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Title: John Lackland
Author: Norgate, Kate
Language: English
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Transcriber’s Note

Words in italics are marked with _underscores_.

Words in small capitals are shown in UPPER CASE.

Sidenotes showing the year have been moved to the start of paragraphs,
and kept only when they change. For some long paragraphs a range of
dates is shown.

Other sidenotes give the actual date of an event. These have been moved
next to the description of the date, and are shown in parentheses, e.g.
{30 May}. Others, which merely repeat a date, have been removed.

Footnotes have been renumbered and moved to the end of chapters.

All references to footnote numbers (i.e. page and note number) have
been changed to the footnote numbers used here.

The keys of the maps are shown in the descriptions of the
illustrations, additions by the transcriber are shown in pararenthes.

Some formatting and punctuation in citations, sidenotes and the index
have been standardized.

Variant spelling, inconsistent hyphenation and inconsistent spelling
of people’s names are retained, however a few palpable printing errors
have been corrected.

The errata list is in the note at the end of the book.


[Illustration: MacMillan and Co.’s monogram]





  _All rights reserved_


  JOHN LACKLAND, 1167–1189                           1


  JOHN COUNT OF MORTAIN, 1189–1199                  24


  JOHN “SOFTSWORD,” 1199–1206                       64


  KING JOHN, 1206–1210                             118


  JOHN AND THE POPE, 1210–1214                     157


  JOHN AND THE BARONS, 1214–1215                   210


  JOHN LACKLAND, 1215–1216                         247


  JOHN AND THE DE BRAOSES                          287



  INDEX                                            295


    I. IRELAND ACCORDING TO THE TREATY OF 1175         _To face page_ 12


  III. IRELAND, A.D. 1185                                    ”        17

   IV. ENGLAND, A.D. 1190                                    ”        27

    V. IRELAND, A.D. 1210                                    ”       151

“The closer study of John’s history clears away the charges of sloth
and incapacity with which men tried to explain the greatness of his
fall. The awful lesson of his life rests on the fact that the king
who lost Normandy, became the vassal of the Pope, and perished in a
struggle of despair against English freedom was no weak and indolent
voluptuary but the ablest and most ruthless of the Angevins.”

              JOHN RICHARD GREEN.




                .... Johan sanz Terre,
    Por qui il[1] ot tant noise e guere.

              _Estoire de la Guerre Sainte_, vv. 101, 102.

[Sidenote: 1167]

The fifth son, the eighth and last child, of Henry II. of England and
Eleanor of Aquitaine was born at Oxford, in the “King’s manor”--that
is, the palace of Beaumont--on Christmas Eve 1167.[2] Of their six
other surviving children, the three younger were daughters; the last of
these, Joanna, was then two years old. The eldest living son, Henry,
was nearly thirteen; Richard was ten, and Geoffrey nine. The boy Henry
had, when an infant, been acknowledged by the barons of England as
heir to the crown,[3] and in 1160 had done homage to Louis of France
for the duchy of Normandy.[4] In 1162 preparations had been made for
his crowning in England, and he had again received the homage of the
barons,[5] to which that of the Welsh princes and the Scot king was
added in 1163.[6] Eleanor’s duchy of Aquitaine had been destined for
her second surviving son, Richard, as early as 1159,[7] when he was
not yet two years old. In the summer of 1166 the king had secured
Britanny for Geoffrey by betrothing him to its heiress.[8] The whole
Angevin dominions, with one exception, were thus, in design at least,
partitioned among John’s brothers before John himself was born. The
exception was, indeed, an important one; in the contemporary accounts
of Henry’s plans during this period for the distribution of his
territories, there is no mention of Anjou and its dependency Touraine.
The reason, however, is obvious. Anjou was the cradle of his race, the
very heart and centre of his dominion, the one portion of it which he
had inherited from his forefathers in unbroken male descent, by a right
which had been always undisputed and indisputable. The destiny of Anjou
was therefore as yet unspecified, not because Henry was reserving it
for a possible younger son, but because its devolution to his eldest
son, as head of the Angevin house after him, was in his mind a matter
of course. It was in fact Henry himself who gave to his new-born child
the name which has clung to him ever since--“Johans Sanz Terre,” John

[Sidenote: 1169]

Two years later the scheme of partition was fully developed, and now
Anjou was explicitly included in it. At Epiphany 1169 Louis of France
granted to the younger Henry the investiture of Anjou and Maine, on
the understanding that the boy was to hold these fiefs, as well as
Normandy, in his own person, directly of the French crown. Richard was
invested, on the same terms, with the county of Poitou and the duchy
of Aquitaine. Britanny was granted to young Henry, to be holden by his
brother Geoffrey of him as mesne lord, under the king of France as
overlord.[10] The one fragment of the continental dominions of the
Angevin house which the king of England formally reserved to himself
was Touraine; his homage for it was due to a prince of inferior rank,
the count of Blois, and his paternal pride chose rather to perform that
homage himself than to suffer it to be performed by any of his sons.[11]

[Sidenote: 1170]

All these arrangements were as yet merely prospective. Henry had no
intention of abdicating, nor of depriving Eleanor of her rights as
duchess of Aquitaine and countess of Poitou, nor even of dispossessing
the reigning duke of Britanny. His purpose was simply to insure that,
were he himself unexpectedly to become disabled or die, there should be
no fair pretext for fighting over his inheritance or defrauding any of
his sons of their shares, but that they should be bound to each other,
and their overlord Louis bound to each and all of them, by such legal
ties as none of the parties could lightly venture to set at defiance.
In June 1170 the scheme was completed by the coronation of the younger
Henry at Westminster. Two months later the elder king fell sick at
La Motte-de-Ger, near Domfront. Believing his end to be at hand, he
confirmed the partition of January 1169, and solemnly bequeathed the
one son who had no share in it--John--to the guardianship of his eldest
brother, “the young king,” “that he might advance him and maintain
him.”[12] One contemporary historian adds: “And he (the king) gave
to his youngest son John the county of Mortain.”[13] The meaning of
this probably is that Henry expressed a wish, or made a suggestion,
that his successor should provide for John by investing him with
Mortain.[14] From the days of the Conqueror downwards, this Norman
county had always been held by some junior member of the Norman ducal
house. Henry I. had granted it to his favourite nephew, Stephen; it
had passed to Stephen’s son William, and afterwards to his daughter
Mary; in 1168, Mary’s husband, Count Matthew of Boulogne, had ceded it
to Henry II., on condition that a heavy sum charged upon its revenues
should be paid annually to his two daughters.[15] Its actual value,
therefore, was now very small; and Henry on his recovery seems to have
abandoned, for the time at least, his project of bestowing it on John.
A year later his diplomacy had wrought out a scheme for providing John
with a far more splendid, as well as more valuable, endowment than
Mortain, by betrothing him to the presumptive heiress of Maurienne.

[Sidenote: 1171–1172]

A proposal for this marriage was made by Count Humbert of Maurienne
and accepted by Henry in 1171.[16] Humbert was then a widower for the
third time, and had only two daughters. The marriage contract, which
was signed at the close of 1172,[17] provided that if he should yet
have a son, that son should inherit scarcely anything but the little
county of Maurienne itself, which was only a small and comparatively
unimportant part of Humbert’s dominions, stretching as they did along
both sides of the Alps and including all the passes between Gaul,
Germany and Italy. Except Maurienne, and a very trifling portion of
land reserved as a dowry for his younger daughter, all Humbert’s
territories--Rossillon-en-Bugey, the county of Belley, the valley of
Novalesia, Chambéry and its dependencies, Aix, Aspremont, Rochetta,
Mont-Major, and La Chambre on the western side of the Alps; and on
their eastern side, Turin, Cavaur, Colegno, with the homage and
service of the count of Canavesia, and that which the viscount of
Aosta owed for Châtillon, and also Humbert’s claims on the county of
Grenoble--were devised absolutely and unconditionally to John and his
bride, and were, if Henry so willed, to be secured to them immediately
by the homage of all Humbert’s subjects in those regions to the little
bridegroom; while if Humbert should die without a son, Maurienne itself
was to be added to John’s inheritance. The price stipulated for all
this was five thousand marks, of which one thousand were paid over at
once by Henry to Humbert.[18] It was not till the infant bride had been
actually delivered over to her intended father-in-law, who was to bring
her up in company with her betrothed till both were old enough to be
married, that Humbert asked what was to be John’s share in the heritage
of the Angevin house. Henry, seemingly on the spur of the moment,
proposed to give the boy three castles with the lands appertaining to
them--Chinon, Loudun, and Mirebeau.[19] Chinon was in Touraine; but
Loudun and Mirebeau were in Anjou. The project was defeated by young
Henry’s refusal to allow any part of his county to be settled upon his
little brother, and it thus gave the immediate occasion, though it was
certainly not the real cause, for his revolt.[20]

[Sidenote: 1173–1174]

When that revolt was subdued {1174 Oct.}, the political relations
between King Henry and his elder sons were settled upon a new footing.
The terms of this new settlement, while confirming the arrangements
made at Montmirail for the devolution of Henry’s territories after
his death, left no room for any doubt of his intention to keep them
all, for the present at least, in his own hands. He covenanted to give
to his eldest son, so long as he remained dutiful, two castles in
Normandy and a yearly revenue of fifteen thousand pounds Angevin; to
Richard, two castles in Poitou, and half the revenues of that county;
to Geoffrey, half the dowry of Constance till they should be married,
and the whole of it after that event. Richard and Geoffrey had to do
homage to their father “for what he granted and gave them,” but young
Henry was excused from doing the like in consideration of his regal
dignity. For John there was now made a carefully detailed provision;
he was to receive an income of a thousand pounds from the royal
demesnes in England, any escheats which the king might choose to give
him, the castle and county of Nottingham, the castle and lordship of
Marlborough; two castles and a revenue of one thousand pounds Angevin
in Normandy, and from the Angevin lands the same amount in money,
with one castle in Anjou, one in Touraine, and one in Maine; and this
settlement young Henry was made to promise that he would keep “firmly
and inviolate.”[21]

[Sidenote: 1175–1176]

The scheme looks almost as if planned purposely to give John a foothold
in every part of his eldest brother’s future dominions--a strip, so to
say, in every one of young Henry’s fields. There was indeed no thought
as yet of putting the boy into possession, of investing him with the
county of Nottingham, or making him do homage either to his brother or
to his father. The clause about escheats, however, soon furnished an
opportunity for adding to John’s portion. In 1175 the great estates
of Earl Reginald of Cornwall reverted to the Crown at his death,
and Henry set them aside for John.[22] Henry’s plans for his little
“Lackland” were in fact completely changed. The project of setting
him up as “marquis in Italy” was abandoned; Alice of Maurienne was
dead,[23] her father had married again, and neither he nor Henry seems
ever to have thought of insisting upon the fulfilment of the clause
in her marriage-contract which provided that in case of her premature
death her sister should take her place as John’s bride. The settlement
of October 1174 seems to indicate that Henry now saw his best hope
of providing for John in his insular dominions, rather than anywhere
on the continent. In 1176 there was added to John’s prospect of the
earldoms of Nottingham and Cornwall that of a third English earldom
and a yet wider lordship in the west. Earl William of Gloucester,
the son and successor of Earl Robert and Mabel of Glamorgan, had
been implicated in the recent rebellion. His three surviving children
were all daughters, two of them already married. He bought his peace
with the king by making John heir to all his lands, Henry in return
promising that John should marry William’s youngest daughter, or, if
the needful dispensation could not be obtained,[24] he would bestow her
on another husband “with the utmost honour”; while a yearly sum of one
hundred pounds was to be paid by the Crown to each of her sisters, as
compensation for the loss of their shares of the family heritage. If
William should yet have another son, that son and John were to divide
the lands of the earldom of Gloucester between them.[25]

[Sidenote: 1176–1178]

Where John himself had been from his birth until near the completion
of his fifth year, there is nothing to show. He seems to have been
with his father at the time of the marriage-treaty with Maurienne, and
throughout the subsequent revolt; “John alone, who was a little boy,
remained with his father,” says Gervase of Canterbury, when speaking of
the defection of Henry’s elder sons in 1173.[26] He was apparently in
England when the arrangement with Earl William of Gloucester was made,
September 28, 1176; and he was certainly with the king at Nottingham
at Christmas in that year,[27] and also at Oxford in May 1177, when
Henry bestowed on him the titular sovereignty of the English dominions
in Ireland, and made the Norman-Welsh barons to whom he had granted
fiefs in that country do homage for those fiefs to John as well as to
himself.[28] A slight indication of the boy’s increasing importance
may be found in two entries on this year’s Pipe Roll; the expenditure
accounted for by the fermor of Peterborough abbey includes a corrody
for “the king’s son John,” and fifty-two pounds spent in buying two
palfreys “for the use of the same John.”[29] In August the king
returned to Normandy; John followed him, travelling under the care
of his half-brother Geoffrey, the bishop-elect of Lincoln;[30] at
Mid-Lent, March 19, 1178, he was present with his father and eldest
brother at the consecration of the abbey church of Bec;[31] and at
Christmas 1178 Henry and John were together at Winchester.[32] During
the next four years no mention occurs of John, save that at some time
between Michaelmas 1178 and Michaelmas 1179 twenty shillings were spent
on horses for him “in England and Normandy” by one William Franceis,
who seems to have been a groom appointed by the king to attend him.[33]

[Sidenote: 1182–1184]

John’s earliest known appearance as witness to a charter of his
father’s seems to date from the early part of the year 1182; his
style is simply “John, the king’s son.”[34] This charter was given
at Arundel. When Henry went over sea, in March, he left John in
England under the guardianship of the justiciar, Ranulf Glanville.[35]
Fifteen months later, the king’s arrangements for the disposal of the
Angevin succession were all upset by the death of his eldest son,
June 11, 1183. Almost heart-broken as the father was, one consolation
immediately suggested itself; now at last he might secure to his
favourite child some provision at once loftier and more independent
than any number of Norman counties or English earldoms, and more
substantial than his titular sovereignty in Ireland. In September Henry
“sent to England for his youngest son, John, and his master Ranulf de
Glanville”; when they had joined him in Normandy he sent for Richard,
and bade him cede the duchy of Aquitaine to John and receive the boy’s
homage for it.[36] This command shows clearly what Henry’s present
intentions were. Richard was to take the place proper to the eldest
son, as heir to the whole Angevin dominions; when he should enter upon
his inheritance, his brothers were to hold the two great underfiefs,
Britanny and Aquitaine, under him, just as he and Geoffrey had been
destined to hold them under the younger Henry; and this arrangement
for the future was to be made binding by the immediate homage of his
brothers to him, although for the present all three sons were to remain
in subjection to their father. The scheme was reasonable and just; but
in Richard’s eyes it had a fatal defect. For the last eight years he
had been actual ruler of Aquitaine, as Geoffrey had been actual ruler
of Britanny. From 1175 Henry had given his second and third sons a free
hand and left them to govern their respective duchies for themselves.
Geoffrey’s hold upon Britanny had been secured in 1181 by his marriage
with Constance; Richard had secured his own hold upon Aquitaine by
eight years of hard fighting with its rebellious barons, and was now,
in truth, duke by the right of the sword. But young Henry, the crowned
king, had throughout these years been in England little more than a
cipher, held in check by the authority of his father when present, and
by that of the justiciars in his father’s absence; while in Normandy
and the Angevin lands he had had no practical authority at all. Richard
had no mind to give up substance for shadow. To be _de facto_ duke of
Aquitaine was far better than to be merely titular duke of Normandy
and count of Anjou; for the title of king, he knew, Henry would never
again grant to any one during his own lifetime. Richard’s answer
therefore was that, so long as he lived, he and he alone would rule
Aquitaine.[37] In June 1184 the king went back to England,[38] leaving
John in Normandy. John was now in his seventeenth year, and Henry is
said to have given him permission to “lead an army into Richard’s
territories and win them for himself by force.”[39] Whether he also
furnished him with an “army” for that purpose, or how John was expected
to find one for himself, is not stated; possibly the permission was
nothing more than a hastily uttered word which the speaker never meant
to be taken seriously. In any case, however, Henry’s departure over
sea left John to his own devices, and to the influence of his next
brother, Geoffrey of Britanny.

[Sidenote: 1184]

Two or three years later, Gerald of Wales sketched the portraits of
Geoffrey and John both at once, in a manner highly suggestive of the
close relations which the two brothers formed at this time, and of
the points of likeness which drew them together. From that picture
we can see what was the character of the influence under which John
now fell, and what response it was likely to find in the character of
John himself. Geoffrey was now a man of twenty-six years, a knight of
approved valour, reputed scarcely inferior in this respect to either
of his elder brothers, while he surpassed them both in eloquence of
speech and subtlety of brain. “He was not easy to deceive, and would
indeed have been one of the wisest of men, had he not been so ready to
deceive others. He was a compound of two different natures, Ulysses
and Achilles in one. In his inmost soul there was more of bitterness
than of sweetness; but outwardly he was always ready with an abundance
of words smoother than oil; with his bland and persuasive eloquence he
could unbind the closest ties of confederation; with his tongue he had
power to mar the peace of two kingdoms. He was a hypocrite, never to be
trusted, and with a marvellous talent for feigning or counterfeiting
all things.”[40]

[Sidenote: 1184–1185]

There was nine years’ difference in age between Geoffrey and John;
but already a clear-sighted onlooker could see that the two brothers
were cast in the same mould, morally as well as physically. Both were
short in stature--shorter than their father, and far below the height
of young Henry or of Richard; they were well built, but on a small
scale. The likeness between them went deeper than that of outward
form. As Gerald expresses it, “while one was corn in the blade, the
other was corn in the ear”; but the blade developed fast. Before John
was twenty, Gerald, though evidently striving hard to make the best
of him, was driven to confess that, “caught in the toils and snared
by the temptations of unstable and dissolute youth, he was as wax to
receive impressions of evil, but hardened against those who would have
warned him of its danger; compliant to the fancy of the moment; making
no resistance to the impulses of nature; more given to luxurious ease
than to warlike exercises, to enjoyment than to endurance, to vanity
than to virtue.”[41] As soon as the king was out of Normandy, Geoffrey
and John joined hands; they collected “a great host,” with which they
marched, burning and plundering, into Poitou. Richard retaliated by
harrying Britanny, till Henry, on learning what was going on, summoned
all three brothers to England. They obeyed the summons,[42] and in
December a “final concord” between them was drawn up and sealed at
Westminster.[43] Whatever were its terms, they evidently did not
include any cession of territory by either of the elder brothers to
the youngest. Geoffrey was at once sent back to Normandy “to take care
of it with its other guardians”;[44] and immediately after Christmas
Richard obtained leave to return to Poitou.[45] The king’s project of
transferring Aquitaine to John had been merely a passing fancy. Of the
scheme for establishing him in Ireland Henry had never lost sight; and
this scheme he now determined to carry into effect.

[Sidenote: 1185]

Before he could do so, however, a yet loftier destiny was proposed to
him for his favourite son. At the end of January 1185 Heraclius, the
patriarch of Jerusalem, came to England to implore Henry’s aid for the
perishing realm of Palestine. King Baldwin IV. was dying; after him
there was but one male heir left of the blood of King Fulk of Anjou
and Queen Melisenda, and that one was a little child. From the story
as told by Gerald it seems plain that Heraclius aimed at something
more than merely persuading Henry to take the command of a crusade;
his project was nothing less than a transfer of the succession from
the younger to the elder Angevin line--from the infant son of Fulk’s
grand-daughter to a son of Fulk’s grandson, Henry. When the king of
England, after taking counsel with his “faithful men,” declared that
he could not in person undertake the deliverance of the Holy Land
from its enemies, Heraclius still persisted in his other request;
he implored Henry to send at least one of his sons--if even it were
only John--“that from this scion of the Angevin house the seed royal
might be raised up and spring into new life.” The king, however, would
not listen. John, it is said, was inclined to embrace the patriarch’s
suggestion, and threw himself at his father’s feet to beg his consent,
but in vain.[46] At Mid-Lent Henry knighted him at Windsor, and
publicly gave out that he was to proceed at once to Ireland, where he
was destined to be king.[47]

[Sidenote: 1175]

The dominions of the English Crown in Ireland were defined by the
treaty made between the Irish Ard-Righ, Roderic of Connaught, and
Henry II. in October 1175 as consisting of the ancient Irish kingdoms
of Meath and Leinster, the cities of Dublin and Waterford, and a
tract of land extending from Waterford as far as, and including,
Dungarvan.[48] Meath had been granted by Henry in 1171 to Hugh de Lacy
to hold in chief of the Crown by the service of fifty knights;[49]
Leinster had been granted a few weeks before to Richard de Clare, earl
of Striguil.[50] The cities of Dublin and Wexford and the territory
appertaining to each of them, which had been held by the Ostmen, were
not included in these grants, but were reserved by Henry to himself,
and placed under the charge of custodians appointed by him. His
authority over the whole area occupied by his subjects in Ireland was
represented by a governor whose headquarters were at Dublin, and who at
the time of the treaty was Earl Richard, the lord of Leinster.[51]




  _according to the treaty of 1175_.

  _Kingdom of Roderic_ {CONNAUGHT}
  _Overlordship of Roderic_ {ULSTER and MUNSTER}
  _Domain of Henry_ {Small areas around Dublin, Wexford and Waterford}
  _Overlordship of Henry_ {MEATH (_Hugh de Lacy_),
    and LEINSTER (_Richard de Clare_)}

  _Stanford’s Geogˡ. Estabᵗ. London._

  London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd.]

[Sidenote: 1171–77]

On the side of the invaders and their king, the treaty was made only to
be broken. Henry on his visit to Ireland in 1171–72 had established
constables of his own in two other towns, Limerick and Cork.[52] Cork,
though not named in the treaty, and therefore implicitly included
in that portion of the island over which he renounced all claims to
ownership, seems nevertheless to have been continuously occupied by
his officers; it was certainly in their hands in November 1177.[53]
Limerick had been recovered by the Irish, probably when all Henry’s
garrisons were recalled from Ireland to swell his forces in Normandy
in 1173. It was, however, stormed and captured early in October
1175--only a few days before the treaty with Roderic was signed--by
Earl Richard’s brother-in-law and constable, Raymond the Fat, and his
cousin Meiler Fitz-Henry.[54] They evacuated it, indeed, six months
later, when Raymond was recalled by Henry to England on the death of
Earl Richard in May 1176;[55] but Raymond’s infraction of the treaty
was not the reason for his recall;[56] and the withdrawal of his
troops from Limerick was due not to any order from the king, but to
his own sense of the difficulty of holding a place so remote from the
other Norman-Welsh settlements in Ireland. Henry, when he heard of the
affair, merely remarked: “Great was the daring shown in seizing the
place, but the only wisdom was in leaving it.”[57] In 1171–72 he had
made, it is said, a grant of Ulster to John de Courcy “if he could
conquer it by force.”[58] At the opening of 1177 De Courcy set forth
to try whether he could make this grant effectual, and by February 2
he had taken the city of Down.[59] Shortly afterwards, Miles Cogan,
who was constable of Dublin under the new governor-general, William
Fitz-Audeline, made a raid into Connaught as far as Tuam.[60] A few
weeks later, Henry himself openly flung his treaty with Roderic to
the winds. According to one account, he bade Earl Hugh of Chester “go
into Ireland and subdue it for him and his son John, to whom he had
granted it; for he had obtained leave from Pope Alexander to crown and
make king in Ireland whichever of his sons he might choose; and he
bade the said earl conquer the kings and princes of Ireland who would
not submit to him.” The commission was probably given not to Hugh of
Chester, but to Hugh de Lacy, who was certainly appointed governor in
Ireland shortly afterwards.[61] However this may have been, in May 1177
Henry, in a great council at Oxford, arrogated to himself the right of
disposing at his pleasure not only of the territories in Ireland which
were already conquered, but also of the whole of Munster. Leinster was
at this time in his own hands; for Earl Richard’s heir was a girl, and
therefore a ward of the king. He confirmed Hugh de Lacy’s tenure of
Meath, and gave him the custody of Dublin, which carried with it the
office of governor-general; he appointed William Fitz-Audeline--whom
Hugh was thus to supersede as governor--custodian of Wexford, and
Robert le Poer custodian of Waterford; and he defined the territory
dependent upon the latter city as extending not merely as far as
Dungarvan (the limit specified in the treaty of 1175), but as far as
“the river which is beyond Lismore,” that is, the Blackwater. Moreover,
he granted to Robert Fitz-Stephen and Miles de Cogan in fee, for the
service of sixty knights, “the kingdom of Cork,” South Munster, or
Desmond;[62] and to Herbert and William Fitz-Herbert and their nephew
Jocelyn de la Pommeraye, on the same terms, “the kingdom of Limerick,”
North Munster, or Thomond. From each of these grants the capital city,
with the Ostmen’s cantred attached to it, was excluded, being expressly
reserved by Henry for “himself and his heirs.” The recipients of all
these grants did liege homage and swore fealty to John as well as to



  _according to Henry’s distribution, 1177_.

  _Domain of the English Crown._
    {WATERFORD and small arears around Dublin and Wexford}

  _Fiefs held of the English Crown._
    {MEATH (_Hugh de Lacy_), and
    LEINSTER (_Isabel de Clare, Ward of the King_)}

  _Fiefs granted by Henry but not yet conquered._
    {LIMERICK (_Philip de Braose_), and CORK (_Robert Fitz Stephen_)}

  {ULSTER and CONNAUGHT are outside the area marked as being claimed or
    held by the English Crown.}

  _Stanford’s Geogˡ. Estabᵗ. London._

  London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd.]

[Sidenote: 1177]

The grant of Thomond to the two Fitz-Herberts and their nephew was
shortly afterwards annulled at their own request, on the ground that
this realm “was not yet won or subdued to the king’s authority”;
evidently they did not feel equal to the task of winning it. Henry then
offered its investiture to Philip de Braose, who accepted it; and this
time the city of Limerick, with its cantred, was either included in
the enfeoffment, or, more probably, Philip was appointed to hold it,
when won, as custodian for the king.[64] The “kingdom of Cork” was also
as yet unconquered; but here the grantees had the advantage of being
supported by an English constable, Richard of London, in Cork itself.
They seem to have compelled or persuaded the king of Desmond, Dermot
MacCarthy, to some agreement, in virtue of which they are said to have
obtained peaceable possession of “the seven cantreds nearest to the
city,” and divided these between themselves, Fitz-Stephen taking the
three eastern, Cogan the four western; and they seem also to have been
appointed by Henry joint custodians of the city of Cork, in succession
to Richard of London.[65] As for the other twenty-four cantreds which
made up the rest of their promised territory, they agreed to divide the
tribute equally between them, “when it should come.”[66]

[Sidenote: 1182–83]

Philip de Braose had helped Cogan and Fitz-Stephen to effect their
settlement in Desmond; they now went to help him to gain possession
of Limerick. As the three adventurers and their little band of Welsh
followers reached the bank of the Shannon, the citizens noticed
their approach and fired the town before their eyes. De Braose lost
heart, and “chose rather to return safe to his home than to try the
risks of fortune in a land so hostile and so remote”;[67] and it does
not appear that he ever obtained any footing in the country. Cogan
and Fitz-Stephen held their seven cantreds in Desmond and the city
of Cork for five years; then, in 1182, Cogan was slain by an Irish
chieftain,[68] and the natives rose at once throughout the district.
They besieged Fitz-Stephen in Cork; his nephew, Raymond the Fat, went
to his rescue by sea, and managed to throw himself and some troops into
the city; while King Henry, as soon as the news reached him, despatched
Miles Cogan’s brother Richard, with some soldiers, from England to take
Miles’s place.[69] In 1183, or very soon after, Fitz-Stephen died;[70]
Henry then appointed Raymond sole constable of Cork, and Raymond
contrived to restore at least some degree of “English”--more properly
to be called Norman-Welsh--ascendency throughout the cantreds occupied
in 1177, of which the western ones were apparently now held by Richard
de Cogan as heir to Miles, while Raymond was recognized by Henry as
tenant-in-chief of the eastern ones in succession to Fitz-Stephen, who
had no heirs.[71] The temporary loss of ground in the south in 1182 was
more than counterbalanced by the successes of John de Courcy in the
same year at the opposite extremity of the island, where he seems to
have effected a permanent settlement in Dalriada, though probably only
along the coast.[72]



  _A.D. 1185_.

  {CONNAUGHT is outside the area marked as being claimed or held by
    the English Crown.
    As is ULSTER, except for the East coast (_John de Courcy_)
    and MUNSTER, except for the South coast (_Raymond the Fat?_) and
    (_Richard de Cogan_)
  WATERFORD, and the areas around Dublin and Wexford are marked as
    the Domain of the English Crown.
  MEATH (_Hugh de Lacy_), and LEINCESTER (_Isabel de Clare, Ward of
    the King_) are both marked as held by the English Crown.}

  _Stanford’s Geogˡ. Estabᵗ. London._

  London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd.]

[Sidenote: 1181–1185]

The internal condition of the so-called “English” dominion in Ireland,
meanwhile, was not altogether satisfactory to the king. It was of
course necessary that he should have a viceroy there to represent him
and to hold the feudataries in check; but for that very reason the
viceroy was always, simply as viceroy, an object of jealousy to the
other barons; and the viceroy who had been appointed in 1177, Hugh
de Lacy, presently incurred the distrust of the king himself. Hugh’s
rivals accused him of currying favour with the Irish in the hope of
making himself an independent sovereign; and on his marriage with a
daughter of the king of Connaught, a marriage contracted “according
to the manner of that country” and without King Henry’s leave, Henry
in May 1181 removed him from his office and summoned him to England,
sending the constable of Chester and Richard de Pec to Ireland as joint
governors in his stead. Hugh’s disgrace, however, lasted only six
months; he returned to Dublin as governor at the end of the year.[73]
Meanwhile Henry was providing himself with a new instrument for working
out his purposes in Ireland. The saintly and patriotic archbishop of
Dublin, S. Laurence O’Toole, had died in November 1180;[74] Henry kept
the see vacant ten months, and then, in September 1181, gave it to an
English clerk and confidant of his own, John Cumin. The new archbishop
was consecrated by the Pope on March 21, 1182;[75] but more than two
years elapsed before he set foot in his diocese. At last, in August
1184, he was sent over by Henry to prepare the way for the coming of
John.[76] It was doubtless for the same purpose that Hugh de Lacy
was again superseded as governor; at the beginning of September he
was replaced by Philip of Worcester, whose first work was to recover
for the Crown certain lands which Hugh had alienated, and whose next
undertaking was a plundering raid upon the clergy and churches of
Armagh, achieved with great success in March 1185.[77]

[Sidenote: 1185]

On April 24 John sailed from Milford[78] with a fleet of sixty
ships,[79] which carried some three hundred knights, a large body of
archers, and a train of other followers. Next day they all landed
at Waterford.[80] There the neighbouring Irish chieftains came to
salute the son of the English king. The knights of John’s suite, young
and reckless like himself, jeered at the dress and manners of these
Irishmen, and even pulled some of them by their beards, which they wore
long and flowing according to their national custom. The insulted
chieftains reported to their brethren in more remote districts the
indignity with which they had been treated; and in consequence, the
kings and princes of Munster and Connaught not only refused to attend
John’s court, but agreed among themselves to oppose him by force.[81]
Archbishop Cumin, who had been sent over on purpose that he might set
an example of clerical submission and lend John the support of his
countenance as spiritual head of the province over which John was to
be the secular ruler, of course welcomed the lad as his sovereign and
gave him his homage and fealty, and so did the lay barons who owed
their possessions in Ireland to King Henry; but among the survivors
and representatives of the original Norman-Welsh conquerors the king’s
son--like the king himself fourteen years before--evidently received
but a half-hearted welcome;[82] and John did nothing to gain their
confidence or their respect. He ordered castles to be built at Lismore
and at two places on the Suir, Ardfinnan and Tibraghny;[83] beyond this
he seems to have taken no measures to oppose the threatened coalition
of the Irish princes and people; and while they were openly joining
hands against him, he was spending in riotous living the money which
had been destined for the pay of the soldiers who had come with him
from England. When these soldiers demanded their wages, he met them
with a refusal.[84] Some of them, whom he had left to garrison the
new castles at Ardfinnan and Tibraghny, provided for themselves by
making plundering raids into Munster, till they were defeated with
great slaughter by the king of Thomond, Donell O’Brien;[85] most of
the others refused to serve John any longer, and went over to the
Irish.[86] Such was the characteristic beginning of John’s public life.
Equally characteristic was the facility with which he escaped from
the consequences of his criminal folly. In September, finding himself
on the verge of ruin, he hurried back to his father’s court and laid
the blame of his ill-success upon Hugh de Lacy, whom he accused of
plotting with the Irish against him.[87] The task of repairing the
mischief wrought by his five months’ stay in Ireland was entrusted by
Henry to John de Courcy as governor-general.[88]

[Sidenote: 1186–1187]

Within a few months, however, the king again took up his cherished
scheme with renewed eagerness and hope. “Lord of Ireland” was the
title which John had assumed during his visit to that country,[89] as
it was the title by which Henry had claimed authority over the Irish
princes; but ever since 1177 Henry had been planning to secure for his
son a more definite basis of power, by having him crowned and anointed
as king. For this the Pope’s permission was necessary; Alexander III.
was said to have granted it,[90] but his grant seems never to have
been embodied in a bull, and Lucius III., who succeeded him in 1181,
absolutely refused to sanction Henry’s project. When Lucius died, in
November 1185, Henry at once despatched an embassy to his successor,
Urban III., “and from him he obtained many things which Pope Lucius
had strongly resisted; of which things this was one, that whichever
of his sons he might choose should be crowned and anointed king of
Ireland.”[91] This grant Urban is said to have confirmed by a bull,
and by sending to Henry a crown of peacock’s feathers set in gold.[92]
Bull and crown were probably brought by two legates who are expressly
described as commissioned by Urban as legates for Ireland, “to crown
John king of that country.” But these envoys did not reach England till
Christmas Eve 1186;[93] and meanwhile, in August, news had come that
“a certain Irishman had cut off the head of Hugh de Lacy,” whereupon
Henry bade John proceed at once to Ireland and seize Hugh’s vast
estates there.[94] John, however, was still in England when the legates
arrived; possibly his father detained him on learning that they were
actually on their way. But they had no sooner landed than they offended
Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury by wearing their mitres and having
their crosses carried before them in his cathedral church; and they
repeated the insult in the king’s court, to the great indignation of
Baldwin and his suffragans.[95] Under these circumstances it would
obviously have been impossible to let them crown John in Baldwin’s
province; and if Henry entertained any idea of sending them and John to
Ireland together, that the rite might be performed there, he speedily
abandoned it. Baldwin, in fact, to rid himself of the legates, advised
the king to employ them in France, as mediators in the disputes which
were arising between Henry and Philip Augustus out of the death of
Geoffrey of Britanny, the minority of Geoffrey’s daughter, and the
critical condition of his widow. Henry accepted the suggestion, sent
John to Normandy instead of to Ireland,[96] and himself followed with
the legates on February 17 (1187).[97]

[Sidenote: 1187]

No pacification between the kings was arrived at, and at Whitsuntide
both openly prepared for war. This was the first real war in which
John took part; for his attacks upon Aquitaine in 1184 had been mere
raids, probably directed by Geoffrey, and it was not under his personal
leadership that his mercenaries had fought their losing fight with
the Irish in Munster. Now he was appointed to command one of the four
bodies into which King Henry divided his host; the other three being
entrusted to Richard, Earl William de Mandeville, and Geoffrey the
chancellor.[98] The position of these different bodies of troops at
the opening of the campaign is obscure. One English authority states
that when Philip began the war by laying siege to Châteauroux, Richard
and John were both within its walls.[99] A contemporary French
historian, however, who was probably better informed, says that when
Philip besieged Châteauroux Henry and Richard proceeded together to
its relief;[100] and it appears that John accompanied his father and
brother, for we are told that “John who is called Lackland, being
sent by his father, chanced to be present” when one of Richard’s
mercenaries broke off an arm of a statue in the church of Our Lady,
whereupon the figure bled as if it were alive; and John picked up the
severed arm and carried it off as a holy relic.[101] One contemporary
asserts that Richard’s subsequent desertion of his father was owing to
Philip’s communicating to him a letter in which Henry proposed that
Philip’s sister Adela, Richard’s betrothed, should marry John instead
of Richard, and that John should succeed to the whole of his dominions
except England and Normandy.[102] Whether this letter was genuine or
forged, there is nothing to show; if such a proposition was really made
by Henry, it was probably only as a temporary expedient for putting off
Philip’s importunity on the awkward question of Adela’s marriage. In
the autumn Henry and Richard were again reconciled,[103] and a little
later both were for a moment reconciled to Philip by a common vow of

[Sidenote: 1188–1189]

On January 30, 1188, Henry returned to England, and it seems that John
went with him; for when Philip attacked Berry again in the summer,
Henry “sent into Normandy his son John, who crossed from Shoreham to
Dieppe.”[104] The king rejoined his son in July, and they probably
remained together during the greater part of the next eleven months,
though there is no mention of John’s presence at any of the numerous
conferences between Henry and Philip. At one of these conferences--that
at La Ferté Bernard, on Trinity Sunday, June 4, 1189[105]--Philip and
Richard demanded that John should be made to accompany his father
and brother on the crusade; Richard even declared that he would not
go himself unless John went too.[106] Henry, on the other hand, now
openly proposed to Philip that Adela should marry John instead of
Richard; but Philip, now that Richard was at his side, would not listen
to this suggestion.[107]

Our last glimpse of John during his father’s lifetime is at Le Mans
on June 12, when Philip and Richard captured the city, and Henry was
compelled to flee. A contemporary tells us that before setting out on
his flight “the king caused his son John, whom he loved and in whom
he greatly trusted, to be disarmed.”[108] This precaution may have
been due to anxiety--groundless, as the issue proved--lest John should
thrust himself into danger in his father’s behalf; that it was not
suggested by any doubts of John’s loyalty is plain, not only from the
words of the writer who records it, but also from Henry’s action on
the next morning, when, before setting out on his solitary ride from
La Frênaye back into Anjou, he despatched his remaining followers to
Normandy, after making the seneschal of the duchy and Earl William
de Mandeville swear that in case of his own death the Norman castles
should be given up to John.[109] John, however, had then already left
him--under what circumstances, or at what precise moment, we know
not; but it seems clear that at some time between the French attack
upon Le Mans on the Monday morning and Henry’s arrival at La Frênaye
on the same night, John had either been sent away by his father for
safety, or had found some pretext for quitting his company, and that,
in either case, he used the opportunity to go his own way with such
characteristic ingenuity that for three whole weeks his father never
guessed whither that way really tended.[110]

[Sidenote: 1189]

Henry and Richard had been set at strife by an illusion of their own
imaginations. Richard had been spurred to rebellion by the idea that
his father aimed at disinheriting him in favour of John, and might
succeed in that aim, unless prevented by force. Henry’s schemes for
John were probably in reality much less definite and less outrageous
than Richard imagined; but there can be little doubt that the otherwise
unaccountable inconsistencies and self-contradictions, the seemingly
wanton changes of front, by which the king in his latter years had
so bewildered and exasperated his elder son, were the outcome of an
insatiable desire to place John, somehow or other, in a more lofty and
independent position than a younger son was fairly entitled to expect.
The strange thing is that Henry never perceived how hopeless were his
efforts, nor Richard how groundless were his fears; neither of them,
apparently, realizing that the substitution of John for Richard as heir
of the Angevin house was an idea which could not possibly be carried
into effect. The utter selfishness of John, however, rendered him, mere
lad of one-and-twenty as he was, proof against illusions where his own
interest was concerned; and it was he who pricked the bubble. On July 4
Henry, sick unto death, made his submission to Philip and Richard, and
received a list of the traitors who had transferred their homage to the
latter. That night, at Chinon, he bade his vice-chancellor read him the
names. The vice-chancellor hesitated; the king insisted; at last the
truth which was to give him his death-blow came out: “Sire, the first
that is written down here is Lord John, your son.”[111]


[1] _I.e._ Henry II.

[2] The place comes from the prose addition to Robert of Gloucester,
ed. Hearne, vol. ii. p. 484; on the date see Stubbs, pref. to W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. xvii.

[3] R. Torigni, a. 1155; Gerv. of Canterbury, vol. i. p. 162.

[4] R. Torigni, a. 1160.

[5] R. Diceto, vol. i. p. 306.

[6] _Ib._ p. 311.

[7] R. Torigni, a. 1159.

[8] R. Torigni, a. 1166.

[9] “Quartum natu minimum Johannem Sine Terra agnominans,” W. Newburgh,
l. ii. c. 18. Cf. W. Armor. _Philippis_, l. vi. vv. 591, 592, who says,
addressing John--

  “Antea quam fato fieres ludente monarcha,
  Patris ab ore tui Sine-Terra nomen habebas.”

The name seems to have been commonly used as if it were a part of
John’s proper designation: “Johannes ... quem vocant Sine Terra,
quamvis multas et latas habet possessiones et multos comitatus,”
says R. Torigni, a. 1185. So the writer of the _Estoire de la Guerre
Sainte_: “Johan sanz Terre ot nom li mendres,” v. 179; “Johan sanz
Terre, Por qui il ot tant noise e guere,” vv. 101, 102.

[10] Cf. R. Torigni, a. 1169; Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 208, and
Robertson’s _Materials for Hist. of Becket_, vol. vi. pp. 506, 507.
According to the writer of this last account, young Henry’s homage to
Louis was only for Anjou and Maine, and he adds: “In hac autem honorum
distributione Franci regno suo arbitrantur plurimum esse prospectum; eo
quidem magis quod cum acerbiori dolore meminerant Henricum filium regis
Angliæ regi Francorum pro omnibus hominium fecisse, quando inter ipsum
et filiam regis Francorum sponsalia contracta sunt.” But R. Torigni’s
account of young Henry’s homage to Louis in 1160, when compared with
his account of the settlement in 1169, seems distinctly to imply that
the former was for Normandy alone.

[11] Robertson, _Materials_, vol. vi. p. 507.

[12] “Tradidit ei [_i.e._ Henrico] Johannem fratrem suum minimum ad
promovendum et manutenendum,” _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 7. The charge
cannot have been given personally, for though John may have been with
his father, the young king was in England.

[13] R. Howden, vol. ii. p. 6.

[14] See Bishop Stubbs’s notes to R. Howden, vol. ii. p. 6, and vol.
iii. p. xxiv., note 1.

[15] R. Torigni, a. 1168; Stapleton, _Mag. Rot. Scacc. Norm._ vol. i.
introd. pp. lxiii., cxxiii.

[16] R. Torigni, a. 1171.

[17] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 35.

[18] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 35–39.

[19] _Ib._ p. 41.

[20] Cf. _ib._ p. 41, and Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 242.

[21] Cf. _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 77–79; R. Howden, vol. ii. pp. 67–69,
and _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 30.

[22] R. Torigni, a. 1175.

[23] _Art de Vérifier les Dates_, vol. xvii. p. 165.

[24] John and Isabel of Gloucester were cousins in the fourth degree
according to the canon law; _i.e._ they were what is now commonly
called second cousins, being both great-grandchildren of Henry I.

[25] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 124, 125; R. Diceto, vol. i. p. 415,
giving the date, September 28, 1176.

[26] Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 243.

[27] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 131.

[28] _Ib._ pp. 161–5.

[29] Eyton, _Itin. of Henry II._ p. 210, from Pipe Roll 1177.

[30] _Ib._ p. 222, from Pipe Roll 1178.

[31] R. Torigni, a. 1178.

[32] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 221.

[33] Eyton, _Itin. Hen. II._ p. 226, from Pipe Roll 1179.

[34] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 40. For date see Eyton, p. 246.

[35] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 304, 305.

[36] _Ib._ pp. 304, 305, 307, 308.

[37] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 308.

[38] R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 21.

[39] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 311.

[40] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 200.

[41] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 199, 200.

[42] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 319.

[43] R. Howden, vol. ii. p. 288.

[44] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 320, 321.

[45] _Ib._ p. 334.

[46] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 362, 363.

[47] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 336; R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 34.

[48] Treaty in _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 102, 103.

[49] Charter in Lyttelton, _Henry II._ (ed. 1767), vol. iv. p. 295;
_Song of Dermot_ (ed. Orpen), vv. 2725–32; cf. _Rot. Chart._ p. 178.
The statement in _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 163 (copied by R. Howden, vol.
ii. p. 134) that the service was that of a hundred knights is clearly a

[50] _Song of Dermot_, vv. 2617–22.

[51] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 298.

[52] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 277.

[53] _Ib._ p. 348.

[54] _Ib._ pp. 321–3. Cf. _Song of Dermot_, vv. 3370 to end.

[55] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 332, 333.

[56] _Ib._ pp. 327, 328.

[57] _Ib._ pp. 333, 334.

[58] _Song of Dermot_, vv. 2733–5.

[59] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 339; _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 137, 138. Cf.
Four Masters and _Ann. Loch Cé_, a. 1177.

[60] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 346. Cf. Four Masters and _Ann. Loch Cé_,
a. 1177.

[61] Cf. _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 161 with Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 347.

[62] Defined as extending “towards the Cape of S. Brendan [Knock
Brandon] on the sea-coast, and towards Limerick and other parts, and as
far as the water near Lismore.” Ware’s _Antiquities of Ireland_, ed.
Harris, p. 194.

[63] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 162–5.

[64] Cf. _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 172, 173; Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 347,
with Mr. Dimock’s note 6; and _Rot. Chart._ p. 84 b.

[65] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 348. The removal of William Fitz-Audeline
from the office of viceroy seems to have involved the displacement of
the subordinate officers appointed by him, of whom Richard of London
was one.

[66] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 348. Cf. Ware, _Antiq._ pp. 194, 195.

[67] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 349.

[68] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 350. Cf. note (_e_) to Four Masters, a.
1182, and _Ann. Loch Cé_, a. 1182.

[69] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 350, 351.

[70] _Dic. Nat. Biog._ s.v. “Fitz-Stephen, Robert.”

[71] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 350.

[72] Ware, _Antiq._ pp. 196, 197.

[73] Cf. Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 353–6, and _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 270.

[74] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 357, 358. Cf. _Gesta Hen._ _l.c._, where
the date is wrong.

[75] Cf. _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 280, 287, and Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p.

[76] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 359.

[77] _Ib._ pp. 359, 360; Four Masters, a. 1185.

[78] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 380.

[79] Four Masters, a. 1185.

[80] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 381.

[81] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 389.

[82] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 339.

[83] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 386; Four Masters, a. 1185.

[84] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 339.

[85] Four Masters, a. 1185.

[86] _Gesta Hen._ _l.c._

[87] Four Masters, _l.c._; _Ann. Loch Cé_, a. 1185.

[88] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 392.

[89] In several of John’s Irish charters granted during his father’s
lifetime he styles himself simply “Johannes filius Regis”; when he does
use a title, it is “Dominus Hiberniae,” or, apparently, in one case
(_Hist. MSS. Comm._ 3rd Report, p. 231), “Dux Hiberniae.”

[90] _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. p. 161.

[91] _Ib._ p. 339.

[92] R. Howden, vol. ii. pp. 306, 307. No such bull is now known, but
there seems no reason to doubt the story.

[93] Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 346; _Gesta Hen._ vol. ii. pp. 3, 4; R.
Diceto, vol. ii. p. 47.

[94] Cf. _Gesta Hen._ vol. i. pp. 350, 361; Four Masters, a. 1186; Gir.
Cambr. vol. v. p. 387, and R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 34, who gives the day
of Hugh’s death--July 25--but under a wrong year.

[95] Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 346; _Gesta Hen._ vol. ii. p. 4.

[96] _Gesta Hen._ vol. ii. p. 4.

[97] _Ib._ Cf. R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 47.

[98] _Gesta Hen._ vol. ii. p. 6.

[99] _Ib._

[100] Rigord, c. 52 (ed. Delaborde, p. 180).

[101] _Ib._ Cf. Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 369.

[102] Gir. Cambr. vol. viii. pp. 232, 233.

[103] _Gesta Hen._ vol. ii. p. 9.

[104] _Ib._ p. 40.

[105] R. Howden, vol. ii. p. 362.

[106] _Gesta Hen._ vol. ii. p. 66.

[107] R. Howden, vol. ii. p. 363.

[108] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 8542–4.

[109] Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. p. 369.

[110] Gerald indeed (_l.c._) says: “In crastino vero ... versus
Andegaviam rege properante, fidei tamen sacramentique vinculis
senescallo Normanniae Guillelmo Radulphi filio et comite Guillelmo de
Mandeville ante constrictis, de munitionibus Normanniae cunctis, siquid
de ipso sinistrum fore contigerit, filio suo juniori Johanni reddendis,
quanquam tamen et ipse ab eodem, proh dolor! paulo _post_ discesserit.”
But it looks very much as if “post” here were a mistake for “ante,” for
the whole story indicates that John was not at La Frênaye on the night
of June 12. Cf. W. Newb. l. iii. c. 25: “Tunc” (after the flight from
Le Mans) “Johannes filiorum ejus minimus, quem tenerrime diligebat,
recessit ab eo”; and _Gesta Hen._ vol. ii. p. 72: “Johannes filius
ejus, qui mortis suae occasio, immo causa praecipua fuerat, eo quod
illum tempore guerrae, cum capta esset civitas Cenomannis, reliquerat.”
These two writers, indeed, taken by themselves, would seem to imply
that John’s desertion was open; but Henry’s charge to the two Norman
barons, and his subsequent horror at the final discovery of John’s
treason, indicate that it was managed with a refinement of duplicity
which is really more in accord with John’s character.

[111] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 9077–8.




    Then ther com most wykke tydyng
    To Quer de Lyoun Richard our kyng,
    How off Yngelonde hys brother Ihon,
    That was accursyd off flesch and bon,

      .     .     .     .     .     .

    ... wolde with maystry off hand
    Be crownyd kyng in Yngeland.

              _Richard Coer de Lion_, ll. 6267–70, 6273–4.

[Sidenote: 1189]

On July 6 Henry died; on the 8th he was buried at Fontevraud. Richard
attended the burial; John did not, but immediately afterwards, either
at Fontevraud or on the way northward, he sought the presence of his
brother. Richard received him graciously, and on reaching Normandy
“granted him all the lands which his father had given him, to wit, four
thousand pounds’ worth of lands in England, and the county of Mortain
with its appurtenances.”[112] These words, and similar expressions used
by two other writers of the time,[113] would seem to imply that John
had been count of Mortain before Henry’s death, and that Richard merely
confirmed to him a possession and a dignity which he already enjoyed.
John, however, is never styled “count” during Henry’s lifetime;[114]
and the real meaning of the historians seems to be that Henry had in
his latter days reverted to his early project of making John count of
Mortain, but had never carried it into effect, probably because he
could not do so without Richard’s assent. Richard’s grant was thus an
entirely new one, though made in fulfilment of his father’s desire.
It set John in the foremost rank among the barons of Normandy, though
the income which it brought him was not very large. The grant of lands
in England, said to have been made to him at the same time, can only
have been a promise; Richard was not yet crowned, and therefore not yet
legally capable of granting anything in England at all. On his arrival
there in August, one of his first acts was to secure the Gloucester
heritage for John by causing him to be married to Isabel. The wedding
took place at Marlborough on August 29.[115] Five days later the king
was crowned; John figured at the coronation as “Earl of Mortain and
Gloucester,” and walked before his brother in the procession, carrying
one of the three swords of state, between Earl David of Huntingdon and
Earl Robert of Leicester, who bore the other two swords.[116]

At the end of the month, or early in October, Richard despatched John
at the head of an armed force, to secure for the new king the homage of
the Welsh princes. They all, save one, came to meet John at Worcester,
and “made a treaty of peace” with him as his brother’s representative.
The exception was Rees of South Wales, who was in active hostility to
the English Crown,[117] being at that very time engaged in besieging
Caermarthen castle. John led “the host of all England” to Caermarthen,
the siege was raised,[118] and Rees accompanied John back to England
for a meeting with Richard at Oxford; Richard, however, declined the
interview.[119] His refusal may have been due to some suspicion of
a private agreement between Rees and John which is asserted in the
Welsh annals;[120] but his suspicions, if he had any, did not prevent
him from continuing, almost to the eve of his own departure from
England, to develope an elaborate scheme of provision for John. The
very first step in this scheme had already led to trouble, though the
trouble was easily overcome. John and Isabel had been married without a
dispensation and in defiance of Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury, who
had forbidden, as contrary to canon law, a union between cousins under
such circumstances. After the marriage had taken place he declared it
invalid, and laid an interdict upon the lands of the guilty couple.
John, however, appealed to Rome, and got the better of the primate; in
November the interdict was raised by a papal legate.[121]



  ENGLAND, A.D. 1190.


  {_Royal castles_ are marked on the map.}

  _Stanford’s Geogˡ. Estabᵗ. London._

  London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd.]

The Pipe Roll drawn up a month after John’s marriage shows him as
holding, besides his wife’s honour of Gloucester, the honours of
Peverel, Lancaster and Tickhill, two manors in Suffolk, three in
Worcestershire, and some lands in Northamptonshire, together with the
profits of the Forest of Sherwood in Nottinghamshire and of that of
Andover in Wiltshire. All these grants were construed as liberally
as possible in John’s favour; he was allowed the profits of the two
forests for a whole year past, and the revenues of the other lands
for a quarter of a year, while the third penny of Gloucestershire
was reckoned as due to him for half a year--that is, from a date
five months before his investiture with the earldom.[122] The grants
of Peverel’s honour and Lancaster included the castles[123]; in the
cases of Tickhill and Gloucester the castles were reserved by the
king, and so too, apparently, was a castle on one of John’s Suffolk
manors, Orford.[124] Four other honours appear to have been given
to John at this time--Marlborough and Luggershall, including their
castles; Eye and Wallingford, seemingly without their castles.[125]
The aggregate value of all these lands would be about £1170; but a
much greater gift soon followed. Before the end of the year six whole
counties--Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and
Cornwall--were added to the portion of the count of Mortain. The words
in which this grant is recorded by the chroniclers convey a very
inadequate idea of its real importance; taken by themselves, they
might be understood to mean merely that Richard gave his brother the
title and the third penny of the revenue from each of the counties
named.[126] That what he actually did give was something very different
we learn from the Pipe Rolls, or rather from the significant omission
which is conspicuous in them for the next five years. From Michaelmas
1189 to Michaelmas 1194 these six counties made no appearance at all
in the royal accounts. They sent no returns of any kind to the royal
treasury; they were visited by no justices appointed by the king. In a
word, just as Chester and Durham were palatinates in the hands of earl
and bishop respectively, so John’s two counties in mid-England and four
in the south-west formed a great palatinate in his hands. He received
and retained their ferms and the profits of justice and administration
within their borders, and ruled them absolutely at his own will, the
Crown claiming from him no account for them whatever.

The total revenue which the Crown had derived from these six counties
in the year immediately preceding their transfer to John was a little
over £4000.[127] But their money value was a consideration of trifling
importance compared with the territorial and political power which
accompanied it. Such an accumulation of palatine jurisdictions in the
hands of one man was practically equivalent to the setting up of an
under-kingdom, with a king uncrowned indeed, but absolutely independent
of every secular authority except the supreme king himself; and that
exception, as every one knew, was only for the moment; Richard was
on the eve of his departure for the Holy Land, and as soon as he was
out of reach John would have, within his little realm, practically no
superior at all. Moreover, his “lordship of Ireland” had changed its
character at his father’s death. Until then it had been, save during
his five months’ visit to that country in 1185, merely titular. Most
of the few known charters and grants issued in his name during his
father’s lifetime are dateless, and it seems possible that, with one
exception, all of them may have been issued during that visit.[128] On
Henry’s death, however, John’s lordship of the English March in Ireland
became something more than a name. In virtue of it he already possessed
a staff of household officers whose titles and functions reproduced
those of the royal household itself. Henry had had his seneschal, his
butler, his constable for Ireland as well as for England; and this
Irish household establishment had apparently been transferred to John,
at any rate since 1185. No doubt the men of whom it consisted were
appointed by Henry, or at least with his sanction, and were in fact his
ministers rather than the ministers of his son; but to the new king
they owed no obedience save the general obedience due from all English
or Norman subjects; from the hour of Henry’s death their service
belonged to the “Lord of Ireland” alone, and John thus found himself at
the head of a little court of his own, a ready-made ministry through
which he might govern both his Irish dominion and the ample possessions
which Richard bestowed upon him in England, as freely as the rest of
the English realm was governed by Richard himself through the ministers
of the Crown.[129]

Of the way in which John was likely to use his new independence he
had already given a significant indication. Shortly after Richard’s
accession the wardship of the heiress of Leinster, Isabel de Clare, was
terminated by her marriage with William the Marshal.[130] Her great
Irish fief, as well as her English and Welsh lands, thus passed into
the hands of a man who was already one of the most trusted friends and
counsellors of Richard, as he had been of Henry, and whose brother
had once been seneschal to John himself.[131] No sooner had William
entered upon the heritage of his wife than John disseised him of a
portion of Leinster and parcelled it out among friends of his own.
The Marshal appealed to Richard; Richard insisted upon John’s making
restitution, and John, after some demur, was compelled to yield, but
not entirely; he managed to secure the ratification of a grant which he
had made to his butler, Theobald Walter, out of the Marshal’s lands,
although, by way of compromise, it was settled that Theobald should
hold the estate in question as an under-tenant of William, not as a
tenant-in-chief of John.[132] On the other hand, John did not at once
displace the governor whom his father had set over the Irish march
four years before, John de Courcy. He had no thought of undertaking
the personal government of his dominions in Ireland. To do so he must
have turned his back upon the opportunities which Richard’s misplaced
generosity was opening to him in England--opportunities of which it
was not difficult to foresee the effect upon such a mind as his. As
William of Newburgh says, “The enjoyment of a tetrarchy made him covet
a monarchy.”[133]

[Sidenote: 1190]

That Richard presently awoke to some consciousness of the danger which
he had created for himself and his realm maybe inferred from the fact
that in February 1190 he summoned John to Normandy, and there made
him swear not to set foot in England for the next three years. The
queen-mother, however, afterwards persuaded her elder son to release
the younger one from this oath;[134] or, according to another account,
to leave the decision of the matter to the justiciar and chancellor,
William of Longchamp, bishop of Ely. John was to visit the chancellor
in England, and either remain there or go into exile, as William might
choose.[135] It is clear, however, that William had no real choice. He
was legate in England, and therefore absolution from him was necessary
to protect John against the ecclesiastical consequences of a violated
oath; but as the violation was sanctioned by the king to whom the
oath had been sworn, no ground was left to William for refusing the

[Sidenote: 1191]

In the course of the year 1190, therefore, or very early in 1191, John
returned to England.[136] In February 1191 the sole remaining check
upon both John and William of Longchamp was removed: Queen Eleanor went
to join her elder son at Messina.[137] As soon as she was gone, the
results of the concession which he had made to her wishes in John’s
behalf began to show themselves. On Mid-Lent Sunday, March 24, the
count of Mortain and the chancellor had an interview at Winchester
“concerning the keepers of certain castles, and the money granted
to the count by his brother out of the exchequer.”[138] What passed
between them we are not told; but it is clear that they disagreed.
Three months elapsed without any overt act of aggression on either
side. Then, all at once, about midsummer, it became apparent that a
party which for more than a year had been seeking an opportunity to
undermine the chancellor’s power had found a rallying-point and a
leader in the king’s brother. The sheriff of Lincolnshire and constable
of Lincoln Castle, Gerard de Camville, being summoned to answer before
the justiciars for having made his great fortress into a hold of
robbers and bandits, defied their authority on the plea that he had
become John’s liegeman, and was therefore answerable to no one except
John.[139] The chancellor deprived Gerard of his sheriffdom and gave
it to another man, and laid siege to Lincoln Castle.[140] While he was
thus occupied, the castles of Nottingham and Tickhill were given up by
their custodians to John.[141] Thereupon John sent to the chancellor
a message of insolent defiance. If William did not at once withdraw
from Lincoln and leave Gerard in unmolested possession, the count of
Mortain threatened to “come and visit him with a rod of iron, and with
such a host as he would not be able to withstand.”[142] With a cutting
allusion at once to the chancellor’s humble origin and to the readiness
with which the commandants of Nottingham and Tickhill had betrayed the
fortresses committed to their charge, he added that “no good came of
depriving lawful freeborn Englishmen of the offices of trust to which
they were entitled, and giving them to unknown strangers; the folly
of such a proceeding had just been proved in the case of the royal
castles which William had entrusted to men who left them exposed to
every passer-by; any chance comer would have found their gates open
to him as easily as they had opened to John himself. Such a state of
affairs in his brother’s realm he was resolved to tolerate no longer.”
The chancellor’s retort was a peremptory summons to John to give up
the two castles, and “answer before the king’s court for the breach
of his oath.”[143] William probably hoped to get John expelled from
England, on the plea that Richard had never really consented to his
return and that his absolution was therefore invalid, as having been
extorted on a false pretence. The summons appears to have been carried
by Archbishop Walter of Rouen, who had come from Messina charged
with a special commission from Richard to deal with the crisis in
England.[144] John, on receiving the chancellor’s message, burst into
one of the paroxysms of fury characteristic of his race. “He was more
than angry,” says a contemporary; “his whole body was so contorted with
rage as to be scarcely recognizable; a scowl of wrath furrowed his
brow; his eyes flashed fire, his colour changed to a livid white, and I
know what would have become of the chancellor if in that hour of fury
he had come within reach of John’s hands!” In the end, however, the
archbishop persuaded both John and William to hold another conference
at Winchester on July 28.[145]

John secured the services of four thousand armed Welshmen, whom he
apparently brought up secretly, in small parties, from the border, and
hid in various places round about the city. No disturbance, however,
took place; some of the bishops, under the direction of Walter of
Rouen, drew up a scheme of agreement which, for the moment, both John
and William found it advisable to accept. The castles of Nottingham
and Tickhill were surrendered by John to the king {1191 July 28} in
the person of his special representative the archbishop of Rouen, who
was to give them in charge, one to William of Venneval--a liegeman of
the king, but a friend and follower of John--the other to William the
Marshal; these two custodians were to hold them for the king till his
return, and then “act according to his will concerning them”; but if he
should die, or if meanwhile the chancellor should break the peace with
John, they were to restore them to John. New custodians were appointed,
on the like terms, to six royal castles which stood within John’s
territories,[146] and also to two castles which Richard had expressly
granted to him,--Bolsover and the Peak. Any new castles built since the
king’s departure were to be razed, and no more were to be built till
his return, save, if necessary, on the royal demesnes, or elsewhere
in pursuance of special orders, written or verbal, from himself. No
man was to be disseised either by the king’s ministers or by the count
of Mortain, save in execution of a legal sentence delivered after
trial before the king’s court; and each party was pledged to amend, on
complaint from the other, its own infringements of this rule, which
was at once applied to the case of Gerard de Camville. Gerard, having
been disseised without trial, was reinstated in his sheriffdom; but
his reinstatement was ordered to be immediately followed by a trial
before the Curia Regis on the charges brought against him, and the
decision of the Curia was to be final; if it went against him, John
was not to support him in resistance to it; and John was further bound
not to harbour any known outlaws or enemies of the king, nor any
person accused of treason, except on condition of such person pledging
himself to stand his trial in the king’s court. The archbishop of Rouen
received a promise from John and from the chancellor, each supported by
seven sureties, that they would keep this agreement. After it was drawn
up, a postscript appears to have been added: “If any thing should be
taken or intercepted by either party during the truce, it shall be
lawfully restored and amends made for it. And these things are done,
saving always the authority and commands of our lord the king; yet so
that if the king before his return should not will this agreement to be
kept, the aforesaid castles of Nottingham and Tickhill shall be given
up to Lord John, whatever the king may order concerning them.” The last
clause is obscure; but its meaning seems to be that if the arrangement
just made should prove to be, in the judgment of the king’s ministers,
untenable, it was to be treated as void, and matters were to be
restored to the position in which they had been before it was made.[147]

The contingency which seems to have been contemplated in this
postscript very soon occurred. Some mercenaries whom the chancellor had
summoned from over sea landed in England, and he at once repudiated
the agreement, declaring there should be no peace till either he or
John was driven out of the realm.[148] Hereupon it seems that Venneval
and the Marshal, in accordance with the clause above quoted, restored
the castles of Tickhill and Nottingham to John. On the other hand, an
outrage on John’s part, which is recorded only as having occurred some
time in this year (1191), certainly took place before October, and most
likely before the middle of September. Roger de Lacy, the constable
of Chester, who was responsible to Longchamp for the safe keeping of
these two castles, made a vigorous effort to bring to justice the
subordinate castellans to whom he had entrusted them, and who had
betrayed them to John. Of these there had been two in each castle.
Two managed to keep out of Lacy’s reach; the other two he caught and
hanged, although one of them offered to swear with compurgators that he
had never consented to the treason of his colleague, and even brought a
letter from John requesting that the compurgation might be allowed--the
chancellor, to whom the question had been referred, having remitted it
to the decision of Lacy. While this man’s body was hanging in chains,
his squire drove the birds away from it; whereupon Roger de Lacy hanged
the squire. Then John took upon himself to avenge them both, not only
by disseising Roger of all the lands which he held of him, but also by
ravaging the lands which Roger possessed elsewhere.[149]

Some time in August or September another assembly was called to
endeavour after a pacification between John and the chancellor. Three
bishops and twenty-two laymen were appointed arbitrators--the laymen
chosen by the bishops, eleven from the party which had hitherto
adhered to William, eleven from the followers of John. The terms which
these twenty-five laid down amounted to a decision wholly in John’s
favour. They did, indeed, again require him to restore the two royal
castles of Nottingham and Tickhill; but they made the restoration an
empty form. They decreed that the chancellor should put these castles
under the control of two men whom they named, William of Venneval
and another friend of John’s, Reginald de Vasseville. These two were
to hold the castles for the king and give William hostages for their
fidelity; but if Richard should die before reaching home, they were
at once to surrender the castles to John, and William was to restore
their hostages. The arbitrators further confirmed Gerard de Camville
in the constableship of Lincoln castle; they ordered the chancellor
to remove the constables of royal castles situated within the lands
of the count of Mortain, and appoint others in their stead, “if the
count showed reason for changing them”; and they added that “if the
king should die, the chancellor was not to disinherit the count, but
to do his utmost to promote him to the kingdom.”[150] This last clause
was pointed at a negotiation which William had been carrying on with
the Scot king, for the purpose of obtaining his recognition of Arthur
of Britanny as heir-presumptive to the English Crown. The negotiation
was secret; but John had discovered it,[151] and the discovery was
a useful weapon in his hands. William’s dealings with Scotland were
most probably sanctioned by Richard; their object was certainly in
accord with Richard’s own plans for the succession at this time; but
Richard’s choice of Arthur as his heir was probably unknown as yet to
the majority of his subjects, and if it was known to them, it could not
commend itself to their ideas either of policy or of constitutional
practice. In their eyes the king’s next-of-kin and natural successor
was not his boy-nephew, but his brother. It was therefore easy for John
to win their sympathies by representing the scheme as part of a plot
contrived against himself by the chancellor.

The new agreement lasted no longer than its predecessor. Scarcely was
it drawn up when there occurred an excellent opportunity for John
to secure for himself a new and valuable ally in the person of his
half-brother Geoffrey, the eldest son of Henry II. and the predecessor
of Longchamp in the office of chancellor of England. Geoffrey, like
John, had in the spring of 1190 been sworn to keep out of England for
three years; but, like John too, he had obtained from Richard a release
from his oath.[152] His election to the see of York had been confirmed
by the Pope on May 11, 1191,[153] and it was known that he intended
to return to England immediately after his consecration.[154] Richard
had given him a written release from his vow of absence,[155] but had
neglected to apprise the chancellor of the fact; William therefore
no sooner heard of Geoffrey’s purpose to return than he issued, on
July 30, a writ ordering that the archbishop should be arrested on
landing.[156] Geoffrey had written to John, begging for his help; John
in reply promised to stand by him.[157] On August 18 Geoffrey was
consecrated at Tours,[158] and John then urged him to come over at
once.[159] On September 14 Geoffrey reached Dover; he escaped from an
attempt to arrest him as he landed, but four days later he was forcibly
dragged from sanctuary in S. Martin’s priory and flung into prison in
the castle.[160]

John immediately wrote to the chancellor, demanding whether these
things had been done by his authority. According to one account,
William answered that they had.[161] A letter from William himself to
the chapter of Canterbury, however, declares that he had merely ordered
his officers to administer to Geoffrey the oath of fealty to the king
(which it was usual for a bishop to take before entering upon his
see), and if he refused it, to send him back to the Continent.[162]
However this might be, it is clear that, outwardly at least, the
chancellor had put himself in the wrong. He was already the most
unpopular man in England; now, all parties in Church and State joined
hands against him at once; and it was inevitable that they should
rally under the command of John. John sent another letter or message
to William, bidding him release the archbishop, and swearing that if
this were not done immediately, he, the count of Mortain, would go in
person “with a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm” to set his brother
at liberty.[163] On September 21 or 26 Geoffrey was released.[164]
Meanwhile John, with his confidant Hugh of Nonant, the bishop of
Coventry, hurried down from Lancaster to Marlborough and invited all
whom he thought likely to take his side to join him there. Three of the
co-justiciars--William the Marshal among them--answered his call; three
bishops, one of whom was the venerated Hugh of Lincoln, did likewise;
and so did Archbishop Walter of Rouen. From Marlborough the party
moved on to Reading; thence John despatched a personal invitation, or
summons, to Geoffrey,[165] and at the same time issued, in conjunction
with the three justiciars, letters calling the rest of the bishops and
barons to a council to be holden on October 5 at the bridge over the
Lodden between Reading and Windsor, and a summons to the chancellor
to appear there and answer for his conduct.[166] William retorted by
issuing counter writs, summoning all those who had joined the count
of Mortain to withdraw from him, “forasmuch as he was endeavouring to
usurp the kingdom to himself.”[167]

John and all his party came to the Lodden bridge on the day which they
had appointed; the chancellor, who was at Windsor, sent the bishop of
London and three earls to excuse his absence on the plea of illness.
The outcome of the day’s discussion was that the assembly, by the voice
of Walter of Rouen, pledged itself to depose William from the office of
chief justiciar. Their warrant was a letter from the king which Walter
had brought from Messina, and in which the subordinate justiciars were
bidden to obey Walter’s guidance in all things. The party then returned
to Reading; there, next day (Sunday, October 6), the bishops among them
excommunicated Longchamp and his adherents; at night a message was sent
to him, bidding him appear at the bridge next morning without fail;
and this he promised to do.[168] John and his friends were resolved to
make sure of their game this time. On the Monday morning they took care
to be first at the bridge; but instead of waiting for the chancellor,
the heads of the party rode forward along the Windsor road as if to
meet him, and sent their men-at-arms and servants towards London by
way of Staines. Tidings of these movements reached William just after
he had set out from Windsor. He at once turned back and rode towards
London with all speed, and reached the junction of the two roads at the
same time as the men-at-arms of John’s party. A skirmish took place in
which John’s justiciar, Roger de Planes, was mortally wounded.[169]
While the chancellor made his way into the Tower, John and the barons
were following him to London. Next morning (Tuesday, October 8)
they assembled at S. Paul’s, renewed their resolution to depose the
chancellor, and, in the king’s name, granted to the Londoners their
coveted “commune”;[170] whereupon the citizens joined unreservedly
with them in voting the deposition of Longchamp and the appointment of
Walter of Rouen as chief justiciar in his stead.[171] According to one
account, the assembly went still further, and proposed to make John
“chief governor of the whole kingdom,” with control of all the royal
castles except three which were to be left to the chancellor.[172] As a
token that all this was done “for the safety of the realm,” every man
present, John first of all, renewed his oath of fealty to the king; and
this ceremony was followed by a second oath of fidelity taken by all
the rest to John himself, “saving their fealty” [to the king], together
with a promise that they would acknowledge him as king if Richard
should die without issue.[173]

The barons, the bishops, the justiciars, all London, all England,
save a handful of Longchamp’s own relatives, personal friends and
followers, was on John’s side; Longchamp himself, besieged in the Tower
by overwhelming forces, could not possibly hold it for more than a day
or two, and there was no hope of relief. There was, however, still one
chance of escape from all his difficulties,--John might be bribed.
The project seemed a desperate one, for William had already tried it
without success, two days before;[174] yet he tried it again on the
Wednesday, and this time he all but succeeded. “By promising him much
and giving him not a little, the chancellor so nearly turned the count
of Mortain from his purpose that he was ready to withdraw from the
city, leaving the business unfinished, had not the bishops of Coventry
and York recalled him by their entreaties and arguments.”[175] Next day
the chancellor submitted. On the Friday {Oct. 11} he gave up the keys
of the Tower and of Windsor; within another fortnight he was reduced
to surrender all the other royal castles except the three which had
been nominally reserved to him, Dover, Cambridge, and Hereford.[176]
Hereupon John ordered him to be released, and allowed him to sail on
October 29 for France.[177]

[Sidenote: 1192]

The truth of Longchamp’s assertion that John was “endeavouring to usurp
the kingdom for himself” was soon made evident. Just before Christmas
Philip Augustus of France came home from Acre. After a vain attempt to
entrap the seneschal of Normandy into surrendering some of the border
fortresses of the duchy to him, he opened negotiations for Richard’s
damage in a more likely quarter; he invited John to come over and
speak with him immediately, proposing to put him in possession of “all
the lands of England and Normandy on this (_i.e._ the French) side
of the sea,” on one condition, that he should marry the bride whom
Richard had refused, Philip’s sister Adela.[178] To this condition
John’s existing marriage was a bar, but not an insuperable one; it
would be easy for him to divorce Isabel on the plea of consanguinity
if he were so minded. He responded eagerly to Philip’s invitation,
and was on the point of sailing from Southampton for France, when his
plans were upset by his mother’s landing at Portsmouth on February
11.[179] The French king’s treachery had come to Eleanor’s knowledge,
and she had hastened back to England to do what lay in her power for
the protection of her elder son’s interests. The justiciars, who seem
to have already had their suspicions of John’s loyalty, rallied round
her at once. She was in fact the only person whose right to represent
the absent king was treated by all parties as indisputable, although
she had never held any formal commission as regent. She and the
justiciars conjointly forbade John to leave the country, threatening
that if he did so they would seize all his lands for the Crown.[180]
For a while John hesitated, or affected to hesitate; he had indeed at
least two other secret negotiations on hand beside that with France,
and he was probably waiting to see which of the three most required
his personal superintendence, or was likely to prove most profitable.
Another proposition besides Philip’s had come to him from over sea:
Longchamp had offered to give him five hundred pounds if he would get
him reinstated as chief justiciar of England.[181] John cared very
little who bore the title of justiciar, if he could secure the power
for himself; his main object in England was to gain possession of the
royal castles; with these in his hands, he could set any justiciar
at defiance. The arrangement made in the previous July had been
terminated by the chancellor’s fall, and the castles of Nottingham
and Tickhill had therefore, in accordance with the last clause of
the July agreement, been restored in October to John. The very rash
project of placing all the royal castles under John’s control, said
to have been mooted in London at the same time, had evidently not
been carried into effect;[182] but John himself had never lost sight
of it, and, as a chronicler says, “he did what he could” towards its
realization. He began with two of the most important fortresses near
the capital, Windsor and Wallingford. He dealt secretly with their
commanding officers, so that they were delivered into his hands and
filled with liegemen of his own.[183] This would be easy to manage in
the case of Wallingford, which stood within an “honour” belonging to
John himself. The custody of Windsor castle seems to have been, after
the chancellor’s fall, entrusted for a time to the bishop of Durham,
Hugh of Puiset,[184] a near kinsman of the royal house. In spite of
the fact that Hugh was under sentence of excommunication from his
metropolitan, Geoffrey of York, John had chosen to spend the Christmas
of 1191 with him at Howden; thereby of course rendering himself, in
Geoffrey’s estimation at least, _ipso facto_ excommunicate likewise,
till he made satisfaction for his offence.[185] Hugh of Durham had
once hoped himself to supersede Longchamp as chief justiciar, and
it is perhaps not too much to suspect that John may have so wrought
upon the old bishop’s jealousy of Walter of Rouen as to induce him
to connive at a proceeding on the part of his representatives at
Windsor which would more than compensate his wily young cousin for the
temporary ecclesiastical disgrace brought upon him by that otherwise
unaccountable Christmas visit.

