
his oath to respect the liberty of the Church, and he issued a brief
charter to the nation at large which is drawn up in very general terms,
confirming the liberties and good laws of Henry, king of the English, and
the good laws and good customs of King Edward, but this can hardly be
regarded as anything more than a proclamation that he intended to make no
changes, a general confirmation of existing rights at the beginning of a
new reign. The Christmas festival Stephen is said to have celebrated at
London with great display. His party had not yet materially grown in
strength, but he was now a consecrated king, and this fait accompli, as
it has been called, was undoubtedly a decided argument with many in the
next few weeks.

Throughout the three weeks that had elapsed since he had learned of his
uncle's death, Stephen had acted with great energy, rapidity, and
courage. Nor is there anything in the course of his reign to show that he
was at any time lacking in these qualities. The period of English history
upon which we enter with the coronation of Stephen is not merely a dreary
period, with no triumphs abroad to be recorded, nor progress at home,
with much loss of what had already been gained, temporary, indeed, but
threatening to be permanent. It is also one of active feudal strife and
anarchy, lasting almost a generation, of the loosening of the bonds of
government, and of suffering by the mass of the nation, the like of which
never recurs in the whole of that history. But this misery fell upon the
country in Stephen's time, not because he failed to understand the duty
of a king, nor because he lacked the energy or courage which a king must
have. The great defect of Stephen's character for the time in which he
lived was that he yielded too easily to persuasion. Gifted with the
popular qualities which win personal favour among men, he had also the
weakness which so often goes with them; he could not long resist the
pressure of those about him. He could not impress men with the fact that
he must be obeyed. His life after his coronation was a laborious one, and
he did not spare himself in his efforts to keep order and to put down
rebellion; but the situation passed irrecoverably beyond his control as
soon as men realized that his will was not inflexible, and that swift and
certain punishment of disobedience need not be feared. Stephen was at
this time towards forty years old, an age which promised mature judgment
and vigorous rule. His wife, who bore the name of Matilda, so common in
the Norman house, was a woman of unusual spirit and energy, and devotedly
attached to him. She stood through her mother, daughter of Malcolm and
Margaret of Scotland, in the same relationship to the empress Matilda
that her husband did, and her descendants would therefore be equally near
akin to the old Saxon dynasty as those of the Empress.

If Stephen had seized the earliest opportunity, his cousin Matilda had
been scarcely less prompt, but she had acted with less decision and with
less discernment of the strategic importance of England. As soon as she
learned of her father's death, she entered Normandy from the south, near
Domfront, and was admitted to that town and to Argentan and Exmes without
opposition by the viscount of that region, who was one of King Henry's
"new men" in Normandy, and who recognized her claims at once. In a few
days she was followed by her husband, Geoffrey, who entered the duchy a
little farther to the east, in alliance with William Talvas, who opened
to him Sees and other fortified places of his fief. So far all seemed
going well, though as compared with the rapidity of Stephen's progress
during those same days, such successes would count but little. Then, for
some unaccountable reason, Geoffrey allowed his troops to plunder the
Normans and to ravage cruelly the lands which had received him as a
friend. The inborn fierceness of the Normans burst out at such treatment,
and the Angevins were swept out of the country with as great cruelties as
they had themselves exercised. Whether this incident had any influence on
the action of the Norman barons it is not possible to say, but it must
have been about the same time that they met at Neubourg to decide the
question of the succession. We have no account of what they did or of
what motives influenced their first decision. Theobald, Count of Blois
and of Champagne, Stephen's elder brother, was present apparently to urge
his own claim, and him they decided, or were on the point of deciding, to
recognize as duke. At this moment a messenger from Stephen arrived and
announced that all the English had accepted Stephen and agreed that he
should be king. This news at once settled the question for the Norman
barons. The reason which we have seen acting so strongly on earlier
occasions--the fear of the consequences if they should try to hold their
lands of two different suzerains--was once more the controlling motive,
and they determined to accept Stephen. Theobald acquiesced in this
decision, though unwillingly, and retired to his own dominions, to show
but little interest in the long strife which these events began.

In England the effect of Stephen's coronation soon made itself felt.
Immediately after the Christmas festivities in London he went with his
court to Reading, whither the body of King Henry had now been brought
from Normandy. There it was interred with becoming pomp, in the presence
of the new king, in the abbey which Henry had founded and richly endowed.
There Stephen issued a charter which is of especial historical value. It
records a grant to Miles of Gloucester, and is signed among others by
Payne Fitz-John. Both these were among Henry's "new men." Miles of
Gloucester especially had received large gifts from the late king, and
had held important office under him. Such men would naturally support
Matilda. They might be expected certainly to hesitate until her cause was
hopeless. Their presence with Stephen, accepting him as king so soon
after his coronation, is evidence of great value as to the drift of
opinion in England about the chance of his success. The charter is
evidence also of one of the difficulties in Stephen's way, and of the
necessity he was under of buying support, which we have seen already and
which played so great a part in the later events of his reign. The
charter confirms Miles in the possession of all the grants which had been
made him in the late reign, and binds the king not to bring suit against
him for anything which he held at the death of Henry. The question
whether a new king, especially one who was not the direct heir of his
predecessor, would respect his grants was a question of great importance
to men in the position of Miles of Gloucester.

At Reading, or perhaps at Oxford, where Stephen may have gone from the
burial of Henry, news came to him that David, king of Scotland, had
crossed the border and was taking possession of the north of England,
from Carlisle to Newcastle. David professed to be acting in behalf of his
niece, Matilda, and out of respect to the oath he had sworn to support
her cause, and he was holding the plundering habits of his army well in
check. We are told that it was with a great army that Stephen marched
against him. He had certainly force enough to make it seem wise to David,
who was on his way to Durham, to fall back and negotiate. Terms were
quickly arranged. David would not conform to the usual rule and become
Stephen's man; and Stephen, still yielding minor matters to secure the
greater, did not insist. But David's son Henry did homage to Stephen, and
received the earldom of Huntingdon, with a vague promise that he might be
given at some later time the other part of the possessions of his
grandfather, Waltheof, the earldom of Northumberland, and with the more
substantial present grant of Carlisle and Doncaster. The other places
which David had occupied were given up.

From the north Stephen returned to London to hold his Easter court. He
was now, he might well believe, king without question, and he intended
to have the Easter assembly make this plain. Special writs of summons
were sent throughout England to all the magnates of Church and State;
and a large and brilliant court came together in response. Charters
issued at this date, when taken together, give us the names of three
archbishops--one, the Archbishop of Rouen--and thirteen bishops, four
being Norman, and thirty-nine barons and officers of the court who were
present, including King David's son Henry, who had come with Stephen from
the north. At this assembly Stephen's queen, Matilda, was crowned, and so
brilliant was the display and so lavish the expenditure that England was
struck with the contrast to the last reign, whose economies had in part
at least accumulated the treasure which Stephen might now scatter with
a free hand to secure his position. The difficulties of his task are
illustrated by an incident which occurred at this court. Mindful of the
necessity of conciliating Scotland, he gave to young Henry, at the Easter
feast, the seat of honour at his right hand; whereupon, the Archbishop of
Canterbury, offended because his claims of precedence had been set aside,
left the court; and Ralph, Earl of Chester, angered because Carlisle, to
which he asserted claims of hereditary right, had been made over to
Henry, cried out upon the young man, and with other barons insulted him
so grievously that his father David was very angry in his turn.

Immediately after the Easter festivities, the court as a body removed to
Oxford. Just after Easter Robert of Gloucester, the Empress's brother,
had landed in England. Stephen had been importuning him for some time to
give up his sister's cause and acknowledge him as king. So far as we
know, Robert had done nothing up to this time to stem the current of
events, and these events were probably a stronger argument with him than
Stephen's inducements. All England and practically all Normandy had
accepted Stephen. The king of Scotland had abandoned the opposition.
Geoffrey and Matilda had accomplished nothing, and seemed to be planning
nothing. The only course that lay plainly open was to make the best terms
possible with the successful usurper, and to await the further course of
events. William of Malmesbury, who looked upon Earl Robert as his patron
and who wrote almost as his panegyrist, thinking, perhaps, dissimulation
a smaller fault than disregard of his oath, accounted for his submission
to Stephen by his desire to gain an opportunity to persuade the English
barons to saner counsels. This statement can hardly be taken as evidence
of Robert's intention, but at any rate he now joined the court at Oxford
and made his bargain with Stephen. He did him homage, and promised to be
his man so long as the king should maintain him in his position and keep
faith with him.

At this Oxford meeting another bargain, even more important to Stephen
than his bargain with the Earl of Gloucester, was put into a form which
may be not improperly called a definitive treaty. This was the bargain
with the Church, to the terms of which Stephen had twice before
consented. The document in which this treaty was embodied is commonly
known as Stephen's second charter; and, witnessed by nearly all those who
witnessed the London charters already referred to, and by the Earl of
Gloucester in addition, it had the force of a royal grant confirmed by
the curia regis. Nothing could prove to us more clearly than this
charter how conscious Stephen was of the desperate character of the
undertaking on which he had ventured, and of the vital necessity of the
support of the Church. The grant is of the most sweeping sort. All that
the Church had demanded in the conflict between Anselm and Henry I is
freely yielded, and more. All simony shall cease, vacancies shall be
canonically filled; the possessions of the Church shall be administered
by its own men during a vacancy,--that is, the feudal rights which had
been exercised by the last two kings are given up; jurisdiction over all
ecclesiastical persons and property is abandoned to the Church;
ecclesiastics shall have full power to dispose of their personal property
by will; all unjust exactions, by whomsoever brought in,--including among
these, no doubt, as Henry of Huntingdon expressly says, the Danegeld,
which the Church had insisted ought not to be paid by its domain
lands,--are to be given up. "These all I concede and confirm," the
charter closes, "saving my royal and due dignity." Dignity in the modern
sense might be left the king, but not much real power over the Church if
this charter was to determine future law and custom. The English Church
would have reached at a stroke a nearer realization of the full programme
of the Hildebrandine reform than all the struggles of nearly a century
had yet secured in any other land, if the king kept his promises. As a
matter of fact, he did not do so entirely, though the Church made more
permanent gain from the weakness of this reign than any other of the
contending and rival parties.

One phrase at the beginning of this charter strikes us with surprise. In
declaring how he had become king, Stephen adds to choice by clergy and
people, and consecration by the archbishop, the confirmation of the pope.
Since when had England, recognized the right of the pope to confirm its
sovereigns or to decide cases of disputed succession? Or is the papacy
securing here, from the necessities of Stephen, a greater concession than
any other in the charter, a practical recognition of the claim which once
Gregory VII had made of the Conqueror only to have it firmly rejected,
and which the Church had not succeeded in establishing in any European
land? In reality England had recognized no claim of papal overlordship,
nor was any such claim in the future based upon this confirmation. The
reference to the pope had been practically forced upon Stephen, whether
he would have taken the step himself or not, and the circumstances made
it of the highest importance to him to proclaim publicly the papal
sanction of his accession. Probably immediately on hearing the news of
Stephen's usurpation, Matilda had despatched to Pope Innocent II,--then
residing at Pisa because Rome was in possession of his rival, Anacletus
II,--an embassy headed by the Bishop of Angers, to appeal to the pope
against the wicked deeds of Stephen, in that he had defrauded her of her
rights and broken his oath, as William of Normandy had once appealed to
the pope against the similar acts of Harold.[34] At Pisa this embassy was
opposed by another of Stephen's, whose spokesman was the archdeacon of
Sees. It must have started at about the same time as Matilda's, and it
brought to the pope the official account of the bishops who had taken part
in the coronation of Stephen.

In the presence of Innocent something like a formal trial occurred. The
case was argued by the champions of the two sides, on questions which it
belonged to the Church to decide, or which at least the Church claimed
the right to decide, the usurpation of an inheritance, and the violation
of an oath. Against Matilda's claim were advanced the arguments which had
already been used with effect in England, that the oath had been extorted
from the barons by force, and that on his death-bed Henry had released
them from it; but more than this, Stephen's advocates suddenly sprang on
their opponents a new and most disconcerting argument, one which would
have had great weight in any Church court, and which attacked both their
claims at once. Matilda could not be the rightful heir, and so the oath
itself could not be binding, because she was of illegitimate birth, being
the daughter of a nun. One account of this debate represents Matilda's
side as nonplussed by this argument and unable to answer it. And they
might well be, for during the long generation since Henry's marriage, no
question of its validity had ever been publicly raised. The sudden
advancing of the doubt at this time shows, however, that it had lingered
on in the minds of some in the Church. It is not likely that the point
would have been in the end dangerous to Matilda's cause, for it would not
have been possible to produce evidence sufficient to warrant the Church
in reversing the decision which Archbishop Anselm had carefully made at
the time. But the pope did not allow the case to come to a decision. He
broke off the debate, and announced that he would not decide the question
nor permit it to be taken up again. His caution was no doubt due to the
difficult position in which Innocent was then placed, with a rival in
possession of the capital of Christendom, the issue uncertain, and the
support of all parties necessary to his cause. Privately, but not as an
official decision, he wrote to Stephen recognizing him as king of
England. The letter reveals a reason in Stephen's favour which probably
availed more with the pope than all the arguments of the English embassy,
the pressure of the king of France. The separation of Anjou at least, if
not of Normandy also, from England, was important to the plans of France,
and the support of the king was essential to the pope.

To Stephen the reasons for the pope's letter were less important than the
fact that such decision as there was was in his favour. He could not do
otherwise than make this public. The letter probably arrived in England
just before, or at the time of, the Easter council in London. To the
Church of England, in regard to the troublesome matter of the oath, it
would be decisive. There could be no reason why Stephen should not be
accepted as king if the pope, with full understanding of the facts, had
accepted him. And so the Church was ready to enter into that formal
treaty with the king which is embodied in Stephen's second charter, which
is a virtual though conditional recognition of him, and which naturally,
as an essential consideration, recites the papal recognition and calls it
not unnaturally a confirmation, though this word may be nothing more than
the mere repetition of an ecclesiastical formula set down by a clerical
hand, without especial significance.

Stephen might now believe himself firmly fixed in the possession of power.
His bold stroke for the crown had proved as successful as Henry I's, and
everything seemed to promise as secure and prosperous a reign. The
all-influential Church had declared for him, and its most influential
leader was his brother Henry of Winchester, who had staked his own honour
in his support. The barons of the kingdom had accepted him, and had
attended his Easter court in unusual numbers as compared with anything
we know of the immediately preceding reigns. Those who should have been
the leaders of his rival's cause had all submitted,--her brother, Robert
of Gloucester, Brian Fitz Count, Miles of Gloucester, Payne Fitz John,
the Bishop of Salisbury, and his great ministerial family. The powerful
house of Beaumont, the earls of Warwick and of Leicester, who held almost
a kingdom in middle England, promised to be as faithful to the new
sovereign as it had been to earlier ones. Even Matilda herself and her
husband Geoffrey seemed to have abandoned effort, having met with no
better success in their appeal to the pope than in their attack on
Normandy. For more than two years nothing occurs which shakes the
security of Stephen's power or which seriously threatens it with the
coming of any disaster.

And yet Stephen, like Henry I, had put himself into a position which only
the highest gifts of statesmanship and character could maintain, and in
these he was fatally lacking. The element of weakness, which is more
apparent in his case, though perhaps not more real, than in Henry's, that
he was a king by "contract," as the result of various bargains, and that
he might be renounced by the other parties to these bargains if he
violated their terms, was only one element in a general situation which
could be dominated by a strong will and by that alone. These bargains
served as excuses for rebellion,--unusually good, to be sure, from a
legal point of view,--but excuses are always easy to find, or are often
thought unnecessary, for resistance to a king whom one may defy with
impunity. The king's uncle had plainly marked out a policy which a ruler
in his situation should follow at the beginning of his reign--to destroy
the power of the most dangerous barons, one by one, and to raise up on
their ruins a body of less powerful new men devoted to himself; but this
policy Stephen had not the insight nor the strength of purpose to follow.
His defect was not the lack of courage. He was conscious of his duty and
unsparing of himself, but he lacked the clear sight and the fixed
purpose, the inflexible determination which the position in which he had
placed himself demanded. To understand the real reason for the period of
anarchy which follows, to know why Stephen, with as fair a start, failed
to rule as Henry I had done, one must see as clearly as possible how, in
the months when his power seemed in no danger of falling, he undermined
it himself through his lack of quick perception and his unsteadiness of

It would not be profitable to discuss here the question whether or not
Stephen was a usurper. Such a discussion is an attempt to measure the acts
of that time by a standard not then in use. As we now judge of such things
he was a usurper; in the forum of morals he must be declared a usurper,
but no one at the time accused him of any wrong-doing beyond the breaking
of his oath.[35] Of no king before or after is so much said, in chronicles
and formal documents, of "election" as is said of Stephen; but of anything
which may be called a formal or constitutional election there is no trace.
The facts recorded indeed illustrate more clearly than in any other case
the process by which, in such circumstances, a king came to the throne. It
was clearly a process of securing the adhesion and consent, one after
another, of influential men or groups of men. In this case it was plainly
bargaining. In every case there was probably something of that--as much
as might be necessary to secure the weight of support that would turn the

Within a few days of this brilliant assembly at the Easter festival, the
series of events began which was to test Stephen's character and to
reveal its weakness to those who were eager in every reign of feudal
times to profit by such a revelation. A rumour was in some way started
that the king was dead. Instantly Hugh Bigod, who had been present at the
Oxford meeting, and who had shown his own character by his willingness to
take on his soul the guilt of perjury in Stephen's cause, seized Norwich
castle. The incident shows what was likely always to happen on the death
of the king,--the seizure of royal domains or of the possessions of
weaker neighbours, by barons who hoped to gain something when the time of
settlement came. Hugh Bigod had large possessions in East Anglia, and was
ambitious of a greater position still. He became, indeed, in the end,
earl, but without the possession of Norwich. Now he was not disposed to
yield his prey, even if the king were still alive; he did so only when
Stephen came against him in person, and then very unwillingly. That he
received any punishment for his revolt we are not told.

Immediately after this Stephen was called to the opposite side of the
kingdom by news of the local depredations of Robert of Bampton, a minor
baron of Devonshire. His castle was speedily captured, and he was sent
into exile. But greater difficulties were at hand in that region. A baron
of higher rank, Baldwin of Redvers, whose father before him, and himself
in succession, had been faithful adherents of Henry I from the
adventurous and landless days of that prince, seized the castle of Exeter
and attempted to excite a revolt, presumably in the interests of Matilda.
The inhabitants of Exeter refused to join him, and sent at once to
Stephen for aid, which was hurriedly despatched and arrived just in time
to prevent the sacking of the town by the angry rebel. Here was a more
important matter than either of the other two with which the king had had
to deal, and he sat down to the determined siege of the castle. It was
strongly situated on a mass of rock, and resisted the king's earlier
attacks until, after three months, the garrison was brought to the point
of yielding by want of water. At first Stephen, by the advice of his
brother Henry, insisted upon unconditional surrender, even though
Baldwin's wife came to him in person and in great distress to move his
pity. But now, as in Henry I's attack on Robert of Bellême at the
beginning of his reign, another influence made itself felt. The barons in
Stephen's camp began to put pressure on the king to induce him to grant
favourable terms. We know too little of the actual circumstances to be
able to say to what extent Stephen was really forced to yield. In the
more famous incident at Bridgenorth Henry had the support of the English
common soldiers in his army. Here nothing is said of them, or of any
support to the king. But with or without support, he yielded. The
garrison of the castle were allowed to go free with all their personal
property. Whether this was a concession which in the circumstances
Stephen could not well refuse, or an instance of his easy yielding to
pressure, of which there are many later, the effect was the same.
Contemporary opinion declared it to be bad policy, and dated from it more
general resistance to the king. It certainly seems clear from these
cases, especially from the last, that Stephen had virtually given notice
at the beginning of his reign that rebellion against him was not likely
to be visited with the extreme penalty. Baldwin of Redvers did not give
up the struggle with the surrender of Exeter castle. He had possessions
in the Isle of Wight, and he fortified himself there, got together some
ships, and began to prey on the commerce of the channel. Stephen followed
him up, and was about to invade the island when he appeared and
submitted. This time he was exiled, and crossing over to Normandy he took
refuge at the court of Geoffrey and Matilda, where he was received with a
warm welcome.

For the present these events were not followed by anything further of a
disquieting nature. To all appearances Stephen's power had not been in
the least affected. From the coast he went north to Brampton near
Huntingdon, to amuse himself with hunting. There he gave evidence of how
strong he felt himself to be, for he held a forest assize and tried
certain barons for forest offences. In his Oxford charter he had promised
to give up the forests which Henry had added to those of the two
preceding kings, but he had not promised to hold no forest assizes, and
he could not well surrender them. There was something, however, about his
action at Brampton which was regarded as violating his "promise to God
and to the people"; and we may regard it, considering the bitterness of
feeling against the forest customs, especially on the part of the Church,
as evidence that he felt himself very secure, and more important still as
leading to the belief that he would not be bound by his promises.

A somewhat similar impression must have been made at about this time, the
impression at least that the king was trying to make himself strong
enough to be independent of his pledges, if he wished, by the fact that
he was collecting about him a large force of foreign mercenaries,
especially men from Britanny and Flanders. From the date of the Conquest
itself, the paid soldier, the mercenary drawn from outside the dominions
of the sovereign, had been constantly in use in England, not merely in
the armies of the king, but sometimes in the forces of the greater
barons, and had often been a main support in both cases. When kept under
a strong control, the presence of mercenaries had given rise to no
complaints; indeed, it is probable that in the later part of reigns like
those of William I and Henry I their number had been comparatively
insignificant. But in a reign in which the king was dependent on their
aid and obliged to purchase their support by allowing them liberties, as
when William II proposed to play the tyrant, or in the time of Stephen
from the weakness of the king, complaints are frequent of their cruelties
and oppressions, and the defenceless must have suffered whatever they
chose to inflict. The contrast of the reign of Stephen, in the conduct
and character of the foreigners in England, with that of Henry, was noted
at the time. In the commander of his mercenaries, William of Ypres, who
had been one of the unsuccessful pretenders to the countship of Flanders
some years before, Stephen secured one of his most faithful and ablest

In the meantime a series of events in Wales during this same year was
revealing another side of Stephen's character, his lack of clear
political vision, his failure to grasp the real importance of a
situation. At the very beginning of the year, the Welsh had revolted in
South Wales, and won a signal victory. From thence the movement spread
toward the west and north, growing in success as it extended. Battles
were won in the field, castles and towns were taken, leaders among the
Norman baronage were slain, and the country was overrun. It looked as if
the tide which had set so steadily against the Welsh had turned at last,
at least in the south-west, and as if the Norman or Flemish colonists
might be driven out. But Stephen did not consider the matter important
enough to demand his personal attention, even after he was relieved of
his trouble with Baldwin of Redvers, though earlier kings had thought
less threatening revolts sufficiently serious to call for great exertions
on their part. He sent some of his mercenaries, but they accomplished
nothing; and he gave some aid to the attempts of interested barons to
recover what had been lost, with no better result. Finally, we are told
by the writer most favourable to Stephen's reputation, he resolved to
expend no more money or effort on the useless attempt, but to leave the
Welsh to weaken themselves by their quarrels among themselves.[36] The
writer declares the policy successful, but we can hardly believe it was
so regarded by those who suffered from it in the disasters of this and
the following year, or by the barons of England in general.

It might well be the case that Stephen's funds were running low. The heavy
taxes and good management of his uncle had left him a full treasury with
which to begin, but the demands upon it had been great. Much support had
undoubtedly been purchased outright by gifts of money. The brilliant
Easter court had been deliberately made a time of lavish display;
mercenary troops could have been collected only at considerable cost; and
the siege of Exeter castle had been expensive as well as troublesome.
Stephen's own possessions in England were very extensive, and the royal
domains were in his hands; but the time was rapidly coming when he must
alienate these permanent sources of supply, lands and revenues, to win
and hold support. It was very likely this lack of ready money which
led Stephen to the second violation of his promises, if the natural
interpretation of the single reference to the fact is correct.[37] In
November of this year, 1136, died William of Corbeil, who had been
Archbishop of Canterbury for thirteen years and legate of the pope in
England for nearly as long. Officers of the king took possession of his
personal property, which Stephen had promised the Church should dispose
of, and found hidden away too large a store of coin for the archbishop's
reputation as a perfect pastor, for he should have distributed it in his
lifetime and then it would have gone to the poor and to his own credit.

Whatever opinion about Stephen might be forming in England during this
first year of his reign, from his violation of his pledges, or his
determination to surround himself with foreign troops, or his selfish
sacrificing of national interests, or his too easy dealing with revolt,
there was as yet no further movement against him. Nobody seemed disposed
to question his right to reign or to withhold obedience, and he could,
without fear of the consequences, turn his attention to Normandy to
secure as firm possession of the duchy as he now had of the kingdom.
About the middle of Lent, 1137, Stephen crossed to Normandy, and remained
there till Christmas of the same year. Normandy had accepted him the year
before, as soon as it knew the decision of England, but there had been no
generally recognized authority to represent the sovereign, and some parts
of the duchy had suffered severely from private war. In the south-east,
the house of Beaumont, Waleran of Meulan and Robert of Leicester, were
carrying on a fierce conflict with Roger of Tosny. In September, 1136,
central Normandy was the scene of another useless and savage raid of
Geoffrey of Anjou, accompanied by William, the last duke of Aquitaine,
William Talvas, and others. They penetrated the country as far as
Lisieux, treating the churches and servants of God, says Orderic Vitalis,
after the manner of the heathen, but were obliged to retreat; and
finally, though he had been joined by Matilda, Geoffrey, badly wounded,
abandoned this attempt also and returned to Anjou.

The general population of the duchy warmly welcomed the coming of
Stephen, from whom they hoped good things and especially order; but the
barons seem to have been less enthusiastic. They resented his use of
Flemish soldiers and the influence of William of Ypres, and they showed
themselves as disposed as in England to prevent the king from gaining any
decisive success. Still, however, there was no strong party against him,
and Stephen seemed to be in acknowledged control of the duchy, even if it
was not a strong control. In May he had an interview with Louis VI of
France, and was recognized by him as duke, on the same terms as Henry I
had been, his son Eustace doing homage in his stead. This arrangement
with France shows the strength of Stephen's position, though the
acknowledgment was no doubt dictated as well by the policy of Louis, but
events of the same month showed Stephen's real weakness. In May Geoffrey
attempted a new invasion with four hundred knights, this time intending
the capture of Caen. But Stephen's army, the Flemings under William of
Ypres, and the forces of some of the Norman barons, blocked the way.
William was anxious to fight, but the Normans refused, and William with
his Flemings left them in disgust and joined Stephen. Geoffrey, however,
gave up his attempt on Caen and drew back to Argentan. In June, on
Stephen's collecting an army to attack Geoffrey, the jealousies between
the Normans and the hired soldiers broke out in open fighting, many were
slain, and the Norman barons withdrew from the army. Geoffrey and Stephen
were now both ready for peace. Geoffrey, it is said, despaired of
accomplishing anything against Stephen, so great was his power and
wealth; and Stephen, on the contrary, must have been influenced by the
weakness which recent events had revealed. In July a truce for two years
was agreed to between them.

Closely connected with these events, but in exactly what way we do not
know, were others which show us something of the relations between the
king and the Earl of Gloucester, and which seem to indicate the growth of
suspicion on both sides. Robert had not come to Normandy with Stephen,
but on his departure he had followed him, crossing at Easter. What he had
been doing in England since he had made his treaty with the king at
Oxford, or what he did in Normandy, where he had extensive possessions,
we do not know; but the period closes with an arrangement between him and
Stephen which looks less like a renewal of their treaty than a truce. In
the troubles in the king's army during the summer campaign against
Geoffrey, Robert was suspected of treason. At one time William of Ypres
set some kind of a trap for him, in which he hoped to take him at a
disadvantage, but failed. The outcome of whatever happened was, evidently
that Stephen found himself placed in a wrong and somewhat dangerous
position, and was obliged to take an oath that he would attempt nothing
further against the earl, and to pledge his faith in the hand of the
Archbishop of Rouen. Robert accepted the new engagements of the king in
form, and took no open steps against him for the present; but it is clear
that the relation between them was one of scarcely disguised suspicion.
It was a situation with which a king like Henry I would have known how to
deal, but a king like Henry I would have occupied by this time a stronger
position from which to move than Stephen did, because his character would
have made a far different impression.

While these events were taking place in Normandy, across the border in
France other events were occurring, to be in the end of as great interest
in the history of England as in that of France. When William, Duke of
Aquitaine, returned from his expedition with Geoffrey, he seems to have
been troubled in his conscience by his heathenish deeds in Normandy, and
he made a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella to seek the pardon of
heaven. In this he seemed to be successful, and he died there before the
altar of the apostle, with all the comforts of religion. When he knew
that his end was approaching, he besought his barons to carry out the
plan which he had formed of conveying the duchy to the king of France,
with the hand of his daughter and heiress Eleanor for his son Louis. The
proposition was gladly accepted, the marriage took place in July at
Bordeaux, and the young sovereign received the homage of the vassals of a
territory more than twice his father's in area, which was thus united
with the crown. Before the bridal pair could return to Paris, the reign
of Louis VI had ended, and Louis the Young had become king as Louis VII.
He was at this time about seventeen years old. His wife was two years
younger, and Henry of Anjou, the son of Matilda, whose life was to be
even more closely associated with hers, had not yet finished his fifth

During Stephen's absence in Normandy there had been nothing to disturb
the peace of England. Soon after his departure the king of Scotland had
threatened to invade the north, but Thurstan, the aged Archbishop of
York, went to meet him, and persuaded him to agree to a truce until the
return of King Stephen from Normandy. This occurred not long before
Christmas. Most of the barons of Normandy crossed over with him, but
Robert of Gloucester again took his own course and remained behind. There
was business for Stephen in England at once. An embassy from David of
Scotland waited on him and declared the truce at an end unless he were
prepared to confer the half-promised earldom of Northumberland on Henry
without further delay. Another matter, typical of Stephen and of the
times, demanded even earlier attention. Stephen owed much, as had all the
Norman kings, to the house of Beaumont, and he now attempted to make some
return. Simon of Beauchamp, who held the barony of Bedford and the
custody of the king's castle in that town, had died shortly before,
leaving a daughter only. In the true style of the strong kings, his
predecessors, Stephen proposed, without consulting the wishes of the
family, to bestow the hand and inheritance of the heiress on Hugh, known
as "the Poor," because he was yet unprovided for, brother of Robert of
Leicester and Waleran of Meulan, and to give him the earldom of Bedford.
The castle had been occupied with his consent by Miles of Beauchamp,
Simon's nephew, and to him Stephen sent orders to hand the castle over to
Hugh and to do homage to the new Earl of Bedford for whatever he held of
the king. It was to this last command apparently that Miles especially
objected, and he refused to surrender the castle unless his own
inheritance was secured to him. In great anger, Stephen collected a large
army and began the siege of the castle, perhaps on Christmas day itself.
The castle was stoutly defended. The siege had to be turned into a
blockade. Before it ended the king was obliged to go away to defend the
north against the Scots. After a siege of five weeks the castle was
surrendered to Bishop Henry of Winchester, who seems for some reason to
have opposed his brother's action in the case from the beginning.

[29] Gesta Stephani, 5.

[30] W. Malm., Hist. Nov., sec. 460.

[31] Gesta Stefhani, 8.

[32] Henry of Huntingdon, 270.

[33] See Round, G. de Mandeville, 6.

[34] Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 250-261; and Böhmer, Kirche
und Staat, 333-335.

[35] Freeman, Norman Conquest, Vol. V, App. DD., is right in calling
attention to the fact but wrong in the use he makes of it.

[36] Gesta Stephani, 14.

[37] Ibid., 7.



The year 1138, which began with the siege of Bedford castle, has to be
reckoned as belonging to the time when Stephen's power was still to all
appearance unshaken. But it is the beginning of the long period of
continuous civil warfare which ended only a few months before his death.
Judgment had already been passed upon him as a king. It is clear that
certain opinions about him, of the utmost importance as bearing on the
future, had by this time fixed themselves in the minds of those most
interested--that severe punishment for rebellion was not to be feared
from him; that he was not able to carry through his will against strong
opposition, or to force obedience; and that lavish grants of money and
lands were to be extorted from him as a condition of support. The
attractive qualities of Stephen's personality were not obscured by his
faults or overlooked in passing this judgment upon him, for chroniclers
unfavourable to him show the influence of them in recording their opinion
of his weakness; but the general verdict is plainly that which was stated
by the Saxon Chronicle under the year 1137, in saying that "he was a mild
man, and soft, and good, and did no justice." Such traits of character in
the sovereign created conditions which the feudal barons of any land
would be quick to use to their own advantage.

The period which follows must not be looked upon as merely the strife
between two parties for the possession of the crown. It was so to the
candidates themselves; it was so to the most faithful of their
supporters. But to a large number of the barons most favourably situated,
or of those who were most unprincipled in pursuit of their own gain, it
was a time when almost anything they saw fit to demand might be won from
one side or the other, or from both alternately by well-timed treason. It
was the time in the history of England when the continental feudal
principality most nearly came into existence,--the only time after the
Conquest when several great dominions within the state, firmly united
round a local chief, obtained a virtual, or even it may be a formal,
independence of the sovereign's control. These facts are quite as
characteristic of the age as the struggle for the crown, and they account
for the continuance of the conflict more than does the natural balance of
the parties. No triumph for either side was possible, and the war ended
only when the two parties agreed to unite and to make common cause
against those who in reality belonged to neither of them.

From the siege of Bedford castle, Stephen had been called to march to the
north by the Scottish invasion, which early in January followed the
failure of David's embassy. All Scottish armies were mixed bodies, but
those of this period were so not merely because the population of
Scotland was mixed, but because of the presence of foreign soldiers and
English exiles, and many of them were practically impossible to control.
Portions of Northumberland down to the Tyne were ravaged with the usual
barbarities of Scottish warfare before the arrival of Stephen. On his
coming David fell back across the border, and Stephen made reprisals on a
small district of southern Scotland. But his army would not support him
in a vigorous pushing of the campaign. The barons did not want to fight
in Lent, it seemed. Evidences of more open treason appear also to have
been discovered, and Stephen, angry but helpless, was obliged to abandon
further operations.

Shortly after Easter David began a new invasion, and at about the same
time rebellion broke out in the south-west of England, in a way that
makes the suspicion natural that the two events were parts of a concerted
movement in favour of Matilda. This second Scottish invasion was hardly
more than a border foray, though it penetrated further into the country
than the first, and laid waste parts of Durham and Yorkshire. Lack of
discipline in the Scottish army prevented any wider success. The movement
in the south-west, however, proved more serious, and from it may be dated
the beginning of continuous civil war. Geoffrey Talbot, who had accepted
Stephen two years before, revolted and held Hereford castle against him.
From Gloucester, where he was well received, the king advanced against
Hereford about the middle of May, and took the castle after a month's
blockade, letting the garrison off without punishment, Talbot himself
having escaped the siege. But by the time this success had been gained,
or soon after, the rebellion had spread much wider.

Whether the insurrection in the south and west had become somewhat
general before, or was encouraged by it to begin, the chief event
connected with it was the formal notice which Robert of Gloucester served
on the king, by messengers from Normandy, who reached Stephen about the
middle of June, that his allegiance was broken off. A beginning of
rebellion, at least, as in England, had occurred somewhat earlier across
the channel. In May Count Waleran of Meulan and William of Ypres had gone
back to Normandy to put down the disturbances there. In June, Geoffrey of
Anjou entered the duchy again with an armed force, and is said to have
persuaded Robert to take the side of his sister. Probably Robert had
quite as much as Geoffrey to do with the concerted action which seems to
have been adopted, and himself saw that the time had come for an open
stand. He had been taking counsel of the Church on the ethics of the
case. Numerous churchmen had informed him that he was endangering his
chances of eternal life by not keeping his original oath. He had even
applied to the pope, and had been told, in a written and formal reply,
that he was under obligation to keep the oath which he had sworn in the
presence of his father. Whether Innocent II was deciding an abstract
question of morals in this answer, or was moved by some temporary change
of policy, it is impossible to say. Robert's conscience was not troubled
by the oath he had taken to Stephen except because it was in violation of
the earlier one. That had been a conditional oath, and Robert declared
that Stephen had not kept the terms of the agreement; besides he had no
right to be king and therefore no right to demand allegiance. Robert's
possessions in England were so wide, including the strong castles of
Bristol and Dover, and his influence over the baronage was so great, that
his defection, though Stephen must have known for some time that it was
probable, was a challenge to a struggle for the crown more desperate than
the king had yet experienced.

It is natural to suppose that the many barons who now declared against
the king, and fortified their castles, were influenced by a knowledge of
Robert's action, or at least by a knowledge that it was coming. No one of
these was of the rank of earl. William Peverel, Ralph Lovel, and Robert
of Lincoln, William Fitz John, William of Mohun, Ralph Paganel, and
William Fitz Alan, are mentioned by name as holding castles against the
king, besides a son of Robert's and Geoffrey Talbot who were at Bristol,
and Walkelin Maminot who held Dover. The movement was confined to the
southwest, but as a beginning it was not to be neglected. Stephen acted
with energy. He seized Robert's lands and destroyed his castles wherever
he could get at them. A large military force was summoned. The queen was
sent to besiege Dover castle, and she drew from her county of Boulogne a
number of ships sufficient to keep up the blockade of the harbour. The
king himself advanced from London, where he had apparently gone from
Hereford to collect his army and arrange his plans, against Bristol which
was the headquarters of Robert's party.

Bristol was strong by nature, protected by two rivers and open to the
sea, and it had been strongly fortified and prepared for resistance.
There collected the main force of the rebels, vassals of Robert, or men
who, like Geoffrey Talbot, had been dispossessed by Stephen, and many
mercenaries and adventurers. Their resources were evidently much less
than their numbers, and probably to supply their needs as well as to
weaken their enemies they began the ravaging of the country and those
cruel barbarities quickly imitated by the other side, and by many barons
who rejoiced in the dissolution of public authority--the plundering of
the weak by all parties--from which England suffered so much during the
war. The lands of the king and of his supporters were systematically laid
waste. Cattle were driven off, movable property carried away, and men
subjected to ingenious tortures to force them to give up the valuables
they had concealed. Robert's son, Philip Gai, acquired the reputation of
a skilful inventor of new cruelties. These plundering raids were carried
to a distance from the city, and men of wealth were decoyed or kidnapped
into Bristol and forced to give up their property. The one attempt of
these marauders which was more of the nature of regular warfare, before
the king's approach, illustrates their methods as well. Geoffrey Talbot
led an attack on Bath, hoping to capture the city, but was himself taken
and held a prisoner. On the news of this a plot was formed in Bristol for
his release. A party was sent to Bath, who besought the bishop to come
out and negotiate with them, promising under oath his safe return; but
when he complied they seized him and threatened to hang him unless
Geoffrey were released. To this the bishop, in terror of his life, at
last agreed. Stephen shortly after came to Bath on his march against
Bristol, and was with difficulty persuaded not to punish the bishop by
depriving him of his office.

Stephen found a difficult task before him at Bristol. Its capture by
assault was impracticable. A siege would have to be a blockade, and this
it would be very hard to make effective because of the difficulty of
cutting off the water communication. Stephen's failure to command the
hearty and honest support of his own barons is also evident here as in
almost every other important undertaking of his life. All sorts of
conflicting advice were given him, some of it intentionally misleading we
are told.[38] Finally he was persuaded that it would be better policy to
give up the attempt on Bristol for the present, and to capture as many as
possible of the smaller castles held by the rebels. In this he was fairly
successful. He took Castle Gary and Harptree, and, after somewhat more
prolonged resistance, Shrewsbury, which was held by William Fitz Alan,
whose wife was Earl Robert's niece. In this last case Stephen departed
from his usual practice and hanged the garrison and its commander. The
effect of this severity was seen at once. Many surrenders and submissions
took place, including, probably at this time, the important landing places
of Dover and Wareham.

In the meantime, at almost exactly the date of the surrender of
Shrewsbury, affairs in the north had turned even more decidedly in the
king's favour. About the end of July, King David of Scotland, very likely
as a part of the general plan of attack on Stephen, had crossed the
borders into England, for the third time this year, with a large army
gathered from all his dominions and even from beyond. Treason to Stephen,
which had before been suspected, now in one case at least openly declared
itself. Eustace Fitz John, brother of Payne Fitz John, and like him one
of Henry I's new men who had been given important trusts in the north,
but who had earlier in the year been deprived by Stephen of the custody
of Bamborough Castle on suspicion, joined King David with his forces, and
arranged to give up his other castles to him. David with his motley host
came on through Northumberland and Durham, laying waste the land and
attacking the strongholds in his usual manner. On their side the barons
of the north gathered in York at the news of this invasion, the greatest
danger of the summer, but found themselves almost in despair at the
prospect. Stephen, occupied with the insurrection in the south, could
give them no aid, and their own forces seemed unequal to the task. Again
the aged Archbishop Thurstan came forward as the real leader in the
crisis. He pictured the sacred duty of defence, and under his influence
barons and common men alike were roused to a holy enthusiasm, and the war
became a crusade. He promised the levies of the parishes under the parish
priests, and was with difficulty dissuaded, though he was ill, from
encouraging in person the warriors on the battlefield itself. A sacred
banner was given them under which to fight--the standard from which this
most famous battle of Stephen's reign gets its name--a mast erected on a
wagon, carrying the banners of St. Peter of York, St. John of Beverly,
and St. Wilfrid of Ripon, and with a pyx at the top containing the Host,
that, "present in his body with them, Christ might be their leader in the
battle." The army was full of priests and higher clergy, who moved
through the ranks before the fighting began, stimulating the high
religious spirit with which all were filled.

The list of the barons who gathered to resist this invasion contains an
unusual number of names famous in the later history of England. The
leader, from his age and experience and the general respect in which he
was held, was Walter Espec; the highest in rank was William of Aumale.
Others were Robert of Bruce, William of Percy, Ilbert of Lacy, Richard of
Courcy, Robert of Stuteville, William Fossard, Walter of Ghent, and Roger
of Mowbray, who was too young, men thought, to be in battle. Stephen had
sent a small reinforcement under Bernard of Balliol, and Robert of
Ferrers was there from Derbyshire, and William Peverel even, though his
castles were at the time defying the king in the further south. As the
armies were drawing near each other, Bruce and Balliol went together to
remind the Scottish king of all that his family owed to the kings of
England, and to persuade him to turn back, but they were hailed as
traitors because they owed a partial allegiance to Scotland, and their
mission came to nothing.

The battle was fought early in the day on August 22 near Northallerton.
The English were drawn up in a dense mass round their standard, all on
foot, with a line of the best-armed men on the outside, standing "shield
to shield and shoulder to shoulder," locked together in a solid ring, and
behind them the archers and parish levies. Against this "wedge" King
David would have sent his men-at-arms, but the half-naked men of Galloway
demanded their right to lead the attack. "No one of these in armour will
go further to-day than I will," cried a chieftain of the highlands, and
the king yielded. But their fierce attack was in vain against the "iron
wall"; they only shattered themselves. David's son Henry made a gallant
though badly executed attempt to turn the fortunes of the day, but this
failed also, and the Scottish army was obliged to withdraw defeated to
Carlisle. There was little pursuit, but the Scottish loss was heavy, and
great spoil of baggage and armour abandoned in their hasty retreat was
gathered by the English. David did not at once give up the war, but the
capture of Wark and a few border forays of subordinates were of no
influence on the result. The great danger of a Scottish conquest of the
north or invasion of central England was for the present over.

In a general balance of the whole year we must say that the outcome was
in favour of Stephen. The rebellion had not been entirely subdued.
Bristol still remained a threatening source of future danger. Stephen
himself had given the impression of restless but inefficient energy, of
rushing about with great vigour from one place to another, to besiege one
castle or another, but of accomplishing very little. As compared with the
beginning of the year he was not so strong or so secure as he had been;
yet still there was no serious falling off of power. There was nothing in
the situation which threatened his fall, or which would hold out to his
enemies any good hope of success. In Normandy the result of the year was
but little less satisfactory. Geoffrey's invasion in June had been
checked and driven back by Count Waleran and William of Ypres. In the
autumn the attempt was renewed, and with no better result, though
Argentan remained in Geoffrey's hands. The people of the duchy had
suffered as much as those of England from private war and unlicensed
pillage, but while such things indicated the weakness of authority they
accomplished little towards its overthrow.

During this year, 1138, Stephen adopted a method of strengthening himself
which was imitated by his rival and by later kings, and which had a most
important influence on the social and constitutional history of England.
We have noticed already his habit of lavish gifts. Now he began to
include the title of earl among the things to be given away to secure
fidelity. Down to this time the policy of William the Conqueror had been
followed by his successors, and the title had been very sparingly
granted. Stephen's first creation was the one already mentioned, that of
Hugh "the Poor," of Beaumont, as Earl of Bedford, probably just at the
end of 1137. In the midst of the insurrection of the south-west, Gilbert
of Clare, husband of the sister of the three Beaumont earls, was made
Earl of Pembroke. As a reward for their services in defeating King David
at the battle of the standard, Robert of Ferrers was made Earl of Derby,
and William of Aumale Earl of Yorkshire. Here were four creations in less
than a year, only a trifle fewer than the whole number of earls in
England in the last years of Henry I. In the end Stephen created nine
earls. Matilda followed him with six others, and most of these new titles
survived the period in the families on which they were conferred. It is
from Stephen's action that we may date the entry of this title into
English history as a mark of rank in the baronage, more and more freely
bestowed, a title of honour to which a family of great possessions or
influence might confidently aspire. But it must be remembered that the
earldoms thus created are quite different from those of the Anglo-Saxon
state or from the countships of France. They carried with them increase
of social consideration and rank, usually some increase of wealth in
grants from crown domains accompanying the creation, and very probably
increased influence in state and local affairs, but they did not of
themselves, without special grant, carry political functions or power, or
any independence of position. They meant rank and title simply, not

Just at the close of the year the archbishopric of Canterbury was filled,
after being a twelvemonth in the king's hands. During the vacancy the pope
had sent the Bishop of Ostia as legate to England. He had been received
without objection, had made a visitation of England, and at Carlisle had
been received by the Scottish king as if that city were a part of his
kingdom. The ambition of Henry of Winchester to become primate of Britain
was disappointed. He had made sure of the succession, and seems actually
to have exercised some metropolitan authority; perhaps he had even been
elected to the see during the time when his brother's position was in
danger. But now Stephen declared himself firmly against his preferment,
and the necessary papal sanction for his translation from one see to
another was not granted. Theobald, Abbot of Bec, was elected by a process
which was in exact accordance with that afterwards described in the
Constitutions of Clarendon, following probably the lines of the compromise
between Henry and Anselm;[39] and he departed with the legate to receive
his pallium, and to attend with other bishops from England the council
which had been called by the pope. If Stephen's refusal to allow his
brother's advancement had been a part of a systematic policy, carefully
planned and firmly executed, of weakening and finally overthrowing the
great ecclesiastics and barons of England who were so strong as to be
dangerous to the crown, it would have been a wise act and a step towards
final success. But an isolated case of the sort, or two or three, badly
connected and not plainly parts of a progressive policy, could only be
exasperating and in truth weakening to himself. We are told that Henry's
anger inclined him to favour the Empress against his brother, and though
it may not have been an actual moving cause, the incident was probably not
forgotten when the question of supporting Matilda became a pressing one.

The year 1139, which was destined to see the king destroy by his own act
all prospect of a secure and complete possession of the throne, opened
and ran one-half its course with no change of importance in the
situation. In April, Queen Matilda, who was in character and abilities
better fitted to rule over England than her husband, succeeded in making
peace with King David of Scotland, who stood in the same relation to her
as to the other Matilda, the Empress, since she was the daughter of his
sister Mary. The earldom of Northumberland was at last granted to Henry,
except the two strong castles of Newcastle and Barnborough, and under
certain restrictions, and the Scots gave hostages for the keeping of the
peace. At the same date, in the great Lateran council at Rome, to which
the English bishops had gone with the legate, the pope seems to have put
his earlier decision in favour of Stephen into formal and public shape.
In Stephen's mind this favour of the pope's was very likely balanced by
another act of his which had just preceded it, by which Henry of
Winchester had been created papal legate in England. By this appointment
he was given supreme power over the English Church, and gained nearly all
that he had hoped to get by becoming Archbishop of Canterbury. Personally
Stephen was occupied during the early months of the year, as he had been
the year before, in attacking the castles which were held against him;
but in the most important case, the siege of Ludlow castle, he met with
no success.

At the end of June the great council of the kingdom came together at
Oxford, and there it was that Stephen committed the fatal mistake which
turned the tide of affairs against him. Of all the men who had been
raised to power in the service of Henry I, none occupied so commanding a
position as Roger, Bishop of Salisbury. As a priest he had attracted the
attention of Henry before he became king by the quickness with which he
got through the morning mass; he was taken into his service, and steadily
rose higher and higher until he became the head of the whole
administrative system, standing next to the king when he was in England,
and exercising the royal authority, as justiciar, when he was absent. In
his rise he had carried his family with him. His nephew Alexander was
Bishop of Lincoln. Another nephew Nigel was Bishop of Ely. His son Roger
was chancellor of the kingdom. The administrative and financial system
was still in the hands of the family. The opportunities which they had
enjoyed for so many years to enrich themselves from the public revenues,
very likely as a tacitly recognized part of the payment of their
services, they had not neglected. But they had gone further than this.
Evidently with some ulterior object in view, but with precisely what we
can only guess, they had been strengthening royal castles in their hands,
and even building new ones. That bishops should fortify castles of their
own, like barons, was not in accordance with the theory of the Church,
nor was it in accordance with the custom in England and Normandy. The
example had been followed apparently by Henry of Winchester, who had
under his control half a dozen strongholds. The situation would in
itself, and in any circumstances, be a dangerous one. In the present
circumstances the suspicion would be natural that a family which owed so
much to King Henry was secretly preparing to aid his daughter in an
attempt to gain the throne, and this suspicion was generally held by the
king's party. To this may be added the fact that, in the blow which he
now struck, we very possibly have an attempt on Stephen's part to carry
further the policy of weakening, in the interest of the crown, the too
strong ecclesiastical and baronial element in the state, which he had
begun in refusing the archbishopric of Canterbury to his brother. The
wealth of the family may have been an additional incentive, and intrigues
against these bishops by the powerful house of Beaumont are mentioned.
There is no reason to suppose, however, that the Beaumonts were not
acting, as they had so often done, in the real interests of the king,
which plainly demanded the breaking up of this threatening power. There
was nothing to indicate that the present was not a favourable time to
undertake it, and the best accounts of these events give us the
impression that Stephen was acting throughout with much confidence and a
feeling of strength and security.

Whatever may have been his motive, Stephen's first move at the beginning
of the Oxford meeting was the extreme one of ordering the arrest of
bishops Roger and Alexander. The pretext for this was a street brawl
between some of their men and followers of the Beaumonts, and their
subsequent refusal to surrender to the king the keys of their castles. A
step of this kind would need clear reasons to justify it and much real
strength to make it in the end successful. Taken on what looked like a
mere pretext arranged for the purpose, it was certain to excite the alarm
and opposition of the Church. Stephen himself hesitated, as perhaps he
would have in any circumstances. The historian most in sympathy with his
cause expresses his disapproval.[40] The familiar point was urged that the
bishops were arrested, not as bishops, but as the king's ministers; and
this would have been sufficient under a king like the first two Williams.
But the arrest was not all. The bishops were treated with much indignity,
and were compelled to deliver up their castles by fear of something worse.
In Roger's splendid castle of Devizes were his nephew, the Bishop of Ely,
who had escaped arrest at Oxford, and Maud of Ramsbury, the mother of his
son Roger the Chancellor. William of Ypres forced its surrender by making
ready to hang the younger Roger before the walls, and Newark castle was
driven to yield by threatening to starve Bishop Alexander.

The indignation of the clergy is expressed by every writer of the time.
It was probably especially bitter because Stephen was so deeply indebted
to them for his success and had recently made them such extensive
promises. Henry of Winchester, who may have had personal reasons for
alarm, was not disposed to play the part of Lanfranc and defend the king
for arresting bishops. He evidently believed that the king was not strong
enough to carry through his purpose, and that the Church was in a
position to force the issue upon him. Acting for the first time under his
commission as legate which he had received in the spring of the year, he
called a council to meet at Winchester, and summoned his brother to
answer before it for his conduct. The council met on August 30. The
Church was well represented. The legate's commission was read, and he
then opened the subject in a Latin speech in which he denounced his
brother's acts. The king was represented by Aubrey de Vere and the
Archbishop of Rouen, the baron defending the king's action point by
point, and the ecclesiastic denying the right of the bishops to hold
castles, and maintaining the right of the king to call for them. The
attempt of Henry did not succeed. His demand that the castles should be
given back to the bishops until the question should be settled was
refused, and the bishops were threatened with exile if they carried the
case to Rome. The council ended without taking any action against the
king. Some general decrees were adopted against those who laid hands on
the clergy or seized their goods, but it was also declared, if we are
right in attributing the action to this body, that the castles of the
kingdom belonged to the king and to his barons to hold, and that the
duties of the clergy lay in another direction. Stephen retained the
bishops' castles and the treasures which he had found in them; and when
Bishop Roger died, three months later, his personal property was seized
into the king's hands.

While these events were going on, the Empress and her brother had decided
that the time was favourable for a descent on England. In advance of
their coming, Baldwin of Redvers landed with some force at Wareham and
intrenched himself in Corfe castle against the king. Matilda and Robert
landed at Arundel on the last day of September with only one hundred and
forty men. Stephen had abandoned the siege of Corfe castle on the news
that they were about to cross, and had taken measures to prevent their
landing; but he had again turned away to something else, and their
landing was unopposed. Arundel castle was in possession of Adelaide, the
widowed queen of Henry I, now the wife of William of Albini. It is not
possible to suppose that this place was selected for the invasion without
a previous understanding; and there, in the keeping of her stepmother,
Robert left his sister and set out immediately on his landing for
Bristol, taking with him only twelve men. On hearing of this Stephen
pursued, but failed to overtake him, and turned back to besiege Arundel
castle. Then occurred one of the most astonishing events of Stephen's
career--astonishing alike to his contemporaries and to us, but typical in
a peculiar degree of the man.

Queen Adelaide became alarmed on the approach of Stephen, and began to
take thought of what she had to lose if the king should prove successful,
as there was every reason to suppose he would; and she proposed to
abandon Matilda's cause and to hand her over at once to Stephen. Here was
an opportunity to gain a most decided advantage--perhaps to end the whole
strife. With Matilda in his hands, Stephen would have been master of the
situation. He could have sent her back to Normandy and so have ended the
attempt at invasion. He could have kept her in royal captivity, or have
demanded the surrender of her claims as the price of her release. Instead
of seizing the occasion, as a Henry or a William would certainly have
done, he was filled with chivalrous pity for his cousin's strait, and
sent her with an escort under Henry of Winchester and Waleran of Meulan
to join her brother at Bristol. The writers of the time explain his
conduct by his own chivalrous spirit, and by the treasonable persuasions
of his brother Henry, who, we may believe, had now reasons for
disloyalty. The chivalrous ideals of the age certainly had great power
over Stephen, as they would have over any one with his popular traits of
mind and manners; and his strange throwing away of this advantage was
undoubtedly due to this fact, together with the readiness with which he
yielded to the persuasions of a stronger spirit. The judgment of Orderic
Vitalis, who was still writing in Normandy, is the final judgment of
history on the act: "Surely in this permission is to be seen the great
simplicity of the king or his great stupidity, and he is to be pitied by
all prudent men because he was unmindful of his own safety and of the
security of his kingdom."

This was the turning-point in Stephen's history. Within the brief space
of two months, by two acts surprisingly ill-judged and even of folly, he
had turned a position of great strength, which might easily have been
made permanently secure, into one of great weakness; and so long as the
struggle lasted he was never able to recover what he had lost. By his
treatment of the bishops he had turned against himself the party in the
state whose support had once been indispensable, and whose power to
injure him he was soon to feel. By allowing Matilda and her brother to
enter Bristol, he had given to all the diverse elements of opposition in
England the only thing they still needed; a natural leadership, and from
an impregnable position. Either of these mistakes alone might not have
been fatal. Their coming together as they did made then irretrievable

No sudden falling off of strength marks the beginning of Stephen's
decline. Two barons of the west who had been very closely connected with
Henry I and with Robert, but who had both accepted Stephen, declared now
for Matilda, Brian Fitz Count of Wallingford, and Miles of Gloucester.
Other minor accessions in the neighbourhood seem to have followed. About
the middle of October the Empress went on to Gloucester, where her
followers terrorized city and country as they had at Bristol. Stephen
conducted his counter-campaign in his usual manner, attacking place after
place without waiting to finish any enterprise. The recovery of
Malmesbury castle, which he had lost in October, was his only success,
and this was won by persuasion rather than by arms. Hereford and
Worcester suffered severely from attacks of Matilda's forces, and
Hereford was captured. The occupation of Gloucester and Hereford was the
most important success of the Empress's party, and with Bristol they mark
the boundaries of the territory she may be said to have gained, with some
outlying points like Wallingford, which the king had not been able to
recover. On December 11, Bishop Roger of Salisbury died, probably never
having recovered from the blow struck by Stephen in August. He had
occupied a great place in the history of England, but it had been in
political and constitutional, not in religious history. It may very
likely have seemed to him, in the last three months of his life, that the
work to which he had given himself, in the organization of the
administrative and financial machinery of the government, was about to be
destroyed in the ruin of his family and the anarchy of civil war; but
such forebodings, if he felt them, did not prove entirely true.

The year 1140 is one of the most dreary in the slow and wearing conflict
which had now begun. No event of special interest tempts us to linger
upon details. The year opens with a successful attack by the king on
Nigel, Bishop of Ely, who had escaped at the time of his uncle's arrest,
and who was now preparing for revolt in his bishopric. Again the bishop
himself escaped, and joined Matilda's party, but Stephen took possession
of the Isle of Ely. An effort to add Cornwall to the revolted districts
was equally unsuccessful. Reginald of Dunstanville, a natural son of
Henry I, appeared there in the interest of his sister, who, imitating the
methods of Stephen, created him, at this time or a little later, Earl of
Cornwall; but his rule was unwise, and Stephen advancing in person had no
difficulty in recovering the country. The character which the war was
rapidly assuming is shown by the attempt of Robert Fitz Hubert, a Flemish
mercenary, to hold the strong castle of Devizes, which he had seized by
surprise, in his own interest and in despite of both parties. He fell a
victim to his own methods employed against himself, and was hanged by
Robert of Gloucester. In the spring a decided difference of opinion arose
between the king and his brother Henry about the appointment of a
successor to Roger of Salisbury, which ended in the rejection of both
their candidates and a long vacancy in the bishopric. Henry of Winchester
was, however, not yet ready openly to abandon the cause of his brother,
and he busied himself later in the year with efforts to bring about an
understanding between the opposing parties, which proved unavailing. A
meeting of representatives of both sides near Bath led to no result, and
a journey of Henry's to France, perhaps to bring the influence of his
brother Theobald and of the king of France to bear in favour of peace,
was also fruitless. During the summer Stephen gained an advantage in
securing the hand of Constance, the sister of Louis VII of France, for
his son Eustace, it was believed at the time by a liberal use of the
treasures of Bishop Roger.

At Whitsuntide and again in August the restlessness of Hugh Bigod in East
Anglia had forced Stephen to march against him. Perhaps he felt that he
had not received a large enough reward for the doubtful oath which he had
sworn to secure the king his crown. Stephen at any rate was now in a
situation where he could not withhold rewards, or even refuse demands in
critical cases; and it was probably at this time, certainly not long
after, that, following the policy he had now definitely adopted, he
created Hugh Earl of Norfolk. A still more important and typical case,
which probably occurred in the same year, is that of Geoffrey de
Mandeville. Grandson of a baron of the Conquest, he was in succession to
his father, constable of the Tower in London, and so held a position of
great strategic importance in turbulent times. Early in the strife for
the crown he seems to have seen very clearly the opportunity for
self-aggrandizement which was offered by the uncertainty of Stephen's
power, and to have resolved to make the most of it for his own gain
without scruple of conscience. His demand was for the earldom of Essex,
and this was granted him by the king. Apparently about the same time
occurred a third case of the sort which completes the evidence that the
weakness of Stephen's character was generally recognized, and that in the
resulting attitude of many of the greater barons we have the key to his
reign. One of the virtually independent feudal principalities created in
England by the Conqueror and surviving to this time was the palatine
earldom of Chester. The then earl was Ralph II, in succession to his
father Ralph Meschin, who had succeeded on the death of Earl Richard in
the sinking of the White Ship. It had been a grievance of the first
Ralph that he had been obliged by King Henry to give up his lordship of
Carlisle on taking the earldom, and this grievance had been made more
bitter for the second Ralph when the lordship had been transferred to the
Scots. There was trouble also about the inheritance of his mother Lucy,
in Lincolnshire, in which another son of hers, Ralph's half-brother,
William of Roumare, was interested. We infer that toward the end of the
year 1140 their attitude seemed threatening to the king, for he seems to
have visited them and purchased their adherence with large gifts,
granting to William the earldom of Lincoln.

Then follows rapidly the series of events which led to the crisis of the
war. The brothers evidently were not yet satisfied. Stephen had retained
in his hands the castle of Lincoln and this Ralph and William seized by a
stratagem. Stephen, informed of what had happened by a messenger from the
citizens, acted with his characteristic energy at the beginning of any
enterprise, broke up his Christmas court at London, and suddenly, to the
great surprise of the earls, appeared in Lincoln with a besieging army.
Ralph managed to escape to raise in Chester a relieving army, and at once
took a step which becomes from this time not infrequent among the barons
of his stamp. He applied for help to Robert of Gloucester, whose
son-in-law he was, and offered to go over to Matilda with all that he
held. He was received, of course, with a warm welcome. Robert recognized
the opportunity which the circumstances probably offered to strike a
decisive blow, and, gathering the strongest force he could, he advanced
from Gloucester against the king. On the way he was joined by the Earl of
Chester, whose forces included many Welsh ready to fight in an English
quarrel but badly armed. The attacking army skirted Lincoln and appeared
on the high road leading to it from the north, where was the best
prospect of forcing an entrance to the city.

The approach of the enemy led, as usual in Stephen's armies, to divided
counsels. Some were in favour of retreating and collecting a larger army,
others of fighting at once. To fight at once would be Stephen's natural
inclination, and he determined to risk a battle, which he must have known
would have decisive consequences. His army he drew up in three bodies
across the way of approach. Six earls were with the king, reckoning the
Count of Meulan, but they had not brought strong forces and there were
few horsemen. Five of these earls formed the first line. The second was
under William of Ypres and William of Aumale, and was probably made up
of the king's foreign troops. Stephen himself, with a strong band of
men all on foot, was posted in the rear. The enemy's formation was
similar. The Earl of Chester claimed the right to lead the attack,
because the quarrel was his, but the men upon whom Robert most depended
were the "disinherited," of whom he had collected many,--men raised up
by Matilda's father and cast down by Stephen, and now ready to stake all
on the hope of revenge and of restoration; and these he placed in the
first line. Earl Ralph led the second, and himself the third. The battle
was soon over, except the struggle round the king. His first and second
lines were quickly swept away by the determined charge of Robert's men
and took to flight, but Stephen and his men beat off several attacks
before he was finally overpowered and forced to yield. He surrendered
to Robert of Gloucester. Many minor barons were taken prisoners with
him, but the six earls all escaped. The citizens of Lincoln were punished
for their adhesion to the king's side by a sacking of the city, in which
many of them were slain. Stephen was taken to Gloucester by Robert, and
then sent to imprisonment in the castle of Bristol, the most secure place
which Matilda possessed.

[38] Gesta Stephani, 42.

[39] Gervase of Canterbury, i. 109. But see Ralph de Diceto, i. 252,
n. 2, and Böhmer, Kirche und Staat, 375.

[40] Gesta Stephani, 47.



The victory at Lincoln changed the situation of affairs at a blow. From
holding a little oval of territory about the mouth of the Severn as the
utmost she had gained, with small immediate prospect of enlarging it,
Matilda found the way to the throne directly open before her with
no obstacle in sight not easily overcome. She set out at once for
Winchester. On his side, Bishop Henry was in no mood to stake his
position and influence on the cause of his brother. Stephen's attitude
towards him and towards the Church had smoothed the way for Matilda at
the point where she might expect the first and most serious check. The
negotiations were not difficult, but the result shows as clearly as in
the case of Stephen the disadvantage of the crown at such a crisis, and
the opportunity offered to the vassal, whether baron or bishop, who held
a position of independent strength and was determined to use it in his
own interests. The arrangement was called at the time a pactus--a
treaty. The Empress took oath to the bishop that all the more important
business of England, especially the filling of bishoprics and abbacies,
should be done according to his desire, and her oath was supported by
those of her brother and of the leading barons with her. The bishop in
turn received her as "Lady of England," and swore fealty to her as long
as she should keep this pact. The next day, March 3, she entered the
city, took possession of the small sum of money which had been left in
the treasury by Stephen and of the royal crown which was there, entered
the cathedral in solemn procession, supported by Henry and the Bishop of
St. David's, with four other bishops and several abbots present, and had
herself proclaimed at once "lady and queen of England," whatever the
double title may mean. Certainly she intended to be and believed herself
nothing less than reigning queen.[41] Without waiting for any ceremony
of coronation, she appointed a bishop, created earls, and spoke in a
formal document of her kingdom and her crown.

Directly after these events Henry of Winchester had summoned a council,
to learn, very likely to guide, the decision of the Church as to a change
of allegiance. The council met in Winchester on April 7. On that day the
legate met separately, in secret session, the different orders of the
clergy, and apparently obtained from them the decision which he wished.
The next day in a speech to the council, he recited the misgovernment of
his brother, who, he declared, had, almost immediately after his
accession to power, destroyed the peace of the kingdom; and without any
allusion to his deposition, except to the battle of Lincoln as a judgment
of God, and with no formal action of the council as a whole, he announced
the choice of the Church in favour of Matilda. The day following, a
request of the Londoners and of the barons who had joined them for the
release of Stephen, and one of his queen's to the same effect, was
refused. The Empress was not present at the council. She spent Easter at
Oxford, receiving reports, no doubt, of the constant successes her party
was now gaining in different parts of England. It was not, however, till
the middle of June that London, naturally devoted to Stephen, was ready
to receive her.

Her reception in London marks the height of her success. She bought the
support of the powerful Geoffrey de Mandeville by confirming to him the
price which he had extorted from Stephen, the earldom of Essex, and by
bidding higher than her rival with gifts of lands, revenues, and
privileges which started him on the road to independence of the crown,
which he well knew how to follow. Preparations were no doubt at once
begun for her coronation. Her uncle King David came down from Scotland to
lend it dignity, but it was destined never to occur. Her fall was as
rapid as her rise, and was due, even more clearly than Stephen's, to her
own inability to rule. The violent and tyrannical blood of her uncle,
William Rufus, showed itself in her as plainly as the irresolute blood of
Robert Curthose in her cousin, but she did not wait to gain her uncle's
security of position to make violence and tyranny possible. Already,
before she came up to London, she had offended her followers by the
arrogance and harshness of her conduct. Now these traits of character
proved fatal to her cause. She greatly offended the legate, to whom she
was as deeply indebted as Stephen had been, and whose power to injure her
she might easily understand, by refusing to promise that Eustace might
hold his father's continental counties of Boulogne and Mortain. Equally
unwise was her attitude towards London. She demanded a large subsidy. The
request of the citizens for a confirmation of the laws of King Edward,
because her father's were too heavy for them, she sternly refused. Queen
Matilda, "acting the part of a man," advanced with her forces to the
neighbourhood of the city and brought home to the burghers the evils of
civil war. They were easily moved. A sudden uprising of the city forced
the Empress to "ignominious" flight, leaving her baggage behind. She
retreated to Oxford, and Matilda the queen entered the recovered city.
Geoffrey de Mandeville at once brought his allegiance to the new market
and obtained, it is probable, another advance of price and Henry of
Winchester was easily persuaded to return to his brother's side.
"Behold," says the historian of the Empress's party, "while she was
thinking that she could immediately possess all England, everything
changed." He adds that the change was her own fault, and in this he was

But Matilda was not ready to accept calmly so decided a reverse, nor to
allow Winchester to remain in undisturbed possession of her enemies, and
her brother Robert was not. They had been driven from London on June 24.
At the end of July, with a strong force, they attacked the older capital
city, took possession of a part of it, forced the bishop to flee, and
began the siege of his castle. At once the leaders of Stephen's cause,
encouraged by recent events, gathered against them. While the Empress
besieged the bishop's men from within, she was herself besieged from
without by superior forces. At last the danger of being cut off from all
supplies forced her to retreat, and in the retreat Robert of Gloucester,
protecting his sister's flight, was himself captured. This was a great
stroke of fortune, because it balanced for practical purposes the capture
of Stephen at the battle of Lincoln, and it at once suggested an even
exchange. Negotiations were not altogether easy. Robert modestly insisted
that he was not equal to a king, but the arrangement was too obvious to
admit of failure, and the exchange was effected at the beginning of

Since the middle of June the course of affairs had turned rapidly in
favour of the king, but he was still far from having recovered the
position of strength which he occupied before the landing of Matilda.
Oxford was still in her hands, and so was a large part of the west of
England. The Earl of Chester was still on her side, though he had
signified his willingness to change sides if he were properly received.
Stephen had yet before him a hard task in recovering his kingdom, and he
never accomplished it. The war dragged on its slow length for more than
ten years. Its dramatic period, however, was now ended. Only the story of
Matilda's flight from Oxford enlivens the later narrative. Siege and
skirmish, treason and counter-treason, fill up the passing months, but
bring the end no nearer, until the entry of the young Henry on the scene
lends a new element of interest and decision to the dull movement of

At first after his release Stephen carried on the work of restoration
rapidly and without interruption. London received him with joy. At
Christmas time he wore his crown at Canterbury; he was probably, indeed,
re-crowned by the archbishop, to make good any defect which his
imprisonment might imply. Already, on December 7, a new council,
assembling in Westminster, had reversed the decisions of the council of
Winchester, and, supported by a new declaration of the pope in a letter
to the legate, had restored the allegiance of the Church to Stephen. At
the Christmas assembly Geoffrey de Mandeville secured from the king the
reward of his latest shift of sides, in a new charter which increased a
power already dangerous and made him an almost independent prince. In the
creation of two new earls a short time before, William of Albini as Earl
of Sussex or Arundel, and Gilbert of Clare as Earl of Hertford, Stephen
sought to confirm a doubtful, and to reward a steady, support. No event
of importance marks the opening months of 1142. Lent was spent in a royal
progress through eastern England, where as yet the Empress had obtained
no footing, to York. On the way, at Stamford, he seems to have recovered
the allegiance of the Earl of Chester and of his brother, the Earl of
Lincoln, a sure sign of the change which had taken place since the battle
in which they had overcome him so disastrously a year before.

In the summer Stephen again assumed the offensive and pushed the attack
on his enemies with energy and skill. After a series of minor successes
he advanced against the Empress herself at Oxford, where she had made her
headquarters since the loss of London. Her brother Robert, who was the
real head of her party, was now in Normandy, whither he had gone to
persuade Geoffrey to lend the support of his personal presence to his
wife's cause in England, but he had made sure, as he believed, of his
sister's safety before going. The fortifications of Oxford had been
strengthened. The barons had pledged themselves to guard Matilda, and
hostages had been exacted from some as a check on the fashion of free
desertion. It seems to have been felt, however, that Stephen would not
venture to attack Oxford, and there had been no special concentration of
strength in the city; so that when he suddenly appeared on the south,
having advanced down the river from the west, he was easily able to
disperse the burghers who attempted to dispute his passage of the river,
and to enter one of the gates with them in their flight. The town was
sacked, and the king then sat down to a siege of the castle. The siege
became a blockade, which lasted from the end of September to near
Christmas time, though it was pushed with all the artillery of the age,
and a blockade in which the castle was carefully watched day and night.
Stephen seems to have changed his mind since the time when he had
besieged Matilda in Arundel castle, and to have been now determined to
take his rival prisoner. The barons who had promised to protect the
Empress gathered at Wallingford, but did not venture to attempt a direct
raising of the siege. Robert of Gloucester returned from Normandy about
December 1, but Stephen allowed him to win a small success or two, and
kept steadily to his purpose.

As it drew near to Christmas provisions became low in the castle, and the
necessity of surrender unpleasantly clear. Finally Matilda determined to
attempt a bold escape. It was a severe winter and the ground was entirely
covered with snow. With only a few attendants--three and five are both
mentioned--she was let down with ropes from a tower, and, clad all in
white, stole through the lines of the besiegers, detected only by a
sentry, who raised no alarm. With determined spirit and endurance she
fled on foot through the winter night and over difficult ways to
Abingdon, six miles away. There she obtained horses and rode on to
Wallingford, where she was safe. The castle of Oxford immediately
surrendered to Stephen, but the great advantage for which he had striven
had escaped him when almost in his hands. Robert of Gloucester, who was
preparing to attempt the raising of the siege, at once joined his sister
at Wallingford, and brought with him her son, the future Henry II, sent
over in place of his father, on his first visit to England. Henry was now
in his tenth year, and for four years and more he remained in England in
the inaccessible stronghold of Bristol, studying with a tutor under the
guardianship of his uncle. Robert's mission of the previous summer, to
get help for Matilda in England, proved more useful to Geoffrey than to
his wife. During a rapid campaign the conquest of the duchy had at last
been really begun, and in the two following years it was carried to a
successful conclusion. On January 20,1144, the city of Rouen surrendered
to the Count of Anjou, though the castle held out for some time longer.
Even Waleran of Meulan recognized the new situation of affairs, and gave
his aid to the cause of Anjou, and before the close of the year Louis VII
formally invested Geoffrey with the duchy. This much of the plan of Henry
I was now realized; Stephen never recovered possession of Normandy. But
without England, it was realized in a way which destroyed the plan
itself, and England was still far from any union with the Angevin

By the time the conquest of Normandy was completed, events of equal
interest had taken place in England, involving the fall of the powerful
and shifty Earl of Essex, Geoffrey de Mandeville. Soon after Easter,
1142, he had found an opportunity for another prudent and profitable
change of sides. The king had fallen ill on his return from the north,
and, once more, as at the beginning of his reign, the report of his death
was spread abroad. Geoffrey seems to have hurried at once to the Empress,
as a probable source of future favours, and to have carried with him a
small crowd of his friends and relatives, including the equally
unscrupulous Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. Matilda, who was then at
Oxford, and had no prospect of any immediate advance, was again ready to
give him all he asked. Her fortunes were at too low an ebb to warrant her
counting the cost, and in any case what she was buying was of great value
if she could make sure that the sellers would keep faith. Geoffrey, with
his friends, and Nigel, Bishop of Ely, who was already on her side,
controlling Essex, Hertford, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge, could give
her possession of as large a territory on the east of England as she now
held on the west, and this would very likely carry with it the occupation
of London once more, and would threaten to cut the kingdom of Stephen
into two detached fragments. Geoffrey was in a position to drive a good
bargain, and he did so. New lands and revenues, new rights and
privileges, were added to those he had already extorted from both sides;
the Empress promised to make no peace without his consent with his
"mortal enemies," the burghers of London, towards whom she probably had
herself just then no great love. Geoffrey's friends were admitted to
share with him in the results of his careful study of the conditions of
the market, especially his brother-in-law, Aubrey de Vere, who was made
Earl by his own choice of Cambridge, but in the end of Oxford, probably
because Matilda's cousin, Henry of Scotland, considered that Cambridge
was included in his earldom of Huntingdon. What price was offered to Hugh
Bigod, or to Gilbert Clare, Earl of Pembroke, who seems to have been of
the number, we do not know.

As a matter of fact, neither Geoffrey nor the Empress gained anything
from this bargaining. Stephen was not dead, and his vigorous campaign of
the summer of 1142 evidently made it seem prudent to Geoffrey to hold his
intended treason in reserve for a more promising opportunity. It is
probable that Stephen soon learned the facts, before very long they
became common talk, but he awaited on his side a better opportunity to
strike. The earl had grown too powerful to be dealt with without
considering ways and means. Contemporary writers call him the most
powerful man in England, and they regard his abilities with as much
respect as his possessions and power. Stephen took his opportunity in the
autumn of 1143, at a court held at St. Albans. The time was not wisely
chosen. Things had not been going well with him during the summer. At
Wilton he had been badly defeated by the Earl of Gloucester, and nearly
half of England was in Matilda's possession or independent of his own
control. But he yielded to the pressure of Geoffrey's enemies at the
court, and ordered and secured his arrest on a charge of treason. The
stroke succeeded no better than such measures usually did with Stephen,
for he was always satisfied with a partial success. A threat of hanging
forced the earl to surrender his castles, including the Tower of London,
and then he was released. Geoffrey was not the man to submit to such a
sudden overthrow without a trial of strength. With some of his friends he
instantly appealed to arms, took possession of the Isle of Ely, where he
was sure of a friendly reception, seized Ramsey Abbey, and turning out
the monks made a fortress of it, and kept his forces in supplies by
cruelly ravaging the surrounding lands.

It has been thought that the famous picture of the sufferings of the
people of England during the anarchy of Stephen's reign, which was
written in the neighbouring city of Peterborough, where the last of the
English Chronicles was now drawing to its close, gained its vividness
from the writer's personal knowledge of the horrors of this time; and
this is probable, though he speaks in general terms. His pitiful account
runs thus in part: "Every powerful man made his castles and held them
against him [the king]; and they filled the land full of castles. They
cruelly oppressed the wretched men of the land with castle-works. When
the castles were made, they filled them with devils and evil men. Then
took they those men that they thought had any property ... and put them
in prison for their gold and silver, and tortured them with unutterable
torture; for never were martyrs so tortured as they were. They hanged
them up by the feet and smoked them with foul smoke; they hanged them by
the thumbs or by the head and hung armour on their feet; they put knotted
strings about their heads and writhed them so that they went into the
brain. They put them in dungeons in which were adders, and snakes, and
toads, and killed them so.... Then was corn dear, and flesh, and cheese,
and butter; for there was none in the land. Wretched men died of hunger;
some went seeking alms who at one while were rich men; some fled out of
the land. Never yet had more wretchedness been in the land, nor ever did
heathen men do worse than they did; for oftentimes they forbore neither
church nor churchyard, but took all the property that was therein and
then burned the church and all together.... However a man tilled, the
earth bare no corn; for the land was all fordone by such deeds; and they
said openly that Christ and his saints slept."

Geoffrey de Mandeville's career of plundering and sacrilege was not
destined to continue long. Towards the end of the summer of 1144, he was
wounded in the head by an arrow, in an attack on a fortified post which
the king had established at Burwell to hold his raids in check; and soon
after he died. His body was carried to the house of the Templars in
London, but for twenty years it could not be received into consecrated
ground, for he had died with his crimes unpardoned and under the ban of
the Church, which was only removed after these years by the efforts of
his younger son, a new Earl of Essex. To the great power for which
Geoffrey was playing, to his independent principality, or to his possibly
even higher ambition of controlling the destinies of the crown of
England, there was no successor. His eldest son, Ernulf, shared his
father's fall and condemnation, and was disinherited, though from him
there descended a family holding for some generations a minor position in
Oxfordshire. Twelve years after the death of Geoffrey, his second
son--also Geoffrey--was made Earl of Essex by Henry II, and his faithful
service to the king, and his brother's after him, were rewarded by
increasing possessions and influence that almost rivalled their father's;
but the wilder designs and unscrupulous methods of the first Earl of
Essex perished with him.

The years 1144 and 1145 were on the whole prosperous for Stephen. A
number of minor successes and minor accessions from the enemy made up a
general drift in his favour. Even the Earl of Gloucester's son Philip,
with a selfishness typical of the time, turned against his father; but
the most important desertion to the king was that of the Earl of Chester,
who joined him in 1146 and made a display of zeal, real or pretended, in
his service. Starting with greater power and a more independent position
than Geoffrey de Mandeville, and perhaps less openly bartering his
allegiance to one side and the other at a constantly rising price, he had
still pursued the same policy and with even greater success. His design
was hardly less than the carving out of a state for himself from western
and northern England, and during much of this disjointed time he seems to
have carried himself with no regard to either side. To go over to the
king so soon after the fall of the Earl of Essex was, it is likely, to
take some risk, and as in the former case there was a party at the court
which influenced Stephen against him. His refusal, notwithstanding his
zeal, to restore castles and lands belonging to the king, and his attempt
to induce Stephen to aid him against the Welsh, which was considered a
plot to get possession of the king's person, led to his arrest. Again
Stephen followed his habitual policy of forcing the surrender of his
prisoner's castles, or certain of them, and then releasing him; and again
the usual result followed, the instant insurrection of the earl. His real
power had hardly been lessened by giving up the king's castles,--to which
he had been forced,--and it was not easy to attack him. On a later visit
of the young Henry to England, he obtained from him, and even from the
king of Scotland, to whom he had long been hostile, large additions to
his coveted principality in the west and north; but Stephen at once bid
higher, and for a grant including the same possessions and more he
abandoned his new allies. On Henry's final visit, in 1153, when the tide
was fairly turning in his favour, another well-timed treason secured the
earl his winnings and great promises for the future; but in this same
year he died, poisoned, as it was believed, by one whose lands he had
obtained. Out of the breaking up of England and the helplessness of her
rulers arose no independent feudalism. Higher titles and wider lands many
barons did gain, but the power of the king emerged in the end still
supreme, and the worst of the permanent evils of the feudal system, a
divided state, though deliberately sought and dangerously near, was at
last averted.

With the death of Pope Innocent II, in September, 1143, a new period
opened in the relation of the English Church and of the English king
towards the papacy. Innocent had been on the whole favourable to
Stephen's cause. His successor, Celestine II, was as favourable to Anjou,
but his papacy was so short that nothing was done except to withhold a
renewal of Henry of Winchester's commission as legate. Lucius II, who
succeeded in March, 1144, sent his own legate to England; but he was not
a partisan of either side, and seems even--perhaps by way of
compensation--to have taken steps towards creating an independent
archbishopric in the south-west in Henry's favour. His papacy again
lasted less than a year, and his successor, Eugenius III, whose reign
lasted almost to the end of Stephen's, was decidedly unfriendly. Henry of
Winchester was for a time suspended; and the king's candidate for the
archbishopric of York, William Fitz Herbert, afterwards St. William of
York,--whose position had long been in doubt, for though he had been
consecrated he had not received his pallium,--was deposed, and in his
place the Cistercian Abbot of Fountains, Henry Murdac, was consecrated by
the Cistercian pope. This was the beginning of open conflict. Henry
Murdac could not get possession of his see, and Archbishop Theobald was
refused permission to attend a council summoned by the pope at Reims for
March, 1148. He went secretly, crossing the channel in a fishing boat,
and was enthusiastically received by the pope. The Bishop of Winchester
was again suspended, and other bishops with him; several abbots were
deposed; and Gilbert Foliot, a decided partisan of Matilda's, was
designated Bishop of Hereford. The pope was with difficulty persuaded to
postpone the excommunication of Stephen himself, and steps were actually
taken to reopen before the Roman court the question of his right to the
throne. Stephen, on his side, responded with promptness and vigour. He
refused to acknowledge the right of the pope to reopen the main question.
The primate was banished and his temporalities confiscated. Most of the
English clergy were kept on the king's side, and in some way--there is
some evidence that the influence of Queen Matilda was employed--the
serious danger which threatened Stephen from the Church in the spring of
1148 was averted. Peace was made in November with Archbishop Theobald,
who had ineffectually tried an interdict, and he was restored to his see
and revenues. The practical advantage, on the whole, remained with the
king; but in the course of these events a young man, Thomas Becket, in
the service of the archbishop, acquired a training in ideas and in
methods which was to serve him well in a greater struggle with a greater

In the spring of the next year, young Henry of Anjou made an attempt on
England, and found his enemies still too strong for him. In the interval
since his first visit, Robert of Gloucester, the wisest of the leaders
of the Angevin cause, had died in his fortress of Bristol in 1174; and
in February of 1148, Matilda herself had given up her long and now
apparently hopeless struggle in England, and gone back to the home of
her husband, though she seems to have encouraged her son in his new
enterprise by her presence in England at least for a time.[43] The older
generation was disappearing from the field; the younger was preparing to
go on with the conflict. In 1149 Henry was sixteen years old, a mature
age in that time, and it might well have been thought that it was wise
to put him forward as leader in his own cause. The plan for this year
seems to have been an attack on Stephen from the north by the king of
Scotland in alliance with the Earl of Chester, and Henry passed rapidly
through western England to Carlisle, where he was knighted by King
David. Their army, which advanced to attack Lancaster, accomplished
nothing, because, as has been related, the allegiance of Ralph of
Chester, on whom they depended, had been bought back by Stephen; and
Stephen himself, waiting with his army at York, found that he had
nothing to do. The Scottish force withdrew, and Henry, again
disappointed, was obliged to return to Normandy.

Three years later the young Henry made another and finally successful
attempt to win his grandfather's throne, but in the interval great
changes had occurred. Of these one fell in the year next following, 1150.
Soon after Henry's return from England, his father had handed over to him
the only portion of his mother's inheritance which had yet been
recovered, the duchy of Normandy, and retired himself to his hereditary
dominions. Geoffrey had never shown, so far as we know, any interest in
his wife's campaigns in England, and had confined his attention to
Normandy, in which one who was still primarily a count of Anjou would
naturally have the most concern; and of all the efforts of the family
this was the only one which was successful. Now while still a young man,
with rare disregard of self, he gave up his conquest to his son, who had
been brought up to consider himself as belonging rather to England than
to Anjou. On the other side of the channel, during this year 1150,
Stephen seems to have decided upon a plan which he bent every effort in
the following years to carry out, but unsuccessfully,--the plan of
securing a formal recognition of his son Eustace as his successor in the
throne, or even as king with him. At least this is the natural
explanation of the reconciliation which took place near the close of the
year, between Eustace and his father on one side and Henry Murdac on the
other, by which the archbishop was at last admitted to his see of York,
and then set off immediately for Rome to persuade the pope to recognize
Eustace, and even to consecrate the young man in person.

In England the practice of crowning the son king in the father's lifetime
had never been followed, as it had been in some of the continental
states, notably in France; but the conditions were now exactly those
which would make such a step seem desirable to the holder of the crown.
By this means the Capetian family had maintained undisputed possession of
the throne through turbulent times with little real power of their own,
and they were now approaching the point when they could feel that the
custom was no longer necessary. The decision to attempt this method of
securing the succession while still in possession of power, rather than
to leave it to the uncertain chances that would follow his death, was for
Stephen natural and wise. It is interesting to notice how indispensable
the consent of the Church was considered, as the really deciding voice in
the matter, and it was this that Stephen was not able to secure. The
pope--this was about Easter time of 1151--rejected almost with
indignation the suggestion of Murdac, on the ground of the violated oath,
and forbade any innovation to be made concerning the crown of England,
because this was a subject of litigation; he also directed, very probably
at this time, the Archbishop of Canterbury, it was said at the suggestion
of Thomas Becket, to refuse to crown Eustace.

With his duchy of Normandy, Henry had inherited at the same time the
danger of trouble with the king of France, for his father had greatly
displeased Louis by laying siege to the castle of a seditious vassal of
Anjou who happened to be a favourite of the king. It would seem that this
state of things suggested to Eustace an attack on Normandy in alliance
with King Louis, but the attempt was fruitless. Twice during the summer
of 1151 French armies invaded Normandy; the first led by the king
himself. Both invasions were met by Henry at the head of his troops, but
no fighting occurred on either occasion. On the second invasion, Louis
was ill of a fever in Paris, and negotiations for peace were begun, the
Church interesting itself to this end. Geoffrey and Henry certainly had
no wish for war. The king's friend, who had been captured, was handed
over to him; the Norman Vexin was surrendered to France; and in return
Louis recognized Henry as Duke of Normandy and accepted his homage. Henry
at once ordered an assembly of the Norman barons, on September 14, to
consider the invasion of England; but his plans were interrupted by the
sudden death of his father a week before this date. Geoffrey was then in
his thirty-ninth year. The course of his life had been marked out for him
by the plans of others, and it is obscured for us by the deeper interest
of the struggle in England, and by the greater brilliancy of his son's
history; but in the conquest of Normandy he had accomplished a work which
was of the highest value to his house, and of the greatest assistance to
the rapid success of his son on a wider field.

Events were now steadily moving in favour of Henry. At the close of 1151,
the death of his father added the county of Anjou to his duchy of
Normandy. Early in 1152 a larger possession than these together, and a
most brilliant promise of future power, came to him through no effort of
his own. We have seen how at the beginning of the reign of Stephen, when
Henry himself was not yet five years old, Eleanor, heiress of Aquitaine,
had been married to young Louis of France, who became in a few weeks, by
the death of his father, King Louis VII. Half a lifetime, as men lived in
those days, they had spent together as man and wife, with no serious lack
of harmony. The marriage, however, could never have been a very happy
one. Incompatibility of temper and tastes must long have made itself felt
before the determination to dissolve the marriage was reached. Masculine
in character, strong and full of spirit, Eleanor must have looked with
some contempt on her husband, who was losing the energy of his younger
days and passing more and more under the influence of the darker and more
superstitious elements in the religion of the time, and she probably did
not hesitate to let her opinion be known. She said he was a monk and not
a king. To this, it is likely, was added the fact--it may very possibly
have been the deciding consideration--that during the more than fourteen
years of the marriage but two daughters had been born, and the Capetian
house still lacked an heir. Whatever may have been the reason, a divorce
was resolved upon not long after their return in 1149 from the second
crusade. The death in January, 1152, of Louis VI's great minister, Suger,
whose still powerful influence, for obvious political reasons, had
hindered the final steps, made the way clear. In March an assembly of
clergy, with many barons in attendance, declared the marriage void on the
convenient and easily adjustable principle of too near relationship, and
Eleanor received back her great inheritance.

It was not likely that a woman of the character of Eleanor and of her
unusual attractions, alike of person and possessions, would quietly
accept as final the position in which this divorce had left her. After
escaping the importunate wooings of a couple of suitors who sought to
intercept her return to her own dominions, she sent a message to Henry of
Anjou, and he responded at once. In the third week of May they were
married at Poitiers, two months after the divorce. In a few weeks' time,
by two brief ecclesiastical ceremonies, the greatest feudal state of
France, a quarter of the kingdom, had been transferred from the king to
an uncontrollable vassal who practically held already another quarter.
The king of France was reduced as speedily from a position of great
apparent power and promise to the scanty territories of the Capetian
domain, and brought face to face with the danger of not distant ruin to
the plans of his house. To Henry, at the very beginning of his career,
was opened the immediate prospect of an empire greater than any which
existed at that time in Europe under the direct rule of any other
sovereign. If he could gain England, he would bear sway, as king in
reality if not in name, from Scotland to the Pyrenees, and from such a
beginning what was there that might not be gained? Why these hopes were
never realized, how the Capetian kings escaped this danger, must fill a
large part of our story to the death of Henry's youngest son, King John.
At the date of his marriage Henry had just entered on his twentieth year.
Eleanor was nearly twelve years older. If she had sought happiness in her
new marriage, she did not find it, at least not permanently; and many
later years were spent in open hostility with Henry, or closely confined
in his prisons; but whatever may have been her feelings towards him, she
found no occasion to regard her second husband with contempt. Their
eldest son, William, who did not survive infancy, was born on August 17,
1153, and in succession four other sons were born to them and three

The first and most obvious work which now lay before Henry was the
conquest of England, and the plans which had been earlier formed for
this object and deferred by these events were at once taken up. By the
end of June the young bridegroom was at Barfleur preparing to cross the
channel with an invading force. But he was not to be permitted to enjoy
his new fortunes unchallenged. Louis VII in particular had reasons for
interfering, and the law was on his side. The heiress Eleanor had no
right to marry without the consent of her feudal suzerain. A summons, it
is said, was at once served on Henry to appear before the king's court
and answer for his conduct,[44] and this summons, which Henry refused to
obey, was supported by a new coalition. Louis and Eustace were again in
alliance, and they were joined by Henry's own brother Geoffrey, who
could make considerable trouble in the south of Henry's lands, by Robert
of Dreux, Count of Perche, and by Eustace's cousin Henry, Count of
Champagne. Stephen's brother Theobald had died at the beginning of the
year, and his great dominions had been divided, Champagne and Blois
being once more separated, never to be reunited until they were absorbed
at different dates into the royal domain. This coalition was strong
enough to check Henry's plan of an invasion of England, but it did not
prove a serious danger, though the allies are said to have formed a plan
for the partition of all the Angevin empire among themselves. For some
reason their campaign does not seem to have been vigorously pushed. The
young duke was able to force his brother to come to terms, and he
succeeded in patching up a rather insecure truce with King Louis. On
this, however, he dared to rely enough--or perhaps he trusted to the
situation as he understood it--to venture at last, in January, 1153, on
his long-deferred expedition to recover his mother's kingdom. Stephen
had begun the siege of the important fortress of Wallingford, and a new
call for aid had come over to Normandy from the hard-pressed garrison.

In the meantime, during the same days when the divorce and remarriage of
Eleanor of Aquitaine were making such a change in the power and prospects
of his competitor for the crown, Stephen had made a new attempt to secure
the possession of that crown firmly to his son Eustace. A meeting of the
great council of the kingdom, or of that part which obeyed Stephen, was
called at London early in April, 1152. This body was asked to sanction
the immediate consecration of Eustace as king. The barons who were
present were ready to agree, and they swore allegiance to him and
probably did homage, which was as far as the barons by themselves could
go. The prelates, however, under the lead of the Archbishop of
Canterbury,--Henry of Winchester is not mentioned in this case,--flatly
refused to perform the consecration. The papal prohibition of any such
act still held good, and the clergy of England had been given, as they
would recall the past, no reason to disobey the pope in the interests of
King Stephen. The king, in great anger, appealed to force against them,
but without avail. Temporary imprisonment of the prelates at the council,
in a house together, even temporary confiscation of the baronies of some
of them, did not move them, and Stephen was obliged to postpone his plan
once more. The archbishop again escaped to the continent to await the
course of events, and Stephen appealed to the sword to gain some new
advantage to balance this decided rebuff. Then followed the vigorous
siege of Wallingford, which called Henry into England at the beginning of

The force which Henry brought with him crossed the channel in thirty-six
ships, and was estimated at the time at 140 men-at-arms and 3000
foot-soldiers, a very respectable army for that day; but the duke's
friends in England very likely formed their ideas of the army he would
bring from the breadth of his territories, and they expressed their
disappointment. Henry was to win England, however, not by an invasion,
but by the skill of his management and by the influence of events which
worked for him here as on the continent without an effort of his own. Now
it was that Ralph of Chester performed his final change of sides and sold
to Henry, at the highest price which treason reached in any transaction
of this long and favourable time, the aid which was so necessary to the
Angevin success. Henry's first attempt was against the important castle
of Malmesbury, midway between Bristol and Wallingford, and Stephen was
not able to prevent its fall. Then the garrison of Wallingford was
relieved, and the intrenched position of Stephen's forces over against
the castle was invested. The king came up with an army to protect his
men, and would gladly have joined battle and settled the question on the
spot, but once more his barons refused to fight. They desired nothing
less than the victory of one of the rivals, which would bring the chance
of a strong royal power and of their subjection to it. Apparently Henry's
barons held the same view of the case, and assisted in forcing the
leaders to agree to a brief truce, the advantage of which would in
reality fall wholly to Henry.

From Wallingford Henry marched north through central England, where towns
and castles one after another fell into his hands. From Wallingford also,
Eustace withdrew from his father, greatly angered by the truce which had
been made, and went off to the east on an expedition of his own which
looks much like a plundering raid. Rashly he laid waste the lands of St.
Edmund, who was well known to be a fierce protector of his own and to
have no hesitation at striking even a royal robber. Punishment quickly
followed the offence. Within a week Eustace was smitten with madness and
died on August 17, a new and terrible warning of the fate of the
sacrilegious. This death changed the whole outlook for the future.
Stephen had no more interest in continuing the war than to protect
himself. His wife had now been dead for more than a year. His next son,
William, had never looked forward to the crown, and had never been
prominent in the struggle. He had been lately married to the heiress of
the Earl of Surrey, and if he could be secured in the quiet and
undisputed possession of this inheritance and of the lands which his
father had granted him, and of the still broader lands in Normandy and
England which had belonged to Stephen before he seized the crown, then
the advantage might very well seem to the king, near the close of his
stormy life, greater than any to be gained from the desperate struggle
for the throne. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who had by some means
returned to England, proposed peace, and undertook negotiations between
the king and the duke, supported by Henry of Winchester. Henry of Anjou
could well afford to wait. The delay before he could in this way obtain
the crown would probably not be very long and would be amply compensated
by a peaceful and undisputed succession, while in the meantime he could
give himself entirely to the mission which, since he had landed in
England, he had loudly proclaimed as his of putting an end to plundering
and oppression. On November 6 the rivals met at Winchester to make peace,
and the terms of their agreement were recited in a great council of the
kingdom, probably the first which was in any sense a council of the whole
kingdom that had met in nearly or quite fifteen years. First, the king
formally recognized before the assembly the hereditary right of Henry to
the kingdom of England. Then the duke formally agreed that Stephen should
hold the throne so long as he should live; and king, and bishops, and
barons bound themselves with an oath that on Stephen's death Henry should
succeed peacefully and without any contradiction. It was also agreed
under oath, that all possessions which had been seized by force should be
restored to their rightful owners, and that all castles which had been
erected since the death of Henry I should be destroyed, and the number of
these was noted at the time as 1115, though a more credible statement
gives the number as 375. The treaty between the two which had no doubt
preceded these ceremonies in the council contained other provisions.
Stephen promised to regard Henry as a son--possibly he formally adopted
him--and to rule England by his advice. Henry promised that William
should enjoy undisturbed all the possessions which he had obtained with
his wife or from his father, and all his father's private inheritance in
England and Normandy. Allegiance and homage were paid by Henry to Stephen
as king and by William to Henry, and Henry's barons did homage to Stephen
and Stephen's to Henry, with the usual reservation. The king's Flemish
mercenaries were to be sent home, and order was to be established
throughout the land, the king restoring to all their rights and resuming
himself those which had been usurped during the disorders of civil

This programme began at once to be carried out. The war came to an end.
The "adulterine" castles were destroyed, not quite so rapidly as Henry
desired, but still with some energy. The unprincipled baron, friend of
neither side and enemy of all his neighbours, deprived of his opportunity
by the union of the two contending parties, was quickly reduced to order,
and we hear no more of the feudal anarchy from which the defenceless had
suffered so much during these years. Henry and Stephen met again at
Oxford in January, 1154; they journeyed together to Dover, but as they
were returning, Henry learned of a conspiracy against his life among
Stephen's Flemish followers, some of whom must still have remained in
England, and thought it best to retire to Normandy, where he began the
resumption of the ducal domains with which his father had been obliged to
part in the time of his weakness. Stephen went on with the work of
restoration in England, but not for long. The new day of peace and strong
government was not for him. On October 25, 1154, he died at Dover, "and
was buried where his wife and his son were buried, at Faversham, the
monastery which they had founded."

Out of this long period of struggle the crown gained nothing. Out of the
opportunity of feudal independence and aggrandizement which the conflict
offered them, the barons in the end gained nothing. One of the parties to
the strife, and one only, emerged from it with great permanent gains of
power and independence, the Church. The one power which had held back the
English Church from taking its share in that great European movement by
which within a century the centralized, monarchical Church had risen up
beside the State, indeed above it, for it was now an international and
imperial Church,--the restraining force which had held the English Church
in check,--had been for a generation fatally weakened. With a bound the
Church sprang forward and took the place in England and in the world
which it would otherwise have reached more slowly during the reign of
Henry. It had been prepared by experience and by the growth of its own
convictions, to find its place at once alongside of the continental
national churches in the new imperial system. Unweakened by the
disorganization into which the State was falling, it was ready to show
itself at home the one strong and steady institution in the confusion of
the time, and to begin at once to exercise the rights it claimed but had
never been able to secure. It began to fill its own great appointments
according to its own rules, and to neglect the feudal duties which should
go with them. Its jurisdiction, which had been so closely watched,
expanded freely and ecclesiastical courts and cases rapidly multiplied.
It called its own councils and legislated without permission, and even
asserted its exclusive right to determine who should be king. Intercourse
with the papal curia grew more untrammelled, and appeals to Rome
especially increased to astonishing frequency. With these gains in
practical independence, the support on which it all rested grew strong at
the same time,--its firm belief in the Hildebrandine system. If a future
king of England should ever recover the power over the Church which had
been lost in the reign of Stephen, he would do so only by a struggle
severer than any of his predecessors had gone through to retain it; and
in these events Thomas Becket, who was to lead the defence of the Church
against such an attack, had been trained for his future work.

Monasticism also flourished while the official Church was growing strong,
and many new religious houses and new orders even were established in the
country. More of these "castles of God," we are told by one who himself
dwelt in one of them, were founded during the short reign of Stephen than
during the one hundred preceding years. In the buildings which these
monks did not cease to erect, the severer features of the Norman style
were beginning to give way to lighter and more ornamental forms. Scholars
in greater numbers went abroad. Books that still hold their place in the
intellectual or even in the literary history of the world were written by
subjects of the English king. Oxford continued to grow towards the later
University, and students there listened eagerly to the lectures on Roman
law of the Italian Vacarius until these were stopped by Stephen. In spite
of the cruelties of the time, the real life of England went on and was
scarcely even checked in its advance to better things.

[41] See Rössler, Kaiserin Mathilde, 287 ff.

[42] William of Malmesbury, sec. 497.

[43] See the Athenaeum, February 6, 1904, p. 177.

[44] But see Lot, Fidèles ou Vassaux (1904), 205-212.



Henry of Anjou, for whom the way was opened to the throne of his
grandfather so soon after the treaty with Stephen, was then in his
twenty-second year. He was just in the youthful vigour of a life of more
than usual physical strength, longer in years than the average man's of
the twelfth century, and brilliant in position and promise in the eyes of
his time. But his life was in truth filled with annoying and hampering
conflict and bitter disappointment. Physically there was nothing fine or
elegant about him, rather the contrary. In bodily and mental
characteristics there was so much in common between the Angevin house and
the Norman that the new blood had made no great changes, and in physique
and in spirit Henry II continued his mother's line quite as much as his
father's. Certainly, as a modern writer has remarked, he could never have
been called by his father's name of "the Handsome." He was of middle
height, strongly built, with square shoulders, broad chest, and arms that
reminded men of a pugilist. His head was round and well shaped, and he
had reddish hair and gray eyes which seemed to flash with fire when he
was angry. His complexion also was ruddy and his face is described as
fiery or lion-like. His hands were coarse, and he never wore gloves
except when necessary in hawking. His legs were hardly straight. They
were made for the saddle and his feet for the stirrups. He was heedless
of his person and his clothes, and always cared more for action and deeds
than for appearances.

In the gifts of statesmanship and the abilities which make a great ruler
Henry seemed to his own time above the average of kings, and certainly
this is true in comparison with the king who was his rival during so much
of his reign, Louis VII of France. Posterity has also agreed to call him
one of the greatest, some have been inclined to say the greatest, of
English sovereigns. The first heavy task that fell to him, the
establishment of peace and strong government in England, he fully
achieved; and this work was thankfully celebrated by his contemporaries.
All his acts give us the impression of mental and physical power, and no
recasting of balances is ever likely to destroy the impression of great
abilities occupied with great tasks, but we need perhaps to be reminded
that to his age his position made him great, and that even upon us its
effect is magnifying. Except in the pacification of England he won no
signal success, and the schemes to which he gave his best days ended in
failure or barely escaped it. It is indeed impossible to say that in his
long reign he had before him any definite or clear policy, except to be a
strong king and to assert vigorously every right to which he believed he
could lay claim. The opportunity which his continental dominions offered
him he seems never to have understood, or at least not as it would have
been understood by a modern sovereign or by a Philip Augustus. It is
altogether probable that the successful welding together of the various
states which he held by one title or another into a consolidated monarchy
would have been impossible; but that the history of his reign gives no
clear evidence that he saw the vision of such a result, or studied the
means to accomplish it, forces us to classify Henry, in one important
respect at least, with the great kings of the past and not with those of
the coming age. In truth he was a feudal king. Notwithstanding the severe
blows which he dealt feudalism in its relation to the government of the
state, it was still feudalism as a system of life, as a source of ideals
and a guide to conduct, which ruled him to the end. He had been brought
up entirely in a feudal atmosphere, and he never freed himself from it.
He was determined to be a strong king, to be obeyed, and to allow no
infringement of his own rights,--indeed, to push them to the farthest
limit possible,--but there seems never to have been any conflict in his
mind between his duties as suzerain or vassal and any newer conception of
his position and its opportunities.

It was in England that Henry won his chief and his only permanent
success. And it was indeed not a small success. To hold under a strong
government and to compel into good order, almost unbroken, a generation
which had been trained in the anarchy and license of Stephen's reign was
a great achievement. But Henry did more than this. In the machinery of
centralization, he early began a steady and systematic development which
threatened the defences of feudalism, and tended rapidly toward an
absolute monarchy. In this was his greatest service to England. The
absolutism which his work threatened later kings came but little nearer
achieving, and the danger soon passed away, but the centralization which
he gave the state grew into a permanent and beneficent organization. In
this work Henry claimed no more than the glory of following in his
grandfather's footsteps, and the modern student of the age is more and
more inclined to believe that he was right in this, and that his true
fame as an institution maker should be rather that of a restorer than of
a founder. He put again into operation what had been already begun; he
combined and systematized and broadened, and he created the conditions
which encouraged growth and made it fruitful: but he struck out no new
way either for himself or for England.

In mind and body Henry overflowed with energy. He wearied out his court
with his incessant and restless activity. In learning he never equalled
the fame of his grandfather, Henry Beauclerc, but he loved books, and his
knowledge of languages was such as to occasion remark. He had the
passionate temper of his ancestors without the self-control of Henry I,
and sometimes raved in his anger like a maniac. In matters of morals also
he placed no restraints upon himself. His reputation in this regard has
been kept alive by the romantic legend of Rosamond Clifford; and, though
the pathetic details of her story are in truth romance and not history,
there is no lack of evidence to show that Eleanor had occasion enough for
the bitter hostility which she felt towards him in the later years of his
life. But Henry is not to be reckoned among the kings whose policy or
public conduct were affected by his vices. More passionate and less
self-controlled than his grandfather, he had something of his patience
and tenacity of purpose, and a large share of his diplomatic skill; and
the slight scruples of conscience, which on rare occasions interfered
with an immediate success, arose from a very narrow range of ethical

An older man and one of longer training in statecraft and the management
of men might easily have doubted his ability to solve the problem which
lay before Henry in England. To control a feudal baronage was never an
easy task. To re-establish a strong control which for nearly twenty years
had been greatly relaxed would be doubly difficult. But in truth the work
was more than half done when Henry came to the throne. Since the peace
declared at Winchester much had been accomplished, and most of all
perhaps in the fact that peace deprived the baron of the even balancing
of parties which had been his opportunity. On all sides also men were
worn out with the long conflict, and the material, as well as the
incentive, to continue it under the changed conditions was lacking. It is
likely too that Henry had made an impression in England, during the short
time that he had stayed there, very different from that made by Stephen
early in his reign; for it is clear that he knew what he wanted and how
to get it, and that he would be satisfied with nothing less. Nor did
there seem to be anything to justify a fear that arrangements which had
been made during the war in favour of individual men were likely to be
disturbed. So secure indeed did everything seem that Henry was in no
haste to cross to England when the news of Stephen's death reached him.