The actual transfer of these two castles to John probably did not take
place till after a council held at Windsor by the queen-mother and
the justiciars, towards the end of February or beginning of March.
This council was followed by another at Oxford. After Mid-Lent (March
12) a third council was called, to meet this time in London, and for
the express purpose of “speaking with Count John about his seizure of
the castles.”[186] John, however, had taken care that another matter
should come up for discussion first. He had answered Longchamp’s
proposal by bidding him come over and try his luck. Thus the first
piece of business with which the council had to deal was a demand
from the chancellor, who had just landed at Dover, for a trial in
the Curia Regis of the charges on which he had been deposed. Eleanor
inclined to grant the demand. One contemporary says that Longchamp
had bribed her. In any case she probably knew, or suspected, that
Longchamp now had John at his back; she certainly knew in what regard
he was held by Richard; and she urged, with considerable reason,
that his deprivation must be displeasing to the king, if it were not
justified by process of law. The justiciars and the barons, however,
represented the chancellor’s misdoings in such glaring colours that
she was reduced to silence.[187] But she was evidently not willing
to join the justiciars in driving William out of the country; and in
the face of her reluctance the justiciars dared not act without John.
He was at Wallingford, “laughing at their conventicles.” Messenger
after messenger was sent to him with respectful entreaties that he
would come to the council and lend it his aid in dealing with the
chancellor. He took the matter very composedly, letting them all go on
begging and praying till they had humbled themselves enough to satisfy
him and he had got his final answer ready for every contingency; then
he went to London. The council, originally summoned to remonstrate
with him for his misconduct, now practically surrendered itself
wholly to his guidance. Of the castles not a word was said; the one
subject of discussion was the chancellor. All were agreed in desiring
his expulsion, if only the count would declare himself of the same
mind. The count told them his mind with unexpected plainness. “This
chancellor will neither fear the threats nor beg the favour of any one
of you, nor of all of you put together, if he can but get me for his
friend. Within the next seven days he is going to give me seven hundred
pounds, if I meddle not between him and you. You see that I want
money; I have said enough for wise men to understand”--and therewith
he left them.[188] The justiciars saw that unless they could outbid
the chancellor, their own fate was sealed. As a last resource, “it
was agreed that they should give him or lend him some money, but not
of their own; all fell upon the treasury of the absent king.” John’s
greed was satisfied by a gift, or a loan, out of the exchequer; when
this was safe in his hands, he gave the justiciars his written sanction
to their intended proceedings against the chancellor;[189] they ordered
William to quit the country, and he had no choice but to obey. They
had, however, purchased his expulsion at a ruinous cost to themselves;
its real price was of course not the few hundreds of which they had
robbed the exchequer for John’s benefit, but their own independence.
John had outwitted them completely, and they had practically confessed
themselves to be at his mercy. Before the council broke up, every
member of it, including the queen-mother, took another oath of fealty
“against all men” to the king “and to his heir”--in other words, to
John himself.[190]

[Sidenote: 1193]

John’s obvious policy now was to keep still and let things remain as
they were till there should come some definite tidings of Richard.
For nine months all parties were quiescent. Then, on December 28,
the Emperor wrote to Philip of France the news of Richard’s capture.
If the messenger who brought the letter was “welcome above gold and
topaze”[191] to Philip, no less welcome to John was the messenger
whom Philip immediately despatched to carry the news to England. John
hurried over to Normandy, where the seneschal and barons of the duchy
met him with a request that he would join them in a council at Alençon
to deliberate “touching the king’s affairs, and his release.” John’s
answer was at least frank: “If ye will acknowledge me as your lord
and swear me fealty, I will come with you and will be your defender
against the king of France; but if not, I will not come.”[192] The
Normans refused thus to betray their captive sovereign; whereupon John
proceeded to the court of France. There an agreement was drawn up, to
which the count swore in person and the French king by proxy, and which
curiously illustrates their mutual distrust and their common dread of
Richard. It provided that in the event of John’s succession, he should
cede the Vexin to France, and should hold the rest of the Norman and
Angevin dominions as his forefathers had held them, with the exception
of the city of Tours and certain small underfiefs, concerning which
special provisions were made, evidently with a view to securing the
co-operation of their holders against Richard. On the other hand, John
promised to accept no offer of peace from Richard without Philip’s
consent, and Philip promised to make no peace with Richard unless the
latter would accept certain conditions laid down in behalf of John.
These conditions were that John should not be disseised of any lands
which he held at the time of the treaty; that if summoned to trial by
Richard, he should always be allowed to appear by proxy; and that he
should not be held liable to personal service in Richard’s host. After
sealing this document in Paris, in January 1193,[193] John hurried back
to England and set to work secretly to stir up the Welsh and the Scots,
hoping with their support to effect a junction with a body of Flemings
who were to come over in a fleet prepared by Philip at Wissant.

The Scot king rejected John’s overtures; but a troop of Welsh were, as
usual, ready to join in any rising against the king of England.[194]
With these Welshmen, and “many foreigners” whom he had brought with
him from France, John secured himself at Wallingford and Windsor. Then
he proceeded to London, told the justiciars that Richard was dead, and
bade them deliver up the kingdom and make its people swear fealty to
himself. They refused; he withdrew in a rage, and both parties prepared
for war.[195] The justiciars organized their forces so quickly and
so well that when the French fleet arrived, just before Easter, it
found the coast so strongly guarded that no landing was possible. John
meanwhile had openly fortified his castles, and his Welshmen were
ravaging the country between Kingston and Windsor when the justiciars
laid siege to the latter fortress.[196] This siege, and that of
Tickhill, which was undertaken by Archbishop Geoffrey of York and
Bishop Hugh of Durham, were in progress when on April 20 Hubert Walter,
the bishop of Salisbury, landed in England.[197] Hubert had come direct
from the captive king, and it was now useless for John to pretend
any longer that Richard was dead. On the other hand, Hubert knew the
prospect of Richard’s release to be still so remote and so uncertain
that he deemed it highly imprudent to push matters to extremity with
John. He therefore, although both Windsor and Tickhill were on the
verge of surrender, persuaded the justiciars to make a truce whose
terms were on the whole favourable to the count of Mortain. The castles
of Tickhill and Nottingham were left in John’s hands; those of Windsor,
Wallingford and the Peak were surrendered by him, to be given over to
the custody of Queen Eleanor and other persons named, on the express
understanding that unless Richard should reach home in the meanwhile,
they were to be restored to John at the expiration of the truce, which
was fixed for Michaelmas, or, according to another account, All Saints’

The immediate object of the justiciars and the queen-mother in
making this truce was to gain John’s co-operation in their measures
for raising the king’s ransom. Considering how large a portion of
the kingdom was held by John in what may almost be called absolute
property, it is obvious that a refusal on his part to bear his
share of the burden would make a serious difference in the result
of their efforts. It appears that John undertook to raise from his
own territories a certain sum for his brother’s ransom, that he
confirmed this undertaking by an oath, and that he put it on record
in writing.[199] He had, however, taken no steps towards its execution
when at the beginning of July a warning reached him from Philip
Augustus--“Take care of yourself, for the devil is loosed!”--which
meant that the terms of Richard’s release had been finally agreed upon
between Richard and the Emperor on June 29. John immediately hurried
over to France, to shelter himself under Philip’s wing against the
coming storm, as was thought in England;[200] more probably to keep a
watch upon Philip and take care that he should not break his promises
as to the conditions of peace with Richard. The two allies could have
no confidence in each other, and they seem to have been both almost
ridiculously afraid of the captive Lion-heart. He, however, was at
the moment equally afraid of them, and not without good reason. Three
months before he had complained bitterly to the first messengers from
England who reached him in his prison of the treachery and ingratitude
of John. “Yet,” he added, “my brother is not a man to win lands for
himself by force, if there be any one who will oppose him with another
force, however slight.”[201] The words were true; and no less true
was the implication underlying the words. Of John as an open enemy
Richard could afford to be contemptuous; of John’s capacity for
underhand mischief, especially in conjunction with Philip, he was in
such fear that no sooner was his treaty with the Emperor signed than he
despatched his chancellor and three other envoys to France with orders
to make with the French king “a peace of some sort.”[202] The envoys
executed their commission literally, by accepting in Richard’s name
the terms which were dictated to them by Philip with John at his side.
These included the cession by Richard to Philip of the places taken by
the French king during his late campaign in Normandy; the ratification
of the arrangements made by Philip and John for certain of their
partisans; and the payment to Philip of twenty thousand marks, for
which four castles were given to him in pledge. “Touching Count John,”
the treaty ran, “thus shall it be: If the men of the king of England
can prove in the court of the king of France that the same John has
sworn, and given a written promise, to furnish money for the English
king’s ransom, he, John, shall be held bound to pay it; and he shall
hold all his lands, on both sides of the sea, as freely as he held them
before his brother the king of England set out on his journey over sea;
only he shall be free from the oath which he then swore of not setting
foot in England; and of this the English king shall give him security
by himself, and by the barons and prelates of his realm, and by the
king of France. If, however, Count John shall choose to deny that those
letters are his, or that he swore to do that thing, the English king’s
men shall prove sufficiently, by fitting witnesses, in the French
king’s court, that he did swear to procure money for the English king’s
ransom. And if it shall be proved, as hath been said, that he did swear
to do this, or if he shall fail to meet the charge, the king of France
shall not concern himself with Count John, if he should choose to
accept peace for his lands aforesaid.”[203]

[Sidenote: 1193–1194]

This treaty was drawn up at Nantes on July 9.[204] John at once
returned to Normandy and there took an oath of liege homage to his
brother; whereupon Richard ordered all the castles of John’s honours
to be restored to him, on both sides of the sea. “But the keepers
thereof would not give up any castle to him” on the strength of this
order.[205] John in a rage went back to France, and Philip immediately
gave him the custody of two Norman castles, Driencourt and Arques,
which by the recent treaty had been intrusted to the archbishop of
Reims in pledge for the twenty thousand marks promised to Philip by
Richard.[206] At Christmas the two allies made a last desperate effort
to prevent the “devil” from being “loosed.” They offered the Emperor
three alternatives: either Philip would give him fifty thousand marks,
and John would give him thirty thousand, if he would keep Richard
prisoner until the following Michaelmas (1194); or the two between them
would pay him a thousand pounds a month so long as he kept Richard
in captivity; or Philip would give him a hundred thousand marks and
John fifty thousand, if he would either detain Richard for another
twelvemonth, or deliver him up into their hands. “Behold how they loved
him!” says a contemporary writer.[207] A hundred and fifty thousand
marks was the ransom which had been agreed upon between Henry VI. and
Richard, and the one question which troubled Henry was whether he had
a better chance of actually getting that sum from Richard or from his
enemies. He unblushingly stated this fact to Richard himself, and on
February 2, 1194, showed him the letters of Philip and John. Richard
appealed to the German princes who had witnessed his treaty with Henry,
and by promises of liberal revenues to be granted to them from England
induced them to take his part and insist upon Henry’s fulfilling
his agreement. On February 4 the English king was set at liberty,
and a joint letter from the Emperor and the nobles of his realm was
despatched to Philip and John, bidding them restore to Richard all that
they had taken from him during his captivity, and threatening that
if they failed to do so, the writers would do their utmost to compel

[Sidenote: 1194]

Before this letter could have reached its destination, John sent
to England a confidential clerk, Adam of S. Edmund’s, with secret
letters, ordering that all the castles which he held there should be
made ready for defence against the king. This man, having reached
London without hindrance, foolishly presented himself on February 9
at the house of the new archbishop of Canterbury, Hubert Walter. The
archbishop invited him to dinner, an unexpected honour by which Adam’s
head was so completely turned that he boasted openly at table of his
master’s hopes of political advancement. Hubert listened without
remark, and thinking that to arrest the babbler on the spot would be
a breach of hospitality, suffered him to depart after dinner; but
the mayor of London--warned no doubt by the archbishop himself or by
one of the other guests--seized Adam on his way back to his lodging,
took possession of his papers, and sent them to Hubert, who on the
following day laid them before a council of bishops and barons. The
council unanimously decreed that John should be disseised of all his
lands in England, and that his castles should be reduced by force;
the bishops excommunicated him and all his adherents. Then the old
bishop of Durham set off to renew the siege of Tickhill; the earls of
Chester, Huntingdon and Ferrars laid siege to the castle of Nottingham;
Archbishop Hubert himself undertook that of Marlborough, which he
won in a few days; and Lancaster was given up to him by his brother
Theobald. On March 13 Richard arrived in England. His arrival was
speedily followed by the surrender of Tickhill. On the 25th he appeared
before Nottingham; on the 28th he was once again master of its castle,
and of all England.[209]

At Nottingham Richard held a council, on the second day of which (March
31) he “prayed that justice should be done him”[210] on John and on
John’s chief abettor, Bishop Hugh of Chester. The council cited both
delinquents to appear for trial within forty days, and decreed that if
they failed to do so, or to “stand to right,” Hugh should be liable to
a double sentence--from the bishops as a bishop, and from the laity as
a sheriff,[211]--and John should be accounted to have “forfeited all
claims to the kingdom,”[212] or, as a later annalist explains, should
be “deprived and disinherited not only of all the lands which he held
in the realm, but also of all honours which he hoped or expected to
have from the Crown of England.”[213] Neither in person nor by proxy
did John answer the citation. At the end of the forty days three earls
set out for the court of France “to convict him of treason there”;
but of their proceedings, too, he took no notice. The forty days had
expired on May 10; on the 12th Richard sailed for Normandy.[214]
Landing at Barfleur, he went to Caen and thence turned southward to
relieve Verneuil, which Philip was besieging. On the way he halted at
Lisieux, where he took up his quarters with the archdeacon, John of
Alençon, who had been his vice-chancellor.[215] He soon noticed that
his host was uneasy and agitated, and at once guessed the cause. “Why
do you look so troubled? You have seen my brother John; deny it not!
Let him fear nought, but come to me straightway. He is my brother,
and should have no fears of me; if he has played the fool, I will
never reproach him with his folly. Those who contrived this mischief
shall reap their due reward; but of that no more at present.” Joyfully
John of Alençon carried the tidings to his namesake of Mortain: “Come
forward boldly! You are in luck’s way. The king is simple and pitiful,
and kinder to you than you would have been to him. Your masters have
advised you ill; it is meet they should be punished according to their
deserts. Come! the king awaits you.” In spite of these assurances, it
was “with much fear” that Count John approached his brother and threw
himself at his feet. Richard raised him with a brotherly kiss, saying:
“Think no more of it, John! You are but a child, and were left to ill
guardians. Evil were their thoughts who counselled you amiss. Rise,
go and eat. John,” he added, turning to their host, “what can he have
for dinner?” At that moment a salmon was brought in, as a present for
the king. As the chronicler remarks, “it did not come amiss”; Richard
immediately ordered it to be cooked for his brother.[216]

For any other man of six-and-twenty, to be thus forgiven--even though
it were by a brother who was ten years older, and a king--expressly on
the ground that he was a child, not responsible for his actions, would
surely have been a humiliation almost more bitter than any punishment.
Nor did John escape altogether unpunished. Richard’s forgiveness was
strictly personal; the decree of the council of Nottingham was carried
into effect with regard to all John’s English and Norman lands;[217]
and for the next eighteen months he was, save for his lordship of
Ireland, once more in fact as well as in name “John Lackland.” He
was thus wholly dependent on Richard’s goodwill, and it was obviously
politic for him to throw himself into Richard’s service with the utmost
energy and zeal. Philip withdrew from Verneuil at the tidings of
Richard’s approach, May 28.[218] After securing the place the English
king divided his forces; with part of them he himself went to besiege
Beaumont-le-Roger; the other part he entrusted to John for the recovery
of Evreux,[219] which had been taken by Philip in February.[220] Of the
manner in which John accomplished this mission there are at least two
versions. One writer states that John “laid siege to Evreux, and it was
taken next day.”[221] Another says that its garrison were surprised and
slain by a body of Normans;[222] while a third explains the surprise as
having been effected by means which are perhaps only too characteristic
of John. The city of Evreux, says William the Breton, had been made
over to John by Philip. John contrived that his reconciliation with his
brother should remain unknown to the French troops who had been left
there. He now returned to the city and invited these Frenchmen to a
banquet, at which he suddenly brought in a troop of “armed Englishmen”
who massacred the unsuspecting guests. His success, however, was only
partial and shortlived; for he was still unable to gain possession of
the castle;[223] and he had no sooner quitted the place than Philip
returned, drove out the Norman troops, and destroyed the town.[224]
Shortly afterwards Richard set off on a campaign in the south, leaving
John in Normandy. About the middle of June Philip again threatened
Rouen, taking and razing Fontaines, a castle only four miles from the
city. On this John, the earl of Leicester, and “many other barons”
held a meeting at Rouen to consider what should be done; “but because
they had no one to whom they could adhere as to the king himself,” and
their forces were no match for Philip’s, they decided upon a policy of
inaction.[225] This decision was probably dictated by their experience
of Philip’s ways. He, in fact, made no further attempt upon the Norman
capital, but soon afterwards proceeded southward against Richard, only
to meet with an ignominious defeat at Fréteval. On hearing of this,
John and the earl of Arundel laid siege to Vaudreuil; Philip, however,
marched up from Bourges and relieved it.[226] John’s next military
undertaking, the siege of Brezolles, met with no better success.[227]
Still he had done the best he could for his brother’s interest, and
thereby also for his own. Accordingly, next year Richard “laid aside
all his anger and ill-will towards his brother John,” and restored
to him a portion of his forfeited possessions. It was indeed only a
small portion, consisting of the county of Mortain and the honours of
Gloucester and Eye “in their entirety, but without their castles.” To
this was added, as some compensation for the other lands which he had
lost, a yearly pension of £8000 Angevin.[228]

[Sidenote: 1196–1198]

This arrangement seems to have taken effect from Michaelmas 1195.[229]
It gave John once more an honourable and independent maintenance, but
left him without territorial power. His only chance of regaining this
in Richard’s lifetime was to earn it by loyalty to Richard. For the
next three years, therefore, he kept quiet; nothing is heard of him
save an occasional notice of his presence in Normandy, either in his
brother’s company or acting for his brother’s interest. When Philip
seized Nonancourt in 1196, John retaliated by seizing Gamaches.[230]
On May 19 in the same year he and Mercadier, the leader of Richard’s
foreign mercenaries, made a plundering expedition into the French
king’s territories as far as Beauvais, where they captured the bishop,
who had long been one of Richard’s most determined enemies; they then
went on to the bishop’s castle of Milli, took it by assault, razed
it, and returned to Normandy in triumph to present their captive to
Richard.[231] On October 16, 1197, when the king and the archbishop of
Rouen made their agreement for the building of a castle at Andely--the
famous Château-Gaillard--it was ratified in a separate charter by John;
an unusual proceeding, which has been thought to imply that he was
now again acknowledged as his brother’s destined heir.[232] In 1198
Philip made another attack upon Normandy and burned Evreux and seven
other towns. John fired a ninth, Neubourg; Philip, seeing the flames
and supposing them to have been kindled by his own men, sent a body of
troops to bid them go no farther, on which John fell upon the troops
and captured eighteen knights and a crowd of men-at-arms.[233]

[Sidenote: 1199]

The alliance of Richard and John had now lasted too long for Philip’s
satisfaction, and early in 1199 he set himself to break it. He began
by making a truce with Richard. Then, when the Lion-heart, thinking
himself safe for the moment in Normandy, was on his way to Poitou,
“that sower of discord, the king of France, sent him word that his
brother John, the count of Mortain, had given himself to him (Philip);
and he offered to show him John’s own letter proving the fact. O
marvel! The king of England believed the king of France, and took to
hating his brother John, insomuch that he caused him to be disseised
of his lands on both sides of the sea. And when John asked the reason
of this wrath and hatred, he was told what the king of France had sent
word to his brother about him. Thereupon the count of Mortain sent two
knights to represent him at the French king’s court, and they offered
to prove him innocent of this charge, or to defend him as the court
should direct. But there was found no one in that court, neither the
king nor any other man, who would receive the offered proof or defence.
And thenceforth the king of England was on more familiar terms with
his brother John, and less ready to believe what was told him by the
king of France.”[234] This story does not necessarily show either that
Philip’s accusation of John was false, or that it was true. Philip
may have invented it with the hope of driving John to throw himself
again into his arms; but it is perhaps more likely that the two were
in collusion, and that the scene in the French Curia Regis was a piece
of acting on both sides. However this might be, by about the middle of
March John had again left his brother “because he kept him so short
of money, and on account of some disputes which had arisen between
them.”[235] Suddenly, at the end of the month, the question of the
Angevin succession was brought to a crisis by a cross-bowman who,
at the siege of Châlus, on March 26, gave Richard his death-wound.
That question had haunted Richard throughout his reign; his wishes
respecting its solution had wavered more than once; now that it had
to be faced, however, he faced it in what was, after all, the wisest
as well as the most generous way. In the presence of as many of his
subjects as could be gathered hastily round him, he devised all his
realms to John, gave orders that on his own death John should be
put in possession of all the royal castles and three-fourths of the
royal treasure, and made the assembly swear fealty to John as his

Richard died on April 6.[237] On the 3rd there had been delivered at
Rouen a letter from him appointing William the Marshal commandant
of the castle and keeper of the treasure which it contained. On the
10th--the eve of Palm Sunday--the news of the king’s death came, late
at night, just as the Marshal was going to bed. He dressed again in
haste and went to the palace of the archbishop, who marvelled what
could have brought him at such an hour, and when told, was, like
William himself, overwhelmed with grief and consternation. What
troubled them both was the thought of the future. William went
straight to the point. “My lord, we must hasten to choose some one
whom we may make king.” “I think and believe,” answered Archbishop
Walter, “that according to right, we ought to make Arthur king.” “To my
thinking,” said the Marshal, “that would be bad. Arthur is counselled
by traitors; he is haughty and proud; and if we set him over us he will
seek evil against us, for he loves not the people of this land. He
shall not come here yet, by my advice. Look rather at Count John; my
conscience and my knowledge point him out to me as the nearest heir to
the land which was his father’s and his brother’s.” “Marshal, is this
really your desire?” “Yea, my lord; for it is reason. Unquestionably,
a son has a nearer claim to his father’s land than a grandson; it is
right that he should have it.” “So be it, then,” said the archbishop;
“but mark my words, Marshal; of nothing that ever you did in your life
have you so much cause to repent as you will have of what you are now
doing.” “I thank you,” answered William; “nevertheless, I deem that
thus it should be.”[238]

In the conversation thus reported by the Marshal’s confidential squire
there are several noticeable points. The divergent views enunciated
by the two speakers as to the respective legal claims of Arthur and
of John illustrate the still uncertain condition of the rules of
hereditary succession. It is, however, plain that the legal aspect
of the case was but a minor matter in the eyes of both primate and
Marshal. For them the important question was not which of Richard’s
two possible heirs had the best legal right to his heritage, but which
of the two was likely to make the least unsatisfactory sovereign. The
outlook was in any case a gloomy one; the only choice was a choice
of evils. Of the two evils, it was natural that Walter should regard
John as the worst, if he thought of personal character alone. Every one
knew by this time what John was; the most impartial of contemporary
historians had already summed up his character in two words--“Nature’s
enemy,” a monster.[239] What Arthur might become was as yet uncertain;
the duke of Britanny was but twelve years old. Yet even at that age,
the “haughtiness and pride” ascribed to him by the Marshal are by
no means unlikely to have shown themselves in a child whose father,
Geoffrey, had been the evil genius of John’s early life, and whose
mother had for years set her second husband Earl Ralf of Chester, her
brother-in-law King Richard, and her supreme overlord King Philip,
all alike at defiance. Not so much in Arthur’s character, however, as
in his circumstances, lay the main ground of the Marshal’s objection
to him as a sovereign. From his cradle Arthur had been trained in
hostility to the political system at the head of which the Norman
primate now proposed to place him. His very name had been given him by
his mother and her people in defiance of his grandfather King Henry,
as a badge of Breton independence and insubordination to the rule
of the Angevin and Norman house. From the hour of Henry’s death in
1189, if not even from that of her son’s birth in 1187, Constance of
Britanny had governed her duchy and trained its infant heir as seemed
good to herself and her people, till in 1196 she was at last entrapped
and imprisoned in Normandy; and then the result of her capture was
that her boy fell into the keeping of another guardian not a whit
less “traitorous,” from the Norman or Angevin point of view, than the
patriotic Bretons who had surrounded him hitherto--the king of the
French, at whose court he was kept for some time, sharing the education
of Philip’s own son. To confer the sovereignty of the Angevin dominions
upon the boy Arthur would thus have been practically to lay it at the
feet of Philip Augustus. The only chance of preserving the integrity of
the Angevin empire was to put a man at its head, and a man to whom the
maintenance of that integrity would be a matter of personal interest as
well as of family pride. It was the consciousness of this that had made
Richard abandon his momentary scheme of designating Arthur as his heir,
and revert finally to John; and it was the same consciousness which
made William the Marshal, with his eyes fully open to John’s character,
hold fast, in the teeth of the primate’s warning, to his conviction
that “thus it should be.”

John, after his last parting from his brother, had made a
characteristic political venture; he had sought to make friends with
his boy-rival. It was in Britanny, at Arthur’s court, that he received
the news of Richard’s death. He set off at once for Chinon; money was
his first need, and the Angevin treasury was there. When he reached
the place, on the Wednesday before Easter,[240] April 14--three days
after Richard’s burial at Fontevraud--the castle and the treasure which
it contained were at once given up to him by the commandant, Robert
of Turnham, the seneschal of Anjou.[241] The officers of the late
king’s household had hurried to meet his chosen heir, and now came to
John demanding of him a solemn oath that he would carry into effect
Richard’s last wishes, and maintain the customs of the Angevin lands.
He took the oath, and they then acknowledged him as their lord in
Richard’s stead.[242]

The most venerated of English bishops then living, Hugh of Lincoln,
had officiated at Richard’s funeral and was still at Fontevraud. John
sent an urgent request for his presence at Chinon, welcomed him there
with a great show of attachment, and proposed that they should travel
to England together. This Hugh declined, but he consented to accompany
John for a few days on his journey northward. They set out at once
for Saumur, and stopped at Fontevraud to visit the tombs of Henry and
Richard. When John knocked at the choir-door for admittance, however,
he was told that the abbess was away, and no visitor might enter
without her leave. He then asked Hugh to communicate to the sisters,
in his name, a promise of benefactions to their house, and a request
for their prayers. “You know,” said Hugh, “that I detest all falsehood;
I will utter no promises in your name unless I am assured that they
will be fulfilled.” John swore that he would more than fulfil them; and
the bishop did what he had been asked to do. As they left the church,
John drew forth an amulet which hung round his neck and showed it to
his companion, saying it had been given to one of his forefathers
with a promise from Heaven that whosoever of his race had it in his
possession should never lose the fulness of his ancestral dominion.
Hugh bade him trust “not in that stone but in the Chief Corner Stone”;
and turning round as they came out of the porch, over which was
sculptured a representation of the Last Judgement, he led him towards
the group on the left of the Judge, and besought him to take heed of
the perils attending the responsibility of a ruler during his brief
time upon earth. John dragged his monitor across to the other group,
saying, “You should rather show me these, whose good example I purpose
to follow!” During the three days of his journey in Hugh’s company,
indeed, his affectation of piety and humility was so exaggerated that
it seems to have rather quickened than allayed Hugh’s distrust of his
good intentions.[243] On Easter Day the mask was suddenly dropped.
Bishop and count spent the festival (April 18) at Beaufort,[244]
probably as the guests of Richard’s widow, Berengaria. John was said to
have never communicated since he had been of an age to please himself
in such matters; and now all Hugh’s persuasions failed to bring him to
the Holy Table. He did, however, attend the high mass on Easter Day,
and at the offertory came up to Hugh--who was officiating--with some
money in his hand; but instead of presenting the coins he stood looking
at them and playing with them till Hugh asked him, “Why do you stand
staring thus?” “I am staring at these gold pieces, and thinking that
a few days ago, if I had had them, I should have put them not into
your hands, but rather into my own purse; however, take them now.” The
indignant bishop, “blushing vehemently in John’s stead,” drew back and
bade him “throw into the bason what he held, and begone.” John obeyed.
Hugh then followed up his rebuke with a sermon on the characters of a
good and of a bad prince, and the future reward of each. John, liking
neither the matter of the sermon nor its length, thrice attempted to
cut it short by a message that he wanted his dinner; Hugh only preached
the longer and the more pointedly, and took his leave of John on the
following day.[245]

On that day John discovered that he was in a situation of imminent
peril. While he had been travelling from the Breton border to Chinon
and thence back to Beaufort, Philip had mastered the whole county of
Evreux and overrun Maine as far as Le Mans; and a Breton force, with
Constance and Arthur at its head, had marched straight upon Angers[246]
and won it without striking a blow. City and castle were surrendered
at once by Thomas of Furnes, a nephew of the seneschal Robert of
Turnham;[247] and on Easter Day a great assembly of barons of Anjou,
Touraine and Maine, as well as of Britanny, gave in their adhesion
to Arthur as their liege lord and Richard’s lawful heir.[248] The
forces thus gathered in the Angevin capital, from which Beaufort was
only fifteen miles distant, must have been more than sufficient to
overwhelm John, whose suite was evidently a very small one. His only
chance was to make for Normandy with all possible speed. Hurrying away
from Beaufort on Easter Monday, he reached Le Mans the same night; its
citizens received him coldly, its garrison refused to support him, and
it was only by slipping away before daybreak on Tuesday that he escaped
being caught between two fires. On that very morning {April 20} the
Bretons and their new allies entered Le Mans in triumph,[249] and they
were soon met there by the French king, to whom Arthur did homage for
the counties of Anjou, Touraine and Maine.[250]

Meanwhile, however, John had made his way to Rouen, and there he was
safe. Richard on his death-bed had declared that the people of Rouen
were the most loyal of all his subjects; they proved their loyalty
to his memory by rallying round the successor whom he had chosen for
himself, and all Normandy followed their example. “By the election
of the nobles and the acclamation of the citizens,”[251] John was
proclaimed duke of the Normans, and invested with the symbols of his
dukedom in the metropolitan church on Low Sunday, April 25.[252] The
ducal crown--a circlet of gold, with gold roses round the top--was
placed on his head by Archbishop Walter, and the new-made duke swore
before the clergy and people, on the holy Gospels and the relics of
saints, that he would maintain inviolate the rights of the Church,
do justice, establish good laws, and put down evil customs.[253] The
archbishop then girded him with the sword of justice, and presented
him with the lance which held among the insignia of a Norman duke the
place that belongs to the sceptre among those of a king. A group of
John’s familiar friends stood close behind him, audibly mocking at the
solemn rites. He chose the moment when the lance was put into his hands
to turn round and join in their mockery; and, as he turned, the lance
slipped from his careless grasp and fell to the ground.[254]

In after years it was only natural that this incident should be
recalled as an omen.[255] The indecent levity which had caused the
mishap was in itself ominous enough. Still, however, the Marshal and
the Norman and English primates--for Hubert of Canterbury, too, was at
Rouen, and fully in accord with the policy of William and Walter--clave
to their forlorn hope and persevered in their thankless task. In
obedience to John’s orders, Hubert and William now returned to England
to assist the justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, in securing the realm for
him.[256] John himself turned southward again to try whether it were
possible, now that he had the strength of Normandy at his back, to win
the Angevin lands before he went over sea. No sooner had the French
and the Bretons withdrawn from Anjou than it was overrun with fire
and sword by Richard’s mercenaries, acting under the orders of their
captain Mercadier and of Queen Eleanor, who had enlisted them in John’s
interests as soon as they had had time to march up from Châlus to the
Angevin border. John despatched a body of troops to join them, while he
proceeded in person to Le Mans. There he wreaked his vengeance to the
full. City and castle fell into his hands; he razed the castle, pulled
down the city walls, destroyed the houses capable of defence, and flung
the chief citizens into captivity.[257] But the danger in his rear was
still too great to allow of his advance farther south. To throw the
whole forces of Normandy upon the Angevin lands would have been to
leave Normandy itself open to attack from two sides at once, and expose
himself to have his own retreat cut off by a new junction between
Philip and the Bretons. He could only venture to open negotiations
with the barons of Anjou and of Aquitaine, endeavour to win them over
by fair words and promises,[258] and then leave his interests in the
south to the care of his mother. Accompanied only by a few personal
friends,[259] he went back through Normandy to the sea; on May 25 he
landed at Shoreham;[260] on the 26th he reached London, and on the
27th--Ascension Day--he was crowned at Westminster.[261]


[112] _Gesta Ric._ vol. ii. pp. 72, 73.

[113] “Paternae in Hibernia acquisitionis plenitudinem et comitatum in
Normannia Moritanensem, de quibus scilicet paternam donationem ratam
habuit” [Ricardus], W. Newb. l. iv. c. 3. “Comitatum de Moritonio,
quem dono patris pridem perceperat” [Johannes], Ric. Devizes (Howlett,
_Chronn. of Stephen_, etc., vol. iii.), p. 385. Cf. above, p. 6.

[114] The biographer of William the Marshal, indeed, does on two
occasions before Henry’s death speak of “le conte Johan,” “li quens
Johan” (vv. 8543, 9078). But although in one sense contemporary, he
did not write till after 1219; his use of the title therefore proves

[115] _Gesta Ric._ p. 78.

[116] _Ib._ pp. 80, 81.

[117] _Ib._ pp. 87, 88.

[118] _Ann. Cambr._ p. 57.

[119] _Gesta Ric._ p. 97.

[120] _Ann. Cambr._ p. 57.

[121] R. Diceto, vol. ii. pp. 72, 73.

[122] Gloucester (honour), Pipe Roll 1 Ric. I. p. 7; Lancaster, p. 18;
Orford (Suffolk), p. 40; Staverton (_ib._), p. 54; Hanley, Edersfield
and Bisley (Worcestershire), p. 250; Hecham (Northamptonshire), p. 97;
“other lands” in Northamptonshire, p. 104; Sherwood, p. 172; Andover,
_ib._; Gloucestershire, third penny, p. 163.

[123] _Gesta Ric._ p. 78. The Peverel castles were those of Bolsover
and the Peak.

[124] Tickhill castle appears as garrisoned by the Crown in Pipe Roll 2
Ric. I. (1190) m. 7; so does Orford in 1191–92, P.R. 5 Ric. I. (1193)
m. 2 (among accounts “de veteri firma” of Suffolk); Gloucester castle
was repaired by the sheriff of the county in 1191, P.R. 3 Ric. I. m.
12; Bristol, the other great castle of the Gloucester earldom, was held
by the Crown in 1192, P.R. 4 Ric. I. m. 20.

[125] For Marlborough, Wallingford and Luggershall, see _Gesta Ric._
p. 78; Eye is added by R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 6. There is no mention
of any of these in the Pipe Rolls of 1188–93, except that the men of
the soke of Eye pay tallage to the Crown in 1190 (P.R. 2 Ric. I. m. 9
d), and that in 1192 the sheriff of Suffolk charges for livery of a
garrison in Eye castle for a year (_i.e._ Michaelmas 1191 to Michaelmas
1192; P.R. 5 Ric. I. m. 2, among accounts “de veteri firma” of Suffolk).

[126] “Eodem mense [Decembri] Ricardus Rex Angliae dedit Johanni
fratri suo in augmentum comitatum Cornubiae, et comitatum Devoniae,
et comitatum de Dorset, et comitatum de Sumerseta,” _Gesta Ric._ p.
99. According to this writer, Richard had granted to John “villam de
Notingham cum honore illo ... et Derebisiram” at the same time as
Gloucester, Lancaster, etc. (_ib._ p. 78). But the sheriffs of all six
shires account for them to the Crown up to Michaelmas in Pipe Roll 1
Ric. I.; so they must all have been granted after that date. “Villam
de Notingham cum honore illo” stands for the town and the shire;
there was no “honour” of that name. W. Newburgh, though his list of
John’s counties is very incomplete (l. iv. c. 3), rightly mentions
“Notingehamesciram” as one of them; it disappears from the Pipe Rolls
like the other five after Michaelmas 1189. Sherwood Forest disappears
likewise, being included in the shire. On the other hand, later events
show that Nottingham _castle_ was retained by the Crown. At this period
Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, Dorset and Somerset, Cornwall and
Devonshire, were always administered and accounted for in pairs.

[127] Stubbs, pref. to R. Howden, vol. iii. p. xxv. note 4.

[128] Gilbert, _Hist. Doc. of Ireland_, p. 49; _Rot. Canc. Hib. Cal._
vol. i. pt. i. pp. 1, 3; Carte, _Life of Ormonde_ (ed. 1851), vol. i.
introd. pp. xlv., xlvi.; _Hist. MSS. Commission_, 3rd Report, p. 231;
Harris’s Ware, _Antiq. Hibern._ p. 197. The exception referred to is a
grant of land in Ireland, without date of day or year, but issued by
“Johannes filius Regis Angliae, Dominus Hiberniae,” “apud Ceneman’,”
_i.e._ Le Mans, and witnessed by John the Marshal, “dapifer Johannis,”
_Rot. Canc. Hib. Cal._ vol. i. pt. i. p. 3.

[129] We hear of John’s chancellor, Stephen Ridel, in 1191, _Gesta
Ric._ p. 224; of his seneschal, William de Kahanger, and his butler,
Theobald Walter, in 1192, _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 55. We have seen
already that at some date between 1185 and 1189 he had as “dapifer” no
less a personage than John the Marshal; and in 1191 Roger de Planes
appears as “in tota terra comitis Johannis justiciarius,” R. Diceto,
vol. ii. p. 99.

[130] _Gesta Ric._ p. 73.

[131] See above, footnote 128.

[132] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 9581–618. See charters in Carte’s _Life
of Ormonde_ (1851), vol. i. introd. p. xlvi.

[133] W. Newb. l. iv. c. 3.

[134] _Gesta Ric._ p. 106.

[135] R. Devizes, p. 392.

[136] Stubbs, pref. to R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 41.

[137] _Gesta Ric._ p. 157.

[138] R. Devizes, p. 402.

[139] R. Howden, vol. iii. pp. 242, 243. Cf. W. Newb. l. iv. c. 16, and
R. Devizes, p. 406.

[140] _Gesta Ric._ p. 207; R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 134. Cf. W. Newb.
_l.c._ Gerard was constable of Lincoln in right of his wife, Nicola de

[141] R. Devizes, p. 407; _Gesta Ric._ p. 207. Cf. W. Newb. l. iv. c.

[142] _Gesta Ric._ _l.c._

[143] R. Devizes, pp. 407, 408.

[144] Walter left Messina April 2 (cf. R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 100;
_Itin. Ric. Reg._ p. 176, and R. Devizes, p. 404), and landed either
about midsummer (Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 497), or, more probably, April
27 (see Bishop Stubbs’s note to R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 90).

[145] R. Devizes, p. 408.

[146] Wallingford, Eye, Bristol, Exeter, Launceston and “Hereford”; R.
Howden, vol. iii. p. 136. Hereford is quite out of place among “castra
de honoribus a domino rege sibi” [_i.e._ Johanni] “datis.” The name may
be a mistake for Oxford; see above, p. 26.

[147] R. Howden, vol. iii. pp. 135–7. One other clause in the agreement
may be noticed. After the provisions about the castles already
mentioned, it is added: “Sed et tria castella ad coronam domini regis
pertinentia, scilicet castellum de Windeshoveres comiti de Arundel;
castellum de Wintonia Gilleberto de Lasci; castellum de Northampton
Simoni de Pateshille, tradita sunt custodienda; qui fidelitatem domini
Regis de ipsis ad opus ipsius fideliter custodiendis juraverunt,” _ib._
p. 136. The earl of Arundel figures, at the end of the document, as
one of the chancellor’s sureties, and the Lacys were in close alliance
with the Longchamps; taken by itself, therefore, this clause would seem
to indicate a change of custodians made at the chancellor’s desire,
and dictated by a discovery or suspicion that the actual commandants
of these three castles were in treasonable alliance with John. But the
Pipe Rolls show that the appointment of Simon de Pateshill implied
no change at all, for he had custody of Northampton castle without
interruption from Michaelmas 1189 to Michaelmas 1191 (P.R. 2 Ric. I.
m. 4; 3 Ric. I. m. 1); while the other appointments were speedily
annulled, owing to the breakdown of the whole agreement.

[148] W. Newb. l. iv. c. 16.

[149] _Gesta Ric._ pp. 232, 234.

[150] R. Devizes, pp. 409, 410. The date which he has appended to
the agreement is impossible, not only for this particular document,
but for any personal meeting of John and the chancellor this year at
Winchester, where he places it. See Round, _Commune of London_, p. 214,
and _Cal. Doc. France_, vol. i. p. 17. As to the agreement itself, cf.
W. Newb. l. iv. c. 16.

[151] W. Newb. l. iv. c. 14.

[152] Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. p. 382.

[153] _Monast. Angl._ vol. vi. pt. iii. p. 1188.

[154] Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. p. 389.

[155] _Ib._ p. 382.

[156] Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. p. 389.

[157] R. Devizes, p. 410.

[158] R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 96.

[159] _Gesta Ric._ p. 210.

[160] R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 97; Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. pp. 388–93; R.
Devizes, pp. 411, 412.

[161] _Gesta Ric._ p. 211.

[162] _Epp. Cantuar._ pp. 344, 345; Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 506. Cf. R.
Devizes, p. 413.

[163] _Gesta Ric._ p. 211.

[164] September 21, R. Devizes, p. 412; September 26, R. Diceto, vol.
ii. p. 97.

[165] Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. pp. 394–7.

[166] _Ib._ p. 397; R. Devizes, p. 413. Cf. _Gesta Ric._ p. 212. One of
the summons is given in R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 98.

[167] Gir. Cambr. _l.c._

[168] _Ib._ vol. iv. pp. 398–402. For date see R. Diceto, vol. ii. p.

[169] Cf. Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. pp. 402–5; R. Devizes, pp. 413, 414; R.
Diceto, vol. ii. p. 99; _Gesta Ric._ p. 212, and W. Newb. l. iv. c. 17.

[170] Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. p. 405; _Gesta Ric._ pp. 213, 214; R.
Diceto, _l.c._; R. Devizes, pp. 416, 417.

[171] _Gesta Ric._ pp. 213, 214.

[172] R. Devizes, p. 415.

[173] _Gesta Ric._ p. 214. Cf. R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 97.

[174] Gir. Cambr. vol. iv. p. 402.

[175] _Ib._ p. 406.

[176] _Ib._ pp. 106, 107; R. Devizes, pp. 417, 418; R. Diceto, vol.
ii. p. 100. The reservation was merely nominal; R. Diceto says the
constables appointed by William to these castles were allowed to
remain, but made to give hostages for their loyalty; while Gerald says
the constables were to be appointed by the new ministry. Probably the
ministry decided to retain or reappoint the actual constables, on the
condition mentioned by Ralph.

[177] _Gesta Ric._ p. 220; R. Diceto, vol. ii. pp. 100, 101.

[178] _Gesta Ric._ p. 236.

[179] R. Devizes, pp. 430, 432; _Gesta Ric._ p. 236.

[180] _Gesta Ric._ p. 237.

[181] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 188; in _Gesta Ric._ p. 239, the sum is
given as five hundred thousand marks, “which,” as Bishop Stubbs says
(note to R. Howden, _l.c._), “is of course impossible.”

[182] Richard of Devizes, indeed, says (p. 418) that on the
chancellor’s departure over sea “Comes omnia munita terrae quibus
voluit et plus credidit sibi reddita liberavit”: but his own story
about Windsor and Wallingford shows this to be incorrect.

[183] R. Devizes, p. 433.

[184] “Episcopo Dunelmensi £34: 15s. in Pickering pro escambio
custodiae castelli de Windsor quamdiu regi placuerit,” Pipe Roll 4 Ric.
I. (1192) m. 7.

[185] _Gesta Ric._ pp. 235, 236.

[186] R. Devizes, p. 433.

[187] _Gesta Ric._ p. 239.

[188] R. Devizes, pp. 433, 434.

[189] “Dare placet vel commodare pecuniam, sed non de proprio,
tandemque totum cadit in absentis aerarium. Creduntur comiti de
fisco per fiscarios quingentae librae sterlingorum, et recipiuntur
ad placitum literae in cancellarium,” R. Devizes, p. 343. “Johannes
... acceptis a Rothomagensi archiepiscopo et a caeteris justitiariis
Angliae duobus millibus marcis argenti de thesauro regis fratris sui,
consilio eorum adquievit,” _Gesta Ric._ p. 239. Possibly the smaller
sum was handed over to John at once, and the remainder only promised.

[190] _Gesta Ric._ pp. 239, 237.

[191] W. Newb. l. iv. c. 32.

[192] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 204.

[193] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 57. The document (of which no
original is known) may be slightly corrupt, but it is obviously more
trustworthy than the version of John’s and Philip’s agreement given by
Roger of Howden, vol. iii. p. 204.

[194] Gerv. Cant. vol. i. pp. 514, 515.

[195] R. Howden, vol. iii. pp. 204, 205.

[196] Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 515; R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 205.

[197] Gerv. Cant. vol. i. p. 516.

[198] _Ib._; R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 207.

[199] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 217.

[200] _Ib._ pp. 216, 217.

[201] “‘Johannes frater meus non est homo qui sibi _vi_ terram
subjiciat, si fuerit qui vim ejus vi saltem tenui repellat,’” R.
Howden, vol. iii. p. 198. I think there can be no doubt as to the
significance of the first “_vi_.”

[202] “Ad pacem cum illo faciendam qualemcumque,” _ib._ p. 217.

[203] “De comite autem Johanne sic erit: quod si homines regis Angliae
poterunt sufficienter monstrare in curia domini regis Franciae quod
idem Johannes juraverit ad perquirendam pecuniam ad liberationem regis
Angliae, et de hoc dederit litteras suas, ipse Johannes tenebitur ad
solvendum, et totam terram quam ipse tenebat quando rex Angliae frater
ejus iter arripuit ultra mare, tenebit, citra mare et ultra, ita
libere sicut prius tenebat; excepto eo quod liber erit a sacramento
quod fecerat de non intranda terra Angliae; et de hoc dictus rex
Angliae faciet dominum Johannem securum per se, et per barones et
archiepiscopos et episcopos terrae suae, et insuper per regem Franciae.
Si autem comes Johannes vellet negare quod litterae illae non essent
suae, aut quod illud non jurasset, homines regis Angliae sufficienter
in curia regis Franciae monstrabunt, per idoneos testes, quod juraverit
ad querendam pecuniam ad liberationem regis Angliae. Si autem
monstratum fuerit, sicut dictum est, quod comes juraverit ad quaerendam
pecuniam ad liberationem regis, vel si defecerit de recipienda
monstratione, rex Franciae non intromittat se de comite Johanne, si
pacem de terra sua praedicta recipere voluerit,” R. Howden, vol. iii.
pp. 217, 218.

[204] _Ib._ p. 220.

[205] “Sed custodes illorum noluerunt tradere illi aliquod castellum
per breve,” R. Howden, vol. iii. pp. 227, 228. Did they suspect John
of having forged the king’s writ? Or should the words be “_nisi_ per
breve,” and do they mean that the individual castellans refused to act
upon what seems to have been a merely general order, and require a
special writ for each castle?

[206] _Ib._ p. 228.

[207] _Ib._ p. 229. Cf. W. Newb. l. iv. c. 40.

[208] R. Howden, vol. iii. pp. 232, 234.

[209] _Ib._ 236–40.

[210] “Petiit sibi fieri judicium de comite Johanne,” etc., _ib._ p.

[211] Hugh was sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire.

[212] “Demeruisse regnum,” R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 242.

[213] _Ann. Margan._ a. 1199.

[214] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 251.

[215] For John of Alençon see Round, _Calendar of Doc. in France_, vol.
i. pp. 14, 15, 90, 91, 210, 454, 528.

[216] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 10365–419. R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 114,
places the meeting of the brothers at Brueis; and Roger of Howden, vol.
iii. p. 252, says their reconciliation took place “mediante Alienor
regina matre eorum.” This may mean either that she had interceded with
Richard before he left England, or that it was she who had counselled
John to throw himself on the king’s clemency.

[217] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 252. Some of John’s English lands had
been seized before the council of Nottingham; no doubt, by virtue of
the decree passed at the council in London on February 10. In the Pipe
Roll of Michaelmas 1194 the king’s officers accounted to the king’s
treasury for the ferms of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Dorset and
Somerset, the third penny of Gloucestershire, and the ferm of Eye, for
half a year (P.R. 6 Ric. I. m. 6, 13, 16, 4 d); but the sheriff of
Devon and Cornwall rendered his account for three-quarters of a year
(_ib._ m. 12); while the forfeiture of John’s private estates in Dorset
and Somerset seems to have been dated from Ash-Wednesday, February
23 (_ib._ m. 13 d); a part at least of the honour of Gloucester,
viz. Bristol, had been seized at Mid-Lent, four days after Richard’s
landing in England, and the whole not later than Easter (_ib._ m. 16
d); and for the honours of Peverel and Tickhill a whole year’s ferm was
reckoned as due to the treasury at Michaelmas (_ib._ m. 6). The king’s
escheators rendered a separate account of a number of escheats in the
honour of Lancaster and in the counties which John had held (_ib._ m.
2, 2 d); and the sheriff of Dorset and Somerset gathered in for the
king a quantity of “arrears of debts which were owed to Count John for
pleas and amercements of the men and townships” of those two counties
(_ib._ m. 13). The commission issued to the itinerant justices in the
same month of September contained an express order that they should
inquire into and report upon all John’s property, real and personal,
and all the moneys owed to him, to the intent that the whole might be
secured for the king, R. Howden, vol. iii. pp. 263, 264.

[218] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 252.

[219] _Hist. de. G. le Mar._ vv. 10491–517.

[220] W. Newb. l. iv. c. 40; Rigord, c. 94.

[221] _Hist. de. G. le Mar._ vv. 10516–20.

[222] Rigord, c. 96.

[223] W. Armor. _Gesta Phil. Aug._ c. 72; _Philipp._ l. iv. vv.
445–62. The last detail seems to imply that the victims of the
surprise--whatever its character--were, after all, not the whole
garrison, but probably only the officers.

[224] Rigord, c. 96.

[225] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 253.

[226] Rigord, c. 100; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 74; _Philipp._ l. iv.
vv. 530–69.

[227] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. v. vv. 30–32.

[228] R. Howden, vol. iii. p. 286.

[229] I can find no mention either of the honour of Eye or of that of
Gloucester in Pipe Roll 7 Ric. I. (1196).

[230] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 5.

[231] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 16. Cf. W. Newb. l. v. c. 31.

[232] Deville, _Hist. du Château-Gaillard_, pp. 21, 22, 119–23.

[233] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 60.

[234] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 81.

[235] R. Coggeshall, p. 99.

[236] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 83. The fourth part of the royal treasure
was to be given to Richard’s servants and to the poor.

[237] _Ib._ p. 84.

[238] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 11877–908. These lines may be an almost
literal report of the interview as described by the Marshal himself
to John of Earley (_d’Erlée_), on whose relation to the _Histoire_
in its present form see M. Meyer’s introduction, vol. iii. pp.
ii.–xiv. John was the Marshal’s favourite squire, and was immediately
despatched by him on an important mission to England; see vv. 11909–16.
It has been suggested (_Dic. Nat. Biog._ “Marshal, William”) that
“li arcevesques”--as John calls him, without either Christian name
or title of see--may have been not Walter of Rouen, but Hubert of
Canterbury. Hubert was in Normandy at the time; but the advocacy of
Arthur’s claims, intelligible enough in the mouth of a Norman prelate,
is so contrary to the English political traditions of those days that
I cannot, without further evidence, ascribe it to such a thoroughly
English statesman as Archbishop Hubert Walter.

[239] “Hostis naturae Johannes,” W. Newb. l. iv. c. 40.

[240] _Magna Vita S. Hugonis_, p. 287.

[241] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 86; R. Coggeshall, p. 99.

[242] _Mag. Vita S. Hug._ _l.c._

[243] _Mag. Vita S. Hug._ pp. 287–91.

[244] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 87.

[245] _Mag. Vita S. Hug._ pp. 291–5.

[246] Rigord, c. 127.

[247] R. Coggeshall, p. 99; R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 85, 86.

[248] R. Howden, pp. 86, 87; date from _Chron. S. Albini Andeg._ a.

[249] _Mag. Vita S. Hugon._ p. 296.

[250] Rigord, c. 127; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 101.

[251] R. Coggeshall, p. 99.

[252] _Ib._; R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 87; R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 166;
_Mag. Vita S. Hugon._ p. 293; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 92.

[253] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 87–88.

[254] _Mag. Vita S. Hugon._ p. 293.

[255] _Ib._ pp. 293, 294.

[256] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 86. The writer of the _Hist. de G. le
Mar._ asserts, vv. 11909–16, that John of Earley had been sent to
England by the Marshal three weeks earlier, to “take seisin” of the
land, castles, towns and royal demesnes for the count of Mortain.
Probably he was really sent to bid the Marshal’s own men in England
secure for John the castles, etc., which they held; and also to act as
a medium of communication between the Marshal and the justiciar.

[257] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 87, 88, where, however, the order of
events is wrong. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 99.

[258] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 11925–40.

[259] “Cum privatis suis,” R. Coggeshall, p. 99.

[260] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 89; Gerv. Cant., vol. ii. p. 92, says

[261] R. Howden and R. Coggeshall, _ll.cc._; R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 166.




  Contempserunt etenim in eo malivoli quique juvenilem aetatem et
  corporis parvitatem, et quia prudentia magis quam pugna pacem
  optinebat ubique, “Johannem Mollegladium” eum malivoli detractores
  et invidi derisores vocabant. Sed processu temporis ...

              Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp. 92, 93 (a. 1200).

[Sidenote: 1199]

In Richard’s island realm there was never a moment’s question as to who
should succeed him on its throne. In English eyes one successor alone
was possible, no matter how undesirable he might be. The circumstances
of the case, however--the unexpectedness of the vacancy, the heir’s
absence from England, his past relations with the government and
the people there, and the existence of a rival claimant--presented
an opportunity for endeavouring to make a bargain with him such as
it was not often possible to make with a new sovereign. Accordingly
the English barons as a body, on hearing of Richard’s death, assumed
an attitude of independence. All of them set to work to fortify and
revictual their castles; some of them even began to attack and plunder
their neighbours, as if they deemed that there was to be again “no
king in the land”; and all the efforts of the justiciar, Geoffrey
Fitz-Peter, failed to restore order, till he was joined at the end of
April by Archbishop Hubert and William the Marshal. The archbishop
excommunicated the evildoers,[262] and he and the Marshal conjointly
tendered to all the men of the kingdom, “citizens and burghers, earls,
barons, and free tenants,” an oath of liege homage and fealty to John.
The lesser freemen apparently took it without hesitation, but many of
the barons held back. These reluctant ones--chief among whom were the
earls of Clare, Huntingdon, Chester, Ferrars and Warwick, Roger de Lacy
and William de Mowbray--were summoned by the primate, the Marshal and
the justiciar to a meeting at Northampton. There they took the oath,
but only in return for a promise given by the three ministers that if
they did so, John “should render to each of them his rights.”[263]
None of these “rights” are specified; but the expression used by the
historian who records the claim distinctly implies that it was in each
case the claim of an individual to some particular thing to which he
considered himself personally entitled, something, it would seem, which
he had been unable to obtain from the late king, and which he was
therefore anxious to secure beforehand from the new one. In several
cases the grievance seems to have been that of an heir who had not
yet received investiture of a dignity to which he had become entitled
by inheritance some time before.[264] With this grievance the Marshal
and the justiciar could not fail to sympathize; for although they had
for some years past enjoyed the estates attached to the earldoms of
Striguil (or Pembroke) and Essex respectively, neither of them had yet
been invested as earl. Justly, therefore, was the promise which they
had made in John’s name redeemed first of all to them when he girded
them with the earl’s sword and belt on his coronation day.[265]

The chroniclers of the time speak of that day’s ceremony in a
matter-of-course way which implies that there was nothing remarkable
about it. “John,” says one, “was peaceably received by the great men
of all England, and was immediately crowned by Archbishop Hubert of
Canterbury at Westminster on Ascension Day, amid a great array of
the citizens.”[266] Sixteen prelates besides Hubert, ten earls and
“many barons” were present.[267] The coronation oath was administered
to John in almost the same words as it had been to Richard, and
with the same adjuration not to take it without a full purpose of
keeping it, to which John made the proper reply.[268] Of the other
details of the ceremony there is no description; only one incident at
its outset and one omission at its close are noted by contemporary
writers.[269] The first was merely a formal protest made by Bishop
Philip of Durham that the coronation ought not to take place in the
absence of his metropolitan, the archbishop of York.[270] The second
was an intentional and significant omission on the part of the newly
crowned king himself. It was customary for every Christian sovereign,
after the crown had been placed on his head, to seal the vows which he
had just made by receiving the Holy Communion. John, however, did not

Next day the new king received in person the homage of the barons.[272]
On this side of the sea, only Wales and Scotland remained to be
secured. Of Wales we hear nothing at the moment. Scotland had taken the
initiative immediately after Richard’s death; King William the Lion had
at once despatched a message to John, offering him his liege homage
and fealty, on condition that Northumberland and Cumberland should be
given back to the Scottish Crown. The English primate, Marshal and
justiciar, knowing the difficulties with which John was beset on the
other side of the Channel, probably feared that he might be tempted to
purchase William’s support at William’s own price; they intercepted the
messenger, and sent word to the Scot king, by his brother Earl David
of Huntingdon, that he must “wait patiently” till John should reach
England. John himself--to whom they apparently reported what they had
done--sent word to William that he would “satisfy him concerning all
his demands” on his arrival, if the Scot king would keep the peace till
then.[273] Immediately after his coronation John despatched two envoys
to summon William to his court and conduct him safely thither. After
they had started, there came to the English king three envoys from
Scotland with a repetition of William’s former message; but this time a
threat was added; if William’s terms were not accepted “he would regain
all that he was entitled to, if he could.” John answered quietly: “When
your lord, my very dear cousin, shall come to me, I will do to him
whatsoever is right concerning these things and other requests of his”;
and he bade the bishop of Durham go to meet the Scot king, “hoping the
latter would come according to his summons.”[274] He had himself left
London on the morrow of his crowning {May 28} to go on pilgrimage to
S. Albans;[275] he afterwards visited Canterbury and S. Edmunds,[276]
and thence went to Northampton, to keep Whitsuntide (June 6) and wait
for William.[277] He waited in vain; William only sent back the English
envoys, reiterated his demand for the two counties and his threat of
winning them by force, and added a further demand for an answer within
forty days. John meanwhile had lost patience with him, had given the
two counties in charge to a new sheriff, and started for the south
on his way back to Normandy. The Scot king’s messengers followed him
to the sea;[278] whether they overtook him is not clear; at any rate
nothing came of their mission, and on Sunday, June 20, John sailed
from Shoreham for Dieppe,[279] “taking with him a very great host from

Within three days John and Philip met in conference at Gaillon. They
came to no agreement, and John “made up his mind to resist the French
king like a man, and to fight manfully for the peace of his country.”
It is clear that his preparations were well in train before the meeting
took place. Philip indeed made the first hostile movement by laying
siege to the castle of Gaillon; not only, however, was he driven away
by the troops who had come over with John,[281] but horse and foot
came flocking to the muster at Rouen, though it was fixed for June 24,
only four days after John’s landing. On that day he made a truce with
Philip to last till August 16,[282] thus gaining nearly two months
in which to mature his plans and increase his forces. He spent the
greater part of this time in a progress through eastern Normandy, and,
as the sequel showed, in negotiations with the counts of Flanders
and Boulogne. On August 10 he was again at Rouen.[283] On the 13th
Baldwin of Flanders came to him there “and became his man.”[284] On the
16th, when the truce expired, representatives of the two kings met in
conference between Gouleton and Boutavant; on the 18th Philip and John
met in person. Philip was asked “why he so hated the king of England,
who had never done him any harm?” He answered that John had occupied
Normandy and other lands without his leave, whereas he ought first to
have applied to his overlord for confirmation of his rights as heir,
and done homage to him. Now, Philip demanded of John the surrender of
the whole Vexin to the Crown of France, and that of Poitou, Anjou,
Touraine, and Maine to himself as overlord, that he might transfer them
to Arthur.[285]

The Vexin had been a bone of contention between France and Normandy
for nearly forty years, and its cession had been distinctly promised
by Richard to Philip in 1195. As for the Angevin heritage, John in
taking possession of it without waiting for investiture had only
followed the example of his predecessor. Richard had made pecuniary
amends to Philip for this irregular proceeding, which in feudal law
was punishable--theoretically--by forfeiture. In his demand that
John should resign the three Angevin counties, therefore, and in his
previous grant of their investiture to Arthur, Philip did not exceed
his legal rights. With regard to Poitou the case was more complicated.
On the one hand, it is certain that at some time between Richard’s
death and the middle of May 1200 Eleanor and John made an agreement in
legal form, whereby John granted his mother to have and to hold all the
days of her life, or during her pleasure, the whole of Poitou with all
its appurtenances, she having first ceded and surrendered it to him “as
her right heir,” received his homage for it, and made over to him the
rights of government throughout the county and the fealty and services
of its vassals.[286] On the other hand, at the end of June 1199 Eleanor
had met Philip at Tours, and he had allowed her to do him homage for
Poitou,[287] thus formally recognizing her as its lawful countess.
Whatever be the precise date of the first-mentioned transaction,
therefore, it seems that Eleanor, and Eleanor alone, was the person
legally answerable for Poitou to the king of France at this moment.

The English historian of the conference adds that Philip further made
of John “other demands which the king of England would in no wise
grant, nor was it right that he should grant them.” What these were
he does not state; but it seems that some of the French nobles were
of his opinion as to their character, for when the meeting broke up,
“such of the counts and barons of the realm of France as had been in
alliance with King Richard” came to John offered him their homage,
and made offensive and defensive alliance with him against their own
sovereign.[288] In the case of the count of Boulogne this alliance was
embodied in a written treaty, drawn up on the same day (August 18) at
“the castle on the Rock of Andely.”[289]

In September Philip recommenced hostilities with the seizure of
Conches.[290] John, who had continued hovering about eastern Normandy
until then, at once struck southward; from September 12 to 17 he was
at Bourg-le-Roi in Maine.[291] This movement of John’s apparently
drew Philip southward after him; the next place which the French
king attacked was the Cenomannian fortress of Ballon, held for John
by one of his father’s most devoted adherents, Geoffrey of Brullon.
The castle was taken, and Philip proceeded to raze it. William des
Roches, the constable of Britanny, protested against this as contrary
to the agreement between Arthur and the king. Philip retorted that
he should deal with his own conquests as he pleased, without regard
to Arthur.[292] On that very night--it must have been September
17--William des Roches went to Bourg-le-Roi,[293] begged for a private
interview with John, and undertook to make Arthur, Constance, and all
Anjou, Maine and Poitou submit to him “so that all should be good
friends together,” in return for an oath on John’s part that he would
“do with them according to his (William’s) counsel.”[294] A written
record of John’s promise to abide by the terms which William and
other “lawful knights” of Normandy and Britanny--whom William was to
choose--should arrange for peace between himself and his “very dear
nephew Arthur,” “for the honour and advantage of us both,” was drawn up
before witnesses on September 18 at Anvers-le-Hamon.[295]

It may have been to facilitate negotiations with the Bretons and
Angevins that John had proceeded so far as Anvers, which lies in
the south of Maine, close to the border of Anjou. We next find him
overtaking Philip at the siege of Lavardin. Philip hereupon withdrew
to Le Mans; but he had cut the ground from under his own feet; the
garrison of Le Mans was under the orders of William des Roches, who
had been appointed commandant there by Philip himself. John, too, was
following close behind; and when he appeared before the city, Philip
again beat a hasty retreat, while William des Roches brought Arthur
and Constance in person to make their peace with John, and then opened
the gates of Le Mans to the new allies. John, in anticipation of his
triumph, had already summoned Almeric, the viscount of Thouars, who
was acting as seneschal of Anjou and commandant of Chinon for Arthur,
to come and submit to him at Le Mans. On the very day of John’s entry
into the city, September 22, Almeric obeyed. Next day John proceeded
to Chinon, where he installed Roger de Lacy as castellan in Almeric’s
stead. With less than his usual caution, he let Arthur, Constance and
their friends, including Almeric, stay behind at Le Mans. Some one had
already suggested to Arthur a suspicion that his uncle intended to
make him a prisoner; as soon, therefore, as John was out of the way at
Chinon, the majority of the Bretons, with their young duke, his mother,
and the viscount of Thouars, returned on September 24 to their old
headquarters at Angers.[296] It was probably tidings of this which made
John hasten back from Chinon to Le Mans, where he was again September
27 to 30; after that nothing is known of his movements till October 6,
when he was at Saumur.[297] His appearance there is suggestive, for
Saumur was the key of the Angevin border towards Poitou on the south
and Touraine on the east. With Le Mans, Chinon and Saumur all in his
hands, he had only to secure a firm foothold in Aquitaine, and then he
might attack Anjou from three sides at once. But to attack it without
such a foothold, and with only the small force which he had brought
with him from Normandy,[298] would have been worse than useless. On
October 8, therefore, John was once more at Le Mans, and thence he fell
back upon Normandy.[299]

There was indeed another reason for his return. Cardinal Peter of
Capua, who had at the beginning of the year negotiated a truce between
Philip and Richard, was still at the French court. The truce had been
made for three years; Richard’s death had of course put an abrupt end
to it; but Peter was urgent that it should be renewed for its original
term between Philip and John. Such a proposal implied that John was
recognized at Rome as Richard’s lawful heir; it was therefore obviously
politic for John to cherish such a valuable alliance by falling in
with the cardinal’s endeavours after a pacification. Through Peter’s
mediation a truce was made at the end of October. Its term was fixed
for the ensuing S. Hilary’s Day;[300] but there was evidently a tacit
understanding that it was to be the forerunner of a more lasting

[Sidenote: 1200]

This truce set John free for a visit to Aquitaine. On November 8 he
was at Niort, and in the beginning of December at Poitiers; by the
middle of December he had returned to Normandy.[301] Meanwhile a
question which had been pending for several years, as to the legality
of Philip’s repudiation of his queen Ingebiorg and his subsequent union
with Agnes of Merania, had been, in a council at Dijon on December 6,
decided by Cardinal Peter against the king, and Peter had laid the
royal domain of France under an interdict which was to take effect
from January 15, 1200,[302] the second day after the expiration of the
truce. With this prospect before his eyes, Philip dared not insult
John as he had insulted him at their last meeting. It was with a very
different proposal that he met him at the old trysting-place between
Gaillon and Les Andelys. A project which had been mooted just twelve
months before, for a family alliance to cement peace between the houses
of France and Anjou, was now revived; it was proposed that Philip’s
son Louis should marry John’s niece Blanche of Castille, and that John
should furnish the bride with a dowry in Norman lands and English
money.[303] The two kings “rushed into each other’s arms,” and renewed
their truce till midsummer.[304]

While Eleanor went to Spain to fetch her granddaughter,[305] John
seized his opportunity for a visit to England.[306] His first business
there was to concert measures with the justiciar for raising the
required sum of money. They decided that the taxes for the year should
consist of a scutage of two marks on the knight’s fee and a payment
of three shillings for “every working plough.”[307] John then went to
York, where he had summoned the Scot king to meet him at the end of
March. William, however, failed to appear.[308] During John’s stay
at York a claim of exemption from the plough tax was laid before him
by the heads of some of the great Cistercian houses in Yorkshire in
behalf of their whole order; this led to a violent quarrel between
them and the king, which was still unsettled when he returned to
Normandy at the end of April.[309] Thither Blanche was brought to meet
him, and on Ascension Day (May 18)[310] he and Philip, at a personal
meeting on the border, made a definite treaty of peace. By that treaty
Philip in so many words acknowledged John as “his brother Richard’s
right heir,” and granted him, as such, the investiture of the whole
Angevin dominions, with the exception of certain territories which
John ceded to the crown of France. These were the Vexin, Auvergne, the
greater part of the county of Evreux, and the lordships of Issoudun,
Graçay, and Bourges. To the cession of the Vexin and of the chief
border castles of the county of Evreux, as well as to the resignation
of the Angevin claim upon Auvergne, Richard had been pledged by his
treaty with Philip in 1195; Issoudun and Graçay had been restored to
the English king by the same treaty, having been ceded by Richard to
France in 1189.[311] Twenty thousand marks and the formal cession of
all these territories--most, if not all, of which were already in
Philip’s hands--was not too heavy a price to pay for the personal
triumph and the political gain involved in Philip’s recognition of John
as the lawful heir to Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine and Aquitaine,
and also to the overlordship of Britanny; for not only was this last
right distinctly conceded to him by Philip, but Arthur was then and
there made to do homage to his uncle for his duchy[312] as soon as John
himself had done homage to Philip for the whole continental heritage of
the house of Anjou.[313] The marriage of Louis and Blanche took place
four days later.[314]

John now set out upon a sort of triumphal progress southward, to take
seisin of all his dominions. On June 18 he reached Angers, where he
stayed four days and took a hundred and fifty hostages as security for
the loyalty of the citizens.[315] At the end of June he was at Tours,
and early in July at Poitiers, whence he proceeded into Gascony; on the
14th he was welcomed at Bordeaux by the archbishop and the barons of
the land.[316] He immediately secured the help of the Gascon primate in
a scheme which he had been cherishing for some months past for getting
rid of the wife to whom he had been married for eleven years, Isabel
of Gloucester. The papal legate who in 1189 had revoked the sentence
passed by Archbishop Baldwin upon John and Isabel had done so on the
ground that, since John had appealed to Rome, his marriage must be
recognized as lawful, pending the result of the appeal. A decision
of the Pope on that appeal would of course have either annulled the
marriage or made it indissoluble; but it seems that no such decision
had ever been given, because the appeal had never been prosecuted. The
marriage was therefore still voidable. At the close of 1199 John called
upon the Norman bishops to declare it void, and they obeyed him.[317]
He now, it seems, laid the case before the archbishop of Bordeaux and
the bishop of Poitiers and Saintes; and their decision was in accord
with that of their Norman brethren.[318] On the bare question--which
was doubtless all that John put before them--whether a marriage between
cousins in the fourth degree was lawful without a dispensation, indeed,
no other decision was possible according to the letter of the canon
law. The Pope, however, when the matter came to his knowledge, seems
to have felt that in this particular case adhesion to the letter of
the law involved a violation of its spirit, and to have been extremely
angry with John’s episcopal tools as well as with John himself.[319]
He had, however, no ground for interfering in the matter except on an
appeal from Isabel; and Isabel did not appeal.[320] There is every
reason to think--and certainly no reason to wonder--that the removal of
the matrimonial yoke was as welcome to her as to John, and that their
divorce was in fact, like that of Louis VII. and Eleanor, a separation
by mutual consent.