The Duke of Normandy had been occupied with various things since his
return from England in April, with the recovery of the ducal lands, with
repressing unimportant feudal disorders, and with negotiations with the
king of France. On receiving the news he finished the siege of a castle
in which he was engaged, then consulted his mother, whose counsel he
often sought to the end of her life, in her quiet retreat near Rouen, and
finally assembled the barons of Normandy. In about a fortnight he was
ready at Barfleur for the passage, but bad winds kept back the unskilful
sailors of the time for a month. In England there was no disturbance.
Everybody, we are told, feared or loved the duke and expected him to
become king, and even the Flemish troops of Stephen kept the peace. If
any one acted for the king, it was Archbishop Theobald, but there is no
evidence that there was anything for a regent to do. At last, at the end
of the first week in December, Henry landed in England and went up at
once to Winchester. There he took the homage of the English barons, and
from thence after a short delay he went on to London to be crowned. The
coronation on the 19th, the Sunday before Christmas, must have been a
brilliant ceremony. The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated in the
presence of two other archbishops and seventeen bishops, of earls and
barons from England and abroad, and an innumerable multitude of people.

Henry immediately issued a coronation charter, but it is, like Stephen's,
merely a charter of general confirmation. No specific promises are made.
The one note of the charter, the keynote of the reign for England thus
early struck, is "king Henry my grandfather." The ideal of the young
king, an ideal it is more than likely wholly satisfactory to his
subjects, was to reproduce that reign of order and justice, the time to
which men after the long anarchy would look back as to a golden age. Or
was this a declaration, a notice to all concerned, flung out in a time of
general rejoicing when it would escape challenge, that no usurpation
during Stephen's reign was to stand against the rights of the crown? That
time is passed over as a blank. No man could plead the charter as
guaranteeing him in any grant or privilege won from either side during
the civil war. To God and holy Church and to all earls and barons and all
his men, the king grants, and restores and confirms all concessions and
donations and liberties and free customs which King Henry his grandfather
had given and granted to them. Also all evil customs which his
grandfather abolished and remitted he grants to be abolished and
remitted. That is all except a general reference to the charter of Henry
I. Neither Church nor baron could tell from the charter itself what
rights had been granted or what evil customs had been abolished. But in
all probability no one at the moment greatly cared for more specific
statement. The proclamation of a general policy of return to the
conditions of the earlier age was what was most desired.

The first work before the young king would be to select those who should
aid him in the task of government in the chief offices of the state. He
probably already had a number of these men in mind from his knowledge of
England and of the leaders of his mother's party. In the peace with
Stephen, Richard de Lucy had been put in charge of the Tower and of
Windsor castle. He now seems to have been made justiciar, perhaps the
first of Henry's appointments, as he alone signs the coronation charter
though without official designation. Within a few days, however, Robert
de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester, was apparently given office with the same
title, and together they fill this position for many years, Robert
completing in it the century and more of faithful service which his
family had rendered to every successive king. The family of Roger of
Salisbury was also restored to the important branch of the service which
it had done so much to create, in the person of Nigel, Bishop of Ely, who
was given charge of the exchequer. The most important appointment in its
influence on the reign was that to the chancellorship. Archbishop
Theobald, who was probably one of Henry's most intimate counsellors, had
a candidate in whose favour he could speak in the strongest terms and
whose services in the past the king would gratefully recall. This was the
young Thomas Becket, who had done so much to prevent the coronation of

Immediately after his coronation, at Christmas time, Henry held at
Bermondsey the first of the great councils of his reign. Here the whole
state of the kingdom was discussed, and it was determined to proceed with
the expulsion of Stephen's mercenaries, and with the destruction of the
unlawful castles. The first of these undertakings gave no trouble, and
William of Ypres disappears from English history. The second, especially
with what went with it,--the resumption of Stephen's grants to great as
well as small,--was a more difficult and longer process. To begin it in
the proper way, the king himself set out early in 1155 for the north. For
some reason he did not think it wise at this time to run the risk of a
quarrel with Hugh Bigod, and it was probably on this journey at
Northampton that he gave him a charter creating him Earl of Norfolk, the
title which he had obtained from Stephen. The expedition was especially
directed against William of Aumale, Stephen's Earl of Yorkshire, and he
was compelled to surrender a part of his spoils including the strong
castle of Scarborough. William Peverel of the Peak also, who was accused
of poisoning the Earl of Chester, and who knew that there were other
reasons of condemnation against him, took refuge in a monastery, making
profession as a monk when he heard of Henry's approach, and finally fled
to the continent and abandoned everything to the king. Some time after
this, but probably during the same year, another of Stephen's earls,
William of Arundel or Sussex, obtained a charter of confirmation of the
third penny of his county.

One of the interesting features of Henry's first year is the frequency of
great councils. Four were held in nine months. It was the work of
resumption, and of securing his position, which made them necessary. The
expressed support of the baronage, as a whole, was of great value to him
as he moved against one magnate and then another, and demanded the
restoration of royal domains or castles. The second of these councils,
which was held in London in March, and in which the business of the
castles was again taken up, did not, however, secure the king against all
danger of resistance. Roger, Earl of Hereford, son of Miles of
Gloucester, who had been so faithful to Henry's mother, secretly left the
assembly determined to try the experiment of rebellion rather than to
surrender his two royal castles of Hereford and Gloucester. In this
attitude he was encouraged by Hugh Mortimer, a baron of the Welsh Marches
and head of a Conquest family of minor rank which was now rising to
importance, who was also ready to risk rebellion. Roger did not persist
in his plans. He was brought to a better mind by his kinsman, the Bishop
of Hereford, Gilbert Foliot, and gave up his castles. Mortimer ventured
to stand a siege in his strongholds, one of which was Bridgenorth where
Robert of Bellême had tried to resist Henry I in similar circumstances,
but he was forced to surrender before the middle of the summer. This was
the only armed opposition which the measures of resumption excited,
because they were carried out by degrees and with wise caution in the
selection of persons as well as of times. It was probably in this spirit
that in January of the next year Henry regranted to Aubrey de Vere his
title of Earl of Oxford and that of the unfaithful Earl of Essex to the
younger Geoffrey de Mandeville. It was twenty years after Henry's
accession and in far different circumstances that he first found himself
involved in conflict with a dangerous insurrection of the English barons.

Before the submission of Hugh Mortimer the third of the great councils of
the year had been held at Wallingford early in April, and there the
barons had been required to swear allegiance to Henry's eldest son
William, and in case of his death to his brother Henry who had been born
a few weeks before. The fourth great council met at Winchester in the
last days of September, and there a new question of policy was discussed
which led ultimately to events of great importance in the reign, and of
constantly increasing importance in the whole history of England to the
present day,--the conquest of Ireland. Apparently Henry had already
conceived the idea, to which he returns later in the case of his youngest
son, of finding in the western island an appanage for some unprovided
member of the royal house. Now he thought of giving it to his youngest
brother William. Religious and political prejudice and racial pride have
been so intensely excited by many of the statements and descriptions in
the traditional account of Henry's first steps towards the conquest,
which is based on contemporary records or what purports to be such, that
evidence which no one would think of questioning if it related to humdrum
events on the dead level of history has been vigorously assailed, and
almost every event in the series called in question. The writer of
history cannot narrate these events as they seem to him to have occurred
without warning the reader that some element of doubt attaches to his
account, and that whatever his conclusions, some careful students of
the period will not agree with him.

A few days before Henry landed in England to be crowned, Nicholas
Breakspear, the only Englishman who ever became pope, had been elected
Bishop of Rome and had taken the name of Hadrian IV. He was the son of an
English clerk, who was later a monk at St. Albans, and had not seemed to
his father a very promising boy; but on his father's death he went
abroad, studied at Paris, and was made Abbot of St. Rufus in Provence.
Then visiting Rome because of trouble, with his monks, he attracted the
notice of the pope, was made cardinal and papal legate, and finally was
himself elected pope in succession to Anastasius IV. We cannot say,
though we may think it likely, that the occupation of the papal throne by
a native Englishman made it seem to Henry a favourable time to secure so
high official sanction for his new enterprise. Nor is it possible to say
what was the form of Henry's request, or the composition of the embassy
which seems certainly to have been sent, or the character of the pope's
reply, though each of these has been made the subject of differing
conjectures for none of which is there any direct evidence in the sources
of our knowledge. The most that we can assert is what we are told by John
of Salisbury, the greatest scholar of the middle ages.

John was an intimate friend of the pope's and spent some months with him
in very familiar intercourse in the winter of 1155-1156. He relates in
a passage at the close of his Metalogicus, which he wrote, if we may
judge by internal evidence, on learning of Hadrian's death in 1159, and
which there is no reason to doubt, that at his request the pope made a
written grant of Ireland to Henry to be held by hereditary right. He
declares that the ground of this grant was the ownership of all islands
conveyed to the popes by the Donation of Constantine, and he adds that
Hadrian sent Henry a ring by which he was to be invested with the right
of ruling in Ireland. Letter and ring, he says, are preserved in England
at the time of his writing. The so called Bull "Laudabiliter" has been
traditionally supposed to be the letter referred to by John of Salisbury,
but it does not quite agree with his description, and it makes no grant
of the island to the king.[45] The probability is very strong that it
is not even what it purports to be, a letter of the pope to the king
expressing his approval of the enterprise, but merely a student's
exercise in letter writing. But the papal approval was certainly
expressed at a later time by Pope Alexander III. No doubt can attach,
however, to the account of John of Salisbury. As he describes the
grant it would correspond fully with papal ideas current at the time,
and it would be closely parallel with what we must suppose was the
intention of an earlier pope in approving William's conquest of England.
If Henry had asked for anything more than the pope's moral assent to the
enterprise, he could have expected nothing different from this, nor does
it seem that he could in that case have objected to the terms or form of
the grant described by John of Salisbury.

The expedition, however, for which Henry had made these preparations was
not actually undertaken. His mother objected to it for some reason which
we do not know, and he dropped the plan for the present. About the same
time Henry of Winchester, who had lived on into a new age, which he
probably found not wholly congenial, left England without the king's
permission and went to Cluny. This gave Henry a legal opportunity, and he
at once seized and destroyed his castles. No other event of importance
falls within the first year of the reign. It was a great work which had
been done in this time. To have plainly declared and successfully begun
the policy of reigning as a strong king, to have got rid of Stephen's
dangerous mercenaries without trouble, to have recovered so many castles
and domains without exciting a great rebellion, and to have restored the
financial system to the hands best fitted to organize and perfect it,
might satisfy the most ambitious as the work of a year. "The history of
the year furnishes," in the words of the greatest modern student of the
age, "abundant illustration of the energy and capacity of a king of

Early in January, 1156, Henry crossed to Normandy. His brother Geoffrey
was making trouble and was demanding that Anjou and Maine should be
assigned to him. We are told an improbable story that their father on his
deathbed had made such a partition of his lands, and that Henry had been
required blindly to swear that he would carry out an arrangement which
was not made known to him. If Henry made any such promise as heir, he
immediately repudiated it as reigning sovereign. He could not well do
otherwise. To give up the control of these two counties would be to cut
his promising continental empire into two widely separated portions.
Geoffrey attempted to appeal to arms in the three castles which had been
given him earlier, but was quickly forced to submit. All this year and
until April of the next, 1157, Henry remained abroad, and before his
return to England he was able to offer his brother a compensation for his
disappointment which had the advantage of strengthening his own position.
The overlordship of the county of Britanny had, as we know, been claimed
by the dukes of Normandy, and the claim had sometimes been allowed. To
Henry the successful assertion of this right would be of great value as
filling out his occupation of western France. Just at this time Britanny
had been thrown into disorder and civil strife by a disputed succession,
and the town of Nantes, which commanded the lower course of the Loire, so
important a river to Henry, refused to accept either of the candidates.
With the aid of his brother, Geoffrey succeeded in planting himself there
as Count of Nantes, in a position which promised to open for the house of
Anjou the way into Britanny.

The greater part of the time of his stay abroad Henry spent in passing
about from one point to another in his various provinces, after the usual
custom of the medieval sovereign. In Eleanor's lands he could exert much
less direct authority than in England or Normandy; the feudal baron of
the south was more independent of his lord; but the opposition which was
later to be so disastrous had not yet developed, and the year went by
with nothing to record. Soon after his coming to Normandy he had an
interview with Louis VII who then accepted his homage both for his
father's and his wife's inheritance. If Louis had at one time intended to
dispute the right of Eleanor to marry without his consent, he could not
afford to continue that policy, so strong was Henry now. It was the part
of wisdom to accept what could not be prevented, to arrange some way of
living in peace with his rival, and to wait the chances of the future.

It is in connexion with this expedition to Normandy that there first
appears in the reign of Henry II the financial levy known as "scutage"--a
form of taxation destined to have a great influence on the financial and
military history of England, and perhaps even a greater on its
constitutional history. The invention of this tax was formerly attributed
to the statesmanship of the young king, but we now know that it goes back
at least to the time of his grandfather. The term "scutage" may be
roughly translated "shield money," and, as the word implies, it was a tax
assessed on the knight's fee, and was in theory a money payment accepted
or exacted by the king in place of the military service due him under the
feudal arrangements. The suggestion of such a commutation no doubt arose
in connexion with the Church baronies, whose holders would find many
reasons against personal service in the field, especially in the
prohibition of the canon law, and who in most cases preferred not to
enfeoff on their lands knights enough to meet their military obligations
to the king. In such cases, when called on for the service, they would be
obliged to hire the required number of knights, and the suggestion that
they should pay the necessary sum to the king and let him find the
soldiers would be a natural one and probably agreeable to both sides. The
scutage of the present year does not seem to have gone beyond this
practice. It was confined to Church lands, and the wider application of
the principle, which is what we may attribute to Henry II or to some
minister of his, was not attempted.

Returning to England in April, 1157, Henry took up again the work which
had been interrupted by the demands of his brother Geoffrey. He was ready
now to fly at higher game. Stephen's son William, whose great possessions
in England and Normandy his father had tried so carefully to secure in
the treaty which surrendered his rights to the crown, was compelled to
give up his castles, and Hugh Bigod was no longer spared but was forced
to do the same. David of Scotland had died before the death of Stephen,
and his kingdom had fallen to his grandson Malcolm IV. The new king had
too many troubles at home to make it wise for him to try to defend the
gains which his grandfather had won from England, and before the close of
this year he met Henry at Chester and gave up his claim on the northern
counties, received the earldom of Huntingdon, and did homage to his
cousin, but for what, whether for his earldom or his kingdom, was not
clearly stated. Wales Stephen had practically abandoned, but Henry had no
mind to do this, and a campaign during the summer in which there was some
sharp fighting forced Owen, the prince of North Wales, to become his man,
restored the defensive works of the district, and protected the Marcher
lords in their occupation. The Christmas court was held at Lincoln; but
warned perhaps by the recent ill luck of Stephen in defying the local
superstition, Henry did not attempt to wear his crown in the city. Crown
wearing and ceremony in general were distasteful to him, and at the next
Easter festival at Worcester, together with the queen, he formally
renounced the practice.

Half of the year 1158 Henry spent in England, but the work which lay
before him at his accession was now done. Much work of importance and
many events of interest concern the island kingdom in the later years of
the reign, but these arise from new occasions and belong to a new age.
The age of Stephen was at an end, the Norman absolutism was once more
established, and the influence of the time of anarchy and weakness was
felt no longer. It was probably the death of his brother and the question
of the occupation of Nantes that led Henry to cross to Normandy in
August. He went first of all, however, to meet the king of France near
Gisors. There it was agreed that Henry's son Henry, now by the death of
his eldest brother recognized as heir to the throne, should marry Louis's
daughter Margaret. The children were still both infants, but the
arrangement was made less for their sakes than for peace between their
fathers and for substantial advantages which Henry hoped to gain. First
he desired Louis's permission to take possession of Nantes, and later, on
the actual marriage of the children, was to come the restoration of the
Norman Vexin which Henry's father had been obliged to give up to France
in the troubles of his time. Protected in this way from the only
opposition which he had to fear, Henry had no difficulty in forcing his
way into Nantes and in compelling the count of Britanny to recognize his
possession. This diplomatic success had been prepared, possibly secured,
by a brilliant embassy undertaken shortly before by Henry's chancellor
Thomas Becket. One of the biographers of the future saint, one indeed who
dwells less upon his spiritual life and miracles than on his external
history, rejoices in the details of this magnificent journey, the
gorgeous display, the lavish expenditure, the royal generosity, which
seem intended to impress the French court with the wealth of England and
the greatness of his master, but which lead us to suspect the chancellor
of a natural delight in the splendours of the world.

With his feet firmly planted in Britanny, in a position where he could
easily take advantage of any future turn of events to extend his power,
Henry next turned his attention to the south where an even greater
opportunity seemed to offer. The great county of Toulouse stretched from
the south-eastern borders of Eleanor's lands towards the Mediterranean
and the Rhone over a large part of that quarter of France. A claim of
some sort to this county, the exact nature of which we cannot now decide
from the scanty and inconsistent accounts of the case which remain to us,
had come down to Eleanor from the last two dukes of Aquitaine, her father
and grandfather. The claim had at any rate seemed good enough to Louis
VII while he was still the husband of the heiress to be pushed, but he
had not succeeded in establishing it. The rights of Eleanor were now in
the hands of Henry and, after consulting with his barons, he determined
to enforce them in a military campaign in the summer of 1159.

By the end of June the attacking forces were gathering in the south. The
young king of Scotland was there as the vassal of the king of England and
was knighted by his lord. Allies were secured of the lords to the east
and south, especially the assistance of Raymond Berenger who was Count of
Barcelona and husband of the queen of Aragon, and who had extensive
claims and interests in the valley of the Rhone. His daughter was to be
married to Henry's son Richard, who had been born a few months before.
Negotiations and interviews with the king of France led to no result, and
at the last moment Louis threw himself into Toulouse and prepared to
stand a siege with the Count, Raymond V, whose rights he now looked at
from an entirely different point of view. This act of the king led to a
result which he probably did not anticipate. Apparently the feudal spirit
of Henry could not reconcile itself to a direct attack on the person of
his suzerain. He withdrew from the siege, and the expedition resulted
only in the occupation of some of the minor towns of the county. Here
Thomas the chancellor appears again in his worldly character. He had led
to the war a body of knights said to have been 700 in number, the finest
and best-equipped contingent in the field. Henry's chivalry in refusing
to fight his suzerain seemed to him the height of folly, and he protested
loudly against it. This chivalry indeed did not prevent the vassal from
attacking some of his lord's castles in the north, but no important
results were gained, and peace was soon made between them.

Far more important in permanent consequences than the campaign itself
were the means which the king took to raise the money to pay for it. It
was at this time, so far as our present evidence goes and unless a
precedent had been made in a small way in a scutage of 1157 for the
campaign in Wales, that the principle of scutage was extended from
ecclesiastical to lay tenants in chief. Robert of Torigny, Abbot of
Mont-Saint-Michel, tells us that Henry, having regard to the length and
difficulty of the way, and not wishing to vex the country knights and the
mass of burgesses and rustics, took from each knight's fee in Normandy
sixty shillings Angevin (fifteen English), and from all other persons in
Normandy and in England and in all his other lands what he thought best,
and led into the field with him the chief barons with a few of their men
and a great number of paid knights.

Our knowledge of the treasury accounts of this period is not sufficient
to enable us to explain every detail of this taxation, but it is
sufficient to enable us to say that the statement of the abbot is in
general accurate. The tax on the English knight's fee was heavier than
that on the Norman; payment does not seem to have been actually required
from all persons outside the strict feudal bond, nor within it for that
matter; and the exact relationship between payment and service in the
field we cannot determine. Two things, however, of interest in the
history of taxation in relation both to earlier and later times seem
clear. In the first place a new form of land-tax had been discovered of
special application to the feudal community, capable of transforming a
limited and somewhat uncertain personal service into a far more
satisfactory money payment, capable also of considerable extension and,
in the hands of an absolute king, of an arbitrary development which
apparently some forms of feudal finance had already undergone. This was
something new,--that is, it was as new as anything ever is in
constitutional history. It was the application of an old process to a new
use. In the second place large sums of money were raised, in a purely
arbitrary way, it would seem, both as to persons paying and sums paid,
from members of the non-feudal community and also from some tenants in
chief who at the same time paid scutage. These payments appear to have
rested on the feudal principle of the gracious or voluntary aid and to
have been called "dona," though the people of that time were in general
more accurate in the distinctions they made between things than in the
use of the terms applied to them. There was nothing new about this form
of taxation. Glimpses which we get here and there of feudalism in
operation lead us to suspect that, in small matters and with much
irregularity of application to persons, it was in not infrequent use.
These particular payments, pressing as they did heavily on the Church and
exciting its vigorous objection, carry us back with some interest to the
beginning of troubles between Anselm and the Red King over a point of the
same kind.

In theory and in strict law these "gifts" were voluntary, both as to
whether they should be made at all and as to their amount, but under a
sovereign so strong as Henry II or William Rufus, the king must be
satisfied. Church writers complained, with much if not entire justice,
that this tax was "contrary to ancient custom and due liberty," and they
accused Thomas the chancellor of suggesting it. As a matter of fact this
tax was less important in the history of taxation than the extension of
the principle of scutage which accompanied it. The contribution which it
made to the future was not so much in the form of the tax as in the
precedent of arbitrary taxation, established in an important instance of
taxation at the will of the king. This precedent carried over and applied
to scutage in its new form becomes in the reign of Henry's son one of the
chief causes of revolutionary changes, and thus constitutes "the scutage
of Toulouse" of 1159, if we include under that term the double taxation
of the year, one of the great steps forward of the reign of Henry.

At the close of the Toulouse campaign an incident of some interest
occurred in the death of Stephen's son William and the ending of the male
line of Stephen's succession. His Norman county of Mortain was at once
taken in hand by Henry as an escheated fief, and was not filled again
until it was given years afterwards to his youngest son. To Boulogne
Henry had no right, but he could not afford to allow his influence in the
county to decline, though the danger of its passing under the influence
of Louis VII was slight. Stephen's only living descendant was his
daughter Mary, now Abbess of Romsey. The pope consented to her marriage
to a son of the Count of Flanders, and Boulogne remained in the circle of
influence in which it had been fixed by Henry I. The wide personal
possessions of William in England were apparently added to the royal
domain which had already increased so greatly since the death of Stephen.

A year later the other branch of Stephen's family came into a new
relationship to the politics of France and England. At the beginning of
October, 1160, Louis's second wife died, leaving him still without a male
heir. Without waiting till the end of any period of mourning, within a
fortnight, he married the daughter of Stephen's brother, Theobald of
Blois, sister of the counts Henry of Champagne and Theobald of Blois, who
were already betrothed to the two daughters of his marriage with Eleanor.
This opened for the house of Blois a new prospect of influence and gain,
and for the king of England of trouble which was in part fulfilled. Henry
saw the probable results, and at once responded with an effort to improve
his frontier defences. The marriage of the young Henry and Margaret of
France was immediately celebrated, though the elder of the two was still
a mere infant. This marriage gave Henry the right to take possession of
the Norman Vexin and its strong castles, and this he did. The war which
threatened for a moment did not break out, but there was much fortifying
of castles on both sides of the frontier.

It is said that the suggestion of this defensive move came from Thomas
Becket. However this may be, Thomas was now near the end of his career of
service to the state as chancellor, and was about to enter a field which
promised even greater usefulness and wider possibilities of service.
Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury died on April 18, 1161. For some months
the king gave no sign of his intentions as to his successor. Then he
declared his purpose. Thomas, the chancellor, was about to cross to
England to carry out another plan of Henry's. The barons were to be asked
to swear fealty to the young Henry as the direct heir to the crown. Born
in February, 1155, Henry was in his eighth year when this ceremony was
performed. Some little time before he had been committed by his father to
the chancellor to be trained in his courtly and brilliant household, and
there he became deeply attached to his father's future enemy. The
swearing of fealty to the heir, to which the barons were now accustomed,
was performed without objection, Thomas himself setting the example by
first taking the oath.

This was his last service of importance as chancellor. Before his
departure from Normandy on this errand, the king announced to him his
intention to promote him to the vacant primacy. The appointment would be
a very natural one. Archbishop Theobald is said to have hoped and prayed
that Thomas might succeed him, and the abilities which the chancellor had
abundantly displayed would account for a general expectation of such a
step, but Thomas himself hesitated. We are dependent for our knowledge of
the details of what happened at this time on the accounts of Thomas's
friends and admirers, but there is no reason to doubt their substantial
accuracy. It is clear that there were better grounds in fact for the
hesitation of Thomas than for the insistence of Henry, but they were
apparently concealed from the king. His mother is said to have tried to
dissuade him, and the able Bishop of Hereford, Gilbert Foliot, records
his own opposition. But the complete devotion to the king's will and the
zealous services of Thomas as chancellor might well make Henry believe,
if not that he would be entirely subservient to his policy when made
archbishop, at least that Church and State might be ruled by them
together in full harmony and co-operation, and the days of William and
Lanfranc be brought back. Becket read his own character better and knew
that the days of Henry I and Anselm were more likely to return, and that
not because he recognized in himself the narrowness of Anselm, but
because he knew his tendency to identify himself to the uttermost with
whatever cause he adopted.

Thomas had come to the chancellorship at the age of thirty-seven. He had
been a student, attached to the household of Archbishop Theobald, and he
must long have looked forward to promotion in the Church as the natural
field of his ambition, and in this he had just taken the first step in
his appointment to the rich archdeaconry of Canterbury by his patron. As
chancellor, however, he seems to have faced entirely about. He threw
himself into the elegant and luxurious life of the court with an
abandon and delight which, we are tempted to believe, reveal his
natural bent. The family of a wealthy burgher of London in the last part
of the reign of Henry I may easily have been a better school of manners
and taste than the court of Anjou. Certainly in refinement, and in the
order and elegance of his household as it is described, the chancellor
surpassed the king. Provided with an ample income both from benefices
which he held in the Church and from the perquisites of his office, he
indulged in a profusion of expenditure and display which the king
probably did not care for and certainly did not equal, and collected
about himself such a company of clerks and laymen as made his household a
better place for the training of the children of the nobles than the
king's. In the king's service he spent his money with as lavish a hand as
for himself, in his embassy to the French court or in the war against
Toulouse. He had the skill to avoid the envy of either king or courtier,
and no scandal or hint of vice was breathed against him. The way to the
highest which one could hope for in the service of the state seemed open
before him, and he felt himself peculiarly adapted to enjoy and render
useful such a career. One cannot help speculating on the interesting but
hopeless problem of what the result would have been if Becket had
remained in the line of secular promotion and the primacy had gone to the
next most likely candidate, Gilbert Foliot, whose type of mind would have
led him to sympathize more naturally with the king's views and purposes
in the questions that were so soon to arise between Church and State in

The election of Becket to the see of Canterbury seems to have followed
closely the forms which had come into use since the compromise between
Henry I and Anselm, and which were soon after described in the
Constitutions of Clarendon. The justiciar, Richard de Lucy, with three
bishops went down to Canterbury and made known the will of the king and
summoned the monks to an election. Some opposition showed itself among
them, apparently because of the candidate's worldly life and the fact
that he was not a monk, but they gave way to the clearly expressed will
of the king. The prior and a deputation of the monks went up to London;
and there the formal election took place "with the counsel of" the
bishops summoned for the purpose, and was at once confirmed by the young
prince acting for his father. At the same time Henry, Bishop of
Winchester, made a formal demand of those who were representing the king
that the archbishop should be released from all liability for the way in
which he had handled the royal revenues as chancellor and treasurer, and
this was agreed to. On the next Sunday but one, June 3, 1162, Thomas was
consecrated Archbishop at Canterbury by the Bishop of Winchester, as the
see of London was vacant. As his first official act the new prelate
ordained that the feast in honour of the Trinity should be henceforth
kept on the anniversary of his consecration.

[45] See the review of the whole controversy in Thatcher,
Studies Concerning Adrian IV (1903).



Thomas Becket, who thus became the head of the English Church, was
probably in his forty-fourth year, for he seems to have been born on
December 21, 1118. All his past had been a training in one way or another
for the work which he was now to do. He had had an experience of many
sides of life. During his early boyhood, in his father's house in London,
he had shared the life of the prosperous burgher class; he had been a
student abroad, and though he was never a scholar, he knew something of
the learned world from within; he had been taken into the household of
Archbishop Theobald, and there he had been trained, with a little circle
of young men of promise of his own age, in the strict ideas of the
Church; he had been employed on various diplomatic missions, and had
accomplished what had been intrusted to him, we are told, with skill and
success; last of all, he had been given a high office in the state, and
had learned to know by experience and observation the life of the court,
its methods of doing or preventing business, and all its strength and

As Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket became almost the independent
sovereign of a state within the state. Lanfranc had held no such place,
nor had Anselm. No earlier archbishop indeed had found himself at his
consecration so free from control and so strong. The organization apart
from the state, the ideal liberty of the Church, to which Anselm had
looked forward somewhat vaguely, had been in some degree realized since
his time. The death of Henry I had removed the restraining hand which had
held the Church within its old bounds. For a generation afterwards it was
free--free as compared with any earlier period--to put into practice its
theories and aspirations, and the new Archbishop of Canterbury inherited
the results still unquestioned and undiminished. Henry II had come to the
throne young and with much preliminary work to be done. Gradually, it
would seem, the reforms necessary to recover the full royal power, and to
put into most effective form the organization of the state, were taking
shape in his mind. It is possible, it is perhaps more than possible, that
he expected to have from his friend Thomas as archbishop sympathy and
assistance in these plans, or at least that he would be able to carry
them out with no opposition from the Church. This looks to us now like a
bad reading of character. At any rate no hope was ever more completely
disappointed. In character, will, and ideals, at least as these appear
from this time onward, sovereign and primate furnished all the conditions
of a most bitter conflict. But to understand this conflict it is also
necessary to remember the strength of Becket's position, the fact that he
was the ruler of an almost independent state.

What was the true and natural character of Thomas Becket, what were
really the ideals on which he would have chosen to form his life if he
had been entirely free to shape it as he would, is a puzzle which this is
not the place to try to solve. Nor can we discuss here the critical
questions, still unsettled, which the sources of our knowledge present.
Fortunately no question affects seriously the train of events, and, in
regard to the character of the archbishop, we may say with some
confidence that, whatever he might have chosen for himself, he threw
himself with all the ardour of a great nature into whatever work he was
called upon to do. As chancellor, Thomas's household had been a centre of
luxurious court life. As archbishop his household was not less lavishly
supplied, nor less attractive; but its elegance was of a more sober cast,
and for himself Thomas became an ascetic, as he had been a courtier, and
practised in secret, according to his biographers, the austerities and
good works which became the future saint.

Six months after the consecration of the new archbishop, King Henry
crossed from Normandy to England, at the end of January, 1163, but before
he did so word had come to him from Becket which was like a declaration
of principles. Henry had hoped to have him at the same time primate of
the Church and his own chancellor. Not merely would this add a
distinction to his court, but we may believe that the king would regard
it as a part of the co-operation between Church and State in the reforms
he had in mind. To Thomas the retention of his old office would probably
mean a pledge not to oppose the royal will in the plans which he no doubt
foresaw. It would also interfere seriously with the new manner of life
which he proposed for himself, and he firmly declined to continue in the
old office. In other ways, unimportant as yet, the policy of the primate
as it developed was coming into collision with the king's interests, in
his determined pushing of the rights of his Church to every piece of land
to which it could lay any claim, in some cases directly against the king,
and in his refusal to allow clerks in the service of the State to hold
preferments in the Church, of which he had himself been guilty; but all
these things were still rather signs of what might be expected than
important in themselves. There was for several months no breach between
the king and the archbishop.

For some time after his return to England Henry was occupied, as he had
been of late on the continent, with minor details of government of no
permanent importance. The treaty of alliance with Count Dietrich of
Flanders was renewed. Gilbert Foliot was translated to the important
bishopric of London. A campaign in South Wales brought the prince of that
country to terms, and was followed by homage from him and other Welsh
princes rendered at a great council held at Woodstock during the first
week of July, 1163. It was at this meeting that the king first met with
open and decided opposition from the archbishop, though this was still in
regard to a special point and not to a general line of policy. The
revenue of the state which had been left by the last reign in a
disordered condition was still the subject of much concern and careful
planning. Recently, as our evidence leads us to believe, the king had
given up the Danegeld as a tax which had declined in value until it was
no longer worth collecting. At Woodstock he made a proposition to the
council for an increase in the revenue without an increase in the
taxation. It was that the so-called "sheriffs aid," a tax said to be of
two shillings on the hide paid to the sheriffs by their counties as a
compensation for their services, should be for the future paid into the
royal treasury for the use of the crown. That this demand was in the
direction of advance and reform can hardly be questioned, especially if,
as is at least possible, it was based on the declining importance of the
sheriffs as purely local officers, and their increasing responsibilities
as royal officers on account of the growing importance of the king's
courts and particularly of the itinerant justice courts. So decided a
change, however, in the traditional way of doing business could only be
made with consent asked and obtained. There is no evidence that
opposition came from any one except Becket. He flatly refused to consent
to any such change, as he had a right to do so far as his own lands were
concerned, and declared that this tax should never be paid from them to
the public treasury. The motive of his opposition does not appear and is
not easy to guess. He stood on the historical purpose of the tax and
refused to consider any other use to which it might be put. Henry was
angry, but apparently he had to give up his plan. At any rate
unmistakable notice had been served on him that his plans for reform were
likely to meet with the obstinate opposition of his former chancellor.

This first quarrel was the immediate prelude to another concerning a far
more important matter and of far more lasting consequences.
Administration and jurisdiction, revenue and justice, were so closely
connected in the medieval state that any attempt to increase the revenue,
or to improve and centralize the administrative machinery, raised at once
the question of changes in the judicial system. But Henry II was not
interested in getting a larger income merely, or a closer centralization.
His whole reign goes to show that he had a high conception of the duty of
the king to make justice prevail and to repress disorder and crime. But
this was a duty which he could not begin to carry out without at once
encountering the recognized rights and still wider claims of the Church.
Starting from the words of the apostle against going to law before
unbelievers, growing at first as a process of voluntary arbitration
within the Church, adding a criminal side with the growth of disciplinary
powers over clergy and members, and greatly stimulated and widened by the
legislation of the early Christian emperors, a body of law and a
judicial organization had been developed by the Church which rivalled
that of the State in its own field and surpassed it in scientific form
and content. In the hundred years since William the Conqueror landed in
England this system had been greatly perfected. The revival of the Roman
law in the schools of Italy had furnished both model and material, but
more important still the triumph of the Cluniac reformation, of the ideas
of centralization and empire, had given an immense stimulus to this
growth, and led to clearer conceptions than ever before of what to do and
how to do it. When the state tardily awoke to the same consciousness of
opportunity and method, it found a large part of what should have been
its own work in the hands of a rival power.

In no state in Christendom had the line between these conflicting
jurisdictions been clearly drawn. In England no attempt had as yet been
made to draw it; the only legislation had been in the other direction.
The edict of William I, separating the ecclesiastical courts from the
temporal, and giving them exclusive jurisdiction in spiritual causes,
must be regarded as a beneficial regulation as things then were. The same
thing can hardly be said of the clause in Stephen's charter to the Church
by which he granted it jurisdiction over all the clergy; yet under this
clause the Church had in fifteen years drawn into its hands, as nearly as
we can judge, more business that should naturally belong to the state
than in the three preceding reigns. This rapid attainment of what Anselm
could only have wished for, this enlarged jurisdiction of the Church,
stood directly in the way of the plans of the young king as he took up
the work of restoring the government of his grandfather. He had found out
this fact before the death of Archbishop Theobald and had taken some
steps to bring the question to an issue at that time, but he had been
obliged to cross to France and had not since been able to go on with the
matter. Now the refusal of Archbishop Thomas to grant his request about
the sheriff's aid probably did not make him any less ready to push what
he believed to be the clear rights of the state against the usurpations
of the clergy.

As the state assumed more and more the condition of settled order under
the new king, and the courts were able to enforce the laws everywhere,
the failures of justice which resulted from the separate position of the
clergy attracted more attention. The king was told that there had been
during his reign more than a hundred murders by clerks and great numbers
of other crimes, for none of which had it been possible to inflict the
ordinary penalties. Special cases began to be brought to his attention.
The most important of these was the case of Philip of Broi, a man of some
family and a canon of Bedford, who, accused of the murder of a knight,
had cleared himself by oath in the bishop's court. Afterwards the king's
justice in Bedford summoned him to appear in his court and answer to the
same charge, but he refused with insulting language which the justice at
once repeated to the king as a contempt of the royal authority. Henry was
very angry and swore "by the eyes of God," his favourite oath, that an
insult to his minister was an insult to himself and that the canon must
answer for it in his court. "Not so," said the archbishop, "for laymen
cannot be judges of the clergy. If the king complains of any injury, let
him come or send to Canterbury, and there he shall have full justice by
ecclesiastical authority." This declaration of the archbishop was the
extreme claim of the Church in its simplest form. Even the king could not
obtain justice for a personal injury in his own courts, and the strength
of Becket's position is shown by the fact that, in spite of all his
anger, Henry was obliged to submit. He could not, even then, get the case
of the murder reopened, and in the matter of the insult to his judge the
penalties which he obtained must have seemed to him very inadequate.

It seems altogether probable that this case had much to do with bringing
Henry to a determination to settle the question, what law and what
sovereign should rule in England. So long as such things were possible,
there could be no effective centralization and no supremacy of the
national law. Within three months of the failure of his plan of taxation
in the council at Woodstock the king made a formal demand of the Church
to recognize the right of the State to punish criminous clerks. The
bishops were summoned to a conference at Westminster on October 1. To
them the king proposed an arrangement, essentially the same as that
afterwards included in the Constitutions of Clarendon, by which the
question of guilt or innocence should be determined by the Church court,
but once pronounced guilty the clerk should be degraded by the Church and
handed over to the lay court for punishment. The bishops were not at
first united on the answer which they should make, but Becket had no
doubts, and his opinion carried the day. One of his biographers, Herbert
of Bosham, who was his secretary and is likely to have understood his
views, though he was if possible of an even more extreme spirit than his
patron, records the speech in which the archbishop made known to the king
the answer of the Church. Whether actually delivered or not, the speech
certainly states the principles on which Becket must have stood, and
these are those of the reformers of Cluny in their most logical form. The
Church is not subject to an earthly king nor to the law of the State
alone: Christ also is its king and the divine law its law. This is proved
by the words of our Lord concerning the "two swords." But those who are
by ordination the clergy of the Church, set apart from the nations of men
and peculiarly devoted to the work of God, are under no earthly king.
They are above kings and confer their power upon them, and far from being
subject to any royal jurisdiction they are themselves the judges of
kings. There can be no doubt but that Becket in his struggle with the
king had consciously before him the model of Anselm; but these words,
whether he spoke them to the king's face or not, forming as they did the
principles of his action and accepted by the great body of the clergy,
show how far the English Church had progressed along the road into which
Anselm had first led it.

Henry's only answer to the argument of the archbishop was to adopt
exactly the position of his grandfather in the earlier conflict, and to
inquire whether the bishops were willing to observe the ancient customs
of the realm. To this they made answer together and singly that they
were, "saving their order." This was of course to refuse, and the
conference came to an end with no other result than to define more
clearly the issue between Church and State. In the interval which
followed Becket was gradually made aware that his support in the Church
at large was not so strong as he could wish. The terror of the king's
anger still had its effect in England, and some of the bishops went over
to his side and tried to persuade the archbishop to some compromise. The
pope, Alexander III, who had taken refuge in France from the Emperor and
his antipope, saw more clearly than Becket the danger of driving another
powerful sovereign into the camp of schism and rebellion and counselled
moderation. He even sent a special representative to England, with
letters to Becket to this effect, and with instructions to urge him to
come to terms with the king.

At last Becket was persuaded to concede the form of words desired, though
his biographers asserted that he did this on the express understanding
that the concession should be no more than a form to save the honour of
the king. He had an interview with Henry at Oxford and engaged that he
would faithfully observe the customs of the realm. This promise Henry
received gladly, though not, it was noticed, with a return of his
accustomed kindness to the archbishop; and he declared at once that, as
the refusal of Thomas to obey the customs of the realm had been public,
so the satisfaction made to his honour must be public and the pledge be
given in the presence of the nobles and bishops of the kingdom. To this
Becket apparently offered no objection, nor to the proposal which
followed, according to his secretary at the suggestion of the
archbishop's enemies, but certainly from Henry's point of view the next
natural step, that after the promise had been given, the customs of the
realm should be put into definite statement by a "recognition," or formal
inquiry, that there might be no further danger of either civil or
clerical courts infringing on the jurisdiction of the other.

For this double purpose, to witness the archbishop's declaration and to
make the recognition, a great council met at Clarendon, near Salisbury,
towards the end of January, 1164. Some questions both of what happened at
this council and of the order of events are still unsettled, but the
essential points seem clear. Becket gave the required promise with no
qualifying phrase, and was followed by each of the bishops in the same
form. Then came the recognition, whether provided for beforehand or not,
by members of the council who were supposed to know the ancient practice,
for the purpose of putting into definite form the customs to which the
Church had agreed. The document thus drawn up, which has come down to us
known as the Constitutions of Clarendon, records in its opening paragraph
the fact and form of this agreement and the names of the consenting
bishops. It is probable, however, that this refers to the earlier
engagement, and that after the customs were reduced to definite
statement, no formal promise was made. The archbishop in the discussion
urged his own ignorance of the customs, and it is quite possible that,
receiving his training in the time of Stephen and believing implicitly in
the extreme claims of the Church, he was really ignorant of what could be
proved by a historical study of the ancient practice. The king demanded
that the bishops should put their seals to this document, but this they
evidently avoided. Becket's secretary says that he temporized and
demanded delay. Henry had gained, however, great advantage from the
council, both in what he had actually accomplished and in position for
the next move.

To all who accepted the ideas which now ruled the Church there was
much to complain of, much that was impossible in the Constitutions of
Clarendon. On the question of the trial of criminous clerks, which had
given rise to these difficulties, it was provided, according to the
best interpretation, that the accused clerk should be first brought
before a secular court and there made to answer to the charge. Whatever
he might plead, guilty or not guilty, he was to be transferred to the
Church court for trial and, if found guilty, for degradation from the
priesthood; he was then to be handed over to the king's officer who
had accompanied him to the bishop's court for sentence in the king's
court to the state's punishment of his crime.[46] Becket and his party
regarded this as a double trial and a double punishment for a single
offence. But this was not all. The Constitutions went beyond the
original controversy. Suits to determine the right of presentation
to a living even between two clerks must be tried in the king's court,
as also suits to determine whether a given fee was held in free alms or
as a lay fee. None of the higher clergy were to go out of the kingdom
without the king's permission, nor without his consent were appeals
to be taken from ecclesiastical courts to the pope, his barons to be
excommunicated or their lands placed under an interdict. The feudal
character of the clergy who held in chief of the king was strongly
insisted on. They must hold their lands as baronies, and answer for
them to the royal justices, and perform all their feudal obligations
like other barons; and if their fiefs fell vacant, they must pass into
the king's hand and their revenues be treated as domain revenues during
the vacancy. A new election must be made by a delegation summoned by
the king, in his chapel, and with his consent, and the new prelate
must perform liege homage and swear fealty to the king before his

In short, the Constitutions are a codification of the ancient customs on
all those points where conflict was likely to arise between the old ideas
of the Anglo-Norman State and the new ideas of the Hildebrandine Church.
For there can be little doubt that Henry's assertion that he was but
stating the customs of his grandfather was correct. There is not so much
proof in regard to one or two points as we should like, but all the
evidence that we have goes to show that the State was claiming nothing
new, and about most of the points there can be no question. Nor was this
true of England only. The rights asserted in the Constitutions had been
exercised in general in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries by every
strong state in Europe. The weakness of Henry's position was not in its
historical support, but in the fact that history had been making since
his grandfather's day. Nor was the most important feature of the history
that had been made in the interval the fact that the State in its
weakness had allowed many things to slip out of its hands. For Henry's
purpose of recovery the rise of the Church to an equality with the State,
its organization as an international monarchy, conscious of the value of
that organization and powerful to defend it, was far more important. The
Anglo-Norman monarchy had been since its beginning the strongest in
Europe. Henry II was in no less absolute control of the State than his
ancestors. But now there stood over against the king, as there never had
before, a power almost as strong in England as his own. Thomas understood
this more clearly than Henry did. He not merely believed in the justice
and necessity of his cause, but he believed in his ability to make it
prevail. Thomas may have looked to Anselm as his model and guide of
conduct, but in position he stood on the results of the work which Anselm
had begun, and he was even more convinced than his predecessor had been
of the righteousness of his cause and of his power to maintain it. This
conflict was likely to be a war of giants, and at its beginning no man
could predict its outcome.

Even if the council of Clarendon closed, as we have supposed it did, with
no definite statement on Thomas's part of his attitude towards the
Constitutions, and not, as some accounts imply, with a flat refusal to
accept them, he probably left the council fully determined not to do so.
He carried away with him an official copy of the Constitutions as
evidence of the demands which had been made and shortly afterwards he
suspended himself from his functions because of the promise which he had
originally given to obey them, and applied to the pope for absolution.
For some months matters drifted with no decisive events. Both sides made
application to the pope. The archbishop attempted to leave England
without the knowledge of the king, but failed to make a crossing. The
courts were still unable to carry out the provisions of the
Constitutions. Finally a case arose involving the archbishop's own court,
and on his disregard of the king's processes he was summoned to answer
before the curia regis at Northampton on October 6.

It is to be regretted that we have no account of the interesting and
dramatic events of this assembly from a hand friendly to the king and
giving us his point of view. In the biographies of the archbishop,
written by clerks who were not likely to know much feudal law, it is not
easy to trace out the exact legal procedure nor always to discover the
technical right which we may be sure the king believed was on his side in
every step he took. At the outset it was recorded that as a mark of his
displeasure Henry omitted to send to the archbishop the customary
personal summons to attend the meeting of the court and summoned him only
through the sheriff, but, though the omission of a personal summons to
one of so high rank would naturally be resented by his friends, as he was
to go, not as a member of the court, but as an accused person to answer
before it, the omission was probably quite regular. Immediately after the
organization of the court, Becket was put on his trial for neglect to
obey the processes of the king's court in the earlier case. Summoned
originally on an appeal for default of judgment, he had neither gone to
the court himself nor sent a personal excuse, but he had instructed his
representatives to plead against the legality of the appeal. This he
might have done himself if personally before the court, but, as he had
not come, there was technically a refusal to obey the king's commands
which gave Henry his opportunity. Before the great curia regis the case
was very simple. The archbishop seems to have tried to get before the
court the same plea as to the illegality of the appeal, but it was ruled
out at once, as "it had no place there." In other words, the case was now
a different one. It was tried strictly on the ground of the archbishop's
feudal obligations, and there he had no defence. Judgment was given
against him, and all his movables were declared in the king's mercy.

William Fitz Stephen, one of Becket's biographers who shows a more
accurate knowledge of the law than the others, and who was present at the
trial, records an interesting incident of the judgment. A dispute arose
between the barons and the bishops as to who should pronounce it, each
party trying to put the unpleasant duty on the other. To the barons'
argument that a bishop should declare the decision of the court because
Becket was a bishop, the bishops answered that they were not sitting
there as bishops but as barons of the realm and peers of the lay barons.
The king interposed, and the sentence was pronounced by the aged Henry,
Bishop of Winchester. Becket seems to have submitted without opposition,
and the bishops who were present, except Gilbert Foliot of London, united
in giving security for the payment of the fine.

A question that inevitably arises at this point and cannot be answered
is, why Henry did not rest satisfied with the apparently great advantage
he had gained. He had put into operation more than one of the articles of
the Constitutions of Clarendon, and against the archbishop in person.
Becket had been obliged to recognize the jurisdiction of the curia
regis over himself and to submit to its sentence, and the whole body of
bishops had recognized their feudal position in the state and had acted
upon it. Perhaps the king wished to get an equally clear precedent in a
case which was a civil one rather than a misdemeanour. Perhaps he was so
exasperated against the archbishop that he was resolved to pursue him to
his ruin, but, though more than one thing points to this, it does not
seem a reasonable explanation. Whatever may have been his motive, the
king immediately,--the accounts say on the same day with the first
trial;--demanded that his former chancellor should account for £300
derived from the revenues of the castles of Eye and Berkhampsted held by
him while chancellor. Thomas answered that the money had been spent in
the service of the state, but the king refused to admit that this had
been done by his authority. Again Becket submitted, though not
recognizing the right of the court to try him in a case in which he had
not been summoned, and gave security for the payment.

Still this was not sufficient. On the next day the king demanded the
return of 500 marks which he had lent Becket for the Toulouse campaign,
and of a second 500 which had been borrowed of a Jew on the king's
security. This was followed at once by a further demand for an account of
the revenues of the archbishopric and of all other ecclesiastical fiefs
which had been vacant while Thomas was chancellor. To pay the sum which
this demand would call for would be impossible without a surrender of all
the archbishop's sources of income for several years, and it almost seems
as if Henry intended this result. The barons apparently thought as much,
for from this day they ceased to call at Becket's quarters. The next day
the clergy consulted together on the course to be taken and there was
much difference of opinion. Some advised the immediate resignation of the
archbishopric, others a firm stand accepting the consequence of the
king's anger; and there were many opinions between these two extremes.
During the day an offer of 2000 marks in settlement of the claim was sent
to the king on the advice of Henry of Winchester, but it was refused, and
the day closed without any agreement among the clergy on a common course
of action.

The next day was Sunday, and the archbishop did not leave his lodgings.
On Monday he was too ill to attend the meeting of the court, much to
Henry's anger. The discussions of Saturday and the reflections of the
following days had apparently led Becket to a definite decision as to his
own conduct. The king was in a mood, as it would surely seem to him, to
accept nothing short of his ruin. No support was to be expected from the
barons. The clergy, even the bishops, were divided in opinion and it
would be impossible to gain strength enough from them to escape anything
which the king might choose to demand. We must, I think, explain Becket's
conduct from this time on by supposing that he now saw clearly that all
concessions had been and would be in vain, and that he was resolved to
exert to the utmost the strength of passive opposition which lay in the
Church, to put his case on the highest possible grounds, and to gain for
the Church the benefits of persecution and for himself the merits, if
needs be, of the martyr.

Early the next morning the bishops, terrified by the anger of the king,
came to Becket and tried to persuade him to yield completely, even to
giving up the archbishopric. This he refused. He rebuked them for their
action against him already in the court, forbade them to sit in judgment
on him again, himself appealing to the pope, and ordered them, if any
secular person should lay hands on him in punishment, to excommunicate
him at once. Against this order Gilbert Foliot immediately appealed. The
bishops then departed, and Becket entered the monastery church and
celebrated the mass of St. Stephen's day, opening with the words of the
Psalm, "Princes did sit and speak against me." This was a most audacious
act, pointed directly at the king, and a public declaration that he
expected and was prepared for the fate of the first martyr. Naturally the
anger of the court was greatly increased. From the celebration of the
mass, Becket went to the meeting of the court, his cross borne before him
in the usual manner, but on reaching the door of the meeting-place, he
took it from his cross-bearer and carrying it in his own hands entered
the hall. Such an unusual proceeding as this could have but one meaning.
It was a public declaration that he was in fear of personal violence, and
that any one who laid hands on him must understand his act to be an
attack on the cross and all that it signified. Some of the bishops tried
to persuade him to abandon this attitude, but in vain. So far as we can
judge the mood of Henry, Becket had much to justify his feeling, and if
he were resolved not to accept the only other alternative of complete
submission, but determined to resist to the utmost, the act was not

When the bishops reported to the king the primate's order forbidding them
to sit in trial of him again, it was seen at once to be a violation of
the Constitutions of Clarendon; and certain barons were sent to him to
inquire if he stood to this, to remind him of his oath as the king's
liege-man, and of the promise, equivalent to an oath, which he had made
at Clarendon to keep the Constitutions "in good faith, without guile, and
according to law," and to ask if he would furnish security for the
payment of the claims against him as chancellor. In reply Becket stood
firmly to his position, and renewed the prohibition and the appeal to the
pope. The breach of the Constitutions being thus placed beyond question,
the king demanded the judgment of the court, bishops and barons together.
The bishops urged the ecclesiastical dangers in which they would be
placed if they disregarded the archbishop's prohibition, and suggested
that instead they should themselves appeal to Rome against him as a
perjurer. To this the king at last agreed, and the appeal was declared by
Hilary, Bishop of Chichester, who had throughout inclined to the king's
side, and who urged upon the archbishop with much vigour the oath which
they had all taken at Clarendon under his leadership and which he was now
forcing them to violate. Becket's answer to this speech is the weakest
and least honest thing that he did during all these days of trial. "We
promised nothing at Clarendon," he said, "without excepting the rights of
the Church. The very clauses to which you refer, 'in good faith, without
guile, and according to law,' are saving clauses, because it is
impossible to observe anything in good faith and according to law if it
is contrary to the laws of God and to the fealty due the Church. Nor is
there any such thing as the dignity of a Christian king where the liberty
of the Church which he has sworn to observe has perished."