John had already chosen another heiress to take Isabel’s place. One
of the most important, and also most troublesome, feudataries of the
duchy of Aquitaine was Ademar, count of Angoulême. It was in a quarrel
with him and his half-brother, the viscount of Limoges, that Richard
Cœur-de-Lion had met his death, which Richard’s son had avenged by
slaying the viscount.[321] The feud between the houses of Angoulême and
Limoges thus threatened to be a considerable hindrance to Richard’s
successor in his efforts to secure a hold upon his southern duchy.
How formidable Ademar and his nephew, the new viscount of Limoges,
had already made themselves is shown by the insertion in the treaty
between John and Philip of a special provision that John should
“receive their homage and grant them their rights.”[322] It is said
to have been Philip who counselled John to secure the fidelity of
Ademar of Angoulême in another way, by taking to wife Ademar’s only
child.[323] Philip’s motives for giving the advice, and John’s motives
for following it, are alike obscure. Nineteen years before, Richard, as
duke of Aquitaine, had vainly striven to wrest Angoulême from Ademar
in behalf of Matilda, the only child of Ademar’s late brother, Count
Vulgrin III. Matilda was now the wife of Hugh “the Brown” of Lusignan,
who in 1179 or 1180 had, in spite of King Henry, made himself master
of the county of La Marche, and whose personal importance in southern
Gaul was increased by the rank and fame which his brothers Geoffrey,
Guy and Almeric had won in the kingdoms of Jerusalem and Cyprus.
The dispute between Matilda and her uncle had been settled by the
betrothal of her son--another Hugh the Brown--to Ademar’s daughter and
heiress, Isabel.[324] A marriage between John and this little Isabel of
Angoulême, therefore, would be certain to provoke the bitter resentment
of the whole Lusignan family. On the other hand, it would provoke their
resentment against Isabel’s father as well as against her husband,
and thus destroy the chance of a coalition of Angoulême and La Marche
against their common overlord. It is not impossible that for John, who
gambled in politics as habitually as he did at the game of “tables,”
the very wantonness of the scheme and the hazards attendant upon it may
have only added to its attractions. But his subsequent conduct towards
the Lusignans suggests the idea that he may have had a deeper motive,
a deliberate purpose of goading them into some outrageous course of
action which might enable him to recover La Marche and ruin them
completely, or even drive them altogether out of the land.

On his way to Poitou John issued from Chinon, on June 25, a summons to
Ademar of Angoulême and Guy of Limoges to come and perform their homage
on July 5 at Lusignan,[325] the ancestral home of Hugh the Brown. There
Hugh and Matilda were bringing up their intended daughter-in-law in
company with her boy bridegroom, and there John was no doubt, at the
moment, sure of a welcome, for Hugh and his brother Ralf had become his
liegemen at Caen on January 28.[326] Thus, in all likelihood, it was
under Hugh’s very roof, and as sharers in his hospitality, that the
king of England and the count of Angoulême laid their plot for robbing
Hugh’s son of his plighted bride and his promised heritage. John
indeed, as soon as his divorce was ratified by the southern bishops,
despatched, or gave out that he had despatched, an embassy to Portugal
with instructions to ask for the hand of a daughter of the Portuguese
king;[327] but their mission was a mere blind to divert suspicion
till Ademar should have succeeded in getting his child back into his
own hands. The poor little betrothed--she was only about twelve years
old[328]--was literally stolen by her father,[329] and carried off
by him to his capital city. There her royal suitor met them, and on
August 24 the marriage ceremony was performed by the archbishop of
Bordeaux.[330] The newly married couple immediately afterwards set out
for the north; at the beginning of October they went to England, and on
the 8th they were crowned together at Westminster.[331]

[Sidenote: 1200–1201]

Six weeks later the king of Scots made his submission. Summoned to meet
his overlord at Lincoln on November 21, William the Lion this time
did not venture to disobey the summons; both kings reached Lincoln on
the appointed day. Next morning John, in defiance of an old tradition
which forbade a king to appear in regal state within the walls of
Lincoln, went to the minster and offered a golden chalice at the altar
of S. John the Baptist. Thence he proceeded to his colloquy with
William “on the top of the steep hill” outside the city. There, amid
a group of prelates and barons, and “in the sight of all the people,”
William performed his homage, and swore on Archbishop Hubert’s cross
that he would be faithful to John against all men, “saving his own
right.” Then, and not till then, did he venture again to demand, “as
his right and heritage,” the disputed counties. A long discussion
ended in an adjournment of the question till the next Whitsuntide;
which of course meant that it was to be put off indefinitely. On
the morrow (November 23) the king of Scots set out on his homeward
journey, while the king of England helped with his own hands to carry
to its last resting-place in Lincoln minster the body of the only man
among his father’s old friends for whom he seems to have felt a real
liking, though he turned a deaf ear to his counsels--S. Hugh, who had
died in London a week before.[332] Soon after Christmas John was at
Lincoln again, quarrelling with the canons about the election of Hugh’s
successor.[333] He and his young queen afterwards made a progress
through the north, almost up to the Scottish border,[334] and back
through Cumberland to York, which they reached at Mid-Lent (March 1,
1201). At Easter (March 25) they “wore their crowns” at Canterbury.[335]

[Sidenote: 1201]

Meanwhile, open hostilities had begun between John and the Lusignans;
and so far as can be made out from the scanty evidence available, it
seems to have been John who began them. A French historian of the time
asserts that the castle of Driencourt in Normandy, which belonged
to Ralf of Lusignan as count of Eu in right of his wife, was seized
by John’s orders while Ralf was in John’s service in England.[336]
It is certain that John, on March 6, 1201, issued letters patent to
Hugh of Bailleul and Thomas of St. Valery authorizing them to attack
Ralf’s territories at the close of Easter and “do him all the harm they
could,” and promising that they should never be compelled to make good
any damage which they might inflict upon him; while on the same day
one William “de Kaev” was despatched on a mission to the inhabitants
of Driencourt and of the whole county of Eu to make arrangements for
mutual security between them and the king, without reference to their
count.[337] Two days later John summoned all his faithful barons,
knights, clerks, burghers, and other tenants of the county of La Marche
“to come to his service, and do to him what they had been wont to
do to his predecessors.”[338] In other words, he claimed the direct
ownership of the county, to which his father had indeed been entitled
by purchase from the late Count Adelbert and by the homage of its
tenants, but of which Henry had never been able and Richard had never
even tried to take possession, and which Hugh of Lusignan had now held
for more than twenty years. If their oath of liege homage to John had
hitherto restrained Hugh and Ralf from giving vent to their anger at
John’s marriage, it restrained them no longer now. They at once laid a
complaint against John, for unjust aggression and spoliation, before
the king of France as lord paramount of Aquitaine.[339] Ralf formally
renounced his allegiance to John,[340] and Hugh, with all the forces
that he could muster, invaded Poitou, where, as usual, he found plenty
of allies ready to join him.[341] The most important of the Poitevin
barons, indeed, Almeric of Thouars, was won over to John’s side by
the diplomacy of Eleanor; but the danger appeared so great that both
Eleanor and Almeric besought John to come over and deal with it in
person as soon as he possibly could; and at the end of April the count
of Angoulême and John’s other friends in the south proposed sending
Almeric to confer with John in England.[342]

John meanwhile was summoning the earls and barons of England to meet
him at Portsmouth at Whitsuntide (May 13), ready with horses and arms
to accompany him over sea. The earls held a meeting at Leicester,
and thence unanimously sent him word that they would not go with him
“unless he gave them back their rights. For the king, following ill
counsel, was demanding their castles of them; and beginning with
William of Aubigny, he demanded of him the castle of Belvoir. William
satisfied him by giving him his son as a hostage, and thus kept his
castle.”[343] Notwithstanding their protest, the barons brought their
forces to Portsmouth on the appointed day, equipped for a campaign, and
each man provided with the money needful to cover his expenses during
the usual term of service in a feudal host. This, and nothing more, was
precisely what John wanted them to do: “He took from some of them the
money which they would have spent in his service, and let them return
home.”[344] The ready money which he thus obtained was a more useful
and safer weapon for his purpose than the host itself would have been,
and no pretext was left for the discussion of inconvenient questions.
The king immediately despatched William the Marshal and Roger de Lacy,
each at the head of a hundred mercenaries, “to check the assaults of
his enemies on the borders of Normandy.” At the same time he appointed
his chamberlain, Hubert de Burgh, warden of the Welsh marches, with
another hundred soldiers under his command, and sent the bishop of
Chester to William the Lion with a request that the term fixed for
answering his demands might be extended to Michaelmas.[345] Having
taken these precautions to secure England from attack, John again
crossed the sea; on June 2 he was at Bonneville.[346]

At the announcement of John’s intention to return, Philip had either
compelled or persuaded the Lusignans to suspend hostilities in
Poitou.[347] A period of negotiation followed; Philip remonstrating
with John about his conduct towards the Lusignans, and urging him to
make them restitution; John, in his turn, remonstrating with Philip
for his constant aggressions and his interference with the internal
affairs of John’s duchies. Several personal interviews seem to have
taken place between the kings;[348] before the end of June the treaty
of Ascension-tide 1200 was confirmed; and on the last day of that month
John, by Philip’s invitation, went to Paris, and was there lodged and
entertained for several days in the royal palace, which Philip vacated
for his convenience.[349]

This temporary pacification was effected by a promise on John’s part
that the quarrel between him and the Lusignans should be tried and
settled fairly in his court as duke of Aquitaine.[350] Towards the
end of July he went to Chinon; there he spent the greater part of
the next six weeks,[351] and it was probably there that he summoned
the Lusignans to the promised trial. But meanwhile the Lusignans had
discovered that the trial which he designed was something wholly
different from that which Philip had demanded on their behalf.
John, before he left England, had determined to appeal “the barons
of Poitou”--that is, no doubt, the Lusignans and their friends--on
a general charge of treason against his late brother and himself,
and challenge them to ordeal of battle with a number of champions
specially chosen for the purpose. This project was perfectly legal;
the ordeal of battle, though it was beginning to be discountenanced
by public opinion under the influence of the Church, was still
recognized as a lawful method of deciding upon a charge of treason.
But a simultaneous challenge to so large a number of men, and men,
too, of such high rank and personal distinction as the Lusignans
and their allies, was a startling innovation upon feudal tradition
and practice, and unwarranted by historical precedent. Moreover,
there was in the scheme another feature which would make it doubly
offensive to the barons concerned. The champions against whom they
were called upon to prove their loyalty are described as “picked men,
practised in the art of duelling, whom the king had hired and brought
with him from his dominions on both sides of the sea.”[352] That is,
they were professional champions--men who made a business of hiring
themselves out to fight the battles of any one who either could not
or would not fight in his own person, but who could afford to pay for
an efficient substitute. Such hired champions, of course, in every
case represented the person who hired them; in the present case they
would have represented the king; yet nobles like the Lusignans, two
of whose brothers had been, no less than John himself, crowned and
anointed sovereigns, could not but feel it an intolerable insult to
be challenged, even in a king’s name, by creatures such as these. The
accused barons all alike refused to come to John’s court, “saying that
they would answer to no one save to their peers.”[353] It seems that on
a fresh remonstrance from Philip, John again consented, or pretended to
consent, to a trial such as they demanded; but he was very unwilling to
fix a day; and when he did fix one, he refused to give the defendants a
safe conduct, without which, of course, they would not stir from their

[Sidenote: 1201–1202]

Again Philip intervened, and again John promised redress. This time
apparently Philip deemed it advisable to require security for the
fulfilment of the promise. The security which he asked for, however,
was more than John could reasonably be expected to give; it seems
to have been nothing less than three of the most important castles
in Normandy--those of Falaise, Arques, and “Andely,” that is,
Château-Gaillard. In December John summoned Archbishop Hubert over from
England, and sent him to “make his excuses” to the French king;[355]
and Hubert so far succeeded that after Christmas John was able to
venture into Aquitaine. Early in February 1202 he met the king of
Navarre at Angoulême, and made with him a treaty of close offensive and
defensive alliance.[356]

It was arranged that John and Philip should hold a
conference--seemingly on March 25--at Boutavant. John, it appears,
kept, or at least was ready to keep, the appointment; but Philip either
was or pretended to be afraid of venturing into Norman territory, and
would not advance beyond Gouleton. Thither John came across the river
to meet him.[357] No agreement was arrived at. Finally, Philip cited
John to appear in Paris fifteen days after Easter,[358] at the court of
his overlord the king of France, to stand to its judgement, to answer
to his lord for his misdoings, and undergo the sentence of his peers.
The citation was addressed to John as count of Anjou and Poitou and
duke of Aquitaine;[359] the Norman duchy was not mentioned in it. This
omission was clearly intentional; when John answered the citation by
reminding Philip that he was duke of Normandy, and as such, in virtue
of ancient agreement between the kings and the dukes, not bound to go
to any meeting with the king of France save on the borders of their
respective territories, Philip retorted that he had summoned not the
duke of Normandy but the duke of Aquitaine, and that his rights over
the latter were not to be annulled by the accidental union of the
two dignities in one person.[360] John then promised that he would
appear before the court in Paris on the appointed day, and give up
to Philip two small castles, Thillier and Boutavant, as security
for his submitting to its decision. April 28 passed, and both these
promises remained unfulfilled.[361] One English writer asserts that
thereupon “the assembled court of the king of France adjudged the king
of England to be deprived of all his land which he and his forefathers
had hitherto held of the king of France”;[362] but there is reason to
think that this statement is erroneous, and derived from a false report
put forth by Philip Augustus for political purposes two or three years
later.[363] It is certain that after the date of this alleged sentence,
negotiations still went on; “great and excellent mediators” endeavoured
to arrange a pacification;[364] and Philip himself, according to his
own account, had another interview with John, at which he used all
his powers of persuasion to bring him to submission, but in vain.
Then the French king, by the advice of his barons, formally “defied”
his rebellious vassal;[365] in a sudden burst of wrath he ordered the
archbishop of Canterbury--evidently one of the mediators just referred
to--out of his territories, and dashing after him with such forces
as he had at hand, began hostilities by a raid upon Boutavant, which
he captured and burned.[366] Even after this, if we may trust his
own report, he sent four knights to John to make a final attempt at
reconciliation; but John would not see them.[367]

The war which followed was characteristic of both kings alike. Philip’s
attack took the form not of a regular invasion, but of a series of
raids upon eastern Normandy, whereby in the course of the next three
months[368] he made himself master of Thillier, Lions, Longchamp,
La Ferté-en-Braye, Orgueil, Gournay, Mortemer, Aumale and the town
and county of Eu.[369] John was throughout the same period flitting
ceaselessly about within a short distance of all these places;[370]
but Philip never came up with him, and he never but once came up
with Philip. On July 7 the French king laid siege to Radepont, some
ten miles to the south-east of Rouen. John, who was at Bonport, let
him alone for a week, and then suddenly appeared before the place,
whereupon Philip immediately withdrew.[371] John, however, made no
attempt at pursuit. According to his wont, he let matters take their
course till he saw a favourable opportunity for retaliation. At the end
of the month the opportunity came.

[Sidenote: 1202]

At the conclusion of the treaty of Gouleton in May 1200 Arthur, after
doing homage to his uncle for Britanny, had been by him restored to the
guardianship of the French king.[372] The death of the boy’s mother
in September 1201[373] left him more than ever exposed to Philip’s
influence; and it was no doubt as a measure of precaution, in view
of the approaching strife between the kings, that John on March 27,
1202--two days after his meeting with Philip at Gouleton--summoned
his “beloved nephew Arthur” to come and “do right” to him at Argentan
at the octave of Easter.[374] The summons probably met with no more
obedience than did Philip’s summons to John; and before the end of
April Philip had bound Arthur securely to his side by promising him the
hand of his infant daughter Mary.[375] This promise was ratified by a
formal betrothal at Gournay, after the capture of that place by the
French; at the same time Philip made Arthur a knight, and gave him the
investiture of all the Angevin dominions except Normandy.[376] Towards
the end of July Philip despatched Arthur, with a force of two hundred
French knights, to join the Lusignans in an attack on Poitou. The
barons of Britanny and of Berry had been summoned to meet him at Tours;
but the only allies who did meet him there were three of the Lusignans
and Savaric de Mauléon, with some three hundred knights. Overruling the
caution of the boy duke, who wished to wait for reinforcements from
his own duchy, the impetuous southerners urged an immediate attack
upon Mirebeau, their object being to capture Queen Eleanor, who was
known to be there,[377] and whom they rightly regarded as the mainstay
of John’s power in Aquitaine. Eleanor, however, became aware of their
project in time to despatch a letter to her son, begging him to come
to her rescue. He was already moving southward when her courier met
him on July 30 as he was approaching Le Mans. By marching day and
night he and his troops covered the whole distance between Le Mans
and Mirebeau--eighty miles at the least--in forty-eight hours, and
appeared on August 1 before the besieged castle.[378] The enemies had
already taken the outer ward and thrown down all the gates save one,
deeming their own valour a sufficient safeguard against John’s expected
attack.[379] So great was their self-confidence that they even marched
out to meet him. Like most of those who at one time or another fought
against John, they underrated the latent capacities of their adversary.
They were driven back into the castle, hotly pursued by his troops, who
under the guidance of William des Roches forced their way in after the
fugitives, and were in a short time masters of the place. The whole of
the French and Poitevin forces were either slain or captured; and among
the prisoners were the three Lusignans, and Arthur.[380]

Philip was at that moment busy with the siege of Arques; on the
receipt of these tidings he left it and turned southward,[381] but he
failed, or perhaps did not attempt, to intercept John, who, bringing
his prisoners with him, made his way leisurely back to Falaise.[382]
There he imprisoned Arthur in the castle,[383] and despatched his
victorious troops against Arthur’s duchy; they captured Dol and
Fougères, and harried the country as far as Rennes.[384] Philip, after
ravaging Touraine, fired the city of Tours and took the citadel;
immediately afterwards he withdrew to his own territories, as by that
time John was again at Chinon. As soon as Philip was gone, John in his
turn entered Tours and wrested the citadel from the French garrison
left there by his rival; but his success was won at the cost of another
conflagration which, an English chronicler declares, was never forgiven
him by the citizens and the barons of Touraine.[385]

For the moment, however, he was in luck. In Aquitaine he seemed in a
fair way to carry all before him without striking a blow. Angoulême
had passed into his hands by the death of his father-in-law on June
17.[386] Guy of Limoges had risen in revolt again, but at the end of
August or early in September he was captured.[387] The Lusignans,
from their prison at Caen, made overtures for peace, and by dint of
protestations and promises succeeded ere long in regaining their
liberty, of course on the usual conditions of surrendering their
castles and giving hostages for their loyalty.[388] It was almost
equally a matter of course that as soon as they were free they began
intriguing against John.[389] But the chronic intrigues of the south
were in reality, as John himself seems to have discovered, a far less
serious danger than the disaffection in his northern dominions. This
last evil was undoubtedly, so far as Normandy was concerned, owing in
great measure to John’s own fault. He had entrusted the defence of
the Norman duchy to his mercenaries under the command of a Provençal
captain whose real name is unknown, who seems to have adopted for
himself the nickname of “Lou Pescaire,” “The Fisherman”--which the
Normans apparently corrupted into “Louvrekaire”--and who habitually
treated his employer’s peaceable subjects in a fashion in which other
commanders would have shrunk from treating avowed enemies.[390] Side
by side with the discontent thus caused among the people there was
a rapid growth of treason among the Norman barons;--treason fraught
with far greater peril than the treason of the nobles of Aquitaine,
because it was more persistent and more definite in its aim; because it
was at once less visible and tangible and more deeply rooted; because
it spread in silence and wrought in darkness; and because, while no
southern rebel ever really fought for anything but his own hand, the
northern traitors were in close concert with Philip Augustus. John
knew not whom to trust; he could, in fact, trust no one; and herein
lay the explanation of his restless movements, his unaccountable
wanderings, his habit of journeying through bye-ways, his constant
changes of plan.[391] Moreover, besides the Aquitanian rebels, the
Norman traitors, and the French enemy, there were the Breton partizans
of Arthur to be reckoned with. These had now found a leader in William
des Roches, who, when he saw that he could not prevail upon John to
set Arthur at liberty, openly withdrew from the king’s service, and
organized a league of the Breton nobles against him.

[Sidenote: 1202–1203]

These Bretons, reinforced by some barons from Anjou and Maine,
succeeded on October 29 in gaining possession of Angers.[392] It may
have been to watch for an opportunity of dislodging them that John, who
was then at Le Mans, went to spend a fortnight at Saumur and another at
Chinon. Early in December, however, he fell back upon Normandy,[393]
and while the intruders were harrying his ancestral counties with fire
and sword,[394] he kept Christmas with his queen at Caen, “faring
sumptuously every day, and prolonging his morning slumbers till
dinner-time.”[395] It seems that shortly afterwards the queen returned
to Chinon, and that in the middle of January 1203 the enemies at Angers
were discovered to be planning an attempt to capture her there. John
hurried to Le Mans, only stopping at Alençon to dine with Count Robert
and endeavour to secure his suspected loyalty by confirming him in all
his possessions. No sooner had they parted, however, than Robert rode
off to the French court, did homage to Philip, and admitted a French
garrison into Alençon. While John, thus placed between two fires, was
hesitating whether to go on or to go back, Peter des Préaux succeeded
in getting the queen out of Chinon and bringing her to her husband
at Le Mans; thence they managed to make their way back in safety to

[Sidenote: 1203]

This incident may have suggested to John that it was time to take
some decisive step towards getting rid of Arthur’s claims. According
to one English chronicler, some of the king’s counsellors had already
been urging this matter upon him for some time past. They pointed out
that so long as Arthur lived, and was neither physically nor legally
incapacitated for ruling, the Bretons would never be quiet, and no
lasting peace with France would be possible; and they therefore
suggested to the king a horrible scheme for rendering Arthur incapable
of being any longer a source of danger. The increasing boldness of the
Bretons at last provoked John into consenting to this project, and he
despatched three of his servants to Falaise to put out the eyes of the
captive. Two of these men chose to leave the king’s service rather
than obey him; the third went to Falaise as he was bidden, but found
it impossible to fulfil his errand; Arthur’s struggles were backed by
the very soldiers who guarded him, and the fear of a mutiny drove their
commander, Hubert de Burgh, to prevent the execution of an order which
he felt that the king would soon have cause to regret. He gave out,
however, that the order had been fulfilled, and that Arthur had died in
consequence. The effect of this announcement proved at once the wisdom
of Hubert and the folly of those to whose counsel John had yielded.
The fury of the Bretons became boundless; they vowed never to leave a
moment’s peace to the tyrant who had committed such a ghastly crime
upon their duke, his own nephew; and Hubert soon found it necessary,
for John’s own sake, to confess his fraud and demonstrate to friends
and foes alike that Arthur was still alive and uninjured.[397] John
himself now attempted to deal with Arthur in another way. Being at
Falaise at the end of January 1203,[398] he caused his nephew to be
brought before him, and “addressed him with fair words, promising
him great honours if he would forsake the king of France and cleave
faithfully to his uncle and rightful lord.” Arthur, however, rejected
these overtures with scorn, vowing that there should be no peace unless
the whole Angevin dominions, including England, were surrendered to him
as Richard’s lawful heir. John retorted by transferring his prisoner
from Falaise to Rouen and confining him, more strictly than ever, in
the citadel.[399]

Thenceforth Arthur disappears from history. What was his end no one
knows. The chronicle of the abbey of Margan in South Wales, a chronicle
of which the only known manuscript ends with the year 1232, and of
which the portion dealing with the early years of John’s reign was not
compiled in its present form till after 1221 at earliest, asserts that
on Maunday Thursday (April 3) 1203, John, “after dinner, being drunk
and possessed by the devil,” slew his nephew with his own hand and
tied a great stone to the body, which he flung into the Seine; that
a fisherman’s net brought it up again, and that, being recognized,
it was buried secretly, “for fear of the tyrant,” in the church of
Notre-Dame-des-Prés, near Rouen.[400] William the Breton, in his poem
on Philip Augustus, completed about 1216, relates in detail, but
without date, how John took Arthur out alone with him by night in a
boat on the Seine, plunged a sword into his body, rowed along for three
miles with the corpse, and then threw it overboard.[401] Neither of
these writers gives any authority for his story. The earliest authority
of precisely ascertained date to which we can trace the assertion
that Arthur was murdered is a document put forth by a personage whose
word, on any subject whatever, is as worthless as the word of John
himself--King Philip Augustus of France. In 1216--about the time when
his Breton historiographer’s poem was completed--Philip affected to
regard it as a notorious fact that John had, either in person or by
another’s hand, murdered his nephew. But Philip at the same time
went on to assert that John had been summoned to trial before the
supreme court of France, and by it condemned to forfeiture of all his
dominions, on that same charge of murder; and this latter assertion is
almost certainly false.[402] Seven months after the date assigned by
the Margan annalist to Arthur’s death--in October 1203--Philip owned
himself ignorant whether the duke of Britanny were alive or not.[403]
Clearly, therefore, it was not as the avenger of Arthur’s murder that
Philip took the field at the end of April. On the other hand, Philip
had never made the slightest attempt to obtain Arthur’s release; early
in 1203, if not before, he was almost openly laying his plans in
anticipation of Arthur’s permanent effacement from politics.[404] The
interests of the French king were in fact no less concerned in Arthur’s
imprisonment, and more concerned in his death, than were the interests
of John himself. John’s one remaining chance of holding Philip and
the Bretons in check was to keep them in uncertainty whether Arthur
were alive or dead, in order to prevent the Bretons from adopting any
decided policy, and hamper the French king in his dealings with them
and with the Angevin and Poitevin rebels by compelling him to base his
alliance with them on conditions avowedly liable to be annulled at any
moment by Arthur’s reappearance on the political scene. If, therefore,
Arthur--as is most probable--was now really dead, whether he had indeed
perished a victim of one of those fits of ungovernable fury in which
(and in which alone) the Angevin counts sometimes added blunder to
crime, or whether he had died a natural death from sickness in prison,
or by a fall in attempting to escape,[405] it would be equally politic
on John’s part to let rumour do its worst rather than suffer any gleam
of light to penetrate the mystery which shrouded the captive’s fate.

John’s chance, however, was a desperate one. A fortnight after Easter
{April 20} the French king attacked and took Saumur.[406] Moving
southward, he was joined by some Poitevins and Bretons, with whose
help he captured sundry castles in Aquitaine. Thence he went back to
the Norman border, to be welcomed at Alençon by its count, and to lay
siege to Conches.[407] John, who was then at Falaise, sent William
the Marshal to Conches, to beg that Philip would “have pity on him
and make peace.” Philip refused; John hurried back to Rouen, to find
both city and castle in flames[408]--whether kindled by accident or by
treachery there is nothing to show. Conches was taken; Vaudreuil was
betrayed; the few other castles in the county of Evreux which had not
already passed, either by cession, conquest, or treason, into Philip’s
hands shared the like fate,[409] while John flitted restlessly up and
down between Rouen and various places in the neighbourhood,[410] but
made no direct effort to check the progress of the invader. Messenger
after messenger came to him with the same story: “The king of France
is in your land as an enemy; he is taking your castles; he is binding
your seneschals to their horses’ tails and dragging them shamefully to
prison; he is dealing with your goods at his own pleasure.” John heard
them all with an unmoved countenance, and dismissed them all with one
unvarying reply: “Let him alone! Some day I shall win back all that he
is winning from me now.”[411]

It was by diplomacy that John hoped to parry the attack which he knew
he could not repel by force. Early in the year he had complained to
the Pope of the long course of insult and aggression pursued towards
him by Philip, and begged Innocent to interfere in his behalf.[412]
Thereupon Philip, in his turn, sent messengers and letters to the Pope,
giving his own version of his relations with John, and endeavouring
to justify his own conduct.[413] On May 26 Innocent announced to
both kings that he was about to despatch the abbots of Casamario,
Trois-Fontaines and Dun as commissioners to arbitrate upon the matters
in dispute between them.[414] These envoys seem to have been delayed
on their journey; and when they reached France they, for some time,
found it impossible to ascertain whether Philip would or would not
accept their arbitration. When at last he met them in council at Mantes
on August 26, he told them bluntly that he “was not bound to take his
orders from the Apostolic See as to his rights over a fief and a vassal
of his own, and that the matter in dispute between the two kings was
no business of the Pope’s.”[415] John meanwhile had, on August 11,
suddenly quitted his passive attitude and laid siege to Alençon; but he
retired on Philip’s approach four days later. An attempt which he made
to regain Brezolles was equally ineffectual.[416] Philip, on the other
hand, was now resolved to bring the war to a crisis. It was probably
straight from the council at Mantes that he marched to the siege of

Château-Gaillard was a fortress of far other importance than any of
the castles which both parties had been so lightly winning, losing and
winning again, during the last ten years. It was the key of the Seine
above Rouen, the bulwark raised by Richard Cœur de Lion to protect his
favourite city against attack from France. Not till the fortifications
which commanded the river at Les Andelys were either destroyed or in
his own hands could Philip hope to win the Norman capital. And those
fortifications were of no common order. Their builder was the greatest,
as he was the last, of the “great builders” of Anjou; and his “fair
castle on the Rock of Andelys” was at once the supreme outcome of
their architectural genius, and the earliest and most perfect example
in Europe of the new developement which the Crusaders’ study of the
mighty works of Byzantine or even earlier conquerors, quickened and
illuminated as it was by the exigencies of their own struggle with
the Infidels, had given to the science of military architecture in
the East. During the past year John had added to his brother’s castle
a chapel with an undercroft, placed at the south-eastern corner of
the second ward.[418] The fortress which nature and art had combined
to make impregnable was well stocked with supplies of every kind;
moreover, it was one of the few places in Normandy which Philip had no
hope of winning, and John no fear of losing, through treason on the
part of its commandant. Roger de Lacy, to whom John had given it in
charge, was an English baron who had no stake in Normandy, and whose
personal interest was therefore bound up with that of the English king;
he was also a man of high character and dauntless courage.[419] Nothing
short of a siege of the most determined kind would avail against the
“Saucy Castle”; and on that siege Philip now concentrated all his
forces and all his skill. As the right bank of the Seine at that point
was entirely commanded by the castle and its neighbour fortification,
the walled town--also built by Richard--known as the New or Lesser
Andely, while the river itself was doubly barred by a stockade across
its bed, close under the foot of the Rock, and by a strong tower on
an island in mid-stream just below the town, he was obliged to encamp
in the meadows on the opposite shore. The stockade, however, was soon
broken down by the daring of a few young Frenchmen; and the waterway
being thus cleared for the transport of materials, he was enabled to
construct below the island a pontoon, by means of which he could throw
a portion of his troops across the river to form the siege of the New
Andely, place the island garrison between two fires, and at once keep
open his own communications and cut off those of the besieged with both
sides of the river alike.[420]

These things seem to have been done towards the end of August. On
the 27th and 28th of that month John was at Montfort, a castle some
five and twenty miles from Rouen, held by one of his few faithful
barons, Hugh of Gournay. On the 30th, if not the 29th, he and all his
available forces were back at Rouen, ready to attempt on that very
night the relief of Les Andelys.[421] The king’s plan was a masterpiece
of ingenuity; and the fact that the elaborate preparations needed
for its execution were made so rapidly and so secretly as to escape
detection by an enemy so close at hand goes far to show how mistaken
are the charges of sloth and incapacity which, even in his own day, men
brought against “John Softsword.”[422] He had arranged that a force of
three hundred knights, three thousand mounted men-at-arms, and four
thousand foot, under the command of William the Marshal, with a band of
mercenaries under Lou Pescaire, should march by night from Rouen along
the left bank of the Seine and fall, under cover of darkness, upon the
portion of the French army which still lay on that side of the river.
Meanwhile, seventy transport vessels which had been built by Richard
to serve either for sea or river traffic, and as many more boats as
could be collected, were to be laden with provisions for the distressed
garrison of the island fort, and convoyed up the stream by a flotilla
of small warships manned by “pirates” under a chief named Alan and
carrying, besides their own daring and reckless crews, a force of three
thousand Flemings. Two hundred strokes of the oar, John reckoned, would
bring these ships to the French pontoon; they must break it if they
could; if not, they could at least co-operate with the Marshal and Lou
Pescaire in cutting off the northern division of the French host from
its comrades and supplies on the left bank, and throw into the island
fort provisions which would enable it to hold out till John himself
should come to its rescue.

One error brought the scheme to ruin--an error neither of strategy nor
of conduct, but of scientific knowledge. John had miscalculated the
time at which, on that night, the Seine would be navigable up-stream;
and his counsellors evidently shared his mistake till it was brought
home to them by experience. The land forces achieved their march
without hindrance, and at the appointed hour, shortly before daybreak,
fell upon the French camp with such a sudden and furious onslaught
that the whole of its occupants fled across the pontoon, which broke
under their weight. But the fleet, which had been intended to arrive
at the same time, was unable to make way against the tide, and before
it could reach its destination the French had rallied on the northern
bank, repaired the pontoon, recrossed it in full force, and routed
John’s troops. The ships, when they at last came up, thus found
themselves unsupported in their turn, and though they made a gallant
fight they were beaten back with heavy loss. In the flush of victory
one young Frenchman contrived to set fire to the island fort; it
surrendered, and the whole population of the New Andely fled in a panic
to Château-Gaillard, leaving their town to be occupied by Philip.[423]
The Saucy Castle itself still remained to be won. Knowing, however,
that for this nothing was likely to avail but a blockade, which was now
practically formed on two sides by his occupation of the island fort
and the Lesser Andely, Philip on the very next day[424] set off to make
another attempt on Radepont, whence he had been driven away by John
a year before. This time John made no effort to dislodge him. It was
not worth while; the one thing that mattered now was Château-Gaillard.
Thither Philip, after receiving the surrender of Radepont, returned
towards the end of September to complete the blockade.[425]

No second attempt to relieve it was possible. It may have been for
the purpose of endeavouring to collect fresh troops from the western
districts, which were as yet untouched by the war, that John about
this time visited his old county of Mortain, and even went as far as
Dol,[426] which his soldiers had taken in the previous year. But his
military resources in Normandy were exhausted. The Marshal bluntly
advised him to give up the struggle. “Sire,” said William, “you have
not enough friends; if you provoke your enemies to fight, you will
diminish your own force; and when a man provokes his enemies, it is
but just if they make him rue it.” “Whoso is afraid, let him flee!”
answered John. “I myself will not flee for a year; and if indeed it
came to fleeing, I should not think of saving myself otherwise than you
would, wheresoever you might be.” “I know that well, sire,” replied
William; “but you, who are wise and mighty and of high lineage, and
whose work it is to govern us all, have not been careful to avoid
irritating people. If you had, it would have been better for us all.
Methinks I speak not without reason.”[427] The king, “as if a sword had
struck him to the heart,” spoke not a word, but rushed to his chamber;
next morning he was nowhere to be found; he had gone away in a boat,
almost alone, and it was only at Bonneville that his followers rejoined
him. This was apparently at the beginning of October.[428] For two
months more he lingered in the duchy, where his position was growing
more hopeless day by day. At the end of October, or early in November,
he took the decisive step of dismantling Pont-de-l’Arche, Moulineaux,
and Montfort,[429] three castles which, next to Château-Gaillard, would
be of the greatest value to the French for an advance upon Rouen. To
Rouen itself he returned once more on November 9, and stayed there
four days.[430] On the 12th he set out for Bonneville, accompanied by
the queen, and telling his friends that he intended to go to England
to seek counsel and aid from his barons and people there, and would
soon return. In reality his departure from the capital was caused by a
rumour which had reached him of a conspiracy among the Norman barons
to deliver him up to Philip Augustus. At Bonneville, therefore, he
lodged not in the town but in the castle, and only for a few hours; the
Marshal and one or two others alone were warned of his intention to set
forth again before daybreak, and the little party had got a start of
seven leagues on the road to Caen before their absence was discovered
by the rest of the suite, of whom “some went after them, and the more
part went back.”[431] Still John was reluctant to leave Normandy; he
went south to Domfront and west to Vire before he again returned to the
coast at Barfleur on November 28; and even then he spent five days at
Gonneville and one at Cherbourg before he finally took ship at Barfleur
on December 5, to land at Portsmouth next day.[432]

It was probably before he left Rouen that he addressed a letter to the
commandant of Château-Gaillard in these terms: “We thank you for your
good and faithful service, and desire that, as much as in you lies, you
will persevere in the fidelity and homage which you owe to us; that
you may receive a worthy meed of praise from God and from ourself, and
from all who know your faithfulness. If however--which God forbid!--you
should find yourself in such straits that you can hold out no longer,
then do whatsoever our trusty and well-beloved Peter of Préaux, William
of Mortimer, and Hugh of Howels our clerk, shall bid you in our
name.”[433] An English chronicler says that John “being unwilling”--or
“unable”--“to succour the besieged, through fear of the treason of his
men, went to England, leaving all the Normans in a great perturbation
of fear.”[434] It is hard to see what they feared, unless it were
John’s possible vengeance, at some future time, for their universal
readiness to welcome his rival. Not one town manned its walls, not one
baron mustered his tenants and garrisoned his castles, to withstand
the invader. Some, as soon as John was out of the country, openly
made a truce with Philip for a year, on the understanding that if not
succoured by John within that time, they would receive the French king
as their lord;[435] the rest stood passively looking on at the one real
struggle of the war, the struggle for Château-Gaillard.

[Sidenote: 1204]

At length, on March 6, 1204, the Saucy Castle fell.[436] Its fall
opened the way for a French advance upon Rouen; but before taking
this further step Philip deemed it politic to let the Pope’s envoy,
the abbot of Casamario, complete his mission by going to speak with
John. The abbot was received at a great council in London at the end
of March;[437] the result was his return to France early in April,
in company with the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Norwich
and Ely, and the earls of Pembroke and Leicester, all charged with a
commission “to sound the French king, and treat with him about terms
of peace.” On the French king’s side the negotiation was a mere form;
to whatever conditions the envoys proposed, he always found some
objection; and his own demands were such as John’s representatives
dared not attempt to lay before their sovereign--Arthur’s restoration,
or, if he were dead, the surrender of his sister Eleanor, and the
cession to Philip, as her suzerain and guardian, of the whole
continental dominions of the Angevin house.[438] Finally, Philip
dropped the mask altogether, and made a direct offer, not to John,
but to John’s Norman subjects, including the two lay ambassadors. All
those, he said, who within a year and a day would come to him and do
him homage for their lands should receive confirmation of their tenure
from him. Hereupon the two English earls, after consulting together,
gave him five hundred marks each, on the express understanding that he
was to leave them unmolested in the enjoyment of their Norman lands
for a twelvemonth and a day, and that at the expiration of that time
they would come and do homage for those lands to him, if John had not
meanwhile regained possession of the duchy.[439] Neither William the
Marshal nor his colleague had any thought of betraying or deserting
John; as the Marshal’s biographer says, they “did not wish to be
false”; and when they reached England they seem to have frankly told
John what they had done, and to have received no blame for it.[440]

The return of the English embassy was followed by a letter from
the commandant of Rouen--John’s “trusty and well-beloved” Peter of
Préaux--informing the English king that “all the castles and towns from
Bayeux to Anet” had promised Philip that they would surrender to him as
soon as he was master of Rouen, an event which, Peter plainly hinted,
was not likely to be long delayed.[441] This information about the
western towns was probably incorrect, for it was on western Normandy
that Philip made his next attack. John meanwhile had in January imposed
a scutage of two marks and a half per shield throughout England,
and, in addition, a tax of a seventh of moveables, which, though it
fell upon all classes alike, the clergy included, he is said to have
demanded expressly on the ground of the barons’ desertion of him in
Normandy.[442] The hire of a mercenary force was of course the object
to which the proceeds of both these taxes were destined; but they took
time to collect, and John soon fell back upon a readier, though less
trustworthy, resource, and summoned the feudal host of England to meet
him at Portsmouth, seemingly in the first week of May. It gathered,
however, so slowly that he was obliged to give up the expedition.[443]
Philip was about this time besieging Falaise;[444] he won it, and went
on in triumph to receive the surrender of Domfront, Séez, Lisieux,
Caen, Bayeux, Coutances, Barfleur, and Cherbourg.[445] He was then
joined by John’s late ally, the count of Boulogne, as well as by Guy
of Thouars, the widower of Constance of Britanny; and these two, their
forces swelled by a troop of mercenaries who had transferred their
services from John to Philip after the surrender of Falaise, completed
the conquest of south-western Normandy,[446] while the French king at
last set his face towards Rouen. He was not called upon to besiege
it, nor even to threaten it with a siege. On June 1 Peter de Préaux
made in his own name, and in the names of the commandants of Arques
and Verneuil, a truce with Philip, promising that these two fortresses
and Rouen should surrender if not succoured within thirty days.[447]
The three castellans sent notice of this arrangement to John, who,
powerless and penniless as he was, scornfully bade them “look for no
help from him, but do whatsoever seemed to them best.”[448] It seemed
to them best not even to wait for the expiration of the truce; Rouen
surrendered on June 24,[449] and in a few days Arques and Verneuil
followed its example.[450]

Thus did Normandy forsake--as Anjou and Maine had already forsaken--the
heir of its ancient rulers for the king of the French. Philip’s next
undertaking, the conquest of Aquitaine, was likely to be considerably
facilitated by the fact that there was no longer a third person who
could claim to stand between him and his rival as lawful lady of the
land; for Eleanor had died on April 1.[451] In the middle of August
Philip marched upon Poitou. Robert of Turnham, John’s seneschal there,
did what he could for its defence; but he was powerless against the
indifference of the people and the active hostility of the Lusignans
and William des Roches;[452] and in a few weeks the whole county,
except La Rochelle, Niort, and Thouars, had submitted to the French
king.[453] There, however, Philip’s progress ended. He could not touch
the county of Angoulême, for it belonged not to John, but to John’s
wife; while his very successes turned Gascony against him, for the
Gascons were quick to perceive how much greater would be their chances
of practical independence under a king who would henceforth be parted
from them by the whole width of the Bay of Biscay, than under one whose
territories now stretched without a break from the Channel to their
own border. Nor had John failed to recognize that in this quarter
lay his best hope--at the moment indeed his only hope--of checking
Philip’s advance. He at once devoted twenty-eight thousand marks of
the treasure which he was gathering in England to the hire of thirty
thousand soldiers, who were to be enrolled for his service in Gascony
by one Moreve, a brother of the archbishop of Bordeaux, in readiness
to join the forces of the king himself whenever he should land on
their coast.[454] From Poitiers, therefore, Philip returned to his own
dominions, and no further military movement on either side was made
throughout the winter.

[Sidenote: 1205]

In the middle of January 1205 John called the bishops and barons of
England to a council in London.[455] His nominal reason for so doing
was that he feared Philip might attempt an invasion of England, and
desired to concert measures for its defence; but it is clear that what
he really dreaded and sought to guard against was not invasion, but
treason. The precautions which he induced the council to support him in
taking against the imaginary danger were, if insufficient to save him
from the real one, at least as good a safeguard as could be contrived
against it at the moment. The oath of fealty to the king was taken anew
by all present, and afterwards re-administered throughout the country.
“It was also decreed that, for the general defence of the realm and
for the preservation of peace, a _commune_ should be made throughout
the kingdom, and that all men, from the greatest to the least, who
were over twelve years of age, should swear to keep it firmly.” The
ordinance to which they swore established constables in every shire;
and in every hundred, city, and group of lesser townships, subordinate
constables who were to lead the men of their respective “communes”
to the muster whenever they were summoned by the chief constables,
whose orders these local levies were to obey “for the defence of the
realm and the preservation of peace against foreigners or against
any other disturbers of the same”; and whosoever should neglect the
summons was to be held guilty of high treason.[456] At the beginning
of February John issued letters patent to the bailiffs of the east and
south coast, giving orders that no ship or boat should be allowed to
issue from or pass by the harbours under their jurisdiction, unless by
special licence from him.[457] Besides the obvious purpose of hindering
treasonable communications with his enemies on the continent, this
order had probably another object; the vessels thus detained were most
likely appropriated to the king’s service and made to form part of a
fleet which he was gathering from various quarters[458] throughout the
next two months. The want of confidence between king and barons was
openly revealed in a council at Oxford, March 27 to 29; the barons
made oath to John “that they would render him due obedience,” but John
was first “compelled to swear that he would by their counsel maintain
the rights of the kingdom inviolate, to the utmost of his power.”[459]
On Palm Sunday, April 3, John issued letters patent from Winchester,
ordering that in all the shires of England every nine knights should
“find” a tenth, and that the knights thus provided should come to meet
him in London three weeks after Easter (that is, on May 1), “ready to
go in his service where he should bid them, and to be in his service
in defence of the realm as much as might be needful.”[460] The muster
seems, however, to have been postponed, possibly to await the result of
an attempt which the king had been making in the field of diplomacy,
under somewhat peculiar circumstances.

Of all John’s ministers, the one whom he most disliked and mistrusted
was the one whose constitutional position made him absolutely
irremoveable from the royal counsels--the archbishop of Canterbury,
Hubert Walter. That John’s suspicions of Hubert’s loyalty were unjust
there can be no doubt; but there are not wanting indications that
Hubert, whose temper was extremely masterful, and who for the six
years preceding John’s accession to the throne had governed England
for Richard practically at his own sole discretion, was inclined to
press his views of policy upon Richard’s younger brother in a fashion
more dictatorial than deferential, and to magnify his own office
as chief adviser of the Crown, and his personal capabilities as a
statesman and a diplomatist, with more emphasis than tact. Hubert had
on several occasions tried to act as mediator between John and Philip,
and his mediation had failed. In Lent 1205 John, while pushing on
his military preparations in England, resolved to set on foot a new
diplomatic negotiation with France which seems to have had a twofold
object--first, to keep Philip occupied so as to hinder him, at least
for a short time, from proceeding against the few fortresses north of
the Dordogne which still held out for their Angevin lord;[461] and
secondly, to make game of the archbishop of Canterbury. This latter
object was to be attained by keeping the project a secret from Hubert,
and carrying on the negotiations not only without his assistance or
advice, but even without his knowledge. The envoys whom John selected
for this mission were his vice-chancellor, Hugh of Wells, and Earl
William the Marshal. Apparently it was given out that their journey
to France was on business of their own; an assertion which in the
Marshal’s case was true, though not the whole truth. When John had
communicated to them his private instructions, William spoke: “Now,
sire, listen to me. I am not sure of obtaining peace; and you see that
my term of truce for my Norman land is nearly expired. Unless I do
homage for it to the French king, I shall lose it; for I see no hope
of recovering it otherwise. What am I to do?” “Save it for my service
by doing the homage,” answered John. “I know you are too loyal to
withdraw your heart’s homage from me, come what may, and that the more
you possess to serve me with, the better will be your service.”[462]
He seems to have given--though scarcely with equal willingness--a like
permission to some of his other vassals who were in the same plight as
the Marshal,[463] and who may perhaps have been allowed to accompany
the latter partly for the sake of still further obscuring the main
object of his mission.

The Marshal and the vice-chancellor found the French king at Compiègne,
and communicated to him their errand from John. Philip seemed disposed
to entertain John’s proposals--we are not told what they were--and
promised to give them an answer a week later at Anet.[464] Meanwhile
he reminded the Marshal that the time of their “covenant” was nearly
up, adding, “You may find it the worse for you if you do not at once
do me homage.” The Marshal assented and performed the homage then
and there, apparently regarding it as a mere form necessary for the
redemption of his plighted word, but destined to be rendered void by
the peace which he trusted to conclude between the two sovereigns in
a few days. By this time, however, Archbishop Hubert had discovered
the fact of the secret negotiations, and was extremely wroth that the
king should have “plotted such a plot” without consulting him. He
therefore sent a certain Ralf of Ardenne to tell the count of Boulogne
that the two English envoys had no power to conclude a treaty. Boulogne
at once communicated this information to Philip, and when the meeting
at Anet took place, the taunt was flung in the Marshal’s face, and
the negotiations were broken off. Ralf of Ardenne had already hurried
back to England and told John that the Marshal had done homage and
fealty to the French king and made alliance with the latter against
his own sovereign. When the unlucky envoys came home, they met with a
sorry greeting. John at once charged the Marshal with having, “against
him and for his damage,” sworn allegiance to his enemy of France. The
Marshal denied the charge, and asserted that he had done only what
John had given him leave to do. On this John, in his rage, practically
denied his own words, and declared that “his barons and his men” should
judge between him and the Marshal--a judgement which William retorted
that he was quite ready to face.[465]

The fleet and the host were finally summoned to assemble at Portsmouth
at Whitsuntide.[466] The land forces had probably received some
increase by means of an order issued by the king on April 15 that, “for
the good of his mother’s soul,” all prisoners, except those charged
with treason, should be set at liberty.[467] No doubt every prisoner
capable of bearing arms was, as he issued from confinement, made to
take the oath of allegiance and enrolled for military service under the
constable of his district. On the Tuesday in Whitsun week (May 31) John
arrived at Porchester; there he stayed ten days, on the last five of
which he made daily excursions to Portsmouth,[468] probably to watch
the gathering of the fleet in its harbour.

It is doubtful how far the troops were aware of the king’s real
purpose in calling them together. The whole country was in a state of
excitement, hourly expecting an invasion. It was reported that the duke
of Louvain, in return for the French king’s good offices in recovering
for him from the count of Boulogne the share of the revenues of the
latter county to which he was entitled in right of his wife, had done
homage to Philip, and that the duke and the count had sworn in Philip’s
presence to be ready, each at the other’s call, to proceed to England
with all their forces and reclaim from John at the sword’s point the
English lands of which their wives--the grand-daughters of King Stephen
and Maud of Boulogne--had been disinherited by Henry II.; whereupon
Philip had sworn that he himself would follow them with his host
within a month after their landing in England.[469] John, in calling
his people to arms, seems to have purposely expressed the object of
the armament in general terms--“for the defence of the realm”--“for
the king’s service”[470]; terms which did not necessarily imply that
he wanted his men to do anything more than stand on the defensive,
ready to meet the expected invasion. He probably suspected that had
he at the outset demanded more than this, he would have met with a
flat refusal in certain quarters; and the issue proved the suspicion
to be correct. The rank and file of the host, indeed, were ready and
willing not only for defence but for defiance, eager to carry the war
into the enemy’s country before the enemy could set foot in their own.
To them John, at this stage of his career, was still the “king of the
English,” who had lost his continental possessions through the wiles
of his foreign enemies and the disloyalty of his “French” subjects,
and whom they, his faithful Englishmen, would gladly help to win those
possessions back again. The heads of the baronage, however, and some at
least of the innermost circle of the royal councillors, were of another
mind. Those of the greater barons who had deserted or betrayed him in
Normandy probably saw, or thought they saw, the possibility of serving
two masters, one for their continental lands and the other for their
English lands, and of profiting by this division of service to make
themselves practically independent of both masters alike. This, indeed,
was not a motive which could sway such a noble soul as William the
Marshal; nor could it influence Hubert Walter, to whom the continuance
or the severance of the connexion between England and the rest of the
Angevin dominions made, either as an individual or as archbishop,
no difference at all. Yet when the critical moment came, these two
men, who a few weeks before had been in political as well as personal
opposition to each other, forgot their rivalry and united all their
influence to defeat the king’s project of an expedition over sea.

On one of those days of waiting at Porchester, while the host was
gradually assembling, John, seated on the shore, with his court around
him, called the Marshal to his presence and renewed his demand for
“judgement” on the question of William’s alleged treason. William
quietly repeated his former answer, that he had only acted upon the
king’s own orders. “I deny it,” again said John. “You will gain nothing
in the end; but I will bide my time; and meanwhile I will have you
come with me to Poitou and fight for the recovery of my heritage
against the king of France, to whom you have done homage.” The Marshal
remonstrated; he could not fight against a man to whom he had done
homage. On this John declared his treason to be manifest, and appealed
to the judgement of the barons present. William faced them boldly,
pointed to his own forehead, and said: “Sirs, look at me, for, by my
faith! I am this day an example for you all. You hear what the king
says; and what he proposes to do to me, that, and more also, will he
do to every one of you, if he can get the upper hand.” The enraged
king at these words called for instant judgement upon the speaker; but
the barons “looked at each other and drew back.” “By God’s teeth!”
swore John, “I see plainly that not one of my barons is with me in
this; I must take counsel with my bachelors about this matter which
is beginning to look so ugly”; and he withdrew to another place.
The barons seemingly followed him, as did the “bachelors,” and the
Marshal was left alone, save for two personal followers of his own.
The bachelors as a body, when John appealed to them, gave it as their
opinion that there could be no essoign for failing to serve the king
on such an occasion as the present; but one of them, named Baldwin,
added that there was in the whole assembly no man worthy to judge such
a good knight as the Marshal, nor bold enough to undertake the proof
(by ordeal of battle) of the charge brought against him by the king;
and Baldwin’s remark “was pleasing to many.” Finding that neither baron
nor knight would challenge the Marshal for him, John ended the scene
by going to dinner; and after some further ineffectual endeavours to
obtain a champion he let the matter drop, and began once more to treat
the Marshal with civility, if not cordiality.[471]

By June 9 the tale of men and ships was complete. It was a splendid
array; never before, folk said, had there come together a greater host
of brave fighting men, “all ready and willing to go with the king over
sea,” nor had there ever been assembled in any English harbour so
large a number of ships equipped for the crossing.[472] To each of the
leaders of the host was assigned, by the king’s orders, a vessel or a
number of vessels sufficient for the transport of his following. Each
vessel had received her lading of arms and provisions, and only the
troops remained to be embarked, when the archbishop of Canterbury and
the Earl Marshal went to the king and “used every possible argument
to dissuade him from crossing. They represented what great mischief
might arise from his going over sea;--how perilous it would be for him
to thrust himself among so many battalions of enemies, when he had no
safe place of refuge in the transmarine lands;--how the French king,
being now master of nearly all his territories, could bring against him
a force far outnumbering the English host;--how great was the danger
of putting himself into the hands of the false and fickle Poitevins,
whose wont was to be always plotting some treachery against their
lords;--how the count of Boulogne and his confederates would speedily
invade England if they heard that its chief men and its brave army
were away;--and how it was much to be feared that, while endeavouring
to regain his lost dominions, he might lose those which remained to
him, especially as he had no heir whom he could leave behind him to
take up the reins of government in case any misfortune should befall
his own person in the lands beyond the sea. And when he could not be
moved by these and other like arguments, they (the archbishop and the
Marshal) fell down before him and clasped his knees to restrain him
from leaving them, declaring that of a surety, if he would not yield to
their prayers, they would detain him by force, lest by his departure
the whole kingdom should be brought to confusion.” Such opposition as
this, from two such men, implied a great deal more than is expressed
in their words as reported by Ralph of Coggeshall. John saw at once
that his six months of elaborate preparation had been wasted, and that
his hopes were ruined. “Weeping and crying” with shame and grief, he
passionately demanded what, then, did the archbishop advise as best
to be done for the realm and for the king’s honour, as well as for
the supporters who were looking for him to join them beyond the sea?
After some consultation, his counsellors agreed that a force of picked
knights should be sent, under the command of some English noble, to
the help of John’s continental friends. All the rest of the host were
bidden to return to their homes.

Bitter was the disappointment and vehement the indignation of the
troops, especially the sailors, and loud and deep were the curses which
they hurled at the ministers whose “detestable counsel” had thwarted
the aspirations and shattered the hopes of king and people alike.[473]
The ministers hurried the unwilling king away to Winchester (June 11);
but next day he made his way back to Portsmouth, went on board a ship
with a few comrades, and crossed into the Isle of Wight, probably
hoping that when he was found to have actually set forth, the sailors
and the troops would compel the barons to follow, or intending to
throw himself alone, if need were, upon the honour of his Aquitanian
adherents. At the end of two days, however, his companions persuaded
him to abandon this desperate venture, and on June 15 he landed at
Studland near Wareham.[474] His first act on landing was to claim “an
infinite sum of money” from the earls, barons, prelates and knights,
on the ground that they “had refused to follow him over sea for the
recovery of his lost heritage.”[475] In so far as this exaction fell
upon the shire-levies and the country knights, it was unjust, for the
majority of these were clearly in sympathy with the king, and as eager
for the expedition as he was himself. But it was impossible for him, in
the actual circumstances, to distinguish between the willing and the
unwilling; and there can be little doubt that so far as the barons were
concerned, his assertion was practically correct. The gathering of the
mightiest armament that had ever been seen in England had ended, not in
a vigorous effort to regain the lost dominions of England’s sovereign,
but in the despatch of a handful of knights under the earl of Salisbury
to reinforce the garrison of La Rochelle.[476] That it had so ended was
directly owing to the action of the primate and the Marshal. But it
would obviously have been impossible for two men, however influential,
to prevail against the king, if his policy had been supported by the
whole body of the baronage on the spot and in arms. The most probable
explanation of the matter is that Hubert and William knew the majority
of the barons to be, at best, half-hearted in the cause. Whether,
in a military and political point of view, the moment was really
favourable or unfavourable for the undertaking which John contemplated
and from which they shrank, is a question on which speculation is
useless. All we can say is that if an opportunity was thrown away, the
responsibility for its rejection does not lie upon John.

[Sidenote: 1205–1206]

John’s own feeling about the scene at Portsmouth came out, brutally
indeed, but very naturally, in the exclamation with which he received
the tidings of Archbishop Hubert’s death on July 13: “Now for the
first time I am King of England!”[477] He took up afresh the plan
which Hubert had foiled. Ten months, indeed, had to pass before he
could bring his forces together again; but when at last “a great host”
gathered at Portsmouth once more, ready to sail on Whitsun Eve {May
27}, 1206,[478] not a voice was raised to oppose its embarkation. The
year had passed without disturbance in England; nothing had been seen,
nothing further had even been heard, of the dreaded Flemish and French
invasion. But on the other side of the sea the delay had told. The fall
of Loches, shortly after Easter 1205,[479] had been followed on June
23--scarcely a fortnight after the break-up of the English muster--by
that of Chinon,[480] and this again by the submission of the viscount
of Thouars to the French conqueror.[481] Thus the last foothold of the
Angevins in Touraine and on the northern frontier of Poitou were lost.
There remained to John only two fortresses on the northern border of
Poitou--Niort[482] and La Rochelle, the “fair city of the waters,”
whose natural position made it almost impregnable even in those days,
whither John had twice sent reinforcements,[483] and whose harbour
offered a safe and commodious landing-place for him and his troops.

[Sidenote: 1206]

On June 7 John arrived at La Rochelle,[484] and met with an eager
welcome; the vassals of the duchy of Aquitaine flocked to the standard
of Eleanor’s heir. Six days after his landing he could venture as far
into Poitou as the abbey of St. Maixent, half-way between Niort and
Poitiers. The Poitevin counts had for centuries been benefactors to
the abbey, and their descendant was no doubt sure of a welcome within
its walls. He made, however, no further advance northward; it was
needful, before doing so, to be quite sure of his footing in the south.
From St. Maixent he went back to Niort, and thence southward through
Saintonge[485] into Gascony. Here there was known to be a hostile party
whose leaders had congregated in the castle of Montauban, a mighty
fortress which Charles the Great was said to have besieged for seven
years in vain.[486] In the middle of July, John formed the siege of
Montauban, and then himself withdrew to Bourg-sur-Mer, a little seaport
at the mouth of the Garonne, while his engines hurled their missiles
against the fortress, till on the fifteenth day a sufficient breach was
made, when “the English soldiery, who are specially admirable in this
work, rushed to scale the walls, and to give and receive intolerable
blows. At last the Englishmen prevailed, the besieged gave way, and the
castle was taken.” John had probably come back to direct in person the
assault thus successfully made by his brave “Englishmen,” for he was
at Montauban on the day of its capture, August 1.[487] With it there
fell into his hands, besides horses and arms and countless other spoil,
a number of prisoners of such importance that we are told he sent a
list of their names to his justiciars in England.[488] They evidently
included all the Gascon barons whose hostility he had had reason to
fear; and with them in his power, he could turn his back upon the south
without further anxiety.

By August 21 John was back at Niort; after spending a week
there, he proceeded to Montmorillon, on the borders of Poitou and
Berry.[489] At this critical moment Almeric of Thouars reverted to
his old allegiance.[490] John at once struck right across Poitou to
Clisson,[491] on the borders of Anjou and Britanny; Almeric joined
him either there or on the way thither, and they marched together
into Anjou. A chronicler writing in the abbey of S. Aubin at Angers,
which had always been under the special patronage and protection of
John’s ancestors, tells how “when the king came to the river Loire, he
found no boats for crossing. Therefore, on the Wednesday before the
Nativity of the Blessed Mary {Sept. 6}, coming to the Port Alaschert,
and making the sign of the cross over the water with his hand, he,
relying on Divine aid, forded the river with all his host; which is
a marvellous thing to tell, and such as was never heard of in our
time.” With fire and sword the host fought its way into Angers, and
for a whole week the heir of Fulk the Red held his court in the home
of his forefathers.[492] He then marched up to Le Lude, on the border
of Maine. On September 20 he was at Angers again, but left it next
day.[493] On the two following days he was at Coudray, a few miles
south of Saumur; there, probably, he and Almeric divided their forces,
Almeric moving westward through his own land to attack Britanny,[494]
while John seems to have gone southward again.[495] On October 3 he
was at Thouars, where he stayed a week,[496] perhaps to await Almeric’s

Meanwhile, however, Philip Augustus had assembled the host of France,
and led it as far as the Poitevin border.[497] With Philip’s personal
appearance on the scene of action, John knew that his own successes
were at an end. Neither Almeric of Thouars, nor the many barons in the
English host who had taken the oath of allegiance to Philip, would
fight against that monarch in person. While John went on to secure
his retreat over sea by another visit to Niort and La Rochelle,[498]
therefore, negotiations were set on foot; and when he came back to
Thouars once more, on October 26, it was to proclaim a truce which had
been made between himself and Philip, to last from October 13 for two
years. By its terms each sovereign was to retain during that period
the homage and services of all those who had attached themselves to
him during the recent war; and any disputes which might arise about
the allegiance of such persons were to be decided by the judgement of
four barons named, two to represent each of the kings.[499] Trade, and
intercourse of every kind, between the dominions of John and Philip
was to be free, save that no man, unless he were either a priest or
a “known merchant,” might go to the court of either without special
licence, if he were a subject of the other. Thirteen sureties swore
to the truce on behalf of John, and thirteen on behalf of Philip, who
further undertook that it should be kept by four other barons whose
oaths John had wished to have on his side, but had apparently been
unable to obtain.[500] Philip’s sureties were headed by “the count of
Britanny,” a title which can only represent Constance’s widower, Guy
of Thouars, and thus shows that Arthur’s death was now, at any rate,
regarded as certain. The first of John’s sureties was Guy’s brother,
Almeric, the viscount of Thouars, whose action had for several years
past generally turned the scale between the rival sovereigns in Poitou,
and who by the terms of the truce was pledged to his present allegiance
for the next two years at least. The other sureties on both sides were
nearly all of them barons of Aquitaine;[501] those of the Angevin
counties seem for the most part to have stood aloof. It is clear,
however, that John had secured a firm hold on the southern provinces,
and to a considerable extent regained a hold upon Poitou. On the whole,
therefore, his expedition had been successful. The best proof of its
success lies in Philip’s readiness to accept such a truce, without
making any attempt to regain the ground which he had lost in Poitou,
though he was actually in the land with an army at his back. As for
John, he was going home to his island realm to prepare for a fight of
another kind, and with an adversary of a character very different from
that of Philip Augustus.


[262] Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 98, and R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 88.

[263] “Quod praedictus dux redderet unicuique illorum jus suum,” R.
Howden, vol. iv. p. 88.

[264] Stubbs, pref. to W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. xxvi., xxvii.

[265] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 90.

[266] R. Coggeshall, pp. 99, 100.

[267] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 89, 90.

[268] R. Wendover (ed. Coxe), vol. iii. pp. 139, 140. Cf. _Gesta Ric._
pp. 81, 82.

[269] That the famous speech put into the mouth of Archbishop Hubert by
Matthew Paris (_Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. pp. 454, 455) is _not_ noted by
contemporary writers does not indeed prove that it was never delivered,
but does indicate that, if delivered, it had for contemporary ears no
such significance as has been given to it by some modern writers, or as
Matthew himself appears to have attached to it. Some such address may
have been made to the assembly by the archbishop before the coronation;
but if so, it was evidently regarded at the time as a part of the
formalities usual on the occasion, not remarkable enough to be worth
recording. In Matthew’s own MS. the passage is a marginal addition; and
in the form in which he gives it, I can only regard it as the first of
the many unauthenticated interpolations into the plain text of Roger of
Wendover with which Matthew has confused for later students the history
of the reign of John.

[270] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 90; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 139.

[271] _Mag. Vita S. Hugon._ p. 293.

[272] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 140.

[273] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 88, 89.

[274] _Ib._ p. 91.

[275] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 140.

[276] R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 166.

[277] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 91, says “Nottingham,” but R. Diceto, vol.
ii. p. 166, says “Northampton,” and Hardy’s _Itinerary of K. John_, a.
1, shows the king at Northampton on Whit Monday, June 7.

[278] R. Howden, _l.c._

[279] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 91. R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 166, gives the
date as June 19, but the _Itin._ a. 1 shows John at Shoreham on the
20th, which is R. Howden’s date for the crossing.

[280] R. Coggeshall, p. 100.

[281] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 92. The place called by Gervase “Ballum”
and “Wallum” can only be Gaillon, which Roger of Howden calls “Gwallum”
in vol. iv. p. 106.

[282] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 92, 93.

[283] _Itin._ a. 1.

[284] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 93. See the treaty with
Flanders--dateless, but probably executed on this occasion--in _Rot.
Chart._ p. 31.

[285] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 95.

[286] _Rot. Chart._ pp. 30, 31 (a. r. 1). “Et,” adds John, “non tantum
de praedictis terris nostris volumus quod sit domina, sed etiam de
nobis et omnibus terris et rebus nostris.”

[287] Rigord, c. 129.

[288] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 95.

[289] _Rot. Chart._ p. 30.

[290] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 96.

[291] _Itin._ a. 1.

[292] R. Howden, _l.c._

[293] The writer of the _Hist. de G. le Mar._ v. 12472, calls it “Borc
la _Reïne_,” but seemingly for no other reason than that he had ended
his previous line with the word “_fine_” and wanted a rime to it.

[294] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12471–86.

[295] _Rot. Chart._ _l.c._

[296] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 96, 97. Cf. R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 167,
_Rot. Chart._ p. 31, and for dates _Itin._ a. 1, which show that
Roger’s “mense Octobris” cannot be right. That Constance had come with
her son is nowhere stated, but appears from the sequel.

[297] _Itin._ a. 1.

[298] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12473–4.

[299] _Itin._ a. 1.

[300] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 97. Rigord, c. 129, says S. John’s Day.

[301] _Itin._ a. 1.

[302] Rigord, c. 131.

[303] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 106, 107; R. Coggeshall, pp. 100, 101.

[304] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 92.

[305] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 107.

[306] He landed at Portsmouth on February 24, _Ann. Winton._ a. 1200.

[307] R. Coggeshall, p. 101. Cf. R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 107.

[308] R. Howden, _l.c._ John was at York March 25 to 28, _Itin._ a. 1.

[309] R. Coggeshall, pp. 102, 103. John was at Porchester on April 28,
and at Valognes on May 2, _Itin._ a. 1.

[310] Rigord, c. 132. Cf. R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 115, whose chronology
is less sound.

[311] Cf. the treaty of 1200 in R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 148–51, and
_Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. pp. 79, 80, with that of 1195 in _Foedera_,
_ib._ p. 66.

[312] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 150.

[313] R. Coggeshall, p. 101.

[314] Rigord, c. 132. Cf. R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 115.

[315] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 125. Dates from _Itin._ a. 2.

[316] _Itin._ a. 2. For the reception at Bordeaux see _Hist. de G. le
Mar._ vv. 11956–8.

[317] R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 167.

[318] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 119.

[319] R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 167. R. Coggeshall, p. 103, has another
version, but it seems to be incorrect. On the whole question of this
divorce see Prof. Maitland’s remarks in _Eng. Hist. Rev._ Oct. 1895,
vol. x. pp. 758, 759.

[320] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. v. No. 50.

[321] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 97.

[322] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 150. This was in fulfilment of an
agreement made between Philip on the one part, and the count of
Angoulême and the viscount of Limoges on the other, just after
Richard’s death. Round, _Cal. Doc. France_, vol. i. p. 471.

[323] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 119; R. Coggeshall, p. 103.

[324] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 119; R. Coggeshall, pp. 128, 129; R.
Wendover, vol. iii. p. 168. All these writers confuse Isabel’s
betrothed with his father.

[325] _Rot. Chart._ p. 97.

[326] _Ib._ pp. 58, 59.

[327] R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 170.

[328] R. Coggeshall, p. 103.

[329] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 11984–6. Cf. R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 119.

[330] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 120. For date see _Memorials of S.
Edmund’s_, vol. ii. p. 8.

[331] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 139; R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 170; R.
Coggeshall, p. 103 (with a wrong date).

[332] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 140–3.

[333] _Ib._ p. 156.

[334] _Itin._ a. 2.

[335] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 160.

[336] Will. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 110. Cf. R. Howden, vol. iv. pp.
160, 161.

[337] _Rot. Chart._ p. 102.

[338] _Ib._

[339] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. vi. No. 167. R. Coggeshall, p. 135, dates
this appeal a year too late. The Pope, on the authority of Philip
himself, speaks of it as having been made “more than a year before”
Philip issued his citation to John, a citation of which the date is by
other evidence fixed at the end of March or early in April 1202.

[340] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 2, dateless, but as the document is on the
roll of John’s second year, its date must be before May 3, 1201. From
its position on the roll, it would seem to belong to October 1200.

[341] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 160; R. Coggeshall, pp. 128, 129.

[342] _Rot. Chart._ p. 102.

[343] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 160, 161.

[344] _Ib._ p. 163.

[345] _Ib._ pp. 163, 164.

[346] _Itin._ a. 3.

[347] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 161.

[348] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. vi. Nos. 163, 167.

[349] Cf. R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 164; Rigord, c. 135; Gerv. Cant. vol.
ii. p. 93; and for dates, _Itin._ a. 3. Rigord’s “pridie Kalendas
Junii” is doubtless a mistake for “Julii.”

[350] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. vi. No. 167.

[351] _Itin._ a. 3.

[352] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 176.

[353] _Ib._

[354] W. Brito, _Philipp._ l. vi. vv. 106–43.

[355] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 93. Hubert crossed on December 14, R.
Diceto, vol. ii. p. 173.

[356] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 5, 6.

[357] Cf. Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 93; R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 174;
Rigord, c. 137; and R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 167. John was at Orival
on March 23; then there is a blank for three days, and on March 27 he
appears at Les Andelys, _Itin._ a. 3.

[358] _I.e._ on April 28. The date is from Rigord, c. 138.

[359] R. Coggeshall, pp. 135, 136. Cf. Rigord, c. 138; W. Armor. _Gesta
P. A._ c. 110; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 93; and Innoc. III. _Epp._ l.
vi. No. 167.

[360] R. Coggeshall, p. 136.

[361] Rigord, c. 138; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 110. Cf. Gerv. Cant.
vol. ii. p. 93, and Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. vi. No. 167.

[362] R. Coggeshall, p. 136.

[363] See “The Alleged Condemnation of King John by the Court of France
in 1202,” in _Transactions of the Royal Historical Society_, new
series, vol. xiv. (1900), pp. 53–68.

[364] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 93.

[365] Innoc. III. _Epp._ _l.c._

[366] Cf. Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 94; Rigord, c. 138; W. Armor. _Gesta
P. A._ c. 112; and R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 167.

[367] Innoc. III. _Epp._ _l.c._

[368] The war had begun before May 11, _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 10.

[369] Cf. Rigord, c. 138; W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. vi. vv. 204–20, and
R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 167.

[370] See _Itin._ a. 3, 4.

[371] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 167; for dates cf. _Itin._ a. 4. Gerv.
Cant. vol. ii. p. 94, places this siege too late.

[372] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 115.

[373] _Chron. Britann._ a. 1201, in Morice, _Hist. de Bretagne,
preuves_, vol. i. cols. 6, 106.

[374] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 7.

[375] Delisle, _Catalogue des Actes de Phil.-Aug._, No. 726.

[376] Rigord, c. 138; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 113. Arthur’s charter
giving full details of his homage to Philip is in Round, _Cal. Doc.
France_, vol. i. p. 475. Date, Gournay, July 1202.

[377] Cf. Rigord, c. 138; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 113, and
_Philipp._ l. vi. vv. 262–389; R. Coggeshall, p. 137; Gerv. Cant. vol.
ii. p. 94, and R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 168.

[378] Dates from John’s own letter, in R. Coggeshall, pp. 137, 138. Cf.
R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 169.

[379] R. Coggeshall, p. 137.

[380] R. Coggeshall, p. 138; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 169; Rigord,
c. 138; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 113. This last has another version
in his later and less trustworthy work, the _Philippis_, l. vi. vv.
390–450. See also _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_ (ed. Michel, _Soc. de
l’Hist. de France_), pp. 93–95.

[381] Rigord, c. 138; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 169.

[382] He reached Falaise on August 10, _Itin._ a. 4.

[383] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 170; W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. vi. vv.
455, 456.

[384] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 120. In _Philipp._ l. vi. vv. 343–6,
he dates this expedition earlier. In both works he speaks as if John
had headed it in person, but the _Itin._ a. 3, 4, shows that this was
not the case.

[385] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 114; R. Coggeshall, p. 138. John was
at Chinon August 20–21, at Tours August 22–23, at Chinon again August
24–29, and at Tours again August 30–September 1, _Itin._ a. 4.