The court then, without the bishops, found the archbishop guilty of
perjury and probably of treason. The formal pronunciation of the sentence
in the presence of Becket was assigned to the justiciar, the Earl of
Leicester, but he was not allowed to finish. With violent words Thomas
interrupted him and bitterly denounced him for presuming as a layman to
sit in judgment on his spiritual father. In the pause that followed,
Becket left the hall still carrying his cross. As he passed out, the
spirit of the chancellor overcame for a moment that of the bishop, and he
turned fiercely on those who were saying "perjured traitor" and cried
that, if it were not for his priestly robes and the wickedness of the
act, he would know how to answer in arms such an accusation. During the
night that followed, Becket secretly left Northampton, and by a
roundabout way after two weeks succeeded in escaping to the continent in
disguise. The next day the court held its last session. After some
discussion it was resolved to allow the case to stand as it was, and not
even to take the archbishop's fief into the king's hands until the pope
should decide the appeal, a resolution which shows how powerful was the
Church and how strong was the influence of the bishops who were acting
with the king. At the same time an embassy of great weight and dignity
was appointed to represent the king before the pope, consisting of the
Archbishop of York, the Bishops of London, Chichester, Exeter, and
Worcester, two earls and two barons, and three clerks from the king's
household. They were given letters to the King of France and to the Count
of Flanders which said that Thomas, "formerly Archbishop of Canterbury,"
had fled the kingdom as a traitor and should not be received in their

In the somewhat uncertain light in which we are compelled to view these
events, this quarrel seems unnecessary, and the guilt of forcing it on
Church and State in England, at least at this time and in these
circumstances, appears to rest with Henry. The long patience of his
grandfather, which was willing to wait the slow process of events and
carefully shunned the drawing of sharp issues when possible, he certainly
does not show in this case. It is more than likely, however, that the
final result would have been the same in any case. No reconciliation was
possible between the ideas or the characters of the two chief
antagonists, and the necessary constitutional growth of the state made
the collision certain. It was a case in which either the Church or the
State must give way, but greater moderation of action and demand would
have given us a higher opinion of Henry's practical wisdom; and the
essential justice of his cause hardly excuses such rapid and violent
pushing of his advantage. On the other hand Thomas's conduct, which must
have been exceedingly exasperating to the hot blood which Henry had
inherited, must be severely condemned in many details. We cannot avoid
the feeling that much about it was insincere and theatrical, and even an
intentional challenging of the fate he seemed to dread. But yet it does
not appear what choice was left him between abjectly giving up all that
he had been trained to believe of the place of the Church in the world
and entering on open war with the king.

The war now declared dragged slowly on for six years with few events that
seemed to bring a decision nearer till towards the end of that period.
Henry's embassy returned from the pope at Christmas time and reported
that no formal judgment had been rendered on the appeal. The king then
put in force the ordinary penalty for failure of service and confiscated
the archbishop's revenues. He went even further than this in some acts
that were justifiable and some that were spiteful. He ordered the
confiscation of the revenues of the archbishop's clerks who had
accompanied him, prohibited all appeals to the pope, and ordered Becket's
relatives to join him in exile. As to the archbishop, whatever one may
think of his earlier attitude we can have but little sympathy with his
conduct from this time on. He went himself to the pope after the
departure of Henry's messengers, but though Alexander plainly inclined to
his side, he did not obtain a formal decision. Then he retired to the
abbey of Pontigny in Burgundy, where he resided for some time.

Political events did not wait the settlement of the conflict with the
Church, though nothing of great interest occurred before its close. Henry
crossed to Normandy in the spring of 1165, where an embassy came to him
from the Emperor which resulted in the marriage of his daughter Matilda
with Henry the Lion, of the house of Guelf. Two clerks who returned with
this embassy to Germany seem to have involved the king in some
embarrassment by promises of some kind to support the emperor against the
pope. It does not appear, however, that Henry ever intended to recognize
the antipope; and, whatever the promises were, he promptly disavowed
them. Later in the year two campaigns in Wales are less interesting from
a military point of view than as leading to further experiments in
taxation. The year 1166 is noteworthy for the beginning of extensive
judicial and administrative reforms which must be considered hereafter
with the series to which they belong. In that year also Becket began a
direct attack upon his enemies in England.

He began by sending to the king three successive warnings, all based on
the assumption that in such a dispute the final decision must remain with
the Church and that the State must always give way. His next step was the
solemn excommunication of seven supporters of the king, mostly clerks,
but including Richard of Lucy, the justiciar. The king was warned to
expect the same fate himself, and all obedience to the Constitutions of
Clarendon was forbidden. The effect of this act was not what Becket
anticipated. It led rather to a reaction of feeling against him from its
unnecessary severity, and a synod of the clergy of the archbishopric
entered an appeal against it. A new embassy was sent to the pope who was
then at Rome to get the appeal decided, and was much more favourably
received by Alexander who seems to have been displeased with Becket's
action. He promised to send legates to Henry to settle the whole question
with him. The occupation of Britanny by which it was brought under
Henry's direct control and a short and inconclusive war with the king of
France took up the interval until the legates reached Normandy in
October, 1167. Their mission proved a failure. Becket, who came in person
to the inquiry which they held, refused to accept any compromise or to
modify in any way his extreme position. On the other side Henry was very
angry because they refused to deprive the archbishop.

The year 1168 was a troubled one for Henry, with revolts in Poitou and
Britanny, supported by the king of France, and with useless negotiations
with Louis. Early in 1169 the pope sent new envoys to try to reconcile
king and primate with instructions to bring pressure to bear on both
parties. The king of France also came to the meeting and exerted his
influence, but the result was a second failure. Becket had invented a new
saving clause which he thought the king might be induced to accept. He
would submit "saving the honour of God," but Henry understood the point
and could see no difference between this and the old reservation. Becket
finally stood firmly against the pressure of the envoys and the influence
of Louis, and Henry was not moved by the threats which the pope had
directed to be made if necessary. A third embassy later in the year
seemed for a moment about to find a possible compromise, but ended in
another failure, both parties refusing to make any real concession. The
interval between these two attempts at reconciliation Becket had used to
excommunicate about thirty of his opponents in England, mostly churchmen,
including the Bishops of London and Salisbury.

For more than a year longer the quarrel went on, the whole Church
suffering from the results, and new points arising to complicate the
issue. The danger that England would be placed under an interdict
Henry met by most stringent regulations against the admission of any
communications from the pope, or any intercourse with pope or
archbishop. On the question which arose in the constant negotiations
as to the compensation which should be made to Becket for his loss of
revenue since he had left England, he showed himself as unyielding as
on every other point, and demanded the uttermost farthing. For some
time the king had wished to have his son Henry crowned, and on June
14, 1170, that ceremony was actually performed at Westminster by the
Archbishop of York, who had, as Henry believed or asserted, a special
permission from the pope for the purpose. Of course Becket resented
this as a new invasion of his rights and determined to exact for it
the proper penalties. Finally, towards the end of July, an agreement
was reached which was no compromise; it simply ignored the points in
dispute and omitted all the qualifying phrases. The king agreed to
receive the archbishop to his favour and to restore him his
possessions, and Becket accepted this. The agreement can hardly have
been regarded by either side as anything more than a truce. Neither
intended to abandon any right for which he had been contending, but
both were exhausted by the conflict and desired an interval for
recovery, perhaps with a hope of renewing the strife from a better

It was December 1 before Thomas actually landed in England. He then
came bringing war, not peace. He had sent over, in advance of his own
crossing, letters which he had solicited and obtained from the pope,
suspending from their functions all the bishops who had taken part in
the coronation of the young king, and reviving the excommunications of
the Bishops of London and Salisbury. Then, landing at Sandwich, he went
on to Canterbury, where he was received with joy. But there was little
real joy for Becket or his friends in the short remainder of his life,
unless it may have been the joy of conflict and of anticipated
martyrdom. To messengers who asked the removal of the sentence against
the bishops, he refused any concession except on their unconditional
promise to abide by the pope's decision; and the three prelates most
affected--York, London, and Salisbury--went over to Normandy to the
king. A plan to visit the court of the young king at London was stopped
by orders to return to Canterbury. On Christmas day, at the close of a
sermon from the text "Peace on earth to men of good-will," he issued new
excommunications against some minor offenders, and bitterly denounced,
in words that seemed to have the same effect, those who endangered the
peace between himself and the king.

It was on the news of this Christmas proclamation, or perhaps on the
report of the bishops who had come from England, that Henry gave way to
his violent temper, and in an outburst of passion denounced those whom he
had cherished and covered with favours, because they could not avenge him
of this one priest. On these words four knights of his household resolved
to punish the archbishop, and, leaving the court secretly, they went over
to England. They were Reginald Fitz Urse, William of Tracy, Hugh of
Morville, and Richard le Breton. An attempt to stop them when their
departure was observed did not succeed, and, collecting supporters from
the local enemies of the archbishop, they forced their way into his
presence on the afternoon of December 29. Their reproaches, demands, and
threats Becket met with firmness and dignity, refusing to be influenced
by fear. Finding that they could gain nothing by words, they withdrew to
get their arms, and Becket was hurried into the cathedral by his friends.
As they were going up the steps from the north-west transept to the
choir, their enemies met them, calling loudly for "the traitor, Thomas
Becket." The archbishop turned about and stepped down to the floor of the
transept, repelling their accusations with bitter words and accusations
of his own, and was there struck down by their swords and murdered; not
before the altar, as is sometimes said, though within the doors of his
own church.

[46] See Maitland, Henry II and the Criminous Clerks, in his
Canon Law in the Church of England (1898). (Engl. Hist.,
Rev. vii, 224.)



The martyrdom of Thomas Becket served his cause better than his
continuance in life could have done. Even if his murderers foolishly
thought to serve the king by their deed, Henry himself was under no
delusion as to its effect. He was thunderstruck at the news, and, in a
frenzy of horror which was no doubt genuine, as well as to mark his
repudiation of all share in the deed, he fasted and shut himself from
communication with the court for days. But the public opinion of Europe
would not acquit Henry of the guilt. Letters poured in upon the pope
denouncing him and demanding his punishment. The interdict of his Norman
dominions which had been threatened was proclaimed by the Archbishop of
Sens, but suspended again by an appeal to the pope. Events moved slowly
in the twelfth century, and before the pope could take any active steps
in the case, an embassy which left Normandy almost immediately had time
to reach him and to promise on the part of the king his complete
submission to whatever the pope should decree after examination of the
facts. Immediate punishment of any severity was thus avoided, and the
embassy of two cardinals to Normandy which the pope announced could act
only after some delay.

In the meanwhile in England Thomas the archbishop was being rapidly
transformed into Thomas the saint. Miracles were reported almost at once,
and the legend of his saintship took its rise and began to throw a new
light over the events of his earlier life. The preparation of his body
for the grave had revealed his secret asceticism,--the hair garments next
his skin and long unchanged. The people believed him to be a true martyr,
and his popular canonization preceded by some time the official, though
this followed with unusual quickness even for the middle ages. It was
pronounced by the pope in whose reign he had died on February 21, 1173.
For generations he remained the favourite saint of England, and his
popularity in foreign lands is surprising, though it must be remembered
that he was a great and most conspicuous martyr of the official Church,
of the new Hildebrandine Church, of the spirit and ideas which were by
that date everywhere in command.

This long and bitter struggle between Church and State, unworthy of both
the combatants, was now over except for the consequences which were
lasting, and the interest of Henry's reign flows back into the political
channel. The king did not wait in seclusion the report of the pope's
mission. It may have been, as was suggested even at the time, that he was
glad of an excuse to escape from Normandy before the envoys' coming and
to avoid a meeting with them until time had done something to soften the
feeling against him. Before his departure his hold on Britanny was
strengthened by the death, in February, 1171, of Conan the candidate whom
he had recognized as count. Since 1166 the administration of the country
had been practically in his hands; and in that year his son Geoffrey had
been betrothed to Constance, the daughter and heiress of Conan. Geoffrey
would now succeed to the countship, but he was still a child; and
Britanny was virtually incorporated in Henry's continental empire.

The refuge which the repentant Henry may have sought from the necessity
of giving an answer to the pope at once, or a kind of preliminary penance
for his sin, he found in Ireland. Since he received so early in his reign
the sanction of Pope Hadrian IV of his plan of conquest, he had done
nothing himself towards that end, but others had. The adventurous barons
of the Welsh marches, who were used to the idea of carving out lordships
for themselves from the lands of their Celtic enemies, were easily
persuaded to extend their civilizing operations to the neighbouring
island, where even richer results seemed to be promised. In 1166 Dermot,
the dispossessed king of Leinster, who had found King Henry too busily
occupied with affairs in France to aid him, had secured with the royal
permission the help he needed in Wales, and thus had connected with the
future history of Ireland the names of "Strongbow" and Fitzgerald. The
native Irish, though the bravest of warriors, were without armour, and
their weapons, of an earlier stage of military history, were no match for
the Norman; especially had they no defence against the Norman archers.
The conquest of Leinster, from Waterford to Dublin, and including those
two cities, occupied some years, but was accomplished by a few men.
"Strongbow" himself, Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, did not cross
over till the end of August, 1170, when the work was almost completed. He
married the daughter of Dermot and was recognized as his heir, but the
death of his father-in-law in the next spring was followed by a general
insurrection against the new rulers, and this was hardly under control
when the earl was summoned to England to meet the king.

Henry could not afford to let the dominion of Ireland, to which he had
looked forward for himself, slip from his hands, nor to risk the danger
that an independent state might be formed so close to England by his own
vassals. Already the Earl of Pembroke was out of favour; it was said that
his lands had been forfeited, and he might easily become a rebel
difficult to subdue in his new possessions. At the moment he certainly
had no thought of rebellion, and he at once obeyed the summons to
England. Henry had crossed from Normandy early in September, 1171, had
paid a brief visit to Winchester, where Henry of Blois, once so powerful
in Church and State, was now dying, and then advanced with his army
through southern Wales into Pembrokeshire whence he crossed to Ireland in
the middle of October. As he passed from Waterford to Cashel, and then
again from Waterford to Dublin, chiefs came in from all sides, many of
whom had never submitted to the Norman invaders, and acknowledged his
overlordship. Only in the remoter parts of the west and north did they
remain away, except Roderick of Connaught, the most powerful of the Irish
kings, who was not yet ready to own himself a vassal, but claimed the
whole of Ireland for himself. The Christmas feast Henry kept in Dublin,
and there entertained his new subjects who were astonished at the
splendour of his court.

A few weeks later a council of the Irish Church was held at Cashel, and
attended by all the prelates of the island except the Archbishop of
Armagh whose age prevented his coming. The bishops swore allegiance to
Henry, and each of them is said to have made a formal declaration,
written and sealed, recognizing the right of Henry and his heirs to the
kingdom of Ireland. The canons adopted by the council, putting into force
rules of marriage and morals long established in practice in the greater
part of Christendom, reveal the reasons that probably led the Church to
favour the English conquest and even to consider it an especially pious
act of the king. A report of Henry's acceptance by the Irish kings and of
the acts of the council was sent at once to the pope, who replied in
three letters under date of September 20, 1172, addressed to Henry, to
the Irish bishops, and to the Irish kings, approving fully of all that
had been done.

It is not clear that Henry had in mind any definite plan for the
political government of the conquest which he had made. The allegiance of
those princes who were outside the territories occupied by the Norman
adventurers could have been no more than nominal, and no attempt seems to
have been made to rule them. Meath was granted as a fief to Hugh of Lacy
on the service of fifty knights. He was also made governor of Dublin and
justiciar of Ireland, but this title is the only evidence that he was to
be regarded as the representative of the king. Waterford and Wexford were
made domain towns, as well as Dublin, and the earl of Pembroke, who gave
up the royal rights which he might inherit from King Dermot, was
enfeoffed with Leinster on the service of a hundred knights. Plainly the
part of Ireland which was actually occupied was not treated in practice
as a separate kingdom, whatever may have been the theory, but as a
transplanted part of England under a very vague relationship. As a matter
of fact, it was a purely feudal colony, under but the slightest control
by a distant overlord, and doomed both from its situation in the midst of
an alien, only partly civilized, and largely unconquered race, and from
its own organization or lack of organization, to speedy troubles.

Henry returned to England at Easter time, and went on almost at once to
meet the papal legates in Normandy. By the end of May his reconciliation
with the Church was completed. First, Henry purged himself by solemn oath
in the cathedral at Avranches of any share in the guilt of Thomas's
assassination, and then the conditions of reconciliation were sworn to by
himself and by the young king. These conditions are a very fair
compromise, though Becket could never have agreed to them nor probably
would Henry have done so but for the murder. The Church insisted on the
one thing which was most essential to its real interests, the freedom of
appeals to the pope. The point most important to the State, which had led
originally to the quarrel--the question of the punishment of criminous
clerks by the lay courts--was passed over in silence, a way out of the
difficulty being found by requiring of the king a promise which he could
readily make, that he would wholly do away with any customs which had
been introduced against the churches of the land in his time. This would
not be to his mind renouncing the Constitution of Clarendon. The
temporalities of Canterbury and the exiled friends of the archbishop were
to be restored as before the quarrel, and Henry promised not to withdraw
his obedience from the catholic pope or his successors. The other
conditions were of the nature of penance. The king promised to assume the
cross at the next Christmas for a crusade of three years, and in the
meantime to provide the Templars with a sum of money which in their
judgment would be sufficient to maintain 200 knights in the Holy Land for
a year.

Henry no doubt felt that he had lost much, but in truth he had every
reason to congratulate himself on the lightness of his punishment for the
crime to which his passionate words had led. He did not get all which he
had set out to recover from the Church, but his gains were large and
substantial. The agreement is a starting-point of some importance in the
legal history of England. It may be taken as the beginning, with more
full consciousness of field and boundaries, of the development of two
long lines of law and jurisdiction, running side by side for many
generations, each encroaching somewhat on the occupied or natural ground
of the other, but with no other conflict of so serious a character as
this. The criminal jurisdiction of the state did not recover quite all
that the Constitutions of Clarendon had demanded. Clerks accused of the
worst offences, of felonies, except high treason, were tried and punished
by the Church courts, and from this arose the privilege known as benefit
of clergy with all its abuses, but in all minor offences no distinction
was made between clerk and layman. In civil cases also, suits which
involved the right of property, even the right of presentation to
livings, the state courts had their way. Two large fields of law, on the
other hand,--marriage, and wills,--the Church, much to its profit, had
entirely to itself.

The interval of peace for Henry was not a long one. Hardly was he freed
from one desperate struggle when he found himself by degrees involved in
another from which he was never to find relief. The policy which he was
to follow towards his sons had been already foreshadowed in the
coronation of the young Henry in 1170, but we do not find it easy to
account for it or to reconcile it with other lines of policy which he was
as clearly following. The conflict of ideas, the subtle contradictions of
the age in which he lived, must have been reflected in the mind of the
king whose dominions themselves were an empire of contrasts. Of all the
middle ages there is perhaps no period that saw the ideal which chivalry
had created of the wholly "courteous" king and prince more nearly
realized in practice than the last half of the twelfth century--the brave
warrior and great ruler, of course, but always also the generous giver,
who considered "largesse" one of the chiefest of virtues and first of
duties, and bestowed with lavish hand on all comers money and food, robes
and jewels, horses and arms, and even castles and fiefs, recognizing the
natural right of each one to the gift his rank would seem to claim. That
such an ideal was actually realized in any large number of cases it would
be absurd to maintain. It is not likely that any one ever sought to equal
in detail the extravagant squandering of wealth in gifts which figures in
the poetry of the age--the rich mantles which Arthur hung about the halls
at a coronation festival to be taken by any one, or the thirty bushels of
silver coins tumbled in a heap on the floor from which all might help
themselves. But these poems record the ideal, and probably no other age
saw more men, from kings down to simple knights, who tried to pattern
themselves on this model and to look on wealth as an exhaustless store of
things to be given away. But in the mind of kings who reigned in a world
more real than the romances of chivalry, this duty had always to contend
with natural ambition and with their responsibility for the welfare of
the lands they ruled. The last half of the twelfth century saw these
considerations grow rapidly stronger. The age that formed and applauded
the young Henry also gave birth to Philip Augustus.

The marriage with Eleanor added to the strange mixture of blood in the
Norman-Angevin house a new and warmer strain. It showed itself, careless,
luxurious, self-indulgent, restless at any control, in her sons. But the
marriage had also its effect on the husband and father. It gave a strong
impetus to the conquest, which had already begun, of the colder and
slower north by the ideals of duty and manners which had blossomed out
into a veritable theory of life in the more tropical south. Henry could
not keep himself from the spell of these influences, though they never
controlled him as they did his children. It seems impossible to doubt,
however, that he really believed it to be his duly to give his sons the
position that belonged to them as princes, where they could form courts
of their own, surrounded by their barons and knights, and display the
virtues which belonged to their station. They had a rightful claim to
this, which the ruling idea of conduct befitting a king would not allow
him to deny. The story of Henry's waiting on his son at table after his
coronation "as seneschal" and the reply of the young king to those who
spoke of the honour done him, that it was a proper thing for one who was
only the son of a count to wait on the son of a king, is significant of
deeper things than mere manners. But, though he might be under the spell
of these ideals, to partition his kingdom in very truth, to divest
himself of power, to make his sons actually independent in the provinces
which he gave them, was impossible to him. The power of his empire he
could not break up. The real control of the whole, and even the greater
part of the revenues, must remain in his hands. The conflict of ideas in
his mind, when he tried to be true to them all in practice, led
inevitably to a like conflict of facts and of physical force.

The coronation of the young Henry as king of England, considered by
itself, seems an unaccountable act. Stephen had tried to secure the
coronation of his son Eustace in his own lifetime, but there was a clear
reason of policy in his case. The Capetian kings of France had long
followed the practice, but for them also it had plainly been for many
generations of the utmost importance for the security of the house. There
had never been any reason in Henry's reign why extraordinary steps should
seem necessary to secure the succession, and there certainly was none
fifteen years after its beginning. No explanation is given us in any
contemporary account of the motives which led to this coronation, and it
is not likely that they were motives of policy. It is probable that it
was done in imitation of the French custom, under the influence of the
ideas of chivalry. But even if the king looked on this as chiefly a
family matter, affecting not much more than the arrangements of the
court, he could not keep it within those limits. His view of the position
to which his sons were entitled was the most decisive influence shaping
the latter half of his reign, and through its effect on their characters
almost as decisive for another generation.

Not long after his brother's coronation Richard received his mother's
inheritance, Aquitaine and Poitou; Geoffrey was to be Count of Britanny
by his marriage with the heiress; Normandy, Maine, and Anjou were
assigned to the young king; while the little John, youngest of the
children of Henry and Eleanor, received from his father only the name
"Lackland" which expresses well enough Henry's idea that his position was
not what it ought to be so long as he had no lordship of his own. Trouble
of one kind had begun with the young king's coronation, for Louis of
France had been deeply offended because his daughter Margaret had not
been crowned queen of England at the same time. This omission was
rectified in August, 1172, at Winchester, when Henry was again crowned,
and Margaret with him. But more serious troubles than this were now

Already while Henry was in Ireland, the discontent of the young king had
been noticed and reported to him. It had been speedily discovered that
the coronation carried with it no power, though the young Henry was of an
age to rule according to the ideas of the time,--of the age, indeed, at
which his father had begun the actual government of Normandy. But he
found himself, as a contemporary called him, "our new king who has
nothing to reign over." It is probable, however, that the scantiness of
the revenues supplied him to support his new dignity and to maintain his
court had more to do with his discontent than the lack of political
power. The courtly virtue of "largesse," which his father followed with
some restraint where money was concerned, was with him a more controlling
ideal of conduct. A brilliant court, joyous and gay, given up to
minstrelsy and tournaments, seemed to him a necessity of life, and it
could not be had without much money. Contemporary literature shows that
the young king had all those genial gifts of manner, person, and spirit,
which make their possessors universally popular. He was of more than
average manly beauty, warm-hearted, cordial, and generous. He won the
personal love of all men, even of his enemies, and his early death seemed
to many, besides the father whom he had so sorely tried, to leave the
world darker. Clearly he belongs in the list of those descendants of the
Norman house, with the Roberts and the Stephens, who had the gifts which
attract the admiration and affection of men, but at the same time the
weakness of character which makes them fatal to themselves and to their
friends. To a man of that type, even without the incentive of the spirit
of the time, no amount of money could be enough. It is hardly possible to
doubt that the emptiness of his political title troubled the mind of the
young Henry far less than the emptiness of his purse.[47]

There was no lack of persons, whose word would have great influence with
the young king, to encourage him in his discontent and even in plans of
rebellion. His father-in-law, Louis VII, would have every reason to urge
him on to extremes, those of policy because of the danger which
threatened the Capetian house from the undivided Angevin power, those of
personal feeling because of the seemingly intentional slights which his
daughter Margaret had suffered. Eleanor, at once wife and mother, born
probably in 1122, had now reached an age when she must have felt that she
had lost some at least of the sources of earlier influence and
consideration. Proud and imperious of spirit, she would bitterly resent
any lack of attention on her husband's part, and she had worse things
than neglect to excite her anger. From the beginning, we are told, while
Henry was still in Ireland, she had encouraged her son to believe himself
badly treated by his father. The barons, many of them at least, through
all the provinces of Henry's empire, were restless under his strong
control and excited by the evidence, constantly increasing as the
judicial and administrative reforms of the reign went on, that the king
was determined to confine their independence within narrower and narrower
limits. Flattering offers of support no doubt came in at any sign that
the young king would head resistance to his father.

The final step of appealing directly to armed force the young Henry did
not take till the spring of 1173. A few weeks after his second coronation
he was recalled to Normandy, but was allowed to go off at once to visit
his father-in-law, ostensibly on a family visit. Louis was anxious to see
his daughter. Apparently it was soon after his return that he made the
first formal request of his father to be given an independent position in
some one of the lands which had been assigned to him, urged, it was said,
by the advice of the king of France and of the barons of England and
Normandy. The request was refused, and he then made up his mind to rebel
as soon as a proper opportunity and excuse should offer. These he found
in the course of the negotiations for the marriage of his brother John
about the beginning of Lent, 1173.

Marriage was the only way by which Henry could provide for his youngest
son a position equal to that which he had given to the others, and this
he was now planning to do by a marriage which would at the same time
greatly increase his own power. The Counts of Maurienne in the kingdom of
Burgundy had collected in their hands a variety of fiefs east of the
Rhone extending from Geneva on the north over into the borders of Italy
to Turin on the south until they commanded all the best passes of the
western Alps. The reigning count, Humbert, had as yet no son. His elder
daughter, a child a little younger than John, would be the heiress of his
desirable lands. The situation seems naturally to have suggested to him
the advantage of a close alliance with one whose influence and alliances
were already so widely extended in the Rhone valley as Henry's. It needed
no argument to persuade Henry of the advantage to himself of such a
relationship. He undoubtedly looked forward to ruling the lands his son
would acquire by the marriage as he ruled the lands of Geoffrey and of
his other sons; and to command the western Alps would mean not merely a
clear road into Italy if he should wish one, but also, of more immediate
value, a strategic position on the east from which he might hope to cut
off the king of France from any further interference in the south like
that which earlier in his reign had compelled him to drop his plans
against Toulouse. Belley, which would pass into his possession when this
treaty was carried out, was not very far from the eastern edge of his
duchy of Aquitaine. South-eastern France would be almost surrounded by
his possessions, and it was not likely that anything could prevent it
from passing into his actual or virtual control. Whether Henry dreamed of
still wider dominion, of interference even in Italy and possibly of
contending for the empire itself with Frederick Barbarossa, as some
suspected at the time and as a few facts tend to show, we may leave
unsettled, since the time never came when he could attempt seriously to
realize such a dream.

The more probable and reasonable objects of his diplomacy seemed about to
be attained at once. At Montferrand in Auvergne in February he met the
Count of Maurienne, who brought his daughter with him, and there the
treaty between them was drawn up and sworn to. At the same place appeared
his former ally the king of Aragon and his former opponent the Count of
Toulouse. Between them a few days later at Limoges peace was made; any
further war would be against Henry's interests. The Count of Toulouse
also frankly recognized the inevitable, and did homage and swore fealty
to Henry, to the young Henry, and to his immediate lord, Richard, Duke of
Aquitaine. From the moment of apparent triumph, however, dates the
beginning of Henry's failure. Humbert of Maurienne, who was making so
magnificent a provision for the young couple, naturally inquired what
Henry proposed to do for John. He was told that three of the more
important Angevin castles with their lands would be granted him. But the
nominal lord of these castles was the young king, and his consent was
required. This he indignantly refused, and his anger was so great that
peaceable conference with him was no longer possible. He was now brought
to the pitch of rebellion, and as they reached Chinon on their return to
Normandy, he rode off from his father and joined the king of France. On
the news Eleanor sent Richard and Geoffrey to join their brother, but was
herself arrested soon after and held in custody.

Both sides prepared at once for war. Henry strengthened his frontier
castles, and Louis called a great council of his kingdom, to which came
his chief vassals, including the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne, whose
long alliance with England made their action almost one of rebellion.
There it was decided to join the war against the elder king of England.
The long list of Henry's vassals who took his son's side, even if we
deduct the names of some whose wavering inclination may have been fixed
by the promises of lands or office which the younger Henry distributed
with reckless freedom, reveals a widespread discontent in the feudal
baronage. The turbulent lords of Aquitaine might perhaps be expected to
revolt on every occasion, but the list includes the oldest names and
leading houses of England and Normandy. Out of the trouble the king of
Scotland hoped to recover what had been held of the last English king,
and it may very well have seemed for a moment that the days of Stephen
were going to return for all. The Church almost to a man stood by the
king who had so recently tried to invade its privileges, and Henry
hastened to strengthen himself with this ally by filling numerous
bishoprics which had for a long time been in his hands. Canterbury was
with some difficulty included among them. An earlier attempt to fill the
primacy had failed because of a dispute about the method of choice, and
now another failed because the archbishop selected refused to take
office. At last in June Richard, prior of St. Martin's at Dover, was
chosen, but his consecration was delayed for nearly a year by an appeal
of the young king to the pope against a choice which disregarded his
rights. The elder Henry had on his side also a goodly list of English
earls: the illegitimate members of his house, Hamelin of Surrey, Reginald
of Cornwall, and William of Gloucester; the earls of Arundel, Pembroke,
Salisbury, Hertford, and Northampton; the son of the traitor of his
mother's time, William de Mandeville, Earl of Essex; and William of
Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, whose cousins of Leicester and Meulan were of
the young king's party. The new men of his grandfather's making were also
with him and the mass of the middle class.

The war was slow in opening. Henry kept himself closely to the defensive
and waited to be attacked, appearing to be little troubled at the
prospect and spending his time mostly in hunting. Early in July young
Henry invaded Normandy with the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne, and
captured Aumale, Eu, and a few other places, but the Count of Boulogne
was wounded to the death, and the campaign came to an end. At the same
time King Louis entered southern Normandy and laid siege to Verneuil, one
ward of which he took and burnt by a trick that was considered
dishonourable, and from which he fled in haste on the approach of Henry
with his army. In the west, at the end of August, Henry's Brabantine
mercenaries, of whom he is said to have had several thousand in his
service, shut up a number of the rebel leaders in Dol. In a forced march
of two days the king came on from Rouen, and three days later compelled
the surrender of the castle. A long list is recorded of the barons and
knights who were made prisoners there, of whom the most important was the
Earl of Chester. A month later a conference was held at Gisors between
the two parties, to see if peace were possible. This conference was held,
it is said, at the request of the enemies of the king of England; but he
offered terms to his sons which surprise us by their liberality after
their failure in the war, and which show that he was more moved by his
feelings as a father than by military considerations. He offered to Henry
half the income of the royal domains in England, or if he preferred to
live in Normandy, half the revenues of that duchy and all those of his
father's lands in Anjou; to Richard half the revenues of Aquitaine; and
to Geoffrey the possession of Britanny on the celebration of his
marriage. Had he settled revenues like these on his sons when he
nominally divided his lands among them, there probably would have been no
rebellion; but now the king of France had much to say about the terms,
and he could be satisfied only by the parcelling out of Henry's political
power. To this the king of England would not listen, and the conference
was broken off without result.

In England the summer and autumn of 1173 passed with no more decisive
events than on the continent, but with the same general drift in favour
of the elder Henry. Richard of Lucy, the justiciar and special
representative of the king, and his uncle, Reginald of Cornwall, were the
chief leaders of his cause. In July they captured the town of Leicester,
but not the castle. Later the king of Scotland invaded Northumberland,
but fell back before the advance of Richard of Lucy, who in his turn laid
waste parts of Lothian and burned Berwick. In October the Earl of
Leicester landed in Norfolk with a body of foreign troops, but was
defeated by the justiciar and the Earl of Cornwall, who took him and his
wife prisoners. The year closed with truces in both England and France
running to near Easter time. The first half of the year 1174 passed in
the same indecisive way. In England there was greater suffering from the
disorders incident to such a war, and sieges and skirmishes were
constantly occurring through all the centre and north of the land.

By the middle of the year King Henry came to the conclusion that his
presence was more needed in the island than on the continent, and on July
8 he crossed to Southampton, invoking the protection of God on his voyage
if He would grant to his kingdom the peace which he himself was seeking.
He brought with him all his chief prisoners, including his own queen and
his son's. On the next day he set out for Canterbury. The penance of a
king imposed upon him by the Church for the murder of Thomas Becket he
might already have performed to the satisfaction of the pope, but the
penance of a private person, of a soul guilty in the sight of heaven, he
had still to take upon himself, in a measure to satisfy the world and
very likely his own conscience. For such a penance the time was fitting.
Whatever he may have himself felt, the friends of Thomas believed that
the troubles which had fallen upon the realm were a punishment for the
sins of the king. A personal reconciliation with the martyr, to be
obtained only as a suppliant at his tomb, was plainly what he should

As Henry drew near the city and came in sight of the cathedral church, he
dismounted from his horse, and bare-footed and humbly, forbidding any
sign that a king was present, walked the remainder of the way to the
tomb. Coming to the door of the church, he knelt and prayed; at the spot
where Thomas fell, he wept and kissed it. After reciting his confession
to the bishops who had come with him or gathered there, he went to the
tomb and, prostrate on the floor, remained a long time weeping and
praying. Then Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, made an address to those
present, declaring that not by command or knowledge was the king guilty
of the murder, but admitting the guilt of the hasty words which had
occasioned it. He proclaimed the restoration of all rights to the church
of Canterbury, and of the king's favour to all friends of the late
archbishop. Then followed the formal penance and absolution. Laying off
his outer clothes, with head and shoulders bowed at the tomb, the king
allowed himself to be scourged by the clergy present, said to have
numbered eighty, receiving five blows from each prelate and three from
each monk. The night that followed he spent in prayer in the church,
still fasting. Mass in the morning completed the religious ceremonies,
but on Henry's departure for London later in the day he was given, as a
mark of the reconciliation, some holy water to drink made sacred by the
relics of the martyr, and a little in a bottle to carry with him.

The medieval mind overlooked the miracle of Henry's escape from the
sanitary dangers of this experience, but dwelt with satisfaction on
another which seemed the martyr's immediate response and declaration of
forgiveness. It was on Saturday that the king left Canterbury and went up
to London, and there he remained some days preparing his forces for the
war. On Wednesday night a messenger who had ridden without stopping from
the north arrived at the royal quarters and demanded immediate admittance
to the king. Henry had retired to rest, and his servants would not at
first allow him to be disturbed, but the messenger insisted: his news was
good, and the king must know it at once. At last his importunity
prevailed, and at the king's bedside he told him that he had come from
Ranulf Glanvill, his sheriff of Lancashire, and that the king of Scotland
had been overcome and taken prisoner. The news was confirmed by other
messengers who arrived the next day and was received by the king and his
barons with great rejoicing. The victory was unmistakably the answer of
St. Thomas to the penance of Henry, and a plain declaration of
reconciliation and forgiveness, for it soon became known that it was on
the very day when the penance at Canterbury was finished, perhaps at the
very hour, that this great success was granted to the arms of the
penitent king.

The two spots of danger in the English insurrection were the north, where
not merely was the king of Scotland prepared for invasion, but the Bishop
of Durham, Hugh of Puiset, a connexion of King Stephen, was ready to
assist him and had sent also for his nephew, another Hugh of Puiset,
Count of Bar, to come to his help with a foreign force; and the east,
where Hugh Bigod, the old earl of Norfolk, was again in rebellion and was
expecting the landing of the Count of Flanders with an army. It was in
the north that the fate of the insurrection was settled and without the
aid of the king. The king of Scotland, known in the annals of his country
as William the Lion, had begun his invasion in the spring after the
expiration of the truce of the previous year, and had raided almost the
whole north, capturing some castles and failing to take others such as
Bamborough and Carlisle. In the second week of July he attacked Prudhoe
castle in southern Northumberland. Encouraged perhaps by the landing of
King Henry in England, the local forces of the north now gathered to
check the raiding. No barons of high rank were among the leaders. They
were all Henry's own new men or the descendants of his grandfather's. Two
sheriffs, Robert of Stuteville of Yorkshire and Ranulf Glanvill of
Lancashire, probably had most to do with collecting the forces and
leading them. At the news of their arrival, William fell back toward the
north, dividing up his army and sending detachments off in various
directions to plunder the country. The English followed on, and at
Alnwick castle surprised the king with only a few knights, his personal
guard. Resistance was hopeless, but it was continued in the true fashion
of chivalry until all the Scottish force was captured.

This victory brought the rebellion in England to an end. On hearing the
news Henry marched against the castle of Huntingdon, which had been for
some time besieged, and it at once surrendered. There his natural son
Geoffrey, who had been made Bishop of Lincoln the summer before, joined
him with reinforcements, and he turned to the east against Hugh Bigod. A
part of the Flemish force which was expected had reached the earl, but he
did not venture to resist. He came in before he was attacked, and gave up
his castles, and with great difficulty persuaded the king to allow him to
send home his foreign troops. Henry then led his army to Northampton
where he received the submission of all the rebel leaders who were left.
The Bishop of Durham surrendered his castles and gained reluctant
permission for his nephew to return to France. The king of Scotland was
brought in a prisoner. The Earl of Leicester's castles were given up, and
the Earl of Derby and Roger Mowbray yielded theirs. This was on the last
day of July. In three weeks after Henry's landing, in little more than
two after his sincere penance for the murder of St. Thomas, the dangerous
insurrection in England was completely crushed,--crushed indeed for all
the remainder of Henry's reign. The king's right to the castles of his
barons was henceforth strictly enforced. Many were destroyed at the close
of the war, and others were put in the hands of royal officers who could
easily be changed. It was more than a generation after this date and
under very different conditions that a great civil war again broke out in
England between the king and his barons.

But the war on the continent was not closed by Henry's success in
England. His sons were still in arms against him, and during his absence
the king of France with the young Henry and the Count of Flanders had
laid siege to Rouen. Though the blockade was incomplete, an attack on the
chief city of Normandy could not be disregarded. Evidently that was
Henry's opinion, for on August 6 he crossed the channel, taking with him
his Brabantine soldiers and a force of Welshmen, as well as his prisoners
including the king of Scotland. He entered Rouen without difficulty, and
by his vigorous measures immediately convinced the besiegers that all
hope of taking the city was over. King Louis, who was without military
genius or spirit, and not at all a match for Henry, gave up the
enterprise at once, burned his siege engines, and decamped ignominiously
in the night. Then came messengers to Henry and proposed a conference to
settle terms of peace, but at the meeting which was held on September 8
nothing could be agreed upon because of the absence of Richard who was in
Aquitaine still carrying on the war. The negotiations were accordingly
adjourned till Michaelmas on the understanding that Henry should subdue
his son and compel him to attend and that the other side should give the
young rebel no aid. Richard at first intended some resistance to his
father, but after losing some of the places that held for him and a
little experience of fleeing from one castle to another, he lost heart
and threw himself on his father's mercy, to be received with the easy
forgiveness which characterized Henry's attitude toward his children.

There was no obstacle now to peace. On September 30 the kings of England
and France and the three young princes met in the adjourned conference
and arranged the terms. Henry granted to his sons substantial revenues,
but not what he had offered them at the beginning of the war, nor did he
show any disposition to push his advantage to extremes against any of
those who had joined the alliance against him. The treaty in which the
agreement between father and sons was recorded may still be read. It
provides that Henry "the king, son of the king," and his brothers and all
the barons who have withdrawn from the allegiance of the father shall
return to it free and quit from all oaths and agreements which they may
have made in the meantime, and the king shall have all the rights over
them and their lands and castles that he had two weeks before the
beginning of the war. But they also shall receive back all their lands as
they had them at the same date, and the king will cherish no ill feeling
against them. To Henry his father promised to assign two castles in
Normandy suitable for his residence and an income of 15,000 Angevin
pounds a year; to Richard two suitable castles and half the revenue of
Poitou, but the interesting stipulation is added that Richard's castles
are to be of such a sort that his father shall take no injury from them;
to Geoffrey half the marriage portion of Constance of Britanny and the
income of the whole when the marriage is finally made with the sanction
of Rome. Prisoners who had made fine with the king before the peace were
expressly excluded from it, and this included the king of Scotland and
the Earls of Chester and Leicester. All castles were to be put back into
the condition in which they were before the war. The young king formally
agreed to the provision for his brother John, and this seems materially
larger than that originally proposed. The concluding provisions of the
treaty show the strong legal sense of King Henry. He was ready to pardon
the rebellion with great magnanimity, but crimes committed and laws
violated either against himself or others must be answered for in the
courts by all guilty persons. Richard and Geoffrey did homage to their
father for what was granted them, but this was excused the young Henry
because he was a king. In another treaty drawn up at about the same time
as Falaise the king of Scotland recognized in the clearest terms for
himself and his heirs the king of England as his liege lord for Scotland
and for all his lands, and agreed that his barons and men, lay and
ecclesiastic, should also render liege homage to Henry, according to the
Norman principle. On these conditions he was released. Of the king of
France practically nothing was demanded.

The treaty between the two kings of England established a peace which
lasted for some years, but it was not long before complaints of the
scantiness of his revenues and of his exclusion from all political
influence began again from the younger king and from his court. There was
undoubtedly much to justify these complaints from the point of view of
Henry the son. Whatever may have been the impelling motive, by
establishing his sons in nominal independence, Henry the father had
clearly put himself in an illogical position from which there was no
escape without a division of his power which he could not make when
brought to the test. The young king found his refuge in a way thoroughly
characteristic of himself and of the age, in the great athletic sport of
that period--the tournament, which differed from modern athletics in the
important particular that the gentleman, keeping of course the rules of
the game, could engage in it as a means of livelihood. The capturing of
horses and armour and the ransoming of prisoners made the tournament a
profitable business to the man who was a better fighter than other men,
and the young king enjoyed that fame. At the beginning of his independent
career his father had assigned to his service a man who was to serve the
house of Anjou through long years and in far higher capacity--William
Marshal, at that time a knight without lands or revenues but skilled in
arms, and under his tuition and example his pupil became a warrior of
renown. It was not exactly a business which seems to us becoming to a
king, but it was at least better than fighting his father, and the
opinion of the time found no fault with it.

[47] Robert of Torigni, Chronicles of Stephen, iv, 305; L'Histoire
de Guillaume le Maréchal, 11. 1935-5095.



For England peace was now established. The insurrection was suppressed,
the castles were in the king's hands, even the leaders of the revolted
barons were soon reconciled with him. The age of Henry I returned, an age
not so long in years as his, but yet long for any medieval state, of
internal peace, of slow but sure upbuilding in public and private wealth,
and, even more important, of the steady growth of law and institutions
and of the clearness with which they were understood, an indispensable
preparation for the great thirteenth century so soon to begin--the crisis
of English constitutional history. For Henry personally there was no age
of peace. England gave him no further trouble; but in his unruly southern
dominions, and from his restless and discontented sons, the respite from
rebellion was short, and it was filled with labours.

In 1175 the two kings crossed together to England, though the young king,
who was still listening to the suggestions of France and who professed to
be suspicious of his father's intentions, was with some difficulty
persuaded to go. He also seems to have been troubled by his father's
refusal to receive his homage at the same time with his brothers'; at any
rate when he finally joined the king on April 1, he begged with tears for
permission to do homage as a mark of his father's love, and Henry
consented. At the end of the first week in May they crossed the channel
for a longer stay in England than usual, of more than two years, and one
that was crowded with work both political and administrative. The king's
first act marks the new era of peace with the Church, his attendance at a
council of the English Church held at London by Archbishop Richard of
Canterbury; and his second was a pilgrimage with his son to the tomb of
St. Thomas. Soon after the work of filling long-vacant sees and abbacies
was begun. At the same time matters growing out of the insurrection
received attention. William, Earl of Gloucester, was compelled to give up
Bristol castle which he had kept until now. Those who had been opposed to
the king were forbidden to come to court unless ordered to do so by him.
The bearing of arms in England was prohibited by a temporary regulation,
and the affairs of Wales were considered in a great council at

One of the few acts of severity which Henry permitted himself after the
rebellion seems to have struck friend and foe alike, and suggests a
situation of much interest to us which would be likely to give us a good
deal of insight into the methods and ideas of the time if we understood
it in detail. Unfortunately we are left with only a bare statement of the
facts, with no explanation of the circumstances or of the motives of the
king. Apparently at the Whitsuntide court held at Reading on the first
day of June, Henry ordered the beginning of a series of prosecutions
against high and low, churchmen and laymen alike, for violations of the
forest laws committed during the war. At Nottingham, at the beginning of
August, these prosecutions were carried further, and there the incident
occurred which gives peculiar interest to the proceedings. Richard of
Lucy, the king's faithful minister and justiciar, produced before the
king his own writ ordering him to proclaim the suspension of the laws in
regard to hunting and fishing during the war. This Richard testified that
he had done as he was commanded, and that the defendants trusting to this
writ had fearlessly taken the king's venison. We are simply told in
addition that this writ and Richard's testimony had no effect against the
king's will. It is impossible to doubt that this incident occurred or
that such a writ had been sent to the justiciar, but it seems certain
that some essential detail of the situation is omitted. To guess what it
was is hardly worth while, and we can safely use the facts only as an
illustration of the arbitrary power of the Norman and Angevin kings,
which on the whole they certainly exercised for the general justice.

From Nottingham the two kings went on to York, where they were met by
William of Scotland with the nobles and bishops of his kingdom, prepared
to carry out the agreement which was made at Falaise when he was released
from imprisonment. Whatever may have been true of earlier instances, the
king of Scotland now clearly and beyond the possibility of controversy
became the liege-man of the king of England for Scotland and all that
pertained to it, and for Galloway as if it were a separate state. The
homage was repeated to the young king, saving the allegiance due to the
father. According to the English chroniclers all the free tenants of the
kingdom of Scotland were also present and did homage in the same way to
the two kings for their lands. Some were certainly there, though hardly
all; but the statement shows that it was plainly intended to apply to
Scotland the Norman law which had been in force in England from the time
of the Conquest, by which every vassal became also the king's vassal with
an allegiance paramount to all other feudal obligations. The bishops of
Scotland as vassals also did homage, and as bishops they swore to be
subject to the Church of England to the same extent as their predecessors
had been and as they ought to be. The treaty of Falaise was again
publicly read and confirmed anew by the seals of William and his brother
David. There is nothing to show that King William did not enter into this
relationship with every intention of being faithful to it, nor did he
endeavour to free himself from it so long as Henry lived. The Norman
influence in Scotland was strong and might easily increase. It is quite
possible that a succession of kings of England who made that realm and
its interests the primary objects of their policy might have created from
this beginning a permanent connexion growing constantly closer, and have
saved these two nations, related in so many ways, the almost civil wars
of later years.

From these ceremonies at York Henry returned to London, and there, before
Michaelmas, envoys came to him to announce and to put into legal form
another significant addition to his empire, significant certainly of its
imposing power though the reasons which led to this particular step are
not known to us. These envoys were from Roderick, king of Connaught, who,
when Henry was in Ireland, had refused all acknowledgment of him, and
they now came to make known his submission. In a great council held at
Windsor the new arrangement was put into formal shape. In the document
there drawn up Roderick was made to acknowledge himself the liege-man of
Henry and to agree to pay a tribute of hides from all Ireland except that
part which was directly subject to the English invaders. On his side
Henry agreed to recognize Roderick as king under himself as long as he
should remain faithful, and also the holdings of all other men who
remained in his fealty. Roderick should rule all Ireland outside the
English settlement, at least for the purposes of the tribute, and should
have the right to claim help from the English in enforcing his authority
if it should seem necessary. Such an arrangement would have in all
probability only so much force as Roderick might be willing to allow it
at any given time, and yet the mere making of it is a sign of
considerable progress in Ireland and the promise of more. At the same
council Henry appointed a bishop of Waterford, who was sent over with the
envoys on their return to be consecrated.

At York the king had gone on with his forest prosecutions, and there as
before against clergy as well as laity. Apparently the martyrdom of
Archbishop Thomas had secured for the Church nothing in the matter of
these offences. The bishops did not interfere to protect the clergy, says
one chronicler; and very likely in these cases the Church acknowledged
the power rather than the right of the king. At the end of October a
papal legate, Cardinal Hugo, arrived in England, but his mission
accomplished nothing of importance that we know of, unless it be his
agreement that Henry should have the right to try the clergy in his own
courts for violations of the forest law. This agreement at any rate
excited the especial anger of the monastic chroniclers who wrote him down
a limb of Satan, a robber instead of a shepherd, who seeing the wolf
coming abandoned his sheep. In a letter to the pope which the legate took
with him on his return to Rome, Henry agreed not to bring the clergy in
person before his courts except for forest offences and in cases
concerning the lay services due from their fiefs. On January 25, 1176, a
great council met at Northampton, and there Henry took up again the
judicial and administrative reforms which had been interrupted by the
conflict with Becket and by the war with his sons.

The task of preserving order in the medieval state was in the main the
task of repressing and punishing crimes of violence. Murder and assault,
robbery and burglary, fill the earliest court records, and on the civil
side a large proportion of the cases, like those under the assizes of
Mort d'Ancestor and Novel Disseisin, concerned attacks on property not
very different in character. The problem of the ruler in this department
of government was so to perfect the judicial machinery and procedure as
to protect peaceable citizens from bodily harm and property from violent
entry and from fraud closely akin to violence. An additional and
immediate incentive to the improvement of the judicial system arose from
the income which was derived from fines and confiscations, both heavier
and more common punishments for crime than in the modern state. It would
be unfair to a king like Henry II, however, to convey the impression that
an increase of income was the only, or indeed the main, thing sought in
the reform of the courts. Order and security for land and people were
always in his mind to be sought for themselves, as a chief part of the
duty of a king, and certainly this was the case with his ministers who
must have had more to do than he with the determining and perfecting of

This is not the place to describe the judicial reforms of the reign in
technical minuteness or from the point of view of the student of
constitutional history. The activity of a great king, the effect on
people and government are the subjects of interest here. The series of
formal documents in which Henry's reforming efforts are embodied opens
with the Constitutions of Clarendon in 1164. Of the king's purpose in
this--not new legislation, but an effort to bring the clergy under
responsibility to the state for their criminal acts according to the
ancient practice,--and of its results, we have already had the story. The
second in the series, the Assize of Clarendon, the first that concerns
the civil judicial system, though we have good reason to suspect that it
was not actually Henry's first attempt at reform, dates from early in the
year 1166. It dealt with the detection and punishment of crime, and
greatly improved the means at the command of the state for these
purposes. In 1170, to check the independence of the sheriffs and their
abuse of power for private ends, of which there were loud complaints, he
ordered strict inquiry to be made, by barons appointed for the purpose,
into the conduct of the sheriffs and the abuses complained of, and
removed a large number of them, appointing others less subject to the
temptations which the local magnate was not likely to resist. This was a
blow at the hold of the feudal baronage on the office, and a step in its
transformation into a subordinate executive office, which was rapidly
going on during the reign. In 1176, in the Assize of Northampton, the
provisions of the Assize of Clarendon for the enforcement of criminal
justice were made more severe, and new enactments were added. In 1181 the
Assize of Arms made it compulsory on knights and freemen alike to keep in
their possession weapons proportionate to their income for the defence of
king and realm. In 1184 the Assize of the Forest enforced the vexatious
forest law and decreed severe penalties for its violation. In the year
before the king's death, in 1188, the Ordinance of the Saladin Tithe
regulated the collection of this new tax intended to pay the expenses of
Henry's proposed crusade.

This list of the formal documents in which Henry's reforms were
proclaimed is evidence of no slight activity, but it gives, nevertheless,
a very imperfect idea of his work as a whole. That was nothing less than
to start the judicial organization of the state along the lines it has
ever since followed. He did this by going forward with beginnings already
made and by opening to general and regular use institutions which, so far
as we know, had up to this time been only occasionally employed in
special cases. The changes which the reign made in the judicial system
may be grouped under two heads: the further differentiation and more
definite organization of the curia regis and the introduction of the
jury in its undeveloped form into the regular procedure of the courts
both in civil and criminal cases.

Under the reign of the first Henry we noticed the twofold form of the
king's court, the great curia regis, formed by the barons of the whole
kingdom and the smaller in practically permanent session, and the latter
also acting as a special court for financial cases--the exchequer. Now we
have the second Henry establishing, in 1178, what we may call another
small curia regis--apparently of a more professional character--to be
in permanent session for the trial of cases. The process of
differentiation, beginning in finding a way for the better doing of
financial business, now goes a step further, though to the men of that
time--if they had thought about it at all--it would have seemed a
classification of business, not a dividing up of the king's court. The
great curia regis, the exchequer, and the permanent trial court,
usually meeting at Westminster, were all the same king's court; but a
step had really been taken toward a specialized judicial system and an
official body of judges.

In the reign of Henry I we also noticed evidence which proved the
occasional, and led us to suspect the somewhat regular employment of
itinerant justices. This institution was put into definite and permanent
form by his grandson. The kingdom was at first divided into six circuits,
to each of which three justices were sent. Afterwards the number of
justices was reduced. These justices, though not all members of the small
court at Westminster, were all, it is likely, familiar with its work, and
to each circuit at least one justice of the Westminster court was
probably always assigned. What they carried into each county of the
kingdom as they went the round of their districts was not a new court and
not a local court; it was the curia regis itself, and that too in its
administrative as well as in its judicial functions indeed it is easy to
suspect that it was quite as much the administrative side of its
work,--the desire to check the abuses of the sheriffs by investigation on
the spot, and to improve the collection of money due to the crown, as its
judicial,--as the wish to render the operation of the law more convenient
by trying cases in the communities where they arose, that led to the
development of this side of the judicial system. Whatever led to it, this
is what had begun, a new branch of the judicial organization.

It was in these courts, these king's courts,--the trial court at
Westminster and the court of the itinerant justices in the different
counties,--that the institution began to be put into regular use that has
become so characteristic a distinction of the Anglo-Saxon judicial
system--the jury. The history of the jury cannot here be told. It is
sufficient to say that it existed in the Frankish empire of the early
ninth century in a form apparently as highly developed as in the Norman
kingdom of the early twelfth. From Charles the Great to Henry II it
remained in what was practically a stationary condition. It was only on
English soil, and after the impulse given to it by the broader uses in
which it was now employed that it began the marvellous development from
which our liberty has gained so much. At the beginning it was a process
belonging to the sovereign and used solely for his business, or employed
for the business of others only by his permission in the special case.
What Henry seems to have done was to generalize this use, to establish
certain classes of cases in which it might always be employed by his
subjects, but in his courts only. In essence it was a process for getting
local knowledge to bear on a doubtful question of fact of interest to the
government. Ought A to pay a certain tax? The question is usually to be
settled by answering another: Have his ancestors before him paid it, or
the land which he now holds? The memory of the neighbours can probably
determine this, and a certain number of the men likely to know are
summoned before the officer representing the king, put on oath, and
required to say what they know about it.

In its beginning that is all the jury was. But it was a process of easy
application to other questions than those which interested the king. The
question of fact that arose in a suit at law--was the land in dispute
between A and B actually held by the ancestor of B?--could be settled in
the same way by the memory of the neighbours, and in a way much more
satisfactory to the party whose cause was just than by an appeal to the
judgment of heaven in the wager of battle. If the king would allow the
private man the use of this process, he was willing to pay for the
privilege. Such privilege had been granted since the Conquest in
particular cases. A tendency at least in Normandy had existed before
Henry II to render it more regular. This tendency Henry followed in
granting the use of the primitive jury generally to his subjects in
certain classes of cases, to defendants in the Great Assize to protect
their freehold, to plaintiffs in the three assizes of Mort d'Ancestor,
Novel Disseisin, and Darrein Presentment to protect their threatened
seisin. As a process of his own, as a means of preserving order, he again
broadened its use in another way in the Assize of Clarendon, finding in
it a method of bringing local knowledge to the assistance of the
government in the detection of crime, the function of the modern grand
jury and its origin as an institution.

The result of Henry's activities in this direction--changes we may call
them, but hardly innovations, following as they do earlier precedents and
lying directly in line with the less conscious tendencies of his
predecessors,--this work of Henry's was nothing less than to create our
judicial system and to determine the character and direction of its
growth to the present day. In the beginning of these three things, of a
specialized and official court system, of a national judiciary bringing
its influence to bear on every part of the land, and of a most effective
process for introducing local knowledge into the trial of cases, Henry
had accomplished great results, and the only ones that he directly
sought. But two others plainly seen after the lapse of time are of quite
equal importance. One of these was the growth at an early date of a
national common law.

Almost the only source of medieval law before the fourteenth century was
custom, and the strong tendency of customary law was to break into local
fragments, each differing in more or less important points from the rest.
Beaumanoir in the thirteenth century laments the fact that every
castellany in France had a differing law of its own, and Glanville still
earlier makes a similar complaint of England. But the day was rapidly
approaching in both lands when the rise of national consciousness under
settled governments, and especially the growth of a broader and more
active commerce, was to create a strong demand for a uniform national
law. What influences affected the forming constitutions of the states of
Europe because this demand had to be met by recourse to the imperial law
of Rome, the law of a highly centralized absolutism, cannot here be
recounted. From these influences, whether large or small, from the
necessity of seeking uniformity in any ready-made foreign law, England
was saved by the consequences of Henry's action. The king's court rapidly
created a body of clear, consistent, and formulated law. The itinerant
justice as he went from county to county carried with him this law and
made it the law of the entire nation. From these beginnings arose the
common law, the product of as high an order of political genius as the
constitution itself, and now the law of wider areas and of more millions
of men than ever obeyed the law of Rome.

One technical work, at once product and monument of the legal activity of
this generation, deserves to be remembered in this connexion, the
Treatise on the Laws of England. Ascribed with some probability to
Ranulf Glanvill, Henry's chief justiciar during his last years, it was
certainly written by some one thoroughly familiar with the law of the
time and closely in touch with its enforcement in the king's court. To us
it declares what that law was at the opening of its far-reaching history,
and in its definiteness and certainty as well as in its arrangement it
reveals the great progress that had been made since the law books of the
reign of Henry I. That progress continued so rapid that within a hundred
years Glanvill's book had become obsolete, but by that time it had been
succeeded by others in the long series of great books on our common law.
Nor ought we perhaps entirely to overlook another book, as interesting in
its way, the Dialogue of the Exchequer. Written probably by Richard
Fitz Neal, of the third generation of that great administration family
founded by Roger of Salisbury and restored to office by Henry II, the
book gives us a view from within of the financial organization of the
reign as enlightening as is Glanvill's treatise on the common law.

But besides the growth of the common law, these reforms involved and
carried with them as a second consequence a great change in the machinery
of government and in the point of view from which it was regarded. We
have already seen how in the feudal state government functions were
undifferentiated and were exercised without consciousness of
inconsistency by a single organ, the curia regia, in which, as in all
public activities, the leading operative element was the feudal baronage.
The changes in the judicial system which were accomplished in the reign
of Henry, especially the giving of a more fixed and permanent character
to the courts, the development of legal procedure into more complicated
and technical forms, and the growth of the law itself in definiteness and
body,--these changes meant the necessity of a trained official class and
the decline of the importance of the purely feudal baronage in the
carrying on of government. This was the effect also of the gradual
transformation of the sheriff into a more strictly ministerial officer
and the diminished value of feudal levies in war as indicated by the
extension of scutage. In truth, at a date relatively as early for this
transformation as for the growth of a national law, the English state was
becoming independent of feudalism. The strong Anglo-Norman monarchy was
attacking the feudal baron not merely with the iron hand by which
disorder and local independence were repressed, but by finding out better
ways of doing the business of government and so destroying practically
the whole foundation on which political feudalism rested. Of the
threatening results of these reforms the baronage was vaguely conscious,
and this feeling enters as no inconsiderable element into the troubles
that filled the reign of Henry's youngest son and led to the first step
towards constitutional government.

For a moment serious business was now interrupted by a bit of comedy, at
least it seems comedy to us, though no doubt it was a matter serious
enough to the actors. For many years there had been a succession of
bitter disputes between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York over
questions of precedence and various ceremonial rights, or to state it
more accurately the Archbishops of York had been for a long time trying
to enforce an exact equality in such matters with the Archbishops of
Canterbury. At mid-Lent, 1776 Cardinal Hugo, the legate, held a council
of the English Church in London, and at its opening the dispute led to
actual violence. The cardinal took the seat of the presiding officer, and
Richard of Canterbury seated himself on his right hand. The Archbishop of
York on entering found the seat of honour occupied by his rival, and
unwilling to yield, tried to force himself in between Richard and the
cardinal. One account says that he sat down in Richard's lap. Instantly
there was a tumult. The partisans of Canterbury seized the offending
archbishop, bishops we are told even leading the attack, dragged him
away, threw him to the floor, and misused him seriously. The legate
showed a proper indignation at the disorder caused by the defenders of
the rights of Canterbury, but found himself unable to go on with the

For a year past the young king had been constantly with his father, kept
almost a prisoner, as his immediate household felt and as we may well
believe. Now he began to beg permission to go on a pilgrimage to the
famous shrine of St. James of Compostella, and Henry at last gave his
consent, though he knew the pilgrimage was a mere pretext to escape to
the continent. But the younger Henry was detained at Portchester some
time, waiting for a fair wind; and Easter coming on, he returned to
Winchester, at his father's request, to keep the festival with him. In
the meantime, Richard and Geoffrey had landed at Southampton, coming to
their father with troubles of their own, and reached Winchester the day
before Easter Sunday. Henry and his sons were thus together for the
feast, much to his joy we are told; but it is not said that Queen
Eleanor, who was then imprisoned in England, very likely in Winchester
itself, was allowed any part in the celebration. Richard's visit to
England was due to a dangerous insurrection in his duchy, and he had come
to ask his father's help. Henry persuaded the young king to postpone his
pilgrimage until he should have assisted his brother to re-establish
peace in Aquitaine, and with this understanding they both crossed to the
continent about a fortnight after Easter, but young Henry on landing at
once set off with his wife to visit the king of France. Richard was now
nearly nineteen years old, and in the campaign that followed he displayed
great energy and vigour and the skill as a fighter for which he was
afterwards so famous, putting down the insurrection almost without
assistance from his brother, who showed very little interest in any
troubles but his own. The young king, indeed, seemed to be making ready
for a new breach with his father. He was collecting around him King
Henry's enemies and those who had helped him in the last war, and was
openly displaying his discontent. An incident which occurred at this time
illustrates his spirit. His vice-chancellor, Adam, who thought he owed
much to the elder king, attempted to send him a report of his son's
doings; but when he was detected, the young Henry, finding that he could
not put him to death as he would have liked to do because the Bishop of
Poitiers claimed him as a clerk, ordered him to be sent to imprisonment
in Argentan and to be scourged as a traitor in all the towns through
which he passed on the way.

About the same time an embassy appeared in England from the Norman court
of Sicily to arrange for a marriage between William II of that kingdom
and Henry's youngest daughter, Joanna. The marriages of each of Henry's
daughters had some influence on the history of England before the death
of his youngest son. His eldest daughter Matilda had been married in 1168
to Henry the Lion, head of the house of Guelf in Germany, and his second
daughter, Eleanor, to Alphonso III of Castile, in 1169 or 1170. The
ambassadors of King William found themselves pleased with the little
princess whom they had come to see, and sent back a favourable report,
signifying also the consent of King Henry. In the following February she
was married and crowned queen at Palermo, being then a little more than
twelve years old. Before the close of this year, 1176, Henry arranged for
another marriage to provide for his youngest son John, now ten years old.
The infant heiress of Maurienne, to whom he had been years before
betrothed, had died soon after, and no other suitable heiress had since
been found whose wealth might be given him. The inheritance which his
father had now in mind was that of the great Earl Robert of Gloucester,
brother and supporter of the Empress Matilda, his father's mother.
Robert's son William had only daughters. Of these two were already
married, Mabel to Amaury, Count of Evreux, and Amice to Richard of Clare,
Earl of Hertford. Henry undertook to provide for these by pensions on the
understanding that all the lands of the earldom should go to John on his
marriage with the youngest daughter Isabel. To this plan Earl William
agreed. The marriage itself did not take place until after the death of
King Henry.

An income suitable for his position had now certainly been secured for
the king's youngest son, for in addition to the Gloucester inheritance
that of another of the sons of Henry I, Reginald, Earl of Cornwall who
had died in 1175, leaving only daughters, was held by Henry for his use,
and still earlier the earldom of Nottingham had been assigned him. At
this time, however, or very soon after, a new plan suggested itself to
his father for conferring upon him a rank and authority proportionate to
his brothers'. Ireland was giving more and more promise of shaping itself
before long into a fairly well-organized feudal state. If it seems to us
a turbulent realm, where a central authority was likely to secure little
obedience, we must remember that this was still the twelfth century, the
height of the feudal age, and that to the ruler of Aquitaine Ireland
might seem to be progressing more rapidly to a condition of what passed
as settled order than to us. Since his visit to the island, Henry had
kept a close watch on the doings of his Norman vassals there and had held
them under a firm hand. During the rebellion of 1173 he had had no
trouble from them. Indeed, they had served him faithfully in that
struggle and had been rewarded for their fidelity. In the interval since
the close of the war some advance in the Norman occupation had been made.
There seemed to be a prospect that both the south-west and the
north-east--the southern coast of Munster and the eastern coast of
Ulster--might be acquired. Limerick had been temporarily occupied, and it
was hoped to gain it permanently. Even Connaught had been successfully
invaded. Possibly it was the hope of securing himself against attacks of
this sort which he may have foreseen that led Roderick of Connaught to
acknowledge himself Henry's vassal by formal treaty. If he had any
expectation of this sort, he was disappointed; for the invaders of
Ireland paid no attention to the new relationship, nor did Henry himself
any longer than suited his purpose.

We are now told that Henry had formed the plan of erecting Ireland into a
kingdom, and that he had obtained from Alexander III permission to crown
whichever of his sons he pleased and to make him king of the island. Very
possibly the relationship with Scotland, which he had lately put into
exact feudal form, suggested the possibility of another subordinate
kingdom and of raising John in this way to an equality with Richard and
Geoffrey. At a great council held at Oxford in May, 1177, the preliminary
steps were taken towards putting this plan into operation. Some
regulation of Irish affairs was necessary. Richard "Strongbow," Earl of
Pembroke and Lord of Leinster, who had been made justiciar after the
rebellion, had died early in 1176, and his successor in office, William
Fitz Adelin, had not proved the right man in the place. There were also
new conquests to be considered and new homages to be rendered, if the
plan of a kingdom was to be carried out. His purpose Henry announced to
the council, and the Norman barons, some for the lordships originally
assigned them, some for new ones like Cork and Limerick, did homage in
turn to John and to his father, as had been the rule in all similar
cases. Hugh of Lacy, Henry's first justiciar, was reappointed to that
office, but there was as yet no thought of sending John, who was then
eleven years old, to occupy his future kingdom.

It was a crowded two years which Henry spent in England. Only the most
important of the things that occupied his attention have we been able to
notice, but the minor activities which filled his days make up a great
sum of work accomplished. Great councils were frequently held; the
judicial reforms and the working of the administrative machinery demanded
constant attention; the question of the treatment to be accorded to one
after another of the chief barons who had taken part in the rebellion had
to be decided; fines and confiscations were meted out, and finally the
terms on which the offenders were to be restored to the royal favour were
settled. The castles occasioned the king much anxiety, and of those that
were allowed to stand the custodians were more than once changed. The
affairs of Wales were frequently considered, and at last the king seemed
to have arranged permanent relations of friendship with the princes of
both north and south Wales. In March, 1177, a great council decided a
question of a kind not often coming before an English court. The kings of
Castile and Navarre submitted an important dispute between them to the
arbitration of King Henry, and the case was heard and decided in a great
council in London--no slight indication of the position of the English
king in the eyes of the world.

Ever since early February, 1177, Henry had been planning to cross over to
Normandy with all the feudal levies of England. There were reasons enough
for his presence there, and with a strong hand. Richard's troubles were
not yet over, though he had already proved his ability to deal with them
alone. Britanny was much disturbed, and Geoffrey had not gone home with
Richard, but was still with his father. The king of France was pressing
for the promised marriage of Adela and Richard, and it was understood
that the legate, Cardinal Peter of Pavia, had authority to lay all
Henry's dominions under an interdict if he did not consent to an
immediate marriage. The attitude of the young Henry was also one to cause
anxiety, and his answers to his father's messages were unsatisfactory.
One occasion of delay after another, however, postponed Henry's crossing,
and it was the middle of August before he landed in Normandy. We hear
much less of the army that actually went with him than of the summons of
the feudal levies for the purpose, but it is evident that a strong force
accompanied him. The difficulty with the king of France first demanded
attention. The legate consented to postpone action until Henry, who had
determined to try the effect of a personal interview, should have a
conference with Louis. This took place on September 21, near Nonancourt,
and resulted in a treaty to the advantage of Henry. He agreed in the
conference that the marriage should take place on the original
conditions, but nothing was said about it in the treaty. This concerned
chiefly a crusade, which the two kings were to undertake in close
alliance, and a dispute with regard to the allegiance of the county of
Auvergne, which was to be settled by arbitrators named in the treaty,
After this success Henry found no need of a strong military force.
Various minor matters detained him in France for nearly a year, the most
important of which was an expedition into Berri to force the surrender to
him of the heiress of Déols under the feudal right of wardship. July 15,
1178, Henry landed again in England for another long stay of nearly two
years. As in his previous sojourn this time was occupied chiefly in a
further development of the judicial reforms already described.

While Henry was occupied with these affairs, events in France were
rapidly bringing on a change which was destined to be of the utmost
importance to England and the Angevin house. Louis VII had now reigned in
France for more than forty years. His only son Philip, to be known in
history as Philip Augustus, born in the summer of 1165, was now nearly
fifteen years old, but his father had not yet followed the example of his
ancestors and had him crowned, despite the wishes of his family and the
advice of the pope. Even so unassertive a king as Louis VII was conscious
of the security and strength which had come to the Capetian house with
the progress of the last hundred years. Now he was growing ill and felt
himself an old man, though he was not yet quite sixty, and he determined
to make the succession secure before it should be too late. This decision
was announced to a great council of the realm at the end of April, 1179,
and was received with universal applause. August 15 was appointed as the
day for the coronation, but before that day came the young prince was
seriously ill, and his father was once more deeply anxious for the
future. Carried away by the ardour of the chase in the woods of
Compiegne, Philip had been separated from his attendants and had wandered
all one night alone in the forest, unable to find his way. A
charcoal-burner had brought him back to his father on the second day, but
the strain of the unaccustomed dread had been too much for the boy, and
he had been thrown into what threatened to be a dangerous illness. To
Louis's troubled mind occurred naturally the efficacy of the new and
mighty saint, Thomas of Canterbury, who might be expected to recall with
gratitude the favours which the king of France had shown him while he was
an exile. The plan of a pilgrimage to his shrine, putting the king
practically at the mercy of a powerful rival, was looked upon by many of
Louis's advisers with great misgiving, but there need have been no fear.
Henry could always be counted upon to respond in the spirit of chivalry
to demands of this sort having in them something of an element of
romance. He met the royal pilgrim on his landing, and attended him during
his short stay at Canterbury and back to Dover. This first visit of a
crowned king of France to England, coming in his distress to seek the aid
of her most popular saint, was long remembered there, as was also his
generosity to the monks of the cathedral church. The intercession of St.
Thomas availed. The future king of France recovered, selected to
become--it was believed that a vision of the saint himself so
declared--the avenger of the martyr against the house from which he had
suffered death.

Philip recovered, but Louis fell ill with his last illness. As he drew
near to Paris on his return a sudden shock of paralysis smote him. His
whole right side was affected, and he was unable to be present at the
coronation of his son which had been postponed to November 1. At this
ceremony the house of Anjou was represented by the young King Henry, who
as Duke of Normandy bore the royal crown, and who made a marked
impression on the assembly by his brilliant retinue, by the liberal scale
of his expenditure and the fact that he paid freely for everything that
he took, and by the generosity of the gifts which he brought from his
father to the new king of France. The coronation of Philip II opens a new
era in the history both of France and England, but the real change did
not declare itself at once. What seemed at the moment the most noteworthy
difference was made by the sudden decline in influence of the house of
Blois and Champagne, which was attached to Louis VII by so many ties, and
which had held so high a position at his court, and by the rise of Count
Philip of Flanders to the place of most influential counsellor, almost to
that of guardian of the young king. With the crowning of his son, Louis's
actual exercise of authority came to an end; the condition of his health
would have made this necessary in any case, and Philip II was in fact
sole king. His first important step was his marriage in April, 1180, to
the niece of the Count of Flanders, Isabel of Hainault, the childless
count promising an important cession of the territory of south-western
Flanders to France to take place on his own death, and hoping no doubt to
secure a permanent influence through the queen, while Philip probably
intended by this act to proclaim his independence of his mother's family.

These rapid changes could not take place without exciting the anxious
attention of the king of England. His family interests, possibly also his
prestige on the continent, had suffered to some extent in the complete
overthrow and exile of his son-in-law Henry the Lion by the Emperor
Frederick I, which had occurred in January, 1180, a few weeks before the
marriage of Philip II, though as yet the Emperor had not been able to
enforce the decision of the diet against the powerful duke. Henry of
England would have been glad to aid his son-in-law with a strong force
against the designs of Frederick, which threatened the revival of the
imperial power and might be dangerous to all the sovereigns of the west
if they succeeded, but he found himself between somewhat conflicting
interests and unable to declare himself with decision for either without
the risk of sacrificing the other. Already, before Philip's marriage, the
young Henry had gone over to England to give his father an account of the
situation in France, and together they had crossed to Normandy early in
April. But the marriage had taken place a little later, and May 29 Philip
and his bride were crowned at St. Denis by the Archbishop of Sens, an
intentional slight to William of Blois, the Archbishop of Reims. Troops
were called into the field on both sides and preparations made for war,
while the house of Blois formed a close alliance with Henry. But the
grandson of the great negotiator, Henry I, had no intention of appealing
to the sword until he had tried the effect of diplomacy. On June 28 Henry
and Philip met at Gisors under the old elm tree which had witnessed so
many personal interviews between the kings of England and France. Here
Henry won another success. Philip was reconciled with his mother's
family; an end was brought to the exclusive influence of the Count of
Flanders; and a treaty of peace and friendship was drawn up between the
two kings modelled closely on that lately made between Henry and Louis
VII, but containing only a general reference to a crusade. Henceforth,
for a time, the character of Henry exercised a strong influence over the
young king of France, and his practical statesmanship became a model for
Philip's imitation.

At the beginning of March, 1182, Henry II returned to Normandy. Events
which were taking place in two quarters required his presence. In France,
actual war had broken out in which the Count of Flanders was now in
alliance with the house of Blois against the tendency towards a strong
monarchy which was already plainly showing itself in the policy of young
Philip, Henry's sons had rendered loyal and indispensable assistance to
their French suzerain in this war, and now their father came to his aid
with his diplomatic skill. Before the close of April he had made peace to
the advantage of Philip. His other task was not so easily performed.
Troubles had broken out again in Richard's duchy. The young duke was as
determined to be master in his dominions as his father in his, but his
methods were harsh and violent; he was a fighter, not a diplomatist; the
immorality of his life gave rise to bitter complaints; and policy,
methods, and personal character combined with the character of the land
he ruled to make peace impossible for any length of time. Now the
troubadour baron, Bertran de Born, who delighted in war and found the
chosen field for his talents in stirring up strife between others, in a
ringing poem called on his brother barons to revolt. Henry, coming to aid
his son in May, 1182, found negotiation unsuccessful, and together in the
field they forced an apparent submission. But only for a few months.

In the next act of the constantly varied drama of the Angevin family in
this generation the leading part is taken by the young king. For some
time past the situation in France had almost forced him into harmony with
his father, but this was from no change of spirit. Again he began to
demand some part of the inheritance that was nominally his, and fled to
his customary refuge at Paris on a new refusal. With difficulty and by
making a new arrangement for his income, his father was able to persuade
him to return, and Henry had what satisfaction there could be to him in
spending the Christmas of 1182 at Caen with his three sons, Henry,
Richard, and Geoffrey, and with his daughter Matilda and her exiled
husband, the Duke of Saxony. This family concord was at once broken by
Richard's flat refusal to swear fealty to his elder brother for
Aquitaine. Already the Aquitanian rebels had begun to look to the young
Henry for help against his brother, and Bertran de Born had been busy
sowing strife between them. In the rebellion of the barons that followed,
young Henry and his brother Geoffrey acted an equivocal and most
dishonourable part. Really doing all they could to aid the rebels against
Richard, they repeatedly abused the patience and affection of their
father with pretended negotiations to gain time. Reduced to straits for
money, they took to plundering the monasteries and shrines of Aquitaine,
not sparing even the most holy and famous shrine of Rocamadour,
Immediately after one of the robberies, particularly heinous according to
the ideas of the time, the young king fell ill and grew rapidly worse.
His message, asking his father to come to him, was treated with the
suspicion that it deserved after his recent acts, and he died with only
his personal followers about him, striving to atone for his life of sin
at the last moment by repeated confession and partaking of the sacrament,
by laying on William Marshal the duty of carrying his crusader's cloak to
the Holy Land, and by ordering the clergy present to drag him with a rope
around his neck on to a bed of ashes where he expired.



The prince who died thus pitifully on June 11, 1183, was near the middle
of his twenty-ninth year. He had never had an opportunity to show what he
could do as a ruler in an independent station, but if we may trust the
indications of his character in other directions, he would have belonged
to the weakest and worst type of the combined houses from which he was
descended. But he made himself beloved by those who knew him, and his
early death was deeply mourned even by the father who had suffered so
much from him. Few writers of the time saw clearly enough to discern the
frivolous character beneath the surface of attractive manners, and to the
poets of chivalry lament was natural for one in whom they recognized
instinctively the expression of their own ideal. His devoted servant,
William Marshal, carried out the mission with which he had been charged,
and after an absence of two years on a crusade for Henry the son, he
returned and entered the service of Henry the father.

The death of a king who had never been more than a king in name made no
difference in the political situation. It was a relief to Richard who
once more and quickly got the better of his enemies. It must also in many
ways have been a relief to Henry, though he showed no disposition to take
full advantage of it. The king had learned many things in the experience
of the years since his eldest son was crowned, but the conclusions which
seem to us most important, he appears not to have drawn. He had had
indeed enough of crowned kings among his sons, and from this time on,
though Richard occupied clearly the position of heir to the crown, there
was no suggestion that he should be made actually king in the lifetime of
his father. There is evidence also that after the late war the important
fortresses both of Aquitaine and Britanny passed into the possession of
Henry and were held by his garrisons, but just how much this meant it is
not easy to say. Certainly he had no intention of abandoning the plan of
parcelling out the great provinces of his dominion among his sons as
subordinate rulers. It almost seems as if his first thought after the
death of his eldest son was that now there was an opportunity of
providing for his youngest. He sent to Ranulf Glanvill, justiciar of
England, to bring John over to Normandy, and on their arrival he sent for
Richard and proposed to him to give up Aquitaine to his brother and to
take his homage for it. Richard asked for a delay of two or three days to
consult his friends, took horse at once and escaped from the court, and
from his duchy returned answer that he would never allow Aquitaine to be
possessed by any one but himself.

The death of young Henry led at once to annoying questions raised by
Philip of France. His sister Margaret was now a widow without children,
and he had some right to demand that the lands which had been ceded by
France to Normandy as her marriage portion should be restored. These were
the Norman Vexin and the important frontier fortress of Gisors. In the
troublous times of 1151 Count Geoffrey might have felt justified in
surrendering so important a part of Norman territory and defences to the
king of France in order to secure the possession of the rest to his son,
but times were now changed for that son, and he could not consent to open
up the road into the heart of Normandy to his possible enemies. He
replied to Philip that the cession of the Vexin had been final and that
there could be no question of its return. Philip was not easily
satisfied, and there was much negotiation before a treaty on the subject
was finally made at the beginning of December, 1183. At a conference near
Gisors Henry did homage to Philip for all his French possessions, a
liberal pension was accepted for Margaret in lieu of her dower lands, and
the king of France recognized the permanence of the cession to Normandy
on the condition that Gisors should go to one of the sons of Henry on his
marriage with Adela which was once more promised. This marriage in the
end never took place, but the Vexin remained a Norman possession.

The year 1184 was a repetition in a series of minor details, family
quarrels, foreign negotiations, problems of government, and acts of
legislation, of many earlier years of the life of Henry. After Christmas,
1183, angered apparently by a new refusal of Richard to give up Aquitaine
to John, or to allow any provision to be made for him in the duchy, Henry
gave John an army and permission to make war on his brother to force from
him what he could. Geoffrey joined in to aid John, or for his own
satisfaction, and together they laid waste parts of Richard's lands. He
replied in kind with an invasion of Britanny, and finally Henry had to
interfere and order all his sons over to England that he might reconcile
them. In the spring of the year he found it necessary to try to make
peace again between the king of France and the Count of Flanders. The
agreement which he had arranged in 1182 had not really settled the
difficulties that had arisen. The question now chiefly concerned the
lands of Vermandois, Amiens, and Valois, the inheritance which the
Countess of Flanders had brought to her husband. She had died just before
the conclusion of the peace in 1182, without heirs, and it had been then
agreed that the Count should retain possession of the lands during his
life, recognizing certain rights of the king of France. Now he had
contracted a second marriage in the evident hope of passing on his claims
to children of his own. Philip's declaration that this marriage should
make no difference in the disposition of these lands which were to prove
the first important accession of territory made by the house of Capet
since it came to the throne, was followed by a renewal of the war, and
the best efforts of Henry II only succeeded in bringing about a truce for
a year.

Still earlier in the year died Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, and
long disputes followed between the monks of the cathedral church and the
suffragan bishops of the province as to the election of his successor.
The monks claimed the exclusive right of election, the bishops claimed
the right to concur and represented on this occasion the interests of the
king. After a delay of almost a year, Baldwin, Bishop of Worcester, was
declared elected, but no final settlement was made of the disputed rights
to elect. In legislation the year is marked by the Forest Assize, which
regulated the forest courts and re-enacted the forest law of the early
Norman kings in all its severity. One of its most important provisions
was that hereafter punishments for forest offences should be inflicted
strictly upon the body of the culprit and no longer take the form of
fines. Not merely was the taking of game by private persons forbidden,
but the free use of their own timber on such of their lands as lay within
the bounds of the royal forests was taken away. The Christmas feast of
the year saw another family gathering more complete than usual, for not
merely were Richard and John present, but the Duke and Duchess of Saxony,
still in exile, with their children, including the infant William, who
had been born at Winchester the previous summer, and whose direct
descendants were long afterwards to come to the throne of his grandfather
with the accession of the house of Hanover. Even Queen Eleanor was
present at this festival, for she had been released for a time at the
request of her daughter Matilda.

One more year of the half decade which still remained of life to Henry
was to pass with only a slight foreshadowing, near its close, of the
anxieties which were to fill the remainder of his days. The first
question of importance which arose in 1185 concerned the kingdom of
Jerusalem. England had down to this time taken slight and only indirect
part in the great movement of the crusades. The Christian states in the
Holy Land had existed for nearly ninety years, but with slowly declining
strength and defensive power. Recently the rapid progress of Saladin,
creating a new Mohammedan empire, and not merely displaying great
military and political skill, but bringing under one bond of interest
the Saracens of Egypt and Syria, whose conflicts heretofore had been
among the best safeguards of the Christian state, threatened the most
serious results. The reigning king of Jerusalem at this moment was
Baldwin IV, grandson of that Fulk V, Count of Anjou, whom we saw, more
than fifty years before this date, handing over his French possessions to
his son Geoffrey, newly wedded to Matilda the Empress, and departing for
the Holy Land to marry its heiress and become its king. Baldwin was
therefore the first cousin of Henry II, and it was not unnatural that his
kingdom should turn in the midst of the difficulties that surrounded it
to the head of the house of Anjou now so powerful in the west. The
embassy which came to seek his cousin's help was the most dignified and
imposing that could be sent from the Holy Land, with Heraclius the
patriarch of Jerusalem at its head, supported by the grand-masters of the
knights of the Temple and of the Hospital. The grand-master of the
Templars died at Verona on the journey, but the survivors landed in
England at the end of January, 1185, and Henry who was on his way to York
turned back and met them at Reading. There Heraclius described the evils
that afflicted the Christian kingdom so eloquently that the king and all
the multitude who heard were moved to sighs and tears. He offered to
Henry the keys of the tower of David and of the holy sepulchre, and the
banner of the kingdom, with the right to the throne itself.

To such an offer in these circumstances there was but one reply to make,
and a king like Henry could never have been for a moment in doubt as to
what it should be. His case was very different from his grandfather's
when a similar offer was made to him. Not merely did the responsibility
of a far larger dominion rest on him, with greater dangers within and
without to be watched and overcome, but a still more important
consideration was the fact that there was no one of his sons in whose
hands his authority could be securely left. His departure would be the
signal for a new and disastrous civil war, and we may believe that the
character of his sons was a deciding reason with the king. But such an
offer, made in such a way, and backed by the religious motives so strong
in that age, could not be lightly declined. A great council of the
kingdom was summoned to meet in London about the middle of March to
consider the offer and the answer to be made. The king of Scotland and
his brother David, and the prelates and barons of England, debated the
question, and advised Henry not to abandon the duties which rested upon
him at home. It is interesting to notice that the obligations which the
coronation oath had imposed on the king were called to mind as
determining what he ought to do, though probably no more was meant by
this than that the appeal which the Church was making in favour of the
crusade was balanced by the duty which he had assumed before the Church
and under its sanction to govern well his hereditary kingdom. Apparently
the patriarch was told that a consultation with the king of France was
necessary, and shortly after they all crossed into Normandy. Before the
meeting of the council in London Baldwin IV had closed his unhappy reign
and was succeeded by his nephew Baldwin V, a child who never reached his
majority. In France the embassy succeeded no better. At a conference
between the kings the promise was made of ample aid in men and money, but
the great hope with which the envoys had started, that they might bring
back with them the king of England, or at least one of his sons, to lead
the Christian cause in Palestine, was disappointed; and Heraclius set out
on his return not merely deeply grieved, but angry with Henry for his
refusal to undertake what he believed to be his obvious religious duty.

Between the meeting of the council in London and the crossing into
Normandy, Henry had taken steps to carry out an earlier plan of his in
regard to his son John. He seems now to have made up his mind that
Richard could never be induced to give up Aquitaine or any part of it,
and he returned to his earlier idea of a kingdom of Ireland. Immediately
after the council he knighted John at Windsor and sent him to take
possession of the island, not yet as king but as lord (dominus). On
April 25 he landed at Waterford, coming, it is said, with sixty ships and
a large force of men-at-arms and foot-soldiers. John was at the time
nearly nineteen years old, of an age when men were then expected to have
reached maturity, and the prospect of success lay fair before him; but he
managed in less than six months to prove conclusively that he was, as yet
at least, totally unfit to rule a state. The native chieftains who had
accepted his father's government came in to signify their obedience, but
he twitched their long beards and made sport before his attendants of
their uncouth manners and dress, and allowed them to go home with anger
in their hearts to stir up opposition to his rule. The Archbishop of
Dublin and the barons who were most faithful to his father offered him
their homage and support, but he neglected their counsels and even
disregarded their rights. The military force he had brought over, ample
to guard the conquests already made, or even to increase them, he
dissipated in useless undertakings, and kept without their pay that he
might spend the money on his own amusements, until they abandoned him in
numbers, and even went over to his Irish enemies. In a few months he
found himself confronted with too many difficulties, and gave up his
post, returning to his father with reasons for his failure that put the
blame on others and covered up his own defects. Not long afterwards died
Pope Lucius III, who had steadily refused to renew, or to put into legal
form, the permission which Alexander III had granted to crown one of
Henry's sons king of Ireland; and to his successor, Urban III, new
application was at once made in the special interest of John, and this
time with success. The pope is said even to have sent a crown made of
peacock's feathers intertwined with gold as a sign of his confirmation of
the title.

John was, however, never actually crowned king of Ireland, and indeed it
is probable that he never revisited the island. In the summer of the next
year, 1186, news came, in the words of a contemporary, "that a certain
Irishman had cut off the head of Hugh of Lacy." Henry is said to have
rejoiced at the news, for, though he had never found it possible to get
along for any length of time without the help of Hugh of Lacy in Ireland,
he had always looked upon his measures and success with suspicion. Now he
ordered John to go over at once and seize into his hand Hugh's land and
castles, but John did not leave England. At the end of the year legates
to Ireland arrived in England from the pope, one object of whose mission
was to crown the king of Ireland, but Henry was by this time so deeply
interested in questions that had arisen between himself and the king of
France because of the death of his son Geoffrey, the Count of Britanny,
that he could not give his attention to Ireland, and with the legates he
crossed to Normandy instead, having sent John over in advance.

Affairs in France had followed their familiar course since the conference
between Henry and Philip on the subject of the crusade in the spring of
1185. Immediately after that meeting Henry had proceeded with great vigour
against Richard. He had Eleanor brought over to Normandy, and then
commanded Richard to surrender to his mother all her inheritance under
threat of invasion with a great army. Richard, whether moved by the threat
or out of respect to his mother, immediately complied, and, we are
told,[48] remained at his father's court "like a well-behaved son," while
Henry in person took possession of Aquitaine. In the meantime the war
between Philip II and the Count of Flanders had gone steadily on, the king
of England declining to interfere again. At the end of July, 1185, the
count had been obliged to yield, and had ceded to Philip Amiens and most
of Vermandois, a very important enlargement of territory for the French
monarchy. This first great success of the young king of France was
followed the next spring by the humiliation and forced submission of the
Duke of Burgundy.

In all these events the king of England had taken no active share. He was
a mere looker-on, or if he had interfered at all, it was rather to the
advantage of Philip, while the rival monarchy in France had not merely
increased the territory under its direct control, but taught the great
vassals the lesson of obedience, and proclaimed to all the world that the
rights of the crown would be everywhere affirmed and enforced. It was
clearly the opening of a new era, yet Henry gave not the slightest
evidence that he saw it or understood its meaning for himself. While it
is certain that Philip had early detected the weakness of the Angevin
empire, and had formed his plan for its destruction long before he was
able to carry it out, we can only note with surprise that Henry made no
change in his policy to meet the new danger of which he had abundant
warning. He seems never to have understood that in Philip Augustus he had
to deal with a different man from Louis VII. That he continued steadily
under the changed circumstances his old policy of non-intervention
outside his own frontiers, of preserving peace to the latest possible
moment, and of devoting himself to the maintenance and perfection of a
strong government wherever he had direct rule, is more creditable to the
character of Henry II than to the insight of a statesman responsible for
the continuance of a great empire, and offered the realization of a great
possibility. To Philip Augustus it was the possibility only which was
offered; the empire was still to be created: but while hardly more than a
boy, he read the situation with clear insight and saw before him the goal
to be reached and the way to reach it, and this he followed with untiring
patience to the end of his long reign.

When Henry returned to England at the end of April, 1186, he abandoned
all prospect of profiting by the opportunity which still existed, though
in diminished degree, of checking in its beginning the ominous growth of
Philip's power, an opportunity which we may believe his grandfather would
not have overlooked or neglected. By the end of the summer all chance of
this was over, and no policy of safety remained to Henry but a trial of
strength to the finish with his crafty suzerain, for Philip had not
merely returned successful from his Burgundian expedition, but he had
almost without effort at concealment made his first moves against the
Angevin power. His opening was the obvious one offered him by the
dissensions in Henry's family, and his first move was as skilful as the
latest he ever made. Richard was now on good terms with his father; it
would even appear that he had been restored to the rule of Aquitaine; at
any rate Henry's last act before his return to England in April had been
to hand over to Richard a great sum of money with directions to subdue
his foes. Richard took the money and made successful and cruel war on the
Count of Toulouse, on what grounds we know not. Geoffrey, however,
offered himself to Philip's purposes. Henry's third son seems to have
been in character and conduct somewhat like his eldest brother, the young
king. He had the same popular gifts and attractive manners; he enjoyed an
almost equal renown for knightly accomplishments and for the knightly
virtue of "largesse"; and he was, in the same way, bitterly dissatisfied
with his own position. He believed that the death of his brother ought to
improve his prospects, and his mind was set on having the county of Anjou
added to his possessions. When Richard and his father refused him this,
he turned to France and betook himself to Paris. Philip received him with
open arms, and they speedily became devoted friends. Just what their
immediate plans were we cannot say. They evidently had not been made
public, and various rumours were in circulation. Some said that Geoffrey
would hold Britanny of Philip; or he had been made seneschal of France,
an office that ought to go with the county of Anjou; or he was about to
invade and devastate Normandy. It is probable that some overt action
would have been undertaken very shortly when suddenly, on August 19,
Geoffrey died, having been mortally hurt in a tournament, or from an
attack of fever, or perhaps from both causes. He was buried in Paris,
Philip showing great grief and being, it is said, with difficulty
restrained from throwing himself into the grave.

The death of Geoffrey may have made a change in the form of Philip's
plans, and perhaps in the date of his first attempt to carry them out,
but not in their ultimate object. It furnished him, indeed, with a new
subject of demand on Henry. There had been no lack of subjects in the
past, and he had pushed them persistently: the question of Margaret's
dower lands,--the return of the Norman Vexin,--and of the payment of her
money allowance, complicated now by her second marriage to Bela, king of
Hungary; the standing question of the marriage of Philip's sister Adela;
the dispute about the suzerainty of Auvergne still unsettled; and finally
Richard's war on the Count of Toulouse. Now was added the question of the
wardship of Britanny. At the time of his death one child had been born to
Geoffrey of his marriage with Constance,--a daughter, Eleanor, who was
recognized as the heiress of the county. Without delay Philip sent an
embassy to Henry in England and demanded the wardship of the heiress,
with threats of war if the demand was not complied with. The justice of
Philip's claim in this case was not entirely clear since he was not the
immediate lord of Britanny, but kings had not always respected the rights
of their vassals in the matter of rich heiresses, and possibly Geoffrey
had actually performed the homage to Philip which he was reported to be
planning to do. In any case it was impossible for Henry to accept
Philip's view of his rights, but war at the moment would have been
inconvenient, and so he sent a return embassy with Ranulf Glanvill at its
head, and succeeded in getting a truce until the middle of the winter.
Various fruitless negotiations followed, complicated by an attack made by
the garrison of Gisors on French workmen found building an opposing
castle just over the border. Henry himself crossed to Normandy about the
middle of February, 1187, but personal interviews with Philip led to no
result, and the situation drifted steadily toward war. The birth of a
posthumous son to Geoffrey in March--whom the Bretons insisted on calling
Arthur, though Henry wished to give him his own name, a sure sign of
their wish for a more independent position--brought about no change.
Philip had protected himself from all danger of outside interference by
an alliance with the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and was determined on
war. By the middle of May both sides were ready. Henry divided his army
into four divisions and adopted a purely defensive policy.

Philip's attack fell on the lands of disputed allegiance on the eastern
edge of the duchy of Aquitaine near his own possessions, and after a few
minor successes he laid siege to the important castle of Châteauroux. This
was defended by Richard in person, with his brother John, but Philip
pressed the siege until Henry drew near with an army, when he retired a
short distance and awaited the next move. Negotiations followed, in the
course of which the deep impression that the character of Philip had
already made on his great vassals is clearly to be seen.[49] Henry's
desire was to avoid a battle, and this was probably the best policy for
him; it certainly was unless he were willing, as he seems not to have
been, to bring on at once the inevitable mortal struggle between the
houses of Capet and Anjou. Unimportant circumstances on both sides came in
to favour Henry's wish and to prevent a battle, and finally Henry himself,
by a most extraordinary act of folly, threw into the hands of Philip the
opportunity of gaining a greater advantage for his ultimate purposes than
he could hope to gain at that time from any victory. Henry's great danger
was Richard. In the situation it was incumbent on him from every
consideration of policy to keep Richard satisfied, and to prevent not
merely the division of the Angevin strength, but the reinforcement of
the enemy with the half of it. He certainly had had experience enough
of Richard's character to know what to expect. He ought by that time to
have been able to read Philip Augustus's. And yet he calmly proceeded to
a step from which, it is hardly too much to say, all his later troubles
came through the suspicion he aroused in Richard's mind,--a step so
unaccountable that we are tempted to reject our single, rather doubtful
account of it. He wrote a letter to Philip proposing that Adela should be
married to John, who should then be invested with all the French fiefs
held by the house of Anjou except Normandy, which with the kingdom of
England should remain to Richard.[50] If Henry was blind enough to suppose
that the Duke of Aquitaine could be reconciled to such an arrangement,
Philip saw at once what the effect of the proposal would be, and he sent
the letter to Richard.

The immediate result was a treaty of peace to continue in force for two
years, brought about apparently by direct negotiations between Richard
and Philip, but less unfavourable to Henry than might have been expected.
It contained, according to our French authorities, the very probable
agreement that the points in dispute between the two kings should be
submitted to the decision of the curia regis of France, and Philip was
allowed to retain the lordships of Issoudun and Fréteval, which he had
previously occupied, as pledges for the carrying out of the treaty. The
ultimate result of Philip's cunning was that Richard deserted his father
and went home with the king of France, and together they lived for a time
in the greatest intimacy. Philip, it seemed, now loved Richard "as his
own soul," and showed him great honour. Every day they ate at table from
the same plate, and at night they slept in the same bed. One is reminded
of Philip's ardent love for Geoffrey, and certain suspicions inevitably
arise in the mind. But at any rate the alarm of Henry was excited by the
new intimacy, and he did not venture to go over to England as he wished
to do until he should know what the outcome was to be. He sent frequent
messengers to Richard, urging him to return and promising to grant him
everything that he could justly claim, but without effect. At one time
Richard pretended to be favourably inclined, and set out as if to meet
his father, but instead he fell upon the king's treasure at Chinon and
carried it off to Aquitaine to use in putting his own castles into a
state of defence. His father, however, forgave even this and continued to
send for him, and at last he yielded. Together they went to Angers, and
there in a great assembly Richard performed liege homage to his father
once more and swore fealty to him "against all men," a fact which would
seem to show that Richard had in some formal way renounced his fealty
while at Philip's court, though we have no account of his doing so.
During this period, in September, 1187, an heir was born to King Philip,
the future Louis VIII.

As this year drew to its close frequent letters and messengers from the
Holy Land made known to the west one terrible disaster after another.
Saladin with a great army had fallen on the weak and divided kingdom and
had won incredible successes. The infant king, Baldwin V, had died before
these events began, and his mother Sibyl was recognized as queen. She
immediately, against the expressed wish of the great barons, gave the
crown to her husband, Guy of Lusignan. He was a brave man and an earnest
defender of the Holy Land, but he could not accomplish the impossible
task of maintaining a kingdom, itself so weak, in the face of open and
secret treachery. In October the news reached Europe of the utter defeat
of the Christians, of the capture of the king, and worse still of the
true Cross by the infidels. The pope, Urban III, died of grief at the
tidings. His successor, Gregory VIII, at once urged Europe to a new
crusade in a long and vigorous appeal. Very soon afterwards followed the
news of the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin. The Emperor Frederick was
anxious to put himself at the head of the armies of Christendom, as he
was entitled to do as sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, and lead them
to recover the holy places. But while most princes delayed and waited to
know what others would do, the impulsive and emotional Richard took the
cross the next morning, men said, after he had learned the news. This he
did without the knowledge of his father who was shocked to learn of it,
and shut himself up for days, understanding more clearly than did his son
what the absence of the heir to the throne on such a long and uncertain
expedition would mean at such a time.

The advisability, the possibility even, of such a crusade would all
depend upon Philip, and the movements of Philip just then were very
disquieting. About the beginning of the new year, 1188, he returned from
a conference with the Emperor Frederick, which in itself could bode no
good to the father-in-law and supporter of Henry the Lion, and
immediately began collecting a large army, "impudently boasting," says
the English chronicler of Henry's life, "that he would lay waste Normandy
and the other lands of the king of England that side the sea, if he did
not return to him Gisors and all that belonged to it or make his son
Richard take to wife Adela the daughter of his father Louis." Philip
evidently did not intend to drop everything to go to the rescue of
Jerusalem nor was he inclined at any expense to his own interests to make
it easy for those who would. Henry who was already at the coast on the
point of crossing to England, at once turned back when he heard of
Philip's threats, and arranged for a conference with him on January 21.
Here was the opportunity for those who were urging on the crusade. The
kings of France and England with their chief barons were to be together
while the public excitement was still high and the Christian duty of
checking the Saracen conquest still keenly felt. The Archbishop of Tyre,
who had come to France on this mission, gave up all his other
undertakings as soon as he heard of the meeting and resolved to make
these great princes converts to his cause. It was not an easy task.
Neither Henry nor Philip was made of crusading material, and both were
far more interested in the tasks of constructive statesmanship which they
had on hand than in the fate of the distant kingdom of Jerusalem. A
greater obstacle than this even was their fear of each other, of what
evil one might do in the absence of the other, the unwillingness of
either to pledge himself to anything definite until he knew what the
other was going to do, and the difficulty of finding any arrangement
which would bind them both at once. It is practically certain that they
yielded at last only to the pressure of public opinion which must have
been exceedingly strong in the excitement of the time and under the
impassioned eloquence of a messenger direct from the scene of the recent
disasters. It was a great day for the Church when so many men of the
highest rank, kings and great barons, took the cross, and it was agreed
that the spot should be marked by a new church, and that it should bear
the name of the Holy Field.

Whatever may be true of Philip, there can, I think, be no doubt that, when
Henry took the cross, he intended to keep his vow. It was agreed between
them that all things should remain as they were until their return; and
Henry formally claimed of his suzerain the protection of his lands during
his absence, and Philip accepted the duty.[51] A few days after taking the
cross Henry held an assembly at Le Mans and ordered a tax in aid of his
crusade. This was the famous Saladin tithe, which marks an important step
in the history of modern taxation. It was modelled on an earlier tax for
the same purpose which had been agreed upon between France and England
in 1166, but it shows a considerable development upon that, both in
conception and in the arrangements for carrying out the details of the
tax. The ordinance provided for the payment by all, except those who were
themselves going on the crusade, of a tenth, a "tithe," of both personal
property and income, precious stones being exempt and the necessary tools
of their trade of both knights and clerks. Somewhat elaborate machinery
was provided for the collection of the tax, and the whole was placed under
the sanction of the Church. A similar ordinance was shortly adopted by
Philip for France, and on February 11, Henry, then in England, held a
council at Geddington, in Northamptonshire, and ordained the same tax for

In the meantime the crusade had received a check, and partly, at least,
through the fault of its most eager leader, Richard of Poitou. A
rebellion had broken out against him, and he was pushing the war with his
usual rapidity and his usual severities, adopting now, however, the
interesting variation of remitting all other penalties if his prisoners
would take the cross. If Richard was quickly master of the rebellion, it
served on the one hand to embitter him still more against his father,
from the report, which in his suspicious attitude he was quick to
believe, that Henry's money and encouragement had supported the rebels
against him; and on the other, to lead to hostilities with the Count of
Toulouse. The count had not neglected the opportunity of Richard's
troubles to get a little satisfaction for his own grievances, and had
seized some merchants from the English lands. Richard responded with a
raid into Toulouse, in which he captured the chief minister of the count
and refused ransom for him. Then the count in his turn arrested a couple
of English knights of some standing at court, who were returning from a
pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella. Still Richard refused either
ransom or exchange, and an appeal to the king of France led to no result.
Richard told his father afterwards that Philip had encouraged his attack
on the count. Soon, however, his rapid successes in Toulouse, where he
was taking castle after castle, compelled Philip to more decided
interference; probably he was not sorry to find a reason both to postpone
the crusade and to renew the attack on the Angevin lands. First he sent
an embassy to Henry in England to protest against Richard's doings, and
received the reply that the war was against Henry's will, and that he
could not justify it. With a great army Philip then invaded Auvergne,
captured Châteauroux and took possession of almost all Berri. An embassy
sent to bring Philip to a better mind was refused all satisfaction, and
Henry, seeing that his presence was necessary in France, crossed the
channel for the last of many times and landed in Normandy on July 1,

All things were now, indeed, drawing to a close with Henry, who was not
merely worn out and ill, but was plunged into a tide of events flowing
swiftly against all the currents of his own life. Swept away by the
strong forces of a new age which he could no longer control, driven and
thwarted by men, even his own sons, whose ideals of conduct and ambition
were foreign to his own and never understood, compelled to do things
he had striven to avoid, and to see helplessly the policy of his long
reign brought to naught, the coming months were for him full of bitter
disasters which could end only, as they did, in heartbreak and death.
Not yet, however, was he brought to this point, and he got together a
great army and made ready to fight if necessary. But first, true to his
policy of negotiation, he sent another embassy to Philip and demanded
restitution under the threat of renouncing his fealty. Philip's answer
was a refusal to stop his hostilities until he should have occupied all
Berri and the Norman Vexin. War was now inevitable, but it lingered for
some time without events of importance, and on August 16 began a new
three days' conference at the historic meeting-place of the kings near
Gisors. This also ended fruitlessly; some of the French even attacked the
English position, and then cut down in anger the old elm tree under which
so many conferences had taken place. Philip was, however, in no condition
to push the war upon which he had determined. The crusading ardour of
France which he himself did not feel, and which had failed to bring about
a peace at Gisors, expressed itself in another way; and the Count of
Flanders and Theobald of Blois and other great barons of Philip notified
him that they would take no part in a war against Christians until after
their return from Jerusalem.

Philip's embarrassment availed Henry but little, although his own force
remained undiminished. A sudden dash at Mantes on August 30, led only to
the burning of a dozen or more French villages, for Philip by a very
hurried march from Chaumont was able to throw himself into the city, and
Henry withdrew without venturing a pitched battle. On the next day
Richard, who till then had been with his father, went off to Berri to
push with some vigour the attack on Philip's conquests there, promising
his father faithful service. A double attack on the French, north and
south, was not a bad plan as Philip was then situated, but for some
reason not clear to us Henry seems to have let matters drift and made no
use of the great army which he had got together. The king of France,
however, saw clearly what his next move should be, and he sent to propose
peace to Henry on the basis of a restoration of conquests on both sides.
Henry was ever ready for peace, and a new conference took place at
Chatillon on the Indre, where it was found that Philip's proposition was
the exchange of his conquests in Berri for those of Richard in Toulouse,
and the handing over to him of the castle of Pacy, near Mantes, as a
pledge that the treaty would be kept. It is difficult to avoid the
conclusion that Philip knew that this demand would be refused, as it was,
and that he had only made the proposal of peace in order to gain time to
collect a new force. In this he must now have succeeded, for he
immediately took the offensive in Berri and added somewhat to his
conquests, probably by hiring the German mercenaries whom we learn he
shortly afterwards defrauded of their pay.