[386] _Rer. Gall. Scriptt._ vol. xviii. p. 799.

[387] Rigord, c. 138. Cf. _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 18.

[388] R. Coggeshall, p. 138; _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12531–35. Ralf
of Eu was set free before November 7, 1202, Hugh and Geoffrey before
January 17, 1203; _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 20, 23.

[389] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12536–50.

[390] _Ib._ vv. 12595–606. On the name see M. Delaborde’s note, _Œuvres
de Rigord et de Guillaume le Breton_, vol. ii. p. 282.

[391] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12569–84; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 95.

[392] R. Coggeshall, p. 139. Date from _Chron. S. Albini_, a. 1202.

[393] _Itin._ a. 4.

[394] R. Coggeshall, _l.c._

[395] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 171.

[396] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12585–662. The writer appears to date
this affair in autumn 1202; and the _Itinerary_, a. 4, shows that John
did in fact go from Alençon to Le Mans on October 29, 1202. But the
rest of the story is irreconcileable with John’s subsequent movements.
The only documentary evidence which I have found as to the date of
Count Robert’s treason is unluckily not decisive; it is a charter of
John, given “apud Beccum, xx die Aprilis anno regni nostri quarto,
quo comes Robertus Sagiensis fecit nobis proditionem apud Alenconem”
(Round, _Cal. Doc. France_, vol. i. p. 131). John in the fourth year
of his reign made three visits to Alençon besides the one already
mentioned; viz. one on December 7, 1202, and two in January 1203. The
first of these two January visits is probably the one recorded by the
Marshal’s biographer. John was at Alençon January 15–19, at Le Mans
January 21–23, and at Alençon again January 25 (_Itin._ a. 4). The
Marshal’s biographer indeed asserts that the king on his return from Le

  “Ne s’en vint pas par Alençon;
  N’i passast unques sanz tençon
  Anceis qu’il venist en sa terre;
  Aileors ala passage quere;
  Par Mamerz et par Belesmeis
  S’en vint en sa terre li reis” (vv. 12657–62).

It seems, however, possible to reconcile this with the dates as given
in the _Itinerary_ by supposing that, as he had an escort of “granz
gens e rotiers,” he may have ventured close up to Alençon, perhaps
with an idea of surprising it, but turned away again immediately. The
_Itinerary_ shows him at Séez on January 25–28, at Argentan on 28–30,
and at Falaise 30–31.

[397] R. Coggeshall, pp. 139–41.

[398] _Itin._ a. 4.

[399] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 170. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 143.

[400] _Ann. Margan._ a. 1204; the annalist, however, clearly meant to
date the event 1203. On the value of his authority see Bémont, _Revue
historique_, vol. xxxii. (1886), p. 59.

[401] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. vi. vv. 552–66.

[402] See _Revue historique_, vol. xxxii. pp. 33–72 and 291–311. M.
Bémont’s conclusion on this point, though disputed by M. P. Guilhiermoz
in _Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes_, vol. lx. (1899), pp. 45–85,
still holds the field. Cf. _Revue hist._ vol. lxxi. (1899), pp. 33–41,
and _Bibl. de l’École des Chartes_, vol. lx. pp. 363–72.

[403] Delisle, _Catal. des Actes de Phil.-Aug._ No. 783. According to
R. Coggeshall, pp. 144, 145, Philip virtually declared himself still
ignorant on the point six months later still.

[404] Thus in March he received the liege homage of Maurice of Craon
“for the time of Arthur’s imprisonment”; should Arthur be released
and adhere to his engagements with Philip, Maurice was to be Arthur’s
liegeman as he had been of old; should Arthur break faith with Philip,
then Maurice was to adhere to the latter; should Arthur die, then
Maurice was to remain a liegeman of Philip. In like manner the castles
of Brissac and Chemillé were in the following October granted by Philip
to Guy of Thouars, “saving the rights of Arthur if he be still alive,”
Delisle, _Catal. des Actes de Phil.-Aug._ Nos. 752, 783.

[405] These were the alternative versions proposed by John’s friends,
according to M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 95.

[406] _Chron. S. Albini Andeg._ a. 1203.

[407] Rigord, c. 140; wrongly dated.

[408] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12675–720.

[409] Cf. Rigord, c. 140; R. Coggeshall, p. 143; and R. Wendover, vol.
iii. p. 172.

[410] _Itin._ a. 5.

[411] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 171, 172.

[412] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. vi. No. 163; dated Anagni, Oct. 29, 1203.

[413] _Ib._ No. 167 (same date).

[414] _Ib._ Nos. 68, 69.

[415] _Ib._ No. 163.

[416] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ cc. 117, 118. The dates of the siege of
Alençon come from _Itin._ a. 5.

[417] The siege of Château-Gaillard was begun before the end of August.
See below, p. 96.

[418] Will. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 129; _Philipp._ l. vii. vv. 739–47.

[419] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 180.

[420] Rigord, c. 141; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 122; _Philipp._ l.
vii. vv. 29–140.

[421] _Itin._ a. 5.

[422] “Johannem Mollegladium,” Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 93. This
nickname is no doubt a translation of one which must have been applied
to John in French, though unluckily its vernacular form is lost. A
friend has suggested that “if the phrase had any English equivalent,
it would probably be something embracing a more direct metaphor than
‘Soft-sword’--something like ‘Tin-sword,’ or, better still, if the
thirteenth century knew of putty, ‘John Putty-sword.’”

[423] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. vii. vv. 140–393. Cf. _Gesta P. A._ c.

[424] Rigord, c. 141, says Philip laid siege to Radepont on August 31.
John’s attempt to relieve Les Andelys, being made from Rouen, cannot
have been earlier than August 29, more probably 30, _Itin._ a. 5.

[425] Rigord, c. 141; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 121; _Philipp._ l.
vii. vv. 400–2.

[426] _Itin._ a. 5. He was at Dol September 19–22.

[427] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12721–42.

[428] _Ib._ vv. 12743–67. John was at Rouen from October 4 to 7, when
he went to Bonneville; _Itin._ a. 5. The poet goes on with an account
of the king’s wanderings till “s’en vint a Rouen arere,” but his
itinerary does not agree with the authentic one at any period of this

[429] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. vii. vv. 827–9.

[430] _Itin._ a. 5.

[431] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12783–818.

[432] Cf. _Itin._ a. 5 and R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 173.

[433] Duchesne, _Hist. Norm. Scriptt._ p. 1059.

[434] “Rege vero Johanne nullum praesidium ferre obsessis volente,
eo quod suorum proditionem semper timeret, infra hyemem, mense
Decembri, in Angliam transfretavit, omnes Normannos in magna timoris
perturbatione relinquens,” R. Coggeshall, p. 144. It seems probable
that “volente” may be a clerical error for “valente.”

[435] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 173, 174.

[436] Rigord, c. 141.

[437] Gerv. Cant. (vol. ii. p. 95) says the council was held “in
London”; R. Coggeshall (p. 144) describes its result, the embassy to
France, as taking place “after Mid-Lent,” _i.e._ after April 1. The
only date about this time when John was in London was March 22–29;
_Itin._ a. 5.

[438] Cf. R. Coggeshall, pp. 144, 145; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp. 95, 96,
and _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12854–68.

[439] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12869–98. Cf. the Marshal’s charter to
Philip (dated May 1204) in _Cal. Doc. France_, vol. i. p. 475.

[440] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12934–66.

[441] _Ib._ vv. 12905–20.

[442] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 173, 175.

[443] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12921–6. John was at Portsmouth on May
5, and at Porchester on May 5–7, 1204. The story may, however, be a
mere confusion with what happened in June 1205.

[444] R. Coggeshall, p. 145, dates Philip’s siege of Falaise Easter
(April 25); but Rigord, a better authority on the point, places it in
the May campaign (c. 142).

[445] Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 145; Rigord, c. 142; W. Armor. _Gesta P.
A._ c. 131, and _Philipp._ l. viii. vv. 9–39.

[446] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 131.

[447] Duchesne, _Hist. Norm. Scriptt._ pp. 1057–9.

[448] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 181. That John was penniless may be
inferred from the desertion of his mercenaries.

[449] Rigord, c. 142. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 146, and _Hist. des Ducs de
Normandie_, p. 98.

[450] R. Coggeshall, p. 146.

[451] _Ann. Waverley_, a. 1204.

[452] R. Coggeshall, p. 146.

[453] _Ib._; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 181.

[454] R. Coggeshall, p. 147.

[455] John was in London January 16–21, 1205 (_Itin._ a. 6). This is
evidently the date of the council.

[456] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp. 96, 97.

[457] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 50.

[458] _Ib._ pp. 51, 52.

[459] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp. 97, 98. For date see _Itin._ a. 6.

[460] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 55.

[461] Chinon, Loches, Thouars, Niort and La Rochelle.

[462] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12934–66.

[463] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 96.

[464] As a reason for Anet being chosen by Philip as the place of
meeting, the Marshal’s biographer says:

  “Quer s’ost out semonse por veir
  Por aler Caem aseeir” (vv. 12977–8).

But this is an anachronism: Caen had been surrendered to Philip in May
or June 1204 (see above, p. 102), and we are now in spring 1205.

[465] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 12967–13087. See the Marshal’s charter
to Philip in _Cal. Doc. France_, vol. i. p. 475.

[466] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 182.

[467] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 54.

[468] _Itin._ a. 7.

[469] R. Coggeshall, p. 148.

[470] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp. 96, 97; _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 55.

[471] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 13103–270.

[472] R. Coggeshall, p. 154. Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 98, says that the
ships were said to number nearly fifteen hundred, and R. Coggeshall, p.
153, that the shipmen were said to be fourteen thousand.

[473] R. Coggeshall, pp. 152, 153.

[474] Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 154; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 98; and R.
Wendover, vol. iii. p. 182, with _Itin._ a. 7.

[475] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[476] R. Coggeshall, p. 154.

[477] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 104. R. Wendover, vol. iii.
p. 183, and R. Coggeshall, p. 156, date Hubert’s death July 13; Gerv.
Cant., vol. ii. p. 98, dates it July 12. They all mean the same; from
R. Coggeshall, p. 158, we learn that the archbishop died shortly after

[478] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 186; exact date from a writ (dated
April 29, 1206) ordering the seizure of ships for transport; they are
to be at Portsmouth on Whitsun Eve, or before. _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp.
62 b, 63. A summons to the men of the Cinque Ports, for the same date,
was issued on May 12; _ib._ p. 64.

[479] Rigord, c. 144; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 134; R. Coggeshall, p.

[480] R. Coggeshall, p. 154; R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 182, 183.

[481] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 135.

[482] Niort had been taken by, or had surrendered to, Philip, but
was regained in 1205 for John by a stratagem of Savaric de Mauléon,
whom John had taken prisoner at Mirebeau and released on a promise of
fealty--a promise which was immediately fulfilled and faithfully kept.
See _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_, pp. 100–4; and cf. (as to Savaric)
R. Coggeshall, p. 146.

[483] R. Coggeshall, p. 154.

[484] John crossed from Stoke to Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, on May 28,
and thence to La Rochelle on June 7. Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 186,
where _Julii_ is, of course, in both places a mistake for _Junii_; and
_Itin._ a. 8.

[485] _Itin._ a. 8.

[486] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 187. The legend of the building of
Montauban by the “Four Sons of Aymon,” and its siege by Charles, is
told in the romance of _Renaus de Montauban_.

[487] Cf. R. Wendover, _l.c._, and _Itin._ a. 8.

[488] R. Wendover, _l.c._ Unluckily the letter does not seem to be

[489] _Itin._ a. 8.

[490] Rigord, c. 147; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 138.

[491] August 30, _Itin._ a. 8.

[492] Cf. _Chron. S. Albini_, a. 1206; Rigord, c. 147; W. Armor. _Gesta
P. A._ c. 138, and _Itin._ a. 8. This last shows John on September 6
at Chalonnes, and on the 8th at Angers. “Portus Alaschert,” therefore,
must stand for Chalonnes or some place very near it.

[493] _Itin._ a. 8. The _Chron. S. Albini_, a. 1206, says that before
he left the city he set fire to “the bridge”; which of the two bridges
then existing, we are not told, nor what was his object in destroying

[494] W. Armor. _l.c._

[495] The next stage of his Itinerary is “Saint Alemand” (September
23–26), and the next after that (September 30, October 1) a place whose
name is recorded only in a contracted form (“Bercer’,” _Rot. Pat._ vol.
i. p. 167 b; “Berc’,” _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 74 b) which can hardly
represent anything else than “Berchères” or “Bercières” (Sir T. D.
Hardy made it _Bercy_, but this is surely impossible). Saint Alemand is
probably one of two places now called Saint-Amand, in the Angoumois.
“Tiebauts de Biaumont qui sires estoit de _Bierchières_ [var.
_Bercières_]” figures among the Aquitanian barons who besieged Savaric
de Mauléon at Niort in 1205; _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_, p. 102. I
have failed to identify the place, but it was clearly in Aquitaine.

[496] _Itin._ a. 8.

[497] Rigord, c. 147; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 139.

[498] _Itin._ a. 8.

[499] Ralf (of Lusignan), count of Eu, and Hugh, viscount of
Châtelheraut, for Philip; Savaric de Mauléon and William of Chantemerle
for John.

[500] William des Roches, Maurice of Craon, William of Guerches, and
Geoffrey of Ancenis. This promise seems to have been made by Philip in

[501] See the truce in Duchesne, _Hist. Norm. Scriptt._ pp. 1061–2, and
_Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 95.




  Sed processu temporis mollities illa in tantam crudelitatem
  versa est, ut nulli praedecessorum suorum coaequari valeret, ut in
  sequentibus patebit.

              GERV. CANT. ii. 93.

[Sidenote: 1205]

The first business wherein John had an opportunity of exercising the
free kingship which he had, as he said, acquired by the death of Hubert
Walter, was the appointment of Hubert’s successor. Immediately after
Hubert’s funeral the king spent six days at Canterbury.[502] He “talked
much and graciously with the monks” of Christ Church about the choice
of a new archbishop, and even hinted that one might be found in their
own ranks. At the same time, however, he took possession of a valuable
set of church plate bequeathed by Hubert to his cathedral;[503] and
before leaving Canterbury he issued orders that the election of the
primate should be made on November 30 by the monks and the bishops of
the province conjointly.[504] A party in the chapter at once resolved
to vindicate its independence both against the bishops, whose claim
to share in the choice of their metropolitan was always opposed by
the monks, and against the king, whose prerogative of designating the
candidate to be chosen was in theory regarded by monks and bishops
alike as uncanonical, though in practice they had been compelled to
submit to it at every vacancy for a hundred years past at the least.
The younger and more hot-headed members of the chapter privately
elected their sub-prior Reginald, enthroned him at dead of night, and
hurried him off to seek confirmation from the Pope, pledging him to
secrecy till the confirmation should be secured.[505] The older and
more prudent brethren evidently connived at these proceedings without
taking part in them. Their policy was to consent to Reginald’s election
after the fact, if the Pope’s sanction of it could be obtained; but if
this were refused, they could repudiate the election as a matter in
which they had had no share. The convent was, however, unlucky in its
choice of a champion. Reginald was no sooner across the sea than he
began to announce himself publicly as “the elect of Canterbury,” and
even to show the credentials which he had received from his brethren
for the Pope. Of course this news soon reached England, and caused a
great commotion in high places there. The bishops, indignant at being
tricked out of their share in the election, despatched an appeal to
Rome. The monks sent a counter-appeal;[506] but to them the wrath
of the king was far more terrible than the wrath of the bishops, or
even the possible wrath of the Pope. Long before the appeals could be
decided, they sent to John a deputation charged with a communication
containing no allusion whatever to Reginald, but simply requesting
that the convent might be permitted to choose for itself a pastor.
John received the deputies graciously and assented to their request;
then, taking them aside, he “pointed out to them that the bishop of
Norwich” (John de Grey) “was attached to him by a great intimacy,
and the only one among the prelates of England who knew his private
affairs,” wherefore it would be greatly for the advantage of king and
kingdom if he became archbishop--a consummation which the king begged
the deputies would do their utmost to secure. He sent back with them
some confidential clerks of his own to assist them in this task, and
dismissed them with a promise of bestowing great honour on their
convent if it were accommodating in this matter. The result was an
unanimous election of John de Grey by the chapter of Christ Church.[507]

[Sidenote: 1206]

On December 6 the king obtained from both bishops and monks a
withdrawal of their respective appeals.[508] On December 11 John de
Grey was enthroned at Canterbury in the king’s presence, and invested
by him with the temporalities of the See; and on the 18th the king
despatched a messenger to ask for the papal confirmation of the new
primate’s appointment.[509] The Pope, however, at the end of March
1206, decided that the election of John de Grey was uncanonical;
on the validity of Reginald’s election he suspended his judgement,
ordering the Canterbury chapter to send sixteen of their number to
him by October 1, with full powers to act on behalf of all, and if
necessary to hold a new election in his court. The suffragans of the
province were desired to send proctors, and the king was invited to
do the like.[510] The king sent three proctors;[511] the bishops seem
to have contented themselves with writing a joint letter, of whose
contents we know nothing, except that they had the royal approval.[512]
Of the sixteen monks who went as representatives of the chapter,
twelve, before they sailed, secretly exchanged a promise with the
king. He pledged himself to ratify whatever they should do at Rome;
they pledged themselves to do nothing there except re-elect John de
Grey.[513] The assembly at Rome, originally appointed for October 1,
was postponed till the last week of Advent (December 17 to 24). Then,
in full consistory, the Pope, after examination, set aside the claim
of the bishops to a voice in the election, and declared the monks to
be the sole rightful electors; but he also set aside, as informal and
void, their election of their sub-prior, Reginald; and he bade them
elect, then and there, “whomsoever they would, so he were but an
earnest and capable man, and above all, an Englishman.” All eyes must
have turned instinctively upon the English-born Cardinal-priest of S.
Chrysogonus, the most illustrious teacher of theology in his day, “than
whom there was no man greater in the Roman court, nor was there any
equal to him in character and learning”--Stephen Langton. Innocent was
but speaking the thought of the whole assembly when he added that the
monks could not do better than choose Stephen. The unlucky twelve were
as willing to do so as the other four, but felt tied by their compact
with the king. After some shuffling, they confessed their difficulty
to the Pope. He scornfully absolved them from their shameful promise,
and the sixteen monks unanimously elected Stephen Langton. The king’s
proctors, however, refused to ratify the election in John’s name; so
Innocent at once wrote to request a formal ratification of it from John

These things were done in the week following John’s return from La
Rochelle to England, which took place on December 12.[515] His recent
experiences had shown him that the recovery of his lost territories was
by no means impossible, but that it could not, under existing political
and social conditions, be achieved by means of the only forces which
the military organization of his own realm could supply. Those forces
must be supplemented, if not superseded, in any attempt at the
reconquest of the Norman and Angevin dominions, by the employment of
mercenaries on a large scale, and by an elaborate system of diplomacy,
the gradual knitting together of a complicated scheme of foreign
alliances. For both these purposes the first need was money; and the
difficulties with which the king had to contend in his efforts to raise
money were as much greater in John’s case than in that of any of his
predecessors, as his need was greater than theirs had ever been.

[Sidenote: 1194–1207]

The financial difficulties of the Crown had been accumulating ever
since Richard’s captivity. At John’s accession the arrears of taxes
were enormous. At Michaelmas 1201 arrears of all the three “scutages of
Normandy” imposed under Richard--in 1194, 1195 and 1196--were due from
almost every shire; hidage “for the king’s ransom” was still owing from
Dorset and Somerset, and there were many arrears even of the “scutage
of Wales,” which dated from 1190.[516] Some of these debts ran on as
late as 1207, and some much later still. The king’s claim to these
unpaid taxes, as well as to all other debts owed to his predecessor,
was, of course, never withdrawn. A grotesque instance of the way in
which the principle of inheritance might sometimes work in such matters
occurs in the treasury roll of 1201, where two men in Devon are set
down as owing a fine “because they had been with Count John”[517]--that
is, because they had supported, in his rebellion against Richard in
1193, the very man for whom, as king, the fine was now claimed. The
Crown had, however, no direct means of enforcing payment of either
fines or taxes, at any rate in the case of the barons. Its one remedy
was to seize the lands or castles of an obstinate and wilful defaulter;
and this remedy was fraught with danger to the crown itself. Neither
law nor custom defined the circumstances or fixed the limits of time
within which a defaulter was not, and beyond which he was, liable to be
treated as obstinate and wilful; in every case where the king exercised
his right of seizure on this ground, therefore, the defaulter and
his friends could always find a plea for denouncing its exercise as
arbitrary and unjust. It seems probable that at the close of Richard’s
reign his ministers may have thus seized the castles or lands of
certain barons in pledge for the arrears of their dues to the crown,
and that this may have been one of the grievances referred to in the
demand of the barons that Richard’s successor “should restore to each
of them his rights.” John’s demand for the castles of some of the
barons in 1201 was in all likelihood a proceeding of the same kind,
based on the same ground, and, as it seems, equally ineffectual in
compelling payment; all that the king obtained was the surrender not
indeed of the castles, but of some of the barons’ sons as hostages. The
deadlock was probably inevitable; but every year of its continuance
aggravated both the financial difficulties of the government, and the
unfriendliness of the relations between the barons and the king; and
this latter evil was yet further aggravated by the measures which had
necessarily to be taken in order to meet the former one. Plunged as he
was from the very moment of his accession in a costly struggle with
France, John had been forced to lay continually fresh burdens upon
that very class among his subjects who already were, or considered
themselves to be, overburdened by the demands of his predecessor. The
“first scutage of King John” seems to have been assessed immediately
after his coronation; it appears in the Pipe Roll made up at Michaelmas
1199. In the financial year ending at Michaelmas 1201, and in every one
of the five following years, there was another new scutage;[518] and
these scutages were independent of the fines paid by the barons who
did not accompany the king on his first return to Normandy in 1199, of
the money taken from the host as a substitute for its service in 1201,
of the equipment and payment of the “decimated” knights in 1205, and
the fines claimed from all the tenants-in-chivalry after the dismissal
of the host in the same year, as well as of the actual services which
many of those who had paid the scutage rendered in the campaigns of
1202–1204 and 1206.

The other taxes levied during these years were a carucage in
1200[519]and a seventh of moveables in 1204.[520] But all the while
arrears went on accumulating, and year after year a budget had to be
made up by devices of the most miscellaneous character. The accession
of a new king could, of course, easily be made a pretext for selling
confirmations of existing rights and privileges, and John availed
himself of this pretext to the uttermost of his power at the earliest
opportunity--that is, on his visit to England in 1201. During that
time nobody in England seems to have felt secure of anything that he
possessed till he had bought it of the king. Individuals of various
ranks bought the sovereign’s “peace” or his “goodwill”;[521] the cities
of Winchester and Southampton and the county of Hants each gave him
money “that they might be lovingly treated”;[522] Wiltshire gave him
twenty pounds “that it might be well treated.”[523] The citizens of
York offended him by omitting to welcome him with a procession when
he visited their city, and to provide quarters for his cross-bowmen;
he demanded hostages for their future good behaviour, but afterwards
changed his demand to a fine of a hundred pounds.[524] The sale of
offices went on as of old;[525] while the sale of charters to towns,
which under Richard was already becoming a remarkable item in the royal
accounts, was a transaction of yet greater frequency and importance
under his successor.[526] On the other hand, John’s treasury rolls
contain many notices of persons who owe the king money “which he has
lent them.” These loans from the king to his barons and other subjects
were probably made chiefly in the hope of securing the fidelity of the
borrowers. In one way or another the speculation must have been in most
cases a paying one for John. The privilege of claiming interest in
hard cash for a loan was indeed reserved exclusively for the Jews, and
not shared even by the king; but he could take from his debtors ample
security on their lands or castles, or by means of hostages who were
usually their sons or other young members of their families, and whom
it was of the greater importance for him to hold in his power as his
relations with the barons grew more strained year by year.

[Sidenote: 1207]

In 1206 the tension had reached such a point that John did not venture
to impose a scutage of the full amount--two marks on the knight’s
fee--which had been usual since his father’s time, but contented himself
with twenty shillings.[527] In 1207 he evidently dared not attempt
to levy any fresh scutage at all. Nor was a carucage likely to prove
either less unpopular or more productive; for the agricultural interest
of the country was in a state of extreme depression, owing to a long
succession of bad seasons; while the taxation of moveables was an
expedient which seems to have found, as yet, but little favour with
either the people or the government. John now put forth a suggestion
which was, so far as we can see, a novelty in English finance. He “held
a council in London on January 8, and there requested the bishops and
abbots that they would allow parsons and others holding ecclesiastical
benefices to give to the king a fixed sum from their revenues.”[528]
Neither in equity nor in policy was the idea a bad one. While the
military tenants and the socage tenants had each their own peculiar
burden--scutage in the one case, carucage in the other--the beneficed
clergy, as such, had never yet been subjected to taxation. The king
might well argue that it was time for them to take their turn in
making a special contribution to the financial needs of the State;
and the argument was sure to meet with the approval of the laity. The
prelates, however, were unwilling; and the question was adjourned to
another council, in which “an infinite multitude” of ecclesiastical and
temporal magnates came together at Oxford on February 9.

At this second meeting the bishops of both provinces gave it as their
final answer that “the English Church could by no means submit to a
demand which had never been heard of in all previous ages.”[529] The
only approach to a precedent for it, indeed, had occurred in 1194,
when Archbishop Geoffrey of York, eager to collect money for Richard’s
ransom, had asked the canons of his cathedral chapter to give for that
purpose a fourth part of their revenues for the year, with the result
that they accused him of “wanting to overthrow the liberties of their
church,” and shut its doors in his face.[530] Between the council in
London and that at Oxford, Geoffrey and John, who had been more or
less at variance ever since the latter’s accession, were formally
reconciled;[531] John therefore probably counted upon Geoffrey’s
support of his scheme, and he may have hoped that the suffragans of
Canterbury, having no metropolitan of their own to lead them, would
not venture to stand out against the northern primate and the king
with the barons, for once, at his back. But what Geoffrey had himself
asked of his own chapter as a special favour to Richard in a wholly
exceptional emergency, he had no mind to give leave for John to claim
from all the beneficed clergy of his province as a matter of right, and
under entirely different circumstances. The king was prudent enough
not to press his demand; but it may be doubted whether the lay barons
agreed with the Waverley annalist in deeming its withdrawal a proof
that he “had taken wiser counsel,” since he substituted for it a demand
for a thirteenth of the moveable goods of every layman throughout the
realm.[532] This they had no excuse for refusing. “All murmured,
but no man dared contradict,”[533] except Geoffrey of York. He, it
seems, claimed exemption for laymen holding lands of the Church, or at
least of his cathedral church. His protest, however, was disregarded;
whereupon he excommunicated all spoilers of the Church in general, and
of the province of York in particular, and then withdrew over sea,[534]
to spend the rest of his life in exile.

[Sidenote: 1208]

Thus for the next eight years the vast diocese of York was practically
without a chief pastor and the province without a metropolitan,
while the temporalities of the see were in the hand of the king. As
for Canterbury, John had answered the Pope’s request that he would
ratify the election of Stephen Langton by a flat refusal to accept as
primate a man of whom he declared that he “knew nothing, save that he
had dwelt much among his enemies”;[535] and when on June 17 Stephen
was consecrated by Innocent,[536] the king seized the estates of the
Canterbury chapter, drove the monks into exile,[537] and proclaimed
that any one who acknowledged Stephen as archbishop should be accounted
a public enemy.[538] In August Innocent bade the bishops of London,
Ely and Worcester threaten the king, if he continued obstinate, with
an interdict upon his realm, and hinted that this might be followed
by a papal excommunication of John himself.[539] Negotiations went on
throughout the winter, but without result,[540] and on Passion Sunday,
March 23, or Monday, March 24, 1208, the interdict was proclaimed.[541]
It seems that notice of the intended date of its publication was given
about a week before, and that the king at first answered this notice
by ordering all the property of the clergy, secular or monastic, to be
confiscated on Monday, March 24; but that he immediately afterwards
decided to anticipate, instead of returning, the blow, and caused
the confiscation to be begun at once.[542] For him the opportunity
was a golden one. The interdict enabled him to put the whole body of
the clergy in a dilemma from which there was no escape. They held
their property--thus he evidently argued--on condition of performing
certain functions: if they ceased from those functions, their property
was forfeit, just as that of a layman was forfeit if he withheld the
service with which it was charged. The logical consequence in either
case--from John’s point of view--was confiscation; difficult and
dangerous to enforce on a wide scale against laymen, but easy and
safe when the victims were clergy. The barons made no objection to
a proceeding which would fill the king’s coffers without drawing a
single penny from their own; the chief justiciar himself, Geoffrey
Fitz-Peter, earl of Essex, had no scruple in acting as _custos_ for
the Crown of all the Church property on his own estates, which were
scattered through thirty-one counties, and also of the revenues and
goods of the Templars throughout all England.[543] The spoliation was
indeed effected with a brutal violence which would have been impossible
had there been any strong feeling against it among the influential
classes of the laity,[544] and which so far outran the intentions of
the king that on April 11 he issued a proclamation ordering that any
man caught doing or even speaking evil to a monk or a clerk, “contrary
to our peace,” should be hanged upon the nearest oak.[545] The clergy,
like the Jews, were to be ill-treated by no one save the king himself.
Many of them made a compromise with their spoiler; within a very
few weeks five bishops, three cathedral chapters, the prior of the
Hospitallers, and the heads of fourteen important monasteries, besides
sundry individual priests, undertook to farm their own benefices and
other property for the king.[546] The Cistercians, asserting that
the privileges of their order exempted them from interdict, ceased
from performing the offices of religion for a few days only, and then
resumed them as usual;[547] whereupon their possessions, which had been
seized like those of the other orders, were restored to them on April

[Sidenote: 1209]

At the same time John despatched an envoy to Rome proposing terms on
which he professed himself willing to let Stephen take possession
of his see; and he contrived to spin out the negotiations for six
months before Innocent discovered that the terms offered were merely
a device for wasting time, and that the king had never intended to
fulfil them.[549] On January 12, 1209, the Pope informed the bishops
of London, Ely and Worcester that he had written to John a letter of
which he sent them a copy, and bade them excommunicate the king if
he did not repent within three months after its receipt.[550] John
upon this began a fresh series of negotiations, which kept the three
bishops--who had apparently gone over sea immediately after publishing
the interdict--flitting to and fro between the continent and England,
without any result, for nine more months. In October they finally
withdrew, but without publishing the excommunication; and by the end of
the year all possibility of its publication in England had vanished,
for every English bishop had fled save two, Peter des Roches, bishop
of Winchester, and John de Grey, bishop of Norwich, both of whom were
creatures of the king; John de Grey, moreover, was now justiciar
in Ireland, and the Poitevin Peter des Roches was thus left sole
representative of the episcopal order in England.[551]

[Sidenote: 1208–09]

It was John’s hour of triumph, not over the clergy alone, but over all
his subjects and vassals within the four seas of Britain. The action
of the Pope and the inaction of the barons had opened a way for him to
make himself “King of England” in his own sense of the words. To all
outward seeming his whole time, since his return from the continent,
had been devoted to mere amusement and self-indulgence. He “haunted
woods and streams, and greatly did he delight in the pleasure of
them.”[552] When he was not thus chasing the beasts of the forest,
his yet more relentless pursuit of other prey was making havoc of the
domestic peace, and rousing against him the deadly hatred, of some of
the greatest of his barons.[553] But their hatred was futile; they
were paralyzed partly by their own mutual jealousies, which the king
was continually stirring up,[554] partly by the consequence of their
selfish shortsightedness with regard to his persecution of the clergy.
The interdict had placed one whole estate of the realm at John’s mercy;
and the laity, having failed at the critical moment to make common
cause with their clerical brethren, now found themselves in their turn
without a support against his tyranny. His consciousness of power broke
out in the strangest freaks of wantonness; in causing the Michaelmas
session of the Exchequer to be held at Northampton instead of London,
“out of hatred to the Londoners”;[555] in forbidding the capture of
birds all over England;[556] in ordering that throughout the Forest
districts the hedges should be fired and the ditches made by the
people to protect their fields should be levelled, “so that, while men
starved, the beasts might fatten upon the crops and fruits.”[557] It
showed itself too in acts of graver political significance. A series
of orders to the bailiffs of the coast towns for the equipment and
mustering of their ships and the seizure of foreign vessels, issued
in the spring and summer of 1208, indicates that John was then either
meditating another expedition over sea, or, more probably, expecting an
attack from thence. The muster, originally fixed for Trinity Sunday,
was postponed to S. Matthew’s day,[558] and the end of the matter was
that John, finding he had no immediate need for the services of the
fleet, “took occasion”--no doubt on pretext of some deficiency in the
contingent due from them--“to oppress the mariners of the Cinque Ports
with great and heavy affliction. Some he hanged; some he killed with
the sword; many were imprisoned and loaded with irons”; the rest fled
into exile, and it was only by giving him fines and hostages that they
appeased his wrath and bought his leave to return to their homes.[559]
The barons were again required to renew their homage; the demand was
made literally at the sword’s point--for John’s lavish hospitality and
largesse[560] filled his court with mercenaries who were quite ready
to enforce his will in such a matter--and they were compelled either
to submit to it, or to give their sons and kinsmen as hostages for
their fidelity.[561] The king seemed indeed, as Matthew Paris says, to
be courting the hatred of every class of his subjects.[562] But hate
him as much as they might, they feared him yet more than they hated
him; and “burdensome” as he was “to both rich and poor,”[563] when
he summoned all the free tenants throughout the realm, of whatever
condition, who were above the age of twelve years, to swear fealty in
person to him and his infant heir in the autumn of 1209, rich and poor
alike durst not do otherwise than obey him.[564]

[Sidenote: 1209]

This ceremony took place at Marlborough in September,[565] just before
the final rupture of the negotiations with Langton and the bishops.
A few weeks earlier John had received the submission of the king of
Scots. Twice or thrice in the last two years a visit of William the
Lion to the English court had been projected.[566] It took place at
length in the middle of April 1209 at Bolton, whence John and William
proceeded together to Norham for a conference.[567] The shelter given
in Scotland to some of the bishops and other persons who fled from
John’s persecution in connection with the interdict[568] supplied the
English king with a pretext for demanding, once for all, security for
William’s loyalty. He bade him surrender either three castles on the
border or his only son as a hostage. William refused to do either.[569]
John, on returning to the south, summoned his host, and in July set
out to take the three castles by force. The papal excommunication was
hanging over his head, and its publication was hourly expected; his
troops shrank alike from his leadership and from an encounter with the
Scot king, who was considered “eminent for his piety,” the champion
of the Church and the favourite of Heaven, while they, being under
interdict, were virtually outcasts from the Christian fold. A dexterous
renewal of negotiations with Innocent and Stephen, however, staved
off the excommunication and prevented the threatened desertion of the
English troops;[570] and on August 4 John was at Norham[571] at the
head of a great host ready to do battle with the Scots. On hearing
this, William “greatly feared his attack, knowing him to be given to
every kind of cruelty; so he came to meet him and offered to treat for
peace; but the king of the English flew into a rage and insulted him
bitterly, reproaching him with having received his (John’s) fugitives
and public enemies into his realm, and lent them countenance and help
against him.” At last some “friends of both realms” arranged terms
which pacified John and which William dared not refuse. He sent his
son {Aug. 7}, not indeed as a hostage, but to do homage to the English
king “for the aforesaid castles and other lands which he held”;[572]
he undertook to pay John by instalments within the next two years
fifteen thousand marks “to have his goodwill”; he gave hostages
for the fulfilment of this undertaking; and he surrendered his two
daughters to be kept in John’s custody as his wards and married at his
pleasure.[573] According to Gervase of Canterbury, one of these ladies
was to be married to John’s son;[574] one of his many illegitimate
sons must be meant, for though John had now two sons by his queen, the
elder of them was not yet two years old, while the younger of William’s
daughters was thirteen at the least.[575] All that William obtained in
return for these concessions was the freedom of the port of Berwick,
and leave to pull down a castle which the bishop of Durham had built
over against it.[576] Of his claim upon Cumberland and Westmorland
nothing further was ever heard.

[Sidenote: 1199–1209]

Two months later, Wales followed Scotland’s example. Over Wales,
indeed, John’s triumph was won without the trouble even of a military
demonstration on his part. The anarchy of Wales had been growing worse
and worse ever since the death of Henry II. Its danger for England lay
mainly in the opportunities which it afforded to any of the English
barons of the border who might be treasonably inclined, for making
alliances with one or other of the warring Welsh princes, and thus
securing for themselves a support which might enable them to set at
defiance the authority of the English crown. John himself had held
the position of a border baron for ten years, as earl of Gloucester
and lord of Glamorgan, and had used it for his own private ends as
unscrupulously as any of his neighbours.[577] The familiarity with
Welsh politics which he had thus acquired stood him in good stead when
he became king. At his accession, a struggle which had been going on
for two years between three rival claimants to the succession in South
Wales, Griffith and Maelgwyn, sons of the late prince Rees ap Griffith,
and Gwenwynwyn, son of Owen Cyveiliog, prince of Powys, had just ended
in the triumph of Griffith, who, by the help of a force supplied to
him by the English government, overcame both his rivals at the close
of 1198. On Griffith’s death in 1200 Gwenwynwyn for a moment regained
the ascendency in South Wales; but he found a new and formidable rival
in the prince of North Wales, Llywelyn ap Jorwerth, who in a few years
succeeded in reducing most of the South Welsh princes to dependence on
himself.[578] Throughout these years John, amid all his political and
military occupations on the continent, watched every vicissitude of the
struggle in Wales, kept up constant relations with both parties, and
balanced the one against the other[579] with a mingled unscrupulousness
and dexterity for which even the Welshmen were scarcely a match, and
which at last brought them all alike to his feet. In July 1202 Llywelyn
promised to do homage to the English king as soon as the latter should
return from over sea;[580] before October 15, 1204, he was betrothed
to John’s illegitimate daughter Joan,[581] and in 1206 she became his
wife.[582] In 1208 his rival Gwenwynwyn was in an English prison,
whence he obtained his release by doing homage to John at Shrewsbury on
October 8.[583] Llywelyn’s promised visit to the English court seems
to have not yet taken place; but a year later, on the king’s return
from the north, there befell, say the chroniclers, “what had never been
heard of in times past: all the Welsh nobles”--that is, evidently,
the princes of both North and South Wales--“came to him and did him
homage,” not on the border, but in the heart of his own realm, at
Woodstock,[584] on October 18 or 19, 1209.[585]

[Sidenote: 1209–10]

The king’s triumph was complete. The last date which had been fixed for
the publication of the papal sentence was October 6;[586] the sentence
was still unpublished, and the bishops who should have published
it had fled. They proclaimed it indeed in France in November;[587]
but John took care that no official notification of the fact should
reach England, and the sentence remained a dead letter. Its existence
was known and talked of all over the country, but it was talked of
with bated breath. The excommunicate king held his Christmas feast
at Windsor surrounded by “all the great men of England,” who sat at
his table and held intercourse with him as usual, simply because
they dared not do otherwise.[588] Of the fate in store for those who
stood aloof, one terrible example sufficed. The archdeacon of Norwich
quitted his place at the Exchequer table at Westminster, after warning
his fellow-officers that they were perilling their souls by serving
an excommunicate king. He was seized by a band of soldiers, loaded
with chains, flung into prison, and there crushed to death beneath a
cope of lead.[589] The whole body of the clergy, already stripped of
their possessions, were now in peril of their lives. As the king was
passing through one of the border counties he met some of the sheriff’s
officers in charge of a prisoner with his hands tied behind him. They
said the man was a robber, and had robbed and slain a priest on the
highway: what, they asked, should be done with him? “Loose him and let
him go” answered John, “he has slain one of my enemies!” Nor was his
persecution limited to the clergy; the lay relatives and friends of
Langton and of the other exiled bishops were hunted down and flung into
prison, and their property seized for the king.[590] When he could
plunder his Christian subjects no more, he turned upon the Jews. At the
opening of 1210 all the Jews in England, of both sexes, were by his
order arrested, imprisoned, and tortured to make them give up their
wealth. It was said that the king wrung ten thousand marks from one Jew
at Bristol by causing seven of his teeth to be torn out, one every day
for a week,[591] and that the total sum transferred from the coffers
of the Jews to the royal treasury amounted to sixty-six thousand
marks.[592] Never before--not even in the worst days of William the
Red--had England fallen so low as she now lay at the feet of John. “It
was as if he alone were mighty upon earth, and he neither feared God
nor regarded man.”[593] John seems in fact to have been one of the very
few men of whom this latter assertion can be made with literal truth;
and in this utter recklessness and ruthlessness lay the secret of his
terrible strength. “There was not a man in the land who could resist
his will in anything.”[594] The very few barons who had dared openly to
resist it since his return from Poitou in 1206 were now all in Ireland;
and it was Ireland that he set himself to subdue in 1210.

[Sidenote: 1191–1200]

John de Courcy had apparently ceased to be governor of the Irish
March in 1191. The succession of governors there during the next few
years is obscure; but we know that, as John’s chief ministers, they
bore the same title which was borne by the chief minister of the
king in England, that of justiciar.[595] Owing to the paucity and
obscurity of the records it is difficult to gain any real understanding
of the vicissitudes of the English dominion in Ireland during the
twenty-five years which elapsed between John’s two visits to that
country, and especially during the fourteen years between his first
visit there and his accession to the English crown. He granted a new
and important charter to the city of Dublin in 1192.[596] In 1195
the intruders--neither for the first nor for the last time--fell out
among themselves: “John de Courcy and the son of Hugh de Lacy marched
with an army to conquer the English of Leinster and Munster.”[597]
They certainly did not succeed in wresting Leinster from William
the Marshal. As for Munster, Richard de Cogan was apparently still
holding his ground in Desmond; Raymond the Fat probably died in 1184
or 1185,[598] and as he had no direct heirs,[599] the share of that
kingdom which had been originally allotted to Fitz-Stephen lapsed
to John as overlord.[600] From the city of Cork the “English” are
said to have been driven out in 1196;[601] but their expulsion was
only momentary. Meanwhile they had at last begun to gain a footing
in Thomond. By 1196 they had got possession of the city of Limerick;
in that year or the next they lost it, but it was speedily recovered
by Meiler Fitz-Henry,[602] who in 1199 or early in 1200 became chief
justiciar in Ireland.[603] Limerick was put under the charge of William
de Burgh, who apparently had won for himself some lands within the
kingdom of Thomond, among them Ardpatrick, of which he received a grant
from John in September 1199.[604]

[Sidenote: 1198–1202]

The last Irish Ard-Righ, Roderic O’Conor, died in 1198;[605] he had
been dethroned sixteen years before, but his death was the signal for
renewed strife between his sons for the possession of his kingdom of
Connaught. The foreign settlers in Ireland took sides for their own
interest in the struggle between the native princes; John de Courcy
and the “English of Ulidia,” with the De Lacys of Meath and their
followers, supported Cathal Crovderg O’Conor, while his rival, Cathal
Carrach, was helped by “William Burke, with the English of Limerick.”
For a moment Cathal Carrach’s party was victorious; but next year
(1200) he was attacked by “Meiler and the English of Leinster,” while
De Burgh changed sides and joined Cathal Crovderg. In 1201 or 1202
the united forces of Cathal Crovderg and De Burgh won a battle in
which Cathal Carrach was slain. Cathal Crovderg being thus master of
Connaught, De Burgh at once began to plot against his life; but the men
of Connaught slaughtered the followers of the double-dyed traitor, and
he himself escaped as best he could back to Limerick.[606]

[Sidenote: 1179–1201]

The “honour of Limerick”--exclusive of the city and the Ostmen’s
cantred, which the king retained in his own hands, and the service
due from the lands held within that honour by William de Burgh, which
was also reserved to the Crown--had meanwhile been granted by John,
on January 12, 1201, to William de Braose, “as King Henry gave it to
his uncle, Philip de Braose.”[607] These last words define the extent
of the “honour,” as corresponding (with the exceptions specified) to
the “kingdom of Limerick” (Thomond) named in Henry’s grant of 1177.
Philip de Braose was probably now dead. William was the son of Philip’s
elder brother, another William who to the family estates of Bramber in
Sussex and Barnstaple and Totnes in Devon had added, by his marriage
with an heiress, the lordships of Radnor, Brecon, and Abergavenny
in Wales.[608] The younger William probably succeeded to all these
possessions soon after 1179.[609] Before 1189 his sister Maud was
married to Griffith Ap Rees, who from 1198 to 1201 was Prince of South
Wales; and throughout the last ten years of the twelfth century William
was constantly concerned in the quarrels of the South Welsh princes and
people.[610] His daughter Margaret had before November 19, 1200 become
the wife of Walter de Lacy,[611] the lord of Meath, who was already
her father’s neighbour on the Welsh border, where Ludlow formed part
of the Lacy heritage; a younger daughter was married before 1210 to a
son of another baron of the Welsh March, Roger Mortimer.[612] Count
John of Mortain, as earl of Gloucester and lord of Glamorgan, was also
for ten years a neighbour of William de Braose, and evidently made a
friend of him, for in 1199 William was at the head of the party which
most vigorously urged John’s claim to the crown.[613] In June 1200 he
received a royal grant of “all the lands which he had acquired or might
at any future time acquire from our Welsh enemies, to the increase
of his barony of Radnor.”[614] As the king was at the same time in
diplomatic relations with several of the “enemies” whom William was
thus authorized to despoil, this grant was of doubtful value. The same
may be said of the grant of Thomond; this, however, was a speculation
on both sides; William covenanted to pay the king five thousand marks
for it at the rate of five hundred marks a year.[615]

[Sidenote: 1201–1204]

De Braose immediately went to Ireland;[616] and in process of time he
succeeded in obtaining possession of the greater part of his new fief,
though the difficulties with which he had to contend were many and
great. The other persons who had previously received from John grants
of land in Thomond[617] no doubt resented and resisted the change in
their position from tenants-in-chief of the king to under-tenants of
William de Braose. It seems that they were upheld in their resistance
by the justiciar, Meiler Fitz-Henry, and that John in consequence
summoned Meiler to his court, suspended him from his office, and put it
into commission in December 1201. In August 1202 John issued further
orders for enforcing the claims of De Braose in Thomond; in September
he forgave him all the debts which he owed to King Henry and King
Richard; in October he granted the entire custody of the lands and
castles of Glamorgan, Gwenllwg and Gower to “William de Braose, whose
service we greatly approve.”[618] In the winter William was with the
king in Normandy, and had the custody of the captive Arthur. This he
resigned, seemingly at the end of the year,[619] and in January 1203 he
was in charge of some matters connected with the fleet.[620]

[Sidenote: 1204–1206]

Meanwhile the governor of Limerick city, William de Burgh, had escaped
from the vengeance of the Irish allies whom he had betrayed, only to
fall under that of the English justiciar whom he had set at defiance.
Meiler Fitz-Henry had been restored to his post; in 1203 he and Walter
de Lacy joined with the Irish of Connaught in expelling De Burgh from
Limerick,[621] and on July 8 William de Braose was appointed by the
king to succeed De Burgh as constable of the city.[622] Meiler and
De Burgh had already appealed against each other to the king;[623]
in March 1204 a commission was appointed to hear their reciprocal
complaints;[624] in September all De Burgh’s Irish estates except those
in Connaught were restored to him on his promise of “standing to right
in the King’s Court of Ireland.”[625] There is no record of the trial,
which may have been prevented by his death, for at the end of the year
or in 1205 he died;[626] and on April 3, 1206 the justiciar was ordered
to take all his Munster estates into the king’s hand.[627]

The reservation of De Burgh’s Connaught lands in 1204 may have been
made in consequence of some negotiations which were at that moment
going on between Meiler, as John’s representative, and the King
of Connaught, Cathal Crovderg. Cathal, it seems, offered to cede
two-thirds of Connaught to John, on condition that the remaining third
should be secured to himself and his heirs for a yearly payment of one
hundred marks. John was willing to accept this offer, but he insisted
that the portion of land to be ceded to him should be chosen by Meiler,
and bade Meiler take care that it was “the best part, and that which
contained the best towns, ports, and sites for castles.”[628] Possibly
this claim of John’s to choose the land for himself was refused by
Cathal; the negotiations certainly came to nothing, for in December
1206 Cathal made another proposition. He would hold one-third of
Connaught of King John for a hundred marks a year; out of the other
two-thirds he would cede to John two cantreds, and for the remainder he
would pay him a tribute of three hundred marks. John authorized Meiler
to accept these terms, if he could get no better.[629] Whether the
agreement was ever actually made, there is nothing to show; it was not
likely to have any practical result. The invaders had evidently already
gained some slight and precarious footing in eastern Connaught; but
they had too much to do within their own March--as the dominions of the
English crown in Ireland were called in those days[630]--to make any
real progress westward for some years to come.

[Sidenote: 1199–1205]

The turbulence and lawlessness which prevailed in the Irish March
reflected that of the Welsh March whence most of its original settlers
had come. William de Braose and William de Burgh were far from being
the only barons at feud with Meiler Fitz-Henry, either simply as a
fellow-baron, or in his official capacity of representative of the
king. In September 1199 John de Courcy and Walter de Lacy are mentioned
in a royal writ as having acted together “for the destruction of our
realm of Ireland.”[631] The reference probably is to their joint attack
upon Leinster in 1195, which had been followed by the forfeiture of
Lacy’s English and Welsh lands; these, however, he had regained in
1198.[632] In 1203, as has been seen, he helped Meiler to expel William
de Burgh from Limerick; and in February 1204 he was appointed one of
four commissioners to assist Meiler in dealing with escheats.[633] His
former ally, John de Courcy, had a safe-conduct to and from the king’s
court in July 1202;[634] but he evidently did not come to terms with
the king; and next year the Lacys turned against him; Hugh de Lacy,
Walter’s younger brother, defeated him in a battle near Down and drove
him out of Ulidia.[635] In September he had another safe-conduct to
go to the king and return “if he does not make peace with us.”[636]
This time it seems that he did “make peace,” but failed to fulfil its
conditions. On August 31, 1204, he was summoned, on pain of forfeiture,
to come to the king’s service “as he swore to come”; and Meiler was
instructed, if the forfeiture should take place, to give to the two
De Lacys the eight cantreds of De Courcy’s land which lay nearest
to Meath.[637] De Courcy incurred the forfeiture; Meiler seemingly
committed its execution to the De Lacys; they again attacked De Courcy,
and drove him to take refuge in Tyrone;[638] and on May 2, 1205, King
John granted Ulster to Hugh de Lacy, to hold “as John de Courcy held
it on the day when Hugh defeated him.”[639] A few weeks later Hugh was
belted earl of Ulster;[640] and at the end of June the triumph of the
Lacys was completed by a royal order forbidding the chief justiciar to
“move war against any man of the March” without the consent of Earl
Hugh and his brother Walter.[641]

[Sidenote: 1204]

With the colleagues thus forced upon him Meiler was soon at strife. His
strife with Walter de Lacy, indeed, had recommenced already. Walter’s
appointment as a commissioner of escheats in 1204 had been made in
connexion with a demand which John--anxious to prepare for an attack
upon France, as well as to guard against an expected French invasion
of England, and scarcely daring to ask his English subjects for more
money--addressed to all his vassals in Ireland, that they would furnish
him with an aid.[642] They undertook to do so; on September 1 the king
thanked them for their services and their promises, and desired that
the latter might be fulfilled.[643] At the same time he was taking
measures for the security of the March and of his own authority there;
on August 31 he had ordered Meiler to build a castle at Dublin,[644]
and in September he bade the citizens do every man his part in helping
to fortify the city.[645] In November he decided upon taking back into
his own hands the city of Limerick and its cantred, being, as he said,
advised by his barons of England that this step was necessary for the
security of his domains in Connaught and Cork. It appears that William
de Braose had called in the help of his son-in-law, the lord of Meath,
for the keeping of this important border-post; the king’s orders for
its surrender to the justiciar were addressed to Walter de Lacy and
the bailiffs of William de Braose.[646] Walter seemingly refused to
obey the order; Meiler, however, succeeded in taking possession of the
city, “on account of which there arose a great war” between him and De
Lacy,[647] with the result that John, to end their strife, took away
the custody of Limerick from both of them, and restored it in August
1205 to William de Braose.[648] Nineteen months later Walter de Lacy’s
castle of Ludlow was seized for the Crown, {1207 March} and Walter
was bidden to come and “stand to right” in the English court {1207

[Sidenote: 1207]

By that time Meiler was at strife with William de Braose again, and
also with another Marcher lord of very different character from any
of those with whom he had as yet had to deal. Meiler Fitz-Henry,
though loyal to the king, was evidently not quite the man for the
post of chief justiciar in Ireland. He was one of the few survivors
of the first band of Norman-Welsh adventurers who had taken part in
the invasion under Robert Fitz-Stephen. The royal blood of England
and of Wales was mingled in his veins; he was in fact, though not
in law, first cousin to Henry II.[650] The two young Lacys, now so
often opposed to him, were cousins of his wife, a niece of the elder
Hugh de Lacy.[651] He was, however, not one of the great barons of
the March; he seems to have held in chief of the Crown nothing except
three cantreds in Desmond granted to him by John in October 1200;[652]
his principal possession was the barony of Leix in Ossory,[653] for
which he owed homage to William the Marshal as lord of Leinster. In
the spring of 1207 William the Marshal asked leave of John to visit
his Irish lands, which he had never yet seen. The leave was given,
though unwillingly; but as William was on the point of setting out
from Striguil, he was overtaken by a message from the king, bidding him
either remain in England, or give his second son as a hostage. William
sent the boy back with the messenger, saying that the king might have
all his children as hostages if he pleased,[654] but as for himself,
he was determined to go to Ireland; and next day he sailed. His coming
was far from welcome to the justiciar, who till then had been without a
superior in the country, and who resented alike the necessity of doing
homage to the Marshal for the land which he held under him, and the
probability of his own importance being overshadowed by the presence of
a man whose territorial and personal weight was so much greater than
his own. Meiler therefore wrote to the king urging him to recall the
Marshal. John did so, but bade Meiler himself come over at the same
time. The Marshal, though feeling that mischief was in prospect, obeyed
the king’s summons with his usual readiness, and returned to England at
Michaelmas, leaving his wife with a band of trusty followers to defend
Leinster in his stead. Meiler also came, after secretly bidding his
kinsmen and friends attack the Marshal’s lands as soon as he was gone,
which they did the very next week. The king gave Meiler a warm welcome,
but treated the Marshal with coldness and displeasure,[655] which
Meiler soon found a way to increase.

At the beginning of the year the justiciar had seized for the Crown
some of the lands, men and goods of William de Braose.[656] His
excuse for this proceeding was probably the fact that De Braose was
in debt to the Crown for the ferm of the city of Limerick, and also
for no less than four thousand two hundred and ninety-eight marks of
the five thousand which he had in January 1201 covenanted to pay, by
instalments of five hundred every year, for the grant of the honour
of Limerick.[657] Meiler, however, had acted without instructions
from the king; and when De Braose complained of the treatment which
he had received, John declared {1207 Feb. 12} that he “found no fault
in him,” and bade Meiler restore everything that had been taken from
him, unless indeed the city of Limerick was included; if that had been
seized for the Crown, Meiler was to retain it till further orders.[658]
The mingled feelings of the king are reflected in his letter. John had
found in William de Braose a useful servant and friend; he knew that
he might find in him a dangerous enemy; he was therefore reluctant to
take any measures which might drive William into opposition. On the
other hand, William’s neglect of his pecuniary obligations to the Crown
had reached such a pass that it could hardly be ignored much longer;
and William was further suspected of being in secret alliance against
the king, both with the Welsh and with the De Lacys.[659] Of this
suspicion the king seems to have known nothing till after the middle of
July, when he reappointed “our beloved and faithful William de Braose”
custodian of Ludlow Castle.[660] It had, however, reached his ears by
the time of Meiler’s coming to England, and Meiler turned it to account
for a double purpose of his own. One day, as the king and his chief
counsellors sat talking together after dinner, something was said about
William the Marshal and his friendly relations with William de Braose.
Meiler wrought upon the king’s jealousy of the one and his suspicions
of the other, till he persuaded him to join in a plot for bringing them
both to ruin.

[Sidenote: 1207–08]

At the justiciar’s instigation John secretly despatched letters to all
those of the Marshal’s followers in Ireland who held lands in England,
bidding them, on pain of forfeiting these, to be at his court within a
fortnight. At the same time Meiler, with the king’s licence, returned
to Ireland. The Marshal asked permission to do the same; but this
was refused. Meiler on his arrival found that hitherto his men had,
on the whole, been worsted in their strife with those of Leinster. He
now summoned the Marshal’s men to a “parliament,” at which the king’s
messenger read out the secret letters. The men to whom these letters
were addressed saw but too plainly what would be the result of their
obedience: the Marshal’s lands would be left without defence against
Meiler. They unanimously resolved to sacrifice their own English
estates, disobey the king for their lord’s sake, and resist Meiler to
the uttermost; and with the help of two powerful neighbours whom they
called to their aid, Ralph Fitz-Payne and Hugh de Lacy, they succeeded,
as one of them says, in doing to Meiler as much mischief as he had
thought to do to their lord.[661] The Marshal, meanwhile, was compelled
to remain at court, but so discountenanced by the king that hardly
any one dared to speak to him. At last, one winter day, as they rode
out from Guildford,[662] John called to him: “Marshal, have you had
any news from Ireland that pleases you?” “No, sire.” “I can tell you
some news,” said the king, laughing; and he told him that his wife,
the Countess Isabel, had been besieged in Kilkenny by Meiler, who had
indeed been at length worsted and even captured by her people, but with
very heavy losses on her side, three of the Marshal’s chief friends
being among the slain. The story was a sheer invention of John’s; in
reality he had received no news from Ireland at all. The Marshal,
though perplexed and troubled, retained his outward composure; and
early in the spring he himself received from Ireland a very different
account of what had happened there. The justiciar had not only been
captured, but had made submission to the countess and given his son as
a hostage till he himself should stand to right in her husband’s court
for the wrong which he had done to him as his lord.

[Sidenote: 1208–09]

These tidings were sent at the same time to the king, who was by no
means pleased with them, but characteristically changed his policy
at once to meet the turn of the tide. He called the Marshal to his
presence, greeted him with unusual courtesy, and asked him if he had
heard anything from Ireland. “No, sire; I have no news from thence.”
“Then I will tell you some good news, of which I wish you joy”--and
thereupon John related the truth, which William knew already, though he
had not chosen to say so. From that time forth “the king made him as
good cheer as he had made him evil cheer before”; and when the Marshal
soon afterwards again asked leave to go to Ireland, it was granted at
once.[663] On March 7 Meiler was ordered to refrain from interfering
with the lands of the Marshal, who had instructed his men to keep the
peace towards Meiler in return;[664] on March 20 John informed the
justiciar that “the Marshal has done our will,” and despatched to
Ireland four commissioners by whose instructions Meiler was to act, and
who, if he failed to do so, were empowered to act in his stead.[665] On
the 28th, a new grant of Leinster, on the terms of the original grant
to Richard de Clare, was made by the king to the Marshal.[666] A month
later Meath was in like manner granted afresh to Walter de Lacy;[667]
and at the end of the next year, 1209, Meiler was removed from his
office of justiciar, and replaced by the bishop of Norwich, John de

[Sidenote: 1208]

On one point, however, Meiler was justified by the king. In the spring
of 1208 John made up his mind to bear with William de Braose no
longer, and ordered a distraint upon his Welsh lands. William’s wife,
Maud of Saint-Valery,[669] his nephew, Earl William of Ferrars, and
his sister’s husband, Adam de Port, met the king at Gloucester and
persuaded him to grant an interview to William himself at Hereford.
William promised to pay his debts to the treasury within a certain
time, pledged some of his castles for the payment, and gave three
of his grandsons and four other persons as hostages.[670] Roger of
Wendover relates that when the king’s officers went to fetch the
hostages, Maud refused to deliver up her grandchildren to the king,
“because,” said she, “he has murdered his captive nephew”; that her
husband reproved her, and declared himself willing to answer according
to law for anything in which he had offended the king; and that John,
on hearing what Maud had said, was “greatly perturbed,” and ordered
the whole family of De Braose to be arrested.[671] John himself, in a
public statement attested by the chief justiciar of England and twelve
other men of high position, among whom were De Braose’s own nephew and
brother-in-law, asserted that shortly after the meeting at Hereford
De Braose and his sons attempted to regain the pledged castles by
force, and when they had failed in this attempt, attacked and burned
Leominster.[672] Thereupon it seems that William was proclaimed a
traitor; on September 21 John empowered Gerald of Athies to make an
agreement with all who were or had been homagers of William de Braose,
so that they should “come to the king’s service and not return to the
service of William.”[673]




  _A.D. 1210_

  {No key included, the North West is shaded green, the rest red.}

  _Stanford’s Geogˡ. Estabᵗ. London._

  London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd.]

[Sidenote: 1209–10]

De Braose was chased by the king’s officers,[674] till in the following
year, 1209, he escaped, with his wife and two of their sons, from
some Welsh seaport, intending to go to Ireland. A violent storm kept
them tossing on the sea for three days and three nights; at last
they landed at Wicklow. William the Marshal chanced to be there; he
received them kindly and sheltered them for three weeks. Then their
presence was discovered by the new justiciar, Bishop John de Grey,
who at once taxed the Marshal with harbouring “the king’s traitors,”
and bade him give them up to justice. The Marshal refused, saying he
had only received “his lord,”[675] as he was bound to do, and without
knowing that De Braose had incurred the king’s displeasure; and he
added that he himself would not act like a traitor towards De Braose
at the justiciar’s bidding. Thereupon he sent the refugees safely on
to their destination, the home of De Braose’s son-in-law, Walter de
Lacy. The justiciar complained to the king, who summoned his host for
an expedition to Ireland;[676] both the Marshal and the Lacys having
positively refused to give up De Braose, though they offered to be
answerable for his going to England to satisfy the king within a fixed
time, and promised that, if he failed to do so, they would then harbour
him no more. At last--seemingly in the spring of 1210--De Braose was
allowed to go on these conditions back to Wales. John had apparently
consented to meet him at Hereford; but when De Braose reached Hereford,
“he,” says the king, “regarded us not,” but began to collect all the
forces he could muster against the Crown. His nephew, the earl of
Ferrars, however, managed to bring him to a meeting with the king at
Pembroke. He offered a fine of forty thousand marks. “We,” says John,
“told him we knew well that he was not in his own power at all, but in
that of his wife, who was in Ireland; and we proposed that he should
go to Ireland with us, and the matter should be settled there; but he
chose rather to remain in Wales,”[677] and was suffered to do so--John
being determined now to settle matters not only with Maud de Braose,
but with all the barons of the Irish March, according to his own will
and pleasure.

At some date between June 16 and 20 John crossed from Pembroke to
Crook, near Waterford. Thence he proceeded by way of Newbridge and
Thomastown to Kilkenny, where he and all his host were received and
entertained for two days (June 23 and 24) by William the Marshal.[678]
On June 28 the king reached Dublin; thence he led his host into
Meath.[679] Walter de Lacy and the De Braoses fled, evidently into
Ulster; thither John marched in pursuit of them, but before he could
overtake them they had escaped over sea into Galloway.[680] Hugh
de Lacy had retired into the stronghold of Carrickfergus; at the
king’s approach, however, he, too, slipped away in a little boat to
Scotland.[681] Carrickfergus was provisioned for a siege, but its
garrison was soon frightened into surrender.[682] While John was at
Carrickfergus, his “friend and cousin,” Duncan of Carrick, sent him
word that he had captured Maud de Braose, one of her daughters, her
eldest son, his wife and their two children; her younger son, Reginald,
had escaped, and so had the Lacys. The king despatched John de Courcy
(whom he had taken back into favour, and brought with him to Ireland,
as likely to be a willing and useful helper against the De Lacys) to
fetch the captives from Galloway. When they were brought before him,
Maud offered the surrender of all her husband’s lands and a fine of
forty thousand marks, which John accepted; but three days later she
repudiated her agreement.[683] Taking his prisoners with him, the king
turned southward again, and soon completed the subjugation of the
Lacys’ territories. Most of the lesser barons fled before him as their
lords had done, “fearing to fall into his hands.”[684] A week’s stay
in Dublin (August 18 to 24) brought his expedition to a close.[685]

[Sidenote: 1210]

It was probably during this second stay of John’s at Dublin that, as
Roger of Wendover says, “there came to him there more than twenty
kinglets[686] of that country, who all, terrified with a very great
fear, did him homage and fealty; yet a few kinglets neglected to come,
who scorned to do so, because they dwelt in impregnable places. Also
he caused to be set up there English laws and customs, establishing
sheriffs and other officers who should judge the people of that realm
according to English laws.”[687] This latter statement of Roger’s may
have given rise to the later belief that it was John who organized
the administration of the March in Ireland after the English model,
by dividing the whole of the conquered territory into counties, each
under its own sheriff.[688] It appears, however, that there were
sheriffs in Ireland in the days of Henry II.[689] The earliest known
mention of a sheriff’s district there occurs in 1205, when we hear of
the “county of Waterford.”[690] Ten years later the same county is
mentioned again, and also that of Cork;[691] and before the end of
the century ten counties, at least, were recognized by the English
government in Ireland.[692] The names of the earliest Irish counties
thus known to us and the circumstances of John’s visit to Ireland in
1210 may suggest a clue to the rise and growth of the shire-system in
that country. The district which forms the present county of Waterford
had never been enfeoffed either by Henry II. or by John, but remained
directly in the hands of the supreme ruler of the March. Of the present
county Cork, the eastern half, at least, escheated together with the
rest of Raymond FitzGerald’s share of the “kingdom of Cork” on his
death about 1185. No notice of a new enfeoffment of any of the lands
which had been his occurs till 1208, and then they were not granted
as a whole; so far as we know, only a portion of them was enfeoffed,
and that portion was distributed among several feoffees.[693] It seems
probable that the system of county administration may have been first
established in Ireland in those districts which were under the direct
rule of the English Crown (or, to speak more exactly, of the “English,”
or Angevin, “Lord of Ireland”), and of which the continuous extent was
too great for them to be left, like the single cantreds attached to the
other seaport towns, under the control of a mere military governor or
constable, and that it was only by degrees introduced into the great
fiefs. If this were so, the events of 1210 would furnish an excellent
opportunity for its extension. Of the four great fiefs which, together
with the royal domains and the lately redistributed honour of Cork,
made up the “English” March in Ireland, Leinster was, when John sailed
from Dublin for England at the end of August,[694] practically the only
one left. Meath, Ulster, and Limerick were all forfeit to the Crown;
and the Crown kept the greater part of them for many years after. Meath
was not restored to Walter de Lacy till 1215;[695] Walter’s brother,
the earl of Ulster, did not return from exile till after John’s
death;[696] and the honour of Limerick was never again bestowed as
a whole upon a single grantee. Under these circumstances a system of
administrative division into counties placed under sheriffs appointed
by the king, or by the justiciar in his name, might be established
without difficulty in territories where its introduction in earlier
years, if ever attempted, would probably have been rendered ineffectual
by the power of the great barons. The one great baron who in the autumn
of 1210 still held his ground in the March--Earl William the Marshal,
the lord of Leinster--had no hesitation in withstanding the king to
his face in the cause of honour and justice; but he was not a man to
throw obstacles in the way of the royal authority when it was exercised
within the sphere of its rights and in the interest of public order.

On the king’s return to Dublin William the Marshal came to the court.
John at once accused him of having “harboured a traitor” in the person
of William de Braose. The Marshal answered the king as he had answered
the justiciar, and added that if any other man dared to utter such a
charge against him, he was ready to disprove it there and then. As
usual, no one would take up his challenge; nevertheless, John again
required hostages and pledges for the Marshal’s fidelity, and again
they were given at once.[697] Meanwhile, the sheriff of Hereford sent
word that William de Braose was stirring up trouble in Wales, and
urged that he should be outlawed; but the king ordered that the matter
should await his own return to England. When he was about to sail, Maud
de Braose offered to fine with him for forty thousand marks, and ten
thousand in addition, as amends for having withdrawn from her former
agreement. John accepted these terms; the fine was signed and sealed,
and it was agreed that Maud, and also, it seems, the other members of
her family who had been captured with her, should remain in custody
till it was paid. John carried his prisoners back with him to England,
put Maud in prison at Bristol, and at her request gave an audience
to her husband, who ratified the fine which she had made, but fled
secretly just before the day fixed for paying the first instalment.
The king asked Maud what she now proposed to do, and she answered
plainly that she had no intention, and no means, of paying. Then it was
ordered that “the judgement of our realm should be carried out against
William,” and he was outlawed.[698] Thus far the king tells his own
story, and there is no reason to doubt its truth. What he does not
tell is the end of the story. He sent Maud and her son to a dungeon at
Windsor, and there starved them to death.[699]


[502] July 15–20, 1205, _Itin._ a. 7.

[503] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 98. Cf. _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 60, 60 b.

[504] Cf. Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. viii. No. 161, and Gerv. Cant. _l.c._

[505] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 183. Cf. Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 99.

[506] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. viii. No. 161.

[507] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 184, 185.

[508] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 56 b.

[509] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 185; _Rot. Pat._ _l.c._

[510] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. ix. Nos. 34, 35, 36.

[511] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 65 b, 67.

[512] _Ib._ p. 64.

[513] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 111; _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii.
p. 514. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. 197, 198.

[514] Cf. Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. ix. No. 206; R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp.
212, 213; M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. pp. 111, 112; W. Coventry,
vol. ii. p. 198; _Ann. Burton_, a. 1211.

[515] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 188; R. Coggeshall, p. 156.

[516] Chancellor’s Roll, 3 John (1201), _passim_.

[517] _Ib._ p. 18.

[518] A summary of the scutages was drawn up, from the Pipe Rolls, by
Alexander Swereford, in the time of Henry III., and is printed in the
Rolls edition of the _Red Book of the Exchequer_. The marginal dates
added in that edition are wrong throughout John’s reign. The true dates
are as follows:--

  First scutage of John, “in rotulo primo”         (1198–1199), 2 marks.

  Second scutage,        “in rotulo tertio”        (1200–1201), 2 marks.

  Third scutage,         “in rotulo quarto”        (1201–1202), 2 marks.

  Fourth scutage,        “in rotulo quinto”        (1202–1203), 2 marks.

  Fifth scutage,         “in rotulo sexto”         (1203–1204), 2 marks.

  Sixth scutage,         “in rotulo septimo”       (1204–1205), 2 marks.

  Seventh scutage,       “in rotulo octavo”        (1205–1206), 20 s.

  Eighth scutage,        “in rotulo duodecimo”     (1209–1210), 2 marks.

  {Ninth scutage (for }
  {  Wales),          }  “in rotulo decimo tertio” (1210–1211), 2 marks.

  {Tenth scutage (for }
  {  Scotland),       }  “in rotulo decimo tertio” (1210–1211), 20 s.

  Eleventh scutage,      “in rotulo decimo sexto”  (1213–1214), 3 marks.

              _Red Book of the Exchequer_, vol. i. pp. 11, 12.

[519] R. Coggeshall, p. 100. See above, p. 73.

[520] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 173. See above, p. 101.

[521] Chancellor’s Roll, 3 John, _passim_.

[522] _Ib._ p. 249.

[523] _Ib._ p. 228.

[524] _Ib._ p. 300.

[525] _E.g._ in 1201 William de Stuteville gave £1000 to be sheriff of
Yorkshire; _ib._ p. 299.

[526] See the printed _Rotuli Cartarum_.

[527] _Red Book_, vol. i. p. 11.

[528] _Ann. Waverley_, a. 1207.

[529] _Ann. Waverley_, a. 1207.

[530] R. Howden, vol. iii. pp. 222, 223.

[531] On January 25, at Worcester. _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 58 b.

[532] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1207. R. Wendover (iii. 210) represents the
thirteenth as exacted from both laity and clergy; the Waverley Annals
say merely “omnis homo de cujuscunque feodo.” But the writ for the
assessment, issued from Oxford on February 17, says “concessum est quod
quilibet _laicus_ homo totius Angliae, de cujusque feodo sit,” etc.
(_Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 72 b). This would, of course, include laymen
holding lands of ecclesiastical superiors (cf. _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p.
84 b). Geoffrey’s protest must therefore be interpreted accordingly.
John, it seems, had not yet abandoned all hope of getting something
from the beneficed clergy; on May 26 he asked those of the southern
province for something very like a “benevolence.” _Rot. Pat._ vol. i.
p. 72.

[533] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 210.

[534] _Ib._ Cf. _Ann. Waverl._ a 1207.

[535] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. x. No. 219; R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp.

[536] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 213.

[537] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 199; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 214. The
writ for seizure of the estates was issued July 11, _Rot. Pat._ vol. i.
p. 74; and executed July 15, Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 100.

[538] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 199.

[539] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. x. No. 113.

[540] _Ib._ Nos. 159, 160; _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 78, 80; R. Wendover,
vol. iii. pp. 220, 221.

[541] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 101, and the Annals of Waverley,
Worcester, Bermondsey and Tewkesbury, a. 1207, date the publication
of the interdict March the _Ann. Winton._ date it “Monday in Passion
Week,” _i.e._ March 24 also. The Annals of Margan and of Dunstable
make it Passion Sunday, _i.e._ March 23, which is the date given by
R. Wendover (iii. 222), W. Coventry (ii. 199) and T. Wykes (a. 1207).
Roger of Wendover, however, adds that it was the Monday in Passion
Week, so his dates are self-contradictory.

[542] R. Coggeshall, p. 163, says the general confiscation of clerical
property took place on March 24; and the king’s orders (issued March 17
and 18) for the seizure of the sees of Bath and Ely are to take effect
from that day (_Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 80, 80 b), which looks as if the
confiscation was meant to be an immediate retort to the interdict. But
the see of Norwich--though its bishop was the king’s favourite John de
Grey--was evidently seized before March 23 (_ib._ p. 81); while the
sheriffs of Derbyshire and Warwickshire were already holding for the
king “all the manors of the bishop of Chester within their bailiwicks,
and everything in them, and all the lands and goods of abbots, priors,
religious, and clerks, within their bailiwicks,” as early as March
21, for on that day they were ordered to hand them over to another
custodian. _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 107.

[543] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 107, 110.

[544] R. Coggeshall, p. 163; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 223. The _Ann.
Margan._, a. 1207, give a curious and not very intelligible account
of the state of public feeling on the question between John and the
Pope: “Electus est Magister S. de Langetone ad archiepiscopatum
Cantuariensem.... Pro cujus electione, quia facta fuit contra profanas
illas consuetudines quas vocant avitas leges et regias libertates,
orta est statim discordia inter Papam Innocentium et Johannem
tyrannum Angliae, faventibus _ei_” (Stephen, Innocent, or John?) “et
consentientibus omnibus laicis et clericis fere universis, sed et viris
cujuslibet professionis multis.”

[545] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 111.

[546] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 108–13 b.

[547] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 226.

[548] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 108 b.

[549] John proposed, instead of himself giving Langton the regalia of
the see, to place them in the Pope’s hands and let him confer them
on the archbishop, inasmuch as John “could not yet bring himself to
receive Stephen as a friend.” The Pope, though he did not like the
scheme, yet authorized the bishops of London, Ely and Worcester to
receive the regalia as his representatives and to confer them as the
king desired; but whenever the bishops sought an interview with the
king on the subject, he put them off. At last, in September (1208), he
gave Langton himself a safe-conduct for a week’s visit to England, but
addressed it to “S. de Langton, Cardinal,” thus showing that he did not
yet intend to recognize him as archbishop. Langton of course declined
to come on such terms. See Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xi. Nos. 89, 90; _Rot.
Pat._ vol. i. pp. 82, 85, 86; _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1208.

[550] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xi. No. 211.

[551] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 89, 90; R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 222,
228, 229; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp. 100, 103, 104; _Ann. Waverl._ and
_Dunst._ a. 1208. All the chroniclers have confused the dates, which
have to be rectified by the help of the Pope’s letters, the Patent
and Close Rolls (both of which, however, unluckily fail in 1209), and
Bishop Stubbs’s notes to Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp. 103, 104, appendix
to preface, _ib._ pp. xci.–cviii., and W. Coventry, vol. ii. preface,
pp. lv., lvi. The sees of Chichester, Exeter, Lincoln and Durham were
vacant; before June 21, 1209, Hugh of Wells was elected to Lincoln
by desire of the king, who sent him to Normandy to be consecrated by
the archbishop of Rouen, but he went to the archbishop of Canterbury
instead, and was consecrated by him on December 20 (R. Wendover, vol.
iii. p. 231; date from M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 120, note
4). Carlisle had been administered since 1203 by Bernard, the exiled
archbishop of Ragusa. Coventry (or Chester) was vacated in October 1208
by the death of Geoffrey Muschamp, who is mentioned by Gervase among
the bishops who went over sea.

[552] _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_, p. 109.

[553] The two best known instances indeed are of doubtful authenticity;
see Note II. at end. But the general charge against John rests upon
authorities which there is no reason to question; _Hist. des Ducs_,
pp. 105, 200, and R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 240. The list of John’s
children given by Pauli, _Gesch. von England_, vol. iii. p. 475, is
neither correct nor complete.

[554] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 105.

[555] M. Paris records this twice, in 1208 (_Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p.
524) and 1209 (_Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 118). One of the two dates is
probably wrong, but there is no means of deciding which.

[556] Christmas 1208, R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 225.

[557] June 28, 1209; _ib._ p. 227; M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p.
119. Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 109.

[558] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 80, 81 b, 83 b–86.

[559] Cf. Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 102, and _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1208.

[560] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 105.

[561] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 224.

[562] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 118.

[563] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 227.

[564] Cf. _ib._, Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 104 (who makes the age fifteen
years), and W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 200.

[565] Gerv. Cant. _l.c._ The day must have been either the 13th or the
30th, _Itin._ a. 11.

[566] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 90(Aug. 1207); _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 76
(Oct. 1207); _ib._ p. 91 (April 1209).

[567] _Chron. Mailros_, a. 1209.

[568] The _Ann. Dunst._, a. 1208, say the bishops of Salisbury and
Rochester went to Scotland “cum Regis Angliae gratia”; but cf. Gerv.
Cant. vol. ii. p. 100, and R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 226. Langton’s
father had taken refuge at St. Andrews in 1207. Gerv. Cant. vol. ii.,
appendix to preface, pp. lxii., lxiii.

[569] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 102.

[570] _Ib._ pp. 102–3. Cf. appendix to preface, _ib._ pp. c–ciii.

[571] _Itin._ a. 11.

[572] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 103.

[573] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 103. The Scottish authorities,
_Chron. Mailros_ and _Chron. Lanercost_, a. 1209, make the sum thirteen
thousand pounds. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 227, says twelve thousand
marks, and M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 525, eleven thousand
marks; the document in _Foedera_ is the best authority, although its
original is lost and it is obviously not altogether an accurate copy,
its date, “_Northampton_, 7th August,” being of course a transcriber’s
mistake for “Norham.”

[574] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 103.

[575] The first child of John and Isabel of Angoulême--the future Henry
III.--was born October 1, 1207; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 219. The
second, Richard, was born January 6, 1209; _Ann. Winton._ _ad ann._
Both the Scot king’s daughters were born before the end of 1195, when
one of them was betrothed to Otto of Saxony, R. Howden, vol. iii. pp.
299, 308.

[576] _Chron. Mailros_ and _Chron. Lanercost_, a. 1209.

[577] See above, pp. 26, 32, 45.

[578] _Ann. Cambriae_ and _Brut y Tywysogion_, a. 1197–1209.

[579] _Rot. Chart._ vol. i. pp. 23, 44, 63, 100 b, 103, 103 b, 104;
_Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 39, 40, 44 b, 51 b, 88, 89 b, 91; _Rot. Claus._
vol. i. pp. 23 b, 24. _Brut_, a. 1207, 1209.

[580] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 8 b.

[581] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 12.

[582] _Ann. Wigorn._ a. 1206.

[583] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 101.

[584] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 227; M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii.
p. 119. The event was not really so unprecedented as these writers
imagined; the princes of both North and South Wales had done homage to
Henry II. at Oxford in 1177. The chroniclers’ expressions about this
Welsh homage to John, however, show the impression which it made and
the importance which was attached to it.

[585] _Itin._ a. 11.

[586] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. appendix to preface, p. cvi.

[587] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1209.

[588] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 231.

[589] _Ib._ p. 229.

[590] R. Wendover, vol. ii. pp. 223, 224.

[591] _Ib._ p. 232.

[592] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1210.

[593] Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 100.

[594] _Ib._

[595] Ware, _Antiq._ p. 102, makes William Petit and William the
Marshal justiciars in 1191; but no authority is given. R. Diceto,
vol. ii. p. 99, says that Roger de Planes was “in tota terra comitis
[Johannis] justiciarius” when he was slain in October 1191; see above,
p. 29. Peter Pippard was justiciar in Ireland in 1194, according to
Henry of Marlborough as quoted in Butler’s _History of Trim Castle_, p.
3; and Hamo de Valognes held the office c. 1196–1197; cf. Gir. Cambr.
vol. v. p. 342, and Ware, _l.c._

[596] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 55; Gilbert, _Hist. Documents of
Ireland_, pp. 51–55. Other Irish Charters of John before his accession
to the crown--all dateless--are in _Rot. Canc. Hibern. Cal._ vol. i.
pt. i. pp. 2, 4, 5, and _Hist. MSS. Comm._ 4th Report, pp. 574, 581.

[597] Four Masters, a. 1195.

[598] He certainly was not killed in 1182 as the Four Masters say;
but he disappears after 1183. See _Dic. Nat. Biogr._ “Fitz-Gerald

[599] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 345, 409.

[600] In 1207 John confirmed to William de Barri a sub-enfeoffment made
by Fitz-Stephen to Philip de Barri, William’s father and Fitz-Stephen’s
nephew. _Rot. Chart._ p. 172.

[601] Four Masters, a. 1196, note.

[602] Cf. Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 342, and Four Masters, a. 1196.

[603] _Rot. Chart._ p. 98.

[604] _Ib._ p. 19 b. John made at the same time several other grants
of land within the honour, or kingdom, of Limerick, _ib._ All these
grants, however, except the grant to William de Burgh, seem to have
been cancelled by the later one to William de Braose; see below, p.
139. Half a cantred of land at “Tilra’ct in Kelsela” had been granted
by John to De Burgh before King Henry’s death, _Hist. MSS. Comm._, 3rd
Report, p. 231.

[605] Four Masters, a. 1198.

[606] Four Masters and _Ann. Loch Cé_, a. 1199–1202.

[607] _Rot. Chart._ p. 84 b.

[608] Dugdale, _Baronage_, pt. i. p. 414; who, however, has confused
father and son. See _Genealogist_, vol. iv. pp. 133–141, and _Dic. Nat.
Biog._ “Braose, William de.”

[609] His father was living in that year; _Monasticon_, vol. vi. pt. i.
p. 457.

[610] _Ann. Camb._ a. 1189, 1192, 1195, 1196; _Brut y Tywysogion_, a.
1196, 1197. Maud died in 1209, _Brut_, _ad ann._

[611] _Rot. Chart._ p. 80. Walter was the eldest son of Hugh de Lacy
who was killed in 1186.

[612] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 107.

[613] _Ann. Margan._ a. 1199.

[614] _Rot. Chart._ p. 66 b.

[615] _Rot. Oblat._ p. 99, “ad quodlibet scaccarium quingentas marcas

[616] _Rot. Chart._ p. 100 b.

[617] Carte’s _Life of Ormonde_, ed. 1851, vol. i. pp. xliv., xlv.;
_Rot. Chart._ pp. 19 b, 28.

[618] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 4, 7, 16 b, 18 b, 19 b.

[619] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. vi. vv. 478–492. The poet asserts that
William resigned his charge because he suspected John’s intentions
towards his prisoner. This would be shortly before the attempt to blind
Arthur, who was then in the custody of Hubert de Burgh.

[620] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 24 b.

[621] _Ann. Loch Cé_, a. 1203.

[622] _Rot. Chart._ p. 107 b.

[623] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 31 b.

[624] _Ib._ p. 39 b. On 29th April the commissioners are informed that
De Burgh is respited, and Meiler is bidden to give him seisin of his
lands again; _ib._ p. 41 b.

[625] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 46.

[626] _Ann. Loch Cé_, a. 1205; Four Masters, a. 1204.

[627] _Rot. Pat._ p. 60 b. They seem to have been restored to his son
Richard before July 11, 1214; _ib._ pp. 118 b, 119.

[628] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 91. Cf. _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 6 b.

[629] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 62.

[630] _Rot. Chart._ p. 68 b (a. 1200); _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 40(a.
1205). I am indebted to Mr. G. H. Orpen for the information that the
districts held by the English crown in Ireland were not known as “the
Pale” till after Poynings’s Act (1494), when the colonists were ordered
to maintain a ditch “six feet high on the side which neared next to the
Irishmen” (Joyce, _Hist. of Ireland_, p. 351).

[631] _Rot. Oblat._ p. 74.

[632] Eyton, _Hist. of Shropshire_, vol. v. pp. 257, 258.

[633] _Rot. Chart._ p. 133 b.

[634] _Rot. Pat._ p. 15.

[635] Four Masters, a. 1203.

[636] _Rot. Pat._ p. 34 b.

[637] _Ib._ pp. 45, 45 b.

[638] Four Masters, a. 1204.

[639] _Rot. Pat._ p. 54.

[640] _Rot. Chart._ p. 151--“de qua [_i.e._ Ultonia] ipsum cinximus in
comitem.” Date, May 29, 1205.

[641] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 40.

[642] _Rot. Chart._ pp. 133 b, 134.

[643] _Rot. Pat._ p. 45 b.

[644] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 6 b.

[645] _Rot. Pat._ p. 45 b. John had granted another charter to Dublin
on November 7, 1200; _Rot. Chart._ pp. 78 b, 79.

[646] _Rot. Pat._ p. 47.

[647] The Four Masters, a. 1205, describe the war as “between the
English of Meath and the English of Meiler”; but the only “English of
Meath” who took part in it seem to have been Walter de Lacy and his
personal followers. See _Rot. Pat._ p. 69 (February 21, 1206), where
John commends the barons of Meath and Leinster for not having supported
Walter in his strife with Meiler about Limerick.

[648] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 47 b.

[649] _Rot. Pat._ pp. 69 b, 70 b.

[650] His father was son of Henry I. by Nest, daughter of Rees ap
Griffith, prince of North Wales. Gir. Cambr. vol. i. p. 59.

[651] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. p. 356.

[652] Two cantreds in Kerry--“Akunkerry” and “Hyerba”--and one
“in terra de Corch”--“Yogenacht Lokhelen quae est terra de
Humurierdach”--to be holden by the service of fifteen knights. _Rot.
Chart._ p. 77 b.

[653] Gir. Cambr. vol. v. pp. 355, 356.

[654] He had had the eldest son ever since July 1205; _Hist. G. le
Mar._ vv. 13271–6.

[655] _Ib._ vv. 13311–20, 13350–584.

[656] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 77 b.

[657] See Note I. at end.

[658] _Rot. Claus._ p. 77 b.

[659] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 202.

[660] _Rot. Pat._ p. 74. Walter de Lacy, on his marriage with Margaret
de Braose, had promised that he would never give, sell, or pledge any
part of his land in England or Normandy without his father-in-law’s
consent; and this engagement had been embodied in a charter and
confirmed by the king. _Rot. Obl._ (a. 2 Joh.), p. 81. One of its
results seems to have been that De Braose took charge of Ludlow Castle;
it was he who on March 5, 1206, was summoned to deliver it up to Philip
d’Aubigné for the king; _Rot. Pat._ p. 69 b. On July 13, 1207, John
transferred its custody from D’Aubigné back to De Braose.

[661] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 13589–786.

[662] John was at Guildford December 27 to 28, 1207, and January 25 to
27, 1208; _Itin._ a. 9.

[663] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 13787–936.

[664] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 105.

[665] _Ib._ p. 106 b.

[666] _Rot. Chart._ p. 176.

[667] _Ib._ p. 178. Cf. _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 106.

[668] The bishop of Norwich was in Ireland before January 2, 1210
(_Rot. Misæ_, p. 144); Meiler had ceased to be justiciar before
February 16 of the same year (_ib._ p. 149); and the bishop was in
office as justiciar when the De Braoses arrived in Ireland towards the
end of 1209, as appears from _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14119–172. The
Four Masters’ account of Bishop John’s appointment and its consequences
is too amusing to be omitted. They say under the year 1208: “John,
bishop of Norwich, was sent by the king of England into Ireland as lord
justice; and the English were excommunicated by the successor of S.
Peter for sending the bishop to carry on war in Ireland.”

[669] The king speaks of her as Maud de la Haye, _Foedera_, vol. i. pt.
i. p. 107. But she witnesses a charter of her husband by the title of
“domina Matiltis de Sancto Walerico,” Round, _Cal. Doc. France_, vol.
i. p. 461. See the curious account of her--“fille fu Bernard de Saint
Waleri,” etc.--in _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_, pp. 111, 112.

[670] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 107. John was at Gloucester in 1208
April 22 and 23, and at Hereford April 24 to 28; _Itin._ a. 9.

[671] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 225. He brings in this story in
connexion with the general demand for hostages from the barons in 1208;
but his own account of the words used by William de Braose shows that
he was aware there was a special ground for the demand in De Braose’s

[672] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 108.

[673] _Rot. Pat._ p. 86 b.

[674] _Foedera_, _l.c._

[675] “Mès j’ai herbergié mon seignor, Si comme faire le deveie,”
_Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14214–15. How De Braose was “lord” of the
Marshal, I can find nothing to show.

[676] _Ib._ vv. 14137–52.

[677] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 108. John was at Cross-by-the-Sea,
close to Pembroke, from June 3 to June 16 inclusive, and at Crook on
June 20. _Itin._ a. 12.

[678] Cf. _Itin._ a. 12 and _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14259–66.

[679] June 30, Greenoge; July 2 and 3, Trim; July 4 and 5, Kells.
_Itin._ a. 12.

[680] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 108.

[681] _Ann. Cambr._ a. 1210, Rolls edition, pp. 66, 67, note.

[682] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14270–78. John was at Carrickfergus
July 19 to 28; _Itin._ a. 12.

[683] _Foedera_, _l.c._

[684] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 234.

[685] His itinerary from Carrickfergus is: July 29, Holywood; July
31, Ballymore; August 2, 3, Down; 4, Banbridge; 5, Carlingford; 8, 9,
Drogheda; 9, 10, Duleek; 10, 11, Kells; 11, Fowre; 12, Granard; 14,
Rathwire; 16, Castle Bret; 18–24, Dublin. _Itin._ a. 12.

[686] “_Reguli._” The _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_, pp. 112, 113,
tells how the king of Connaught came to John’s “service” at Dublin, and
how John while at Carrickfergus tried to catch the king of “Kenelyon”
in a trap, but was outwitted by the Irishman.

[687] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 233, 234.

[688] This assertion, adopted by many modern writers, seems to have
been first definitely made by Sir John Davies, in his _Discoverie of
the true causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued_, etc. (1612),
p. 121: “King John made xii. shires in Leinster and Mounster; namely,
Dublin, Kildare, Meth, Uriel, Catherlogh, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford,
Corke, Limeric, Kerrie, and Tipperary.”

[689] Ware, _Antiq._ c. v. p. 33.

[690] Patent granted by John to the citizens of Waterford, July 3, a.
r. 7 (1205), according to Ware, _l.c._

[691] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 218.

[692] Writs for a parliament held at some date between 1293 and 1298
were addressed to the _sheriffs_ of Dublin, Louth, Kildare, Waterford,
Tipperary, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, “Connaught,” and Roscommon, and to
the seneschals of the liberties of Meath, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and
Ulster. _Irish Archæological Society’s Miscellany_, p. 15.

[693] _Rot. Chart._ pp. 171 b, 172, 172 b. Cf. an inquisition ordered
April 3, 1206 (_Rot. Pat._ p. 60 b), which clearly implies that the
eastern half of the “kingdom of Cork” was then in the king’s hands.

[694] He is last mentioned as being in Dublin on August 24, and he was
at Fishguard on August 26; _Itin._ a. 12.

[695] _Rot. Pat._ pp. 131, 132 b, 151, 181.

[696] _Dict. Nat. Biog._ “Lacy, Hugh de (d. 1242).”

[697] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14286–372.

[698] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 108.

[699] See Note I. at end.




  [Rex] prudenter sane sibi et suis providens in hoc facto, licet
  id multis ignominiosum videretur, et enorme servitutis jugum.
  Cum enim res in arto esset, et undique timor vehemens, nulla erat
  via compendiosior imminens evadendi periculum, nec forsitan alia;
  quoniam ex quo se in protectione posuit apostolica, et regna sua
  beati Petri patrimonium fecit, non erat in orbe Romano princeps qui
  in sedis apostolicae injuriam vel illum infestare, vel illa invadere

              W. COVENTRY, ii. 210.

[Sidenote: 1210–10]

During John’s absence in Ireland, England had been disquieted by
rumours of a threatened Welsh invasion. His ministers, however,
faced the peril boldly; the justiciar, the treasurer (Bishop Peter
of Winchester), and the earl of Chester marched into Wales with
“a great host” and built three castles on Welsh soil,[700] and on
the king’s return the Welsh “vanished,” as a chronicler says, into
their mountains, “and the land kept silence before him.”[701] John,
however, was in no mood, now that England, Scotland and Ireland were
all at his feet, to be content with mere silence on the part of the
Welsh princes, and especially of his own son-in-law, Llywelyn, who,
having secured the hand of the king’s daughter and the mastery over
the greater part of Wales, was now openly turning against the power
by whose help he had risen. The case is frankly stated by a Welsh
chronicler: “Llywelyn, son of Jorwerth, made cruel attacks upon the
English; and on that account King John became enraged, and formed
a design of entirely divesting Llywelyn of his dominion.”[702] The
native rivals whom Llywelyn had forced into submission were always on
the watch for a chance of flinging off the North-Welsh yoke; and when
John assembled his host at Chester, seemingly in the third week of May
1211,[703] he was joined by most of the chieftains of the south.[704]
At the tidings of his approach, “Llywelyn,” says the same chronicler,
“moved with his forces into the middle of the country, and his property
to the mountain of Eryri (Snowdon); and the forces of Mona, with their
property, in the same manner. Then the king, with his army, came to
the castle of Dyganwy. And there the army was in so great a want of
provisions that an egg was sold for a penny halfpenny, and it was a
delicious feast to them to get horseflesh; and on that account the king
returned to England, after disgracefully losing many of his men and
much property.”[705]

[Sidenote: 1211]

Whatever military “disgrace” there may have been was speedily wiped
out; John had only gone home to collect fresh supplies and larger
forces.[706] Setting forth again from Whitchurch in July,[707] “the
king”--again it is a Welsh chronicler who tells the story--“returned
to Wales, his mind being more cruel and his army larger; and he built
many[708] castles in Gwynedd. And he proceeded over the river Conway
towards the mountain of Eryri, and incited some of his troops to burn
Bangor. And there Robert, bishop of Bangor, was seized in his church,
and was afterwards ransomed for two hundred hawks.” Llywelyn sent his
wife to make terms for him with her father, and was received into
the king’s peace on delivering up to him a large number of hostages,
paying a heavy indemnity in cattle and horses, “and consigning also
the midland district to the king for ever. And thereupon all the Welsh
princes, except Rhys and Owain, the sons of Gruffydd, son of Rhys,
made peace with the king; and the king returned victoriously, and
with extreme joy, to England.”[709] Of course the peace was a hollow
one, like every other peace with the Welsh; but for the moment John’s
success was complete. “In Ireland, Scotland, and Wales there was no
man who did not obey the nod of the king of England--a thing which, it
is well known, had never happened to any of his forefathers; and he
would have appeared happy indeed, and successful to the utmost of his
desires, had he not been despoiled of his territories beyond the sea,
and under the ban of the Church.”[710]

[Sidenote: 1210]

To neither of these drawbacks was John altogether indifferent. He
was only biding his time to make a great effort for the removal of
the first; and although the second appeared, as yet, to have made no
difference to his political position, he was not insensible to the
dangers which it might involve. He was still playing with both primate
and Pope. In the spring of 1210 he had made another feint of renewing
negotiations with Stephen Langton, had sent him a safe-conduct for a
conference to be held at Dover, and had actually gone thither (May 4),
ostensibly for the purpose of meeting him. But the safe-conduct was
irregular in form; and this circumstance, coupled with a warning from
some English barons, made Stephen refuse to trust himself in John’s
power.[711] The king vented his wrath by cutting down the woods on
all the archbishop’s manors.[712] On his return from Ireland he dealt
a heavy blow at the religious orders. Towards the end of October he
called together in London the heads of all the religious houses in
England, and compelled them to give him sums of money, of which the
total is said to have amounted to one hundred thousand pounds.[713] The
Cistercians, whom he had spared in the earlier days of the Interdict,
had to bear the brunt of his exactions now; they “were forced to
find him chariots with horses and men,”[714] or, as another writer
explains it, their privileges were quashed, and they had to give the
king forty thousand pounds;[715] moreover, their abbots were forbidden
to attend the triennial chapter of the order at Cîteaux, “lest their
piteous complaints should exasperate the whole world against such an

[Sidenote: 1211]

In June or July 1211[717] the cardinal subdeacon Pandulf, who was much
in the Pope’s confidence, and a Templar named Durand came to England
“that they might restore peace between the Crown and the clergy.”[718]
They seem to have been sent at the king’s request. The terms of the
commission which they had received from the Pope are known from a
reissue of it two years later. They were to exhort John to make
satisfaction “according to a form subscribed between ourself” (the
Pope) “and his envoys.” If he would publicly take an oath of absolute
obedience to the Pope’s mandates on all matters for which he was under
excommunication, they were to give him absolution; and when they had
obtained from him security for the reinstatement of the archbishop of
Canterbury, they were to withdraw the interdict.[719] John met them
on his return from Wales, at Northampton, on August 30,[720] and
received them publicly in a great assembly of the barons. The details
of the conference rest only upon the authority of two comparatively
late monastic chronicles; but there is no reason for doubting the
correctness of the main outlines of their story. The envoys called upon
John to make satisfaction to the Church, restore the property which
he had taken from her ministers, and receive Archbishop Stephen, the
exiled bishops, their kinsfolk and their friends “fairly and in peace.”
The king answered that they might make him swear to restore everything,
and he would do whatever else they liked, “but if that fellow Stephen
sets foot in my land, I will have him hanged.” A discussion followed as
to the circumstances of Stephen’s election and the respective rights
of Pope and King in such matters. John ended by offering to receive as
archbishop any one whom the Pope might choose except Stephen, and to
give Stephen another see if he would resign all claims upon Canterbury.
Pandulf scornfully rejected this proposal. At last, in presence of
the whole council, he pronounced to John’s face the papal sentence
of excommunication, of which, he said, the publication had only been
delayed till his own arrival in England and that of his colleagues;
he absolved all John’s subjects from their allegiance, bade them be
ready to join the ranks and obey the leader of any host which the Pope
might send to England, and denounced not only John himself, but also
all his posterity, as for ever incapacitated for the office of king.
It is said that on this John bade the sheriffs and foresters who were
present bring in whatever prisoners they had in their charge, and
gave orders for the hanging of some and the blinding or mutilation
of others, to show the papal envoys his own absolute power and his
ruthlessness in the exercise of it; that among the prisoners was a
clerk charged with forgery, whom he ordered to be hanged; that Pandulf
wanted to excommunicate at once any one who should lay hands on this
man, and went out of the hall to fetch a candle for the purpose,
but that the king followed him and gave up the accused clerk “to his
judgement”--which of course meant, to be set at liberty.[721] Whether
or not the mock tragedy enacted between king and cardinal really ended
in this strange fashion, the result of the conference was clearly
the same as that of all previous diplomacy between Innocent III. and
John: the Pope gained nothing and the king lost nothing. Pandulf and
Durand went back to Rome accompanied by envoys from John;[722] an order
was issued for the recall of the exiles, but it seems to have taken
the form of a writ bidding all bishops and beneficed clergy return
before next mid-summer, “on pain of losing their property.”[723] The
excommunicate sovereign kept his Christmas feast at Windsor,[724] and
found a new triumph awaiting him at the opening of the new year.

[Sidenote: 1212]

King William of Scotland, stricken in years and with no male heir save
one young son, the child of his old age, was hard pressed by a party in
his realm who rallied round a certain Cuthred MacWilliam, a descendant
of the older line of Scottish kings which the house of Malcolm and
Margaret had ousted from the succession. In despair of overcoming
these rebels, William turned to England for succour, and early in 1212
“committed himself, his kingdom and his son to the care” of his English
overlord.[725] Before Ash Wednesday (February 7) he had formally
granted to John the right to dispose of young Alexander in marriage,
“as his liegeman,” within six years from that date.[726] On Mid-Lent
Sunday, March 4, the boy was knighted by John, “as the king held a
festival in the Hospital of S. Bridget at Clerkenwell.”[727] Later
in the year an English army marched to William’s aid. John himself
probably led his troops as far as Hexham, where he was on June 27,[728]
and then sent them on to Scotland with instructions which proved
sufficient to secure the object of their expedition. They scoured the
country till Cuthred fell into their power; and the struggle of the old
Scottish royal house against the “modern kings” ended, for a time at
least, with the hanging of its champion by English hands.[729]

[Sidenote: 1211]

Meanwhile, John had never lost sight of his plans for a renewal of the
war with France. The first need of course was money. It was probably
in the hope of finding some additional sources of revenue which could
be claimed for the Crown that on his return from Ireland he ordered
an inquiry into all assizes of novel disseisin which had been held
during his absence, and also into the right of presentation to,
and actual tenancy of, all ecclesiastical benefices throughout the
country.[730] An inquest into the services due from the knights and
other tenants-in-chief in every shire was ordered in the same year or
early in the next;[731] and an inquest concerning escheated honours and
the services due from them was set on foot shortly afterwards.[732]
In 1211 “the king of France seized all the English ships that touched
his shores, and therefore”--says the Dunstable annalist--“the king
of England seized many men of the Cinque Ports”;[733] a statement
which we can only suppose to mean one of two things: either that John
suspected some of the ships to have been willing prizes, or that he was
dissatisfied with the way in which his sailors had executed, or failed
to execute, some order which he had given for retaliation. In either
case, however, it is clear that he made his displeasure a ground for
further exactions from the leading men of the southern coast towns.

[Sidenote: 1197–1209]

Of far greater moment than the desultory skirmishes between the
sailors of England and France was the scheme of European coalition
against Philip which John had been gradually building up during the
past ten years. One of the most important elements in his political
calculations throughout those years was the course of events in
Germany. The death of the Emperor Henry VI. in September 1197 had
been followed by a disputed election to the imperial crown, the late
Emperor’s brother, Philip of Suabia, claiming it for himself against
the candidate chosen by the majority of the electors, Otto of Saxony,
a son of Duke Henry the Lion and Maud, daughter of Henry II. of
England.[734] The Suabian prince was backed by his powerful family
connexions, including the duke of Austria, son and successor of Richard
Cœur-de-Lion’s old enemy Leopold. Otto’s youth had been passed in
exile at the court of his Angevin grandfather, and he was a special
favourite of his uncle Richard, who granted him first the earldom of
York and afterwards the county of Poitou, and whose influence with some
of the princes of the empire had had a share in procuring him their
votes. It was, therefore, obvious policy for his rival and the king of
France to make common cause against him and his kinsman of England.
A treaty of alliance between the two Philips was signed on June 29,
1198.[735] In 1200 Otto sent his two brothers to demand for him from
John a renewal of the investiture of York and of Poitou, and also--if
we may believe Roger of Howden--two-thirds of Richard’s treasure and
all his jewels, which he said Richard had bequeathed to him. His
assertion was correct with regard to the jewels, but the other claims
are so unreasonable that it is difficult to believe that they can have
had any justification.[736] John, however, had an answer ready for
all these demands. The envoys did not reach him till after the treaty
of Gouleton (May 1200) was signed, and by that treaty he was pledged
to give no help of any kind to Otto without the consent of the French
king.[737] This excuse, indeed, was only temporary; in June 1201 the
Pope recognized Otto as lawful emperor-elect;[738] and though John was
at that very moment renewing his treaty with France, the uncle and
nephew speedily drew together. Throughout the vicissitudes of the next
six years John never lost sight of the community of their interests;
he constantly showed his sense of it by letters and presents, by loans
and gifts of money, and by grants of trading and other privileges in
England to the German and Flemish cities which supported Otto,[739]
as well as by undertaking the custody of at least one prisoner of
importance who belonged to the party of Otto’s rival.[740] Otto, whose
fortunes were gradually rising throughout these years, was so fully
alive to the value of the English alliance that in May 1207 he came
to London for a personal interview with John. It is said that on this
occasion Otto promised to conquer the realm of France and make it over
to his uncle, all except three cities, Paris, Etampes and Orléans,
which Philip Augustus had once jestingly said he would bestow upon Otto
himself if ever the latter became emperor. John gave his nephew six
thousand marks,[741] and received from him the symbolical gift of a
great golden crown.[742] As yet, indeed, Otto was only emperor-elect,
and had the conquest of his own realms to complete ere he could
attempt that of France. But his fortunes were steadily rising; his
rival, Philip of Suabia, was slain in the following summer;[743] and
on October 4, 1209, just at the moment of his uncle’s triumph over the
English Church, he was crowned by the Pope at Rome.[744]

[Sidenote: 1210–1211]

Within a year, however, Pope and Emperor had quarrelled, and Otto was
excommunicated.[745] This was, of course, an additional bond of union
between him and John. At the same time, a kinsman of both princes was
setting the Pope and the French king alike at defiance. Count Raymond
of Toulouse, the husband of John’s sister Joan, had from the outset
favoured the heretics who for the last two years had kept southern
Gaul in turmoil; in 1211 he openly allowed them to concentrate in his
capital city, and headed their resistance to the forces which Innocent
and Philip had sent against them under Simon de Montfort. Toulouse
was besieged, but John and Otto kept their kinsman so well supplied
with the means of defence and sustenance that the “crusaders” at last
grew hopeless of taking it and raised the siege. Otto had answered
the Pope’s excommunication by conquering Tuscia, Apulia and Calabria;
whereupon Innocent published another sentence, deposing him from his
imperial office and his German kingdom, and bidding the princes of the
empire elect a new sovereign in his stead.

[Sidenote: 1211–1212]

John, “with such a comrade,” grew bolder than ever.[746] The common
interest of the three excommunicate kinsmen obviously lay in crushing
France, the ally of the Pope; and the moment seemed at hand for
the fulfilment of John’s highest hopes. John and Raymond in the
south, John and Otto in the north and east, might hem in Philip
Augustus completely, if the princes of the border-land of France and
Germany--Boulogne, Flanders, the Netherlands, Lorraine--could be so
won over as to insure their co-operation in the plans of the uncle
and nephew for the conquest and dismemberment of the French kingdom.
To this end John’s utmost powers of diplomacy had been devoted for
many years past; and in the case of most of these princes the end
was now gained. In the autumn of 1211 Reginald of Boulogne, whose
policy had long been wavering, quarrelled openly with Philip and took
refuge with his kinsman the count of Bar;[747] in May 1212 he was in
England, pledging his homage and his service to John. By the middle
of August the counts of Bar, Limburg, Flanders and Louvain were all
pledged to John’s side.[748] John himself was meanwhile preparing for
an expedition to Gascony; on June 15 thirty-nine English towns were
ordered to furnish contingents of men “ready to cross the sea with the
king in his service when he should require them.”[749]

[Sidenote: 1212]

A month later, however, the destination of his armament was changed.
Just as his plans were ripe for an attack upon France, they were
checked once more by the necessity of guarding his realm against the
Welsh. Before the close of 1211 Llywelyn--provoked, as he declared,
by “the many insults done to him by the men of the king”--had
leagued himself with his former rivals in South Wales and taken
“all the castles which John had made in Gwynedd, except Dyganwy and
Rhuddlan.”[750] And this time the league was more likely to hold
together than was usually the case with alliances formed by the Welsh
princes either with their neighbours or with each other; for a new hope
had dawned upon the Welsh people. The tidings of John’s excommunication
and deposition by the Pope had penetrated into Wales; and in this
matter the Welsh, although of all Christian nations probably the least
amenable to ecclesiastical discipline and the least submissive to
ecclesiastical authority, became full of zeal to do the utmost that in
them lay towards carrying out the Papal sentence against their overlord
and conqueror. “They with one consent,” says their own chronicler,
“rose against the king, and bravely wrested from him the midland
district which he had previously taken from Llywelyn.”[751] The version
of the English chroniclers is that the Welsh invaded the English
border, took some castles and beheaded their garrisons, carried off a
mass of plunder, and then burned everything and slew every man that
they could lay their hands on.[752]

It was clear that an end must be made of this Welsh trouble before
John could venture across the Channel. He changed his plans with his
usual promptitude. In July the king’s escheators throughout England
were ordered to see that the escheats in their custody should furnish
each a certain number of carpenters and other labourers provided with
proper tools, and with money enough to carry them to Chester. Writs
were also issued to Alan of Galloway bidding him send a thousand of his
“best and bravest men,” to William the Marshal, Bishop John of Norwich,
and others of the king’s liegemen in Ireland, and to the tenants by
serjeanty throughout England, requiring their personal attendance; the
place of muster for all alike being Chester, and the appointed date
Sunday, August 19.[753] On August 16, however, the king sent out from
Nottingham a notice that he was unable to be at Chester on the day
fixed, and that the muster would not take place.[754] The orders which
he issued next day indicate that he was contemplating a diversion by
sea, part of the fleet being ordered to sail from Chester, coast along
North Wales, and “do as much harm to the enemy as possible,” while
another part was to assemble at Bristol.[755] He probably meant to
await the result of these movements, as well as of some negotiations
which he was carrying on with the South Welsh chieftains,[756] before
deciding whether his main advance should be made by way of North or
South Wales.

The host finally mustered at Nottingham in the second week of
September.[757] The chivalry of England gathered {Sept. 9–15} round the
king “in such array and in such numbers,” says a contemporary, “that no
man of our day remembers the like.”[758] John’s first act on reaching
the muster-place, “before he tasted food,” was to hang twenty-eight
of the hostages whom he had taken from the Welsh in the previous
year.[759] But “suddenly God brought his counsel to nought.”[760] As
he sat at table there came to him a breathless messenger from the king
of Scots, followed by one from the Princess Joan of Wales, John’s
daughter and Llywelyn’s wife. Both messengers brought letters whose
contents, they said, were weighty and secret. When the two letters
were read, their purport proved to be almost identical. William and
Joan alike warned the king that his barons were preparing to act
upon the papal sentence which absolved them from their allegiance,
and, if he persisted in leading them to war, either to turn and slay
him themselves, or deliver him up to death at the hands of his Welsh
enemies.[761] Such a warning, coming at the same instant from two such
different quarters, was not to be lightly put aside. It was emphasized
by the sudden disappearance of two barons, Eustace de Vesci and
Robert FitzWalter, who at once secretly withdrew from the host.[762]
John could hardly doubt the significance of their departure at such
a moment. He dismissed his army and moved by slow stages back to

The month which had elapsed between John’s order countermanding the
muster at Chester and his return to Nottingham had been spent by him
in a progress through the north;[764] and it was probably during this
time that there came to his ears a prediction concerning him spoken by
one Peter, variously described as “of Pontefract” or “of Wakefield.”
This Peter was “a simple countryman,” who lived on bread and water,
and was counted among the people for a prophet. He foretold that on
the next Ascension Day John should cease to be king. Whether John was
to die, or to be driven from the land, or to abdicate, Peter could not
say; he only knew that it had been revealed to him in a vision that
after the king had reigned prosperously for fourteen years, neither
he nor his heirs should rule any more, “but one who is pleasing to
God.”[765] John, on hearing of this prophecy, laughed it to scorn;
but when Peter was found to be wandering all over the north country
publishing his supposed vision wherever he went, some of the king’s
friends deemed it prudent to take the prophet into custody.[766]
He was brought before John himself, who asked for more explicit
information as to his own impending fate. Peter only replied, “Know
thou of a surety that on the day which I have named, thou shalt be
king no more; and if I be proved a liar, do with me as thou wilt.”
“According to thy word, so be it,” answered John; and he sent the man
to be imprisoned at Corfe.[767] This precaution, however, defeated
its own end; Peter’s captivity in a royal dungeon gave to him and
his prophecy a new importance in popular estimation; his words were
repeated far and wide, and believed “as if they had been spoken by a
voice from Heaven.”[768] The dread which they are said to have inspired
in the king himself[769] proves nothing as to whether, or how far, he
shared the superstitious credulity of his people. Apart from all such
questions, he had obviously a sufficient reason for alarm in the fact
that the general acceptance of a political prophecy naturally tends to
work its fulfilment.

Other influences were working in the same direction. Even without the
special warnings which he had received at Nottingham, John must have
been well aware that he had, as Roger of Wendover says, “almost as many
enemies as he had barons.”[770] The question was only how soon their
silent hate would break out in open defiance, and whether he could once
more terrify or beguile them into submission before the smouldering
embers of their discontent were kindled into a general conflagration
by Innocent’s anathema and Peter’s prophecy. On reaching London he
addressed to all those whose fidelity he suspected a new demand for
hostages, “that he might prove who would and who would not obey his
orders.” The response showed that he was even yet stronger than he
himself had dared to believe. From many of these men he had already
had hostages in his keeping for years; several of them had suffered
in their family relations a far deeper injury at his hands; yet once
again, at his bidding, they gave up to him sons, nephews, kinsmen, “as
many as he would, not daring to resist his commands.”[771] Eustace de
Vesci and Robert Fitz-Walter alone refused all purgation, and fled,
the one to Scotland, the other to France; their castles were seized,
their lands confiscated, and themselves outlawed.[772] With his own
servants and clerks the king dealt in yet more summary fashion; those
among them whom he suspected were arrested and cast into prison.[773]
Fresh humiliations were heaped upon the clergy. The Cistercians are
said to have been mulcted of twenty-two thousand pounds in punishment
for the help which they were supposed to have given to the enemies of
Raymond of Toulouse;[774] and all the English clergy, both regular
and secular, were forced to set their hands to a deed whereby they
renounced all pecuniary claims against the king, and declared that
all the money which he had had from them since his accession was a
free and voluntary gift.[775] On the other hand, John was taking some
pains to conciliate the people. He checked the severity of the Forest
administration. He forbade the extortions practised by his officers on
merchants and pilgrims. “Moreover, he is said to have showed mercy on
widows, and done what in him lay to promote peace in temporal affairs.”
Sternness and conciliation alike did their work. Again “the land kept
silence”;[776] and it seems that the first sound which broke the
silence was a declaration of the barons in favour of the king.

Some time between the summer of 1212 and the spring of 1213 two
remarkable letters were written by John, the one to his chief justiciar
in Ireland, Bishop John of Norwich, the other to Earl William the
Marshal.[777] Both letters deal with the same subjects, and they were
evidently despatched both at once. The king greatly commends the
bishop’s discretion in the matter of “the oath of fealty lately sworn
to us by our barons of Ireland, for the greater safety of ourself and
our realm,” for which, he says, he is sending letters of thanks to
them all. He expresses the warmest gratitude to William the Marshal,
“as their spokesman in this matter, and also as the one from whose
suggestion and sole desire we doubt not this thing took its rise, and
to whom we are indebted for the ready disposition and devotion of all
the rest.” He states further that he is sending to the bishop, the
earl, and the other barons of the March “copies of the letters patent
which our magnates of England have drawn up for us,” and he requests
that the barons of Ireland will “set their seals to letters of similar
tenour, and send them to us.” Lastly, he alludes to some advice which
the Marshal and the other lay barons in Ireland “have sent to us about
making peace with the Church,” and desires that they will “provide,
by the common counsel of our faithful subjects in those parts, a
form whereby peace may be made sure without injury to our liberties
and rights,” and transmit it to him. “See you to it,” he adds to the
justiciar, “that this be done.”[778]

We can hardly doubt that there is some connexion between these letters
and another yet more remarkable document, whose date must lie between
Pandulf’s visit in August 1211 and the spring of 1213. This is a
manifesto addressed “to all faithful Christians” by “the whole of the
magnates of Ireland,” with William the Marshal and Meiler Fitz-Henry
at their head, expressing their “grief and astonishment” that the Pope
should propose to absolve the subjects of the king of England from
their allegiance, and declaring their approval of John’s political
conduct and their determination to “live and die with their king.”[779]
This manifesto may have been drawn up when the barons of the Irish
March, at the Marshal’s suggestion, renewed their fealty to John; or it
may have been their answer to John’s request that they would set their
hands to and transmit to him letters patent similar to those which, he
says, had been “made for him” by the magnates of England. There is,
indeed, another possible alternative. On more than one occasion, and
by more than one chronicler, John is charged with forging letters and
other like documents. The letter ascribed to the magnates of Ireland
and the letters--of which nothing is now known--sent to them by John as
having been issued by the magnates of England may therefore have been
both alike forgeries. There is, however, nothing to indicate that such
was the case. If it was not, then it seems that the barons of England,
who in the autumn of 1212 were believed to be on the verge of rebellion
or something worse, were yet so weak, as well as so false, that John
could force from them a collective declaration in writing which,
whatever its precise import may have been, was evidently a declaration
in his interest and for his advantage; and that in the same crisis the
barons of the Irish March, acting under the guidance of the noblest and
wisest man in their whole order, ranged themselves boldly on the side
of John against all his enemies. The king, to whom for a moment ruin
had seemed so near that he himself gave way to despair, was within a
few months, perhaps even a few weeks, outwardly more than ever supreme.

On the other hand, those same loyal barons in Ireland who seem to
have so emphatically declared their resolve to stand by the king in
resistance to the papal sentence of deposition had yet urged upon
him the importance of procuring a withdrawal of that sentence by
endeavouring to make peace with the Church. Whether they did, according
to John’s request, draft a form of proposals to be laid before the
Pope, there is nothing to show; but it is certain that in November John
despatched to Rome four envoys charged to offer his acceptance of the
terms which Pandulf and Durand had proposed fifteen months before.[780]

[Sidenote: 1212–13]

John, in fact, knew well how unsubstantial his apparent supremacy was,
and how hollow were the foundations on which it rested. He knew that if
he wished to prevent the fulfilment of Peter’s prophecy, he must now
disarm once for all, and secure permanently for his own interest, some
one at least of the various enemies, or groups of enemies, against whom
he had been struggling for six years at such overwhelming odds. By the
end of 1212 the signs of the times were beginning to point out who this
one must be; by the early spring of 1213 there could no longer be any
doubt on the point. The fortunes of war in Germany and in southern Gaul
had shattered John’s hopes of crushing Innocent and Philip Augustus
both at once. In Aquitaine Simon de Montfort and his “crusaders” were
gradually winning their way against the Albigenses, and Raymond of
Toulouse was practically ruined. In Germany the young King Frederic
of Sicily had at the Pope’s instigation been elected to the empire
in Otto’s stead. Otto sought to regain his footing in the country by
marrying the daughter of his former rival, {August} Duke Philip of
Suabia; but the bride died a few days after her marriage;[781] and in
November (1212) the political league which Innocent was building up
against Otto and John was completed by a treaty of alliance between
Frederic and Philip Augustus.[782] Triumphant everywhere on the
continent, Innocent resolved to make an end of matters with John. In
the winter of 1212 Stephen Langton and the bishops of Ely and London
carried to Rome in person their complaints against their sovereign,
and their entreaties that such a state of things should be suffered to
continue no longer. In January 1213 they returned to the French court
accompanied by Pandulf, and bringing with them a letter from the Pope
to the French king.[783] Innocent in this letter solemnly laid upon
Philip, for his soul’s health, the task of expelling the English king
from his realm, and bade him assume in John’s stead the sovereignty
of England for himself and his heirs for ever.[784] It is said that
the Pope wrote at the same time to the other sovereigns and princes
of Europe, bidding them join under Philip’s leadership in a sort of
crusade against John, and granting to all who should take part in this
expedition the same privileges, temporal and spiritual, which were
conferred on pilgrims to the Holy Sepulchre.[785]

These letters and the papal decree for John’s deposition were publicly
read to the French bishops, clergy and people in a council assembled
for that purpose at Soissons on the Monday in Holy Week, April 8.[786]
It was no new idea that the papal mandate suggested to Philip Augustus.
For a whole year at least he had been contemplating the conquest of
England and the establishment of his eldest son, Louis, upon its
throne; in April 1212 Louis had already arranged the terms on which
he would receive the homage of the English barons and the political
relation in which he was to stand towards his father after his own
coronation in England.[787] To Philip and Louis the Pope’s commission
was merely the signal that their longed-for hour had come. “Then the
king of the French, hearing and receiving the thing which he had long
desired, girded himself up for the fight,” and bade all his men, on
pain of “culvertage,” be ready to meet him at Rouen on April 21, the
first Sunday after Easter;[788] and ships, victuals, arms and men were
rapidly gathered together in answer to his call.[789]

[Sidenote: 1213]

Still more prompt and vigorous were John’s preparations for defence.
He seems to have begun by ordering that all English ships should
return to the ports to which they severally belonged not later than
the first Sunday in Lent, March 3. On that day he despatched writs to
the bailiffs of the seaport towns, bidding them make out a list of the
vessels which they found in their respective ports capable of carrying
six horses or more, and direct the captains and owners of all such
vessels, in his name, to bring them to Portsmouth at Mid-Lent (March
21), “well manned with good and brave mariners, well armed, who shall
go on our service at our expense.”[790] He next bade the sheriffs
summon all earls, barons, knights, freemen and sergeants, whosoever
they were and of whomsoever they held, who ought to have arms or could
get them, and who had done him homage and fealty, to the intent that,
“as they love us and themselves and all that is theirs, they be at
Dover at the close of Easter next, well prepared with horses and arms
and with all their might to defend our head, and their own heads, and
the land of England. And let no man who can bear arms stay behind, on
pain of culvertage and perpetual servitude; and let each man follow
his own lord; and let those who have no land and can carry arms come
thither to take our pay.” Each sheriff was to see that all sales of
victuals and all markets within his sheriffdom “followed the host,”
and that none were held elsewhere within his jurisdiction. He himself
was to come to the muster “in force, with horses and arms,” and to
bring his roll, whereby the king might be certified who had obeyed his
summons and who had stayed behind.[791]

England responded as quickly and readily as France to the call of
her king; the threat of “culvertage” seems to have acted upon the
Englishmen of John’s day as the threat of being accounted “nithing” had
acted upon their forefathers in the days of William Rufus and Henry I.;
they came together at the appointed places--Dover, Faversham and
Ipswich--in such crowds that in a few days, despite John’s precautions,
the supply of food became insufficient, and the marshals of the host
found it needful to dismiss the greater part of the light-armed troops,
retaining only the knights, sergeants and better-armed freemen, with
the cross-bowmen and archers. The picked body thus left, which was
finally reviewed by the king on Barham Down, near Canterbury, {May 4–6}
was still so numerous that a patriotic chronicler declares, “If they
had been all of one heart and mind for king and country, there was
no prince under heaven against whom they could not have defended the
realm of England.”[792] How many of the barons in the host had come to
it with the intention of going over to Philip as soon as he landed,
it is useless to inquire; perhaps the only one whom we can with full
confidence acquit of any such suspicion is William the Marshal.[793]
The king’s plan, however, was that his fleet should intercept the
invaders and “drown them in the sea before ever they could set foot on
the land”; and as his ships were more numerous than Philip’s, the plan
had a good chance of success.[794]

But the first check to Philip’s enterprise was to come from another
quarter. Even if we could perceive no outward indication of the Pope’s
motives in giving his commission to the French king, we should still
find it hard to believe that so far-seeing a statesman as Innocent III.
seriously contemplated with approval the prospect of a French conquest
of England. At the moment, indeed, France was the most efficient
political instrument of the Papacy; but it could scarcely be a part of
the papal policy to give her such an overwhelming predominance as she
would have acquired by the annexation of England to her crown. England,
no less than France, had her place in the European political system, of
which Innocent looked upon himself as the director and the guardian;
and the extinction of England as an independent state would have
destroyed the balance of powers which it was a special function of the
Papacy to maintain with the utmost care, and whose preservation was of
great importance to Innocent for carrying into effect his own political
designs. There can hardly be a reasonable doubt that he made use of
Philip’s ambition for a purpose of his own, a purpose which was really
the direct opposite of that which Philip had in view--the purpose, not
of crushing England, but of winning her back to the Roman alliance, and
thus securing her as a counterpoise, in case of need, to the power of
Philip himself.[795] In a word, Innocent and John had simultaneously
recognized the fact that, in the interest of both alike, the time for
their reconciliation had come.

John, as we have seen, had paved the way by offering, at the close
of 1212, his acceptance of the terms proposed by the Pope in 1211.
Innocent’s reply to this offer was written on February 27, 1213.
Although, he said, he considered himself no longer bound by his own
terms, since the king had rejected them, yet for the sake of peace he
was willing to abide by the form of agreement thus again proposed, if
before June 1 the king would, by an oath sworn in his presence by four
barons, and by letters patent addressed to the archbishop of Canterbury
and the other exiled bishops, promise to keep it faithfully and fulfil
it effectually, “according to the expositions and explanations which
we have thought good to be set forth for the removal of all scruple
and doubt.” In May, when all England was expecting the attack of
Philip Augustus, three of John’s messengers brought back from Rome
this letter, together with a copy of the form originally committed
to Pandulf and Durand, and the “expositions and explanations” of the
arrangements now required on both sides to insure its execution.[796]
All these documents seem to have been communicated to Pandulf in
a private interview which he had with the Pope on the eve of his
departure from Rome in January;[797] at any rate he was well aware of
their contents and fully instructed how to act in consequence. Just
as the French fleet was ready to sail, he in the Pope’s name forbade
all further proceedings against England till he should have once more
appealed to John and learned whether he would yet repent.[798] Close
upon the return of the English envoys from Rome followed two Templars,
who landed at Dover with a message from Pandulf to the king, requesting
an interview. It took place at Dover on May 13. In presence of king
and legate, the earls of Salisbury, Warren, and Ferrars and the count
of Boulogne swore in John’s behalf the oath of security required by
Innocent; and on the same day John published by letters patent the
agreement concluded between himself and Pandulf in the form which the
Pope had prescribed.[799]

Two days later--on Wednesday, May 15--king and legate met again, “with
the great men of the realm,” in the house of the Knights Templars
at Ewell, near Dover. There, by a charter attested by himself, the
archbishop of Dublin, the chief justiciars of England and Ireland,
seven earls (of whom the Marshal was one), and three barons, the king
“granted and freely surrendered to God and His holy Apostles Peter and
Paul, and to the Holy Mother Church of Rome, and to Pope Innocent and
his Catholic successors,” the whole realm of England and “the whole
realm of Ireland,” with all rights thereunto appertaining, to receive
them back and hold them thenceforth as a feudatary of God and the
Roman Church. He swore fealty to the Pope for both realms in Pandulf’s
presence, promised to perform liege homage to the Pope in person if
he should ever have an opportunity of so doing, and pledged all his
successors to a like engagement, besides undertaking to furnish the
Roman see with a yearly sum of one thousand marks--seven hundred for
England and three hundred for Ireland.[800]

One English chronicler says that John, in performing this homage, acted
“according to what had been decreed at Rome.”[801] Another, not less
generally accurate and well informed, says that John “added it of his
own accord” to the agreement already completed.[802] On the whole,
it is probable that this latter account of the matter is the correct
one, at least thus far, that the scheme originated not at Rome, but
in England. Not much weight can indeed be attached to the king’s own
assertion, made in the charter of homage itself, that the act was a
voluntary one, which he had done by way of penance and humiliation for
his offences, “not urged by force nor compelled by fear, but of our
own good free will and by the common counsel of our barons”;[803] nor
is the accuracy of this version of the transaction proved by the fact
that Innocent accepted it without remark in his reply to John’s letters
on the subject,[804] and that no extant document emanating from the
court of Rome contains the slightest indication that the Pope had ever
demanded or suggested any proceeding of the kind. There is, however,
no perceptible reason why Innocent should have required of John a
penance of so extraordinary a character, nor why, if he did require
it, either he or his royal penitent should make a secret of his having
done so. On the other hand, John had a very cogent reason for “adding
something of his own” to the agreement between himself and Innocent.
If he was to give up all for which he had been fighting--and fighting
successfully--against the Pope and the Church for the last six years,
he must make quite sure of gaining such an advantage as would be worth
the sacrifice. Mere release from excommunication and interdict was
certainly, in his eyes, not worth any sacrifice at all. To change the
Pope from an enemy into a political friend was worth it, but--from
John’s point of view--only if the friendship could be made something
much more close and indissoluble than the ordinary official relation
between the Pope and every Christian sovereign. He must bind the Pope
to his personal interest by some special tie of such a nature that the
interest of the Papacy itself would prevent Innocent from casting it
off or breaking it. For a sovereign of John’s character no additional
sacrifice would be involved in the device which he actually employed
for this purpose. To outward personal humiliation of any kind John was
absolutely indifferent, when there was any advantage to be gained by
undergoing it. To any humiliation which the Crown or the nation might
suffer in his person, he was indifferent under all circumstances. His
plighted faith he had never had a moment’s hesitation in breaking,
whether it were sworn to his father, his brother, his allies, or his
people, and which he would break with equal facility when sworn to the
supreme Pontiff; moreover, he took the precaution of inserting in his
charter a saving clause which he could easily have interpreted, had
occasion ever arisen, so as to reduce the whole transaction to a mere
empty form.[805] There seems, in short, to be good reason for believing
that John’s homage to the Pope was offered without any pressure from
Rome, and on grounds of deliberate policy.[806]

How far the credit or discredit--whichever it be--of that policy
belongs to John is, however, a question not easily solved. Two
years later, the English barons seem to have claimed the credit for
themselves. We are told that they besought the Pope, “as he was lord
of England,” to take their part against John, “since he well knew
that they had at his command boldly opposed the king in behalf of the
Church’s liberty, and that the king had granted an annual revenue to
Rome, and bestowed other honours on the Pope and the Roman Church,
not of his own accord, but only out of fear and under compulsion from

This, if correctly reported, is a distinct assertion by the malcontent
barons that they had deliberately chosen to set up the Pope as temporal
overlord of their country, and that it was pressure from them which
had compelled John to do him homage as such. The truth probably lies
half-way between this version and that of the king. Whether the “common
counsel of the barons” was given spontaneously to John and accepted by
him, or whether it was merely a response to a proposal which he had
laid before them, there can be little doubt that each party adopted the
scheme in the hope of turning it to account against the other party.
That on the side of the barons this hope proved utterly delusive, while
on the side of John it was completely realized, simply shows once more
how far less than a match was the collective sagacity of the barons for
the single-handed dexterity of the king.

It was not till many years later that a great historian, who was also a
vehement partisan, denounced John’s homage to the Pope as “a thing to
be detested for all time.”[808] The Barnwell annalist, writing at the
time of the event, tells us indeed that “to many it seemed ignominious,
and a heavy yoke of servitude.” But the action of all parties at the
moment was a practical acknowledgement of their consciousness that, as
the same annalist says, John “by this act provided prudently both for
himself and for his people; for matters were in such a strait, and so
great was the fear on all sides, that there was no more ready way of
evading the imminent peril--perhaps no other way at all. For when once
he had put himself under Apostolical protection, and made his realms
a part of the patrimony of S. Peter, there was not in the Roman world
a sovereign who durst attack him, or invade them; inasmuch as Pope
Innocent was universally held in awe above all his predecessors for
many years past.”[809]

John had, in fact, at one stroke cut the ground from under the feet
of all his enemies both at home and abroad. The people resumed their
ordinary attitude of loyalty on Pandulf’s assurance that it was once
more, and more than ever, sanctioned by the Church. The traitor barons
found themselves without a cloak for their treason, and were reduced
to send out letters patent repudiating all connexion with the French
king.[810] Philip found himself without an ally, and without an excuse
for his enterprise. The believers in Peter of Wakefield, indeed, still
looked forward with a vague expectation to Ascension Day {May 23}. But
the king himself could meet its dawn without fear. He had ordered his
royal tent to be set up in a large open field, and caused his heralds
to proclaim a general invitation to all who were within reach, to come
and spend the festival day in stately festivities with him. “And a
right joyous day it was, the king taking his pleasure and making merry
with the bishops and nobles who had come together at his call.”[811]
Still Peter’s disciples were not convinced; some of them took up the
idea that the prediction might refer not to the ecclesiastical but to
the civil anniversary of John’s coronation, May 27, which in 1213 was
four days after Ascension Day. This anniversary, however, passed over
likewise without any mishap. Then the wise and the foolish alike began
to see that John had prevented a literal fulfilment of the prophecy
by lending himself to a figurative one. He had “ceased to be king”
by laying his crown at the feet of Pandulf, to take it back again
on conditions which unquestionably helped to fix it, for the time
at least, more securely than ever on his brow. The scapegoat of all
parties was the unlucky prophet himself. Next day he and his son, who
had been imprisoned with him, were tied each to a horse’s tail, dragged
thus from Corfe to Wareham, and there hanged.[812]

Pandulf meanwhile had returned to France, and commanded Philip, on
pain of the Pope’s displeasure, to lay aside all thoughts of invading
England and go home in peace. Philip at first indignantly refused
to abandon a scheme which, he said, he had planned at the Pope’s
instigation, and for which he had already spent more than sixty
thousand pounds.[813] But he dared not go on in the teeth of the papal
prohibition; so he turned his wrath upon the one great feudatary of his
realm who had refused to take part in the projected invasion, Count
Ferrand of Flanders. Ordering his fleet to sail round as quickly as
possible to Swine, the king dashed into Flanders at the head of all
his forces. Ferrand besought help of John, with whom he was already in
alliance; and John at once despatched five hundred ships, carrying a
large body of horse and foot under the command of his half-brother Earl
William of Salisbury and the counts of Holland and Boulogne.[814] They
sailed on Tuesday, May 28, intending to land at Swine and march across
the country to join Ferrand; but a contrary wind delayed them so that
they did not reach Swine till Thursday, the 30th; and then, to their
amazement, they found the harbour occupied by the French fleet, which,
however, they soon discovered to be unguarded save by a few seamen, all
the troops having gone ashore to ravage the neighbourhood. Salisbury
at once ordered an attack; the French sailors were speedily overcome;
three hundred ships laden with provisions were set drifting towards
England, a hundred more were rifled of their contents and then set on
fire. “Never came so much wealth into England since King Arthur went
to conquer it,” says a contemporary poet.[815] Next day Count Ferrand
came to meet his allies, and renewed his league with John.[816] On the
Saturday--Whitsun Eve--the earls disembarked their troops and advanced
to attack the French at Dam. The overwhelming numbers of the enemy,
who were headed by King Philip himself, compelled them to retreat.
Salisbury, however, not only escaped to his ships, but brought all
his prizes safe to England;[817] while Philip was so mad with rage
at the disaster to his fleet that he ordered the remnant of it to be
burnt.[818] So far as England was concerned, his expedition was at an

John at once resolved that the fleet and the host which had been
gathered for the defence of England should be used for an attack upon
France. His plan was, while strengthening Ferrand’s hands so as to keep
Philip busy in Flanders, himself to land with an army in Poitou, and
thus place the French kingdom between two fires. At the end of June
he reassembled his forces at Porchester, and again despatched William
of Salisbury to Flanders with further reinforcements and large sums
of money. The magnates, however, refused to accompany the king over
sea till he was absolved from excommunication.[819] Their excuse was
transparently false; his public absolution was indeed committed to
Archbishop Stephen, and therefore deferred till Stephen’s arrival in
England; but Pandulf had, in the Pope’s name, declared him reconciled
to the Church. It could only be from political motives that men who had
without protest marched with the excommunicate king against Scotland,
Ireland and Wales, and gathered year after year at his festival
banquets, now suddenly became more punctilious about a matter of
ecclesiastical discipline than Innocent III. himself. It was, however,
no moment for quarrelling with them openly; and their excuse, such as
it was, soon ceased to exist.

King and legate had been rapidly pushing on the arrangements for the
return of the exiles;[820] and in June or July Archbishop Stephen
and four of the bishops landed at Dover.[821] On S. Margaret’s Day,
Saturday, July 20, they were received by the king at Winchester.[822]
He seems to have gone forth to meet them on the crest of the hill which
lies to the east of the city.[823] He threw himself at the primate’s
feet, bidding him welcome, and with tears imploring his mercy; “and
the prelates and all the rest, when they saw this, could not refrain
from weeping.” The procession made its way to the Old Minster and
entered the chapter-house; the king swore on the Gospels “that he
would cherish, defend and maintain the holy Church and her ordained
ministers; that he would restore the good laws of his forefathers,
especially S. Edward’s, rendering to all men their rights; and that
before the next Easter he would make full restitution of all property
which had been taken away in connexion with the Interdict.” This oath
he seems to have repeated publicly at the door of the church; Stephen
then formally absolved him, led him into the church, and celebrated
mass in his presence, accepting his offering and giving him the kiss of
peace; “and there was great joy among the people.”[824]

Having at last made up his mind to a formal reconciliation with
both Pope and primate, John showed no signs of a wish to evade any
part of its terms. During the past three months order after order
had been issued in his name for carrying into effect the provisions
of his agreement with Pandulf. The outlawry of the clergy had been
revoked at once, on May 15, and this revocation was repeated on June
13.[825] Two laymen--Eustace de Vesci and Robert Fitz-Walter--who
had gone into exile, not in company with any of the bishops nor for
their sake, but on independent grounds, in the autumn of 1212, had
been specially mentioned by name in John’s agreement with the Pope,
and promised reinstatement in their lands and in the king’s favour.
Safe-conducts were issued to these two barons on May 27, and orders
for the restitution of their property on July 17, 19, and 21.[826] For
the bishops something more than mere restitution was required; they,
or the Pope and Pandulf for them, claimed indemnification as well;
and the terms of the indemnity were difficult to decide. John seems
to have proposed that they should be decided by a kind of general
inquest; on the day {July 21} after his absolution he bade all the
sheriffs in England cause a deputation of four men and the reeve from
each township to be at S. Albans on August 4, “that through them and
his other ministers he might ascertain the truth concerning the damages
suffered by the several bishops, and what had been taken from them, and
how much was due to each.” Whether such an inquisition was actually
held does not appear; but early in August the justiciar and the bishop
of Winchester met the primate, the other bishops and the magnates in
a great council at S. Albans; there, in the king’s name, peace was
proclaimed to all; the observance of King Henry’s laws and the disuse
of evil customs were strictly enjoined; and the sheriffs, foresters,
and other officers of the Crown were warned, “as they valued their
limbs and their lives,” to commit no more extortions and wrongs, “as
they had been wont to do.”[827]

John meanwhile had returned to the coast of Dorset, where the host had
apparently been ordered to reassemble, with the intention of sailing
for Poitou. In view of his own expected absence from England, he is
said to have committed the government to the justiciar and the bishop
of Winchester, bidding them “order all its affairs with the advice of
the archbishop of Canterbury.”[828] The king’s departure, however,
now met with a new series of checks. First the knights came to him in
a body and protested that the months which had elapsed since they
assembled for defence against the French had consumed all their money,
so that they could not possibly follow him any farther unless he would
pay their expenses. This he refused to do.[829] The barons of the north
were the next recalcitrants; when called upon to accompany him over
sea, they “with one mind and determination refused, asserting that
according to the tenure of their lands they were not bound to him in
this; besides that they were already too much worn out and impoverished
by expeditions within the realm.”[830] The angry king embarked with
his household on August 5 or 6, and sailed to Jersey; but finding
that no one followed him thither he soon came back,[831] in a mighty
rage, “cursing the day and hour when he had consented to the peace,
and declaring that he had been deceived, and made a gazing-stock for
nothing.”[832] His mercenaries and foreign auxiliaries were still a
formidable host; and with these he set out for the north, “to bring
back the rebels to their obedience.”[833] He seems to have landed at
Corfe on August 9; he began his northward march from Winchester on
the 16th, reached Wallingford on the 25th, and Northampton on the
28th.[834] On the 25th Archbishop Stephen was in London, presiding over
a great council in S. Paul’s Cathedral.[835] Thence he hurried away in
pursuit of the king; he overtook him at Northampton, and remonstrated
vigorously against John’s plans of vengeance upon the northern barons,
telling him he would bring contempt upon the oath which he had sworn
before his absolution if he made war upon any man without a legal
sentence. John “with a great clamour” declared that he would not put
off the business of his realm for the archbishop, who had no concern
with matters of lay jurisdiction; and early next morning he set out,
“in a furious temper,” for Nottingham. The archbishop followed him,
and threatened that unless the project were at once given up he would
excommunicate every man, save the king himself, who should take part
in any military expedition so long as the interdict continued in force;
nor could John shake him off till he had appointed a day for the
accused barons to come and stand their trial in his court.[836]

Characteristically, John behaved as if unconscious of defeat. He
carried out his progress through the north in peaceable instead
of warlike guise, and did not return to London till the end of
September.[837] His arrival there was timed to coincide with that
of the papal legate who came as the specially appointed minister
of England’s restoration to the communion of the Church, and whose
authority would for the time supersede that of the primate. On
September 27 Cardinal Nicolas of Tusculum landed in England.[838] On
the 30th he met the king, bishops and barons at a council in London,
to discuss plans for a pecuniary settlement between the Crown and the
clergy. John offered the bishops one hundred thousand marks down, with
security for the payment before next Easter of any damages in excess of
that sum which might be discovered on further investigation. The legate
urged the bishops to accept this offer; but they preferred to accept
nothing till they had prepared their own estimate and could demand the
sum total at once; and the king readily consented to the delay. Three
days had been spent in the discussion. On the fourth day, October 3,
the council reassembled in S. Paul’s. At the foot of the high altar, in
the sight of clergy and people, the ceremony which John and Pandulf had
gone through at Ewell was repeated by John and Nicolas. John resigned
his crown into the legate’s hands, received it back from him, and swore
fealty to him as the Pope’s representative; and the charter of homage
and tribute, which had been temporarily sealed with wax and delivered
to Pandulf, was sealed with gold and finally made over to Nicolas, “for
the benefit of the Pope and the Roman Church.”[839]

Still the interdict could not be raised till the settlement between
the Crown and the bishops was completed; and another meeting for this
purpose was appointed to take place at Reading on November 3. To this
meeting all the interested parties came, except the king,[840] who was
at Wallingford, where it seems he had appointed the northern barons
to appear before his court on All Saints’ Day. The legate was there
too, and through his mediation the barons were reconciled to the king
and admitted to the kiss of peace.[841] As John did not show himself
at Reading, the bishops went to Wallingford in their turn. By that
time John had moved on to Woodstock; but he seems to have returned
to Wallingford to meet them for a few hours on November 5,[842] and
repeated his former proposals. These, however, “seemed little to
those who had had their castles razed, their houses levelled with the
ground, and their woods cut down”; so that it was decided to refer the
matter to the arbitration of four barons. But this arbitration never
took place. “All the parties concerned in the matter of the interdict”
came together again at Reading on December 6,[843] and each of the
injured persons brought forth a schedule of the amount of his losses
and damages; the legate, however, supported the king in his refusal to
pay the whole sum at once; and after three days’ deliberation no one
received anything at all, except the archbishop and the five bishops
who had been in exile beyond the sea, to whom John on December 12
ordered the payment of fifteen thousand marks.[844] At last it seems to
have been agreed that the damages should be investigated by two sets
of commissioners acting together, one set appointed by the king, the
other by the primate, and that the sum to be paid by the Crown should
be fixed--doubtless on the report of these commissioners--by the Pope;
and this scheme was carried out in the following year.[845]

[Sidenote: 1213–14]

Other questions had arisen in connexion with the settlement between
Church and king. There were no less than six vacant sees and thirteen
vacant abbeys,[846] all, of course, in the king’s hands. In July 1213
John issued orders for filling these vacancies in the manner which
had been customary under Henry II.; the several chapters were bidden
to send delegates, by whom an election was to be made in the king’s
presence, wherever he might chance to be.[847] This arrangement
implied a tacit understanding that the delegates were to elect a
candidate designated by the king. The bishops seized their opportunity
to protest against this practice and claim for the churches their
canonical right of free election, subject only to the royal assent,
signified by the grant of the regalia. The legate seems to have been,
passively at least, on the side of the Crown; but John was anxious to
avoid any fresh quarrel with the primate, and he therefore allowed
the elections to be left in abeyance till Nicolas should receive
instructions about the matter from the Pope. These came at last in a
somewhat ambiguous form. Innocent bade Nicolas cause the vacant sees
and abbeys to be filled with men “not only distinguished for their
good life and learning, but also faithful to the king and useful as
helpers and advisers for the welfare of the realm, and appointed by
means of canonical election or postulation, the king’s assent being
sought thereunto.”[848] It was obviously possible to interpret this
letter as sanctioning, by implication at least, the claims of the
Crown; and Nicolas was quite willing thus to interpret it in John’s
favour. John, however, knew that no such interpretation would ever be
accepted by Langton; and with Langton he had no mind to quarrel at
that moment, even though he might have the legate on his own side. He
did indeed issue on January 2, 1214, orders for the election of a
bishop to Worcester and an abbot to Eynsham, “according to the customs
of the realm”;[849] but he seems to have immediately afterwards made
an arrangement with the archbishop which satisfied the latter for the
time being. On the 12th John signified to Stephen his acceptance of
“the form known to us concerning the making of elections, saving our
right in all things”; he abandoned his claim to have the elections
held only in his own presence, and delegated the power of giving them
the royal assent to the ministers who were to have the charge of the
realm during his absence beyond the sea; and he closed his letter to
the archbishop with the words: “Be assured that there is no controversy
between us.”[850] On the 26th he wrote again to Stephen, requesting him
to confirm the election of the vice-chancellor, Walter de Gray, to the
see of Worcester, and issued orders for elections to five bishoprics
and three great abbeys.[851]

[Sidenote: 1213]

What made both John and Stephen anxious for an agreement on this
point was the king’s approaching departure for the Continent. Soon
after Stephen’s arrival in England John had made up his mind that
his expedition to Poitou must be postponed till the spring,[852]
and in August (1213) he fixed February 2, 1214, as its approximate
date.[853] Throughout the autumn and winter the fleet was preparing at
Portsmouth under the superintendence of William de Wrotham, archdeacon
of Taunton.[854] Arrangements were also in progress for securing
the tranquillity of the realm during the king’s absence. On June 3
John--according to his own account at Pandulf’s desire--had made a
truce with the Welsh to last till August 1.[855] By August 25 he had
enlisted the aid of the newly arrived primate as a peacemaker between
the English realm and these troublesome neighbours; the wardens of the
Marches were authorized to agree to a prolongation of the truce till
November 1, on the understanding that at its expiration the archbishop
of Canterbury would negotiate with the Welsh on the king’s behalf.[856]
Of these negotiations there is no further record; but they seem to have
resulted in keeping the Welsh in check for some months at least.