In the meantime Richard and Philip were drawing together again, in what
way exactly we do not know. We suspect some underhanded work of Philip's
which would be easy enough. Evidently Richard was still very anxious
about the succession, and it seems to have occurred to him to utilize his
father's desire for peace on the basis of Philip's latest proposition, to
gain a definite recognition of his rights. At any rate we are told that
he brought about the next meeting between the kings, and that he offered
to submit the question of the rights or wrongs of his war with Toulouse
to the decision of the French king's court. This dramatic and fateful
conference which marks the success of Philip's intrigues began on
November 18 at Bonmoulins, and lasted three days. Henry was ready to
accept the proposal now made that all things should be restored on both
sides to the condition which existed at the taking of the cross, but here
Richard interposed a decided objection. He could not see the justice of
being made to restore his conquests in Toulouse which he was holding in
domain, and which were worth a thousand marks a year, to get back himself
some castles in Berri which were not of his domain but only held of him.
Then Philip for him, evidently by previous agreement, brought forward the
question of the succession. The new proposition was that Richard and
Adela should be married and that homage should be paid to Richard as heir
from all the Angevin dominions. It seems likely, though it is not so
stated, that on this condition Richard would have agreed to the even
exchange of conquests. As time went on the discussion, which had been at
first peaceable and calm, became more and more excited so that on the
third day the attendants came armed. On that day harsh words and threats
were exchanged. To Richard's direct demand that he should make him secure
in the succession, Henry replied that he could not do it in the existing
circumstances, for, if he did, he would seem to be yielding to threats
and not acting of his own will. Then Richard, crying out that he could
now believe things that had seemed incredible to him, turned at once to
Philip, threw off his sword, and in the presence of his father and all
the bystanders offered him his homage for all the French fiefs, including
Toulouse, saying his father's rights during his lifetime and his own
allegiance to his father. Philip accepted this offer without scruple, and
promised to Richard the restoration of what he had taken in Berri, with
Issoudun and all that he had conquered of the English possessions since
the beginning of his reign.

To one at least of the historians of the time Richard's feeling about the
succession did not seem strange, nor can it to us.[52] For this act of
Richard, after which peace was never restored between himself and his
father, Henry must share full blame with him. Whether he was actuated by
a blind affection for his youngest son, or by dislike and distrust of
Richard, or by a remembrance of his troubles with his eldest son, his
refusal to recognize Richard as his heir and to allow him to receive the
homage of the English and French barons, a custom sanctioned by the
practice of a hundred years in England and of a much longer period in
France, was a political and dynastic blunder of a most astonishing kind.
Nothing could show more clearly how little he understood Philip Augustus
or the danger which now threatened the Angevin house. As for Richard, he
may have been quick-tempered, passionate, and rash, not having the
well-poised mind of the diplomatist or the statesman, at least not one of
the high order demanded by the circumstances, and deceived by his own
anger and by the machinations of Philip; yet we can hardly blame him for
offering his homage to the king of France. Nor can we call the act
illegal, though it was extreme and unusual, and might seem almost
revolutionary. An appeal to his overlord was in fact the only legal means
left him of securing his inheritance, and it bound Philip not to recognize
any one else as the heir of Henry. Philip was clearly within his legal
rights in accepting the offer of Richard, and the care with which
Richard's declaration was made to keep within the law, reserving all the
rights which should be reserved, shows that however impulsive his act may
have seemed to the bystanders, it really had been carefully considered and
planned in advance. The conference broke up after this with no other
result than a truce to January 13, and Richard rode off with Philip
without taking leave of his father.

For all that had taken place Henry did not give up his efforts to bring
back Richard to himself, but they were without avail. He himself,
burdened with anxiety and torn by conflicting emotions, was growing more
and more ill. The scanty attendance at his Christmas court showed him the
opinion of the barons of the hopelessness of his cause and the prudence
of making themselves secure with Richard. He was not well enough to meet
his enemies in the conference proposed for January 13, and it was
postponed first to February 2 and then to Easter, April 9. It was now,
however, too late for anything to be accomplished by diplomacy. Henry
could not yield to the demands made of him until he was beaten in the
field, nor were they likely to be modified. Indeed we find at this time
the new demand appearing that John should be made to go on the crusade
when Richard did. Even the intervention of the pope, who was represented
at the conferences finally held soon after Easter and early in June, by a
cardinal legate, in earnest effort for the crusade, served only to show
how completely Philip was the man of a new age. To the threat of the
legate, who saw that the failure to make peace was chiefly due to him,
that he would lay France under an interdict if he did not come to terms
with the king of England, Philip replied in defiant words that he did not
fear the sentence and would not regard it, for it would be unjust, since
the Roman Church had no right to interfere within France between the king
and his rebellious vassal and he overbore the legate and compelled him to
keep silence.

After this conference events drew swiftly to an end. The allies pushed
the war, and in a few days captured Le Mans, forcing Henry to a sudden
flight in which he was almost taken prisoner. A few days later still
Philip stormed the walls of Tours and took that city. Henry was almost a
fugitive with few followers and few friends in the hereditary county from
which his house was named. He had turned aside from the better fortified
and more easily defended Normandy against the advice of all, and now
there was nothing for him but to yield. Terms of peace were settled in a
final conference near Colombières on July 4, 1189. At the meeting Henry
was so ill that he could hardly sit his horse, though Richard and Philip
had sneered at his illness and called it pretence, but he resolutely
endured the pain as he did the humiliation of the hour. Philip's demands
seem surprisingly small considering the man and the completeness of his
victory, but there were no grounds on which he could demand from Henry
any great concession. One thing he did insist upon, and that was for him
probably the most important advantage which he gained. Henry must
acknowledge himself entirely at his mercy, as a contumacious vassal, and
accept any sentence imposed on him. In the great task which Philip
Augustus had before him, already so successfully begun, of building up in
France a strong monarchy and of forcing many powerful and independent
vassals into obedience to the crown, nothing could be more useful than
this precedent, so dramatic and impressive, of the unconditional
submission of the most powerful of all the vassals, himself a crowned
king. All rights over the disputed county of Auvergne were abandoned.
Richard was acknowledged heir and was to receive the homage of all
barons. Those who had given in their allegiance to Richard should remain
with him till the crusade, which was to be begun the next spring, and
20,000 marks were to be paid the king of France for his expenses on the
captured castles, which were to be returned to Henry.

These were the principal conditions, and to all these Henry agreed as he
must. That he intended to give up all effort and rest satisfied with this
result is not likely, and words he is said to have used indicate the
contrary, but his disease and his broken spirits had brought him nearer
the end than he knew. One more blow, for him the severest of all,
remained for him to suffer. He found at the head of the list of those who
had abandoned his allegiance the name of John. Then his will forsook him
and his heart broke. He turned his face to the wall and cried: "Let
everything go as it will; I care no more for myself or for the world." On
July 6 he died at Chinon, murmuring almost to the last, "Shame on a
conquered king," and abandoned by all his family except his eldest son
Geoffrey, the son, it was said, of a woman, low in character as in birth.

[48] Gesia Henrici, i. 338.

[49] Gervase of Canterbury, i. 371; Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis
Instructione, iii. 2. (Opera, viii. 231.)

[50] Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis Instructione. (Opera, viii.

[51] Ralph de Diceto, ii. 55.

[52] Gervase of Canterbury, i. 435.



The death of Henry II may be taken to mark the close of an epoch in
English history, the epoch which had begun with the Norman Conquest. We
may call it, for want of a better name, the feudal age,--the age during
which the prevailing organization, ideals, and practices had been
Norman-feudal. It was an age in which Normandy and the continental
interests of king and barons, and the continental spirit and methods, had
imposed themselves upon the island realm. It was a time in which the
great force in the state and the chief factor in its history had been the
king. The interests of the barons had been on the whole identical with
his. The rights which feudal law and custom gave him had been practically
unquestioned, save by an always reluctant Church, and baronial opposition
had taken the form of a resistance to his general power rather than of a
denial of special rights. Now a change had silently begun which was soon
to show itself openly and to lead to great results. This change involved
only slowly and indirectly the general power of the king, but it takes
its beginning from two sources: the rising importance of England in the
total dominions of the king, and the disposition to question certain of
his rights. Normandy was losing its power over the English baron, or if
this is too strong a statement for anything that was yet true, he was
beginning to identify himself more closely with England and to feel less
interest in sacrifices and burdens which inured only to the benefit of
the king and a policy foreign to the country. To the disposition to
question the king's actions and demands Henry had himself contributed not
a little by the frequency and greatness of those demands, and by the
small regard to the privileges of his vassals shown in the development of
his judicial reforms and in his financial measures these last indeed
under Henry II violated the baronial rights less directly but, as they
were carried on by his sons, they attacked them in a still more decisive
way. When once this disposition had begun, the very strength of the
Norman monarchy was an element of weakness, for it gave to individual
complaints a unity and a degree of importance and interest for the
country which they might not otherwise have had. In this development the
reign of Richard, though differing but little in outward appearance from
his father's, was a time of rapid preparation, leading directly to the
struggles of his brother's reign and to the first great forward step, the
act which marks the full beginning of the new era.

Richard could have felt no grief at the death of his father, and he made
no show of any. Geoffrey had gone for the burial to the nunnery of
Fontevrault, a favourite convent of Henry's, and there Richard appeared
as soon as he heard the news, and knelt beside the body of his father,
which was said to have bled on his approach, as long as it would take to
say the Lord's prayer. Then we are told he turned at once to business.
The first act which he performed, according to one of our authorities, on
stepping outside the church was characteristic of the beginning of his
reign. One of the most faithful of his father's later servants was
William Marshal, who had been earlier in the service of his son Henry. He
had remained with the king to the last, and in the hurried retreat from
Le Mans he had guarded the rear. On Richard's coming up in pursuit he had
turned upon him with his lance and might have killed him as he was
without his coat of mail, but instead, on Richard's crying out to be
spared, he had only slain his horse, and so checked the pursuit, though
he had spared him with words of contempt which Richard must have
remembered: "No, I will not slay you," he had said; "the devil may slay
you." Now both he and his friends were anxious as to the reception he
would meet with from the prince, but Richard was resolved to start from
the beginning as king and not as Count of Poitou. He called William
Marshal to him, referred to the incident, granted him his full pardon,
confirmed the gift to him which Henry had recently made him of the hand
of the heiress of the Earl of Pembroke and her rich inheritance, and
commissioned him to go at once to England to take charge of the king's
interests there until his own arrival. This incident was typical of
Richard's action in general. Henry's faithful servants suffered nothing
for their fidelity in opposing his son; the barons who had abandoned him
before his death, to seek their own selfish advantage because they
believed the tide was turning against him, were taught that Richard was
able to estimate their conduct at its real worth.

Henry on his death-bed had made no attempt to dispose of the succession.
On the retreat from Le Mans he had sent strict orders to Normandy, to
give up the castles there in the event of his death to no one but John.
But the knowledge of John's treason would have changed that, even if it
had been possible to set aside the treaty of Colombières. There was no
disposition anywhere to question Richard's right. On July 20 at Rouen he
was formally girt with the sword of the duchy of Normandy, by the
archbishop and received the homage of the clergy and other barons. He at
once confirmed to his brother John, who had joined him, the grants made
or promised him by their father: £4000 worth of land in England, the
county of Mortain in Normandy, and the hand and inheritance of the
heiress of the Earl of Gloucester. To his other brother, Geoffrey, he
gave the archbishopric of York, carrying out a wish which Henry had
expressed in his last moments; and Matilda, the daughter of Henry the
Lion, was given as his bride to another Geoffrey, the heir of the county
of Perche, a border land whose alliance would be of importance in case of
trouble with France. Two days later he had an interview with King Philip
at the old meeting-place near Gisors. There Philip quickly made evident
the fact that in his eyes the king of England was a different person from
the rebellious Count of Poitou, and he met Richard with his familiar
demand that the Norman Vexin should be given up. Without doubt the point
of view had changed as much to Richard, and he adopted his father's
tactics and promised to marry Adela. He also promised Philip 4000 marks
in addition to the 20,000 which Henry had agreed to pay. With these
promises Philip professed himself content. He received Richard's homage
for all the French fiefs, and the treaty lately made with Henry was
confirmed, including the agreement to start on the crusade the next

In the meantime by the command of Richard his mother, Eleanor, was set
free from custody in England; and assuming a royal state she made a
progress through the kingdom and gave orders for the release of
prisoners. About the middle of August Richard himself landed in England
with John. No one had any grounds on which to expect a particularly good
reign from him, but he was everywhere joyfully received, especially by
his mother and the barons at Winchester. A few days later the marriage of
John to Isabel of Gloucester was celebrated, in spite of a formal protest
entered by Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, because the parties were
related within the prohibited degrees. The coronation took place on
Sunday, September 3, and was celebrated apparently with much care to
follow the old ritual correctly and with much formal pomp and ceremony,
so that it became a new precedent for later occasions down to the present

Richard was then just coming to the end of his thirty-second year. In
physical appearance he was not like either the Norman or the Angevin
type, but was taller and of a more delicate and refined cast, and his
portrait shows a rather handsome face. In character and ambitions also he
was not a descendant of his father's line. The humdrum business of ruling
the state, of developing its law and institutions, of keeping order and
doing justice, or even of following a consistent and long-continued
policy of increasing his power or enlarging his territories, was little
to his taste. He was determined, as his father had been, to be a strong
king and to put down utterly every rebellion, but his determination to be
obeyed was rather a resolution of the moment than a means to any foreseen
and planned conclusion. He has been called by one who knew the time most
thoroughly "the creation and impersonation of his age," and nothing
better can be said. The first age of a self-conscious chivalry,
delighting intensely in the physical life, in the sense of strength and
power, that belonged to baron and knight, and in the stirring scenes of
castle and tournament and distant adventure, the age of the troubadour,
of an idealized warfare and an idealized love, the age which had
expressed one side of itself in his brother Henry, expressed a more manly
side in Richard. He was first of all a warrior; not a general but a
fighter. The wild enthusiasm of the hand-to-hand conflict, the matching
of skill against skill and of strength against strength, was an intense
pleasure to him, and his superiority in the tactics of the battle-field,
in the planning and management of a fight, or even of a series of attacks
or defences, a march or a retreat, placed him easily in the front rank of
commanders in an age when the larger strategy of the highest order of
generalship had little place. Of England he had no knowledge. He was born
there, and he had paid it two brief visits before his coronation, but he
knew nothing of the language or the people. He had spent all his life in
his southern dominions, and the south had made him what he was. His
interest in England was chiefly as a source of supplies, and to him the
crusade was, by the necessities of his nature, of greater importance than
the real business of a king. For England itself the period was one during
which there was no king, though it was by the authority of an absent king
that a series of great ministers carried forward the development of the
machinery and law which had begun to be put into organized form in
Henry's reign, and carried forward also the training of the classes who
had a share in public affairs for the approaching crisis of their
history. From this point of view the exceedingly burdensome demands of
Richard upon his English subjects are the most important feature of his

At the beginning of his reign Richard had, like his father, a great work
to do, great at least from his point of view; but the difference between
the two tasks shows how thoroughly Henry had performed his. Richard's
problem was to get as much money as possible for the expenses of the
crusade, and to arrange things, if possible, in such a shape that the
existing peace and quiet would be undisturbed during his absence. About
the business of raising money he set immediately and thoroughly. The
medieval king had many things to sell which are denied the modern
sovereign: offices, favour, and pardons, the rights of the crown, and even
in some cases the rights of the purchaser himself. This was Richard's
chief resource. "The king exposed for sale," as a chronicler of the time
said,[53] "everything that he had"; or as another said,[54] "whoever
wished, bought of the king his own and others' rights": not merely was the
willing purchaser welcome, but the unwilling was compelled to buy wherever
possible. Ranulf Glanvill, the great judge, Henry's justiciar and "the eye
of the king," was compelled to resign and to purchase his liberty with the
great sum, it is asserted, of £15,000. In most of the counties the former
sheriffs were removed and fined, and the offices thus vacated were sold to
the highest bidder. The Bishop of Durham, Hugh de Puiset, bought the
earldom of Northumberland and the justiciarship of England; the Bishop of
Winchester and the Abbot of St. Edmund's bought manors which belonged of
right to their churches; the Bishop of Coventry bought a priory and the
sheriffdoms of three counties; even the king's own devoted follower,
William of Longchamp, paid £3000 to be chancellor of the kingdom. Sales
like these were not unusual in the practice of kings, nor would they have
occasioned much remark at the time, if the matter had not been carried to
such extremes, and the rights and interests of the kingdom so openly
disregarded. The most flagrant case of this sort was that relating to the
liege homage of the king of Scotland, which Henry had exacted by formal
treaty from William the Lion and his barons. In December, 1189, King
William was escorted to Richard at Canterbury by Geoffrey, Archbishop of
York and the barons of Yorkshire, and there did homage for his English
lands, but was, on a payment of 10,000 marks, released from whatever
obligations he had assumed in addition to those of former Scottish kings.
Nothing could show more clearly than this how different were the interests
of Richard from his father's, or how little he troubled himself about the
future of his kingdom.

Already before this incident, which preceded Richard's departure by only
a few days, many of his arrangements for the care of the kingdom in his
absence had been made. At a great council held at Pipewell abbey near
Geddington on September 15, vacant bishoprics were filled with men whose
names were to be conspicuous in the period now beginning. Richard's
chancellor, William Longchamp, was made Bishop of Ely; Richard Fitz
Nigel, of the family of Roger of Salisbury, son of Nigel, Bishop of Ely,
and like his ancestors long employed in the exchequer and to be continued
in that service, was made Bishop of London; Hubert Walter, a connexion of
Ranulf Glanvill, and trained by him for more important office than was
now intrusted to him, became Bishop of Salisbury; and Geoffrey's
appointment to York was confirmed. The responsibility of the
justiciarship was at the same time divided between Bishop Hugh of Durham
and the Earl of Essex, who, however, shortly died, and in his place was
appointed William Longchamp. With them were associated as assistant
justices five others, of whom two were William Marshal, now possessing
the earldom of Pembroke, and Geoffrey Fitz Peter himself afterwards
justiciar. At Canterbury, in December, further dispositions were made.
Richard had great confidence in his mother, and with good reason.
Although she was now nearly seventy years of age, she was still vigorous
in mind and body, and she was always faithful to the interests of her
sons, and wise and skilful in the assistance which she gave them. Richard
seems to have left her with some ultimate authority in the state, and he
richly provided for her wants. He assigned her the provision which his
father had already made for her, and added also that which Henry I had
made for his queen and Stephen for his, so that, as was remarked at the
time, she had the endowment of three queens. John was not recognized as
heir nor assigned any authority. Perhaps Richard hoped to escape in this
way the troubles of his father, but, perhaps remembering also how much a
scanty income had had to do with his brother Henry's discontent, he gave
him almost the endowment of a king. Besides the grants already made to
him in Normandy, and rich additions since his coming to England, he now
conferred on him all the royal revenues of the four south-western
counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset. He already held the
counties of Derby and Nottingham. Richard plainly intended that political
rights should not go with these grants, but he shows very little
knowledge of John's character or appreciation of the temptation which he
put in his way in the possession of a great principality lacking only the
finishing touches.

John's position was not the only source from which speedy trouble was
threatened when Richard crossed to Normandy on December 11. He had
prepared another, equally certain, in the arrangement which had been made
for the justiciarship. It was absurd to expect Hugh of Puiset and William
Longchamp to work in the same yoke. In spirit and birth Hugh was an
aristocrat of the highest type. Of not remote royal descent, a relative
of the kings both of England and France, he was a proud, worldly-minded,
intensely ambitious prelate of the feudal sort and of great power, almost
a reigning prince in the north. Longchamp was of the class of men who
rise in the service of kings. Not of peasant birth, though but little
above it, he owed everything to his zealous devotion to the interests of
Richard, and, as is usually the case with such men, he had an immense
confidence in himself; he was determined to be master, and he was as
proud of his position and abilities as was the Bishop of Durham of his
blood. Besides this he was naturally of an overbearing disposition and
very contemptuous of those whom he regarded as inferior to himself in any
particular. Hugh in turn felt, no doubt, a great contempt for him, but
Longchamp had no hesitation in measuring himself with the bishop. Soon
after the departure of the king he turned Hugh out of the exchequer and
took his county of Northumberland away from him. Other high-handed
proceedings followed, and many appeals against his chancellor were
carried to Richard in France. To rearrange matters a great council was
summoned to meet in Normandy about the end of winter. The result was that
Richard sustained his minister as Longchamp had doubtless felt sure would
be the case. The Humber was made a dividing line between the two
justiciars, while the pope was asked to make Longchamp legate in England
during the absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was going on the
crusade. Perhaps Richard now began to suspect that he had been preparing
trouble for England instead of peace, for at the same time he exacted an
oath from his brothers, Geoffrey, whose troubles with his church of York
had already begun, and John, not to return to England for three years;
but John was soon after released from his oath at the request of his

Richard was impatient to be gone on the crusade, and he might now believe
that England could be safely left to itself; but many other things
delayed the expedition, and the setting out was finally postponed, by
agreement with Philip, to June 24. The third crusade is the most
generally interesting of all the series, because of the place which it
has taken in literature; because of the greatness of its leaders and
their exploits; of the knightly character of Saladin himself; of the
pathetic fate of the old Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who lost his life
and sacrificed most of his army in an attempt to force his way overland
through Asia Minor; and of its real failure after so great an expenditure
of life and effort and so many minor successes--the most brilliant of all
the crusades, the one great crusade of the age of chivalry: but it
concerns the history of England even less than does the continental
policy of her kings. It belongs rather to the personal history of
Richard, and as such it serves to explain his character and to show why
England was left to herself during his reign.

Richard and Philip met at Vézelai at the end of June, 1190, to begin the
crusade. There they made a new treaty of alliance and agreed to the equal
division of all the advantages to be gained in the expedition, and from
thence Richard marched down the Rhone to Marseilles, where he took ship
on August 7, and, by leisurely stages along the coast of Italy, went on
to Messina which he reached on September 23. Much there was to occupy
Richard's attention in Sicily. Philip had already reached Messina before
him, and many questions arose between them, the most important of which
was that of Richard's marriage. Towards the end of the winter Queen
Eleanor came to Sicily, bringing with her Berengaria, the daughter of the
king of Navarre, whom Richard had earlier known and admired, and whom he
had now decided to marry. Naturally Philip objected, since Richard had
definitely promised to marry his sister Adela; but now he flatly refused
to marry one of whose relations with his father evil stories were told.
By the intervention of the Count of Flanders a new treaty was made, and
Richard was released from his engagement, paying 10,000 marks to the king
of France. Quarrels with the inhabitants of Messina, due partly to the
lawlessness of the crusaders and partly to Richard's overbearing
disposition, led to almost open hostilities, and indirectly to jealousy
on the part of the French. Domestic politics in the kingdom of Sicily
were a further source of trouble. Richard's brother-in-law, King William,
had died a year before the arrival of the crusaders, and the throne was
in dispute between Henry VI, the new king of Germany, who had married
Constance, William's aunt and heiress, and Tancred, an illegitimate
descendant of the Norman house. Tancred was in possession, and to
Richard, no doubt, the support of Sicily at the time seemed more
important than the abstract question of right or the distant effect of
his policy on the crusade. Accordingly a treaty was made, Tancred was
recognized as king, and a large sum of money was paid to Richard; but to
Henry VI the treaty was a new cause of hostility against the king of
England, added to his relationship with the house of Guelf. The winter in
Sicily, which to the modern mind seems an unnecessary waste of time, had
added thus to the difficulties of the crusade new causes of ill-feeling
between the French and English, and given a new reason for suspicion to
the Germans.

It was only on April 10, 1191, that Richard at last set sail on the real
crusade. He sent on a little before him his intended bride, Berengaria,
with his sister Joanna, the widowed queen of Sicily. The voyage proved a
long and stormy one, and it was not until May 6 that the fleet came
together, with some losses, in the harbour of Limasol in Cyprus. The
ruler of Cyprus, Isaac, of the house of Comnenus, who called himself
emperor, showed so inhospitable a mein that Richard felt called upon to
attack and finally to overthrow and imprison him and to take possession
of the island. This conquest, in a moment of anger and quite in
accordance with the character of Richard, though hardly to be justified
even by the international law of that time, was in the end the most
important and most permanent success of the third crusade. Shortly before
his return home Richard gave the island to Guy of Lusignan, to make up to
him his loss of the kingdom of Jerusalem; and his descendants and their
successors retained it for four centuries, an outpost of Christendom
against the advancing power of the Turks. In Cyprus Richard was married
to Berengaria, and on June 5 he set sail for Acre, where he arrived on
the 8th.

The siege of the important port and fortress of Acre, which had been
taken by Saladin shortly before the fall of Jerusalem, had been begun by
Guy of Lusignan at the end of August, 1189, as the first step toward the
recovery of his kingdom. Saladin, recognizing the importance of the post,
had come up with an army a few days later, and had in turn besieged the
besiegers. This situation had not materially changed at the time of
Richard's arrival. Both the town and the besiegers' camp had remained
open to the sea, but though many reinforcements of new crusaders had come
to the Christians almost from the beginning of the siege, little real
progress had been made; even the arrival of King Philip in April had made
no important change. Richard, on landing, found a condition of things
that required the exercise of the utmost tact and skill. Not merely was
the military problem one of the greatest difficulty, but the bitter
factional dissensions of the native lords of Palestine made a successful
issue almost hopeless. Guy of Lusignan had never been a popular king, and
during the siege his wife Sibyl and their two daughters had died, while
his rival, Conrad marquis of Montferrat, had persuaded his sister Isabel
to divorce her husband and to marry him. The result was a conflict for
the crown, which divided the interests and embittered the spirits of
those whom the crusaders had come to aid. Philip had declared for Conrad.
Guy was a man somewhat of Richard's own type, and he would have been
attracted to him apart from the natural effect of Philip's action. One
who is disposed to deny to Richard the qualities of the highest
generalship must admit that he handled the difficult and complicated
affairs he had to control with great patience and unusual self-command,
and that he probably accomplished as much in the circumstances as any one
could have done.

The siege was now pressed with more vigour, and before the middle of
July, Acre surrendered. Then Philip, whose heart was always in his plans
at home, pleaded ill health and returned to France. After this began the
slow advance on Jerusalem, Saladin's troops hanging on the line of march
and constantly attacking in small bodies, while the crusaders suffered
greatly from the climate and from lack of supplies. So great were the
difficulties which Richard had not foreseen that at one time he was
disposed to give up the attempt and to secure what he could by treaty,
but the negotiations failed. The battle of Arsuf gave him an opportunity
to exercise his peculiar talents, and the Saracens were badly defeated;
but the advance was not made any the easier. By the last day of the year
the army had struggled through to within ten miles of the holy city.
There a halt was made; a council of war was held on January 13,1192, and
it was decided, much against the will of Richard, to return and occupy
Ascalon before attempting to take and hold Jerusalem--probably a wise
decision unless the city were to be held merely as material for
negotiation. Various attempts to bring the war to an end by treaty had
been going on during the whole march; Richard had even offered his
sister, Joanna, in marriage to Saladin's brother, whether seriously or
not it is hardly possible to say; but the demands of the two parties
remained too far apart for an agreement to be reached. The winter and
spring were occupied with the refortification of Ascalon and with the
dissensions of the factions, the French finally withdrawing from
Richard's army and going to Acre. In April the Marquis Conrad was
assassinated by emissaries of "the Old Man of the Mountain"; Guy had
little support for the throne except from Richard; and both parties found
it easy to agree on Henry of Champagne, grandson of Queen Eleanor and
Louis VII, and so nephew at once of Philip and Richard, and he was
immediately proclaimed king on marrying Conrad's widow, Isabel. Richard
provided for Guy by transferring to him the island of Cyprus as a new
kingdom. On June 7 began the second march to Jerusalem, the army this
time suffering from the heats of summer as before they had suffered from
the winter climate of Palestine. They reached the same point as in the
first advance, and there halted again; and though all were greatly
encouraged by Richard's brilliant capture of a rich Saracen caravan, he
himself was now convinced that success was impossible. On his arrival
Richard had pushed forward with a scouting party until he could see the
walls of the city in the distance, and obliged to be satisfied with this,
he retreated in July to Acre. One more brilliant exploit of Richard's own
kind remained for him to perform, the most brilliant of all perhaps, the
relief of Joppa which Saladin was just on the point of taking when
Richard with a small force saved the town and forced the Saracens to
retire. On September 2 a truce for three years was made, and the third
crusade was at an end. The progress of Saladin had been checked, a series
of towns along the coast had been recovered, and the kingdom of Cyprus
had been created; these were the results which had been gained by the
expenditure of an enormous treasure and thousands of lives. Who shall say
whether they were worth the cost.

During all the summer Richard had been impatient to return to England,
and his impatience had been due not alone to his discouragement with the
hopeless conditions in Palestine, but partly to the news which had
reached him from home. Ever since he left France, in fact, messages had
been coming to him from one and another, and the story they told was not
of a happy situation. Exactly those things had happened which ought to
have been expected. Soon after the council in Normandy, William Longchamp
had freed himself from his rival Hugh of Durham by placing him under
arrest and forcing him to surrender everything he had bought of the king.
Then for many months the chancellor ruled England as he would, going
about the country with a great train, almost in royal state, so that a
chronicler writing probably from personal observation laments the fact
that a house that entertained him for a night hardly recovered from the
infliction in three years. Even more oppressive on the community as a
whole were the constant exactions of money which he had to make for the
king's expenses. The return of John to England in 1190, or early in 1191,
made at first no change, but discontent with the chancellor's conduct
would naturally look to him for leadership, and it is likely John was
made ready to head an active opposition by the discovery of negotiations
between Longchamp and the king of Scotland for the recognition of Arthur
of Britanny as the heir to the kingdom, negotiations begun--so the
chancellor said--under orders from Richard. About the middle of summer,
1191, actual hostilities seemed about to begin. Longchamp's attempt to
discipline Gerard of Camville, holder of Lincoln castle and sheriff of
Lincolnshire, was resisted by John, who seized the royal castles of
Nottingham and Tickhill. Civil war was only averted by the intervention
of Walter of Coutances, Archbishop of Rouen, who had arrived in England
in the spring with authority from the king to interfere with the
administration of Longchamp if it seemed to him and the council wise to
do so. By his influence peace was made, at an assembly of the barons at
Winchester, on the whole not to the disadvantage of John, and embodied in
a document which is almost a formal treaty. One clause of this agreement
is of special interest as a sign of the trend of thought and as
foreshadowing a famous clause in a more important document soon to be
drawn up. The parties agreed that henceforth no baron or free tenant
should be disseized of land or goods by the king's justices or servants
without a trial according to the customs and assizes of the land, or by
the direct orders of the king. The clause points not merely forward but
backward, and shows what had no doubt frequently occurred since the
departure of the king.

About the middle of September a new element of discord was brought into
the situation by the landing of Geoffrey, who had now been consecrated
Archbishop of York, and who asserted that he, as well as John, had
Richard's permission to return. Longchamp's effort to prevent his coming
failed; but on his landing he had him arrested at the altar of the Priory
of St. Martin's, Dover, where he had taken sanctuary, and he was carried
off a prisoner with many indignities. This was a tactical mistake on
Longchamp's part. It put him greatly in the wrong and furnished a new
cause against him in which everybody could unite. In alarm he declared he
had never given orders for what was done and had Geoffrey released, but it
was too late. The actors in this outrage were excommunicated, and the
chancellor was summoned to a council called by John under the forms of a
great council. At the first meeting, held between Reading and Windsor on
October 5, he did not appear, but formal complaint was made against him,
and his deposition was moved by the Archbishop of Rouen. The meeting was
then adjourned to London, and Longchamp, hearing this, left Windsor at the
same time and took refuge in the Tower. For both parties, as in former
times of civil strife, the support of the citizens of London was of great
importance. They were now somewhat divided, but a recognition of the
opportunity inclined them to the stronger side; and they signified to John
and the barons that they would support them if a commune were granted to
the city.[55] This French institution, granting to a city in its corporate
capacity the legal position and independence of the feudal vassal, had as
yet made no appearance in England. It was bitterly detested by the great
barons, and a chronicler of the time who shared this feeling was no doubt
right in saying that neither Richard nor his father would have sanctioned
it for a million marks, but as he says London found out that there was no
king.[56] John was in pursuit of power, and the price which London
demanded would not seem to him a large one, especially as the day of
reckoning with the difficulty he created was a distant one and might never
come. The commune was granted, and Longchamp was formally deposed. John
was recognized as Richard's heir, fealty was sworn to him, and he was made
regent of the kingdom; Walter of Rouen was accepted as justiciar; and the
castles were disposed of as John desired. Longchamp yielded under protest,
threatening the displeasure of the king, and was allowed to escape to the

The action of John and the barons in deposing Longchamp made little
actual change. John gained less power than he had expected, and found the
new justiciar no more willing to give him control of the kingdom than the
old one. The action was revolutionary, and if it had any permanent
influence on the history of England, it is to be found in the training it
gave the barons in concerted action against a tyrannous minister,
revolutionary but as nearly as possible under the forms of law. While
these events were taking place, Philip was on his way from Tyre to
France. He reached home near the close of the year, ready for the
business for which he had come, to make all that he could out of
Richard's absence. Repulsed in an attempt to get the advantage of the
seneschal of Normandy he applied to John, perhaps with more hope of
success, offering him the hand of the unfortunate Adela with the
investiture of all the French fiefs. John was, of course, already
married, but that was a small matter either to Philip, or to him. He was
ready to listen to the temptation, and was preparing to cross to discuss
the proposition with Philip, when his plans were interrupted by his
mother. She had heard of what was going on and hastily went over to
England to interfere, where with difficulty John was forced to give up
the idea. The year 1192 passed without disturbance. When Longchamp tried
to secure his restoration by bribing John, he was defeated by a higher
bid from the council. An attempt of Philip to invade Normandy was
prevented by the refusal of his barons to serve, for without accusing the
king, they declared that they could not attack Normandy without
themselves committing perjury. At the beginning of 1193 the news reached
England that Richard had been arrested in Germany and that he was held in
prison there.

[53] Benedict of Peterborough, ii. 90.

[54] Roger of Howden, iii. 18.

[55] Round, Commune of London, ch. xi.

[56] Richard of Devizes, Chronicles of Stephen, iii. 416.



Richard was indeed in prison in Germany. To avoid passing through
Toulouse on account of the hostility of the count he had sailed up the
Adriatic, hoping possibly to strike across into the northern parts of
Aquitaine, and there had been shipwrecked. In trying to make his way in
disguise through the dominions of the Duke of Austria he had been
recognized and arrested, for Leopold of Austria had more than one ground
of hatred of Richard, notably because his claim to something like an
equal sovereignty had been so rudely and contemptuously disallowed in the
famous incident of the tearing down of his banner from the walls of Acre.
But a greater sovereign than Leopold had reason to complain of the
conduct of Richard and something to gain from his imprisonment, and the
duke was obliged to surrender his prisoner to the emperor, Henry VI.

When the news of this reached England, it seemed to John that his
opportunity might at last be come, and he crossed over at once to the
continent. Finding the barons of Normandy unwilling to receive him in the
place of Richard, he passed on to Philip, did him homage for the French
fiefs, and even for England it was reported, took oath to marry Adela,
and ceded to him the Norman Vexin. In return Philip promised him a part
of Flanders and his best help to get possession of England and his
brother's other lands. Roger of Howden, who records this bargain,
distinguishes between rumour and what he thought was true, and it may be
taken as a fair example of what it was believed John would agree to in
order to dispossess his imprisoned brother. He then returned to England
with a force of mercenaries, seized the castles of Wallingford and
Windsor, prepared to receive a fleet which Philip was to send to his aid,
and giving out that the king was dead, he demanded the kingdom of the
justices and the fealty of the barons. But nobody believed him; the
justices immediately took measures to resist him and to defend the
kingdom against the threatened invasion, and civil war began anew. Just
then Hubert Walter, Bishop of Salisbury, arrived from Germany, bringing a
letter from Richard himself. It was certain that the king was not dead,
but the news did not promise an immediate release. The emperor demanded a
great ransom and a crowd of hostages of the barons. The justices must at
once set about raising the sum, and a truce was made with John until

The terms of his release which Richard had stated in his letter did not
prove to be the final ones. Henry VI was evidently determined to make all
that he could out of his opportunity, and it was not till after the middle
of the year 1193 that a definite agreement was at last made. The ransom
was fixed at 150,000 marks, of which 100,000 were to be on hand in London
before the king should go free. It was on the news of this arrangement
that Philip sent his famous message to John, "Take care of yourself: the
devil is loosed." In John's opinion the best way to take care of himself
was to go to Philip's court, and this he did on receiving the warning,
either because he was afraid of the view Richard might take of his conduct
on his return, or because he suspected that Philip would throw him over
when he came to make a settlement with Richard. There were, however, still
two obstacles in the way of Richard's return: the money for the ransom
must be raised, and the emperor must be persuaded to keep his bargain.
Philip, representing John as well, was bidding against the terms to which
Richard had agreed. They offered the emperor 80,000 marks, to keep him
until the Michaelmas of 1194; or £1000 a month for each month that he was
detained; or 150,000 marks, if he would hold him in prison for a year, or
give him up to them. Earlier still Philip had tried to persuade Henry to
surrender Richard to him, but such a disposition of the case did not suit
the emperor's plans, and now he made Philip's offers known to Richard. If
he had been inclined to listen, as perhaps he was, the German princes,
their natural feeling and interest quickened somewhat by promises of money
from Richard, would have insisted on the keeping of the treaty. On
February 4, 1194, Richard was finally set free, having done homage to the
emperor for the kingdom of England and having apparently issued letters
patent to record the relationship,[57] a step towards the realization of
the wide-reaching plans of Henry VI for the reconstruction of the Roman
Empire, and so very likely as important to him as the ransom in money.

The raising of this money in England and the other lands of the king was
not an easy task, not merely because the sum itself was enormous for the
time, but also because so great an amount exceeded the experience, or
even the practical arithmetic of the day, and could hardly be accurately
planned for in advance. It was, however, vigorously taken in hand by
Eleanor and the justices, assisted by Hubert Walter, who had now become
Archbishop of Canterbury by Richard's direction and who was soon made
justiciar, and the burden seems to have been very patiently borne. The
method of the Saladin tithe was that first employed for the general
taxation by which it was proposed to raise a large part of the sum. All
classes, clerical and feudal, burgess and peasant, were compelled to
contribute according to their revenues, the rule being one-fourth of the
income for the year, and the same proportion of the movable property; all
privileges and immunities of clergy and churches as well as of laymen
were suspended; the Cistercians even who had a standing immunity from all
exactions gave up their whole year's shearing of wool, and so did the
order of Sempringham; the plate and, jewels of the churches and
monasteries, held to be properly used for the redemption of captives,
were surrendered or redeemed in money under a pledge of their restoration
by the king. The amount at first brought in proved insufficient, and the
officers who collected it were suspected of peculation, possibly with
justice, but possibly also because the original calculation had been
inaccurate, so that a second and a third levy were found necessary. It
was near the end of the year 1193 before the sum raised was accepted by
the representatives of the emperor as sufficient for the preliminary
payment which would secure the king's release.

Richard, set free on February 4, did not feel it necessary to be in
haste, and he only reached London on March 6. There he found things in as
unsettled a state as they had been since the beginning of his
imprisonment. He had made through Longchamp a most liberal treaty with
Philip to keep him quiet during his imprisonment; he had also induced
John by a promise of increasing his original grants to return to his
allegiance to himself: but neither of these agreements had proved binding
on the other parties. John had made a later treaty with Philip,
purchasing his support with promises of still more extensive cessions of
the land he coveted, and under this treaty the king of France had taken
possession of parts of Normandy, while the justiciar of England, learning
of John's action, had obtained a degree of forfeiture against him from a
council of the barons and had begun the siege of his castles. This war on
John was approved by Richard, who himself pushed it to a speedy and
successful end. Then on March 30 the king met a great council of the
realm at Nottingham. His mother was present, and the justiciar, and
Longchamp, who was still chancellor, though he had not been allowed to
return to England to remain until now. By this council John was summoned
to appear for trial within forty days on pain of the loss of all his
possessions and of all that he might expect, including the crown.
Richard's chief need would still be money both for the war in France and
for further payments on his ransom; and he now imposed a new tax of two
shillings on the carucate of land and called out one-third of the feudal
force for service abroad. Many resumptions of his former grants were also
made, and some of them were sold again to the highest bidders. Two weeks
later the king was re-crowned at Winchester, apparently with something
less of formal ceremony than in his original coronation, but with much
more than in the annual crown-wearings of the Norman kings, a practice
which had now been dropped for almost forty years. Whether quite a
coronation in strict form or not, the ceremony was evidently regarded as
of equivalent effect both by the chroniclers of the time and officially,
and it probably was intended to make good any diminution of sovereignty
that might be thought to be involved in his doing homage to the emperor
for the kingdom.

Immediately after this the king made ready to cross to France, where his
interests were then in the greatest danger, but he was detained by
contrary winds till near the middle of May. In the almost exactly five
years remaining of his life Richard never returned to England. He
belonged by nature to France, and England must have seemed a very foreign
land to him; but in passing judgment on him we must not overlook the fact
that England was secure and needed the presence of the king but little,
while many dangers threatened, or would seem to Richard to threaten, his
continental possessions. Even a Henry I would probably have spent those
five years abroad. Richard found the king of France pushing a new attack
on Normandy to occupy the lands which John had ceded him, but the French
forces withdrew without waiting to try the issue of a battle. Richard had
hardly landed before another enemy was overcome, by his own prudence
also, and another example given of the goodness of Richard's heart toward
his enemies and of his willingness to trust their professions. He had
said that his brother would never oppose force with force, and now John
was ready to abandon the conflict before it had begun. He came to
Richard, encouraged by generous words of his which were repeated to him,
and threw himself at his feet; he was at once pardoned and treated as if
he had never sinned, except that the military advantages he had had in
England through holding the king's castles were not given back to him.
Along all the border the mere presence of Richard seemed to check
Philip's advance and to bring to a better mind his own barons who had
been disposed to aid the enemy. About the middle of June almost all the
details of a truce were agreed upon by both sides, but the plan at last
failed, because Richard would not agree that the barons who had been on
the opposing sides in Poitou should be made to cease all hostilities
against each other, for this would be contrary, he said, to the ancient
custom of the land. The war went on a few weeks longer with no decisive
results. Philip destroyed Evreux, but fell back from Freteval so hastily,
to avoid an encounter with Richard, that he lost his baggage, including
his official records, and barely escaped capture himself. On November 1 a
truce for one year was finally made, much to the advantage Philip, but
securing to the king of England the time he needed for preparation.

When Richard crossed to Normandy not to return, he left England in the
hands of his new justiciar, Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, and
soon to be appointed legate of the pope, at once the head of Church and
State. No better man could have been found to stand in the place of the
king. Nephew of the wife of Glanvill, the great judge of Henry II's time,
spending much of his youth in the household of his uncle and some little
time also in the service of the king, he was by training and by personal
experience fitted to carry on the administration of England along the
lines laid down in the previous reign and even to carry forward law and
institutions in harmony with their beginnings and with the spirit of that
great period. Indeed the first itinerant justices' commission in definite
form that has come down to us dates but a few weeks after the king's
departure, and is of especial interest as showing a decided progress
since the more vague provisions of the Assize of Clarendon. A possible
source of danger to a successful ministry lay in the quarrelsome and
self-assertive Archbishop of York, the king's brother Geoffrey; but soon
after Richard's departure Hubert deprived him of power by a sharp stroke
and a skilful use of the administrative weapons with which he was
familiar. On complaint of Geoffrey's canons against him he sent a
commission of judges to York to examine the case, who ordered Geoffrey's
servants to be imprisoned on a charge of robbery, and on the archbishop's
refusal to appear before them to answer for himself they decreed the
confiscation of his estates. Geoffrey never recovered his position in
Richard's time.

The year 1195 in England and abroad passed by with few events of
permanent interest. Archbishop Hubert was occupied chiefly with
ecclesiastical matters and with the troubles of Geoffrey of York, and
conditions in the north were further changed by the closing of the long
and stormy career of the bishop, of Durham, Hugh of Puiset. In France the
truce was broken by Philip in June, and the war lingered until December
with some futile efforts at peace, but with no striking military
operations on either side. Early in December the two kings agreed on the
conditions of a treaty, which was signed on January 15, 1196. The terms
were still unfavourable to Richard; for Philip at last had Gisors and the
Norman Vexin ceded to him by competent authority and a part of his other
conquests and the overlordship of Angoulème, while Richard on his side
was allowed to retain only what he had taken in Berri.

As this treaty transferred to France the old frontier defences of
Normandy and opened the way down the Seine to a hostile attack upon
Rouen, the question of the building of new fortifications became an
important one to both the kings. The treaty contained a provision that
Andely should not be fortified. This was a most important strategic
position on the river, fitted by nature for a great fortress and
completely covering the capital of Normandy. At a point where the Seine
bends sharply and a small stream cuts through the line of limestone
cliffs on its right bank to join it, a promontory of rock three hundred
feet above the water holds the angle, cut off from the land behind it
except for a narrow isthmus, and so furnished the feudal castle-builder
with all the conditions which he required. The land itself belonged to
the Archbishop of Rouen, but Richard, to whom the building of a fortress
at the place was a vital necessity, did not concern himself seriously
with that point, and began the works which he had planned soon after the
signing of the treaty in which he had promised not to do so. The
archbishop who was still Walter of Coutances, Richard's faithful minister
of earlier days, protested without avail and finally retired to Rome,
laying the duchy under an interdict. Richard was no more to be stopped in
this case by an interdict than by his own promises, and went steadily on
with his work, though in the end he bought off the archbishop's
opposition by a transfer to him in exchange of other lands worth
intrinsically much more than the barren crag that he had seized. The
building occupied something more than a year, and when it was completed,
the castle was one of the strongest in the west. Richard had made use in
its fortification of the lessons which he learned in the Holy Land, where
the art of defence had been most carefully studied under compulsion; and
the three wards of the castle, its thick walls and strong towers, and the
defences crossing the river and in the town of New Andely at its foot,
seemed to make it impregnable. Richard took great pride in his creation.
He called it his fair child, and named it Chateau-Gaillard or "saucy

Philip had not allowed all this to go on without considering the treaty
violated, but the war of 1196 is of the same wearisome kind as that of
the previous year. The year brought with it some trouble in Britanny
arising from a demand of Richard's for the wardship of his nephew Arthur,
and resulting in the barons of Britanny sending the young prince to the
court of Philip. In England the rising of a demagogue in London to
protest against the oppression of the poor is of some interest. The
king's financial demands had never ceased; they could not cease, in fact,
and though England was prosperous from the long intervals of peace she
had enjoyed and bore the burden on the whole with great patience, it was
none the less heavily felt. In London there was a feeling not merely that
the taxes were heavy, but that they were unfairly assessed and collected,
so that they rested in undue proportion on the poorer classes. Of this
feeling William Fitz Osbert, called "William with the Beard," made
himself the spokesman. He opposed the measures of the ruling class,
stirred up opposition with fiery speeches, crossed over to the king, and,
basing on the king's interest in the subject a boast of his support,
threatened more serious trouble. Then the justiciar interfered by force,
dragged him out of sanctuary, and had him executed. The incident had a
permanent influence in the fact that Hubert Walter, who was already
growing unpopular, found his support from the clergy weakened because of
his violation of the right of sanctuary. He was also aggrieved because
Richard sent over from the continent the Abbot of Caen, experienced in
Norman finance, to investigate his declining revenues and to hold a
special inquisition of the sheriffs. The inquisition was not held because
of the death of the abbot, but later in the year Hubert offered to
resign, but finally decided to go on in office for a time longer.

The year 1197 promised great things for Richard in his war with the king
of France, but yielded little. He succeeded in forming a coalition among
the chief barons of the north, which recalls the diplomatic successes of
his ancestor, Henry I. The young Count Baldwin of Flanders and Hainault
had grievances of his own against Philip which he was anxious to avenge.
Count Philip, who had exercised so strong an influence over King Philip
at the time of his accession, had died early in the crusade, and the
Count of Hainault on succeeding him had been compelled to give up to
France a large strip of territory adjoining Philip's earlier annexation,
and on his death Count Baldwin had had to pay a heavy relief. The
coalition was joined by the Counts of Boulogne and Blois, and Britanny
was practically under the control of Richard. Philip, however, escaped
the danger that threatened him by some exercise of his varied talents of
which we do not know the exact details. Led on in pursuit of the Count of
Flanders until he was almost cut off from return, he purchased his
retreat by a general promise to restore the count all his rights and to
meet Richard in a conference on the terms of peace. On Richard's side the
single advantage gained during the campaign was the capture of the cousin
of the French king, Philip of Dreux, the warlike Bishop of Beauvais,
whose raids along the border and whose efforts at the court of Henry VI
of Germany against his release from imprisonment had so enraged Richard
that he refused upon any terms or under any pressure to set him free as
long as he lived. The interview between the kings took place on September
17, when a truce for something more than a year was agreed upon to allow
time for arranging the terms of a permanent peace.

The year closed in England with an incident of great interest, but one
which has sometimes been made to bear an exaggerated importance. At a
council of the kingdom held at Oxford on December 7, the justiciar
presented a demand of the king that the baronage should unite to send him
at their expense three hundred knights for a year's service with him
abroad. Evidently it was hoped that the clergy would set a good example.
The archbishop himself expressed his willingness to comply, and was
followed by the Bishop of London to the same effect. Then Bishop Hugh of
Lincoln, being called upon for his answer, to the great indignation of
the justiciar, flatly refused on the ground that his church was not
liable for service abroad. The Bishop of Salisbury, next called upon,
made the same refusal; and the justiciar seeing that the plan was likely
to fail dissolved the council in anger. One is tempted to believe that
some essential point is omitted from the accounts we have of this
incident, or that some serious mistake has been made in them, either in
the speech of Bishop Hugh given us in his biography or in the terms of
Richard's demand recorded in two slightly different forms. Hubert must
have believed that the baronage in general were going to follow the
example given them by the two bishops and refuse the required service, or
he would not have dissolved the council and reported to the king that his
plan had failed. But to refuse this service on the ground that it could
not be required except in England was to go against the unbroken practice
of more than a hundred years. Nor was there anything contrary to
precedent in the demand for three hundred knights to serve a year. The
union of the military tenants to equip a smaller force than the whole
service due to the lord, but for a longer time than the period of
required feudal service, was not uncommon. The demand implied a feudal
force due to the king from England of less than three thousand knights,
and this was well within his actual rights, though if we accept the very
doubtful statement of one of our authorities that their expenses were to
be reckoned at the rate of three shillings per day, the total cost would
exceed that of any ordinary scutage.

Richard clearly believed, as did his justiciar, that he was making no
illegal demand, for he ordered the confiscation of the baronies of the
two bishops, and Herbert of Salisbury was obliged to pay a fine. It was
only a personal journey to Normandy and the great reputation for sanctity
of the future St. Hugh of Lincoln that relieved him from the same
punishment. The importance of the right of consent to taxation in the
growth of the constitution has led many writers to attach a significance
to this incident which hardly belongs to it. Whatever were the grounds of
his action, the Bishop of Lincoln could have been acting on no general
constitutional principle. He must have been insisting on personal rights
secured to him by the feudal law. If his action contributed largely, as
it doubtless did, to that change of earlier conditions which led to the
beginning of the constitution, it was less because he tried to revive a
principle of general application, which as a matter of fact had never
existed, than because he established a precedent of careful scrutiny of
the king's rights and of successful resistance to a demand possibly of
doubtful propriety. It is as a sign of the times, as the mark of an
approaching revolution, that the incident has its real interest.

About the time that Richard sent over to England his demand for three
hundred knights news must have reached him of an event which would seem
to open the way to a great change in continental affairs. The
far-reaching plans of the emperor, Henry VI, had been brought to an end
by his death in Sicily on September 28, 1197, in the prime of his life.
His son, the future brilliant Emperor Frederick II, was still an infant,
and there was a prospect that the hold of the Hohenstaufen on the empire
might be shaken off. About Christmas time an embassy reached Richard from
the princes of Germany, summoning him on the fealty he owed the empire to
attend a meeting at Cologne on February 22 to elect an emperor. This he
could not do, but a formal embassy added the weight of his influence to
the strong Guelfic party; and his favourite nephew, who had been brought
up at his court, was elected emperor as Otto IV. The Hohenstaufen party
naturally did not accept the election, and Philip of Suabia, the brother
of Henry VI, was put up as an opposition emperor, but for the moment the
Guelfs were the stronger, and they enjoyed the support of the young and
vigorous pope, Innocent III, who had just ascended the papal throne, so
that even Philip II's support of his namesake of Suabia was of little

From the change Richard gained in reality nothing. It was still an age
when the parties to international alliances sought only ends to be gained
within their own territories, or what they believed should be rightfully
their territories, and the objects of modern diplomacy were not yet
regarded. The truce of the preceding September, which was to last through
the whole of the year 1198, was as little respected as the others had
been. As soon as it was convenient, the war was reopened, the baronial
alliance against the king of France still standing, and Baldwin of
Flanders joining in the attack. At the end of September Richard totally
defeated the French, and drove their army in wild flight through the town
of Gisors, precipitating Philip himself into the river Epte by the
breaking down of the bridge under the weight of the fugitives, and
capturing a long list of prisoners of distinction, three of them, a
Montmorency among them, overthrown by Richard's own lance, as he boasted
in a letter to the Bishop of Durham. Other minor successes followed, and
Philip found himself reduced to straits in which he felt obliged to ask
the intervention of the pope in favour of peace. Innocent III, anxious
for a new crusade and determined to make his influence felt in every
question of the day, was ready to interfere on his own account; and his
legate, Cardinal Peter, brought about an interview between the two kings
on January 13, 1199, when a truce for five years was verbally agreed
upon, though the terms of a permanent treaty were not yet settled.

In the meantime financial difficulties were pressing heavily upon the
king of England. Scutages for the war in Normandy had been taken in 1196
and 1197. In the next year a still more important measure of taxation
was adopted, which was evidently intended to bring in larger sums to the
treasury than an ordinary scutage. This is the tax known as the Great
Carucage of 1198. The actual revenue that the king derived from it is a
matter of some doubt, but the machinery of its assessment is described
in detail by a contemporary and is of special interest.[58] The unit of
the new assessment was to be the carucate, or ploughland, instead of
the hide, and consequently a new survey of the land was necessary to
take the place of the old Domesday record. To obtain this, practically
the same machinery was employed as in the earlier case, but to the
commissioners sent into each county by the central government two local
knights, chosen from the county, were added to form the body before whom
the jurors testified as to the ownership and value of the lands in their
neighbourhoods. Thanks to the rapid judicial advance and administrative
reforms of the past generation, the jury was now a familiar institution
everywhere and was used for many purposes. Its employment in this case
to fix the value of real property for taxation, and of personal property
as in the Saladin tithe of 1188, though but a revival of its earlier use
by William I, marks the beginning of a continuous employment of jurors
in taxation in the next period which led to constitutional results--the
birth of the representative system, and we may almost say to the origin
of Parliament in the proper meaning of the term--results of even greater
value in the growth of our civil liberty than any which came from it in
the sphere of judicial institutions important as these were.