In Ireland and in England John had to provide himself with new
vicegerents. In July Bishop John of Norwich resigned the justiciarship
of the Irish March to go to Rome on a mission for the king; the
archbishop of Dublin was appointed justiciar in his stead.[857] On
October 14 the office of chief justiciar of England was vacated by the
death of Geoffrey Fitz-Peter,[858] who had held it ever since 1198,
when he was appointed to it by Richard on the resignation of Hubert
Walter. It is impossible to regard Geoffrey as a patriot; had he been
one, he could scarcely have held the reins of government under John for
fourteen years without coming into open conflict with his master. He
was, however, a man of much weight in the land by reason of his noble
birth, his great wealth, and his knowledge of law, and also because he
was connected by kindred, affinity or friendship with all the great
baronial houses. Such a man was necessarily somewhat of a check upon
the self-will of John. The king’s personal feeling towards his minister
found a characteristic expression when he heard of Geoffrey’s death:
“When he gets to hell,” laughed John, “he may greet Archbishop Hubert,
whom he is sure to meet there!”[859] So long as the king was himself
in England he could do without any justiciar at all; and accordingly
no successor was appointed to Geoffrey for more than three months.
John was, however, too cautious to venture upon any glaring abuse of
his newly acquired freedom of action[860] at a moment when it was
of the utmost importance for him to conciliate all parties and all
classes by every means in his power. The one recorded incident of this
period of John’s personal government, indeed, looks almost like a dim
foreshadowing of one of the most weighty innovations which were to be
made by the constitutional reformers of the latter part of the century.

It seems that at the end of October or early in November the tenants
by knight-service were ordered to meet the king at Oxford on November
15. On November 7 John sent letters to the sheriffs bidding each one
of them cause the knights within his shire to appear as previously
directed, with their arms, the barons also in person but without arms,
“and”--so ran the writ--“that thou cause to come thither at the same
time four discreet men of the shire, to speak with us concerning the
affairs of our realm.”[861] This writ is the earliest known instance
of an attempt to call into council on “the affairs of the realm”
representatives of the freemen of the shire, as distinguished from the
tenants-in-chivalry. Representatives in the strict sense of the word,
indeed, they were not; the writ says nothing of how they were to be
chosen, and there can be little doubt that they would be selected by
the sheriff. Still, the fact remains that--so far as extant evidence
goes--John Lackland seems to have been the first English statesman who
proposed to give some place, however subordinate, in the great council
of the realm to laymen who were neither barons nor knights, but simple
freemen. His motive is plain; he was seeking to win the support of the
yeomen as a counterpoise to the hostility of the barons. Unluckily we
know nothing of the results of his experiment, and cannot even be sure
that it was actually tried; for though the king was certainly at Oxford
in that year on November 15 and the two following days,[862] no mention
occurs, in either chronicle or record, of any council holden there at
that date.

[Sidenote: 1213–14]

At Christmas John held his court at Windsor, “where he distributed
robes of state to a multitude of his nobles.”[863] Immediately
afterwards Count Ferrand of Flanders came over to cement his alliance
with the English king by performing his homage to him in person,
at Canterbury, in the second week of January 1214.[864] Raymond of
Toulouse had been over shortly before; the fortunes of war had gone
utterly against him, and nothing but prompt succour from John, in
some shape or other, could enable him to hold out any longer in his
capital city, the sole refuge now left to him. He is said to have
gone back, after doing homage to John, with a subsidy of ten thousand
marks.[865] Early in January the king announced to the primate and
the bishops that he himself was about to depart over sea, and begged
that they would lend their support to Bishop Peter of Winchester and
the other persons in whose charge he intended to leave the kingdom
during his absence.[866] At the end of the month he put in train
a scheme for conciliating the eldest son of the late justiciar by
marrying him to the greatest heiress in England--that same Countess
Isabel of Gloucester who had once been married to John himself.[867]
On February 1 John by letters patent appointed Peter des Roches, the
bishop of Winchester, to the office of justiciar of England, and
committed his realm to the custody and protection of the Holy Roman
Church, the Pope and the Legate, leaving Peter as keeper of the peace
in his stead.[868] Next day he embarked at Portsmouth with his queen,
his son Richard,[869] his niece Eleanor of Britanny, and a quantity of
treasure; he spent a few days at Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight, and
thence sailed to Poitou.[870]

[Sidenote: 1214]

It was evidently of set purpose that the appointment of a new chief
justiciar had been delayed till the very eve of the king’s departure.
When it came to the knowledge of the barons, they all grumbled at
having a foreigner set over them;[871] but they did not know it till
the expedition had sailed, and their discontent could vent itself only
in useless words.

Over sea the king’s partisans were ready to welcome him. At La
Rochelle the barons of Aquitaine came crowding to offer him their
allegiance.[872] Leaving La Rochelle on February 20, he moved northward
to Mervant, in the middle of Lower Poitou. Mervant belonged to Geoffrey
de Lusignan; and the king’s visit to this place may have been connected
with some negotiations between him and the Lusignan family which
were certainly begun soon after his landing in Aquitaine. He next
proceeded southward, to the abbey of La Grâce-Dieu on the border of
Saintonge; on February 25 he was at Niort.[873] Meanwhile he had opened
communications with the men of Périgord and the viscounts of Limoges
and Turenne.[874] On March 6 he was back at La Rochelle, whence he sent
on the 8th, in letters patent addressed to the “good men” of all the
chief cities of England, the following account of his expedition: “Know
ye that we and our faithful followers whom we brought with us to Poitou
are safe and well, and by God’s grace we have already begun to expedite
our affairs to the joy and gladness of our friends and the confusion of
our foes. For on the Sunday before Mid-Lent {March 2} we laid siege to
the castle of Milécu, which Porteclin de Mausé had fortified against
us, and on the following Tuesday {March 4} we took it.”[875] Moving
across Saintonge and up the Charente, he reached Angoulême on the
13th, stayed there two days, then advanced eastward to Saint-Junien
and Aixe in the Limousin;[876] at Aixe, on March 22, he granted the
seneschalship of Limoges to Emeric de Roche, and that of Périgord to
Geoffrey Teyson.[877] On Palm Sunday, March 23, he left Aixe, and
thence he struck right across the county of La Marche to Saint-Vaury
and La Souterraine, on the southern border of Berry; he spent Good
Friday and Easter at La Souterraine,[878] and there, on Easter Day
(March 30), he received the homage of the count of Périgord.[879] He
then re-crossed La Marche and the Limousin--stopping this time for
two days at Grandmont, where the monks evidently still had a ready
welcome for the son of their old friend King Henry--back to Limoges and
Angoulême, Cognac and Saintes; thence, turning southward, he proceeded
through Périgord as far as La Réole in the county of Agen. On April
20 he was back at Mausé in Saintonge, and for the next fortnight he
was never far from either La Rochelle or Niort; but on May 6 he was at
Saint-Léger in Anjou, and it was there that he spent Ascension Day, May
8. Two days later he was again at Niort.[880]

The panegyrist of Philip Augustus asserts that John’s sudden dash into
the lands south of Périgord was prompted by dread of Philip, who,
“being desirous to meet him” in the field, had hurried to the Poitevin
border, and was preparing to cut him off from his fleet. The same
writer, however, owns almost in the same breath that “no one knows,
ever has known, or ever will know, the way of a serpent, of a ship on
the deep, of a feather in the wind, or of a deceiver” such as John; and
that Philip dared neither attempt to follow him nor await his return,
but hurried back--after burning the rural districts of Poitou--to
protect his own interests in Flanders.[881] John’s erratic movements
had probably a double purpose: to baffle Philip, and to ascertain the
extent of his own resources in the south. Of more real importance than
these tentative excursions was a negotiation which he had set on foot
with the house of Lusignan, whose alliance and allegiance he proposed
to regain by giving the infant Joan, his eldest daughter by Isabel of
Angoulême, in marriage to young Hugh of La Marche, as compensation
for the loss of Isabel herself. The first preliminary was a truce
with the counts of La Marche and Eu; and it was probably this truce
which enabled John to pass unmolested through La Marche on his way to
and from La Souterraine. The third Lusignan brother, Geoffrey, seems
not to have been included in the truce; and when it expired no terms
of peace had been agreed upon. “We therefore”--so wrote John to his
representatives in England--“on the Friday next before Pentecost {May
16} transported ourself and our army to Geoffrey’s castle of Mervant;
and although many believed it impregnable by assault, yet on Whitsun
Eve {May 17}, by one assault lasting from daybreak to the hour of
prime, we took it by force. On Whitsunday {May 18} we laid siege to
another of Geoffrey’s castles, Vouvant, in which was he himself with
his two sons; and when we had plied our slings against it continually
for three days {May 20}, so that its fall was imminent, the count of
La Marche came to us and caused the said Geoffrey to surrender himself
to our mercy, with his two sons, his castle, and all that was in it.”
Another of Geoffrey’s castles, Montcontour, which lay farther east,
close to the Angevin border, was at the same time besieged by Louis
of France. The French king seems to have discovered the negotiations
of the Lusignans with his rival, and to have been so much alarmed at
the prospect of a reconciliation which would deprive him of his best
helpers in Aquitaine that he tried to prevent it by offering a son of
his own as bridegroom for little Joan; but Joan’s father was too wary
to take the French bait. On learning that Louis was at Montcontour,
“we,” says John, “at once turned thitherward to meet him; so that
on Trinity Sunday {May 25} we were at Parthenay, where the count
of La Marche and the count of Eu came to us with the said Geoffrey
of Lusignan and did us homage and fealty. And as it had been under
discussion between ourself and the count of La Marche that we should
give our daughter Joan in marriage to his son, we did so grant it to
him, although the king of France asked for her for his own son; but
that demand was a trick; for we remembered how our niece was given to
the French king’s son Louis, and what was the consequence of that; but
may God grant us more profit from this marriage than we have had from
that one! And now,” ends the king with a burst of eager anticipation,
“by God’s grace there is given us an opportunity to carry our attack
upon our chief enemy, the king of France, beyond the limits of

He made good use of his opportunity. Louis had apparently retired from
Montcontour at his approach, for we hear nothing of any encounter
between them, and within twenty-four hours of his departure from
Parthenay John was at Cissé, only a few miles from Poitiers. On
Poitiers he made no attempt, but passed on into Berry, into which he
penetrated as far north as Chezelles (June 7). Four days later he was
at Ancenis, on the border of Anjou and Britanny. The next week was
spent in feeling his way towards Angers. From Ancenis, on June 12, he
moved up the Loire to St. Florent and Rochefort,[883] thus securing the
approach to the city from the west and south. Then, by a master stroke
of audacity, he seems to have suddenly made a rapid march westward
again, to draw up his forces on June 13[884] within sight of Nantes.
The citizens and the French garrison came forth to meet him at the
bridge outside the city; in the fight which ensued John’s troops were
completely victorious, and twenty French knights were taken prisoners,
among them a cousin of the French king, the eldest son of Count Robert
of Dreux whose second son, Peter, was now recognized by the French as
“count of Britanny” in right of his wife Alice, the half-sister of
Arthur and Eleanor.[885] Whether this victory struck terror into the
men of Angers, and whether they opened their gates to the victor in
consequence, we cannot tell; we only know that on June 17 and 18 John
was once more in the original capital of his forefathers.[886] But
once more he was compelled by the untrustworthiness of his followers to
turn his back upon it, and this time for ever.

The castles in the immediate neighbourhood of Angers were mostly in
the hands of John or his friends; there was, however, one important
exception--La Roche-au-Moine,[887] where William des Roches, now
seneschal of Anjou for Philip Augustus, had lately built a fortress
to protect the road between Angers and Nantes against the garrison
of Rochefort, whose commandant was a partisan of John.[888] To La
Roche-au-Moine John laid siege with all his forces on June 19. The
siege had lasted a fortnight[889] when Louis advanced from Chinon to
relieve the place, then on the verge of surrender. At the tidings of
his approach John sent out scouts to ascertain the strength of the
enemy; they returned with the assurance that the English king had an
overwhelming advantage in numbers, and was certain to be victorious
if he engaged the French in a pitched battle. John was eager for the
fight;[890] so, according to the French historiographer-royal, was
Louis, who sent to his rival a public challenge, which John as publicly
accepted.[891] But the “wonted treachery”--as an exasperated English
writer calls it--of the Poitevins overthrew his hopes. According to
one account, “the barons of Poitou, disdaining to follow the king,
said that they were not ready for a fight in the open field.”[892]
According to the French version of the story, the immediate author of
John’s discomfiture was the veteran turncoat Almeric of Thouars, who,
it seems, addressed John in a most insulting manner, mocking at his
eagerness for battle, insinuating that it was mere boastfulness which
the king would never carry out in act, and then made it impossible
for him to do so, by withdrawing himself and all his followers from
the host.[893] Whichever version be the correct one, the consequences
were inevitable; John could not risk an encounter with Louis after
such a revelation of treason in his own ranks. In rage and grief he
broke up the siege {July 2}, and hurried away to the south side of the

His retreat, however, implied no abandonment of the design which had
brought him across the sea. His expedition was only a part of the great
combination whereby he hoped to bring Philip Augustus to ruin. Through
long years of diplomacy he had knit together a league which included
all the powers on the northern and eastern borders of France, and,
now that it was at last ready for united action, threatened the very
existence of the French monarchy. While John was scouring the country
between the Loire and the Dordogne, a formidable host was gathering in
Flanders. Earl William of Salisbury was there with a picked band of
Englishmen; the Flemish troops under Hugh de Boves who had been serving
John as mercenaries in England had been recalled to swell the muster
in their native land; Count Reginald of Boulogne and Count William of
Holland had joined their forces to those of Ferrand; all alike were
soldiers of the king of England, receiving his pay through William of
Salisbury, who as John’s representative was Marshal of the whole host.
While that host ravaged Ponthieu, the dukes of Brabant and Louvain
“with all their might” attacked the north-eastern extremity of the
French border, in concert with a certain German count “whom the French
called _Pelu_.” The Emperor Otto was in full sympathy with the allies,
helping them indirectly by his “counsel and favour”; at last, when the
eastern and western divisions of the composite host had effected a
junction, he himself came with a small body of knights to join their

So skilfully and secretly had the combination been planned that
Philip was quite unprepared to meet it. He had sent the greater part
of his available forces southward under Louis to check the progress
of John. For the moment this had been achieved, not so much by Louis
as by the Poitevin traitors. But the check was only momentary; Louis
made no attempt to follow John across the Loire; and John was already
taking steps to fill the places of the Poitevin deserters with more
trustworthy troops. On July 9 he wrote from La Rochelle to “all his
faithful men” in England, telling them that he was safe and prosperous,
thanking them for the support which they had given him hitherto, and
desiring that all those who had not accompanied him over sea would come
to his aid now, unless their presence at home was specially required
by his representatives in the government. “And if,” he added, “any one
of you should think that we have been displeased with him, his surest
way to set that matter right is by coming at our call.”[896] France
was caught between two fires. The most imminent danger was from the
allies who were ready to pour into the realm from the north and east;
but Philip, though conscious that the troops which he had at hand were
insufficient to cope with this danger, dared not recall Louis while
John was still threatening attack from the south. Gathering courage
from the extremity of the peril, the French king hastily collected
what forces he could--counts, barons, knights, men-at-arms, horse and
foot, with the communes of the towns and villages--bade the bishops
and clergy, monks and nuns, offer up masses, prayers and alms for the
safety of the realm, and marched boldly against the invaders. He met
them at the bridge of Bouvines on Sunday, July 27, and routed them
completely. Hugh de Boves fled; Otto fled likewise, or was driven
from the field; the earl of Salisbury, the counts of Flanders and
Boulogne and the German count were made prisoners, together with Otto’s
seneschal and a crowd of other knights. The great coalition which had
cost John so many years of diplomacy and such vast sums of money to
build up was shivered into fragments at a single blow.[897]

Philip re-entered Paris in triumph with his captives,[898] and
then marched southward to unite his victorious army with that of
his son.[899] Against the whole military forces of France, thus
concentrated and in their present mood of exalted patriotism and
enthusiastic loyalty, John was still eager to continue the war; in the
middle of August Peter des Roches was trying to secure the fulfilment
of an order from the king for three hundred Welshmen to join him
over sea before the end of the month.[900] But another power stepped
in to check the hostilities between the kings. Innocent III. was
planning a new crusade, and the first necessity for his purpose was
the restoration of peace in Europe. As early as April 22 he had urged
both the kings, on pain of ecclesiastical censures, to cease from the
strife which was hindering the work to be done in the Holy Land and
imperilling the safety of Christendom, and to make at least a truce
till after the meeting of a general council,[901] the date of which
he had already fixed for All Saints’ Day 1215.[902] The English-born
cardinal who was now legate in France, Robert Curson, seems to have
urged the barons who were with John to persuade him to agree to a truce
for nine days, with a view to arranging a personal interview between
John and Philip.[903] The French king had advanced as far as Loudun,
where he received the submission of Almeric of Thouars and several
other Poitevin barons. John was some seventeen miles off, at Parthenay,
“having,” says Philip’s biographer, “no place to flee unto, and not
daring either to stay where he was, or to offer battle.”[904] To offer
battle at that moment, with the legate and the barons all urgent for
peace, would indeed have been madness; so on August 30 John signified
his assent to a cessation of hostilities for a fortnight from the next
day, if the legate would ensure its observance on the French side.[905]
On September 3 John withdrew to Saint-Maixent; thence he went on the
9th to Niort; on the 12th he returned to Parthenay,[906] and there, on
the 13th, he, by letters patent, pledged himself to ratify whatever
terms nine envoys, whom he named, should agree upon with Philip.[907]

These envoys were supported by the legate in person; “and,” says
William the Breton, “although the high-souled King Philip, having
in his army two thousand knights and more, besides a multitude of
other troops, could easily have seized the whole land and the person
of the king of England, yet with his wonted benignity he granted a
truce.”[908] In England Philip was reported to have yielded either
to the authority of the Pope, or to the attraction of sixty thousand
marks offered to him by John.[909] We may doubt whether either of these
motives, or all of them united, would have proved effectual, if the
complete overthrow and capture of his rival had really been as easy as
the Breton court-historian imagined. The truce was dated from September
18, and was to last for five years from the next Easter, 1215. The
conditions were that each party should retain its prisoners; that the
oath sworn to Philip by the towns of Flanders and Hainaut should be
recognized as valid; that Philip, his men, and his adherents should
hold throughout the time of the truce whatever they held on the day of
its commencement; and that any disputes which might arise should be
settled at certain appointed places by the sworn arbitrators of the
truce, who were eight in number, each of the kings being represented by
two laymen, an abbot and a secular priest. The _maltôte_ or tax levied
by each king on the adherents of his rival was to be given up if John,
its originator, consented to renounce it; if not, Philip claimed the
right to continue it likewise. Frederic of Sicily was to be included in
the truce as an ally of Philip, and Otto as a friend of John, if they
chose to be so included; if otherwise, then Philip was to be at liberty
to assist Frederic and John to assist Otto, within the boundaries of
the empire, without violating the peace between themselves.

[Sidenote: 1214]

Philip’s proclamation of the truce was issued on September 18 from
Chinon.[910] John seems to have been then still at Parthenay. The
terms secured to him the very utmost that he could possibly hope to
attain, now that he was deprived of the co-operation of his allies in
the north. He had in fact, as an English writer says, “completed what
he had to do over sea,”[911] as well as his share of the work could
be completed when that work as a whole was ruined by the disaster
of Bouvines. On September 21 he was again at Niort, on the 30th at
Saintes, and at some date between October 2 and 13 he sailed from La
Rochelle to England.[912]

To all outward seeming England was at peace. The Pope’s letter
containing his decision as to the conditions on which the interdict was
to be withdrawn had reached John on March 4, at the siege of Milécu,
and he had at once sent it on to Peter des Roches for delivery to the
legate Nicolas,[913] whom he had, before leaving England, empowered to
settle the matter in conjunction with William the Marshal. A council
was summoned at S. Paul’s; the Pope’s decision was communicated to the
assembled prelates and barons, and the legate asked for an account of
the sums already paid by the Crown in connexion with the interdict,
that he might know how much was still wanting to complete the forty
thousand marks which the Pope had fixed as the total of the indemnity.
When this was ascertained, it was agreed that the remainder--thirteen
thousand marks--should stand over on the security of the bishops of
Winchester and Norwich and of the king himself.[914] This last John
gave by letters patent issued from Angers on June 17[915]; and as
soon as these letters reached England, Nicolas solemnly withdrew the
interdict {June–July}.[916]

Serious grievances connected with it, however, still remained. A
special tax seems to have been levied throughout the realm, under the
title of “aid for the relaxation of the interdict”[917]--either to
pay the remainder of the indemnity to the bishops or to furnish the
tribute due to Rome. No indemnification was provided for the losses of
any one except the bishops; the multitude of lower clergy, the monks,
nuns and lay people of both sexes whose property had been seized or
damaged “on occasion of the interdict” were ignored in the settlement.
When they applied to the legate for redress, he told them that he had
no instructions to deal with their case, but that they might appeal to
the Pope.[918] For the great majority of individual victims, ruined
as they were, such an appeal was impracticable. The greater religious
houses might have been able to attempt it; but regulars and seculars
alike were apparently in too much dread of the king to attempt anything
at all. Within two months after his return to England John put forth a
demand to the clergy of at least one diocese, and to several religious
houses, in the shape of a courteous request that they would waive all
claim to the return of “those things which you gave to us in the time
of the interdict, and which are now described as having been taken
from you.” A form of renunciation or quit-claim was issued, evidently
intended for distribution throughout the country, to be signed by the
parties concerned.[919] John in fact seems to have again asked all the
English clergy, as he had asked them two years before, for a quit-claim
on the plea that their contributions had been voluntary; and though we
have no statement of the result, there seems no reason to doubt that in
1214, as in 1212, the audacious demand was complied with.

The weakness of the clergy was partly owing to the fact that they
were disappointed in their hopes of finding a champion in the legate.
At his coming he had been hailed as a reformer both in Church and
State[920]; but the year 1214 had scarcely begun when Archbishop
Stephen, after consultation with his suffragans,[921] addressed to him
a solemn protest, threatening to appeal against him to the Pope unless
he desisted from instituting prelates to vacant churches, contrary to
the rights of the metropolitan. Nicolas disregarded the protest, and
commissioned Pandulf--who had just gone back to Rome--to defend him
against the appeal.[922] For nine months Nicolas continued to exercise
his influence as he chose, without remonstrance from the Pope. He was
an instrument which could not be dispensed with until its special
work--the removal of the interdict--was done; moreover, the king was
on the Continent, and in the doubtful state of political affairs it
would scarcely have been prudent, during his absence, for Innocent
to withdraw his own representative from England. No sooner, however,
had John returned than Nicolas was summoned back to Rome.[923] It
is clear that Stephen’s protest and appeal had been really directed
not merely against legatine intrusion into his own metropolitical
rights, but also, and chiefly, against the legate’s interpretation of
the papal letter concerning elections to churches, and his action in
making himself the medium of royal interference in this matter.[924]
Stephen indeed seems to have looked upon Nicolas as the chief obstacle
to a settlement, between himself and the king, of this question of
elections; and a formal settlement, wholly in the Church’s favour,
was in fact made as soon as king and archbishop were once more face
to face. On November 21 John published a grant of free and canonical
election to all the churches in his realm.[925] This grant, like
every other acknowledgement made by the Crown, before or since, of
the Church’s right on this point, was of course destined never to be
anything but a dead letter. But it served John’s purpose. It saved him
from a fresh quarrel with the Church at a moment when the struggle with
the barons in which he had been engaged almost ever since his accession
to the Crown had entered upon a new phase and assumed a new character
which made it, alike for them and for him, a matter of life and death.


[700] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1210.

[701] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 202.

[702] _Brut y Tywysogion_, a. 1210.

[703] The _Brut_ (a. 1210) says that the host assembled at “Caerleon,”
and returned to England “about Whitsuntide.” It places the campaign
in 1210, but this is obviously a year too early. Cf. _Ann. Cambr._ a.
1211, and W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 203. John was at Chester (_i.e._
“Caerleon”) on May 16 and 17, 1211, the Tuesday and Wednesday before
Whitsunday; _Itin._ a. 13. The Itinerary shows that the expedition had
not taken place earlier than this; and from May 17 to August 29 there
is a blank.

[704] _Ann. Cambr._ a. 1211. Cf. _Brut_, a. 1210.

[705] _Brut_, a. 1210.

[706] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 203.

[707] July 8, R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 235. The _Brut_, _l.c._, says
he “returned to Wales about the calends of August.”

[708] Fourteen “or more,” according to _Ann. Cambr._ a. 1211.

[709] _Brut_, a. 1210. Cf. _Ann. Cambr._, _Margan._, _Tewkesb._,
_Winton._, _Waverl._ a. 1211; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 203, and R.
Wendover, vol. iii. p. 235. Roger says John was back at Whitchurch on
August 15.

[710] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 203.

[711] Cf. _Canterbury Chronicle_, in Stubbs’s Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. pp.
cvi., cvii., cxi., cxii.; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 106; R. Coggeshall,
p. 164; _Ann. Winton._, _Waverl._, and _Dunst._ a. 1210. The date comes
from _Itin._ a. 11.

[712] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1211.

[713] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 234, 235. He gives no date; but John
was in London, seemingly for the only time in 1210, at the end of
October; he dates from the Tower on October 27. _Itin._ a. 12.

[714] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1210. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 164, and _Ann.
Waverl._ a. 1210.

[715] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 235.

[716] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 12. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii.
p. 201, and R. Coggeshall, p. 163.

[717] Cf. _Ann. Winton._ and _Waverl._ a. 1211.

[718] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 235, 236.

[719] The second appendix to Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xv. No. 234--“Forma
quidem est talis” (printed also, under the heading “Instructiones
legato traditae,” in _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 109)--is obviously a
copy, enclosed in a letter of 1213, of the original commission issued
to Pandulf and Durand in 1211. See below, p. 179.

[720] The day comes from _Ann. Burton._ a. 1211, and we know from the
_Itinerary_, a. 13, that John was at Northampton on August 29. The
_Ann. Waverl._ date this conference a year too late, viz. 1212. Cf. W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 204; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 235, and _Ann.
Margan._, _Tewkesb._, _Winton._, _Oseney_, and _Worcester_, a. 1211.

[721] _Ann. Burton_, a. 1211. Cf. _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1212.

[722] _Ann. Burton_, a. 1211.

[723] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1211. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 164.

[724] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 238.

[725] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 206.

[726] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 104.

[727] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 238. Cf. _Chronn. Mailros_ and
_Lanercost_, a. 1212.

[728] _Itin._ a. 14.

[729] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 206.

[730] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1210.

[731] This inquest was taken _a. r._ 12 and 13 (_i.e._ May 1210–May
1212); _Red Book_, vol. ii. pp. 469–574.

[732] _A._ 13 John (May 1211–May 1212); _Red Book_, vol. ii. pp.

[733] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1211.

[734] R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 31, 37–9; R. Diceto, vol. ii. p. 163.

[735] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 70.

[736] Cf. R. Howden, vol. iv. pp. 83 and 116. The account of
Richard’s testamentary dispositions in the former place is open to
two interpretations. Richard, says Roger, “divisit Johanni fratri suo
regnum Angliae ... et praecepit ut traderentur ei castella sua, et
tres partes” [in p. 116 Otto claims only “duas partes”] “thesauri sui,
et omnia baubella sua divisit Othoni nepoti suo regi Alamannorum; et
quartam partem thesauri sui praecepit servientibus suis et pauperibus
distribui.” Grammatically, there is nothing to show whether “tres
partes thesauri sui” is meant to be connected with “praecepit ut
traderentur ei [Johanni]” or with “divisit Othoni,” but common
sense strongly supports the former interpretation; however anxious
Richard may have been to help his nephew, he could not possibly mean
deliberately to leave his own chosen successor literally without a
penny. The actual wording of Richard’s will may, indeed, have been as
ambiguous as Roger’s summary of it, and Otto may have tried to take
advantage of its ambiguity. His claim to the earldoms seems somewhat
unreasonable; he had never really held the earldom of York, and it was
for that very reason that Richard had granted him Poitou; but it was
clearly preposterous to expect John to renew this latter grant after
Otto had accepted the German Crown.

[737] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 116; _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 80.

[738] Leibnitz and Scheidt, _Origines Guelficae_, vol. iii. pp. 281,

[739] _Rot. Chart._ p. 133 (1204); _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 11 b(1202),
40, 44 (1204), 48 (1205).

[740] The young countess of Holland, Ada, daughter and heiress of Count
Theodoric who died in 1203; see _Art de Vérifier les Dates_, vol.
xiv. pp. 261, 430. Her mother at once married her to Louis, count of
Los; her father’s brother, William, claimed Holland against the young
couple; he and Louis took opposite sides on the Imperial question,
William holding for Otto, Louis for Philip of Suabia; and eighteen
days after the wedding William drove Ada’s mother and husband out of
Holland, captured Ada herself, and sent her to England to be kept in
prison by John. She was still there in 1207, and was only released when
her husband had done homage to both John and Otto, _Rot. Pat._ vol. i.
p. 82, 82 b.

[741] Cf. M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. iii. p. 109, and _Rot. Claus._
vol. i. p. 82 b.

[742] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 77.

[743] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 200.

[744] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 227.

[745] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 202; R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 232, 233.

[746] W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. 202, 203.

[747] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 162. The date there given is a year
too late, as the English Rolls show.

[748] Boulogne, _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 104; _Rot. Claus._ vol. i.
pp. 116, 117; _Chart._ p. 186; _Pat._ p. 93; Bar and Limburg, _Pat._
p. 92 b; _Foedera_, p. 106; Flanders, _Pat._ pp. 93, 94; Louvain,
_Foedera_, pp. 106, 107.

[749] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 130 b.

[750] _Brut y Tywysogion_, a. 1211. Cf. _Ann. Cambr._ a. 1213.

[751] _Brut_, a. 1212.

[752] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 238; R. Coggeshall, p. 164.

[753] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 131, 131 b.

[754] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 94.

[755] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 121 b, 122.

[756] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 123 b.

[757] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 239, and _Itin._ a. 14.

[758] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 207.

[759] Cf. _ib._ and R. Wendover, as above.

[760] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[761] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[762] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1212. See Note II. at end.

[763] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 239; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 207. John
was at Nottingham September 9–15, and reached London on the 20th, after
passing through “Salvata,” Geddington, Northampton, and St. Albans,
_Itin._ a. 14. The assertion of the _Ann. Margan._ (a. 1211 for 1212)
that in his terror at the discovery of the meditated treason he “shut
himself up for fifteen days in Nottingham castle” is thus shown to be

[764] _Itin._ a. 14.

[765] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 208. Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 240;
_Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 122, 123; _Ann. Tewkesbury_, a. 1212, and _Chron.
Lanercost_, a. 1213.

[766] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[767] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 240.

[768] _Ib._ Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 208.

[769] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 248.

[770] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 241.

[771] _Ib._ pp. 238, 239.

[772] _Ib._ p. 240; R. Coggeshall, p. 165; W. Coventry, vol. ii.
p. 207. The entry in _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1211 about the razing of
Fitz-Walter’s castles and the cutting down of his woods is probably
misplaced, and should be referred to 1212. See Note II. at end.

[773] W. Coventry, _l.c._ R. Coggeshall, _l.c._, and _Ann. Dunst._ a.
1211 (for 1212) name as one of these victims a clerk called Geoffrey of
Norwich, whom M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 126 and _Chron. Maj._
vol. ii. p. 527, confuses with the archdeacon whose fate is related by
Roger of Wendover, vol. iii. p. 229. See above, p. 136.

[774] R. Coggeshall, p. 164.

[775] Cf. _Rot. Chart._ pp. 191 b, 192; _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1212; W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 207; R. Coggeshall, p. 165, and M. Paris, _Hist.
Angl._ vol. ii. p. 132, and _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 537.

[776] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[777] From the tenour of these letters it is clear that neither of
the persons addressed had been in England recently. We must therefore
suppose that an order countermanding the muster at Chester had reached
the barons in Ireland before they set out to obey the royal summons,
and that for the muster at Nottingham their presence had not been

[778] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 132 b (_a. r._ 14).

[779] Hunter, _Three Catalogues_, pp. 42, 43; Sweetman, _Cal. Doc.
Ireland_, vol. i. pp. 73, 74 (No. 448).

[780] Cf. _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 126; Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xv. No.
234, and _Ann. Burton_, a. 1211, 1214.

[781] _Orig. Guelficae_, vol. iii. pp. 340, 341; W. Coventry, vol. ii.
pp. 204, 205.

[782] Martène, _Ampliss. Collectio_, vol. i. col. 1111. Cf. W. Armor.
_Gesta P. A._ cc. 158, 159.

[783] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 241, 242, and R. Coggeshall, p.

[784] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[785] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 241, 242.

[786] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 165.

[787] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 104.

[788] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 243. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p.
209. W. Armor. _Philipp_. l. ix. v. 235, makes the day April 22.
“Culvertage” was the penalty for treason--forfeiture and perpetual

[789] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[790] Writ given by R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 244.

[791] Writ in R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 245.

[792] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 245, 246. Cf. _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1212
(evidently meant for 1213). John was at Canterbury May 4–6, 1213;
_Itin._ a. 14.

[793] John, who in his prosperous days made almost a parade of
disbelief in William’s loyalty, and delighted in straining it to the
uttermost by saying and doing everything he could think of to insult
and provoke William, nevertheless knew well that in moments of peril
William was the one counsellor to whose disinterestedness he could
safely trust, the one follower on whom he could count unreservedly, the
one friend whom he could not do without. So at the close of 1212 or
early in 1213 he had recalled the Marshal to his side, and proved his
confidence in him by giving him back his two sons who were in England
as hostages (_Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14492–598). The bishop of
Norwich had also come over from Ireland with five hundred knights and
other horsemen to join the muster (R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 245). It
tells something of the success of John’s measures for the settlement of
the Irish March that the simultaneous absence of the justiciar and the
Marshal, at such a crisis in the king’s fortunes, appears to have been
followed by no disturbance in the country which they thus left without
a ruler.

[794] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 246.

[795] See Petit-Dutaillis, _Hist. de Louis VIII._ pp. 37, 38.

[796] The Pope’s letter, the “Forma,” and the “Expositiones” are given
in Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xv. No. 234. The two former are also in
_Ann. Burton_, a. 1214. I think there can be no doubt that the three
documents together constitute the “quasi peremptorium mandatum” brought
by the three envoys mentioned in W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 209. Cf.
above, p. 160.

[797] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 242.

[798] R. Coggeshall, p. 166.

[799] Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 210, and the letter patent in R.
Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 248–52, Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xvi. No. 76, and
_Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 111.

[800] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xvi. No. 77; R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp.
252–4; _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. pp. 111, 112. The oath of fealty is
given by R. Wendover, p. 255, and in _Foedera_, p. 112. Roger makes the
date Ascension Eve, but it was really the Wednesday in the week before
Rogation Sunday.

[801] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 252.

[802] “Addidit autem hoc ex suo,” W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 210.

[803] In a private letter which he wrote to the Pope on the same day,
John says he did it “inspirante gratia Sancti Spiritus, ad perpetuam
Ecclesiae pacem et exaltationem,” Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xvi. No. 78.

[804] Innoc. III. _Epp._ l. xvi. No. 79.

[805] “Salvis nobis et haeredibus nostris justitiis, libertatibus et
regalibus nostris,” R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 254.

[806] If we may believe Matthew Paris, the Pope was not the only
potentate to whom John about this time offered homage and tribute.
In Matthew’s _Gesta Abbatum S. Albani_, vol. i. pp. 236–40, and in
his _Chronica Majora_, vol. ii. pp. 559–62, is a long account of an
embassy which John is said to have sent to the emir of Morocco, Al
Moumenim (Mohammed al Nassir), “significans eidem quod se et regnum
suum libenter redderet eidem et dederet, et deditum teneret ab ipso,
si placeret ei, sub tributum. Necnon et legem Christianam, quam vanam
censuit, relinquens, legi Machomet fideliter adhaereret.” Matthew
proceeds to give a lively account of the ambassadors’ adventures,
and of the rebuke which the emir administered, through them, to the
sovereign who had sent them on so shameful an errand; all of which
Matthew professes to have heard from one of the envoys themselves.
Unluckily for him, he has given two contradictory dates for the
embassy. In the _Gesta Abbatum_ he represents it as taking place during
the Interdict; and Dr. Lingard has shown, by evidence drawn from
Matthew himself, that if it was sent at all, it must have been sent in
1212 (Lingard, _Hist. England_, vol. ii. p. 325; cf. M. Paris, _Chron.
Maj._ vol. ii. p. 566). But in _Chron. Maj._ Matthew puts it after the
reconciliation with Rome, representing it as despatched by John in his
disappointment at finding that transaction profit him less than he had
expected. The story of the interview between the envoys and the emir,
as Matthew tells it, has therefore a very strong appearance of having
been invented by that writer, as a kind of satire on John’s submission
to the Pope; though the mere fact of some overture on John’s part for
an alliance with the emir is neither impossible nor unlikely.

[807] In March 1215 William Mauclerc, John’s agent at Rome, writes
to John that there have come thither some envoys sent by the barons
to complain to the Pope, “cum ipse sit Dominus Angliae,” that John
refuses them their rights, etc., and he continues: “Supplicant autem
Domino Papae quod super his eis provideret, cum satis constet ei
quod ipsi audacter pro libertate Ecclesiae ad mandatum suum se vobis
opponerent, et quod vos annuum redditum Domino Papae et Ecclesiae
Romanae concessistis, et alios honores quos ei et Romanae Ecclesiae
exhibuistis, non sponte nec ex devotione, imo ex timore _et per eos
coactus_ fecistis.” _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 120. See Lingard,
_Hist. Eng._ vol. i. p. 333.

[808] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 135.

[809] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 211.

[810] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 211.

[811] _Ib._ p. 212. Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 255, 256.

[812] W. Coventry and R. Wendover, _ll.cc._ Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, pp.
125, 126; and R. Coggeshall, p. 167. The date, May 28, is given in
_Ann. Waverl._ a. 1213.

[813] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 256; _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 112.

[814] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 257. Cf. W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ cc.
169, 170; and _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 99.

[815] _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14612–40; _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 130 (the
dates are from this writer); R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 258; and W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 211.

[816] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 131. Cf. _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 100.

[817] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 131–3; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 211; R.
Wendover, vol. iii. p. 258. Salisbury was wrecked on the Northumberland
coast on his return, but nothing was lost, _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv.

[818] W. Coventry, _l.c._; _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 14641–6.

[819] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 259, and W. Coventry, vol. ii. p.
212. John was at Porchester June 16, and at Bishopstoke June 17–20 and
June 29–July 1; _Itin._ a. 15. For Salisbury’s mission, see _Rot. Pat._
vol. i. pp. 100 b, 101 (June 22 and 26).

[820] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 259, 260; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p.
211; _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 98 b, 99, 99 b, 100, 100 b; _Rot. Chart._
pp. 193 b, 194.

[821] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 213, says “mense Junio”; R. Wendover,
vol. iii. p. 260, July 16; Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 108, and _Ann.
Worc._ a. 1213, say July 9.

[822] R. Wendover, _l.c._ Cf. _Ann. Tewkesb._ and _Worc._ a. 1213, and
_Itin._ a. 15.

[823] The _Ann. Dunst._, which place the return of the exiles under a
wrong year, 1212, say the king met them “in monte juxta _Porecestre_.”
This is surely an error for Winchester. Nothing is more likely than
that John should have gone to meet them on S. Giles’s Hill.

[824] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 261; _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1212; and W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 213.

[825] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 100, 100 b.

[826] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. pp. 99, 101 b; _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 146.

[827] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 261, 262.

[828] _Ib._ p. 261. Roger says John went to Portsmouth; but the
_Itinerary_ shows him hovering about between Studland, Corfe,
Dorchester, Poorstock, and Gillingham.

[829] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 261, 262.

[830] R. Coggeshall, p. 167.

[831] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 261; for dates see _Itin._ a. 15.

[832] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 141.

[833] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 262.

[834] _Itin._ a. 15.

[835] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 263.

[836] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 262, 263. John was at Northampton
August 28–31, at “Salvata” September 2, and at Nottingham September 3;
_Itin._ a. 15.

[837] _Itin._ a. 15.

[838] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1213.

[839] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 275, 276; _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p.
115. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 214.

[840] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 276.

[841] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1212 (_i.e._ 1213). “Quae pax non tenuit, quia
promissa non fuerant hinc inde soluta,” adds the chronicler.

[842] Cf. R. Wendover, _l.c._, and _Itin._ a. 15.

[843] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[844] _Ib._ John’s order for this payment is in _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p.

[845] Such an investigation by joint commissions was going on in the
diocese of Durham in January 1214, _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 106 b.

[846] York, Durham, Chester, Worcester, Exeter, Chichester, Whitby, S.
Edmund’s, S. Augustine’s at Canterbury, Reading, S. Benet’s at Hulme,
Battle, Ramsey, Peterborough, Cirencester, Eynsham (W. Coventry, vol.
ii. p. 213), Grimsby, Wherwell and Sherborne (_Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp.
147, 148, 150).

[847] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 146 b, 148, 150, 150 b.

[848] Date, November 1, 1213; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 277. Cf. W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 216.

[849] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 107. The name of the abbey is there
printed as Evesham; but cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 213.

[850] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 160.

[851] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 109, 109 b.

[852] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 114.

[853] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 103 b.

[854] _Ib._ p. 106 b: _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 156, 158.

[855] _Rot. Pat._ p. 100.

[856] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 103 b.

[857] _Ib._ p. 102.

[858] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 271.

[859] M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 558.

[860] M. Paris, _l.c._ p. 559, makes John repeat on the death of
Geoffrey Fitz-Peter the remark which he has previously recorded as
having been made by the king on the death of Hubert Walter. See above,
p. 113.

[861] _First Report on Dignity of a Peer_ (1826), vol. ii. appendix i.
p. 2, from Close Roll 15 John; see Hardy’s edition of the Close Rolls,
vol. i. p. 165. In _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 117, the document is
printed with an obviously wrong date.

[862] _Itin._ a. 15.

[863] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 278.

[864] Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 168; _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 139–41, and
_Itin._ a. 15. The Flemish authority says “li cuens ... li fist houmage
de la tierre ke il devoit avoir en Engletierre”; the English chronicler
says the homage was for “all Flanders.” Unluckily there seems to be no
charter extant to settle the point.

[865] R. Coggeshall, p. 168. Raymond seems to have been on his way
home, and travelling at John’s expense, in January 1214; _Rot. Pat._
vol. i. pp. 106 b, 108 b.

[866] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 160.

[867] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 109 b.

[868] _Ib._ p. 110, 110 b.

[869] It is a question whether this means the queen’s child so named,
or that elder son Richard who figures actively in his father’s struggle
with the barons a year or two later.

[870] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 280; R. Coggeshall, p. 163; and
_Itin._ a. 15.

[871] R. Coggeshall, p. 168.

[872] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 280. John was at La Rochelle February
15–20, _Itin._ a. 15.

[873] _Itin._ a. 15.

[874] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 111.

[875] _Ib._ p. 111 b.

[876] _Itin._ a. 15.

[877] _Rot. Pat._ p. 112 b.

[878] _Itin._ a. 15.

[879] _Rot. Pat._ _l.c._

[880] _Itin._ a. 15.

[881] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. x. vv. 99–115. Cf. Peter of Blois’s
complaint (_Ep._ xli.) of the impossibility of tracking the movements
of Henry II.

[882] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 280, 281. The treaty with the
Lusignans is in _Rot. Chart._ p. 197 b; it has no date.

[883] _Itin._ a. 16.

[884] M. Petit-Dutaillis (_Hist. de Louis VIII._ p. 48) thinks this
affair at Nantes occurred “dans les premiers jours de juin.” The only
blank days in John’s itinerary during this month are June 2–4, 8, 9 and
13. From the relative positions of the places where he was on the other
days, I cannot but think that the 13th is the most likely date.

[885] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 285, 286. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 169;
W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 172; and _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 143.

[886] _Itin._ a. 16.

[887] M. Petit-Dutaillis (_Louis VIII._ p. 49) remarks that the modern
post-office spelling, “La Roche-aux-Moines,” is wrong, the Latin form
being “Rupes Monachi,” not “Monachorum.”

[888] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 178.

[889] Dates from _Itin._ a. 16.

[890] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 286.

[891] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. x. vv. 202–18.

[892] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[893] W. Armor. _Philipp._ l. x. vv. 243–65.

[894] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 179. Cf. Itin. a. 16.

[895] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 287, and M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._
vol. ii. p. 150.

[896] _Rot. Pat._ p. 118 b.

[897] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 288–91; M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._
vol. ii. p. 151; W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ cc. 181–97; R. Coggeshall, p.
169 (wrong date), and W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 216.

[898] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 151.

[899] R. Coggeshall, p. 170; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 216.

[900] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 210 b.

[901] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 139.

[902] R. Coggeshall, p. 167. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 214.

[903] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 124.

[904] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 204.

[905] _Foedera_, _l.c._

[906] _Itin._ a. 16.

[907] _Rot. Pat._ p. 140 b.

[908] W. Armor. _Gesta P. A._ c. 204.

[909] R. Coggeshall, p. 170.

[910] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 125. There is a mutilated version of
this document in R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 292, 293.

[911] “Expletis agendis suis in partibus transmarinis, rediit in
Angliam,” R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 293.

[912] _Itin._ a. 16; for the last date see _Memorials of S. Edmund’s_,
vol. ii. p. 92.

[913] _Rot. Pat._ p. 111 b.

[914] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 283, 284. The terms are stated in a
very confused way, both in the Pope’s letter (given _l.c._; also in
_Rot. Chart._ pp. 208, 209), in a letter of Earl William of Ferrars
(_Rot. Pat._ p. 139; Ferrars was one of those who swore as sureties
for the king), and in that of John himself (_Rot. Chart._ p. 199); but
a comparison of the three documents with Roger’s own account of the
matter makes it tolerably clear that Nicolas was authorized to raise
the interdict as soon as he had obtained security for the payment of
twelve thousand marks a year, in half-yearly instalments, till the
total of forty thousand should be complete.

[915] _Rot. Chart._ p. 199.

[916] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 284, makes the date June 29; W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 217, R. Coggeshall, p. 169, and _Ann. Waverl._ a.
1214, make it July 2.

[917] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 208, 208 b, 209.

[918] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 284, 285.

[919] _Rot. Pat._ pp. 124, 140 b, 141.

[920] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 215.

[921] At Dunstable, “after the octave of Epiphany,” R. Wendover, vol.
iii. p. 278.

[922] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 278, 279, says that Nicolas, with the
king’s assent, sent Pandulf specially to plead for him at Rome against
the archbishop; but Pandulf’s approaching departure over sea “in
nuncium nostrum” was announced by John on January 4 (_Rot. Claus._ vol.
i. p. 141), ten days at least before Stephen’s appeal was made or even

[923, 924] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 278, 279, and R. Coggeshall,
p. 170.

[925] _Statutes of the Realm_, Charters of Liberties, p. 5. A copy of
this grant, with the date January 15, is printed in _Foedera_, vol. i.
pt. i. pp. 126–7.




  Ki ore vaurroit oïr l’ocoison de la guerre dont li rois Jehans
  moru deshiretés de la plus grant partie d’Engletierre, bien le
  poroit oïr en cest escrit.

              _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_, p. 145.

  Intervenientibus itaque archiepiscopo Cantuariensi cum pluribus
  coepiscopis et baronibus nonnullis, quasi pax inter regem et barones
  formata est.

              R. COGGESHALL, p. 172.

[Sidenote: 1214]

On May 26, 1214, John had issued writs for the collection of a scutage
of three marks per fee from all tenants-in-chief, royal demesnes,
vacant bishoprics, lands in royal wardship, and escheats, except those
fees which were personally represented in the army in Poitou; on these
the scutage was, as usual, to be remitted by royal warrant.[926] Those
northern barons who had refused to serve now refused to pay. They
adhered to their contention that they were by their tenure exempt
from the obligation to foreign service, and they argued that, in
consequence, they were also exempt from the obligation to payment in
substitution for such service.[927] Whether they claimed this double
exemption as a privilege peculiar to themselves, or as common to the
whole baronage, is not quite clear. In either case the claim would
have been difficult, if not impossible, to prove. There is nothing to
indicate that the fiefs in northern England had been originally granted
on different conditions from those in the south. On the other hand,
there are, indeed, some slight indications of the possible existence
in some quarters, in the days of both Richard and Henry, of a theory
that the obligation to foreign service--and therefore to payment of
scutage for a foreign war--did not form part of the regular obligations
of military tenure; in other words, that tenants-in-chivalry were not
legally bound to serve in, or to pay for, any war save one of defence.
But no general attempt had ever been made even to formulate such a
theory, far less to carry it out to its logical consequences; and it
is obvious that those consequences would have made it practically
impossible for the kings of England to carry on any continental warfare
at all. When John in reply to the northern recalcitrants insisted that
“it always used to be so done”--that is, foreign service had been
rendered or scutage paid in its stead--in his father’s and brother’s
days,[928] he was unquestionably right; and he might have added that it
had also been so done, over and over again, in the early years of his
own reign. The protest of the northern barons seems to have been made
to him in a personal meeting very soon after his return to England;
we are told that “the matter would have gone further, had it not
been checked by the presence of the legate.” It seems indeed to have
gone further notwithstanding that obstacle, for the same chronicler
adds: “There was brought forth a certain charter of liberties given
to the English by Henry I., which the said barons asked the king to

[Sidenote: 1213]

If we may believe a report which was current a few years later, this
demand had been first suggested to the barons, more than a year
before, by Archbishop Stephen of Canterbury. On August 25, 1213; he
had gathered the bishops, abbots and other ecclesiastical dignitaries,
with some of the lay magnates, around him in S. Paul’s cathedral that
they might receive his instructions concerning a partial relaxation of
the interdict, which he was empowered to grant, pending the arrival of
the legate. It was said[930] that he had afterwards called aside the
lay members of the assembly to a secret meeting in which he laid before
them a yet weightier matter. “Ye have heard”--thus he was reported to
have addressed them--“how, when I absolved the king at Winchester, I
made him swear to put down bad laws and enforce throughout his realm
the good laws of Edward. Now, there has been found also a certain
charter of King Henry I. by which, if ye will, ye may recall to their
former estate the liberties which ye have so long lost”:--and he caused
the document in question--the coronation-charter of Henry I.--to be
read aloud before them. “And when this charter had been read through
and interpreted to the barons, they rejoiced with very great joy, and
all swore in the archbishop’s presence that when they saw a fitting
time they would fight for those liberties, if it were needful, even
unto death; the archbishop, too, promised them his most faithful help
to the utmost of his power. And, a confederacy being thus made between
them, the conference was dissolved.”[931] This story is given by Roger
of Wendover only as a rumour; but whether the rumour were literally
true or not, it was at any rate founded upon a fact: the fact that the
movement which was to result in the Great Charter owed its true impulse
to the patriotism, as it owed its success to the statesmanship, not of
any of the barons, but of Stephen Langton.

[Sidenote: 1214]

During eight months out of the fourteen which elapsed between the
archbishop’s return and that of the king, the administration of
government was in the hands of Peter des Roches, and he ruled the
country with a rod of iron.[932] But Peter’s vice-regal tyranny was
only the final outcome of a state of things which had been growing
worse from year to year for more than a quarter of a century. England
in the sixteenth year of King John was suffering under an accumulation
of grievances consisting, as Ralph of Coggeshall truly says, of all
“the evil customs which the king’s father and brother had raised up for
the oppression of the Church and realm, together with the abuses which
the king himself had added thereto.”[933] No doubt these last formed
the worst part of the evil, and it was the addition of them that
gave such an increase of bitterness to all the rest. The obligation
laid upon all men to attend the Forest courts, when summoned, whether
subject to their jurisdiction or not, had been a hardship ever since
it was imposed by Henry II. in 1184; the working of the Forest laws
had been a source of suffering from a period much earlier still; but
the area of the hardship and the suffering was rendered more extensive
by the new afforestations made by John.[934] The inconvenience caused
by the old practice of making common pleas “follow the king”--that
is, of holding trials of civil causes only before the justices who
accompanied the king, wheresoever he might be--had been felt in Henry’s
time, and Henry had tried to remedy it by setting up a permanent bench
of justices in a fixed place to deal with such causes. But the right
retained by the sovereign of calling up suits from this tribunal to his
own presence was exercised by John to a degree which his restless and
erratic movements--almost more restless and erratic than those of his
father--seem to have rendered extremely vexatious to litigants.[935]
The precise limits of the king’s rights over his tenants-in-chief as to
military service, scutage, control over their castles, and such-like
matters, had been more or less in dispute throughout the two preceding
reigns; but the bitterness of such disputes was intensified by John’s
personal dealings with his barons, his subtle contrivances for stealing
from them their rights over their own tenants and their own lands, his
interference with their domestic life by his continual demands for
hostages, and, above all, in many cases, by a desecration of their
homes which blood alone could expiate.

Again, the corrupt administration of the sheriffs had been matter of
complaint under Henry; but it was far worse under John; for whereas
Henry, and after him Hubert Walter acting for Richard, had endeavoured
by various means to check the independent action and curtail the powers
of the sheriffs, now the king himself was almost openly in league with
those officers, and their usurpations and extortions were not merely
condoned, but encouraged, if not even directly instigated, by him for
his own interest. Owing to the rise in the value of land and a variety
of other causes, the sheriffs’ annual receipts had for many years
past been generally in considerable excess of the sum--fixed under
the Norman kings on the basis of the Domesday Survey--for which they
were accountable to the royal treasury as ferm of the shire. Whatever
they received beyond this fixed sum seems to have been originally, in
theory at least, their own profit. But a share of it was naturally soon
claimed by the Crown; and this was done, not by putting the ferm at a
higher figure, but by charging the sheriff with an additional lump sum
under the title of _crementum_, or, in John’s time, _proficuum_.[936]
Whatever proportion the increment thus paid to the Crown may have
borne to the actual receipts of the sheriffs, it is clear that under
a sovereign of John’s character an arrangement which made king and
sheriff partners in gain would make them also partners in extortion.
The partnership began when the sheriff entered upon his office; he
was appointed to it by the king alone, he held it during the king’s
pleasure; John had no trouble in finding sheriffs after his own heart.
As the improvement of the royal demesnes and the legitimate proceeds
of royal jurisdiction were inadequate to produce increment on a scale
such as is shown in some of the Pipe Rolls of the reign, these men
fleeced the people of their shire by every means they could devise, for
the joint profit of the king and themselves; and the king connived at
and abetted every possible usurpation of the sheriffs, that they might
wring out of the shire a larger amount of money for him. They set at
nought the restrictions which John’s predecessors had placed upon their
action. They took upon themselves to keep the pleas of the Crown,
without reference to the coroners to whom that duty had been specially
intrusted under Richard.[937] They accused men of offences and sent
them to the ordeal without more ado, in defiance of Henry’s ordinance
limiting the employment of that mode of trial to cases in which the
charge was made on the presentment of a sworn jury.[938] The corrupt
and extortionate rule of the sheriffs had been strongly condemned by
the bishops and magnates in the king’s name at the council at S. Albans
in August 1213, and it is said that after the coming of the legate some
attempt was made to check these abuses by removing the most glaring
offenders from office;[939] but a mere change of officers was of little
avail; the fault lay not only in the persons who worked the system, but
also in the system itself; and the evil extended far beyond the sphere
of the sheriffs’ activity.

The whole judicial administration of the realm was corrupt. There was
very distinctly one law for the rich and another for the poor.[940]
Justice was sold, delayed, or refused altogether, at the king’s
will.[941] Proceedings for which the presence of only the parties
concerned in the suit, and a certain number of jurors, was legally
necessary, were made a pretext for summoning other persons,[942]
evidently for the sake of exacting fines from them if they failed to
attend, and were protracted[943] so as to make attendance as vexatious
as possible, that there might be the more defaulters and the more
fines. The course of justice was subjected to constant interference
through the summary evocation of causes from the lower courts to that
of the king, at the instance of any suitor who could afford to pay for
the writ of “_praecipe_” whereby the sheriff was authorized to effect
the transfer.[944] Fines were imposed without regard either to the
scale of the offence or the offender’s means of paying, so that men
of all classes were reduced by them to ruin, being unable to make up
the required sum except by selling their sole means of livelihood--the
free yeoman his tenement, the villein his cart, the merchant his stock
in trade;[945] clerks were amerced to the full value not only of any
lay tenement which they possessed, but also of their ecclesiastical
benefices.[946] Henry’s Assize had given to the Crown only the chattels
of a convicted felon; but now the Crown took his land also, without
compensation to the mesne lord to whom it ought to have reverted.[947]

The exactions and usurpations of the Crown were of the most various
kinds, and affected every class of society. Reliefs of arbitrary and
unreasonable amount were again, as in the Red King’s days, exacted
from tenants-in-chief on succession to their estates.[948] Sub-tenants
holding land which formed part of an escheated honour were made to pay
relief not as other sub-tenants paid to their immediate lord, but as if
they held in chief of the Crown.[949] The widows of tenants-in-chief
could not obtain the dowry to which they were legally entitled without
payment to the king for its assignment,[950] and were forced into
second marriages against their will.[951] The wardship and marriage
of minor heirs was given, or sold, by the king to his friends without
regard to the honesty or dishonesty of the guardian and the interests
of the minor and his family.[952] By an ingenious piece of intentional
confusion the Crown arrogated to itself the right of wardship in
cases where it had no such right. If a man held land of the Crown
by a non-feudal tenure, and also held other land under another lord
by knight-service, the distinction between his holding in chief and
his holding in chivalry was ignored for the king’s benefit, and the
custody of all the man’s lands was appropriated to the Crown.[953]
Distraints for debt to the Crown were made in the most arbitrary way;
the king’s bailiffs would, if it so pleased them or their master,
seize a debtor’s land instead of his chattels, though the value of
these latter sufficed to discharge his debt; or they would distrain
a debtor’s sureties, although he himself was able to pay.[954] When
a freeman died, they assumed as matter of course that he was in debt
to the king, and without inquiring to what amount, they seized his
chattels, to be restored to his executors or next-of-kin only when the
royal claim was satisfied, and not always then.[955] John, like William
Rufus, “would be every man’s heir.” If a man died in debt to the Jews,
and leaving an heir under age, those usurers were suffered to exact
interest upon their debt during the minority of the heir, so that if
through the death of the Jewish creditor the debt should fall into the
king’s hand (the Crown being the legal heir of all Jews), there should
be as much for the king as possible; and in such cases he claimed
payment of the uttermost farthing that was set down in the Jew’s
account-book, although he might thereby leave the Christian debtor’s
widow and children to starve.[956] Exorbitant tolls were exacted from
merchants.[957] Fines were laid upon towns for the making of bridges,
in places where no such obligation had existed in times past.[958]
Weirs were placed in the rivers that the king might keep to himself
the profits of fishing.[959] Monasteries not of royal foundation were
taken into the king’s custody during vacancy, in defiance of the rights
of their founders’ representatives.[960] The king’s bailiffs compelled
men to give their corn and other goods for the use of the king or his
servants, their horses and carts for the carriage of burdens in his
service, their wood for the construction of his buildings, whether the
owners were willing or not, and seemingly without payment.[961] Free
men were arrested, imprisoned, ejected from their lands, even exiled or
outlawed, without legal warrant or fair trial.[962] Individuals were
forbidden to enter or quit the realm at the mere will of the king.[963]
Some barons whom he specially favoured, or wanted to propitiate,
received licences to impose arbitrary taxes on their sub-tenants,
without regard to the limits of feudal custom,[964] just as the king
himself imposed taxes on his subjects according to his will and
pleasure. In a word, the entire system of government and administration
set up under the Norman kings and developed under Henry and Richard
had been converted by the ingenuity of John into a most subtle and
effective engine of royal extortion, oppression and tyranny over all
classes of the nation, from earl to villein.

The only class which was as yet capable of making any corporate
opposition or protest was the baronage; and hitherto the discontent
of the barons had shown itself only in the resistance of some of
their number to the king’s demands on certain special occasions and
in reference to certain special points which affected them personally
as tenants-in-chief. But there was now one man in England who looked
at the questions at issue between them and the king from a higher
standpoint than theirs, and in whose eyes those questions were only
small parts of a much wider and deeper question, on the solution of
which he had set his mind from the very hour of his landing in the
realm. One chronicler relates that John’s first impulse on hearing of
Archbishop Stephen’s arrival in England had been to withdraw himself
to some remote place and put off their meeting as long as possible,
and that he had only been induced to abandon this intention by the
remonstrances of some of the barons.[965] Whether this particular
story be true or not, it seems plain that John’s conduct throughout
his quarrel with the Church was to a great extent dictated by personal
dislike to the archbishop. This feeling must have been mainly
instinctive; for the two men had never seen each other till they met at
Winchester on July 20, 1213. The instinct, however, was a true one: it
was Stephen Langton who was to give the first impulse to the work which
was destined--though not till long after he had passed away--to make
the rule of such a king as John impossible in England for evermore.

The archbishop was determined to be satisfied with nothing short of
a literal fulfilment of the promise on which he had insisted as a
condition of the king’s absolution, the promise that to “_all_ men”
their rights should be restored. He saw that this end could be gained
only by the instrumentality of the barons; he also saw that it could
be gained only by a policy based on clearer and firmer, as well as
broader and nobler, lines than any of them were capable of designing.
They, indeed, had no definite scheme of policy; nor had they any leader
able to furnish them with such a scheme. The men of highest standing
among the magnates, such as the earls of Salisbury, Chester, Albemarle,
Warren, Cornwall and William the Marshal,--the men of highest standing
among the official class, such as the heads of the houses of Aubigny,
Vipont, De Lucy, Basset, Cantelupe, Neville, Brewer[966]--had either
gone to the war or paid their scutage for it without a murmur, and
stood utterly aloof from the group of “Northerners,” among whom the
most conspicuous were two barons of secondary rank, Eustace de Vesci
and Robert Fitz-Walter. Both Eustace and Robert are said to have had
just grounds for bitter personal resentment against John; but Robert
Fitz-Walter had twice already shown himself to be both a traitor and a
coward; and on the second occasion, in 1212, Eustace de Vesci had done
the like. The pardon and restoration of both these men in the following
year was a matter of policy, but was not due to any merits of their
own.[967] It was not under the inspiration and guidance of such men as
these that the liberties of the English people could be won, nor even
that the barons could succeed in their struggle for the privileges,
pretended or real, of their own order. Another guide offered himself
to them in the person of Stephen Langton, and offered to them at the
same time a definite basis of action in the charter of Henry I. Whether
the offer was made at the meeting in S. Paul’s in August 1213, or at
some later date and in some other way, is of little consequence; it
is enough that antecedent probability and after-history alike justify
the general belief of which Roger of Wendover is the spokesman:--that
it was Langton who brought to light the charter of which the very
existence seems to have been forgotten, and it was from him that the
barons adopted it as the basis of their demands.

The next step which they took in so doing was weightier than,
probably, they themselves had any idea of. At first glance the charter
seems to have little or no bearing upon the immediate subject of
dispute between them and the king; it contains no mention whatever of
either scutage or military service beyond sea. But it does contain a
series of clauses regulating the relations between the tenants-in-chief
and the Crown; and thus it furnished them with a substantial ground
for insisting that all violations of its provisions on the part of the
Crown must be redressed before any further burdens could be binding
upon them. It was even possible for them to argue that any demands on
the king’s part other than those expressly sanctioned in the charter
were an encroachment on their privileges as therein defined. For the
greater purpose which Langton had in view, the value of the charter lay
in its opening of the way to wider reforms by the incidental clauses
which bound the tenants-in-chief to extend to their sub-tenants the
same benefits which they themselves received from the king, and in
the comprehensive sentence which declared the abolition of “all evil
customs whereby the realm was unjustly oppressed.”[968] The more
thoughtful among the confederate barons may perhaps by this time have
begun to see that, even from a selfish point of view, they had nothing
to lose, and might have something to gain, by identifying their cause
with that of the nation as a whole. Many of the grievances which
touched the lower classes touched the higher also, though not always in
the same way. Moreover, although the people were as yet powerless to
initiate any corporate action in their own behalf, their support had
saved more than one earlier sovereign in a struggle against the barons;
it might prove no less useful to the barons in a struggle against the
king. But whatever the barons may have thought about these matters, the
king was statesman enough to see as clearly as the primate how weighty
and far-reaching might be the consequences involved in the demand for
a renewal of the charter. He therefore postponed its discussion till
after Christmas.[969]

[Sidenote: 1214]

Such is the brief statement of the Barnwell annalist. In its stead,
Roger of Wendover gives us a dramatic scene in S. Edmund’s abbey.
“The earls and barons of England,” he tells us, came together in
that sanctuary, “as if for prayer; but there was something else in
the matter, for after they had held much secret discourse, there was
brought forth in their midst the charter of King Henry I., which the
same barons had received in London, as hath been before said, from
Archbishop Stephen of Canterbury. Then they went all together to
the church of S. Edmund the King and Martyr, and beginning with the
eldest, they swore on the high altar that if the king sought to evade
their demand for the laws and liberties which that charter contained,
they would make war upon him and withdraw from fealty to him till he
should, by a charter furnished with his seal, confirm to them all that
they demanded. They also agreed that after Christmas they would go all
together to the king, and ask him for a confirmation of the aforesaid
liberties; and that meanwhile they would so provide themselves with
horses and arms that if the king should seek to break his oath, they
might by seizing his castles compel him to make satisfaction. And when
these things were done they returned every man to his own home.”[970]

[Sidenote: 1215]

John was at S. Edmund’s on November 4;[971] it is possible therefore
that his meeting with the barons may have been held there, and that
the scene described by Roger may have taken place after the king’s
departure. He kept Christmas at Worcester, and returned to London at
the opening of the new year.[972] There, at Epiphany, the confederate
barons came to him in a body, “in somewhat showy military array,” and
prayed him “that certain laws and liberties of King Edward, with
other liberties granted to them and to the English Church and realm,
might be confirmed, as they were written in the charter of King Henry
I. and the laws aforesaid; moreover they declared that at the time of
his absolution at Winchester, he had promised those ancient laws and
liberties, and thus he was bound by his own oath to the observance of
the same.” John cautiously answered that “the matter which they sought
was great and difficult, wherefore he asked for a delay till the close
of Easter, that he might consider how to satisfy both their demands and
the dignity of his crown.”[973] He then seems to have tried to persuade
them--no doubt each man singly--into giving him a written promise
“never again to demand such liberties from him or his successors”; but
to this no one would consent except the bishop of Winchester, the earl
of Chester, and William Brewer.[974] At last the proposed adjournment
till the close of Easter was agreed upon, but not till the king had,
“against his will,” pledged himself by three sureties to fulfill his
promise by giving reasonable satisfaction to all parties at the date
thus appointed.[975]

The king’s sureties were the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishop of
Ely, and William the Marshal. The choice of the archbishop as one of
them was good policy on John’s part; and Langton’s acceptance of the
office implies no wavering or double-dealing on his side. In so far
as it was his inspiration that gave a new force to the enterprise of
the barons, by raising it from a struggle for their own privileges
into a struggle for the liberties of the English nation, he was in
truth, as Roger of Wendover says, their “chief ally”;[976] and for the
achievement of its end as he himself conceived it, he did indeed “give
them his most faithful help to the utmost of his power.” But the help
which he gave them was not that of a partisan; Stephen Langton was at
once too true a churchman and too great a statesman, and held too lofty
a conception of his proper constitutional functions as primate of all
England, to identify himself with any party. The right and the duty of
the archbishop of Canterbury was to be the partisan of neither king nor
people, but the guide and monitor of both, so far as they would accept
his guidance and listen to his admonitions, and the mediator between
them whenever mediation was needed. He was by virtue of his office the
first adviser of the Crown as well as the guardian of the nation’s
rights; and it was only by standing firmly at his post by the king’s
side in the former capacity that he could be truly efficient in the
latter. Langton’s attitude was evidently understood by both parties at
the time. From the moment when the northern barons first asked the king
to confirm his great-grandfather’s charter, if not before, John must
have known that the hand of the primate was with them in the matter.
But he was quite as much alive as they were to the value of such a
helper; moreover, he seems to have had the somewhat rare gift of being
able to recognize in another man qualities which were conspicuously
absent from his own character. Much as he hated Langton, he evidently
trusted to his honour and loyalty as implicitly as he trusted to that
of William the Marshal. He therefore continued to the end the policy
which he had pursued ever since the archbishop’s coming to England.
He treated Langton with every mark of confidence and respect; he
carefully avoided any step which might have forced him into opposition
on ecclesiastical grounds; and in his diplomatic dealings with the
barons it was Langton whom he employed as his chief commissioner and

The king, however, was even more prompt than the barons in preparing
to back diplomacy by force. Immediately after the Epiphany meeting he
ordered a renewal of the oath of allegiance throughout the country; and
this time it was to be taken in the form of an oath of liege homage,
binding his subjects to “stand by him against all men.” This, it is
said, was an unwonted addition, which was generally opposed as being
“contrary to the charter”--the standard by which all things were now
tried.[977] It may have been in connexion with this matter that the
king sent {Feb. 10} to the men of sixteen southern and midland shires
commissioners “to explain his business” to them;[978] but he ended by
withdrawing his demand, “not deeming the time opportune for exciting a
tumult among the people.”[979] That tumults would nevertheless arise
before long he knew full well; and to meet this danger he had already
called to his aid the loyal “barons and bachelors” of Poitou.[980]
The summons must have been issued immediately after, if not even in
anticipation of, his meeting with the English malcontents at Epiphany,
and the response must have been as prompt as the summons, for on
February 8 he had already heard of the arrival in Ireland of some
troops sent to him by Savaric de Mauléon, and was issuing orders to the
archbishop of Dublin for the payment of their passage to England.[981]
On February 19 the king gave a safe-conduct to “the barons of the
North” that they might come to Oxford to speak with the primate, the
other bishops and the Earl Marshal on Sunday the 22nd.[982] Whether
this conference took place, or what came of it, we are not told; but
on March 13 John wrote to the barons and bachelors of Poitou that
the matter for which he had summoned them was now settled, and he
therefore, thanking them for their readiness to obey his call, bade
those of them who had not yet set out remain at home, and those who had
started go home again, with the assurance that he would indemnify them
for their expenses.[983]

It is possible that the barons may have asked for the conference at
Oxford in order to remonstrate against the warlike preparations of the
king, and that it may have resulted in some temporary arrangement which
compelled him to dismiss the Poitevins. It is also possible that this
dismissal may have been prompted by tidings from Rome. The prospect
of some such crisis as the present one had almost certainly been in
the minds of king and barons alike when John performed his homage to
the Pope; and both alike now sought to make their profit out of that
transaction, each side appealing to the Pope, as the common overlord
of both, to use his authority in compelling the other to yield. An
envoy from John, William Mauclerc, had reached Rome on February 17.
Eleven days later Eustace de Vesci and two other representatives of
the malcontent party arrived with letters for the Pope. In these
letters--so Mauclerc reported to his master--the confederate barons
besought Innocent, “since he was lord of England,” to urge and, if
needful, compel the king to restore the ancient liberties granted by
his predecessors and confirmed by his own oath. They recited how at the
meeting in London at Epiphany John had not only refused to grant these
liberties, but had endeavoured to make the petitioners promise never
to ask for them again. They begged that the Pope would take measures
to help them in this matter, “forasmuch as he well knew that they
had at his command boldly opposed the king in behalf of the Church’s
liberty, and that the king’s grant of an annual revenue and other
honours to the Pope and the Roman Church had been made not of free
will and devotion, but from fear and under compulsion from them.”[984]
Of what John wrote, or charged his envoy to say, to Innocent in his
behalf, no record remains; but Innocent’s letters show what the tenour
of John’s argument must have been. With his usual dexterity the king
made capital out of the secret meetings held, or said to have been
held, by the malcontents; and he also brought into special prominence
the one point of discussion which was quite clearly defined, and in
which he unmistakeably had precedent on his side--the question of the
scutage. On March 19 Innocent wrote to the archbishop of Canterbury and
the other English bishops, expressing his surprise that they had not
checked the quarrel between the king and “certain magnates and barons,”
and reproving them for their failure to do so; he strongly condemned
the “conspiracies and conjurations” which the barons were reported to
have made, and ordered the bishops to quash all such conspiracies and
urge the barons to proceed only by fair and lawful means. On the other
hand, he besought the king “to treat the aforesaid nobles graciously,
and mercifully to grant their just petitions.” On the same day he
wrote to the barons, informing them of the contents of his letter to
the bishops.[985] On April 1 he wrote to the barons again, avowedly in
consequence of the king’s complaint of their refusal to pay the scutage
for the Poitevin war; he reproved them for their contumacy in this
matter, and “warned and exhorted” them to satisfy the king’s claims
without further delay.[986]

[Sidenote: April 19–26]

By the middle of April the two former of these letters must have
reached England, the second being probably brought back by Eustace
de Vesci and his companions. The third letter was scarcely needed to
show the barons that their cause was lost at Rome. John, moreover, had
secured its ruin in that quarter by taking the Cross[987]--partly, no
doubt, as a protection against personal violence, but still more as a
means of enlisting the Pope’s strongest sympathies in his behalf, and
holding up his enemies to execration as hinderers of the crusade. They
grew desperate; they held another council among themselves, at which
they determined, without waiting for their promised interview with the
king, that they “would deal civilly with him no longer”;[988] and in
Easter week they assembled at Stamford in arms.