Now in the spring of 1199 a story reached Richard of the finding of a
wonderful treasure on the land of the lord of Chalus, one of his under
vassals in the Limousin. We are told that it was the images of an
emperor, his wife, sons, and daughters, made of gold and seated round a
table also of gold. If the story were true, here was relief from his
difficulties, and Richard laid claim to the treasure as lord paramount of
the land. This claim was of course disputed, and with his mercenaries the
king laid siege to the castle of Chalus. It was a little castle and
poorly defended, but it resisted the attack for three days, and on the
third Richard, who carelessly approached the wall, was shot by a crossbow
bolt in the left shoulder near the neck. The wound was deep and was made
worse by the surgeon in cutting out the head of the arrow. Shortly
gangrene appeared, and the king knew that he must die. In the time that
was left him he calmly disposed of all his affairs. He sent for his
mother who was not far away, and she was with him when he died. He
divided his personal property among his friends and in charity, declared
John to be his heir, and made the barons who were present swear fealty to
him. He ordered the man who had shot him to be pardoned and given a sum
of money; then he confessed and received the last offices of the Church,
and died on April 6, 1199, in the forty-second year of his age.

The twelfth century was drawing to its end when Richard died, but the
close of the century was then as always in history a purely artificial
dividing line. The real historical epoch closed, a new age began with the
granting of the Great Charter. The date may serve, however, as a point
from which to review briefly one of the growing interests of England that
belongs properly within the field of its political history--its organized
municipal life. The twelfth century shows a slow, but on the whole a
constant, increase in the number, size, and influence of organized towns
in England, and of the commerce, domestic and foreign, on which their
prosperity rested. Even in the long disorder of Stephen's reign the
interruption of this growth seems to have been felt rather in particular
places than in the kingdom as a whole, and there was no serious set-back
of national prosperity that resulted from it. Not with the rapidity of
modern times, but fairly steadily through the century, new articles
appear in commerce; manufactures rise to importance, like that of cloth;
wealth and population accumulate in the towns, and they exert an
unceasing pressure on the king, or on the lords in whose domain they are,
for grants of privileges.

Such grants from the king become noticeably frequent in the reign of
Richard and are even more so under John. The financial necessities of
both kings and their recklessness, at least that of Richard, in the
choice of means to raise money, made it easy for the boroughs to purchase
the rights or exemptions they desired. The charters all follow a certain
general type, but there was no fixed measure of privilege granted by
them. Each town bargained for what it could get from a list of possible
privileges of some length. The freedom of the borough; the right of the
citizens to have a gild merchant; exemption from tolls, specified or
general, within a certain district or throughout all England or also
throughout the continental Angevin dominions; exemption from the courts
of shire and hundred, or from the jurisdiction of all courts outside the
borough, except in pleas of the crown, or even without this exception;
the right to farm the revenues of the borough, paying a fixed "firma," or
rent, to the king, and with this often the right of the citizens to elect
their own reeve or even sheriff to exempt them from the interference of
the king's sheriff of the county. This list is not a complete one of the
various rights and privileges granted by the charters, but only of the
more important ones.

To confer these all upon a town was to give it the fullest right obtained
by English towns and to put it practically in the position which London
had reached in the charter of Henry I's later years. London, if we may
trust our scanty evidence, advanced at one time during this period to a
position reached by no other English city, to the position of the French
commune.[59] Undoubtedly the word "commune," like other technical words,
was sometimes used at the time loosely and vaguely, but in its strict and
legal sense it meant a town raised to the position of a feudal vassal and
given all the rights as well as duties of a feudal lord, a seigneurie
collective populaire, as a French scholar has called it.[60] Thus
regarded, the town had a fulness of local independence to be obtained
in no other way. To such a position no English city but London attained,
and it may be thought that the evidence in London's case is not full
enough to warrant us in believing that it reached the exact legal status
of a commune.

We find it related as an incident of the struggle between John and
Longchamp in 1191, when Longchamp was deposed, that John and the barons
conceded the commune of London and took oath to it, and about the same
time we have proof that the city had its mayor. Documentary evidence has
also been discovered of the existence at the same date of the governing
body known on the continent as the échevins. But while the mayor and the
échevins are closely associated with the commune, their presence is not
conclusive evidence of the existence of a real commune, nor is the use of
the word itself, though the occurrence of the two together makes it more
probable. Early in 1215, when John was seeking allies everywhere against
the confederated barons, he granted a new charter to London, which
recognized the right of the citizens to elect their own mayor and required
him to swear fealty to the king. If we could be sure that this oath was
sworn for the city, it would be conclusive evidence, since the oath of the
mayor to the lord of whom the commune as a corporate person "held" was a
distinguishing mark of this relationship. The probability that such was
the case is confirmed by the fact that a few weeks later, in the famous
twelfth clause of the Great Charter, we find London put distinctly in the
position of a king's vassal. This evidence is strengthened by a comparison
with the corresponding clause of the Articles of the Barons, a kind of
preliminary draft of the Great Charter, and much less carefully drawn,
where there is added to London a general class of towns whose legal right
to the privilege granted it would not have been possible to defend.[61]
That London maintained its position among the king's vassals in the
legally accurate Great Charter is almost certain proof that it had some
right to be classed with them. But even if London was for a time a
commune, strictly speaking, it did not maintain the right in the next
reign, and that form of municipal organization plays no part in English
history.[62] It is under the form of chartered towns, not communes, that
the importance of the boroughs in English commercial and public life
continued to increase in the thirteenth as it had in the twelfth century.

[57] Ralph de Diceto, ii, 113.

[58] Roger of Howden, iv. 46.

[59] Round, The Commune of London.

[60] Luchaire, Communes Françaises, 97.

[61] Articles of the Barons, c. 32; Stubbs, Select Charters, 393.

[62] See London and the Commune in Engl. Hist. Rev., Oct. 1904.



The death of Richard raised a question of succession new in the history
of England since the Norman Conquest. The right of primogeniture, the
strict succession of the eldest born, carrying with it the right of the
son of a deceased elder brother to stand in the place of his father, the
principle which was in the end to prevail, had only begun to establish
itself. The drift of feeling was undoubtedly towards it, but this
appeared strongly in the present crisis only in the northwestern corner
of the Angevin dominions in France, where it was supported by still
stronger influences. The feudal law had recognized, and still recognized,
many different principles of succession, and the prevailing feeling in
England and Normandy is no doubt correctly represented in an incident
recorded by the biographer of William Marshal. On receiving the news of
Richard's death at Rouen, William went at once to consult with the
archbishop and to agree on whom they would support as heir. The
archbishop inclined at first to Arthur, the son and representative of
John's elder brother, Geoffrey, but William declared that the brother
stood nearer to his father and to his brother than the grandson, or
nephew, and the archbishop yielded the point without discussion. Neither
in England nor in Normandy did there appear the slightest disposition to
support the claims of Arthur, or to question the right of John, though
possibly there would have been more inclination to do so if the age of
the two candidates had been reversed, for Arthur was only twelve, while
John was past thirty.

Neither of the interested parties, however, was in the least disposed to
waive any claims which he possessed. John had had trouble with Richard
during the previous winter on a suspicion of treasonable correspondence
with Philip and because he thought his income was too scanty, and he was
in Britanny, even at the court of Arthur, when the news of Richard's
death reached him. He at once took horse with a few attendants and rode
to Chinon, where the king's treasure was kept, and this was given up
without demur on his demand by Robert of Turnharn, the keeper. Certain
barons who were there and the officers of Richard's household also
recognized his right, on his taking the oath which they demanded, that he
would execute his brother's will, and that he would preserve inviolate
the rightful customs of former times and the just laws of lands and
people. From Chinon John set out for Normandy, but barely escaped capture
on the way, for Arthur's party had not been idle in the meantime. His
mother with a force from Britanny had brought him with all speed to
Angers, where he was joyfully received. William des Roches, the greatest
baron of the country and Richard's seneschal of Anjou, had declared for
him at the head of a powerful body of barons, who probably saw in a weak
minority a better chance of establishing that local freedom from control
for which they had always striven than under another Angevin king. At Le
Mans Arthur was also accepted with enthusiasm as count a few hours after
a cold reception of John and his hasty departure.

There Constance and her son were met by the king of France, who, as soon
as God had favoured him by the removal of Richard,--so the French
regarded the matter,--seized the county of Evreux and pushed his
conquests almost to Le Mans. Arthur did homage to Philip for the
counties of Anjou, Maine, and Touraine; Tours received the young count as
Angers and Le Mans had done; Philip's right of feudal wardship was
admitted, and Arthur was taken to Paris under his secure protection,
secure for his own designs and against those of John. Philip could hardly
do otherwise than recognize the rights of Arthur. It was perhaps the most
favourable opportunity that had ever occurred to accomplish the
traditional policy of the Capetians of splitting apart the dominions of
the rival Norman or Angevin house. That policy, so long and so
consistently followed by Philip almost from his accession to the death of
Arthur, in the support in turn of young Henry, Richard, John, and Arthur
against the reigning king, was destined indeed never to be realized in
the form in which it had been cherished in the past; but the devotion of
a part of the Angevin empire to the cause of Arthur was a factor of no
small value in the vastly greater success which Philip won, greater than
any earlier king had ever dreamed of, greater than Philip himself had
dared to hope for till the moment of its accomplishment.

From Le Mans John went direct to Rouen. The barons of Normandy had
decided to support him, and on April 25 he was invested with the insignia
of the duchy by the archbishop, Walter of Coutances, taking the usual
oath to respect the rights of Church and people. His careless and
irreverent conduct during the ceremony displeased the clergy, as his
refusal to receive the communion on Easter day, a week before, had
offended Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, who came a part of the way with him from
Chinon. As the lance, the special symbol of investiture, was placed in
his hand, he turned to make some jocular remark to his boon companions
who were laughing and chattering behind him, and carelessly let it fall,
an incident doubtless considered at the time of evil omen, and easily
interpreted after the event as a presage of the loss of the duchy. From
Normandy John sent over to England to assist the justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz
Peter, in taking measures to secure his succession, two of the most
influential men of the land, William Marshal and Hubert Walter,
Archbishop of Canterbury, who had been in Normandy since the death of
Richard, while he himself remained a month longer on the continent, to
check, if possible, the current in favour of Arthur. He took Le Mans and
destroyed its walls in punishment, and sent a force to aid his mother in
Aquitaine; but the threatening attitude of Philip made it impossible for
him to accomplish very much. No slight influence on the side of John was
the strong support and vigorous action in his favour of that remarkable
woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine, then about eighty years of age. She seems
never to have cared for her grandson Arthur, and for this his mother was
probably responsible. Constance appears to have been a somewhat difficult
person, and what was doubtless still more important, she had never
identified herself with the interests of her husband's house, but had
always remained in full sympathy with the separatist tendencies and
independent desires of her own Britanny.[63] She had no right to count
on any help from Eleanor in carrying out her ambitions, and Aquitaine
was held as securely for John by his mother as Normandy was by the
decision of its leading barons.

In England, although no movement in favour of Arthur is perceptible,
there was some fear of civil strife, perhaps only of that disorder which
was apt to break out on the death of the king, as it did indeed in this
case, and many castles were put in order for defence. What disorder there
was soon put down by the representatives of the king, whom John had
appointed, and who took the fealty of the barons and towns to him. On the
part of a considerable number of the barons--the names that are recorded
are those of old historic families, Beaumont, Ferrers, Mowbray, De Lacy,
the Earls of Clare and Chester--there was found to be opposition to
taking the oath of fealty on the ground of injustice committed by the
administration. Whether these complaints were personal to each baron, as
the language has been taken to mean, or complaints of injustice in
individual cases wrought by the general policy of the government, as the
number of cases implies, it is hardly possible to say. The probability is
that both explanations are true. Certainly the old baronage could easily
find grounds enough of complaint in the constitutional policy steadily
followed by the government of the first two Angevin kings. The crisis was
wisely handled by the three able men whom John had appointed to represent
him. They called an assembly of the doubtful barons at Northampton and
gave to each one a promise that he should have his right (jus suum). In
return for these promises the oaths were taken, but the incident was as
ominous of another kind of trouble as the dropping of the lance at Rouen.
We can hardly understand the reign of John unless we remember that at its
very beginning men were learning to watch the legality of the king's
actions and to demand that he respect the limitations which the law
placed on his arbitrary will.

On May 25, John landed in England, and on the 27th, Ascension day, he was
crowned in Westminster by the Archbishop of Canterbury before a large
assembly of barons and bishops. The coronation followed the regular order,
and no dissenting voice made itself heard, though a rather unusual display
of force seems to have been thought necessary. Two authorities, both years
later and both untrustworthy, refer to a speech delivered during the
ceremony by the archbishop, in which he emphasized the fact that the
English crown was elective and not hereditary. Did not these authorities
seem to be clearly independent of one another we should forthwith reject
their testimony, but as it is we must admit some slight chance that such a
speech was made. One of these accounts, in giving what purports to be the
actual speech of Hubert Walter, though it must have been composed by the
writer himself, states a reason for it which could not possibly have been
entertained at the time.[64] The other gives as its reason the disputed
succession, but makes the archbishop refer not to the right of Arthur,
but to that of the queen of Castile, a reference which must also be
untrue.[65] If such a speech was made, it had reference unquestionably to
the case of Arthur, and it must be taken as a sign of the influence which
this case certainly had on the development, in the minds of some at least,
of something more like the modern understanding of the meaning of
election, and as a prelude to the great movement which characterizes the
thirteenth century, the rapid growth of ideas which may now without too
great violence be called constitutional. If such a speech was made we may
be sure also that it was not made without the consent of John, and that it
contained nothing displeasing to him. One of his first acts as king was to
make Hubert Walter his chancellor, and apparently the first document
issued by the new king and chancellor puts prominently forward John's
hereditary right, and states the share of clergy and people in his
accession in peculiar and vague language.[66]

John had no mind to remain long in England, nor was there any reason why
he should. The king of Scotland was making some trouble, demanding the
cession of Cumberland and Northumberland, but it was possible to postpone
for the present the decision of his claims. William Marshal was at last
formally invested with the earldom of Pembroke and Geoffrey Fitz Peter
with that of Essex. More important was a scutage, probably ordered at
this time, of the unusual rate of two marks on the knight's fee, twenty
shillings having been the previous limit as men remembered it. By June 20
John's business in England was done, and by July 1 he was again at Rouen
to watch the course of events in the conflict still undecided. On that
day a truce was made with Philip to last until the middle of August, and
John began negotiations with the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne and with
his nephew, Otto IV of Germany, in a search for allies, from whom he
gained only promises. On the expiration of the truce Philip demanded the
cession of the entire Vexin and the transfer to Arthur of Poitou, Anjou,
Maine, and Touraine,--a demand which indicates his determination to go
on with the war. For Poitou Philip had already received Eleanor's homage,
and she in turn invested John with it as her vassal. In the beginning of
the war which was now renewed Philip committed a serious error of policy,
to which he was perhaps tempted by the steady drift of events in his
favour since the death of Richard. Capturing the castle of Ballon in
Maine he razed it to the ground. William des Roches, the leader of
Arthur's cause, at once objected since the castle should belong to his
lord, and protested to the king that this was contrary to their
agreement, but Philip haughtily replied that he should do as he pleased
with his conquests in spite of Arthur. This was too early a declaration
of intentions, and William immediately made terms with John, carrying
over to him Arthur and his mother and the city of Le Mans. A slight study
of John's character ought to have shown to William that no dependence
whatever could be placed on his promise in regard to a point which would
seem to them both of the greatest importance. William took the risk,
however, binding John by solemn oath that Arthur should be dealt with
according to his counsel, a promise which was drawn up in formal charter.
On the very day of his arrival, it is said, Arthur was told of John's
intention to imprison him, and he fled away with his mother to Angers;
but William des Roches remained for a time in John's service.

The year 1199 closed with a truce preliminary to a treaty of peace which
was finally concluded on May 18. Philip II was at the moment in no
condition to push the war. He was engaged in a desperate struggle with
Innocent III and needed to postpone for the time being every other
conflict. Earlier in his reign on a political question he had defied a
pope, and with success; but Innocent III was a different pope, and on the
present question Philip was wrong. In 1193 he had repudiated his second
wife, Ingeborg of Denmark, the day after the marriage, and later married
Agnes of Meran whom he had hitherto refused to give up at the demand of
the Church. At the close of 1199 France was placed under an interdict
until the king should yield, and it was in this situation that the treaty
with John was agreed to. Philip for the moment abandoned his attempt
against the Angevin empire. John was recognized as rightful heir of the
French fiefs, and his homage was accepted for them all, including
Britanny, for which Arthur then did homage to John. These concessions
were not secured, however, without some sacrifices on the English side.
John yielded to Philip all the conquests which had been made from
Richard, and agreed to pay a relief of 20,000 marks for admission to his
fiefs. The peace was to be sealed by the marriage of John's niece, the
future great queen and regent of France, Blanche of Castile, to Philip's
son Louis, and the county of Evreux was to be ceded as her dower. The
aged but tireless Eleanor went to Spain to bring her granddaughter, and
the marriage was celebrated four days after the signing of the treaty,
Louis at the time being thirteen years old and Blanche twelve.

While his mother went to Spain for the young bride, John crossed to
England to raise money for his relief. This was done by ordering a
carucage at the rate of three shillings on the ploughland. The Cistercian
order objected to paying the tax because of the general immunity which
they enjoyed, and John in great anger commanded all the sheriffs to
refuse them the protection of the courts and to let go free of punishment
any who injured them, in effect to put them outside the law. This decree
he afterwards modified at the request of Hubert Walter, but he refused an
offer of a thousand marks for a confirmation of their charters and
liberties, and returned to Normandy in the words quoted by the
chronicler, "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the
servants of Christ."

John was now in a position where he should have used every effort to
strengthen himself against the next move of Philip, which he should have
known was inevitable, and where, if ever, he might hope to do so. Instead
of that, by a blunder in morals, in which John's greatest weakness lay,
by an act of passion and perfidy, he gave his antagonist a better excuse
than he could have hoped for when he was at last ready to renew the war.
John had now been for more than ten years married to Isabel of
Gloucester, and no children had been born of the marriage. In the
situation of the Angevin house he may well have wished for a direct heir
and have been ready to adopt the expedient common to sovereigns in such
cases. At any rate about this time he procured from the Bishops of
Normandy and Aquitaine a divorce, a formal annulling of the marriage on
the ground of consanguinity, the question raised at the time of their
marriage never, it would seem, having been settled by dispensation. Then
he sent off an embassy to ask for a daughter of the king of Portugal. In
the meantime he went on a progress through the French lands which had
been secured to him by treaty with Philip, and met the beautiful Isabel,
daughter of the Count of Angoulème, then twelve years of age, and
determined to marry her out of hand. The fact that she was already
betrothed to Hugh "the Brown," son and heir of his own vassal the Count
of La Marche, and that she was then living in the household of her
intended father-in-law, made no more difference to him than his own
embassy to Portugal. It seems possible indeed that it was in the very
castle of the Count of La Marche that the plan was formed. Isabel's
father also did not hesitate in the choice of sons-in-law, and his
daughter having been brought home, she was at once married to John. An
act of this kind was a most flagrant violation of the feudal contract,
nor was the moral blunder saved from being a political one by the fact
that the injured house was that of the Lusignans, great barons and long
turbulent and unruly vassals of Aquitaine. John had given them now a
legal right of appeal to his suzerain and a moral justification of

After his marriage John went back to England for the coronation of his
queen, which took place on October 8. At Lincoln he received the homage
of William of Scotland and made peace with the Cistercians, and then went
on a progress through the north as far as Carlisle. In the meantime, as
was to be expected, hostilities had begun with the family of the Count of
La Marche, and the king sent out a summons to the barons of England to
meet him at Portsmouth at Whitsuntide prepared for service abroad. On
receipt of this notice the earls held a meeting at Leicester and by
agreement replied to the king that they would not go over sea with him
unless he restored to them their rights. There is no evidence in the
single account we have of this incident that the earls intended to deny
their liability to service abroad. It is probable they intended to take
their position on the more secure principle that services due to the
suzerain who violated the rights of his vassal were for the time being,
at least, suspended. If this is so, the declaration of the earls is the
first clear evidence we have that the barons of England were beginning to
realize their legal right of resistance and to get sight of the great
principle which was so soon to give birth to the constitution. The result
of the opposition to John's summons we do not know, unless the statement
which follows in the chronicle that the king was demanding the castles of
the barons, and taking hostages if they retained them, was his answer to
their demand. At any rate they appeared as required at Portsmouth ready
for the campaign abroad, but John, instead of sending them over to
France, took away the money which they had brought to spend in his
service, and let them go home.

From the time of John's landing in Normandy, about June 1, 1201, until
the same time the next year, he was occupied with negotiating rather than
with fighting. Philip was not yet ready to take part himself in the war,
but he kept a careful watch of events and made John constantly aware that
he was not overlooking his conduct toward his vassals. Several interviews
were held between the kings of a not unfriendly character; the treaty of
the previous year was confirmed, and John was invited to Paris by Philip
and entertained in the royal palace. It was at first proposed that the
case between John and the Lusignans should be tried in his own court as
Count of Poitou, but he insisted upon such conditions that the trial was
refused. Meanwhile Philip's affairs were rapidly becoming settled and he
was able to take up again his plans of conquest. The death of Agnes of
Meran made possible a reconciliation with the Church, and the death of
the Count of Champagne added the revenues of that great barony to his own
through his wardship of the heir. In the spring of 1202 he was ready for
action. The barons of Poitou had already lodged an appeal with him as
overlord against the illegal acts of John. This gave him a legal
opportunity without violating any existing treaty. After an interview
with John on March 25, which left things as they were, a formal summons
was issued citing John to appear before Philip's court and answer to any
charges against him. He neither came nor properly excused himself, though
he tried to avoid the difficulty. He alleged that as Duke of Normandy he
could not be summoned to Paris for trial, and was answered that he had
not been summoned as Duke of Normandy but as Count of Poitou. He demanded
a safe conduct and was told that he could have one for his coming, but
that his return would depend on the sentence of the court. He said that
the king of England could not submit to such a trial, and was answered
that the king of France could not lose his rights over a vassal because
he happened to have acquired another dignity. Finally, John's legal
rights of delay and excuse being exhausted, the court decreed that he
should be deprived of all the fiefs which he held of France on the ground
of failure of service. All the steps of this action from its beginning to
its ending seem to have been perfectly regular, John being tried, of
course, not on the appeal of the barons of Poitou which had led to the
king's action, but for his refusal to obey the summons, and the severe
sentence with which it closed was that which the law provided, though it
was not often enforced in its extreme form, and probably would not have
been in this case if John had been willing to submit.[67]

The sentence of his court Philip gladly accepted, and invaded Normandy
about June 1, capturing place after place with almost no opposition from
John. Arthur, now sixteen years old, he knighted, gave him the
investiture of all the Angevin fiefs except Normandy, and betrothed him
to his own daughter Mary. On August 1 occurred an event which promised at
first a great success for John, but proved in its consequences a main
cause of his failure, and led to the act of infamy by which he has ever
since been most familiarly known. Arthur, hearing that his grandmother
Eleanor was at the castle of Mirebeau in Poitou with a small force, laid
siege to the castle to capture her as John's chief helper, and quickly
carried the outer works. Eleanor had managed, however, to send off a
messenger to her son at Le Mans, and John, calling on the fierce energy
he at times displayed, covered the hundred miles between them in a day
and a night, surprised the besiegers by his sudden attack, and captured
their whole force. To England he wrote saying that the favour of God had
worked with him wonderfully, and a man more likely to receive the favour
of God might well think so. Besides Arthur, he captured Hugh of Lusignan
the younger and his uncle Geoffrey, king Richard's faithful supporter in
the Holy Land, with many of the revolted barons and, as he reported with
probable exaggeration, two hundred knights and more. Philip, who was
besieging Arques, on hearing the news, retired hastily to his own land
and in revenge made a raid on Tours, which in his assault and John's
recapture was almost totally destroyed by fire. The prisoners and booty
were safely conveyed to Normandy, and Arthur was imprisoned at Falaise.

Instantly anxiety began to be felt by the friends of Arthur as to his
fate. William des Roches, who was still in the service of John, went to
the king with barons from Britanny and asked that his prisoner be given up
to them. Notwithstanding the written promise and oath which John had given
to follow the counsel of William in his treatment of Arthur, he refused
this request. William left the king's presence to go into rebellion, and
was joined by many of the barons of Britanny; at the end of October they
got possession of Angers. It was a much more serious matter that during
the autumn and winter extensive disaffection and even open treason began
to show themselves among the barons of Normandy. What disposition should
be made of Arthur was, no doubt, a subject of much debate in the king's
mind, and very likely with his counsellors, during the months that
followed the capture. John's lack of insight was on the moral side, not
at all on the intellectual, and he no doubt saw clearly that so long as
Arthur lived he never could be safe from the designs of Philip. On the
other hand he probably did not believe that Philip would seriously attempt
the unusual step of enforcing in full the sentence of the court against
him, and underestimated both the danger of treason and the moral effect of
the death of Arthur. What the fate of the young Count of Britanny really
was no one has ever known. The most accurate statement of what we do know
is that of an English chronicler[68] who says that he was removed from
Falaise to Rouen by John's order and that not long after he suddenly
disappeared, and we may add that this disappearance must have been about
the Easter of 1203. Many different stories were in circulation at the time
or soon after, accounting for his death as natural, or accidental, or a
murder, some of them in abundant detail, but in none of these can we have
any confidence. The only detail of the history which seems historically
probable is one we find in an especially trustworthy chronicler, which
represents John as first intending to render Arthur incapable of ruling by
mutilation and sending men to Falaise to carry out this plan.[69] It was
not done, though Arthur's custodian, Hubert de Burgh, thought it best to
give out the report that it had been, and that the young man had died in
consequence. The report roused such a storm of anger among the Bretons
that Hubert speedily judged it necessary to try to quiet it by evidence
that Arthur was still alive, and John is said not to have been angry that
his orders had been disobeyed. It is certain, however, that he learned no
wisdom from the result of this experiment, and that Arthur finally died
either by his order or by his hand.

It is of some interest that in all the contemporary discussion of this
case no one ever suggested that John was personally incapable of such a
violation of his oath or of such a murder with his own hand. He is of all
kings the one for whose character no man, of his own age or later, has
ever had a good word. Historians have been found to speak highly of his
intellectual or military abilities, but words have been exhausted to
describe the meanness of his moral nature and his utter depravity. Fully
as wicked as William Rufus, the worst of his predecessors, he makes on
the reader of contemporary narratives the impression of a man far less
apt to be swept off his feet by passion, of a cooler and more deliberate,
of a meaner and smaller, a less respectable or pardonable lover of vice
and worker of crimes. The case of Arthur exhibits one of his deepest
traits, his utter falsity, the impossibility of binding him, his
readiness to betray any interest or any man or woman, whenever tempted to
it. The judgment of history on John has been one of terrible severity,
but the unanimous opinion of contemporaries and posterity is not likely
to be wrong, and the failure of personal knowledge and of later study to
find redeeming features assures us of their absence. As to the murder of
Arthur, it was a useless crime even if judged from the point of view of a
Borgian policy merely, one from which John had in any case little to gain
and of which his chief enemy was sure to reap the greatest advantage.

Soon after Easter Philip again took the field, still ignorant of the fate
of Arthur, as official acts show him to have been some months later.
Place after place fell into his hands with no serious check and no active
opposition on the part of John, some opening their gates on his approach,
and none offering an obstinate resistance. The listless conduct of John
during the loss of Normandy is not easy to explain. The only suggestion
of explanation in the contemporary historians is that of the general
prevalence of treason in the duchy, which made it impossible for the king
to know whom to trust and difficult to organize a sufficient defence to
the advance of Philip, and undoubtedly this factor in the case should
receive more emphasis than it has usually been given. Other kings had had
to contend with extensive treason on the part of the Norman barons, but
never in quite the same circumstances and probably never of quite the
same spirit. Treason now was a different thing from that of mere feudal
barons in their alliance with Louis VII in the reign of Henry I. It might
be still feudal in form, but its immediate and permanent results were
likely to be very different. It was no temporary defection to be overcome
by some stroke of policy or by the next turn of the wheel. It was joining
the cause of Philip Augustus and the France which he had done so much
already to create; it was being absorbed in the expansion of a great
nation to which the duchy naturally belonged, and coming under the
influence of rapidly forming ideals of nationality, possibly even induced
by them more or less consciously felt. This may have been treason in
form, but in real truth it was a natural and inevitable current, and
from it there was no return. John may have felt something of this.
Its spirit may have been in the atmosphere, and its effect would be
paralyzing. Still we find it impossible to believe that Henry I in the
same circumstances would have done no more than John did to stem the tide.
He seemed careless and inert. He showed none of the energy of action
or clearness of mind which he sometimes exhibits. Men came to him with
the news of Philip's repeated successes, and he said, "Let him go on, I
shall recover one day everything he is taking now"; though what he was
depending on for this result never appears. Perhaps he recognized
the truth of what, according to one account, William Marshal told him to
his face, that he had made too many enemies by his personal conduct,[70]
and so he did not dare to trust any one; but we are tempted after all
explanation to believe there was in the case something of that moral
breakdown in dangerous crises which at times comes to men of John's

By the end of August Philip was ready for the siege of the
Château-Gaillard, Richard's great fortress, the key to Rouen and so to
the duchy. John seems to have made one attempt soon after to raise the
siege, but with no very large forces, and the effort failed; it may even
have led to the capture of the fort on the island in the river and the
town of Les Andelys by the French. Philip then drew his lines round the
main fortress and settled down to a long blockade. The castle was
commanded by Roger de Lacy, a baron faithful to John, and one who could
be trusted not to give up his charge so long as any further defence was
possible. He was well furnished with supplies, but as the siege went on
he found himself obliged, following a practice not infrequent in the
middle ages, to turn out of the castle, to starve between the lines, some
hundreds of useless mouths of the inhabitants of Les Andelys, who had
sought refuge there on the capture of the town by the French. Philip
finally allowed them to pass his lines. Chateau-Gaillard was at last
taken not by the blockade, but by a series of assaults extending through
about two weeks and closing with the capture of the third or inner ward
and keep on March 6, 1204, an instance of the fact of which the history
of medieval times contains abundant proof, that the siege appliances of
the age were sufficient for the taking of the strongest fortress unless
it were in a situation inaccessible to them. In the meantime John, seeing
the hopelessness of defending Normandy with the resources left him there,
and even, it is said, fearing treasonable designs against his person, had
quitted the duchy in what proved to be a final abandonment and crossed to
England on December 5. He landed with no good feeling towards the English
barons whom he accused of leaving him at the mercy of his enemies, and he
ordered at once a tax of one-seventh of the personal property of clergy
and laymen alike. This was followed by a scutage at the rate of two marks
on the knight's fee, determined on at a great council held at Oxford
early in January. But, notwithstanding these taxes and other ways of
raising money, John seems to have been embarrassed in his measures of
defence by a lack of funds, while Philip was furnished with plenty to
reinforce the victories of his arms with purchased support where
necessary, and to attract John's mercenaries into his service.

After the fall of Chateau-Gaillard events drew rapidly to a close. John
tried the experiment of an embassy headed by Hubert Walter and William
Marshal to see if a peace could be arranged, but Philip naturally set his
terms so high that nothing was to be lost by going on with the war,
however disastrous it might prove. He demanded the release of Arthur, or,
if he were not living, of his sister Eleanor, with the cession to either
of them of the whole continental possessions of the Angevins. In the
interview Philip made known the policy that he proposed to follow in
regard to the English barons who had possessions in Normandy, for he
offered to guarantee to William Marshal and his colleague, the Earl of
Leicester, their Norman lands if they would do him homage. Philip's
wisdom in dealing with his conquests, leaving untouched the possessions
and rights of those who submitted, rewarding with gifts and office those
who proved faithful, made easy the incorporation of these new territories
in the royal domain. By the end of May nearly all the duchy was in the
hands of the French, the chief towns making hardly a show of resistance,
but opening their gates readily on the offer of favourable terms. For
Rouen, which was reserved to the last, the question was a more serious
one, bound as it was to England by commercial interests and likely to
suffer injury if the connexion were broken. Philip granted the city a
truce of thirty days on the understanding that it should be surrendered
if the English did not raise the siege within that time. The messengers
sent to the king in England returned with no promise of help, and on June
24 Philip entered the capital of Normandy.

With the loss of Normandy nothing remained to John but his mother's
inheritance, and against this Philip next turned. Queen Eleanor,
eighty-two years of age, had closed her marvellous career on April 1, and
no question of her rights stood in the way of the absorption of all
Aquitaine in France. The conquest of Touraine and Poitou was almost as
easy as that of Normandy, except the castles of Chinon and Loches which
held out for a year, and the cities of Niort, Thouars, and La Rochelle.
But beyond the bounds of the county of Poitou Philip made no progress. In
Gascony proper where feudal independence of the old type still survived
the barons had no difficulty in perceiving that Philip Augustus was much
less the sort of king they wished than the distant sovereign of England.
No local movement in his favour or national sympathy prepared the way for
an easy conquest, nor was any serious attempt at invasion made. Most of
the inheritance of Eleanor remained to her son, though not through any
effort of his, and the French advance stopped at the capture of the
castles of Loches and Chinon in the summer of 1205. John had not remained
in inactivity in England all this time, however, without some impatience?
but efforts to raise sufficient money for any considerable undertaking or
to carry abroad the feudal levies of the country had all failed. At the
end of May, 1205, he did collect at Portchester what is described as a
very great fleet and a splendid army to cross to the continent, but
Hubert Walter and William Marshal, supported by others of the barons,
opposed the expedition so vigorously and with so many arguments that the
king finally yielded to their opposition though with great reluctance.

The great duchy founded three hundred years before on the colonization of
the Northmen, always one of the mightiest of the feudal states of France,
all the dominions which the counts of Anjou had struggled to bring
together through so many generations, the disputed claims on Maine and
Britanny recognized now for a long time as going with Normandy, a part
even of the splendid possessions of the dukes of Aquitaine;--all these in
little more than two years Philip had transferred from the possession of
the king of England to his own, and all except Britanny to the royal
domain. If we consider the resources with which he began to reign, we
must pronounce it an achievement equalled by few kings. For the king of
England it was a corresponding loss in prestige and brilliancy of
position. John has been made to bear the responsibility of this disaster,
and morally with justice; but it must not be forgotten that, as the
modern nations were beginning to take shape and to become conscious of
themselves, the connexion with England would be felt to be unnatural, and
that it was certain to be broken. For England the loss of these
possessions was no disaster; it was indeed as great a blessing as to
France. The chief gain was that it cut off many diverting interests from
the barons of England, just at a time when they were learning to be
jealous of their rights at home and were about to enter upon a struggle
with the king to compel him to regard the law in his government of the
country, a struggle which determined the whole future history of the

[63] See Walter of Coventry, ii. 196.

[64] Matth. Paris, ii. 455.

[65] Rymer, Foedera, i. 140.

[66] Rymer, Foedera, i. 75.

[67] But see Guilhiermoz, Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, lx.
(1899), 45-85, whose argument is, however, not convincing.

[68] Roger of Wendover, iii. 170.

[69] Ralph of Coggeshall, 139-141.

[70] L'Histoire de Guillaume la Maréchal, ll. 12737-12741.



The loss of the ancient possessions of the Norman dukes and the Angevin
counts marks the close of an epoch in the reign of John; but for the
history of England and for the personal history of the king the period is
more appropriately closed by the death of Archbishop Hubert Walter on
July 13, 1205, for the consequences which followed that event lead us
directly to the second period of the reign. Already at the accession of
John one of the two or three men of controlling influence on the course
of events, trained not merely in the school of Henry II, but by the
leading part he had played in the reign of Richard, there is no doubt
that he had kept a strong hand on the government of the opening years of
the new reign, and that his personality had been felt as a decided check
by the new king. We may believe also that as one who had been brought up
by Glanvill, the great jurist of Henry's time, and who had a large share
in carrying the constitutional beginnings of that time a further stage
forward, but who was himself a practical statesman rather than a lawyer,
he was one of the foremost teachers of that great lesson which England
was then learning, the lesson of law, of rights and responsibilities,
which was for the world at large a far more important result of the legal
reforms of the great Angevin monarch than anything in the field of
technical law. It is easy to believe that a later writer records at least
a genuine tradition of the feeling of John when he makes him exclaim on
hearing of the archbishop's death, "Now--for the first time am I king of
England." In truth practically shut up now for the first time to his
island kingdom, John was about to be plunged into that series of quarrels
and conflicts which fills the remainder of his life.

For the beginning of the conflict which gives its chief characteristic to
the second period of his reign, the conflict with the pope and the
Church, John is hardly to be blamed, at least not from the point of view
of a king of England. With the first scene of the drama he had nothing to
do; in the second he was doing no more than all his predecessors had done
with scarcely an instance of dispute since the Norman Conquest. There had
long been two questions concerning elections to the see of Canterbury
that troubled the minds of the clergy. The monks of the cathedral church
objected to the share which the bishops of the province had acquired in
the choice of their primate, and canonically they were probably right.
They also objected, and the bishops, though usually acting on the side of
the king, no doubt sympathized with them, to the virtual appointment of
the archbishop by the king. This objection, though felt by the clergy
since the day when Anselm had opened the way into England to the
principles of the Hildebrandine reformation, had never yet been given
decided expression in overt act or led to any serious struggle with the
sovereign; and it is clear that it would not have done so in this
instance if the papal throne had not been filled by Innocent III. That
great ecclesiastical statesman found in the political situation of more
than one country of Europe opportunities for the exercise of his decided
genius which enabled him to attain more nearly to the papacy of Gregory
VII's ideal than had been possible to any earlier pope, and none of his
triumphs was greater than that which he won from the opportunity offered
him in England.

On Archbishop Hubert's death a party of the monks of Canterbury
determined to be beforehand with the bishops and even with the king. They
secretly elected their subprior to the vacant see, and sent him off to
Rome to be confirmed before their action should be known, but the
personal vanity of their candidate betrayed the secret, and his boasting
that he was the elect of Canterbury was reported back from the continent
to England to the anger of the monks, who then sent a deputation to the
king and asked permission in the regular way to proceed to an election.
John gave consent, and suggested John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, as his
candidate, since he was "alone of all the prelates of England in
possession of his counsels." The bishop was elected by the chapter; both
bishops and monks were induced to withdraw the appeals they had made to
Rome on their respective rights, and, on December 11, the new archbishop
was enthroned and invested with the fiefs of Canterbury by the king. Of
course the pallium from the pope was still necessary, and steps were at
once taken to secure it. Innocent took plenty of time to consider the
situation and did not render his decision until the end of March, 1206,
declaring then against the king's candidate and ordering a deputation of
the monks to be sent him, duly commissioned to act for the whole chapter.
King and bishops were also told to be represented at the final decision.
The pope's action postponed the settlement of the question for six
months, and the interval was spent by John in an effort to recover
something of his lost dominions, undertaken this time with some promise
of success because of active resistance to Philip in Poitou. On this
occasion no objection to the campaign was made by the barons, and with a
large English force John landed at La Rochelle on June 7. Encouraged by
his presence the insurrection spread through the greater part of Poitou
and brought it back into his possession. He even invaded Anjou and held
its capital for a time, and reached the borders of Maine, but these
conquests he could not retain after Philip took the field against him in
person; but on his side Philip did not think it wise to attempt the
recovery of Poitou. On October 26 a truce for two years was proclaimed,
each side to retain what it then possessed, but John formally abandoning
all rights north of the Loire during the period of the truce.

John did not return to England until near the middle of December, but
even at that date Innocent III had not decided the question of the
Canterbury election. On December 20 he declared against the claim of the
bishops and against the first secret election by the monks, and under his
influence the deputation from Canterbury elected an Englishman and
cardinal highly respected at Rome both for his character and for his
learning, Stephen of Langton. The representatives of the king at Rome
refused to agree to this election, and the pope himself wrote to John
urging him to accept the new archbishop, but taking care to make it clear
that the consent of the king was not essential, and indeed he did not
wait for it. After correspondence with John in which the king's anger and
his refusal to accept Langton were plainly expressed, on June 17, 1207,
he consecrated Stephen archbishop. John's answer was the confiscation of
the lands of the whole archbishopric, apparently those of the convent as
well as those of the archbishop, and the expulsion of the monks from the
country as traitors, while the trial in England of all appeals to the
pope was forbidden.

Before this violent proceeding against the Canterbury monks, the
financial necessities of John had led to an experiment in taxation which
embroiled him to almost the same extent with the northern province. Not
the only one, but the chief source of the troubles of John's reign after
the loss of Normandy, and the main cause of the revolution in which the
reign closed, is to be found in the financial situation of the king. The
normal expenses of government had been increasing rapidly in the last
half century. The growing amount and complexity of public and private
business, to be expected in a land long spared the ravages of war, which
showed itself in the remarkable development of judicial and
administrative machinery during the period, meant increased expenses in
many directions not to be met by the increased income from the new
machinery. The cost of the campaigns in France was undoubtedly great, and
the expense of those which the king desired to undertake was clearly
beyond the resources of the country, at least beyond the resources
available to him by existing methods of taxation. Nor was John a saving
and careful housekeeper who could make a small income go a long ways. The
complete breakdown of the ordinary feudal processes of raising revenue,
the necessity forced upon the king of discovering new sources of income,
the attempt within a single generation to impose on the country something
like the modern methods and regularity of taxation, these must be taken
into account as elements of decided importance in any final judgment we
may form of the struggles of John's reign and their constitutional
results. Down to this date a scutage had been imposed every year since
the king's accession, at the rate of two marks on the fee except on the
last occasion when the tax had been twenty shillings. Besides these there
had been demanded the carucage of 1200 and the seventh of personal
property of 1204, to say nothing of some extraordinary exactions. But
these taxes were slow in coming in; the machinery of collection was still
primitive, and the amount received in any year was far below what the tax
should have yielded.

At a great council held in London on January 8 the king asked the bishops
and abbots present to grant him a tax on the incomes of all beneficed
clergy. The demand has a decidedly modern sound. Precedents for taxation
of this sort had been made in various crusading levies, in the expedients
adopted for raising Richard's ransom, and in the seventh demanded by John
in 1204, which was exacted from at least a part of the clergy, but these
were all more or less exceptional cases, and there was no precedent for
such a tax as a means of meeting the ordinary expenses of the state. The
prelates refused their consent, and the matter was deferred to a second
great council to be held at Oxford a month later. This council was
attended by an unusually large number of ecclesiastics, and the king's
proposition, submitted to them again, was again refused. The council,
however, granted the thirteenth asked, to be collected of the incomes and
personal property of the laity. But John had no mind to give up his plan
because it had not been sanctioned by the prelates in general assembly,
and he proceeded, apparently by way of individual consent, doubtless
practically compulsory as usual, to collect the same tax from the whole
clergy, the Cistercians alone excepted. A tax of this kind whether of
laity or clergy was entirely non-feudal, foreign both in nature and
methods to the principles of feudalism, and a long step toward modern
taxation, but it was some time before the suggestion made by it was taken
up by the government as one of its ordinary resources. Archbishop
Geoffrey of York, the king's brother, who since the death of his father
seemed never to be happy unless in a quarrel with some one, took it upon
himself to oppose violently the taxation of his clergy, though he had
enforced the payment of a similar tax for Richard's ransom. Finding that
he could not prevent it he retired from the country, excommunicating the
despoilers of the church, and his lands were taken in hand by the king.

The expulsion of the monks of Canterbury was a declaration of war against
the Church and the pope, and the Church was far more powerful, more
closely organized, and more nearly actuated by a single ideal, than in
the case of any earlier conflict between Church and State in England, and
the pope was Innocent III, head of the world in his own conception of his
position and very nearly so in reality. There was no chance that a
declaration of war would pass unanswered, but the pope did not act
without deliberation. On the news of what the king had done he wrote to
the Bishops of London, Ely, and Worcester, directing them to try to
persuade John to give way, and if he obstinately continued his course, to
proclaim an interdict. This letter was written on August 27, but the
interdict was not actually put into force until March 24,1208,
negotiations going on all the winter, and John displaying, as he did
throughout the whole conflict, considerable ability in securing delay and
in keeping opponents occupied with proposals which he probably never
intended to carry out. At last a date was set on which the interdict
would be proclaimed if the king had not yielded by that time, and he was
given an opportunity of striking the first blow which he did not neglect.
He ordered the immediate confiscation of the property of all the clergy
who should obey the interdict.

The struggle which follows exhibits, as nothing else could do so well,
the tremendous power of the Norman feudal monarchy, the absolute hold
which it had on state and nation even on the verge of its fall. John had
not ruled during these eight years in such a way as to strengthen his
personal position. He had been a tyrant; he had disregarded the rights of
batons as well as of clergy; he had given to many private reasons of
hatred; he had lost rather than won respect by the way in which he had
defended his inheritance in France his present cause, if looked at from
the point of view of Church and nation and not from that of the royal
prerogative alone, was a bad one. The interdict was a much dreaded
penalty, suspending some of the most desired offices of religion, and,
while not certainly dooming all the dying to be lost in the world to
come, at least rendering their state to the pious mind somewhat doubtful;
and, though the effect of the spiritual terrors of the Church had been a
little weakened by their frequent use on slight occasions, the age was
still far distant when they could be disregarded. We should expect John
to prove as weak in the war with Innocent as he had in that with Philip,
and at such a test to find his power crumbling without recovery. What we
really find is a successful resistance kept up for years, almost without
expressed opposition, a great body of the clergy reconciling themselves
to the situation as best they could; a period during which the affairs of
the state seem to go on as if nothing were out of order, the period of
John's greatest tyranny, of almost unbridled power. And when he was
forced to yield at last, it was to a foreign attack, to a foreign attack
combined, it is true, with an opposition at home which had been long
accumulating, but no one can say how long this opposition might have gone
on accumulating before it would have grown strong enough to check the
king of itself.

The interdict seems to have been generally observed by the clergy. The
Cistercians at first declared that they were not bound to respect it, but
they were after a time forced by the pope to conform. Baptism and extreme
unction were allowed; marriages might be celebrated at the church door;
but no masses were publicly said, and all the ordinary course of the
sacraments was intermitted; the dead were buried in unconsecrated ground,
and the churches were closed except to those who wished to make
offerings. Nearly all the bishops went into exile. Two only remained in
the end, both devoted more to the king than to the Church; John de Grey,
Bishop of Norwich, employed during most of the time in secular business
in Ireland, and Peter des Roches, appointed Bishop of Winchester in 1205,
destined to play a leading part against the growing liberties of the
nation in the next reign, and now, as a chronicler says, occupied less
with defending the Church than in administering the king's affairs. The
general confiscation of Church property must have relieved greatly the
financial distress of the king, and during the years when these lands
were administered as part of the royal domains, we hear less of attempts
at national taxation. John did not stop with confiscation of the goods of
the clergy. Their exemption from the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts
of the state was suspended, and they were even in some cases denied the
protection of the laws. It is said that once there came to the king on
the borders of Wales officers of one of the sheriffs, leading a robber
with his hands bound behind his back, who had robbed and killed a priest,
and they asked the king what should be done with him. "He has killed
one of my enemies. Loose him and let him go," ordered John. After the
interdict had been followed by the excommunication of the king, Geoffrey,
Archdeacon of Norwich, urged upon his associates at the exchequer that it
was not safe for those who were in orders to remain in the service of an
excommunicate king, and left the court without permission and went home.
John hearing this sent William Talbot after him with a band of soldiers,
who arrested the archdeacon, and loaded him with chains, and threw him
into prison. There shortly after by the command of the king he was
pressed to death. It was by acts like these, of which other instances are
on record, that John terrorized the country and held it quiet under his

Even the greatest barons were subjected to arbitrary acts of power of the
same kind. On the slightest occasion of suspicion the king demanded their
sons or other relatives, or their vassals, as hostages, a measure which
had been in occasional use before, but which John carried to an extreme.
The great earl marshal himself, who, if we may trust his biographer, was
never afraid to do what he thought honour demanded, and was always able
to defend himself in the king's presence with such vigorous argument that
nothing could be done with him, was obliged to give over to the king's
keeping first his eldest and then his second son. The case of William de
Braóse is that most commonly cited. He had been a devoted supporter of
John and had performed many valuable services in his interest, especially
at the time of the coronation. For these he had received many marks of
royal favour, and was rapidly becoming both in property and in family
alliances one of the greatest barons of the land. About the time of the
proclamation of the interdict a change took place in his fortunes. For
some reason he lost the favour of the king and fell instead under his
active enmity. According to a formal statement of the case, which John
thought well to put forth afterwards, he had failed to pay large sums
which he had promised in return for the grants that had been made him;
and the records support the accusation.[71] According to Roger of
Wendover the king had a personal cause of anger. On a demand of
hostages from her husband, the wife of William had rashly declared to
the officers that her sons should never be delivered to the king because
he had basely murdered his nephew Arthur, whom he was under obligation
to guard honourably, and it is impossible to believe that it was merely
delay in paying money that excited the fierce persecution that followed.
William with his family took refuge in Ireland, where he was received by
William Marshal and the Lacies, but John pursued him thither, and he was
again obliged to fly. His wife and son, attempting to escape to Scotland,
were seized in Galloway by a local baron and delivered to John, who
caused them to be starved to death in prison.

It may seem strange at the present day that the absolutism of the king
did not bring about a widespread rebellion earlier than it did. One of
the chief causes of his strength is to be found in the bands of mercenary
soldiers which he maintained, ready to do any bidding at a moment's
notice, under the command of men who were entirely his creatures, like
Gerald of Athies, a peasant of Touraine, who with some of his fellows was
thought worthy of mention by name in the Great Charter. The cost of
keeping these bands devoted to his service was no doubt one of the large
expenses of the reign. Another fact of greater permanent interest that
helped to keep up the king's power is the lack of unity among the barons,
of any feeling of a common cause, but rather the existence of jealousies,
and open conflicts even, which made it impossible to bring them together
in united action in their own defence. The fact is of especial importance
because it was the crushing tyranny of John that first gave rise to the
feeling of corporate unity in the baronage, and the growth of this
feeling is one of the great facts of the thirteenth century.

At the beginning of 1209 Innocent III had threatened the immediate
excommunication of John, but the king had known how to keep him, and the
bishops who represented him in the negotiations, occupied with one
proposition of compromise after another until almost the close of the
year. The summer was employed in settling affairs with Scotland, which
down to this time had not been put into form satisfactory to either king.
A meeting at the end of April led to no result, but in August, after
armies of the two countries had faced each other on the borders, a treaty
was agreed upon. William the Lion was not then in a condition to insist
strongly on his own terms, and the treaty was much in favour of John. The
king of Scotland promised to pay 15,000 marks, and gave over two of his
daughters to John to be given in marriage by him. In a later treaty
John was granted the same right with respect to Alexander, the heir of
Scotland, arrangements that look very much like a recognition of the
king of England as the overlord of Scotland. In Wales also quarrels among
the native chieftains enabled John to increase his influence in the still
unconquered districts. In November the long-deferred excommunication fell
upon the unrepentant king, but it could not be published in England.
There were no bishops left in the country who were acting in the
interests of the pope, and John took care that there should be no means
of making any proclamation of the sentence in his kingdom. The
excommunication was formally published in France, and news of it passed
over to England, but no attention was paid to it there. For the
individual, excommunication was a more dreaded penalty than the
interdict. The interdict might compel a king to yield by the public fear
and indignation which it would create, but an excommunication cut him off
as a man completely from the Church and all its mercies, cast him out of
the community of Christians, and involved in the same awful fate all who
continued to support him, or, indeed, to associate with him in any way.
Even more than the interdict, the excommunication reveals the terrible
strength of the king. When the time came for holding the Christmas court
of 1209, the fact that it had been pronounced was generally known, but it
made no difference in the attendance. All the barons are said to have
been present and to have associated with the king as usual, though there
must have been many of them who trembled at the audacity of the act, and
who would have withdrawn entirely from him if they had dared. On his
return from the north John had demanded and obtained a renewal of homage
from all the free tenants of the country. The men of Wales had even been
compelled to go to Woodstock to render it. It is quite possible that this
demand had been made in view of the excommunication that was coming; the
homage must certainly have been rendered by many who knew that the
sentence was hanging over the king's head.

The year 1210 is marked by an expedition of John with an army to Ireland.
Not only were William de Braóse and his wife to be punished, but the
Lacies had been for some time altogether too independent, and the conduct
of William Marshal was not satisfactory. The undertaking occasioned the
first instance of direct taxation since the lands of the Church had been
taken in hand, a scutage, which in this case at least would have a
warrant in strict feudal law. The clergy also were compelled to pay a
special and heavy tax, and the Jews throughout the kingdom--perhaps an
act of piety on the part of the king to atone somewhat for his treatment
of the Church--were arrested and thrown into prison and forced to part
with large sums of money. It was on this occasion that the often-quoted
incident occurred of the Jew of Bristol who endured all ordinary tortures
to save his money, or that in his charge, until the king ordered a tooth
to be drawn each day so long as he remained obstinate. As the eighth was
about to be pulled, "tardily perceiving," as the chronicler remarks,
"what was useful," he gave up and promised the 10,000 marks demanded.