Five earls and forty barons are mentioned by name as present at the
muster, “with many others”; they all came with horses and arms, and
brought with them “a countless host,” estimated to comprise about
two thousand knights, besides other horsemen, sergeants-at-arms, and
foot soldiers.[989] “And because for the most part they came from the
north, they were all called Northerners.” From Stamford they marched to
Northampton, but without doing any act of violence.[990] John, who had
spent Easter in London,[991] sent the primate and some other bishops
and magnates to parley with them.[992] Several meetings appear to have
taken place. The deliberations evidently turned chiefly on the Pope’s
letters. No allusion is made by the chroniclers to the letter about
the scutage, which perhaps had not yet arrived; but, on the one hand,
Innocent’s condemnation of secret conspiracies could not be ignored;
and on the other, the barons urged his injunction to the king to
hearken to their “just petitions.”[993] At length John--secure in the
consciousness that he could refuse every petition on the plea that it
was not just--authorized his commissioners to demand of the barons, in
his name, a categorical statement of the laws and liberties which they

This message was delivered to the insurgents by the primate and the
Marshal, at Brackley, on Monday April 27--the day after that originally
fixed for the meeting of the barons and the king. “Then they [the
barons] presented to the envoys a certain schedule, which consisted for
the most part of ancient laws and customs of the realm, declaring that
if the king did not at once grant these things and confirm them with
his seal, they would compel him by force.”[994] This “schedule” was no
doubt a kind of first draft, prepared under the direction of Langton
himself in his conferences with the insurgents during the previous
week, of those “Articles of the Barons” from which we chiefly learn the
grievances of the time, and most of which were ultimately embodied in
the Great Charter. Langton and the Marshal carried it back to the king,
who was now in Wiltshire.[995] One by one the articles were read out
to him by the primate. John listened with a scornful smile: “Why do
these barons not ask for my kingdom at once?” he said. “Their demands
are idle dreams, without a shadow of reason.” Then he burst into a
fury, and swore that he would never grant to them liberties which
would make himself a slave. In vain the archbishop and the Marshal
endeavoured to persuade him to yield; he only bade them go back to the
barons and repeat every word that he had said. They performed their
errand;[996] and the barons immediately sent to the king a formal
renunciation of their homage and fealty,[997] and chose for themselves
a captain-general in the person of Robert Fitz-Walter, to whom they
gave the title of “Marshal of the army of God and Holy Church.”[998]
They then marched back to Northampton, occupied the town and laid siege
to the castle.[999]

The king was not behindhand in his preparations for war. His friends
were already mustering at Gloucester; on April 30 he requested them
to proceed thence on the following Monday (May 3), well furnished
with horses and arms, and with “all the men they could get,” to
Cirencester, there to await his further commands.[1000] Orders were
issued for strengthening the fortifications of London, Oxford, Norwich,
Bristol and Salisbury.[1001] The earls of Salisbury, Warren, Pembroke
and others perambulated the country to see that the royal castles
were properly fortified and manned;[1002] help was summoned from
Flanders[1003] and from Poitou.[1004] Early in May the king returned
for a couple of days to London;[1005] and as fourteen years before he
had won the support of its citizens in his struggle with Richard’s
chancellor by granting to them the “commune” which they desired, so now
he endeavoured to secure their adhesion by confirming their liberties
and adding to them the crowning privilege of a fully constituted
municipality, the right to elect their own mayor every year.[1006]
Meanwhile the “northern” barons had found Northampton castle too strong
to be taken without military engines which they did not possess; so
at the end of a fortnight they had raised the siege and moved on to
Bedford. Here the castle was given up to them by its commandant,
William de Beauchamp.[1007] Their forces were rapidly increasing in
number; the younger men especially, sons and nephews of the greater
barons, joined them readily, “wishing to make for themselves a name
in war”; the elder magnates, for the most part, clave to the king “as
their lord.”[1008]

On May 9 the king--now at Windsor--proposed that the quarrel should
be decided by eight arbitrators, four to be chosen by himself and
four by “the barons who are against us,” with the Pope as “superior”
over them; he offered the earl of Warren and four bishops as sureties
for his own acceptance of the award, and promised that until it was
delivered he would take no forcible measures against the insurgents,
“save according to the law of the realm and the judgement of their
peers in his court.”[1009] This proposal seems to have been rejected at
once, for two days later John ordered the sheriffs to seize the lands,
goods and chattels of “his enemies” in their several shires and apply
them to his benefit.[1010] Almost immediately afterwards he seems to
have commissioned the archbishop of Canterbury to negotiate a truce
for a few days. On the 16th he appointed his brother, Earl William of
Salisbury, to act as his representative in London.[1011] The object of
William’s mission evidently was to secure, if possible, the loyalty of
the “mayor, aldermen and other barons of London,” which John suspected
to be wavering. His suspicion was correct; a plot for the betrayal of
the city was already ripe, and on the very next morning--Sunday, May
17--the insurgents were masters of the capital.[1012] The first use
they made of this success was to fill their pockets with plunder taken
from the king’s partisans in the city, and from the Jews; the next was
to pull down the Jews’ houses and use the stones for repairing the city
walls. They then sent letters to all the earls, barons and knights who
still adhered to the king, “bidding them, if they cared to retain their
property and goods, forsake a king who was perjured and in rebellion
against his barons, and join with them in standing firmly and fighting
strongly for the peace and liberty of the realm; threatening that if
they neglected so to do, they, the writers, would direct their banners
and their arms against them as against public enemies, and do their
utmost to overthrow their castles, burn their dwellings, and destroy
their fishponds, orchards and parks.” These invitations and threats
brought over to the winning side all who had been waiting to see which
way the tide would turn, and they, of course, made a right goodly

Still the king did not lose heart. He had gone from Berkshire into
Wiltshire,[1014] and was at his hunting seat of Fremantle--“a house
which stands on a height, and in the heart of a forest”--when, on May
18 or 19, a party of Flemish knights under Robert de Béthune found
their way to him and offered themselves for his service. He gave them
a joyous welcome, and hearing that a sudden rising had taken place in
Devon, despatched them under the command of the earl of Salisbury to
deal with it. The insurgents were reported to be besieging Exeter,
whence the earl was bidden to dislodge them; but they had, in fact,
already taken it; and when Earl William reached Sherborne, he was told
that they were lying hidden in a wood through which his road lay,
in such numbers that he and his followers had no chance of escape
if they fell into the ambush; whereupon he went back to the king at
Winchester.[1015] “You are not good at taking fortresses!” said John
scornfully when he heard the tale. A few days later he again bade the
same party go and drive the “Northerners” out of Exeter. Again they
were met at Sherborne by alarming accounts of the increased numbers
of the enemy; but this time the Flemings, stung by the king’s taunt,
insisted upon going forward to “conquer or die”; and the “Northerners,”
though they are said by the contemporary Flemish chronicler to have
been ten to one, evacuated Exeter at the mere tidings of their

This second expedition to Exeter probably started from Winchester on
the same day (May 24) on which John issued a notice that any persons
who came to his service from over sea were to place themselves under
the orders of his chamberlain, Hubert de Burgh.[1017] He had summoned
a part of his forces to muster on May 26 at Marlborough; but on the
25th they were bidden to proceed to “the parts of Odiham and Farnham,”
there to receive his commands; while others, who were to have come to
Reading, were to await his orders sent through Jordan de Sackville. On
the same day John wrote to the archbishop of Canterbury, urgently, but
very courteously, entreating that he would temporarily waive his right
to the custody of Rochester castle and allow the king to garrison it
with men of his own.[1018] To this request Langton acceded.[1019] By
this time he had negotiated another truce, and two days later {May 27}
John gave him a safe-conduct for himself and for whatever persons he
might bring with him to Staines “to treat of peace between ourself and
our barons.”[1020]

The object of all these changes of front on the king’s part was to gain
time for assembling new forces and devising a new policy. On the same
day on which he gave the safe-conduct to the archbishop, he despatched
an urgent appeal to all “his knights, men-at-arms, and friends who were
coming to join him” from over sea, entreating them to come as speedily
as possible, and promising that they should be well rewarded for so
doing.[1021] On May 29 he again wrote to the Pope, complaining of the
rebellious attitude of the barons, which made it impossible for him to
fulfil his vow of crusade.[1022] On Whitsun Eve, June 6, he bade his
favourite captain of mercenaries, Falkes de Bréauté, send four hundred
Welshmen to Salisbury to meet its earl by the following Tuesday,[1023]
seemingly to be ready for action on the Thursday, when the truce would

John knew, however, that the game was lost. Four bodies of insurgents
were now in the field, and none of them seem to have paid any regard
to the truce. The townsfolk of Northampton had risen against the royal
garrison of the castle and slain several of them. The force which
occupied London was besieging the Tower; and now, in this Whitsun week,
another body seized Lincoln.[1024] The king was almost deserted; at one
moment he is said to have had only seven knights left in his suite; the
sessions of the Exchequer and of the sheriffs’ courts throughout the
country had ceased, because no one would pay him anything or obey him
in any matter.[1025] He had come up on May 31 from Odiham to Windsor,
doubtless to meet the archbishop at Staines; on June 4 he went back
into Hampshire.[1026] On Whit-Monday, June 8, he issued from Merton a
safe-conduct for envoys from the barons to proceed to and from Staines
from Tuesday the 9th till Thursday the 11th. On Wednesday the 10th
he returned to Windsor, and the truce was prolonged from Thursday to
the following Monday, the 15th.[1027] Finally, he despatched William
the Marshal and some other trusty envoys to tell the barons in London
“that for the sake of peace and for the welfare and honour of his
realm, he would freely concede to them the laws and liberties which
they asked; and that they might appoint a place and day for him and
them to meet, for the settlement of all these things.” The messengers
“guilelessly performed the errand which had been guilefully imposed on
them”; and the barons, “buoyed up with immense joy,” fixed the meeting
to take place on June 15 in a meadow between Staines and Windsor,[1028]
called Runnimead.[1029]

[Sidenote: June 15]

There, on the appointed morning, the two parties pitched their tents at
a little distance from each other on the long reach of level grass-land
which stretched along the river-bank. The barons came “with a multitude
of most illustrious knights, all thoroughly well armed.”[1030] “It
is useless,” says another chronicler, “to enumerate those who were
present on the side of the barons, for they comprised well-nigh all
the nobility of England.” With the king were the archbishops of
Canterbury and Dublin, seven bishops, Pandulf--who had been sent back
to England as the Pope’s representative instead of Nicolas--the Master
of the English Templars, the earls of Pembroke, Salisbury, Warren and
Arundel, and about a dozen barons of lesser degree, including Hubert
de Burgh.[1031] It was to these chosen few, and above all to the
first of them, that John really capitulated. His declaration that he
granted the Great Charter by their counsel may well have been true of
them all; his most devoted adherents could, if they had any political
sagacity, advise him nothing else for his own interest. The terms of
capitulation, however, imply more than this. Nominally, the treaty--for
it was nothing less[1032]--was based upon a set of forty-nine articles
“which the barons demanded and the lord king granted.”[1033] But
those articles are obviously not the composition of “the barons”
mustered under Robert Fitz-Walter. Every step of the proceedings of
these insurgents up to that moment, every step of their proceedings
afterwards, as well as everything that is known of the character of
their leaders, goes to show that they were no more capable of rising
to the lofty conception embodied in the Charter--the conception of
a contract between king and people which should secure equal rights
to every class and every individual in the nation--than they were
capable of formulating it in the minute detail and the carefully chosen
phraseology of the Charter or even of the Articles. The true history
of the treaty of Runnimead is told in one brief sentence by Ralph of
Coggeshall: “By the intervention of the archbishop of Canterbury, with
several of his fellow-bishops and some barons, a sort of peace was
made.”[1034] In other words, the terms were drawn up by Stephen Langton
with the concurrence of the other bishops who were at hand, and of the
few lay barons, on either side, who were statesmen enough to look at
the crisis from a higher standpoint than that of personal interest;
they were adopted--for the moment--by the mass of the insurgents as
being a weapon, far more effective than any that they could have forged
for themselves, for bringing the struggle with the king (so at least
they hoped) to an easy and a speedy end; and they were accepted--also
for the moment--by John, as his readiest and surest way of escape from
a position of extreme difficulty and peril. Thus before nightfall the
Great Charter was sealed; and in return John received anew the homage
of the barons who had defied him.[1035]

It was, however, one thing to make the treaty, and quite another to
carry it into effect. The framers of the Articles and of the Charter
had done what they could towards that end by a carefully planned “form
of security for the observance of the peace and liberties between the
king and the kingdom.”[1036] Out of the whole baronage of England the
barons present at Runnimead were to choose twenty-five, who should
“observe, keep, and cause to be observed, with all their might,” the
provisions of the Charter. If the king failed to do his part, these
twenty-five were to compel him thereto by force if necessary. For this
purpose they were authorized to claim assistance from “the community
of the whole country,” and they were therefore to receive an oath of
obedience from every man in the realm.[1037] King and barons alike
swore that they would keep all the provisions of the Charter “in good
faith and without deceit.”[1038] The king was made to promise that
he would not procure “from any one” anything whereby his concessions
might be revoked or diminished, and that if such revocation should be
obtained it should be accounted void and never used.[1039] That John’s
promises were worthless every one knew; it was not likely that all the
pressure which could be brought to bear upon him by “five-and-twenty
over-kings”--as his foreign mercenaries sarcastically called the
elected barons[1040]--would more than suffice, if even it should
suffice, to compel him to keep his word. Still the check thus set over
him was a very strong one. It was in fact the strongest that could be
devised; and it was made of indisputable authority by its incorporation
in the Charter.[1041]

On the other hand, the Charter contained no provision for compelling
the barons in general to fulfil their part of its obligations, either
towards their sub-tenants[1042] or towards the Crown, except what
might be implied in the authority given to the twenty-five; while for
securing the loyalty and good faith of the twenty-five themselves it
contained no provision at all. If we look at the text of the Charter
alone, we can but endorse the verdict of its foreign soldier-critics:
England was exchanging one king for five-and-twenty. This defect in
the treaty seems to have been noticed as soon as it was passed, and
a remedy was sought in the appointment of another body of barons,
thirty-eight in number, chosen from both parties,[1043] and including
the Earl Marshal and the other chief adherents of the king; these,
after swearing obedience to the twenty-five, took another oath which
bound them to compel both the king and the twenty-five to deal
justly with one another.[1044] This precaution may perhaps have been
suggested by Langton and the other bishops when a significant incident
had shown them that the promise of the insurgent barons was worth no
more than that of the king. This incident rests upon the authority
of a joint statement purporting to be issued, evidently by way of
protest and warning and for the clearing of their own consciences, by
ten eye-witnesses--the archbishops of Canterbury and Dublin, seven
English bishops, and Pandulf. In a letter-patent addressed to “all
Christian people,” these ten persons (if the document be genuine)
recite how in their sight and hearing the barons had made to the
king--seemingly before the Charter was sealed--a verbal promise that
they would give him, for their observance of the agreement between him
and themselves, any security which he might choose, except castles or
hostages. “Afterwards” John called upon them to fulfil this promise by
giving him in their turn a charter, whereby they should acknowledge
themselves bound to him by oath and homage as his liegemen, and for the
preservation of his rights and those of his heirs and the defence of
his realm. “But,” say the witnesses, “this they would not do.”[1045]
Such, it seems, was the earnest of the loyalty to their plighted word
which England, as well as John, had to expect from the men who posed as
the champions of justice and right.

For ten days the nominally reconciled enemies sat watching each other,
the king at Windsor, the barons still encamped in the surrounding
meadows. In private, John’s feelings broke out in wild paroxysms of
fury characteristic of his race; he “gnashed his teeth, rolled his
eyes, caught up sticks and straws and gnawed them like a madman, or
tore them into shreds with his fingers.”[1046] But to the outside
world he wore a calm and smiling face, chatting familiarly and gaily
with every one whom he met, and declaring himself perfectly satisfied
with the settlement of affairs.[1047] Within the next seven days {June
19–22} he despatched copies of the Charter to the sheriffs, foresters
and other royal bailiffs in every shire, with letters patent ordering
them to make the men under their jurisdiction swear obedience to the
twenty-five barons in whatever form these latter might prescribe, and
cause twelve sworn knights to be elected in the next county court
for the purpose of inquiring into evil customs with a view to their
extirpation as promised in the Charter.[1048] He also sent to his
mercenary captains {June 18} orders to desist from hostilities and
amend any damage which they might have done to the barons since the
peace was made.[1049] On the following Tuesday, June 23, he ordered
the foreign soldiers at Dover to be sent home at once.[1050] On the
25th a number of sheriffs were removed from office and replaced by
new ones.[1051] Before that date the king had appointed a new chief
justiciar, Hubert de Burgh,[1052] a faithful adherent of his own, who
was also an honourable man, respected by all parties, and a member of
the committee of thirty-eight. On the 27th the sheriffs and the knights
elected in every shire to inquire into evil customs were ordered to
punish summarily all persons who refused the oath of obedience to the

The king was then at Winchester; he had left Windsor on the night of
the 25th.[1054] Illness--seemingly a severe attack of gout--had made
him unable to move sooner, and the barons had taken advantage of his
physical helplessness to heap upon him every insult in their power.
One day the twenty-five required his presence to confirm a judgement
in the Curia Regis; he was in bed, unable to set a foot to the ground,
so he sent them word that they must come and deliver the judgement
in his chamber, as he could not go to them. They “answered that they
would not go, for it would be against their right; but if he could not
walk, he must cause himself to be carried.” He did so, and when he was
brought into their presence “they did not rise to meet him, for it was
their saying that if they had risen, they should have done contrary to
their right.”[1055] This scene probably occurred in connexion with one
of the cases dealt with in the fifty-second article of the Charter,
the cases of persons who were, or asserted that they were, deprived
of their lands, castles, privileges or rights by an arbitrary act of
John or of his predecessors, without judgement of their peers. Some of
these cases, in which there was no doubt about the circumstances of
the deprivation, were settled without delay, and immediate restitution
was made to the claimants by the Crown.[1056] But there were others
which required investigation. Such was the claim of the earl of Essex
to the custody of the Tower of London.[1057] The chief justiciar of
England had been recognized as entitled by virtue of his office to the
custody of the Tower ever since the accession of Henry II.; but Henry’s
mother, the Empress Maud, had granted it by charter to Geoffrey de
Mandeville and his heirs;[1058] and it was now claimed as an hereditary
right by the earl of Essex, as eldest son of the late justiciar
Geoffrey Fitz-Peter by his marriage with Beatrice de Say, on whom the
representation of the Mandeville family had devolved.[1059] This matter
was too delicate and too important to be decided in haste; pending its
decision, the Tower was temporarily placed in neutral hands, the hands
of the archbishop of Canterbury,[1060] to whom Rochester castle was at
the same time restored.[1061] Finally, John proposed that the other
questions in dispute between himself and individual barons should all
be determined at Westminster on July 16. This being agreed, the barons
withdrew to London[1062] and the king to Winchester, whence at the
beginning of July he proceeded into Wiltshire.[1063]

King and barons alike knew that the “peace” had been made only to
be broken. The barons were the first to break it. Some of those
“Northerners” from beyond the Humber by whom the strife had been
originally begun had actually left Runnimead in the middle of the
conference, and were now openly preparing for war, on the pretext that
they “had not been present” at the settlement.[1064] Their southern
allies were really doing the same; only they veiled their preparations
under the guise of a tournament to be held, ostensibly in celebration
of the peace, at Stamford on July 6. Robert Fitz-Walter and his
companions, however, quickly discovered that if they wished to keep
their hold upon London they must not venture far away from the city;
they therefore postponed the tournament for a week, and transferred it
from Stamford to Staines. The victor’s prize was to be “a bear, which
a lady was going to send.”[1065] Meanwhile the new sheriffs--appointed
since the peace, and specially charged to enforce its provisions--were
meeting with a very rough reception in every shire where the “Northern”
influence predominated. All over the country the barons were fortifying
their castles; some were even building new ones.[1066] A more
scrupulous king than John might well have deemed himself justified,
under such circumstances, in doing what John did--following their
example in preparing to fling the treaty to the winds and renew the war.

The meeting which had been appointed for July 15 was postponed till
the 16th, and the place for it changed from Westminster to Oxford. On
the 15th the king came up from Clarendon into Berkshire, and on his
way from Newbury to Abingdon despatched a letter to the barons stating
that he “could not” meet them in person at Oxford on the morrow, but
that the archbishop of Dublin, the bishop of Winchester, Pandulf, the
earls Marshal, Warren, and Arundel, and the justiciar, would be there
in his stead, “to do to you what we ought to do to you, and to receive
from you what you ought to do to us.”[1067] The archbishop of Dublin
was no longer justiciar in Ireland; Geoffrey Marsh had been, on July 6,
appointed to succeed him in that office.[1068] On the same day Walter
de Lacy had been reinstated in all his Irish lands.[1069] Throughout
the summer of this year John, busy as he was with English affairs,
had found time to pay even more attention than usual to those of his
Irish dominion. From May to July the Close and Charter Rolls are full
of letters and writs relating to the Irish March; charters to towns,
to religious houses, to individual barons, orders concerning military
arrangements and other matters of local administration,[1070] all show
such constant intervention and such personal interest on the king’s
part as to convey an impression that he was specially endeavouring to
win for himself the support of the nobles, clergy and people of the
Irish March as a counterpoise to the hostility and disaffection which
surrounded him in his English realm. It was, however, to the Continent
that he mainly looked for aid. “After much reflection,” says Roger of
Wendover, “he chose, like the Apostle Peter, to seek vengeance upon
his enemies by means of two swords, that is, by a spiritual sword and
a material one, so that if he could not triumph by the one, he might
safely count upon doing so by the other.”[1071]

The spiritual weapon was the first to be actually drawn; but even
before its first stroke fell, swords of the other kind were making
ready for the king’s service. Emissaries from him were soon busy
in “all the neighbouring lands beyond the sea,” gathering troops
by promises of rich pay and ample endowments in English land, to
be confirmed by charters if the recipients desired it.[1072] The
chancellor, Richard Marsh, was thus raising troops in Aquitaine
{August};[1073] Hugh de Boves was doing the like in Flanders. Those
whom they enlisted were to be ready to come to the king at Dover by
Michaelmas Day.[1074] John was also seeking allies in France. On
August 12 he wrote to Count Peter of Britanny, offering him a grant
of the honour of Richmond if he would come “with all speed, and
with all the knights he could bring,” ready for service against the
insurgents in England.[1075] He is even said to have tried hard, “by
enormous promises,” to gain help from Philip Augustus; but in this
quarter “others had been beforehand with him,” says the chronicler
significantly.[1076] It was not without a cause that the barons at
Runnimead had refused to write themselves John’s liegemen.

Within the realm, the royal castles were being revictualled and made
ready to stand a siege at any moment.[1077] As yet no further attempt
had been made upon any of them; but in the north the barons, or their
followers and partizans, had begun to lay waste the royal manors and
overrun the forests, cutting down and selling the timber, and killing
the deer. Again the archbishop and bishops came forward as peacemakers,
and it was arranged that the king should meet them on August 16 at
Oxford, while the barons should assemble at Brackley, there to await
the result of the churchmen’s mediation. When the day arrived, however,
the king was still in Wiltshire, and excused his absence on the ground
that he had been so ill-treated since the conclusion of the peace,
and moreover at the last conference the barons had come together in
such menacing array, that he deemed it neither safe nor prudent to
risk himself in their midst; an excuse which was practically justified
by the action of the barons themselves, who, instead of waiting at
Brackley as they had agreed to do, came “with a numerous following” to
meet the bishops at Oxford.[1078]

The bishops had now received from Rome a communication which made their
position, or at least that of the Primate, an exceedingly anxious
and painful one. In consequence, it seems, of John’s letter of May
29 Innocent had issued a commission to the bishop of Winchester, the
abbot of Reading and Pandulf, whereby he declared excommunicate all
“disturbers of the king and kingdom of England, with their accomplices
and abettors,” laid their lands under interdict, and ordered the
archbishop and his episcopal brethren, on pain of suspension from
their office, to cause this excommunication to be published throughout
the realm every Sunday and holiday till the offenders should have
made satisfaction to the king and returned to their obedience.[1079]
Ill-fitted as the barons had proved to be for the great work in which
Langton had sought to enlist them, the cause of England’s freedom was
yet too closely bound up with theirs for him to be willing to launch at
them such a sentence as this, and he had sympathized too keenly with
his country’s misery under a former interdict not to recoil from the
prospect of another. The barons, on the other hand, had been heedless
of interdict and excommunication so long as their material interests
coincided with those of the king against the Church; but the matter
would wear a different aspect in their eyes now that the situation
was reversed and their one hope was in the aid of the Church against
the king. The Pope’s mandate was shown to them and the bishops in
conference at Oxford; after three days’ deliberation {Aug. 16–18} the
bishops agreed to delay the publication of the sentence till they had
seen the king again and made one more effort to bring him to a colloquy
in London or at Staines. It was rumoured that he had gone to the coast
with the intention of quitting England altogether; and the bishops are
said to have followed him to Portsmouth, and there found that he was
actually on shipboard. He came ashore again {Aug. 23–24?}, however, to
speak with them; but he absolutely refused to hold any more personal
conferences with the barons. The bishops returned to meet the barons
at Staines on August 26, accompanied by envoys from the king, who were
charged with a protest, to be delivered in his name in the hearing
of the whole assembly, that “it was not his fault if the peace was
not carried out according to the agreement.” After long deliberation
the papal sentence was proclaimed, but with a tacit understanding
that it was to be, for the present at least, a dead letter, on the
ground that as no names were mentioned in it, the phrase “disturbers
of the king and kingdom” need not be applied to any person or group
of persons in particular, but might be interpreted by every man as he
pleased. The more violent partizans immediately applied it to the king
himself, since in their eyes he was the chief troubler of the land, and
therefore also his own worst enemy.[1080]

After placing his queen and his eldest son in safety in Corfe
castle,[1081] John had taken ship, seemingly about August 24, at
Southampton or Portsmouth, and sailed round the coast to Sandwich,
where he appears to have landed on the 28th.[1082] The barons in
London, if we may believe the report of the chroniclers, were foolish
enough to imagine that he would never land again at all.[1083] They
were now taking upon themselves, in all those counties where their
power was strong enough, to supersede both the sheriffs and the
justices and usurp their functions, parcelling out the country among
members of their own body, each of whom was to act as the chief
judicial and administrative authority in the district committed to
him.[1084] In their premature triumph they were even beginning to
talk of choosing a new sovereign, and of calling the whole baronage of
England to a council for that purpose, “since this ought to be done
by the common consent of the whole realm.”[1085] Early in September,
however, the revolutionists awoke from their dreams to find that the
king was safe in Dover castle, surrounded by a little band of foreign
soldiers who had already joined him there, and awaiting the coming of
the host which was gathering for him beyond the sea.[1086] The three
executors of the papal mandate were meanwhile insisting that now, at
any rate, the barons had unquestionably fallen under its terms, by
endeavouring to expel the king from his realm; and they excommunicated
by name several of the revolutionary leaders, together with the
citizens of London, whom they placed under interdict. These sentences,
however, were disregarded, on the plea that they were barred by a
previous appeal to the general council[1087] which was to be held at
Rome on All Saints’ Day, and which most of the English bishops were
preparing to attend. Archbishop Stephen was about to set forth, in the
middle of September, when two of the papal commissioners--Pandulf and
Bishop Peter of Winchester--went to him in person and insisted that
he should enforce the publication of the Pope’s sentence throughout
his own diocese on all the appointed days, and order his suffragans to
do the same. Stephen answered that he would take no further steps in
the matter till he had spoken of it with the Pope himself, since he
believed the sentence to be grounded on a misunderstanding of the facts
of the case. On this Pandulf and Peter denounced him as disobedient to
the Pope’s mandate, and, in accordance with its terms, suspended him
from his office.[1088]

Stephen accepted his suspension without protest. He was indeed so
grievously disappointed at the turn which affairs in England had
taken, and so hopeless of doing any further good there, that he had
almost determined not only to resign his see, but to retire altogether
from the world and bury himself in a hermitage or a Carthusian
cell.[1089] Several of the bishops visited the king before they
went over sea;[1090] we are not told whether Stephen did so; but he
certainly had the king’s permission for his journey to Rome, for on
September 10 John by letters patent took under his protection all the
archbishop’s men, goods, lands and other possessions, and forbade his
own men to do them any injury.[1091] On the 13th the king wrote again
to the Pope, asking for his counsel and aid, and complaining that
“whereas before we subjected our land to you as overlord, our barons
were obedient to us, now they have risen up violently against us,
specially on account, as they publicly declare, of that very thing.”
This letter was carried by the archbishops of Bordeaux and Dublin and
seven other envoys.[1092] Pandulf--now bishop-elect of Norwich--seems
to have gone to Rome about the same time, charged with another letter
to the Pope.[1093] But before any of these travellers had set out on
their way the Pope had drawn his sword again; and this time the sword
was a two-handed one. It was the sword of the temporal overlord of
England, as well as of the spiritual head of Christendom.

The sixty-first article of the Charter enacted, as we have seen, that
if the king should procure “from any one” a revocation or cassation
of that document, such revocation should be accounted void. The only
person, however, from whom such a thing could possibly be sought was of
course the Pope; and in so far as the Pope was concerned, the clause
was itself in feudal law null and void from the beginning, owing to
the action of the barons before the Charter was drawn up or thought
of. Whatever may have been their real share in the surrender of the
kingdom to the Pope in May 1213, they had at any rate in February
1215, if we may believe William Mauclerc (and there is no reason
for disbelieving him), put on record their full concurrence in that
transaction after it was accomplished, and even taken voluntarily
upon themselves the whole responsibility both for its accomplishment
and for its initiation.[1094] Thereby they had deprived themselves of
whatever legal pretexts they might otherwise have had for repudiating
its consequences; and foremost of those consequences was the fact that
the Pope was now legally the supreme arbiter of political affairs in
England, by a right which had been given to him by the joint action
of the king and the barons, and against which no later reservation
made between those two parties themselves (such as the sixty-first
article of the Charter) was of any force in feudal law. The framers of
the Charter seem to have been conscious of this;[1095] John, indeed,
had pointedly reminded them of it before he consented to the Charter,
telling the barons, in answer to their demands, that nothing in the
government and constitution of England ought to be, or lawfully could
be, altered without the knowledge and sanction of the Pope, now that he
was overlord of the realm; and he had publicly appealed to the Pope,
as overlord, against them and all their doings. As soon as the Charter
was sealed, he had despatched envoys to Rome to prosecute his appeal,
and to lay before Innocent a statement of his case, together with such
extracts from the Charter as were most likely to influence the Pope in
his favour. The result was that on August 24--two days before the papal
denunciation of the “disturbers of the realm” was published by the
English bishops at Staines--Innocent as temporal overlord of England
quashed the Charter, and as Pope forbade its observance by either king
or people, on pain of excommunication.[1096]


[926] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 166 b.

[927] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 217.

[928] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 217.

[929] _Ib._ p. 218.

[930] “Ut fama refert,” R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 263.

[931] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 263–6.

[932] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1214; “potestate sua non bene utens, iram
baronum converti fecerat contra regem.”

[933] R. Coggeshall, p. 170.

[934] Articles of the Barons, 1215 cc. 39, 47.

[935] _Ib._ c. 8.

[936] Of the value to which these profits had risen some idea may be
gathered from the fact that a _proficuum_ of £336: 18: 8 was accounted
for as due to the Treasury in 1205 by the sheriff of Staffordshire and
Shropshire, of which two counties the united ferm was £413: 12: 4,
_Salt Archaeol. Soc. Publications_, vol. ii. pp. 129, 133. It must,
however, be added that this _proficuum_ was reduced next year to £266:
13: 4, and went down further year by year, till in 1212 it was only
about £155: 11s., _ib._ pp. 136, 138, 142, 145, 147, 151, 159. After
that year the Pipe Rolls are in confusion till 1218.

[937] Art. Bar. c. 14.

[938] _Ib._ c. 28.

[939] W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. 214, 215.

[940] Art. Bar. c. 26.

[941] _Ib._ c. 30.

[942] _Ib._ c. 8.

[943] _Ib._ c. 13.

[944] _Ib._ c. 24.

[945] Art. Bar. c. 9.

[946] _Ib._ c. 10.

[947] _Ib._ c. 22.

[948] _Ib._ c. 1.

[949] _Ib._ c. 36.

[950] _Ib._ c. 4.

[951] _Ib._ c. 17.

[952] _Ib._ c. 3.

[953] _Ib._ c. 27.

[954] _Ib._ c. 5.

[955] Art. Bar. c. 15.

[956] _Ib._ cc. 34, 35.

[957] _Ib._ c. 31.

[958] _Ib._ c. 11.

[959] _Ib._ c. 23.

[960] _Ib._ c. 43.

[961] _Ib._ cc. 18, 20.

[962] _Ib._ c. 29.

[963] _Ib._ c. 33.

[964] _Ib._ c. 6.

[965] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1213.

[966] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 300, 301.

[967] See Note II. at end.

[968] Charter of Henry I. cc. 2, 4, 1.

[969] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 218.

[970] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 293, 294. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 170.

[971] _Itin._ a. 16.

[972] He was at Worcester December 25–27; Tewkesbury, 27, 28;
Geddington, December 31, 1214; and at the New Temple in London January
7–15, 1215. _Itin._ a. 16.

[973] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 296. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 218.

[974] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 120.

[975] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[976] “Isti omnes conjurati Stephanum Cantuariensem archiepiscopum
capitalem consentaneum habuerunt,” _ib._ p. 298.

[977] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 218. It need scarcely be remarked that
the charter contains not a word on the subject. The argument evidently
was “whatever is not in the charter is contrary to it”; in other words,
“omission is prohibition.” The fact that such an argument might be used
on both sides was of course conveniently ignored.

[978] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 128.

[979] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 218.

[980] _Rot. Pat._ p. 130.

[981] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 187 b.

[982] _Rot. Pat._ p. 129.

[983] _Ib._ p. 130.

[984] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 120. See above, p. 182.

[985] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 127.

[986] _Ib._ p. 128.

[987] On February 2, according to R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 296; on Ash
Wednesday (March 4), according to W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 219, and
_Ann. Winton._ a. 1215. This latter is the likelier date; if the fact
had been known at Rome before the Pope’s letters were written, they
would almost certainly have contained some reference to it.

[988] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[989] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 297, 298; M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._
vol. ii. p. 585. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 219, adds a bishop, Giles of
Hereford. Giles, however, was there not as bishop, but as the avenger
of his father, mother and brother--William, Maud, and the younger
William de Braose.

[990] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 219.

[991] _Itin._ a. 16.

[992] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[993] _Ib._

[994] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 298.

[995] Roger of Wendover, Walter of Coventry, and several other
annalists absurdly say that in Easter week (April 19–26) John was at,
or near, Oxford, where he was to have met the barons. John had not been
at Oxford since the Tuesday before Easter, April 13; from the 16th to
the 23rd he was in London; on the 23rd he went to Kingston, Reading
and Alton, and thence on the 26th to Clarendon; _Itin._ a. 16. On the
day he left London he granted a general safe-conduct to all persons
who should come to him in the suite of or with letters patent from the
archbishop (_Rot. Pat._ p. 134); none of the barons, however, seem to
have availed themselves of this offer.

[996] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 299.

[997] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 219.

[998] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[999] Cf. R. Wendover, _l.c._, and R. Coggeshall, p. 171.

[1000] _Rot. Pat._ p. 134 b.

[1001] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 198, 198 b: _Rot. Pat._ p. 135.

[1002] _Rot. Pat._ p. 135, 135 b.

[1003] On May 8 John announces that some horse and foot are coming over
under Gerard of Gravelines; _Rot. Pat._ p. 141.

[1004] _Ib._ p. 135(May 11).

[1005] May 7–9; _Itin._ a. 16.

[1006] _Rot. Chart._ p. 207.

[1007] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 299.

[1008] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 220.

[1009] _Rot. Pat._ p. 141.

[1010] _Rot Chart._ p. 209; _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 204.

[1011] _Rot. Pat._ p. 136 b.

[1012] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 299, 300; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p.
220; R. Coggeshall, p. 171; for date see _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 137 b.

[1013] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 300, 301.

[1014] _Itin._ a. 16, May 10–17.

[1015] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 147, 148. John was at Fremantle May 17–19;
thence he went to Silchester, May 19; Winchester, 19, 20; Odiham, 21,
22; Windsor, 22, 23; Winchester again, 23; _Itin._ a. 16.

[1016] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 148, 149.

[1017] _Rot. Pat._ p. 138.

[1018] _Ib._ p. 138 b.

[1019] Rochester castle was restored to the archbishop after the
“peace” in June. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 319.

[1020] _Rot. Pat._ p. 142.

[1021] _Rot. Pat._ p. 141 b.

[1022] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 129.

[1023] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 214.

[1024] W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. 220, 221. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 171.

[1025] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 301.

[1026] _Itin._ a. 17. The authentic details of John’s movements at this
time are of some importance in view of Ralph of Coggeshall’s assertion
(p. 172) that he was just then so overcome with terror “ut jam extra
Windleshoram nusquam progredi auderet.”

[1027] _Rot. Pat._ pp. 142 b, 143.

[1028] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 301.

[1029] “In prato qui vocatur Runemad,” R. Coggeshall, p. 172.

[1030] _Ib._

[1031] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 302.

[1032] Stubbs, _Const. Hist._ vol. i. p. 530.

[1033] Heading of Articles of the Barons: “Ista sunt capitula quae
Barones petunt et Dominus Rex concedit.”

[1034] R. Coggeshall, p. 172. Cf. Gerv. Cant. vol. ii. p. 96.

[1035] _Rot. Pat._ p. 143. The “die Veneris” which occurs three times
in this writ is in each case an unquestionable, though unaccountable,
error for “die Lunae.”

[1036] Art. Bar. c. 49.

[1037] Art. Bar. c. 49; Magna Charta, c. 61.

[1038] M. Charta, c. 63.

[1039] _Ib._ c. 61.

[1040] M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 611, “Ecce vigesimus
quintus” [it should have been “sextus”] “rex in Anglia; ecce jam non
rex, nec etiam regulus, sed regum opprobrium,” etc.

[1041] M. Charta, c. 61.

[1042] _Ib._ cc. 15, 16, 60.

[1043] The twenty-five were of course all “Northerners” in the
political sense; see the list in M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p.

[1044] The list of these thirty-eight is headed “Obsecutores et
Observatores,” and ends thus: “Isti omnes juraverunt quod obsequerentur
mandato viginti quinque baronum.” Another MS. adds: “Omnes isti
juraverunt cogere si opus esset ipsos XXV barones ut rectificarent
regem. Et etiam cogere ipsum si mutato animo forte recalcitraret,”
M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. pp. 605, 606. Considering the
whole context, I think there can be little doubt that “rectificare
regem”--though an odd way of expressing it--really means here “to do
right to the king.”

[1045] _Rot. Pat._ p. 181.

[1046] M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 611.

[1047] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 159.

[1048] _Rot. Pat._ p. 180 b.

[1049] _Ib._ p. 143 b.

[1050] _Ib._ p. 144.

[1051] _Ib._ pp. 144 b, 145.

[1052] _Ib._ p. 144 b.

[1053] _Ib._ p. 145 b.

[1054] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1055] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 151.

[1056] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 221; _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 215–18.

[1057] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[1058] Round, _Geoffrey de Mandeville_, pp. 89, 166.

[1059] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 225, sums up the earl’s position and
character very suggestively: “In parte adversa erat Gaufridus de
Maundevilla comes Essexae, quem rex cingulo militari donaverat, quique
regi in XIX millibus marcarum obligatus erat pro comitissa Gloucestriae
quondam uxore sua, quam iste nuper acceperat.” See above, p. 196.
Geoffrey’s first wife had been a daughter of Robert Fitz-Walter; see
Note I at end.

[1060] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 221; _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1215. Cf. R.
Wendover, vol. iii. p. 319.

[1061] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[1062] _Ib._; R. Coggeshall, p. 172.

[1063] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1064] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 222.

[1065] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 321, 322.

[1066] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[1067] _Rot. Pat._ p. 149.

[1068] _Ib._ p. 148.

[1069] _Ib._ p. 148 b.

[1070] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. pp. 218, 218 b, 219, 219 b; _Rot. Chart._
pp. 210–13.

[1071] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 319.

[1072] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 320; where, however, the list of
emissaries is obviously incorrect.

[1073] _Rot. Pat._ p. 153, 153 b.

[1074] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[1075] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 152 b.

[1076] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 222.

[1077] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[1078] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 222.

[1079] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 336–8; misplaced, as may be seen by
comparing W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 223.

[1080] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 224. Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 341.

[1081] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 152.

[1082] John’s Itinerary, a. 17, is blank from August 22, when he was
at Wareham, to August 28, when he appears at Sandwich. The _Hist. des
Ducs_, p. 153, accounts for this blank by stating that he went by
sea from Southampton to Dover (whither he did proceed on August 31
or September 1; _Itin._ _l.c._). W. Coventry (vol. ii. p. 224) says
the bishops who left Oxford on August 19 to seek him found him just
embarked at Portsmouth, which comes to the same thing.

[1083] The absurdity of the reports given in R. Wendover (vol. iii.
pp. 320, 321) and M. Paris (_Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. pp. 160, 161) about
John’s movements at this time was pointed out long ago by Dr. Lingard,
_Hist. England_, vol. ii. p. 362.

[1084] Earl Geoffrey de Mandeville took Essex; Robert Fitz-Walter,
Northamptonshire; Roger de Cresci, Norfolk and Suffolk; the earl of
Winchester, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire; William of Aubigny,
Lincolnshire; John de Lacy, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire; Robert de
Ros, Northumberland. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 224.

[1085] _Ib._

[1086] _Ib._ Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 153.

[1087] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[1088] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 340. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 174, and W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 225.

[1089] Gir. Cambr. vol. i. p. 401.

[1090] W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. 224, 225.

[1091] _Rot. Pat._ p. 154 b. This disposes of R. Coggeshall’s assertion
(p. 174) that Stephen went “rege invito et ei minas intentante.”

[1092] _Rot. Pat._ p. 182.

[1093] _Ib._ p. 182 b (dateless).

[1094] See above, pp. 182 and 225.

[1095] In the “Articles of the Barons,” c. 49, this reservation-clause
ran: “Rex faciet eos securos per cartas archiepiscopi et episcoporum et
magistri Pandulfi quod nihil impetrabit _a domino Papa_,” etc. In the
Charter, c. 61, “_ab aliquo_” was substituted for “a domino Papa,” and
the security to be given by letters patent of Pandulf and the bishops
was made to refer to the keeping of the Charter in general (_ib._ c.
62), instead of to that one particular point.

[1096] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 322–7.




 Dicitur ... “Sine Terra,” quia moriturus nil terrae in pace possedit.

  M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 191.

[Sidenote: 1215]

The Pope’s letters evidently did not reach England till after the
primate and the bishops had set out for Rome, so that there was no one
left to publish the new sentence; and it seems, in fact, never to have
been published in England at all. But its existence soon became known
there; and when once the barons knew of it, they knew, too, that they
must make their choice between unconditional surrender and war to the
uttermost with both king and Pope; for there was no one left to act as
their mediator with either. They chose war; but they were not ready
for war, and the king was. Poitevins, Gascons, Brabantines, Flemings,
were flocking to him from over sea.[1097] On October 2 he ordered his
brother, Earl William of Salisbury, to visit ten royal castles and
select from their garrisons troops for service in the field. On the 4th
he committed the superintendence of military affairs in mid-England
and the west to Falkes de Bréauté, and issued a general safe-conduct
to “all who may wish to return to our fealty and service” through
the medium of Falkes or the earl.[1098] He himself had, towards the
end of September, advanced as far inland as Malling;[1099] but this
seems to have been merely a sort of reconnoitring expedition; his
plan evidently was to wait till all his expected reinforcements had
arrived from over sea, and then march with them upon London, while
William and Falkes did the same with the troops which they could bring
up from the west, so as to place the capital between two fires. While
his forces were concentrating, those of the barons were scattering;
they had no scheme of united action; one party had renewed the siege
of Northampton castle, another was engaged in that of Oxford.[1100]
At last the leaders in London decided that something must be done to
bar John’s way to the capital; and they advanced into Kent as far as
Ospring. When they reached it John was at Canterbury; having only a
small escort he, on hearing of his enemies’ approach, hurriedly fell
back to Dover; they, however, were so scared by a report that he had
set out from Canterbury to offer them battle that they beat an equally
hasty retreat towards Rochester.[1101] Their great fear was lest he
should gain possession of Rochester castle, which he had vainly tried
to induce the archbishop to give up to him two months before.[1102] On
October 11 Reginald of Cornhill, in whose charge Stephen had left it,
suffered it to be occupied by a band of picked knights under William
of Aubigny. But the triumph of the intruders was shortlived; two days
later the king was at the gates of Rochester.[1103]

“Certes, sire,” said one of John’s Flemish allies as the royal host
set out for Rochester, “you make little account of your enemies if
you go to fight them with so small a force!” “I know them too well,”
answered John; “they are to be nothing accounted of or feared. With
fewer men than we have we might safely fight them. Certes, one thing
I may tell you truly, I grieve not so much for the evil which the men
of my land are doing to me, as that their wickedness should be seen by
strangers.”[1104] The king knew what the stranger did not know, that
so long as he could keep the Medway between himself and the main body
of the barons he was safe. He therefore began his operations by an
attempt to destroy the bridge, and thus to cut off the communications
between Rochester and London. It seems that he sent a party up the
river in boats to fire the bridge from beneath, and that they succeeded
in so doing, but that Robert Fitz-Walter, with a picked body of knights
and men-at-arms, was guarding the bridge at the time and managed to
extinguish the flames and drive off the assailants.[1105] Fitz-Walter,
however, appears to have immediately returned to London;[1106] and in a
second attack on the bridge John was completely successful; the bridge
was destroyed, and the king proceeded to invest the castle[1107] and
assault the town.

On his first approach the citizens had manned their walls and
“made a great show of defending themselves”; but “when they saw
he was preparing to assault them they broke into a rout, left the
battlements, and fled on all sides. Then his men entered through
the gates, and began to chase them through the town to the bridge
so vigorously that they drove all the knights by force into the
castle; of whom”--sarcastically adds the Flemish soldier of fortune
who tells the tale--“many would gladly have fled to London if they
could.”[1108] But they could not, the bridge being now gone. The whole
party thus gathered in the castle numbered about ninety-five knights
and forty-five men-at-arms.[1109] The castle when given to William of
Aubigny and his followers was destitute of provisions; they had had no
time to procure any, save what little they could get in the town;[1110]
and they saw before them an imminent prospect of starvation. John
pressed the siege vigorously; on the day after its commencement he
ordered “all the smiths in Canterbury” to devote their whole time,
“day and night,” to making pickaxes, which were to be sent to him at
Rochester as fast as they were made.[1111] His forces increased daily
till they became “such a multitude that they struck fear and horror
into all who beheld them.”[1112] They ravaged all over Kent, and
wrought havoc in Rochester, stabling their horses in the cathedral and
committing every kind of sacrilege in the holy places.[1113]

At all this the barons in London looked on in helpless consternation.
They had plighted a solemn oath to William of Aubigny, when he
undertook the expedition to Rochester, that if the king besieged him
there they would succour him without fail.[1114] A fortnight passed
before they made any movement to redeem their promise; then, on
October 26, some seven hundred knights[1115] set out under the command
of Robert Fitz-Walter; but they got no farther than Dartford. One
chronicler says they “retreated before the breath of a very soft south
wind as if beaten back by swords”;[1116] another, that they turned back
in dismay on hearing how numerous were the forces of the king;[1117] a
third, that they were misled on this point by an exaggerated account
given them by a Templar sent to meet them for that purpose by John
himself.[1118] In any case, they returned to London, and having taken
care to provide themselves with ample stores, they sat down to “play at
the fatal dice and drink the best wine, according to each man’s taste,
and do it is needless to say what besides,”[1119] till S. Andrew’s Day.
By that time they expected important reinforcements; and they reckoned
that the besieged could hold out till then.[1120]

William of Aubigny and his comrades did hold out, but at desperate
odds. Every possible mode of attack--mining, battery, assault--was
tried in turn upon the fortress. Five great slinging engines were
plied incessantly, day and night, against its walls. The garrison,
already short of food, and expecting no mercy from the king if they
surrendered, were minded to sell their lives dearly; they fought like
heroes; “nor,” says the Barnwell annalist, “does living memory recall
any siege so urgently carried on and so manfully resisted.”[1121] A
strange contrivance at last shattered the mighty keep. On November 25
John ordered the justiciar to send him with all possible speed “forty
bacon-pigs of the fattest, and of those which are least good for
eating, to be put to set fire to the stuff that we have got together
under the tower.”[1122] Of the results of the blaze thus kindled a
token remains to this day, in the round tower which at the south-west
angle of the keep contrasts so markedly with the square towers at
the other corners, and which replaces the original square one thus
destroyed by John. Even after its fall the garrison fought on until
their last morsel of food was gone; then at last they surrendered on S.
Andrew’s Day.[1123] The king set up a gallows in front of the army and
declared he would hang them all; but he yielded to Savaric de Mauléon’s
warning that if he hanged brave knights such as these, the barons would
surely do the like to any friends of his who might fall into their
hands, and that in view of such a prospect no man would remain in his
service.[1124] On this he contented himself with sending the knights
to prison, leaving the men-at-arms to ransom themselves as best they
could, and hanging only a few cross-bowmen.[1125]

Three times since the siege began the barons in London, or some of
them, had opened negotiations with the king. On October 17 Richard
of Argentan and others had a safe-conduct “to treat with us for
peace between ourself and our barons”;[1126] on October 22 Roger de
Jarpeville and Robert de Coleville had a safe-conduct till the 27th
to treat with the king concerning peace between him and “the barons
who may come with the Master of the Temple and the Prior of the
Hospital”;[1127] and on November 9 a safe-conduct till the 12th was
given to Earl Richard of Clare, Robert Fitz-Walter, Geoffrey de Say,
and the mayor and two, three or four citizens of London, that they
might go and speak with the bishop of Winchester, the earls of Warenne
and Arundel, and Hubert de Burgh, “to treat of peace between ourself
and our barons.”[1128] On the side of the barons these overtures were
nothing but a cloak for the cowardice and incapacity which kept them
from taking any active steps for the relief of their besieged comrades.
They were all the while pushing on negotiations for bringing in a
foreign power to aid them in their selfish scheme of revolution.

One chronicler asserts that as long ago as the year 1210 some of the
barons had contemplated driving John from his throne and setting up as
king in his stead a man who, though born on foreign soil and engaged
throughout his whole life in the service of foreign powers, had yet
a claim to rank as one of themselves, and certainly not as the least
distinguished among them--Simon, count of Montfort and titular earl
of Leicester.[1129] To modern eyes the cruelties of the war against
the Albigenses, in which Simon was the leader of the “crusading” host,
have somewhat obscured the nobler aspects of a character which was not
without a heroic side. It was indeed by a strange instinct that--if
the Dunstable annalist’s tale be true--the chiefs of the English
revolutionary party fixed their hopes for a moment on the father of
that other Simon de Montfort, at that time still but a boy, who was
one day to seal with his blood the work of England’s deliverance
which they professed to have at heart, but which in their narrow and
short-sighted selfishness they were alike unworthy and incapable of
achieving. The instinct was at any rate a loftier one than that which
guided them in their choice of a rival to John five years later. The
scheme put forth by the group of barons in London in the summer of 1215
for electing a new king “by the common consent of the whole realm” of
course came to nothing; the magnates would have none of it, and the
northern barons who had separated from the other malcontents before the
sealing of the Charter had, as will be seen later, made an independent
choice of their own. The mad little faction in London, headed now by
Earl Geoffrey de Mandeville, acted by themselves and for themselves
alone when they “chose for their lord” the eldest son of the king of
France, “begging and praying him that he would come with a mighty arm
to pluck them out of the hand of this tyrant.”[1130]

Only one English chronicler gives or even pretends to give any hint
of the grounds on which this choice was, either really or nominally,
based. In no English writer of the time do we find any indication
that the connexion of Louis of France with the reigning royal house
of England, through his marriage with John’s sister’s daughter, had,
or was supposed to have, anything to do with it. The claim to the
English crown which Louis afterwards put forth on this ground seems to
have been an idea of purely French origin, which not only had never
suggested itself to any English mind, but, when it was suggested,
failed to meet with general recognition even among Louis’s partizans in
England. The intricate rules of succession, and especially of female
succession, which it pre-supposed were as yet, when applied to the
Crown at least, completely strange to English statesmen. Moreover, it
is by no means clear that the barons who offered the Crown to Louis
had any real intention of transferring it to him and his heirs for
ever. Roger of Wendover tells us that “after hesitating for some time
whom they should choose, they at length agreed upon this, that they
would set over themselves Louis, the son of King Philip of France, and
raise him up to be king of England. Their reason was that if through
the agency of Louis and his father King John could be deprived of the
host of foreign soldiers who surrounded him, most of whom were subjects
of Louis[1131] or Philip, he, being without support from either side
of the sea, would be left alone and unable to fight.”[1132] In other
words, they wanted Louis as a tool wherewith to crush John; and to gain
him for their tool they offered him the bribe of the crown, thinking
that when their immediate purpose should be accomplished it would be
time enough to consider whether the annexation of England to France
would or would not really profit them better than to break faith with
their new lord as they had broken it with their old one.

The first direct overtures of the barons to Louis seem to have been
made before the outbreak of hostilities, in September or October
1215;[1133] and these overtures were renewed at some time after the
commencement of the siege of Rochester, when the earls of Winchester
and Hereford went over with a message from their comrades in London to
Louis, that “if he would pack up his clothes and come, they would give
him the kingdom and make him their lord.”[1134] These envoys were at
once confronted by Philip with a letter which he had just received,
purporting to come from the same barons and informing him that his
son’s intervention was no longer needed, as peace had been made between
them and their own sovereign. The earl of Winchester offered to pledge
his head that the letter was forged by John.[1135] The French king
accepted this assurance; but he was too wary to commit himself hastily
to a scheme so full of perils and difficulties as that which the earls
so lightly proposed, and he merely gave it a negative countenance by
standing altogether aloof from their negotiations with his son. Louis
promised that he would at once send to England as many knights as he
could get, and would himself follow them at Easter. He then called his
own vassals together at Hesdin, and at the end of November some hundred
and forty of his knights with their followers--in all about seven
thousand men--landed at the mouth of the Orwell[1136] and made their
way to London, “where they were very well received and led a sumptuous
life; only they were there in great discomfort because they ran short
of wine and had only beer to drink, to which they were not accustomed.
Thus they remained all the winter.”[1137]

John spent the winter in other fashion. On November 28--two days
before the surrender of Rochester--Tonbridge castle, which belonged
to the rebel earl of Clare, had surrendered to Robert de Béthune,
one of John’s Flemish allies, and on the same day the castle of
Bedford yielded to Falkes de Bréauté. In each case the garrison had
sent to their lord for help, and in each case no help had been given
them.[1138] John left Rochester on December 6, marched through Essex
and Surrey into Hampshire, and thence proceeded to Windsor.[1139]
On the 20th he held a council at S. Albans.[1140] Two of his envoys
had recently come back from Rome with a papal confirmation of the
suspension of Archbishop Stephen.[1141] This was read to the convent
assembled in the chapter-house, and committed to them for transmission
to all cathedral and conventual churches throughout England. The king
then retired with his counsellors into the cloister “to arrange how
he might confound the magnates of England who were his enemies, and
how he might find pay for the foreigners who were fighting under him.”
He decided upon dividing his host into two bodies; one was placed
under the command of Earl William of Salisbury, assisted by Falkes de
Bréauté, Savaric de Mauléon, William Brewer, and a Brabantine captain
known as Walter Buck, with orders to check the irruptions of the
barons who were in London; of the other the king himself took the
command, “intending to go through the northern provinces of England,
and destroy with fire and sword everything that came in his way.”[1142]

That same night {Dec. 20} John, with his division, moved on to
Dunstable; before daybreak on the morrow he set out for Northampton,
and by Christmas he was at Nottingham.[1143] All along his route he
sent out parties in every direction to burn the houses of the hostile
barons and seize their cattle and their goods; every obstacle that
stood in his path was destroyed; and as if the day were not long enough
to satiate his love of destruction, he would send men out at night
to fire the hedges and the villages along his line of march, that he
might rejoice his eyes with the damage done to his enemies; while the
other question which had occupied his deliberations at S. Albans, the
remuneration of his followers, was solved with the produce of the
rapine in which they were not merely indulged but encouraged. Every
human being, of whatever rank, sex or age, who crossed the path of
this terrible host was seized, tortured, and put to heavy ransom. The
constables of the baronial castles dared not trust to the protection of
their walls; at the report of the king’s approach they fled, leaving
their fortresses to be occupied by him and his troops.[1144] Thus, “not
in the usual manner, but as one on the war-path,” he kept Christmas
at Nottingham.[1145] On the following day {Dec. 26} he moved on to
Langar, and thence, next morning, {Dec. 27} despatched a notice to the
garrison of William of Aubigny’s castle of Belvoir that if they did
not surrender at once, their lord should be starved to death. To this
threat they yielded.[1146]

[Sidenote: 1215–16]

Meanwhile, the barons in London had made no use of the reinforcements
sent to them by Louis. They seem to have despaired of overcoming John
by any means short of an invasion headed by Louis in person with the
whole forces of the French kingdom at his back. Towards the close of
the year Saher de Quincy and Robert Fitz-Walter went on another embassy
to Philip and Louis, “urgently imploring the father that he would send
his son to reign in England, and the son that he would come thither to
be crowned.” How or by whom he was to be crowned, when the only prelate
competent to perform the rite was in exile and under suspension, and
the rival sovereign was under the direct protection of the Pope, they
did not explain. Philip refused to entertain their proposals without
further security, and demanded “twenty-four hostages at least, of the
noblest of the whole land.” The hostages were sent under the charge of
the earls of Gloucester and Hereford. When they arrived, Louis began
to prepare eagerly for his expedition; but there were still weighty
reasons why, as an English chronicler says, “he himself could not
hastily set out to undertake so arduous a matter.” So, “to raise the
hopes of the barons and try their fidelity,”[1147] he sent his marshal
and some others of his vassals with a second contingent, some three
hundred knights and cross-bowmen and a proportionate number of foot
soldiers, all of whom, together with the English earls, sailed up the
Thames and arrived in London just after Epiphany 1216 {_c._ Jan. 8};
he himself promising on oath that he would be at the coast, ready to
cross, “with a great multitude of people,” at latest on the octave of
S. Hilary, January 20.[1148]

So, while John was pursuing his northward march, the barons sat still
and waited. The southern division of John’s host meanwhile was far from
idle. Between Christmas and the middle of January detachments of it
overran the whole of Essex, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Cambridgeshire
and Huntingdonshire, while the main body marched to S. Edmund’s, drove
the insurgents who had taken refuge there to seek another shelter
in the Isle of Ely, followed them thither, and sacked, burned and
ravaged the patrimony of S. Etheldreda as they did every other place
to which they came.[1149] Their leaders, before setting out, had
charged the constables of Windsor, Hertford and Berkhamsted to keep
a watch upon all who went into and out of London, and if possible
to stop the supplies of the barons there. This latter charge either
proved impossible to execute, or the constables deemed its execution
impolitic, and deliberately preferred to let the king’s enemies in
London ruin themselves by “lying there like delicate women, anxiously
considering what variety of food and drink could be set before them
to renew their wearied appetites.”[1150] The advance of Savaric de
Mauléon on Colchester, on January 29, perhaps roused them at last, for
a report reached him that they were hastening to relieve it, and caused
him to retire towards S. Edmunds,[1151] probably to rejoin the other
royalist leaders who had been doing the work of destruction at Ely. But
the barons, still vainly waiting for their foreign ally who came not,
made no further movement; and even when the royalists fired a suburb of
London itself, and carried off “plunder of inestimable value,”[1152] no
retaliation seems to have been attempted.

[Sidenote: 1215]

While the barons slumbered--as a chronicler says--the king was not
asleep;[1153] he was wreaking his long-delayed vengeance on the north.
The malcontents in the land beyond the Humber had been quicker than
their southern comrades to recognize their need of foreign help in
their struggle against John, and they had taken a short and easy way
of obtaining it for themselves. No sooner had civil war broken out in
England in the autumn of 1215 than the young Scottish king, Alexander,
who owed his throne and almost his life to the timely help which John
had given to his father four years before, marched into Northumberland
and laid siege, on October 19, to Norham castle.

[Sidenote: 1215–16]

Three days later the Northumbrian barons did homage to him at Felton.
No immediate results, indeed, followed from this new league; the
garrison of Norham seem to have been as loyal as their castle was
strong; at the end of forty days {Nov. 28} Alexander raised the siege
and returned home,[1154] just as John was on the point of receiving the
surrender of Rochester; and for more than a month no further movement
took place in the north except an obscure rising at York.[1155] When
at the opening of 1216 John entered Yorkshire, the terror of his
march to Nottingham had gone before him and all thought of resistance
was abandoned. He reached Pontefract on January 2; its constable
“came there to his mercy.”[1156] He went on to “his city of York,”
and “wrought all his will with it.”[1157] On January 7 and 8 he was
at Darlington.[1158] The horrors wrought by his troops seem to have
equalled, if not surpassed, those which the Scots had been wont to
perpetrate in their raids upon Northumbria in their days of savage
heathenism before the conversion of Malcolm Canmore.[1159] A few barons
“submitted themselves to the mercy of the merciless one”; the rest
“fled before his face.”[1160] From Darlington he seems to have advanced
on the 8th to Durham; thence he was about to turn southward again, when
he learned that Alexander had set fire to Newcastle-on-Tyne. Swearing
“by God’s teeth” that he would “run the little sandy fox-cub to his
earth,”[1161] John dashed forward to Newcastle; the place was indeed
burnt, but Alexander had withdrawn into his own territory,[1162] and on
the 11th the English refugees gathered round him in the chapter-house
at Melrose and renewed their oath to him on the relics of the saints.
John was on their track, burning and ravaging what little there was
left to ravage--little enough, for the fugitives had set fire to their
own fields and villages that he might get no benefit from them.[1163]
On the day of the homage at Melrose John reached Alnwick.[1164]
On the 14th he assaulted Berwick; town and castle were taken next
day,[1165] and the population butchered, after horrible tortures, by
his mercenaries. From Berwick he made, in the following week, a series
of raids across the Tweed, and swept the country as far as Dunbar and
Haddington, both of which he burned. At last, seeing that the “fox-cub”
was not worth a longer chase and that there was more important work to
be done elsewhere, he ordered Berwick to be burnt, fired with his own
hand--so the Scottish story runs--the house in which he had himself
been lodging,[1166] and on January 23 or 24 began to move southward.
After stopping two days at Newcastle[1167] and granting a new charter
to its citizens,[1168] he made his way slowly back through Yorkshire.
When at the end of February he reached Fotheringay,[1169] all the
castles in the shire save two were in his power and garrisoned by
followers of his own, who were charged to hold the country and continue
the work of destruction on the lands of the rebels wherever there was
anything left to destroy.[1170] Alexander’s dreams of conquest, the
Northumbrian barons’ dream of independence--if subjection to their
country’s hereditary foe could be called independence--were alike at
an end. Alexander, indeed, made a raid upon Carlisle as soon as John’s
back was turned;[1171] but it was a mere raid which led to nothing.
Far more significant is the string of safe-conducts which shows how
throughout the winter and the spring the terror-stricken English rebels
came crowding in to make their peace with John.[1172]

[Sidenote: 1216]

John had now regained the mastery over the whole eastern side of
England, from the south coast to the Scottish border,[1173] except
a few castles in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. After spending a week
in Bedfordshire,[1174] probably to concert measures with Falkes de
Bréauté, he marched into East Anglia. On March 12 he was at the gates
of Roger Bigod’s castle of Framlingham; it surrendered at once.[1175]
Next day he moved on to Ipswich; on the 14th he laid siege to
Colchester.[1176] Here the garrison had been reinforced by a detachment
of Louis’s Frenchmen, who agreed to surrender on condition that they
should be suffered to march out free and their English comrades held
to ransom. John, however, broke his promise to the Englishmen and put
them in chains. The Frenchmen on reaching London were accused by the
barons of having betrayed their comrades by making separate terms for
themselves; they were arrested and even threatened with death, but
it was finally determined to keep them in custody till Louis should
arrive.[1177] On the 25th John proceeded to Hedingham, which belonged
to the earl of Oxford, Robert de Vere; three days later it surrendered,
and the earl himself “came there to the king’s mercy, and swore that
he would thenceforth serve him loyally.” Robert’s oath was soon
broken;[1178] but his submission, insincere though it was, indicates
that the barons were losing heart. So, too, does an application made at
the same time by the earl of Clare and his son for a safe-conduct to
and from the king’s court.[1179] A yet more important result of John’s
recent campaign was the supply of money which he had acquired by the
plunder of his enemies. This enabled him during his stay at Hedingham
to satisfy his mercenaries by a general distribution of pay and gifts.
Thus secured against the risk of their desertion, he prepared to march
upon London.[1180]

[Sidenote: 1215–16]

A third body of troops sent by Louis had arrived in London at the end
of February,[1181] and a letter had been received from Louis himself,
announcing that “by God’s grace” he would “most certainly” be at Calais
ready to cross on Easter Day, April 10.[1182] Encouraged on the one
hand by this assurance, on the other the Londoners had been stirred
into a mood of dangerous defiance by tidings from Rome. On December 16,
1215, the Pope renewed his condemnation of the barons in such a manner
that it could no longer remain what circumstances had made it hitherto,
a dead letter. He excommunicated the rebels, this time not merely in
general terms, but mentioning thirty-one of them by name; he also
placed the city of London under interdict, and he appointed the abbot
of Abingdon and two other commissioners to execute this mandate.[1183]
It seems to have reached England about the end of February 1216.[1184]
The commissioners sent it to all the cathedral and conventual churches
for immediate publication, and it was soon published everywhere except
in London. There the clergy of S. Paul’s, the barons and the citizens
all alike rejected it and appealed against it, declaring that it had
been obtained by “false suggestions, and was therefore of no account,
more especially as the ordering of lay affairs pertained not to the
Pope.”[1185] This last assertion seems ridiculous in the mouths of the
barons, who scarce twelve months before had professed pride in having
compelled the king to surrender to the Pope the temporal overlordship
of England. It was in a spirit of mingled rage at the downfall of the
expectations which they had once founded upon that surrender, and
revived hope of speedy help from France, that the revolutionists who
held the capital met the king’s threat of attack. The citizens opened
their gates and arrayed themselves “ready to go forth and fight with
him if he should approach within ten leagues of the city.”[1186]
Advancing slowly and cautiously, he reached Enfield on the last day of
March;[1187] on the following night he seems to have slept at Waltham
Abbey, “seven little English leagues from London.”[1188] But he came no
nearer. Savaric de Mauléon, venturing on a closer approach, was caught
at unawares and barely escaped with heavy loss of men and with a wound
of which he all but died; a band of “pirates” who attempted to block
the Thames were all either slain, drowned or captured by the Londoners;
and evil tidings came from the north how the rebels there had risen
anew, laid siege to York, and pressed it so hard that the citizens had
been compelled to purchase for a thousand marks a truce till Trinity
Sunday.[1189] From Enfield the king passed round by Berkhamsted to
Windsor and Reading, and thence went south into Hampshire.[1190]

Of the northern rising we hear no more, but it seems to have proved
a failure, for before April 12 three of the chief northern barons,
Eustace de Vesci, Robert de Ros and Peter de Brus, offered to return to
the king’s service on one condition--that he would allow them to do so
without a fine. John’s answer was as politic as it was dignified. “What
we desire to have from our barons,” he wrote, “is not so much money as
their good and faithful service”; and he sent the three petitioners a
safe-conduct to come and speak with him on their own terms.[1191] On
the previous day he had given orders that the mayor of York should be
“competently provided” out of the lands of the king’s enemies “for his
good and faithful service which he did to the king,”[1192] no doubt in
the defence of the city during the recent siege. The mayor’s loyalty
and the king’s promptitude in rewarding it illustrate a feature of
John’s home policy which is traceable through all the vicissitudes of
his career: his interest in the towns and the trading classes, and
his constant endeavours to cultivate their friendship. All the while
that he was harrying the open country, burning villages and plundering
castles, he was making careful provision for the furtherance of
trade, the security of travelling merchants[1193] and the preservation
of foreign commerce from disturbance or interruption. With a French
invasion close at hand, he was still issuing safe-conducts to French
merchants in London and elsewhere.[1194] For this, indeed, there
may have been a political reason; John was anxious to keep on good
terms with France in order to counterwork the schemes of the barons
in that quarter. He had lately sent an embassy to try whether Philip
Augustus could by any means be induced to forbid his son’s proposed
expedition.[1195] One of the envoys at least, William the Marshal,
was back by Easter,[1196] the day which Louis had fixed for his own
departure. That day passed and Louis came not--hindered, it seems,
by contrary winds.[1197] About this time John sent a letter to Louis
himself, signifying his willingness to amend any injury which Louis
might have received at his hands;[1198] and on April 28 he wrote to
the guardians of the truce in France proposing that they should hold a
meeting with his proctors for the settlement of all disputes which had
arisen from infractions of the truce.[1199]

[Sidenote: 1216]

By that time the projected expedition of Louis had assumed an aspect
very different from that which it had worn when first suggested by the
English barons in the previous autumn. Philip as well as Louis was
naturally tempted by what looked like a golden opportunity for annexing
England to France; but he was held back by the dread of offending
the Pope, who had no sooner heard of the scheme than he despatched a
legate, Gualo, with instructions to proceed to France and England for
the express purpose of forbidding it. Philip saw that to make his son’s
project tolerable in the Pope’s eyes, and therefore safe in those of
his own feudataries, he must invent for it some more plausible excuse
than the flimsy pretence of election by the excommunicate English
barons. He had made out an elaborate case in behalf of Louis and
planned his own course of action with characteristic wariness and
skill, by the time that Gualo arrived in the spring of 1216. On April
25 the legate was publicly received at Melun[1200] by the French king,
to whom he presented the Pope’s letters desiring that Philip would
not permit his son to invade England or to molest the English king in
any way, but rather that he would protect and assist John as a vassal
of the Roman Church. Philip answered at once: “The realm of England
never was S. Peter’s patrimony; it is not so now, and never shall be.
John was convicted long ago of treason against his brother Richard,
and condemned by the judgement of Richard’s court; therefore John was
never rightfully king, and had no power to surrender the kingdom.
Moreover, if he ever was rightfully king, he afterwards forfeited his
right to the crown by the murder of Arthur, for which he was condemned
in our court. And in any case no king or prince can give away his
realm without the consent of his barons, who are bound to defend it.”
This last proposition was loudly applauded by the French magnates.
Next day a second meeting took place. Louis, according to a previous
arrangement with his father, came in after the rest of the assembly and
seated himself by his father’s side, scowling at the legate. Gualo,
without appearing to notice his discourtesy, besought him “not to go
to England to invade or seize the patrimony of the Roman Church,” and
again begged Philip to forbid his doing so. “I have always been devoted
and faithful,” answered Philip, “to the Pope and the Roman Church, and
by my counsel and help my son will not now attempt aught against them;
yet if Louis claims to have any rights in the realm of England, let him
be heard, and let justice be done.” On this a knight whom Louis had
appointed as his proctor rose and set forth the case thus: “My Lord
King, it is well known that John, who is called king of England, was
in your court by sentence of his peers condemned to death for treason
against his nephew Arthur, whom he had slain with his own hands, and
that he was afterwards rejected by the barons of England from reigning
over them by reason of the many murders and other enormities which he
had committed there; wherefore they began war against him, that they
might drive him from the throne without hope of restoration. Moreover,
the said king, without the consent of his magnates, made over the realm
of England to the Pope and the Roman Church, to receive it back from
them for an annual tribute of a thousand marks. Although he could not
give the crown of England to any one without consent of the barons, yet
he could resign it; and when he resigned it he ceased to be king, and
the throne was vacant. Now a vacant throne ought not to be filled save
by consent of the barons; wherefore the barons elected the Lord Louis
on account of his wife, whose mother, the queen of Castille, was the
sole survivor of all the brothers and sisters of the English king.”