John landed in Ireland about June 20, and traversed with his army all that
part of the country which was occupied by Anglo-Norman settlers without
finding any serious opposition. William Marshal entertained his host for
two days with all loyalty. The Lacies and William de Braóse's family fled
before him from one place to another and finally escaped out of the island
to Scotland. Carrickfergus, in which Hugh de Lacy had thought to stand a
siege, resisted for a few days, and then surrendered. At Dublin the native
kings of various districts, said by Roger of Wendover to have been more
than twenty in number, including the successor of Roderick, king of
Connaught, who had inherited a greatly reduced power, came in and did
homage and swore fealty to John. At the same time, we are told, the king
introduced into the island the laws and administrative system of England,
and appointed sheriffs.[72] John's march through the island and the
measures of government which he adopted have been thought to mark an
advance in the subjection of Ireland to English rule, and to form one of
the few permanent contributions to English history devised by the king. On
his departure Bishop John de Grey was left as justiciar, and toward the
end of August John landed in England to go on with the work of exacting
money from the clergy and the Jews that he had begun before he left the

The two years which followed John's return from Ireland, from August,
1210 to August 1212, form the period of his highest power. No attempt at
resistance to his will anywhere disturbed the peace of England. Llewelyn,
Prince of north Wales, husband of John's natural daughter Joanna,
involved in border warfare with the Earl of Chester, was not willing to
yield to the authority of the king, but two expeditions against him in
1211 forced him to make complete submission. A contemporary annalist
remarks with truth that none of John's predecessors exercised so great an
authority over Scotland, Wales, or Ireland as he, and we may add that
none exercised a greater over England. The kingdom was almost in a state
of blockade, and not only was unauthorized entrance into the country
forbidden, but departure from it as well, except as the king desired.
During these two years John's relations with the Church troubled him but
little. Negotiations were kept up as before, but they led to nothing. On
his return from the Welsh campaign the king met representatives of the
pope at Northampton, one of whom was the Roman subdeacon Pandulf, whom
John met later in a different mood. We have no entirely trustworthy
account of the interview, but it was found impossible to agree upon the
terms of any treaty which would bring the conflict to an end. The pope
demanded a promise of complete obedience from John on all the questions
that had caused the trouble, and restoration to the clergy of all their
confiscated revenues, and to one or both of these demands the king
refused to yield. Now it is that we begin to hear of threats of further
sentences to be issued by the pope against John, or actually issued,
releasing his subjects from their allegiance and declaring the king
incapable of ruling, but if any step of that kind was taken, it had for
the present no effect. The Christmas feast was kept as usual at Windsor,
and in Lent of the next year John knighted young Alexander of Scotland,
whose father had sent him to London to be married as his liege lord might
please, though "without disparagement."

In the spring of 1212 John seems to have felt himself strong enough to
take up seriously a plan for the recovery of the lands which he had lost
in France. The idea he had had in mind for some years was the formation of
a great coalition against Philip Augustus by combining various enemies of
his or of the pope's. In May the Count of Boulogne, who was in trouble
with the king of France, came to London and did homage to John. Otto IV,
the Guelfic emperor and John's nephew, was now in as desperate conflict
with the papacy as if he were a Ghibelline, and Innocent was supporting
against him the young Hohenstaufen Frederick, son of Henry VI and
Constance of Sicily. Otto therefore was ready to promise help to any one
from whom he could hope for aid in return, or to take part in any
enterprise from which a change of the general situation might be expected.
Ferdinand of Portugal, just become Count of Flanders by marriage with
Jeanne, the heiress of the crusading Count Baldwin, the emperor Baldwin of
the new Latin empire, had at the moment of his accession been made the
victim of Philip Augustus's ceaseless policy of absorbing the great fiefs
in the crown, and had lost the two cities of Aire and St. Omer. He was
ready to listen to John's solicitations, and after some hesitation and
delay joined the alliance, as did also most of the princes on the
north-east between France and Germany. John laboured long and hard with
much skill and final success, at a combination which would isolate the
king of France and make it possible to attack him with overwhelming force
at once from the north and the south. With a view, in all probability, to
calling out the largest military force possible in the event of a war with
France, John at this time ordered a new survey to be taken of the service
due from the various fiefs in England. The inquest was made by juries of
the hundreds, after a method very similar to that lately employed in the
carucage of 1198, and earlier in the Domesday survey by William the
Conqueror, though it was under the direction of the sheriffs, not of
special commissioners. The interesting returns to this inquiry have been
preserved to us only in part.[73] If John hoped to be able to attack his
enemy abroad in the course of the year 1212, he was disappointed in the
end. His combination of allies he was not able to complete. A new revolt
of the Welsh occupied his attention towards the end of the summer and led
him to hang twenty-eight boys, hostages whom they had given him the year
before. Worst of all, evidence now began to flow in to the king from
various quarters of a serious disaffection among the barons of the kingdom
and of a growing spirit of rebellion, even, it was said, of an intention
to deprive him of the crown. We are told that on the eve of his expedition
against the Welsh a warning came to him from the king of Scotland that he
was surrounded by treason, and another from his daughter in Wales to the
same effect. Whatever the source of his information, John was evidently
convinced--very likely he needed but little to convince him--of a danger
which he must have been always suspecting. At any rate he did not venture
to trust himself to his army in the field, but sent home the levies and
carefully guarded himself for a time. Then he called for new declarations
of loyalty and for hostages from the barons; and two of them, Eustace de
Vescy and Robert Fitz Walter, fled from the country, the king outlawing
them and seizing their property. About the same time a good deal of public
interest was excited by a hermit of Yorkshire, Peter of Pontefract, who
was thought able to foretell the future, and who declared that John would
not be king on next Ascension day, the anniversary of his coronation. It
was probably John's knowledge of the disposition of the barons, and
possibly the hope of extorting some information from him, that led him,
rather unwisely, to order the arrest of the hermit, and to question him as
to the way in which he should lose the crown. Peter could only tell him
that the event was sure, and that if it did not occur, the king might do
with him what he pleased. John took him at his word, held him in prison,
and hanged him when the day had safely passed.

By that 23d of May, however, a great change had taken place in the formal
standing of John among the sovereigns of the world, a change which many
believed fulfilled the prediction of Peter, and one which affected the
history of England for many generations. As the year 1212 drew to its
close, John was not merely learning his own weakness in England, but he
was forced by the course of events abroad to recognize the terrible
strength of the papacy and the small chance that even a strong king could
have of winning a victory over it.[74] His nephew Otto IV had been obliged
to retire, almost defeated, before the enthusiasm which the young
Frederick of Hohenstaufen had aroused in his adventurous expedition to
recover the crown of Germany. Raymond of Toulouse, John's brother-in-law,
had been overwhelmed and almost despoiled of his possessions in an attempt
to protect his subjects in their right to believe what seemed to them the
truth. For the moment the vigorous action which John had taken after the
warnings received on the eve of the Welsh campaign had put an end to the
disposition to revolt, and had left him again all powerful. He had even
been able to extort from the clergy formal letters stating that the sums
he had forced them to pay were voluntarily granted him. But he had been
made to understand on how weak a foundation his power rested. He must
have known that Philip Augustus had for some time been considering the
possibility of an invasion of England, whether invited by the barons to
undertake it or not, and he could hardly fail to dread the results to
himself of such a step after the lesson he had learned in Normandy of the
consequences of treason. The situation at home and abroad forced upon him
the conclusion that he must soon come to terms with the papacy, and in
November he sent representatives to Rome to signify that he would agree to
the proposals he had rejected when made by Pandulf early in the previous
year.[75] Even in this case John may be suspected, as so often before, of
making a proposition which he did not intend to carry out, or at least of
trying to gain time, for it was found that the embassy could not make a
formally binding agreement; and it is clear that Innocent III, while ready
to go on with the negotiations and hoping to carry them to success, was
now convinced that he must bring to bear on John the only kind of pressure
to which he would yield.

There is reason to believe that after his reconciliation with the king
of England Innocent III had all the letters in which he had threatened
John with the severest penalties collected so far as possible and
destroyed.[76] It is uncertain, however, whether before the end of 1212
he had gone so far as to depose the king and to absolve his subjects
from their allegiance, though this is asserted by English chroniclers.
But there is no good ground to doubt that in January, 1213, he took
this step, and authorized the king of France to invade England and
deprive John of his kingdom. Philip needed no urging. He collected a
numerous fleet, we are told, of 1500 vessels, and a large army. In
the first week of April he held a great council at Soissons, and the
enterprise was determined on by the barons and bishops of France. At
the same council arrangements were made to define the legal relations
to France of the kingdom to be conquered, The king of England was to be
Philip's son, Louis, who could advance some show of right through his
wife, John's niece, Blanche of Castile but during his father's lifetime
he was to make no pretension to any part of France, a provision which
would leave the duchy of Aquitaine in Philip's hands, as Normandy was.
Louis was to require an oath of his new subjects that they would
undertake nothing against France, and he was to leave to his father the
disposal of the person of John and of his private possessions. Of the
relationship between the two countries when Louis should succeed to the
crown of France, nothing was said. Preparations were so far advanced
that it was expected that the army would embark before the end of May.

In the meantime John was taking measures for a vigorous defence. Orders
were sent out for all ships capable of carrying at least six horses to
assemble at Portsmouth by the middle of Lent. The feudal levies and all
men able to bear arms were called out for April 21. The summons was
obeyed by such numbers that they could not be fed, and all but the best
armed were sent home, while the main force was collected on Barham Down,
between Canterbury and Dover, with outposts at the threatened ports. John
has been thought by some to have had a special interest in the
development of the fleet; at any rate he knew how to employ here the
defensive manoeuvre which has been more than once of avail to England,
and he sent out a naval force to capture and destroy the enemy's ships in
the mouth of the Seine and at Fécamp, and to take and burn the town of
Dieppe. It was his plan also to defend the country with the fleet rather
than with the army, and to attack and destroy the hostile armament on its
way across the channel. To contemporaries the preparations seemed
entirely sufficient to defend the country, not merely against France, but
against any enemy whatever, provided only the hearts of all had been
devoted to the king.

While preparations were being made in France for an invasion of England
under the commission of the pope, Innocent was going on with the effort
to bring John to his terms by negotiation. The messengers whom the king
had sent to Rome returned bringing no modification of the papal demands.
At the same time Pandulf, the pope's representative, empowered to make a
formal agreement, came on as far as Calais and sent over two Templars to
England to obtain permission for an interview with John, while he held
back the French fleet to learn the result. The answer of John to
Pandulf's messengers would be his answer to the pope and also his
defiance of Philip. There can be no doubt what his answer would have been
if he had had entire confidence in his army, nor what it would have been
if Philip's fleet had not been ready. He yielded only because there was
no other way out of the situation into which he had brought himself, and
he made his submission complete enough to insure his escape. He sent for
Pandulf, and on May 13 met him at Dover and accepted his terms. Four of
his chief barons, as the pope required, the Earl of Salisbury, the Count
of Boulogne, and the Earls Warenne and Ferrers, swore on the king's soul
that he would keep the agreement, and John issued letters patent formally
declaring what he had promised. Stephen Langton was to be accepted as
Archbishop of Canterbury, and all the exiled bishops, monks, and laymen
were to be reinstated, and full compensation made them for their
financial losses. Two days later John went very much further than this:
at the house of the Templars near Dover in the presence of the barons he
surrendered the kingdom to the pope, confirming the act by a charter
witnessed by two bishops and eleven barons, and received it back to be
held as a fief, doing homage to Pandulf as the representative of the
pope, and promising for himself and his heirs the annual payment of 700
marks for England and 300 for Ireland in lieu of feudal service.

Whether this extraordinary act was demanded by Innocent or suggested by
John, the evidence does not permit us to say. The balance of
probabilities, however, inclines strongly to the opinion that it was a
voluntary act of the king's. There is nothing in the papal documents to
indicate any such demand, and it is hardly possible that the pope could
have believed that he could carry the matter so far. On the other hand,
John was able to see clearly that nothing else would save him. He had
every reason to be sure that no ordinary reconciliation with the papacy
would check the invasion of Philip or prevent the treason of the barons.
If England were made a possession of the pope, the whole situation would
take on a different aspect. Not only would all Europe think Innocent
justified in adopting the most extreme measures for the defence of his
vassal, but also the most peculiar circumstances only would justify Philip
in going on with his attack, and without him disaffection at home was
powerless. We should be particularly careful not to judge this act of
John's by the sentiment of a later time. There was nothing that seemed
degrading to that age about becoming a vassal. Every member of the
aristocracy of Europe and almost every king was a vassal. A man passed
from the classes that were looked down upon, the peasantry and the
bourgeoisie, into the nobility by becoming a vassal. The English kings had
been vassals since feudalism had existed in England, though not for the
kingdom, and only a few years before Richard had made even that a fief of
the empire. There is no evidence that John's right to take this step was
questioned by any one, or that there was any general condemnation of it at
that time. One writer a few years later says that the act seemed to many
"ignominious," but he records in the same sentence his own judgment that
John was "very prudently providing for himself and his by the deed."[77]
Even in the rebellion against John that closed his reign no objection was
made to the relationship with the papacy, nor was the king's right to act
as he did denied, though his action was alleged by his enemies to be
illegal because it did not have the consent of the barons. John's charter
of concession, however, expressly affirms this consent, and the barons on
one occasion seem to have confirmed the assertion.[78]

[71] See J.H. Round's article on William in Dict. Nat. Biogr., vi. 229.

[72] See C.L. Falkiner in Proc. Royal Irish Acad., xxiv. c. pt. 4 (1903).

[73] See Round, Commune of London, 261-277.

[74] Ralph of Coggeshall, 164-165.

[75] Walter of Coventry, ii, lviii. n. 4.

[76] Innocent III, Epp. xvi. 133. (Rymer, Foedera, i. 116.)

[77] Walter of Coventry, ii. 210.

[78] Rymer, Foedera, i. 120.



The king of France may have been acting, as he would have the world
believe, as the instrument of heaven to punish the enemy of the Church,
but he did not learn with any great rejoicing of the conversion of John
from the error of his ways. Orders were sent him at once to abstain from
all attack on one who was now the vassal of the pope, and he found it
necessary in the end to obey, declaring, it is said, that the victory was
after all his, since it was due to him that the pope had subdued England.
The army and fleet prepared for the invasion, he turned against his own
vassal who had withheld his assistance from the undertaking, the Count of
Flanders, and quickly occupied a considerable part of the country. Count
Ferdinand in his extremity turned to King John and he sent over a force
under command of his brother, William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, which
surprised the French fleet badly guarded in the harbour of Damme and
captured or destroyed 400 ships. If Philip had any lingering hope that he
might yet be able to carry out his plan of invasion, he was forced now to
abandon it, and in despair of preserving the rest of his fleet, or in a
fit of anger, he ordered it to be burned.

The Archbishop of Canterbury landed in England in July, accompanied
by five of the exiled bishops, and a few days later met the king. On
the 20th at Winchester John was absolved from his excommunication,
swearing publicly that he would be true to his agreement with
the Church, and taking an additional oath in form somewhat like the
coronation oath, which the archbishop required or which perhaps the
fact of his excommunication made necessary, "that holy Church and her
ministers he would love, defend, and maintain against all her enemies
to the best of his power, that he would renew the good laws of his
predecessors, and especially the laws of King Edward, and annul all
bad ones, and that he would judge all men according to just judgments
of his courts and restore to every man his rights." It is doubtful
if we should regard this as anything more than a renewal of the
coronation oath necessary to a full restoration of the king from the
effects of the Church censure, but at any rate the form of words seems
to have been noticed by those who heard it, and to have been referred
to afterwards when the political opposition to the king was taking
share, a sure sign of increasing watchfulness regarding the mutual
rights of king and subjects.[79]

The king was no longer excommunicate, but the kingdom was still under the
interdict, and the pope had no intention of annulling it until the
question of compensation for their losses was settled to the satisfaction
of the bishops and others whose lands had been in the hands of the king.
That was not an easy question to settle. It was not a matter of arrears
of revenue merely, for John had not been content with the annual income
of the lands, but he had cut down forests and raised money in other
extraordinary ways to the permanent injury of the property. In the end
only a comparatively small sum was paid, and in all probability a full
payment would have been entirely beyond the resources of the king, but at
the beginning John seems to have intended to carry out his agreement in
good faith. There is no reason to doubt the statement of a chronicler of
the time that on the next day after his absolution the king sent out
writs to all the sheriffs, ordering them to send to St. Albans at the
beginning of August the reeve and four legal men from each township of
the royal domains, that by their testimony and that of his own officers
the amount of these losses might be determined. This would be to all
England a familiar expedient, a simple use of the jury principle, with
nothing new about it except the bringing of the local juries together in
one place, nor must it be regarded as in any sense a beginning of
representation. It has no historic connexion with the growth of that
system, and cannot possibly indicate more than that the idea of uniting
local juries in one place had occurred to some one. We have no evidence
that this assembly was actually held, and it is highly probable that it
was not. Nor can anything more be said with certainly of writs which were
issued in November of this year directing the sheriffs to send four
discreet men from each county to attend a meeting of the council at
Oxford. John himself was busily occupied with a plan to transport the
forces he had collected into Poitou to attack the king of France there,
and he appointed the justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz Peter, and the Bishop of
Winchester, Peter des Roches, as his representatives during his absence.
These two held a great council at St. Albans in August at which formal
proclamation was made of the restoration of good laws and the abolition
of bad ones as the king had promised, the good laws now referred to being
those of Henry I; and all sheriffs and other officers were strictly
enjoined to abstain from violence and injustice for the future, but no
decision was reached as to the sum to be paid the clergy.

In the meantime John was in difficulties about his proposed expedition to
Poitou. When he was about to set out, he found the barons unwilling. They
declared that the money they had provided for their expenses had all been
used up in the long delay, and that if they went, the king must meet the
cost, while the barons of the north refused, according to one account,
because they were not bound by the conditions of their tenure to serve
abroad. In this they were no doubt wrong, if services were to be
determined, as would naturally be the case, by custom; but their refusal
to obey the king on whatever ground so soon after he had apparently
recovered power by his reconciliation with the Church is very noteworthy.
In great anger the king embarked with his household only and landed in
Jersey, as if he would conquer France alone, but he was obliged to
return. His wrath, however, was not abated, and he collected a large
force and marched to the north, intending to bring the unwilling barons
to their accustomed obedience; but his plan was interrupted by a new and
more serious opposition. Archbishop Stephen Langton seems to have
returned to England determined to contend as vigorously for the rights of
the laity as for those of the Church. We are told by one chronicler that
he had heard it said that on August 25, while the king was on the march
to the north, Stephen was presiding over a council of prelates and barons
at St. Paul's, and that to certain of them he read a copy of Henry I's
coronation charter as a record of the ancient laws which they had a right
to demand of the king. There may be difficulties in supposing that such
an incident occurred at this exact date, but something of the kind must
have happened not long before or after. If we may trust the record we
have of the oath taken by John at the time of his absolution, it suggests
that the charter of Henry I was in the mind of the man who drew it up.
Now, at any rate, was an opportunity to interfere in protection of
clearly defined rights, and to insist that the king should keep the oath
which he had just sworn. Without hesitation the archbishop went after the
king, overtook him at Northampton, where John was on the 28th, and
reminded him that he would break his oath if he made war on any of his
barons without a judgment of his court. John broke out into a storm of
rage, as he was apt to do; "with great noise" he told the archbishop to
mind his own business and let matters of lay jurisdiction alone, and
moved on to Nottingham. Undismayed, Langton followed, declaring that he
would excommunicate every one except the king who should take part in the
attack, and John was obliged again to yield and to appoint a time for the
court to try the case.

The attempt to settle the indemnity to be paid the clergy dragged on
through the remainder of the year, and was not then completed. Councils
were held at London, Wallingford, and Reading, early in October,
November, and December respectively, in each of which the subject was
discussed, and left unsettled, except that after the Reading council
the king paid the archbishop and the bishops who had been exiled 15,000
marks. At the end of September a legate from the pope, Cardinal
Nicholas, landed in England, and to him John repeated the surrender of
the crown and his homage as the pope's vassal. Along with the question
of indemnity, that of filling up the vacant sees was discussed, and
with nearly as little result. The local officers of the Church were
disposed to make as much as possible out of John's humiliation and the
chapters to assert the right of independent election. The king was not
willing to allow this, and pope and legate inclined to support him. On
October 14 the justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz Peter, died. John's exclamation
when he heard the news, as preserved in the tradition of the next
generation,--"When he gets to hell, let him greet Hubert Walter," and,
as earlier in the case of Hubert himself, "Now by the feet of God am
I first king and lord of England,"--and, more trustworthy perhaps,
the rapid decline of events after Geoffrey's death towards civil war
and revolution, lead us to believe that like many a great judge he
exercised a stronger influence over the actual history of his age than
appears in any contemporary record.

It was near the middle of February, 1214, before John was able to carry
out in earnest his plan for the recovery of Poitou. At that time he
landed at La Rochelle with a large army and a full military chest, but
with very few English barons of rank accompanying him. Since the close of
actual war between them Philip had made gains in one way or another
within the lands that had remained to John, and it was time for the Duke
of Aquitaine to appear to protect his own, to say nothing of any attempt
to recover his lost territories. At first his presence seemed all that
was necessary; barons renewed their allegiance, those who had done homage
to Philip returned and were pardoned, castles were surrendered, and John
passed through portions of Poitou and Angoulème, meeting with almost no
resistance. A dash of Philip's, in April, drove him back to the south,
but the king of France was too much occupied with the more serious danger
that threatened him from the coalition in the north to give much time to
John, and he returned after a few days, leaving his son Louis to guard
the line of approach to Paris. Then John returned to the field, attacked
the Lusignans, took their castles, and forced them to submit. The Count
of La Marche was the Hugh the Brown from whom years before he had stolen
his bride, Isabel of Angoulème, and now he proposed to strengthen the
new-made alliance by giving to Hugh's eldest son Isabel's daughter
Joanna. On June 11 John crossed the Loire, and a few days later entered
Angers, whose fortifications had been destroyed by the French. The
occupation of the capital of Anjou marks the highest point of his success
in the expedition. To protect and complete his new conquest, John began
at once the siege of La Roche-au-Moine, a new castle built by William des
Roches on the Loire, which commanded communications with the south.
Against him there Louis of France advanced to raise the siege. John
wished to go out and meet him, but the barons of Poitou refused,
declaring that they were not prepared to fight battles in the field, and
the siege had to be abandoned and a hasty retreat made across the river.
Angers at once fell into the hands of Louis, and its new ramparts were

It was about July first that Louis set out to raise the siege of La
Roche-au-Moine, and on the 27th the decisive battle of Bouvines was
fought in the north before John had resolved on his next move. The
coalition, on which John had laboured so long and from which he hoped so
much, was at last in the field. The emperor Otto IV, the Counts of
Flanders, Boulogne, Holland, Brabant, and Limburg, the Duke of Lorraine,
and others, each from motives of his own, had joined their forces with
the English under the Earl of Salisbury, to overthrow the king of France.
To oppose this combination Philip had only his vassals of northern
France, without foreign allies and with a part of his force detached to
watch the movements of the English king on the Loire. The odds seemed to
be decidedly against him, but the allies, attacking at a disadvantage the
French army which they believed in retreat, were totally defeated near
Bouvines. The Earl of Salisbury and the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne
with many others were taken prisoners, and the triumph of Philip was as
complete as his danger had been great. The popular enthusiasm with which
the news of this victory was received in northern France shows how
thorough had been the work of the monarchy during the past century and
how great progress had been made in the creation of a nation in feeling
and spirit as well as in name under the Capetian king. The general
rejoicing was but another expression of the force before which in reality
the English dominion in France had fallen.

The effects of the battle of Bouvines were not confined to France nor to
the war then going on. The results in German history--the fall of Otto
IV, the triumph of Frederick II--we have no occasion to trace. In English
history its least important result was that John was obliged to make
peace with Philip. The treaty was dated on September 18. A truce was
agreed upon to last for five years from the following Easter, everything
to remain in the meantime practically as it was left at the close of the
war. This might be a virtual recognition by John of the conquests which
Philip had made, but for him it was a much more serious matter that the
ruin of his schemes left him alone, unsupported by the glamour of a
brilliant combination of allies, without prestige, overwhelmed with
defeat, to face the baronial opposition which in the past few years had
been growing so rapidly in strength, in intelligent perception of the
wrongs that had been suffered, and in the knowledge of its own power.

About the middle of October John returned to England to find that the
disaffection among the barons, which had expressed itself in the refusal
to serve in Poitou, had not grown less during his absence. The interdict
had been removed on July 2, John having given security for the payment of
a sum as indemnity to the Church which was satisfactory to the pope, but
the rejoicing over this relief was somewhat lessened by the fact that the
monastic houses and the minor clergy were unprovided for and received no
compensation for their losses. The justiciar whom the king had appointed
on the eve of his departure, the Bishop of Winchester, Peter des Roches,
naturally unpopular because he was a foreigner and out of sympathy with
the spirit of the barons, had ruled with a strong hand and sternly
repressed all expression of discontent, but his success in this respect
had only increased the determination to have a reckoning with the king.
In these circumstances John's first important act after his return
brought matters to a crisis. Evidently he had no intention of abandoning
any of his rights or of letting slip any of his power in England because
he had been defeated in France, and he called at once for a scutage from
those barons who had not gone with him to Poitou. This raised again the
question of right, and we are told that it was the northern barons who
once more declared that their English holdings did not oblige them to
follow the king abroad or to pay a scutage when he went, John on his side
asserting that the service was due to him because it had been rendered to
his father and brother. In this the king was undoubtedly right. He could,
if he had known it, have carried back his historical argument a century
further, but in general feudal law there was justification enough for the
position of the barons to warrant them in taking a stand on the point if
they wished to join issue with the king. This they were now determined to
do. We know from several annalists that after John's return the barons
came to an agreement among themselves that they would demand of the king
a confirmation of the charter of Henry I and a re-grant of the liberties
contained in it. In one account we have the story of a meeting at Bury
St. Edmunds, on pretence of a pilgrimage, in which this agreement was
made and an oath taken by all to wage war on the king if he should refuse
their request which they decided to make of him in form after Christmas.
Concerted action there must have been, and it seems altogether likely
that this account is correct.

The references to the charter of Henry I in the historians of the time
prove clearly enough the great part which that document played at the
origin of the revolution now beginning. It undoubtedly gave to the
discontented barons the consciousness of legal right, crystallized their
ideas, and suggested the method of action, but it is hardly possible to
believe that a simple confirmation of this charter could now have been
regarded as adequate. The charter of Henry I is as remarkable a document
for the beginning of the twelfth as the Great Charter is for the
beginning of the thirteenth century, but no small progress had taken
place in two directions in the intervening hundred years. In one
direction the demands of the crown--we ought really to say the demands of
the government--were more frequent, new in kind, and heavier in amount
than at the earlier date. The reorganization of the judicial and
administrative systems had enlarged greatly the king's sphere of action
at the expense of the baron's. All this, and it forms together a great
body of change, was advance, was true progress, but it seemed to the
baron encroachment on his liberties and denial of his rights, and there
was a sense in which his view was perfectly correct. It was partly due to
these changes, partly to the general on-going of things, that in the
other direction the judgment of the baron was more clear, his view of his
own rights and wrongs more specific than a hundred years before, and, by
far most important of all, that he had come to a definite understanding
of the principle that the king, as lord of his vassals, was just as much
under obligation to keep the law as the baron was. Independent of these
two main lines of development was the personal tyranny of John, his
contemptuous disregard of custom and right in dealing with men, his
violent overriding of the processes of his own courts in arbitrary arrest
and cruel punishment. The charter of Henry I would be a suggestive model;
a new charter must follow its lines and be founded on its principles, but
the needs of the barons would now go far beyond its meagre provisions and
demand the translation of its general statements into specific form.

According to the agreement they had made the barons came together at
London soon after January 1, 1215, with some show of arms, and demanded
of the king the confirmation of the charter of Henry I. John replied that
the matter was new and important, and that he must have some time for
consideration, and asked for delay until the octave of Easter, April 26.
With reluctance the barons made this concession, Stephen Langton, William
Marshal, and the Bishop of Ely becoming sureties for the king that he
would then give satisfaction to all. The interval which was allowed him
John used in a variety of attempts to strengthen himself and to prepare
for the trial of arms which he must have known to be inevitable. On the
21st of the previous November he had issued a charter granting to the
cathedral churches and monasteries throughout England full freedom of
election, and this charter he now reissued a few days after the meeting
with the barons. If this was an attempt to separate the clergy from
the cause of the barons, or to bring the archbishop over wholly to his
own side, it was a failure. About the same time he adopted a familiar
expedient and ordered the oath of allegiance to himself against all men
to be taken throughout the country, but he added a new clause requiring
men to swear to stand by him against the charter.[80] Since the discussion
of the charter had begun a general interest in its provisions had been
excited, and the determination to secure the liberties it embodied had
grown rapidly, so that now the king quickly found, by the opposition it
aroused, that in this peculiar demand he had overshot the mark, and he was
obliged to recall his orders. Naturally John turned at once to the pope,
who was now under obligation to protect him from his enemies, but his
envoy was followed by Eustace de Vescy, who argued strongly for the
barons' side. The pope's letters to England in reply did not afford
decisive support to either party, though more in favour of the king's, who
was exhorted, however, to grant "just petitions" of the barons. On Ash
Wednesday John went so far as to assume the cross of the crusader, most
likely to secure additional favour from the pope, who was very anxious to
renew the attempt that had failed in the early part of his reign, no doubt
having in mind also the personal immunities it would secure him. For
troops to resist the barons in the field the king's reliance was chiefly,
as it had been during all his reign, on soldiers hired abroad, and he made
efforts to get these into his service from Flanders and from Poitou,
promising great rewards to knights who would join him from thence, as well
as from Wales.

John's preparations alarmed the barons, and they determined not to wait
for April 26, the appointed day for the king's answer. They came together
in arms at Stamford, advanced from thence to Northampton, and then on to
Brackley to be in the neighbourhood of the king, who was then at Oxford.
Their array was a formidable one. The list recorded gives us the names of
five earls, forty barons, and one bishop, Giles de Braóse, who had family
wrongs to avenge; and while the party was called the Northerners, because
the movement had such strong support in that part of England, other
portions of the country were well represented. Annalists of the time
noticed that younger men inclined to the side of the insurgents, while
the older remained with the king. This fact in some cases divided
families, as in the case of the Marshals, William the elder staying with
John, while William the younger was with the barons. That one abode in
the king's company does not indicate, however, that his sympathies in
this struggle were on that side. Stephen Langton was in form with the
king and acted as his representative in the negotiations, though it was
universally known that he supported the reforms asked for. It is probable
that this was true also of the Earl of Pembroke. These two were sent by
John to the barons to get an exact statement of their demands, and
returned with a "schedule," which was recited to the king point by point.
These were no doubt the same as the "articles" presented to the king
afterwards, on which the Great Charter was based. When John was made to
understand what they meant, his hot, ancestral temper swept him away in
an insane passion of anger. "Why do they not go on and demand the kingdom
itself?" he cried, and added with a furious oath that he would never make
himself a slave by granting such concessions.

When the barons received their answer, they decided on immediate war. As
they viewed the case, this was a step justified by the feudal law. It was
their contention that the reforms they demanded had been granted and
recognized as legal by former kings. In other words, their suzerain was
denying them their hereditary rights, acknowledged and conceded by his
predecessors. To the feudal mind the situation which this fact created
was simple and obvious. They were no longer bound by any fealty to him.
It was their right to make war upon him until he should consent to grant
them what was their due. Their first step was to send to the king the
formal diffidatio prescribed for such cases, withdrawing their fealty
and notifying him of their intention to begin war. Then choosing Robert
Fitz Walter their commander, under the title of Marshal of the Army of
God and Holy Church, they began the siege of Northampton, but were unable
to take it from lack of siege machinery. On May 17 the barons, having in
the meantime rejected several unsatisfactory proposals of the king,
entered London at the request of the chief citizens, though the tower was
still held by John's troops. The great strength of the barons at this
time as against the king was not, however, their possession of London, or
the forces which had taken the field in their cause, but the fact that
John had practically no part of England with him beyond the ground
commanded by the castles still held by his foreign soldiers. Pleas ceased
in the exchequer, we are told, and the operations of the sheriffs,
because no one could be found who would pay the king anything or show him
any obedience, and many of the barons, who up to this time had stood with
him, now joined the insurgents. No help could be had for some time from
the pope. Langton refused to act at the king's request and excommunicate
his enemies. There was nothing for John to do but to yield and trust that
time would bring about some change to relieve him of the obligations he
must assume.

On June 8 John granted a safe conduct to representatives of the barons to
negotiate with him to hold good until the 11th, and later extended the
period until the 15th. He was then at Windsor, and the barons from London
came to Staines and camped in the field of Runnymede. The "Articles" were
presented to the king in form, and now accepted by him, and on the basis
of them the Great Charter was drawn up and sealed on June 15, 1215.

In the history of constitutional liberty, of which the Great Charter is
the beginning, its specific provisions are of far less importance than
its underlying principle. What we to-day consider the great safeguards of
Anglo-Saxon liberty are all conspicuously absent from the first of its
creative statutes, nor could any of them have been explained in the
meaning we give them to the understanding of the men who framed the
charter. Consent to taxation in the modern sense is not there; neither
taxation nor consent. Trial by jury is not there in that form of it which
became a check on arbitrary power, nor is it referred to at all in the
clause which has been said to embody it. Parliament, habeas corpus, bail,
the independence of the judiciary, are all of later growth, or existed
only in rudimentary form. Nor can the charter be properly called a
contract between king and nation. The idea of the nation, as we now hold
it, was still in the future, to be called into existence by the
circumstances of the next reign. The idea of contract certainly pervades
the document, but only as the expression of the always existent contract
between the suzerain and his vassals which was the foundation of all
feudal law. On the other hand, some of the provisions of our civil
liberty, mainly in the interest of individual rights, are plainly
present. That private property shall not be taken for public use without
just compensation, that cruel and unusual punishments shall not be
inflicted nor excessive fines be imposed, that justice shall be free and
fair to all, these may be found almost in modern form.

But it is in none of these directions that the great importance of the
document is to be sought. All its specific provisions together as
specific provisions are not worth, either in themselves or in their
historical influence, the one principle which underlies them all and
gives validity to them all--the principle that the king must keep the
law. This it was that justified the barons in their rebellion. It was to
secure this from a king who could not be bound by the ordinary law that
the Great Charter was drawn up and its clauses put into the form in which
they stand. In other words, the barons contended that the king was
already bound by the law as it stood, and that former kings had
recognized the fact. In this they were entirely correct. The Great
Charter is old law. It is codification, or rather it is a selection of
those points of the existing law which the king had constantly violated,
for the purpose of stating them in such form that his specific pledge to
regard them could be secured, and his consent to machinery for enforcing
them in case he broke his pledge. The source of the Great Charter, then,
of its various provisions and of its underlying principle, must be sought
in the existing law that regulated the relations between the king and the
barons--the feudal law.

From beginning to end the Great Charter is a feudal document. The most
important of its provisions which cannot be found in this law, those
which may perhaps be called new legislation, relate to the judicial
system as recently developed, which had proved too useful and was
probably too firmly fixed to be set aside, though it was considered by
the barons to infringe upon their feudal rights and had been used in the
past as an engine of oppression and extortion. In this one direction the
development of institutions in England had already left the feudal system
behind. In financial matters a similar development was under rapid way,
but John's effort to push forward too fast along that line was one cause
of the insurrection and the charter, and of the reaction in this
particular which it embodies. As a statement of feudal law the Great
Charter is moderate, conservative, and carefully regardful of the real
rights of the king. As a document born in civil strife it is remarkable
in this respect, or would be were this not true of all its progeny in
Anglo-Saxon history. Whoever framed it must have been fair-minded and
have held the balance level between king and insurgents. Its provisions
in regard to wardship and marriage have been called weak. They are not
weak; they are just, and as compared with the corresponding provisions of
the charter of Henry I they are less revolutionary, and leave to the king
what belonged to him historically--the rights which all English kings had
exercised and which in that generation Philip of France also had
repeatedly exercised, even against John himself.

But the chief feature of the Great Charter apart from all its specific
enactments, that on which it all rests, is this, that the king has no
right to violate the law, and if he attempts to do so, may be constrained
by force to obey it. That also is feudal law. It was the fundamental
conception of the whole feudal relationship that the suzerain was bound to
respect the recognized rights of his vassal, and that if he would not, he
might be compelled to do so; nor was it in England alone that this idea
was held to include the highest suzerain, the lord paramount of the
realm.[81] Clause 61 which to the modern mind seems the most astonishing
of the whole charter, legalizing insurrection and revolution, contains
nothing that was new, except the arrangement for a body of twenty-five
barons who were to put into orderly operation the right of coercion. It
is certainly not necessary to show by argument the supreme importance of
this principle. It is the true corner-stone of the English constitution.
It was the preservation of this right, its development into new forms
to meet the changing needs of the state, that created and protected
constitutional liberty, and it was the supreme service of the Great
Charter, far beyond any accomplished by any one clause or by all specific
clauses together, to carry over from feudalism this right and to make it
the fostering principle of a new growth in which feudalism had no

It may be that the barons believed they were demanding nothing in the
Great Charter that had not been granted by former kings or that the king
was not bound by the law to observe. It may be possible to prove that
this belief was historically correct in principle if not in specific
form; but the king could not be expected to take the same view of the
case. He had been compelled to renounce many things that he had been
doing through his whole reign, and some things, as he very well knew,
that had been done by his father and brother before him. He may honestly
have believed that he had been forced to surrender genuine royal rights.
He certainly knew that if he faithfully kept its provisions, the task of
raising the necessary money to carry on the government, already not easy,
would become extremely difficult if not impossible. It is not likely that
John promised to be bound by the charter with any intention of keeping
his promise. He had no choice at the moment but to yield, and if he
yielded, the forces of the barons would probably scatter, and the chances
favour such a recovery of his strength that with the help of the pope he
could set the charter aside. At first nothing could be done but to
conform to its requirements, and orders were sent throughout the country
for the taking of the oath in which all men were to swear to obey the
twenty-five barons appointed guardians of the charter. Juries were to be
chosen to inquire into grievances, and some of the foreign troops were
sent home. Suspicions began to be felt, however, in regard to the
intentions of the king during the negotiations concerning details which
followed the signing of the charter. A council called to meet at Oxford
about the middle of July, he refused to attend. Nor were provocations and
violations of the spirit of the charter wanting on the part of the
barons. Certain of the party, indeed, "Trans-Humbrians" they are called,
probably the extreme enemies of the king, had withdrawn from the
conference at Runnymede, and now refused to cease hostilities because
they had had no part in making peace. The royal officers were maltreated
and driven off, and the king's manors plundered.

By August John was rapidly preparing for a renewal of the war. He sent
out orders to get the royal castles ready for defence. His emissaries
were collecting troops in Flanders and Aquitaine. Philip Augustus's Count
of Britanny, Peter of Dreux, was offered the honour of Richmond, which
former counts had held, if he would come to John's aid with a body of
knights. Money does not seem to have been lacking through the struggle
that followed, and John's efforts to collect mercenary troops were
abundantly successful. Dover was appointed as the gathering-place of his
army, both as a convenient landing-place for those coming from abroad and
for strategic reasons. As it became evident that the charter had not
brought the conflict to an end, the barons were obliged to consider what
their next step should be. In clause 61 of the charter in regard to
coercing the king, they had bound themselves not to depose him, but the
arrangements made in that clause were never put into operation, nor could
they be. There was only one way of dealing with a king who obstinately
insisted on his rights, as he regarded them, against the law, and that
was by deposition. The leaders of the barons now decided that this step
was necessary, and an effort was made to unite all barons in taking it,
but those who had been with the king before refused, and some members of
the baronial party itself were not willing to go so far, nor were the
clergy. The pope was making his position perfectly plain. Before the
meeting at Runnymede he had ordered the excommunication of the disturbers
of the king and kingdom; and when this sentence was published later, the
barons might pretend that the king was the worst disturber of the
kingdom, but they really knew what the pope intended. In September the
Bishop of Winchester and Pandulf, representing the pope, suspended
Archbishop Langton because of his refusal to enforce the papal sentences.
By the end of the month the news reached England of Innocent's bull
against the charter itself, declaring it null and void, and forbidding
the king to observe it or the barons to require it to be kept under
penalty of excommunication. Doubtless John expected this from the pope,
and if his own view of the charter were correct, Innocent's action would
be entirely within his rights. No vassal had a right to enter into any
agreement which would diminish the value of his fief, and John had done
this if the rights that he was exercising in 1213 were really his. It was
apparently about this time that the insurgent barons determined to
transfer their allegiance to Louis of France. We are told that they
selected him because, if he were king of England, most of John's
mercenaries would leave his service since they were vassals of France;
but Louis was really the only one available who could be thought to
represent in any way the old dynasty, and it would certainly be
remembered that he had been proposed for the place in 1213. Negotiations
were begun to induce him to accept, but in the meantime John had secured
a sufficient force to take the offensive, and was beginning to push the
war with unusual spirit and vigour. A part of his force he sent to
relieve Northampton and Oxford, besieged by the barons, and he himself
with the rest set out to take Rochester castle which was held against
him. Repulsed at first, he succeeded in a second attempt to destroy the
bridge across the Medway to cut off communication with London, and began
a regular siege which he pressed fiercely. The garrison was not large,
but they defended themselves with great courage, having reason to fear
the consequences of yielding, and prolonged the siege for seven weeks.
Even after the keep had been in part taken by undermining the wall they
maintained themselves in what was left until they were starved into
surrender. It was only the threat that his mercenaries would leave him
for fear of reprisals that kept John from hanging his prisoners. During
this siege the barons in London had remained in a strange inactivity,
making only one half-hearted attempt to save their friends, seemingly
afraid to meet the king in the field, and accused of preferring the
selfish security and luxury of the capital. This was their conduct during
the whole of the winter while their strongholds were captured and their
lands devastated in all parts of England by the forces of their enemy,
for John continued his campaign. Soon after the capture of Rochester he
marched through Windsor to the north of London and, leaving a part of his
army under the Earl of Salisbury to watch the barons and to lay waste
their lands in that part of the country, he passed himself through the
midlands to the north, destroying everything belonging to his enemies
that he could find and not always distinguishing carefully between
friends and foes. England had not for generations suffered such a
harrying as it received that winter. So great was the terror created by
the cruelties practised that garrisons of the barons' castles, it is
said, fled on the news of the king's approach, leaving the castles
undefended to fall into his hands. The march extended as far as Scotland.
Berwick was taken and burnt, and the parts of the country about were laid
waste in revenge for the favour which King Alexander had shown the
barons. In March, 1216, John returned to the neighbourhood of London,
leaving a new track of devastation further to the east, and bringing with
him a great store of plunder.

During the winter the barons had kept up their negotiations with Louis,
and an agreement had finally been made. They had pledged themselves to
do homage to Louis and accept him as king, and had sent to France
twenty-four hostages "of the noblest of the land" in pledge of their
fidelity. Louis in return sent over small bodies of men to their aid and
promised himself to follow in person in the spring. To this step the
barons were indeed driven, unless they were prepared to submit, because
of the strength the king had gained since the signing of the charter and
their own comparative weakness. Why this change had taken place so soon
after the barons had been all-powerful cannot now be fully explained, but
so far as we can see the opinion of a contemporary that they would have
been overcome but for the aid of the French is correct. Against the
invasion of Louis, John had two lines of defence, the pope and the fleet.
Innocent, who had once favoured a transfer of the English crown to Louis,
must now oppose it. When he learned how far preparations for the
expedition had gone, he sent a legate, Cardinal Gualo, to France to
forbid any further step. Gualo was received by Philip and his son at
Melun on April 25. There before the king and the court the case was
argued between the cardinal and a knight representing Louis, as if it
were a suit at law to be decided in the ordinary way. Louis's case was
skilfully constructed to deprive the legate of his ground of
interference, but his assertions were falsehoods or misrepresentations.
John had been condemned to death for the murder of Arthur--the first
occasion on which we hear of this--and afterwards rejected by the barons
of England for his many crimes, and they were making war on him to expel
him from the kingdom. John had surrendered the kingdom to the pope
without the consent of the barons, and if he could not legally do this,
he could by the attempt create a vacancy, which the barons had filled by
the choice of Louis. The legate, apparently unable to meet these
unexpected arguments, asserted that John was a crusader and therefore
under the protection of the apostolic see. For Louis it was answered that
John had been making war on him long before he took the cross and had
continued to do so since, so that Louis had a right to go on with the
war. The legate had no answer to this, though it was false, but he
prohibited Louis from going and his father from allowing him to go.
Louis, denying the right of his father to interfere with his claims in a
land not subject to the king of France, and sending an embassy to argue
his case before the pope, went on with his preparations. Philip Augustus
carefully avoided anything that would bring him into open conflict with
Innocent and threw the whole responsibility on his son.

Louis landed in England in the Isle of Thanet on May 21. John had
collected a large and strong fleet to prevent his crossing, but a storm
just at the moment had dispersed it and left the enemy a clear passage.
John, then at Canterbury, first thought to attack the French with his
land forces, but fearing that his hired troops would be less loyal to a
mere paymaster than to the heir and representative of their suzerain in
France, he fell back and left the way open for Louis's advance to London.
Soon after landing, Louis sent forward a letter to the Abbot of St.
Augustine's in Canterbury, who, he feared, was about to excommunicate
him. In this letter which was possibly intended also for general
circulation, he repeated the arguments used against the legate with some
additional points of the same sort, and explained the hereditary claim of
his wife and his own right by the choice of the barons. The document is a
peculiar mixture of fact and falsehood, but it was well calculated to
impose on persons to whom the minor details of history would certainly be
unknown. Rochester castle fell into the hands of the French with no real
resistance; and on June 2, Louis was welcomed in London with great
rejoicing, and at once received the homage of the barons and of the
mayor. Louis's arrival seemed to turn the tide for the moment against the
king. He retreated into the west, while the barons took the field once
more, and with the French gained many successes in the east and north,
particularly against towns and castles. On June 25, Louis occupied
Winchester. Barons who had been until now faithful to the king began to
come in and join the French as their rapid advance threatened their
estates; among them was even John's brother, the Earl of Salisbury. Early
in July Worcester was captured and Exeter threatened, and John was forced
back to the borders of Wales. This marks, however, the limit of Louis's
success. Instead of pushing his advance rapidly forward against the one
important enemy, the king himself, he turned aside to undertake some
difficult sieges, and made the further mistake of angering the English
barons by showing too great favour to his French companions. Dover castle
seemed to the military judgment of the French particularly important as
"key of England," and for more than three months Louis gave himself up to
the effort to take it.

For the first of these months, till the end of August, John remained
inactive on the borders of Wales. The death of Innocent III made no
change in the situation. His successor Honorius III continued his English
policy. With the beginning of September the king advanced as if to raise
the siege of Windsor, but gave up the attempt and passed on east into
Cambridgeshire, ravaging horribly the lands of his enemies. The barons
pursued him, and he fell back on Lincoln from which as a centre he raided
the surrounding country for more than a fortnight. On October 9, he
marched eastwards again to Lynn which, like most of the towns, was
favourable to him, and there he brought on a dysentery by overeating.
From that time his physical decline was rapid. His violent passions,
utterly unbridled, tore him to pieces more and more fiercely as he
recognized his own loss of strength and learned of one misfortune after
another. He would not rest, and he would not listen to counsel. On the
11th he went on to Wisbech, and on the next day he insisted on crossing
the Wash, without knowing the crossing or regarding the tide. He himself
passed in safety, but he lost a part of his troops and all his baggage
with his booty, money, and jewels. At night at Swineshead abbey, hot with
anger and grief, and feverish from his illness, he gave way to his
appetite again, as always, and ate to excess of peaches and new cider.
After a rest of a day he pushed on with difficulty to Sleaford. There
messengers reached him from his garrison in Dover asking his permission
to surrender if he could not relieve them at once, and the news brought
on a new passion of anger. He insisted on going one stage further to
Newark, although he had already recognized that his end was near. There
three days later, on the 19th of October, he died. The teachings of the
Church which he had slighted and despised during his life he listened to
as his end drew near, and he confessed and received the communion. He
designated his son Henry, now nine years old, as his heir, and especially
recommended him to the care of the Earl of Pembroke, and appointed
thirteen persons by name to settle his affairs and to distribute his
property according to general directions which he left. At his desire he
was buried in Worcester cathedral and in the habit of a monk.

It has already been suggested that the reigns of Richard and John form a
period of transition to a new age. That period closes and the new age
opens with the granting of the Great Charter and the attempted
revolution which followed. The reign of John was the culmination of a
long tendency in English history, most rapid since the accession of his
father, towards the establishment of an absolutism in which the rights
of all classes would disappear and the arbitrary will of the king be
supreme. The story of his reign should reveal how very near that result
was of accomplishment. A monarchy had been forming in the last three
reigns, and very rapidly in the reign of John, capable of crushing any
ordinary opposition, disregarding public opinion and traditional rights,
possessing in the new judicial system, if regarded as an organ of the
king's will alone, an engine of centralization, punishment, and
extortion, of irresistible force, and developing rapidly in financial
matters complete independence of all controlling principles. Though the
barons were acting rather from personal and selfish motives, freedom for
all classes depended on the speedy checking of this steady drift of two
generations. The reigns of Richard and John may be called transitional
because it is in them that the barons came to see clearly the principles
on which successful resistance could be founded and the absolutist
tendency checked. The embodiment of these principles in permanent form
in the Great Charter to be accepted by the sovereign and enforced in
practice, introduces an age, the age of constitutional growth, new in
the history of England, and in the form and importance of its results
new in the history of the world.


While the material on which the history of any period of the Middle Ages
is based is scanty as compared with the abundant supply at the service of
the writer of modern history, the number of the original sources for the
Norman and early Angevin period is so great as to render impossible any
attempt to characterize them all in this place. The more important or
more typical chroniclers have been selected to give an idea of the nature
of the material on which the narrative rests.

The medieval chronicler did not content himself with writing the history
of his own time. He was usually ambitious to write a general history from
the beginning of the world or from the Christian era at least, and in
comparatively few cases began with the origin of his own land. For a
knowledge of times before his own he had to depend on his predecessors in
the same line, and often for long periods together the new book would be
only an exact copy or a condensation of an older one. If several earlier
writers were at hand, the new text might be a composite one, resting on
them all, but really adding nothing to our knowledge. As the writer drew
nearer to his own time, local tradition or the documents preserved in his
monastery might give him information on new points or fuller information
on others. On such matters his narrative becomes an independent authority
of more or less value, and much that is important has been preserved to
us in such additions to the earlier sources. Sometimes for a longer or
shorter period before his own day the writer may be using materials all
of which have been lost to us, and in such a case he is for our purposes
an original and independent authority, although in reality he is not
strictly original. Then follows a period, sometimes a long one, sometimes
only a very few years, in which his narrative is contemporary and written
from his own knowledge or from strictly first-hand materials. This is
usually the most valuable portion for the modern writer of history.

A large mass of material of great value cannot be described here. It is
made up of records primarily of value for constitutional history,
charters, writs, laws, and documentary material of all kinds, from which
often new facts are obtained for narrative history or light of great
value thrown on doubtful points, especially of chronology or of the
history of individuals. Of such a kind are the various monastic
cartularies, law-books like Glanvill's, records like the Patent, Close,
and Charter Rolls, collections of letters, and modern collections of
documents like T. Rymer's Foedera or J.H. Round's Calendar of
Documents Preserved in France.

The Saxon Chronicle (with translation by B. Thorpe in the Rolls Series
(1861), or C. Plummer's Two Saxon Chronicles, 1892-99) continues during
the first part of this period with its earlier characteristics unchanged,
though more full than for all but the last of the preceding age. The
Conquest had no effect on its language, and it continued to be written in
English until the end. The Worcester chronicle closes with the year 1079,
while the Peterborough book goes on to the coronation of Henry II in
1154. Practically a contemporary record for the whole period, though not
preserved to us in a strictly contemporary form throughout, it is of
especial value for the indications it gives of the feelings of the
English at a time when they were not often recorded.

William, called of Poitiers, though a Norman, chaplain of William I and
Archdeacon of Lisieux, wrote a biography of the king, Gesta Willelmi
Duels Normannorum et Regis Anglice (in Migne's Patrologia Latina,149),
of much value for the period immediately following the Conquest. It has
been thought that he was not present at the battle of Hastings, but the
account of William's movements between the battle and his coronation
contains several indications of first--hand knowledge, matters of detail
likely to be noted by an eye--witness; and though he was a strong
partisan and panegyrist of the king, his statements of what happened may
generally be accepted. His comments and opinions, however, must be used
with the greatest caution. His work originally ended in 1071, but the
last part is now wanting, and it ends abruptly in the spring of 1067. The
entire book was used, however, by Orderic Vitalis as one of the chief
sources of his narrative, and in that form we probably have all the main
facts it contained.

William of Malmesbury, born probably between 1090 and 1096, devoted
himself from early life to the study of history, seemingly attracted to
it, as he tells us himself, by the pleasure which the record of the past
gave him and by its ethical value as a collection of practical examples
of virtues and vices. This confession gives the key to the character of
his work. He prided himself on his Latin style, and with some justice. He
regarded himself not as a mere chronicler, but as a historian of a higher
rank, the disciple and first continuator of Bede. The accurate telling of
facts in their chronological order was to him less important than a
well-written and philosophical account of events selected for their
importance or interest and narrated in such a way as to bring out the
character of the actors or the meaning of the history. That he succeeded
in these objects cannot be questioned. His work is of a higher literary
and philosophical character than any written since his master Bede, or
for some time after himself. On this account, however, it gives less
direct information as to the events of the time in which he lived than we
could wish, though it is a contemporary authority of considerable value
on the reign of Henry I, and of even more value on the first years of

His political history is contained in two works, the Gesta Regum, which
closes with the year 1128, and the Historia Novella, which continues
the narrative to December, 1142 (W. Stubbs, Rolls Series, 1887-89). A
third work, the Gesta Pontificum (N.E.S.A. Hamilton, Rolls Series,
1870), also contains some notices of value for the political history.
William boasted a friendship with Robert, Earl of Gloucester, who wa