With this ingeniously-woven tissue of perverted truths and dressed-up
lies it was obviously impossible for Gualo to deal on the spur of the
moment. He evaded the point at issue by pointing out that John had
taken the cross, and was therefore entitled to be left unmolested
till his vow of crusade was fulfilled. Louis’s proctor retorted that
John had made war upon Louis both before and after taking the cross,
and that Louis was therefore justified in retaliating. Gualo, without
further argument, again forbade Louis to invade England, and his father
to suffer him to do so, under pain of excommunication. Louis turned
to his father: “Sire, although I am your liegeman for the fief which
you have given me on this side of the sea, yet concerning the realm
of England it appertaineth not to you to decree anything; wherefore
I submit me to the judgement of my peers whether you ought to forbid
me to prosecute my right, and especially a right concerning which you
cannot yourself do me justice. I beseech you therefore not to hinder
me, since for my wife’s heritage I will fight, if need be, even unto
death.” With these words he left the assembly. Gualo made no remark,
but simply asked the king for a safe-conduct to the sea, that he
might proceed on his mission to England. “I will gladly give you a
safe-conduct through my own domains,” answered Philip; “but should you
chance to fall into the hands of any of my son’s men who are guarding
the coast, blame me not if evil befall you.” The legate departed in a
rage. As soon as he was gone, Louis returned, asked and received his
father’s blessing on his enterprize, despatched messengers to Rome to
lay his case before the Pope, and himself went to collect his forces at

On April 14 John had ordered twenty-one coast towns to send all
their ships to the mouth of the Thames.[1202] On the 17th he bade
the sheriffs throughout England make a proclamation calling upon all
persons who had been in arms against the king to join him within a
month after the close of Easter (April 24), on pain of forfeiture for
ever.[1203] On the 20th he returned to Windsor; thence he went through
Surrey back to Rochester;[1204] on the 25th--the day of the council
at Melun--he issued from Canterbury orders to the soldiers then at
Rochester to follow him immediately “wheresoever he might be.”[1205]
He reached Canterbury that night, Dover on the morrow, and spent the
next three weeks flitting up and down along the coast of Kent,[1206]
watching for the arrival of both Gualo and Louis, and superintending
the gathering of the fleet and the preparation of the coast towns for
defence. The Cinque Ports were again pledged, by oaths and hostages,
to his service. Yarmouth, Lynn, Dunwich and other sea-ports sent their
ships to the muster[1207] at Dover. As soon as it was complete, the
king intended to sail with his whole fleet to Calais and block up Louis
in the harbour, “for he well knew,” says a contemporary, “that the
little vessels which Louis had could not defend themselves against his
ships, which were so large; one of his ships was well worth four of
those of Louis.” But towards evening on May 18 a storm arose and swept
over the fleet as it lay off Dover, and by the morning the ships were
so broken and scattered that all hope of bringing them together again
was lost.[1208] On the night of the 20th Louis set sail from Calais.
Next morning the watchmen on the shore of Thanet saw some of his ships
in the distance; they sent word to the king, who was at Canterbury,
on the point of setting out to meet the legate, of whose arrival at
Romney he had just been apprised. He told the messengers from Thanet
that what had been seen were not the enemy’s ships, but some of his own
which the storm had driven out to sea. But his words were only spoken
to encourage his followers; in his heart he knew that the watchmen were
not mistaken. He seems to have ridden only a few miles towards Romney
when he met Gualo, clad in his scarlet robes as cardinal, and mounted
on a white palfrey, as beseemed the representative of the Pope. King
and legate dismounted and embraced. John at once told Gualo that Louis
had arrived; Gualo pronounced the invader excommunicate, and rode with
John into Canterbury.[1209]

Louis meanwhile had landed at Stonor almost alone; the greater part
of his fleet did not even come in sight till the next day, Sunday,
May 22. John had now hurried to Sandwich; thence he saw with his own
eyes the approach of the hostile fleet as it sailed past the mouth of
Pegwell Bay. To prevent its reaching the shore was impossible; the
only question was whether he should encounter the French host as soon
as it had disembarked and stake everything upon a pitched battle. The
trumpets were sounded, the troops arrayed; but as he rode up and down
along the shore surveying their ranks his heart sank within him.[1210]
They were, almost to a man, mercenaries and foreigners, most of them
born subjects of the French king; what if, when the fight was at the
hottest, they should go over in a body to their fellow-countrymen
and their own king’s son? The risk was too grave to be faced; it
was better to withdraw than to court an encounter so likely to prove
fatal.[1211] Such was the counsel given to John by one of the few
Englishmen still at his side, the wisest and truest of them all,
William the Marshal.[1212] For a while John hesitated; then, as was
his wont in moments of disappointment and distress, he stole away in
silence, and had galloped a league on the road to Dover before the
greater part of his men knew that he was gone.[1213] Leaving Dover
under the charge of Hubert de Burgh, with a strong garrison and ample
provisions,[1214] and appointing the earl of Warren warden of the
Cinque Ports,[1215] he made his way through Sussex to Winchester,
where he remained watching the course of events during the next ten

The first act of Louis after landing his troops was to issue a
manifesto to the English clergy, setting forth, in somewhat more
blunt terms than he had ventured to use in presence of the legate
at Melun, his pretensions to the English Crown, and exhorting those
whom he addressed not to be persuaded into thwarting his endeavours
“for the good of the English Church and realm” by anything that they
might hear from Gualo, whom he represented as having no just grounds
for opposition to him, and as having been brought to England “by
the suggestions and bribes” of John.[1217] He then, after seizing
a few English ships which had put in at Sandwich after the storm,
and plundering the town, marched upon Canterbury. The citizens
admitted him without resistance;[1218] Gualo fled from his lodgings
in S. Augustine’s abbey; the abbot, who was John’s foster-brother,
alone refused all submission to the invader.[1219] From Canterbury
Louis proceeded to Rochester, where he was joined by his men from
London.[1220] The mighty fortress which had cost John a siege of nearly
two months surrendered to Louis in less than a week, on Whit Monday,
May 30.[1221] Already the forebodings of the king and the Marshal were
more than justified; John’s mercenaries were deserting, and not only
those barons who had been recently preparing, or pretending to prepare,
to return to their allegiance, but even many of those who had hitherto
seemed loyal to him, now joined the leaders of the revolution in doing
homage to the invader.[1222] On Whitsun Eve (May 28) Gualo had rejoined
the king at Winchester,[1223] after issuing a citation to the English
bishops and clergy to meet him there “in aid of the king and the
kingdom.” On Whit Sunday, in their presence, he excommunicated Louis by
name, together with all his followers and adherents, whose lands, as
well as the city of London, he laid under interdict.[1224] The sentence
was disregarded; on June 2 Louis entered London;[1225] the citizens
welcomed him joyously, and the canons of S. Paul’s received him with
a procession in their cathedral church.[1226] Next day he received
the homage of the barons and citizens, headed respectively by Robert
Fitz-Walter and the mayor, William Hardel.[1227] He then swore on the
Gospels “that he would restore to all of them their good laws and their
lost heritages,” and wrote to the king of Scots and all the English
magnates who had not yet joined him “bidding them either come and do
him homage, or quit the realm of England without delay.”[1228]

On June 6 Louis started from London[1229] to seek out his rival at
Winchester,[1230] but he was already too late; John had quitted
Winchester the day before,[1231] leaving it, with its two castles,
under the command of Savaric de Mauléon.[1232] Louis’s first day’s
march from London brought him to Reigate, which he entered without
opposition, the earl of Warren having withdrawn his garrison from the
castle. The royal castle of Guildford surrendered on the 8th, Farnham,
which belonged to the see of Canterbury, on the 10th.[1233] On the
14th Louis reached Winchester.[1234] Savaric de Mauléon was, it seems,
under orders to rejoin the king when he saw the enemy approaching the
city and had completed his preparations for its defence. With the
idea, doubtless, of checking the entrance of the foe, he, or some of
his followers, set fire to the suburb before he left it. Unluckily
the flames spread into the city and laid half of it in ashes. Defence
became impossible, and the French marched in to take undisputed
possession.[1235] John and Savaric had, however, left a strong garrison
in the “chief castle”[1236] at the west end of the city; the bishop’s
stronghold of Wolvesey too, at the eastern end, was well provided with
defenders, among whom was one of the king’s sons, a young squire named
Oliver.[1237] For ten days Louis plied his engines against the “chief
castle”; then on June 24 Savaric returned with a licence from the king
to negotiate for its surrender and that of Wolvesey. The garrisons were
suffered to withdraw, and Louis gave the city into the custody of the
count of Nevers.[1238]

In the ten days of the siege Louis had gained something besides
Winchester. Before the castles surrendered “there came thither to
his will” four of “the greatest and most powerful men in England of
those who stood by the king”--the earls of Warren, Arundel, Albemarle
and Salisbury.[1239] Albemarle was a turncoat whose adhesion was too
uncertain to be of much value to either party;[1240] but the other
three had hitherto been steadfast in their loyalty, and Salisbury,
moreover, was half-brother to the king.[1241] Still the invader did
not seem much nearer to the attainment of the crown which he coveted.
From Winchester he went to Porchester,[1242] and thence to Odiham;
both places surrendered to him, but the latter cost him a week’s
siege, though its garrison consisted only of three knights and ten
men-at-arms {July 9}, who of course marched out with the honours of
war, “amid the great admiration of the French.”[1243] The conflicting
claims and mutual jealousies of his French and English followers were
already a source of trouble. The office of marshal of the host, held
by Adam de Beaumont, who was marshal to Louis in France, was claimed
as an hereditary right by Earl William of Pembroke’s eldest son; Louis
transferred it to him “as one who durst not do otherwise, for if he
gave it him not, he deemed he should lose the hearts of the English.”
Young William the Marshal further claimed the castle of Marlborough,
which had been voluntarily surrendered to Louis by Hugh de Neville.
Louis, however, bestowed it on his own cousin, Robert of Dreux;
whereat the young Marshal “was very angry.” The French followers and
continental allies of Louis were already weary of an expedition which
they doubtless saw would bring them little honour and less gain. The
count of Holland had taken the cross and hurried home to prepare for
his crusade. Soon afterwards a number of the men of Artois departed to
London and thence took ship for their own land; and before they could
reach it they had to beat off “the English in their boats” who attacked
them at the mouth of the Thames. Louis himself, after an unsuccessful
attempt to make terms with the legate, returned to London,[1244]
seemingly about the middle of July.

While Louis was in Hampshire, the barons whom he had left in London,
with some of his French troops, overran the eastern counties; they
sacked some of the towns, ravaged the country, exacted “tenseries”
everywhere, and returned “laden with countless booty and spoils.”[1245]
Another party, under Gilbert de Gant and Robert de Ropesley, had been
charged by Louis to check the excursions whereby the baronial castles
in the neighbourhood of Nottingham and Newark were being reduced
to ashes, and the baronial lands around them to subjection, by the
garrisons of those two royal fortresses. Gilbert and Robert took the
city of Lincoln and laid a tax on the whole of Lindsey; but Lincoln
castle was too strong for them, so they went on to invade Holland,
which they ravaged and likewise placed under tribute. A third body
of troops under Robert de Ros, Peter de Brus and Richard de Percy
was meanwhile conquering Yorkshire for Louis;[1246] and Alexander of
Scotland had again set out “with all his host, except the Scots from
whom he took money,” to renew the siege of Carlisle.[1247] This, like
all other sieges of that famous fortress, proved a long and wearisome
business; Alexander, however, relieved its tediousness by expeditions
into the counties of Northumberland and Durham. He had no purpose now
of conquering them for himself; his aim was simply to join hands with
the other invader. The Scot king was the natural ally of the English
king’s adversary.

Thus by the end of July the power of Louis extended from the Channel
to the Scottish border, but not without some important breaks. The
castles of the bishopric of Durham were still held for John by Hugh
de Balliol and Philip de Ulecotes.[1248] The stranger’s hold upon the
south coast was precarious in the extreme so long as Dover, the “key
of England,” defied him under Hubert de Burgh; and Windsor at once
threatened his hold upon London, and barred his way to the Midlands
and the West. These were the districts in which John counted upon
making good his defence. Throughout June, while Louis was in Hampshire,
John was perambulating Wiltshire and Dorset, personally seeing to
the fortification and replenishing of the fortresses in those two
shires, planning schemes and giving orders for the security of the
royal castles in all parts of his realm, and issuing instructions
to their custodians how to act in every possible contingency.[1249]
Diplomacy went hand in hand with military precautions. Overtures
were made to Reginald de Braose, the deadliest of John’s personal
foes, and one of those who had most influence on the western border,
for his return to allegiance at the price of the restoration of his
heritage.[1250] Safe-conducts were offered to “all who might choose
to return to the king’s service” through the intervention of certain
appointed persons.[1251] A temporary submission to the invader’s demand
of “tenserie” was formally sanctioned in special cases where it was
clear that resistance would be ineffectual at the moment.[1252] Help
was again sought from over sea; on June 2 the town of Bayonne was
desired to send its galleys “for the annoyance and confusion of our
enemies.”[1253] John’s own movements indicate that he, very naturally,
expected Louis to follow up his conquest of Hampshire by an attack on
the western shires. It was obviously with this expectation, and with
the double purpose of putting the border in a state of defence and
securing for himself a refuge at need, that soon after the middle of
July he began to advance northward from Sherborne to Bristol, Berkeley,
Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Hereford, reaching Leominster on the last
day of the month.[1254] He was at the same time negotiating with some
of the Welsh chieftains for their aid and support;[1255] and on August
2 he was actually on Welsh soil, at Radnor. That night, however, he was
again in England, at Kingsmead; thence he moved on to Clun, Shrewsbury
and Whitchurch. On the 11th he turned southward again; he reached
Bridgenorth on the 14th, and stayed there till the 16th, when he went
back to Worcester for one night; next day he was at Gloucester.[1256]
A letter written on the 19th from Berkeley shows that these movements
were dictated by the belief that Louis was preparing an attack upon
Worcester and Hereford.[1257] This fact illustrates one of the greatest
difficulties of medieval warfare, the difficulty of obtaining correct
information as to the whereabouts and movements of the adversary.
Louis, at the moment when John was thus anxiously looking out for him
in the west, had been for nearly four weeks absorbed in the siege of

According to Matthew Paris, Philip Augustus had taunted his son with
not understanding his business as a commander-in-chief, because he was
attempting to conquer England without first securing its key.[1258]
At any rate Louis, soon after his return to London, perceived that
his hold on the country would never be assured till Dover and Windsor
were both in his hands. On July 25 he set out for Dover,[1259] and
a day or two later the counts of Dreux and Nevers, with some English
barons, laid siege to Windsor.[1260] Of this latter party the Flemish
soldier-chronicler of the war says, “Long were they there, and little
did they gain.”[1261] They in fact sat before the place for nearly
two months in vain.[1262] The siege of Dover proved longer still, and
for many weeks bade fair to be equally unprofitable. Many of Louis’s
followers went back over sea to their homes, “so that the host dwindled
marvellously.”[1263] On August 8, however, the town--not the castle--of
Carlisle surrendered to Alexander;[1264] and he at once began to move
southward for the purpose of joining Louis. Still a whole month elapsed
before the junction was effected. On his way the Scot king stopped to
besiege Barnard castle, held by Hugh de Balliol for John. The siege
appears to have been unsuccessful, and it cost the life of one of
the foremost leaders of the baronial party in the north, Eustace de
Vesci.[1265] Some of the other northerners were now helping Gilbert
de Gant at the siege of Lincoln castle. This time its constable, Dame
Nicola de Haye,[1266] bought off her assailants, who thereupon united
their forces to those of Alexander.[1267] The combined host seems to
have reached Kent about the second week in September.[1268] Louis went
to meet Alexander at Canterbury, brought him back to Dover,[1269] and
there received his homage for the lands which he held of the English

Meanwhile John had at last learned the truth as to his adversary’s
movements, and was acting on the information. Gathering a numerous
host from the garrisons of the western castles, which he now saw to be
out of danger, and from his old allies the Welsh,[1271] he marched up
on September 2 from Cirencester to Burford, spent the three following
days at Oxford, then struck across the Thames to Wallingford, and on
the 6th appeared at Reading. From the 8th to the 13th he fixed his
quarters at Sonning.[1272] His advance looked as if intended for the
relief of Windsor; he did in fact approach so near that castle that
its besiegers “thought they were going to have a battle.” His Welshmen
“came by night to shoot into the host, and gave them a great fright.
They were a long time armed to await the battle, but they did not get
it, for the king retired, I know not by what counsel,” says the Flemish
chronicler.[1273] John had in truth never intended to attack them;
his real “counsel” is given us by the English writers--his aim was
the eastern counties, where he purposed to intercept the Scot king on
his homeward journey, and to punish the local landholders and owners
of castles for their submission to the invader.[1274] The relief of
Windsor he probably hoped to effect by other means, if there is any
truth in the assertion of some English chroniclers that the count of
Nevers was secretly in his pay.[1275] It may have been for the purpose
of communicating with Nevers, as well as for that of frightening
Nevers’s companions and reconnoitring the district, that the king
lingered in Berkshire. On September 15 he suddenly struck northward
from Walton-on-Thames to Aylesbury and Bedford; next day he went on to
Cambridge.[1276] The immediate consequence was the relief of Windsor;
its besiegers were no sooner assured of his departure from their
neighbourhood than they struck their tents, set fire to their military
engines, and hurried in pursuit of him. They hoped to overtake him at
Cambridge; but, warned by his scouts, he escaped in time, on the night
of September 17. A dexterous movement southward to Clare and Hedingham
threw his pursuers off the track, and another rapid march brought him
to Stamford before they reached Cambridge.[1277] They avenged their
disappointment by harrying Cambridgeshire--this was the second, if not
the third, harrying which that unhappy county had suffered within four
months--carried their spoils back to London, and then proceeded to join
Louis at the siege of Dover.[1278]

The count of Nevers was immediately sent off again to escort the Scot
king safely homeward as far as Cambridge.[1279] Thence Alexander made
his way towards Lincoln, which Gilbert de Gant, with a few followers,
had continued to occupy after the other barons had abandoned the
siege of the castle.[1280] John meanwhile had gone from Stamford to
Rockingham; thence, on September 21,[1281] he set out to begin the
work for which he had come from the west. The story of that day and
the next, as told by Matthew Paris--how the king went first to Oundle
and thence to the other manors of the abbey of Peterborough, burning
the houses and barns; how he passed on to Crowland and bade Savaric de
Mauléon fire the abbey church and the village while he himself stood
at a distance to watch the blaze; how Savaric yielded to the monks’
prayer for mercy, and accepted from them, as the price of their escape,
a sum of money which he brought back to John, and how the furious king,
after overwhelming his too placable lieutenant with abuse, helped with
his own hands to fire the harvest-fields, running up and down amid
the smoke and the flames till the whole territory of S. Guthlac was
a blackened desert[1282]--whether its details be literally exact or
not, pictures vividly the mood of the tyrant. It is little wonder
that when the tidings of his advance reached Lincoln {Sept. 22},
Gilbert and his men “fled before his face, dreading his presence like
lightning.”[1283] They probably fled into the Isle of Axholme, for
from Lincoln John went by way of Barton[1284] and Scotter to Stowe,
where he stayed three days {Sept. 26–28}, and whence he appears to have
sent his mercenaries across the Trent to ravage the Isle with fire and
sword. He returned to Lincoln on the 28th, to find that Alexander had
spent two or three days there in his absence,[1285] and had slipped
past him into Yorkshire. John, however, was less eager for the capture
of “the little sandy fox” than for vengeance upon the English rebels.
From Lincoln northward to Grimsby, and thence south again to Spalding,
the Lincolnshire fields--now, at the beginning of October, all white
to harvest[1286]--were given to the flames, and the houses and
farm-buildings sacked and destroyed by the terrible host with the king
at its head.[1287] On October 9 he appeared before Lynn;[1288] here the
townsfolk, like most of their class throughout England, were on his
side, and they gave him not only a joyous welcome, but a substantial
contribution in money.[1289] He committed the custody of the town
and the duty of fortifying it to Savaric de Mauléon,[1290] whom on
September 30 he had sent back to Crowland to “seek out and capture the
knights and men-at-arms, enemies of the king, who were hiding in secret
places” among the fens around the monastery. Savaric had “failed to
find those whom he sought”; but he had dragged some fugitives out of
sanctuary in the abbey, and brought back a valuable spoil of flocks and
herds to his master at Lynn.[1291]

Louis had now been besieging Dover for more than two months, and had
made no progress at all. The strength of the castle, the skill and
valour of Hubert de Burgh and the hundred and forty knights who, with
the usual complement of men-at-arms, constituted its garrison, were
more than a match for all his forces. He swore that he would not
quit the place till he had hanged every man within its walls;[1292]
but even the fall of one of its towers seemed to have brought him no
nearer to effecting an entrance.[1293] He could only turn the siege
into a blockade, and wait till starvation should accomplish the work
in which battery and assault had failed. In the country at large he
was distinctly losing ground. Throughout the summer he had been set
at nought in Sussex by a young Flemish adventurer called William
of Casinghem, who, “scorning to do him homage, gathered together a
thousand bowmen, lodged in the wilderness and woods with which that
country abounded, and gave the French great trouble all through the
time of war, slaying many thousands of them.”[1294] On September 2
John wrote a letter of encouragement to an association extending
through Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire, composed of persons whom
he describes as “sworn and confederate together for fealty and service
to ourself,” although they had been compelled against their will to
swear allegiance to his rival. The “barons”--that is, the citizens--of
Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Hythe, Romney, Winchelsea, Rye, Pevensey,
Shoreham and Portsmouth, who had also, under compulsion, taken the
oath to Louis, had likewise assured John of their devotion to himself,
and were in return assured of his favour; while the men of Seaford
had resisted all the pressure put upon them by their lord, Gilbert de
Laigle, to forsake their allegiance, and were on September 3 warmly
thanked by John for their loyalty.[1295] Soon after the beginning of
the siege of Dover Louis was joined from over sea by the count of
Perche, and in September or October by Peter of Britanny; the arrival
of this last, however, brought no real gain, for as soon as Peter
reached England, his brother, Robert of Dreux, returned to France.
Louis’s English partizans, too, were falling away. Earl William of
Albemarle offered his repentance and his services to John, who of
course “forgave him most kindly.”[1296] Of yet greater importance was
the return to allegiance of William of Salisbury; it was he who, in
conjunction with Falkes de Bréauté, captured or put to flight a body of
Louis’s adherents who were besieging Exeter.[1297] At last, however, a
gleam of light fell across the gloomy prospects of the French party.
Towards the middle of October Hubert de Burgh and his lieutenant,
Gerard de Sotinghem, felt that they could not hold out much longer, and
asked for a truce, that they might send to John either for succour, or
for leave to surrender the castle. The truce was granted, and on the
14th the siege of Dover was suspended.[1298]

The crisis had come; it had, however, really come not on the cliffs of
Kent, but on the shores of the Wash. Sumptuously entertained by the
burghers of Lynn, John, who--unlike most of his race--was a notorious
glutton, feasted till his excesses brought on a violent attack of
dysentery[1299] which he himself seems to have recognized as the
beginning of the end. One of the latest entries on the Patent Rolls of
his reign is probably significant of the remorse awakened in him, for
one at least of his many crimes, by the terror of approaching death; on
October 10 he granted to Margaret, wife of Walter de Lacy, some land in
the royal forest of Acornbury, that she might build thereon a religious
house for the souls of her father, mother and brother[1300]--William,
Maud and the younger William de Braose. He could not rest; ill as he
was, he moved next day {Oct. 11} from Lynn to Wisbeach; and early on
the following morning {Oct. 12} he set out again. “Like a swiftly
advancing storm,” before which all men fled, he swept northward to the
mouth of the Welland, and thence in his impatience set out to cross the
Wash without waiting either for the ebb of the tide or for any one who
knew the way to guide him across the treacherous soil, covered as it
was with brackish water. Suddenly the whole host, while struggling with
the waves, felt the ground opening beneath its feet. The king himself
and a part of his troops with difficulty reached the further shore;
the rest of his followers and the whole of his baggage train, with all
his treasure and his lately gathered spoils, men, horses, arms, tents,
provisions, “everything in the world that he held most dear, short of
his own life,” went down into the quicksand.[1301] When at night he
reached Swineshead abbey, rage and grief threw him into a fever, which
he aggravated by supping greedily on peaches and new cider.[1302] With
great difficulty he made his way on the 14th to Sleaford.[1303] There
he was found, probably on the 15th, by the messengers whom Hubert de
Burgh had sent from Dover to seek him. Their tidings brought on a
fresh access of fever, which bleeding failed to relieve.[1304] Nothing
could check his restlessness; that night or next morning {Oct. 15–16}
he set out for Newark, and in spite of grievous bodily suffering,
he set out on horseback. He had, however, ridden only three or four
miles, “panting and groaning,” when increasing sickness compelled him
to dismount, and he bade his followers make him a litter in which he
might travel more easily. There was no workman to make it, and nothing
to make it of; all that his men could do was to cut down with their
swords and knives the willows by the roadside, weave them together
as best they might, and throw a horse-cloth over them. This litter,
without cushions or even straw to relieve its hardness, had for want
of carriage-horses to be either slung between some of the high-mettled
destriers of the knights, or carried on the shoulders of the men. Its
shaking and jolting soon proved intolerable: “This accursed litter has
broken all my bones, and well-nigh killed me,” cried the king in an
agony of pain and rage. Matthew Paris quotes a French rime concerning
the sons of Henry II. which thus foretold their fate: “Henry, the
fairest, shall die at Martel; Richard, the Poitevin, shall die in the
Limousin; John shall die, a landless king, in a litter.” The prediction
was all but fulfilled; John, however, gathered up strength and spirit
enough to avoid a literal fulfilment of its closing words, and to ride
“on an ambling nag” into Newark.[1305]

For three days {Oct. 16–18}, in the bishop of Lincoln’s castle
whose ruins still look down upon the Trent, the king lay dying. The
abbot of Croxton, who was skilled in medicine, attended him as his
physician,[1306] and also ministered to his soul, for he persuaded
him to confess his sins and receive the Holy Communion.[1307] Then
the one natural affection traceable in John’s character broke out in
anxiety for his two little sons, especially for the elder of them, to
whom the crown must devolve. He solemnly declared Henry his heir, made
those around him take an oath of fealty to the boy, and sent letters
to the sheriffs and the constables of the royal castles, bidding them
look to him as their lord.[1308] He had already, on October 15, before
leaving Sleaford, dictated a letter entreating for Henry the special
protection of the Pope.[1309] He now appointed Peter de Mauley guardian
of his younger son Richard, whom he had apparently left under Peter’s
charge in Corfe castle. There was but one man in England to whom he
could confidently entrust the guardianship of the heir to the throne.
“Before he died, he sent word to William the Marshal, the earl of
Pembroke, that he placed his eldest son, Henry, in God’s keeping and
his, and besought him for God’s sake that he would take thought for
Henry’s interest.”[1310]

The abbot of Croxton then asked the king where he wished to be buried.
“I commend my body and my soul to God and to S. Wulfstan” was John’s
reply.[1311] His last act seems to have been the dictation of the
fragmentary document which has come down to us as his will. “Being
overtaken,” he says, “by grievous sickness, and thus incapable of
making a detailed disposition of all my goods, I commit the ordering
and disposing of my will to the fidelity and discretion of my faithful
men whose names are written below, without whose counsel, were they at
hand, I would not, even if in health, ordain anything; and I ratify
and confirm whatsoever they shall faithfully ordain and determine
concerning my goods, for the purposes of making satisfaction to God
and Holy Church for the wrongs I have done them, sending help to the
realm of Jerusalem, furnishing support to my sons for the recovery
and defence of their heritage, rewarding those who have served us
faithfully, and distributing alms to the poor and to religious houses
for the salvation of my soul. And I pray that whosoever shall give them
counsel and assistance herein may receive God’s grace and favour; and
may he who shall violate the settlement made by them incur the curse
and wrath of God Almighty and the Blessed Mary and all the saints.
First, then, I desire that my body be buried in the church of the
Blessed Mary and S. Wulfstan of Worcester. Now I appoint as ordainers
and disposers of my will the following persons:--the lord Gualo, by
God’s grace cardinal priest of the title of S. Martin, legate of
the Apostolic See; Peter, lord bishop of Winchester; Richard, lord
bishop of Chichester; Silvester, lord bishop of Worcester; Brother
Aimeric of Ste. Maure; William the Marshal, earl of Pembroke; Ranulf,
earl of Chester; William, earl of Ferrars; William Brewer; Walter de
Lacy; John of Monmouth; Savaric de Mauléon; Falkes de Bréauté.”[1312]
Here, without date, signature or seal, the so-called will breaks off
abruptly; evidently the testator had not time to complete it. At
midnight {Oct. 18–19} a whirlwind swept over Newark with such violence
that the townsfolk thought their houses would fall, and in that hour
of elemental disturbance and human terror the king passed away.[1313]
A monk named John of Savigny, entering the town at daybreak {Oct.
19}, met the servants of the royal household hurrying out laden with
everything of their master’s that they could carry. The corpse--for
which they had not left even a decent covering[1314]--had meanwhile
been hastily embalmed by the abbot of Croxton; John having, it is said,
made a grant of his heart, with ten pounds’ worth of land, to Croxton
abbey.[1315] The abbot, too, fled as soon as his work was done and
his strange relic secured; it was John of Savigny who, at the request
of the constable of Newark, kept the last watch beside the body and
offered his mass that morning for the soul of the dead king.[1316]
The body was then dressed in such semblance of royal attire as could
be procured, and the remnant of John’s soldiers--nearly all foreign
mercenaries--formed themselves into a guard for its protection on the
journey from Newark to Worcester. The grim funeral train, every man in
full armour, passed unhindered across England, and John was buried by
Bishop Silvester in Worcester cathedral according to his desire.[1317]

    Within this tomb lies buried a monarch’s outward form,
    Whose inner man’s departure hath stilled war’s raging storm.

Thus may be roughly rendered the opening lines of an epitaph on King
John preserved by Roger of Wendover.[1318] The poet’s words are true;
John’s death virtually ended the war. From his burial the Marshal,
the Legate, and the bishops passed to the crowning of his heir and
the publication, in the boy-king’s name, of the Great Charter in a
revised form to which Gualo had no hesitation in giving the papal
sanction, and which, thus safeguarded, left the revolutionary party no
excuse for continuing the struggle. Thenceforth it was idle for Louis
and his adherents to pretend that they were fighting for England’s
deliverance from bondage; all men could see that they were fighting
for her enslavement to a foreign conqueror. The majority of the barons
had already become conscious of the blunder, or worse than blunder,
which they had committed in calling the stranger to their aid, and
were ready now to join in a national movement for his expulsion. His
enterprise was doomed to fail when the kingdom ceased to be divided
against itself; and the one insuperable obstacle to the healing of
its divisions was removed in the person of John. It was John whose
very existence had made peace impossible. “Forasmuch as when he came
to die he possessed none of his land in peace,” says Matthew Paris,
“he is called Lackland.”[1319] John had indeed earned for himself in
a new sense the name which his father had given him at his birth; and
he had earned it not by blunders in statecraft or errors in strategy,
not by weakness or cowardice or sloth, but by the almost superhuman
wickedness of a life which, twenty years before its end, a historian
of deeper insight than Matthew had characterized in one memorable
phrase--“Nature’s enemy, John.”


[1097] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 331; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 226.

[1098] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 156 b.

[1099] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1100] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 226.

[1101] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 157. The date seems to be either September
20 to 22 or October 5 to 6; see _Itin._ a. 17.

[1102] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 181 b.

[1103] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 330, 331. The dates are not quite
clear. Roger gives none, but says John laid siege to the castle “on
the third day” after the barons entered it; Ralph of Coggeshall,
p. 175, says John entered the city on Sunday October 11. But the
_Itinerary_ shows that John was on the 11th at Ospring and on the 12th
at Gillingham, and he does not date from Rochester till the 13th. I
have therefore ventured to suppose that Ralph has given the date of the
barons’ arrival by mistake for that of the king’s.

[1104] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 158, 159.

[1105] R. Coggeshall, p. 175.

[1106] See below, p. 250.

[1107] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 226.

[1108] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 159.

[1109] Cf. _ib._ p. 157; W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 226; R. Wendover,
vol. iii. p. 330; and R. Coggeshall, p. 176.

[1110] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[1111] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 231 b.

[1112] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 331. Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 160.
One party under Hugh de Boves was wrecked in a storm on the Norfolk
coast, September 26; their leader was drowned, so were many others,
and a large quantity of money also went down; but the survivors made
their way to the king in time to join him at Rochester and help in the
siege, _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 155, 156; _Chron. Mailros_, a. 1215; R.
Coggeshall, pp. 174, 175; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 332.

[1113] R. Coggeshall, p. 176.

[1114] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 226; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 333.

[1115] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[1116] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[1117] W. Coventry, _l.c._

[1118] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 165. It is Matthew
alone who gives the name of the leader of the party. His version
of the expedition is important, as he--notwithstanding his strong
anti-royalist feeling--shows up the cowardice of the barons, and
especially of Fitz-Walter, on this occasion, quite as strongly, and is
quite as sarcastic upon it, as the royalist Roger of Wendover.

[1119] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 333.

[1120] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 226. R. Coggeshall, p. 177, says that
John had contrived to prevent some of the northern barons from joining
them by means of forged letters purporting to come from Fitz-Walter and
his comrades, telling the Northerners that their help was no longer

[1121] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 227.

[1122] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 334, 335.

[1123] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 163; R. Wend. vol. iii. p. 335.

[1124] R. Wend. vol. iii. p. 336.

[1125] In W. Coventry, _l.c._, John is said to have hanged only one
cross-bowman, whom he had had in his service from boyhood. See the
names of the knights made prisoners, in R. Wend. vol. iii. pp. 335,
336, _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 241 b, and _Rot. Pat._ p. 161.

[1126] _Rot. Pat._ p. 157.

[1127] _Ib._ p. 157 b.

[1128] _Ib._ p. 158.

[1129] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1210.

[1130] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 225.

[1131] Louis had inherited the county of Artois from his mother.

[1132] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 359.

[1133] W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. 225, 226.

[1134] “S’il voloit venir en Engletierre sa cape toursée, il li
donroient le règne en boine pais et le feroient seigneur d’eus,” _Hist.
des Ducs_, p. 160. Cf. W. Coventry, _l.c._

[1135] R. Coggeshall, pp. 176, 177.

[1136] Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 160, and R. Coggeshall, p. 176.

[1137] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 160, 161.

[1138] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 349, 350; _Hist. des Ducs_, pp.
161, 162. John had granted the earldom of Clare to Robert de Béthune;
_Hist._, _l.c._

[1139] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1140] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 347.

[1141] _Ib._ pp. 344–6.

[1142] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 347. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 177. Ralf
substitutes Gerard of Sotteghem for William Brewer; but in R. Wendover,
p. 348, Gerard is named among those who accompanied the king.

[1143] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 348, 350; confirmed by _Itin._ a. 17.

[1144] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 348.

[1145] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 228.

[1146] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 350.

[1147] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 359, 360.

[1148] R. Howden, vol. iv. p. 189, note 4. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 178,
and _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 162. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 360, has
confused this second French contingent with the first, which had come
in November 1215, and seemingly also with a third. See below, pp. 261,

[1149] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 349, 358; W. Coventry, vol. ii.
p. 229, and R. Coggeshall, pp. 177, 178.

[1150] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 349, 352.

[1151] R. Coggeshall, p. 178.

[1152] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 349.

[1153] _Ib._ p. 352.

[1154] _Chron. Mailros_, a. 1216.

[1155] See footnote 1157 below.

[1156] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 163; date from _Itin._ a. 17.

[1157] “Puis s’en ala-il à Wrewic [_var._ Euerwic] sa cité, qui
encontre lui s’iert revelée; si en fist toute sa volenté.” _Hist. des
Ducs_, _l.c._ John was at York on January 4, _Itin._ a. 17.

[1158] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1159] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 351, 352.

[1160] R. Coggeshall, pp. 178, 179.

[1161] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 163, 164. Cf. M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol.
ii. pp. 641, 642, and _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 172.

[1162] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 164; for dates see _Itin._ a. 17.

[1163] _Chron. Mailros_, a. 1216.

[1164] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1165] Cf. _ll.cc._ and _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 164.

[1166] _Chron. Mailros_ and _Hist. des Ducs_, _ll.cc._

[1167] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1168] _Rot. Chart._ p. 219.

[1169] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1170] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 352, 353.

[1171] February, _Chron. Mailros_, a. 1216.

[1172] _Rot. Pat._ pp. 162, 162 b, 168, 169.

[1173] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 352.

[1174] February 29–March 8, _Itin._ a. 17.

[1175] Cf. _Itin._ a. 17, and _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 165.

[1176] Cf. _ib._ and R. Coggeshall, p. 179.

[1177] R. Coggeshall, pp. 179, 180; for dates see _Itin._ a. 17.
The king’s safe-conduct to the French soldiers (names given) from
Colchester to London is dated March 24, _Rot. Pat._ pp. 171 b, 172.

[1178] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 165.

[1179] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 172 b.

[1180] R. Coggeshall, p. 180.

[1181] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 360, who, however, has confused this
contingent with the former ones.

[1182] _Ib._ p. 363.

[1183] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 354–6.

[1184] R. Coggeshall, p. 179, mentions its arrival just after the death
of Geoffrey de Mandeville, which occurred on February 22.

[1185] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 357.

[1186] R. Coggeshall, p. 180.

[1187] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1188] Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 165, and _Itin._ a. 17.

[1189] R. Coggeshall, p. 180.

[1190] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1191] _Rot. Pat._ p. 176.

[1192] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 260.

[1193] _Rot. Pat._ pp. 170, 170 b, 171.

[1194] _Ib._ p. 172 b.

[1195] R. Coggeshall, pp. 180, 181.

[1196] _Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 175 b.

[1197] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 229.

[1198] _Rot. Pat._ p. 176.

[1199] _Ib._ p. 179.

[1200] See _Revue historique_, vol. xxxii. p. 49, note 2.

[1201] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 364–7. The version of M. Paris,
_Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. pp. 176, 177, is as M. Petit-Dutaillis says
(_Louis VIII._ p. 95, note), obviously nothing but an oratorical

[1202] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 270.

[1203] _Ib._ p. 270 b.

[1204] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1205] _Rot. Pat._ p. 178 b.

[1206] _Itin._ a. 17.

[1207] R. Coggeshall, p. 181.

[1208] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 167, 168. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 181.

[1209] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 168, 169. Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p.
368, and _Ann. Winton._ a. 1216, both of which give the same date for
Louis’s arrival. R. Coggeshall, p. 181, gives a date which, though
self-contradictory, is, I think, meant for the same--“die sabbati
post Ascensionem Domini, scilicet xiiii kalendas Junii.” W. Coventry,
p. 229, is quite wrong. John had gone on May 19 (Ascension Day) to
Folkestone; on the 20th and 21st he was at Canterbury. _Itin._ a. 17,

[1210] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 169.

[1211] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 368; W. Coventry, vol. ii. pp. 229,

[1212] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1215.

[1213] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 170. The assertion of William the Breton,
_Gesta P. A._ c. 221, that John actually did await the attack of the
French, and was driven away by their vigorous onset, certainly is, as
M. Petit-Dutaillis says (_Louis VIII._ p. 100), an error. That error is
grounded, like the sneering comments of Ralf of Coggeshall (p. 181),
the _Ann. Winton._ (a. 1216), and some later writers, on the mistaken
idea that John was on the spot when Louis first landed on the 21st.

[1214] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 170.

[1215] _Rot. Pat._ p. 184.

[1216] _Itin._ a. 18.

[1217] Thorne, _Gesta Abb. S. Aug. Cant._ in Twysden, _X Scriptt._
cols. 1868–70. The letter as there given is addressed to the abbot
and convent of S. Augustine’s, but it was evidently a manifesto of
which copies were sent, or intended to be sent, to all the religious
houses of note, probably also to the secular clergy, and perhaps to be
distributed among the laity as well. The character of Louis’s “case” as
set forth in this letter, and in the arguments of his envoys at Rome
(R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 371–8), has been sufficiently exposed by M.
Petit-Dutaillis, _Louis VIII._ pp. 75–87.

[1218] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 170, 171; cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 181, and
_Ann. Dunst._ a. 1216.

[1219] Thorne, _l.c._ cols. 1864, 1870.

[1220] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 171.

[1221] _Chron. Merton._ in Petit-Dutaillis, _Louis VIII._ p. 514.

[1222] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 230; R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 370.

[1223] _Ann. Winton._ a. 1216.

[1224] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 230. Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp.
369, 370.

[1225] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 171; W. Coventry, _l.c._; _Liber de Antiq.
Legibus_, Appendix, p. 202.

[1226] _Hist. des Ducs_, _l.c._; _Liber de Antiq. Legibus_, _l.c._

[1227] _Chron. Merton._ in Petit-Dutaillis, _Louis VIII._ p. 514. Cf.
_Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 171, 172; R. Coggeshall, pp. 181, 182, and R.
Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 368, 369.

[1228] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 369.

[1229] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 171, 172.

[1230] R. Coggeshall, p. 182.

[1231] _Itin._ a. 18. This disposes of R. Coggeshall’s story (_l.c._)
that John “cognito ejus adventu, draconem suum deposuit et aufugit.”

[1232] _Ann. Winton._ a. 1216.

[1233] _Ann. Waverl._ a. 1216.

[1234] _Ib._ a. 1216. The _Ann. Winton._ a. 1216 give a wrong date.

[1235] Cf. _Ann. Winton._ a. 1216, and _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 173.
Whichever version be the correct one, both alike show that Ralf of
Coggeshall (_l.c._) is wrong in attributing the fire to John himself.

[1236] “Li grans castiaus le roi,” “le maistre castiel,” _Hist. des
Ducs_, p. 173.

[1237] _L.c._

[1238] Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 174; _Rot. Pat._ p. 188 b, and _Ann.
Waverl._ a. 1216.

[1239] _Hist. des Ducs_, _l.c._ Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 182, and W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231.

[1240] “Qui tamen cito rediit,” W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231.

[1241] William of Armorica, _Gesta Phil. Aug._ c. 222, says that
Salisbury changed sides because “ei certo innotuit relatore” that
during his own captivity in France his royal brother had made an
attempt on the honour of his wife (the well-known Countess Ela). As,
however, we shall see that Salisbury “went back” almost as promptly
as Albemarle, and the story seems quite unknown to the English
chroniclers, its truth may be doubted, though the mere fact that such
a story could be told of John with reference to his own sister-in-law
illustrates the character for reckless wickedness which he had earned
for himself.

[1242] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 174.

[1243] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 371. Odiham surrendered July 9, _Ann.
Waverl._ a. 1216.

[1244] _Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 175–7.

[1245] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 371, 378–81, _Hist. des Ducs_, p.
172, and M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 182.

[1246] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 379.

[1247] _Chron. Mailros_, a. 1216.

[1248] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 379.

[1249] _Rot. Pat._ pp. 184 b, 185 b, 186, 186 b, 187 b, 188, 193–5.

[1250] _Ib._ p. 184. Cf. _ib._ p. 192.

[1251] _Ib._ pp. 185, 187, 187 b, 188 b, 189, 189 b, etc.

[1252] _Ib._ pp. 187, 188.

[1253] _Ib._ p. 185 b.

[1254] _Itin._ a. 18.

[1255] _Rot. Pat._ p. 191 b; _Brut y Tywysogion_, p. 293.

[1256] _Itin._ a. 18.

[1257] _Rot. Pat._ p. 194. Worcester had been surrendered to the
younger William Marshal, for Louis, early in July, but was retaken on
the 17th by the earl of Chester and Falkes de Bréauté; _Ann. Wigorn._
a. 1215. The castle, according to _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1215, was taken by
“the old Marshal” at some unspecified date. (In both the Worcester and
the Dunstable Annals the history of 1216 is placed under the year 1215.)

[1258] M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 664.

[1259] _Liber de Antiq. Legibus_, appendix, p. 202; _Ann. Waverl._ a.
1216. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 380, gives a wrong date.

[1260] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 177. Cf. R. Coggeshall, p. 182; R.
Wendover, vol. iii. p. 381, and W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 230.

[1261] _Hist. des Ducs_, _l.c._

[1262] R. Coggeshall, _l.c._

[1263] _Hist. des Ducs_, _l.c._

[1264] _Chron. Mailros_, a. 1216.

[1265] _Ib._; R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 382, 383.

[1266] Widow of John’s old friend Gerard de Camville; see above, p. 31.

[1267] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 230.

[1268] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 179, relates John’s advance to Reading,
which took place on September 6 (_Itin._ a. 18), and then goes on
“_Puis_ vint li rois d’Escoce,” etc.

[1269] _Ib._

[1270] “Fecit [Alexander] ei [_i.e._ Ludovico] homagium de jure suo,
quod de rege Anglorum tenere debuit,” R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 382.
“Lendemain fist li rois son houmage à Looys de la tierre de Loonnois,”
_Hist. des Ducs_, p. 179. (M. Francisque-Michel and M. Petit-Dutaillis
render the last word “Lennox”; does it not rather represent “Lothian”?)
The Chronicle of Melrose, a. 1216, says cautiously, “Alexander rex ...
humagium fecit dicto Laodowico, ut dicitur.”

[1271] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 381, and _Hist. des Ducs_, pp.
178, 179.

[1272] _Itin._ a. 18.

[1273] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 179.

[1274] Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231, and R. Coggeshall, p. 182.

[1275] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 382; M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol.
ii. p. 185; and _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1215.

[1276] _Itin._ a. 18.

[1277] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 382; R. Coggeshall, p. 183; W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231; _Itin._ a. 18; and _Rot. Pat._ p. 197 b.

[1278] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 382.

[1279] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 179.

[1280] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[1281] _Itin._ a. 18.

[1282] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. pp. 189–190. Cf. _Chron. Maj._
vol. ii. p. 667. Matthew gives no precise date; but he implies that it
was before Michaelmas; and the _Itinerary_ shows that the only possible
date is September 21–22, on the way from Rockingham to Lincoln.

[1283] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 382; for date see _Itin._ a. 18.

[1284] _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 289; probably one of several small
places so called, on the eastern side of the Trent.

[1285] Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231, and _Itin._ a. 18.

[1286] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 381.

[1287] Cf. _ib._, W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231, and _Itin._ a. 18.

[1288] _Itin._ a. 18.

[1289] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 384.

[1290] R. Coggeshall, p. 183.

[1291] W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 232.

[1292] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 380.

[1293] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 179.

[1294] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 370. The leader’s name comes from
_Hist. des Ducs_, p. 181; M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 655, has
corrupted it into “Collingham.” See also _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1215. On
William de Casinghem’s relations with John see _Rot. Pat._ pp. 185,
186. He figures frequently in the Rolls of the next reign.

[1295] _Rot. Pat._ p. 196.

[1296] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 179.

[1297] _Ann. Dunst._ a. 1215.

[1298] R. Coggeshall, p. 182. Cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 180, and W.
Coventry, vol. ii. p. 232.

[1299] R. Coggeshall, p. 183. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231.

[1300] _Rot. Pat._ p. 199.

[1301] Cf. R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 384; M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol.
ii. p. 190; and R. Coggeshall, pp. 183, 184.

[1302] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 385; M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii.
p. 191. The later legends about the cause of John’s death are not worth

[1303] R. Wendover, _l.c._, says John left Swineshead “summo diluculo.”
The _Itinerary_ shows him there on October 12 and 13, and at Sleaford
on the 14th and 15th.

[1304] R. Coggeshall, p. 183. Louis had raised the siege of Dover only
on the 14th, but the truce must have been arranged and the messengers
despatched at least a day or two earlier, or the latter could not
possibly have overtaken John at Sleaford. They must in any case have
travelled with marvellous rapidity.

[1305] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. pp. 191, 192. He relates all
this as having occurred on the road from Swineshead to Sleaford, where
he makes John die; a characteristic piece of confusion, illustrative of
Matthew’s careless way of reading the author on whose work his own is
based. The itinerary given by Roger of Wendover, vol. iii. p. 385, is
perfectly accurate and perfectly clear.

[1306] M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol. ii. p. 668.

[1307] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 385. The long account inserted by
Matthew Paris in his _Hist. Angl._ (vol. ii. p. 193)--_not_, it is to
be observed, in his _Chron. Maj._--of John’s forgiveness of the barons
and good advice to his heir is evidently intended for the edification
of Henry III. and of posterity, and if it has any foundation at all,
it is inserted in a wrong place; for it is put after John’s last
Communion, whereas the abbot obviously must have insisted upon John’s
declaring himself to be in charity with all men (the barons, by
implication at least, included) _before_ he gave him the Sacrament.

[1308] R. Wendover, _l.c._

[1309] Baronius, _Annales_ (ed. Mansi), vol. xx. p. 397.

[1310] _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 180. Cf. _Hist. de G. le Mar._ vv. 15167–88.

[1311] R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 385.

[1312] _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. p. 144.

[1313] R. Coggeshall, p. 184. Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 231, and R.
Wendover, vol. iii. p. 385.

[1314] R. Coggeshall, _l.c._

[1315] Cf. W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 232; M. Paris, _Chron. Maj._ vol.
ii. p. 668; and _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 194.

[1316] R. Coggeshall, _l.c._

[1317] R. Wendover, vol. iii. pp. 385, 386.


  “Hoc in sarcophago sepelitur regis imago,
  Qui moriens multum sedavit in orbe tumultum.”

                                 R. Wendover, vol. iii. p. 386.

[1319] M. Paris, _Hist. Angl._ vol. ii. p. 191.



The fullest account of the quarrel of King John and William de Braose
is contained in a document printed in _Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i. pp.
107, 108. This is a letter or manifesto addressed by John, after the
fall of De Braose, “to all who may read it,” witnessed by the justiciar
(Geoffrey Fitz-Peter), the earls of Salisbury, Winchester, Clare,
Hertford, and Ferrars, Robert Fitz-Walter, William Brewer, Hugh de
Neville, William d’Aubigny, Adam de Port, Hugh de Gournay, William de
Mowbray “and others,” and evidently intended as a public defence of
the king’s conduct towards William. Coming from John, and under such
circumstances, its truthfulness is necessarily open to suspicion;
but it is hardly conceivable that so many witnesses of such rank and
character as those enumerated should have set their hands to it if it
contained any gross misrepresentations of matters which must have been
well known to most of them; one of these witnesses, indeed, the earl of
Ferrars, is stated in the letter itself to have been De Braose’s own
nephew, and another, Adam de Port, his brother-in-law. The only point
on which the letter seems to be at variance with any other contemporary
authority is the amount of the debt owed by De Braose to the king at
the end of 1207 or beginning of 1208. John says (_l.c._ p. 107), that
William then owed him the whole of the 5000 marks due for the honour of
Limerick, and had only paid him one sum of 100 marks for the ferm of
the city “which he had held for five years” (strictly speaking, it was,
at the utmost, four years and a half). The Pipe Rolls of 1206, 1207,
1208, 1209, and 1210 (8–12 John), however, all state the sum still owed
by William for the honour of Limerick as £2865: 6: 8 (= 4298 marks),
thus implying that £468, or 702 marks, had been paid before Michaelmas
1206. In the Roll of that year the city of Limerick is not mentioned;
but in each of the later Rolls William is said to owe £80 for its
tallage, and 100 marks for its ferm for one year (Sweetman, _Calendar_,
vol. i. pp. 46, 55, 58, 68). This does not necessarily imply that the
ferm for the other years had not been paid; for the original grant of
the custody of the city of Limerick to De Braose in July 1203 and the
writ ordering its restoration to him in August 1205 both specify that
he is to pay its ferm “to our exchequer _in Dublin_” (_Rot. Chart._ p.
107 b; _Rot. Claus._ vol. i. p. 47). As there are no remaining records
of the Dublin Exchequer of so early a date, we cannot certainly know
what was or was not paid in there. The strange thing is not that the
English Exchequer should claim only one year’s ferm for Limerick, but
that it should have any claim at all in the matter. The restoration of
the city to De Braose in August 1205 was ordered to be conditional on
his finding security, within forty days, for the payment of the arrears
of the ferm. That the restoration was actually made, and therefore that
he gave the security, is plain; but there is nothing to show that he
ever redeemed his pledge, or that he paid the ferm for the succeeding

The story of John’s vengeance on the family of De Braose appears,
in slightly varied forms, in almost every chronicle of the period.
Ralph of Coggeshall (p. 164), Roger of Wendover (vol. iii. p. 235)
and the _Brut y Tywysogion_ (a. 1209) say the victims were “slain in
Windsor castle”; the Annals of Dunstable and of Oseney (a. 1210), that
they “died in prison,” without specifying where or how. The Barnwell
Annalist (W. Coventry, vol. ii. p. 202) and the Annals of Margan,
Tewkesbury, Waverley, Winchester, and Worcester (a. 1210) say they were
starved to death. The _Hist. des Ducs de Normandie_ (pp. 114–115) says
they were imprisoned “el castiel del Corf,” with no food save “une
garbe d’avoine e i bacon cru,” and describes with gruesome minuteness
the attitudes in which, on the eleventh day, they were found dead.
Ralph of Coggeshall makes the victims William de Braose’s wife and
“sons” (_filii_); Roger of Wendover, his wife, eldest son, and that
son’s wife; the _Ann. Winton._, wife and “younger” son; the _Ann.
Tewkesb._, wife and “children” (_liberi_); while the _Ann. Dunst._
say: “Cepit [rex] Willelmum de Lacy, et Willelmum de Brause juniorem,
et sororem ejus, et Matildem matrem ejus; qui in carcere post modum
perierunt.” All the other writers speak only of the wife and one son,
whom the _Ann. Osen._ call “Willelmus primogenitus ejus,” and the _Ann.
Wigorn._ “haeres.” This latter version is undoubtedly the correct one
as to the last point; of De Braose’s three sons, the eldest, William,
alone was in John’s power; Giles, the second, was bishop of Hereford
and safe beyond the sea, while the third, Reginald, had escaped
capture, and lived to recover the greater part of the family heritage.
One of the daughters--the wife of Hugh Mortimer--had been taken
prisoner with her mother and eldest brother (_Foedera_, vol. i. pt. i.
p. 107); but she did not share their fate, for she was set free in 1214
(_Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 122); and Roger of Wendover is certainly wrong
about the younger William’s wife, who was still living in July 1220
(_Royal Letters_, ed. Shirley, vol. i. p. 136). The elder William died,
an exile in France, about a year after this tragedy (R. Wend. vol. iii.
p. 237).



Eustace de Vesci and Robert Fitz-Walter have long figured in history as
typical examples of the way in which individual barons were goaded into
hatred and vengeance against John by his invasions of their domestic
peace, and also as foremost among the “patriots” to whom England is
supposed to be indebted for her Great Charter. On both aspects of
the lives of these two men--especially of the life of Fitz-Walter,
whom Professor Tout has glorified as “the first champion of English
liberty”--a few considerations may be offered here.

1. The earliest mention of John’s unsuccessful attempt to entrap
the wife of Eustace de Vesci is in an addition made by a chronicler
at Furness Abbey, writing c. 1270–1298, to the Stanley chronicler’s
continuation of the history of William of Newburgh. This Furness writer
(Howlett, _Chron. of Stephen_, etc., vol. ii. p. 521) merely states the
bare fact, without any details, in the briefest and simplest way, and
without any clue to the date. Walter of Hemingburgh, who was living
in 1313, tells the story in an elaborate form which is certainly not
impossible, perhaps not even very improbable, although it somewhat
resembles a story in Procopius (see _Dic. Nat. Biogr._ “Vesci, Eustace
de”). Walter gives it as an illustration of John’s character, of which
he inserts a picture--painted in the most frightful colours--between
the coming of the Franciscans in 1212 and the rising of the barons in
1215; but he connects the incident directly with the latter event,
representing Eustace as inducing those of his fellow-barons whom the
king had injured in a similar way to join him in a common effort for
vengeance, which widens into the struggle for the Charter (Hemingburgh,
vol. i. pp. 247–9). The affair would thus seem to have occurred some
years after Eustace’s desertion from the king’s host and flight from
England in 1212; a desertion for which, therefore, it cannot serve as
an excuse.

2. The legend of Robert Fitz-Walter’s daughter which became famous in
prose and verse in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is based
upon a passage in the Chronicle of Dunmow, printed in _Monasticon_,
vol. vi. pt. i. p. 147. This chronicle, written in a monastery of which
the Fitz-Walters were patrons, begins with the year 1054, but the MS.
(Cott. Cleopatra C. iii.) is of the end of the fifteenth century; it
ends at the year 1501. The story is placed in 1216, and is briefly
this: John demands Robert’s daughter, the fair maiden Matilda; her
father refuses to give her up to him; the civil war breaks out, and
the city of London joins the barons; afterwards they are worsted,
whereupon the king destroys Robert’s fortress in London--Castle
Baynard--and causes Matilda to be poisoned at Robert’s manor of Dunmow.
Meanwhile Robert has fled to France. War continues on both sides of
the Channel. Presently John goes to France, and has a conference with
Philip Augustus; Robert Fitz-Walter displays his prowess in a single
combat in presence of both the kings; John admires his valour, they are
reconciled, and remain friends from that time forth.

On a tale so monstrous and so nonsensical as this, comment is needless.
There is, however, a much earlier and more rational account of the
quarrel between John and Fitz-Walter. According to the contemporary
_Histoire des Ducs de Normandie_, Robert Fitz-Walter, “qui estoit uns
des plus haus homes d’Engletierre et uns des plus poissans” (he was
lord of Dunmow in Essex, of Baynard’s Castle in London, and also, by
his marriage with an heiress, of large estates in the north), had two
daughters, of whom the elder was married to Geoffrey de Mandeville,
eldest son of Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, chief justiciar of England. “Une
fois” when the king was visiting Marlborough, a quarrel for lodgings
arose between the servants of this young Geoffrey and those of William
Brewer; they came to blows, and Brewer’s chief “sergeant” was slain by
the hand of Geoffrey himself. Geoffrey, fearing the wrath of the king,
whom he knew to be jealous of his father’s power and wealth, fled to
his wife’s father, who went to intercede for him with the king; John,
however, “jura les dens Diu que non auroit (merchi), ains le feroit
pendre, se il le pooit tenir.” Robert in return swore “Par _Corpus
Domini_, non ferés! ains en verriés ii. m. hiaumes laciés en vostre
tierre, que chil fust pendus qui ma fille a.” At last John promised
a “day” for agreement between himself and Geoffrey at Nottingham,
intending to seize him at his coming; but Robert, “ki le roi connissoit
à moult gaignart,” came with his son-in-law, and with five hundred
knights at his back. The king then proposed another “day,” and the
same thing happened a second time. Then John began to plot vengeance
upon Robert; he sent secret orders to “ses bourgois de Londres, qui
se faisoient apelier baron,” to pull down Castle Baynard; and they,
not daring to disobey him, did as they were bid. Robert, knowing very
well that they had acted on an order from the king, fled over sea with
his wife and children. On reaching the Continent “il fist à entendre
par tout que li rois Jehans voloit sa fille aisnée, qui feme estoit
Joffroi de Mandeville, avoir à force à amie, et por chou que il ne le
vaut soufrir, l’avoit il chacié de sa tierre et tout le sien tolut.”
This was the tale which he also told to King Philip of France, at
whose court he--after staying some time at Arras--presented himself
just as Philip was preparing to invade England. When the invasion had
been checked by John’s submission to Pandulf and Pandulf’s prohibition
to Philip, Robert went to “Pandoufle le clerc” and to him told another
tale: “li dist que il s’estoit partis d’Engletierre por le roi qui
escumeniiés estoit, car il ne voloit pas estre en la compaignie des
escumeniiés; et por chou li avoit li rois toute sa terre tolue”;
wherefore he begged Pandulf, now that the king was excommunicate no
longer, to make peace for him and get him back his land, which Pandulf
accordingly did (_Hist. des Ducs_, pp. 115–25).

Here, at any rate, it is clear that the date of the quarrel cannot
have been later than the spring of 1213; perhaps, as we are not told
how long Robert stayed in Flanders before going to France, it might be
some months earlier. This agrees with the date assigned to Robert’s
flight from England by the Barnwell annalist, Ralph of Coggeshall, and
Roger of Wendover, all of whom place it in the latter part of 1212
(see below, p. 292). The cause of the flight, however, still remains
doubtful. It will be observed that the writer of the _Histoire des
Ducs_, speaking in his own person, makes the quarrel between John and
Robert arise out of John’s enmity to Robert’s son-in-law, Geoffrey
de Mandeville, and also makes that enmity originate in the king’s
jealousy of Geoffrey’s father (the Justiciar), without a word about
Geoffrey’s wife; but that he represents Robert Fitz-Walter as having
given to different persons two different accounts of the matter,
both of which are quite distinct not only from the account given by
the writer himself, but also from each other. To the third of these
three accounts--the assertion which Robert is said to have made to
Pandulf, that he left England because he would not keep company with
an excommunicate sovereign--it is hardly possible for any one who has
read the story of the years of interdict to attach any weight. Robert’s
appeal to Pandulf, moreover, is chronologically out of place; it is
represented as having been made after John’s agreement with Pandulf,
whereas in reality the restoration of Robert Fitz-Walter, and also of
Eustace de Vesci, was one of the conditions of that agreement. The
statement which Robert is said to have made “everywhere,” on the other
hand, is only too likely to be true, and may well contain the true
explanation of John’s designs against the husband of Fitz-Walter’s
daughter; while none of the three versions is incompatible with either
of the others. Still the fact remains that three different versions are
thus given--two on the alleged authority of Robert Fitz-Walter, one on
his own authority--by a writer who was strictly contemporary, and who
ranks as one of the best, and certainly the most impartial, of our
informants on the closing years of John’s reign; and this fact leaves
a somewhat sinister impression as to the opinion which that writer,
at least, entertained of the truthfulness of the “first champion of
English liberty.”

The main facts which can be gathered from other sources as to Robert
Fitz-Walter’s relations with the king are these. In 1203 he and
Saher de Quincy were jointly charged by John with the defence of the
castle of Vaudreuil. They surrendered the place to Philip Augustus
under circumstances so exceptionally disgraceful that Philip himself
felt constrained to make an example of them as cowards and traitors
of too deep a dye to be left unpunished, and flung them into prison
at Compiègne, whence they were only released on payment of a heavy
ransom (R. Wend. iii. 172; R. Coggeshall, pp. 143, 144). “Ex qua re,”
adds Ralf of Coggeshall, “facti sunt in derisum et in opprobrium omni
populo utriusque regni, canticum eorum tota die, ac generositatis
suae maculaverunt gloriam” (cf. _Hist. des Ducs_, p. 97). Alone, the
sovereign whom they had betrayed sought to shield their reputation at
the risk of his own. Of course he acted from a motive of self-interest.
As neither Robert nor Saher held any lands in Normandy, their money was
to Philip more useful than their personal adhesion could have been. But
for John the friendship of two barons of such importance in England was
worth buying back, and he endeavoured to secure it by treating them
with an exaggerated generosity which was evidently designed to impress
them by its contrast with Philip’s severity; he issued (July 5, 1203)
letters patent declaring that they had surrendered Vaudreuil under a
warrant from himself, and ordering that neither they nor its garrison
should be made to suffer for their act (_Rot. Pat._ vol. i. p. 31).
Fitz-Walter therefore came back in peace to his English possessions.
Like Eustace de Vesci, he joined the host which John gathered for a
Welsh war in 1212; like Eustace, too, he withdrew from it secretly
on learning that John had received a warning of treason in its ranks
(_Ann. Waverl._ a. 1212); and like Eustace, again, he did not come
when summoned to make his “purgation” with the other barons, but, as
has been already seen, fled the country instead (W. Coventry, ii. 207;
R. Coggeshall, p. 165; R. Wendover, iii. 240). The Barnwell annalist
(W. Coventry, _l.c._) dates the demolition of Castle Baynard, and of
Robert’s other castles, after his flight; the Annals of Dunstable place
the destruction of Castle Baynard a year earlier, viz. in 1211.

There remains the question: What was the reason for the special
mention of Eustace de Vesci and Robert Fitz-Walter in the terms of
reconciliation between the Pope and John? At first glance it seems
natural to infer that there must have been some peculiar injustice in
John’s outlawry of these two men, to make their restoration a matter
for intervention on the part of the Pope. But, as has been seen, all
the ascertained facts of the case point the opposite way. If indeed
Fitz-Walter’s alleged assertion to Pandulf, that he had fled on account
of the king’s excommunication, were true, he would naturally be among
the “laicis ad hoc negotium contingentibus” (R. Wendover, iii. 248),
while the fact that the rest of these lay sufferers seem to have been
all of lower rank might possibly account for his being specially
mentioned by name. But it was not true; and with regard to De Vesci no
such assertion is mentioned. Nevertheless, it is extremely probable
that both Fitz-Walter and De Vesci may have contrived to represent to
the Pope or his commissioner the cause of their exile in the way in
which Fitz-Walter is described as representing his own case to Pandulf;
and neither Pandulf nor Innocent could have at his command the means of
knowing what all the evidence now available goes to show--that these
two men had fled their country and left their property to fall into the
king’s hand, not for conscience’s sake, but because their consciences
accused them of treason.


  Adela of France, 21, 22, 40

  Albemarle, earl of, 272, 281

  Alençon, John of, 51

  Alençon, Robert, count of, 89

  Alençon, siege of, 94

  Alexander III., Pope, 19

  Alexander of Scotland, 162, 258–260, 273, 276, 278, 279

  Angers occupied by Bretons, 61, 89;
    John at, 74, 115, 200

  Angoulême, Ademar, count of, 75–77, 87

  Angoulême, Isabel of, 76, 77, 89

  Anjou, Arthur acknowledged in, 61;
    John in, 115, 200, 201

  Aquitaine, Richard made duke of, 1;
    proposal to transfer it to John, 8, 9.
    _See_ Gascony, Poitou

  Ardenne, Ralf of, 107

  Arques, siege of, 87;
    surrender, 102

  Arthur of Britanny, 36, 57, 58, 61, 71, 85, 86, 90–92

  Articles of the Barons, 213–217, 227, 233

  Arundel, earl of, 272

  Athies, Gerald of, 150

  Aubigny, William of, 80, 248, 251

  Auvergne ceded to France, 73

  Axholme ravaged, 279

  Baldwin, archbishop of Canterbury, 20, 26

  Balliol, Hugh de, 274, 276

  Bangor burnt, 158;
    bishop of, _see_ Robert

  Barham Down, muster on, 177

  Barnard Castle, siege of, 276

  Barons, English, their attitude after Richard’s death, 64;
    swear obedience to John, 104;
    grievances against him, 122–125, 131;
    refuse foreign service, 186, 189;
    meet John at Wallingford, 191;
    refuse to pay scutage, 210;
    relations with Langton, 211, 212, 218, 219;
    meeting at S. Edmund’s, 221;
    demand Henry I.’s charter, _ib._;
    appeal to the Pope, 225;
    assemble in arms, 226;
    their “schedule,” 227;
    defy the king, 228;
    besiege Northampton, _ib._;
    Bedford surrendered to, 229;
    refuse arbitration, _ib._;
    win London, _ib._;
    plunder the Jews, 230;
    take Exeter, _ib._;
    evacuate it, 231;
    besiege the Tower, 232;
    seize Lincoln, _ib._;
    break their promise to John, 236;
    insolence to him, 238;
    prepare for war, 239;
    spoil the forests, 241;
    meet bishops, 242, 243;
    usurp sheriffdoms, 243;
    propose to elect a new king, 244;
    advance against John, 248;
    retreat, _ib._;
    attempt relief of Rochester, 250;
    negotiate with John, 252;
    offer crown to Louis, 253, 254;
    northern, do homage to Alexander, 259;
    of the Irish March, support John, 172, 173;
    of Poitou betray John, 201

  Barri, William de, footnote 600

  Beauchamp, William de, 229

  Beaufort, John and S. Hugh at, 60

  Beaumont, Adam de, 272

  Bedford surrendered to the barons, 229

  Belvoir surrendered to John, 256

  Berwick taken by John, 260

  Béthune, Robert de, 230, 255

  Bishops, English, their flight, 130;
    restoration and restitution, 188, 190, 191, 206;
    claim free election for churches, 192;
    confer with barons, 242, 243;
    proclaim excommunication of “disturbers,” 243

  Blanche of Castille, 73

  Bolton, meeting of John and William the Lion at, 132

  Boulogne, Reginald, count of, 68, 70, 107, 108, 185, 202, 203

  Bourges ceded to France, 73

  Bouvines, battle of, 203

  Boves, Hugh de, 202, 203, 241, footnote 1112

  Brabant, duke of, 202

  Braose, Giles de, bishop of Hereford, footnote 989, 288

  Braose, Margaret de, 140, 281

  Braose, Maud, wife of William de, 149–152, 155, 156, 288

  Braose, Maud de, wife of Griffith ap Rees, 140

  Braose, Philip de, 15, 139

  Braose, Reginald de, 152, 288

  Braose, William de, 139–141, 144–147, 149–151, 155, 156, 287, 288

  Braose, William de, the younger, 152, 156, 288

  Bréauté, Falkes de, 232, 247, 255, 281, 285

  Brewer, William, 222, 255, 285

  Brezolles, siege of, 54

  Britanny, Alice of, 200

  Britanny, Arthur of, _see_ Arthur

  Britanny, Constance of, _see_ Constance

  Britanny, Eleanor of, 196

  Britanny, Geoffrey of, _see_ Geoffrey

  Britanny, Peter, count of, _see_ Dreux

  Brus, Peter de, 263, 273

  Buck, Walter, 255

  Burgh, Hubert de, 80, 90, 231, 233, 237, 252, 269, 274, 280, 281

  Burgh, William de, 138, 139, 141, 142

  Caermarthen, Rees and John at, 25

  Cambridgeshire ravaged, 257, 278

  Camville, Gerard de, 31, 33, 35

  Canterbury, John at, 118;
    disputed election to see, 119–121;
    archbishops of, _see_ Baldwin, Hubert, Langton

  Carlisle attacked by Alexander, 260;
    siege of, 273

  Carrick, Duncan, lord of, 152

  Carrickfergus, siege of, 152

  Casamario, abbot of, 94, 100

  Casinghem, William of, 280

  Castles in John’s lands, 26, 27;
    disputes between John and Longchamp about, 31–35;
    royal, John’s designs on, 39, 41;
    the barons’, demanded by John, 80

  Cathal Carrach O’Conor, king of Connaught, 139

  Cathal Crovderg O’Conor, king of Connaught, 139, 142

  Châlus, siege of, 56

  Charter of Henry I., 211, 219–221;
    the Great, 233–236;
    quashed by the Pope, 246

  Château-Gaillard, 55, 94;
    siege of, 95;
    attempted relief, 96, 97;
    fall, 100

  Châteauroux, siege of, 20, 21

  Chester, muster at, 158

  Chester, Ralf, earl of, 50, 58, 65, 285

  Chichester, bishop of, _see_ Richard

  Chinon surrendered to Philip Augustus, 113

  Cinque Ports, their relations with John, 132, 163, 280

  Cistercians, their quarrel with John, 73;
    claim exemption from interdict, 129;
    John’s spoliations of, 160, 171

  Clare, Isabel de, 29, 148

  Clare, Richard de, earl of Striguil, 12

  Clare, Richard, earl of, 65, 252, 255, 261

  Clergy, John’s dealings with, 128, 129, 136, 187, 207

  Cogan, Miles, 13–16

  Cogan, Richard, 16, 138

  Colchester, siege of, 261

  “Commune” of 1205, 104

  “Commune” of London, 39

  Connaught, civil war in, 139;
    kings of, _see_ Cathal, Roderic

  Constance of Britanny, 5, 9, 58, 61, 71, 85

  Corfe, Peter of Pontefract imprisoned at, 170

  Cork, city, constables of, 15, 16;
    “English” driven out of, 138;
    county, 153;
    kingdom, 14, 15.
    _See_ Desmond

  Cornhill, Reginald of, 248

  Counties in Ireland, the earliest, 153

  Courcy, John de, 13, 16, 19, 137–139, 143, 152

  Coventry, bishop of, _see_ Nonant

  Crowland burnt by John, 278

  Croxton, abbot of, 283–285

  Culvertage, 176

  Cumin, John, archbishop of Dublin, 17, 18

  Curson, Robert, 204

  Cuthred MacWilliam, 162, 163

  Desmond, 14, 15;
    fiefs in, 138.
    _See_ Cork

  Dover, siege of, 280;
    raised, 281

  Dreux, Robert, count of, 200

  Dreux, Robert of, the younger, 273, 276, 281

  Dreux, Peter of, count of Britanny, 200, 241, 280

  Driencourt seized by John, 78

  Dublin, held by Henry II., 12;
    John’s charter to, 138;
    John in, 152, 153;
    archbishops of, _see_ Cumin, O’Toole

  Durand, 160, 162

  Durham, bishops of, _see_ Philip, Puiset

  Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of England, 1, 30, 41, 43, 63, 69, 73, 86,

  Ely sacked, 258

  England, condition of, under John, 212–217

  Erlée, John d’, footnote 238, footnote 256

  Escheats, inquiry concerning, 163

  Essex harried, 257;
    earls of, _see_ Mandeville, Fitz-Peter

  Eu, count of, _see_ Lusignan

  Evreux, John at, 53;
    burnt by Philip, 55;
    county of, 73

  Ewell, John does homage to the Pope at, 180

  Exeter taken by the barons, 230;
    evacuated, 231;
    besieged, 281

  Falaise, siege of, 102

  Felton, homage of barons to Alexander at, 259

  Ferrars, William, Earl, 50, 65, 150, 179, 285

  Fitz-Audeline, William, 13, 14

  Fitz-Henry, Meiler, 13, 138, 141–149

  Fitz-Herbert, Herbert, 14

  Fitz-Herbert, William, 14

  Fitz-Payne, Ralf, 148

  Fitz-Peter, Geoffrey, earl of Essex and justiciar, 62, 64, 65, 128,

  Fitz-Stephen, Robert, 14–16

  Fitz-Walter, Robert, 169, 171, 187, 219, 228, 239, 249, 250, 252, 257,
      270, 289–293

  Flanders, Baldwin, count of, 68

  Flanders, Ferrand, count of, 185, 196, 203

  Fleet, the English, 104, 176, 178, 193, 267

  Fontevraud, John at, 59, 60

  Forest law, hardships of, 213

  Framlingham castle surrenders to John, 261

  France, king of, _see_ Philip

  Franceis, William, 8

  Frederic, king of Sicily, 174, 175

  Fréteval, battle of, 54

  Furnes, Thomas of, 61

  Galloway, Alan of, 168

  Gant, Gilbert de, 273, 276, 278, 279

  Gascony, John in, 74, 114;
    adheres to him, 103

  Geoffrey, duke of Britanny, 2, 9, 10, 20

  Geoffrey, bishop-elect of Lincoln, 8;
    chancellor, 20;
    archbishop of York, 36–38, 46, 126, 127

  Gerald of Wales, his picture of Geoffrey and John, 10, 11

  Glanville, Ranulf de, 8

  Gloucester, Isabel of, 7, 25, 26, 75, 196

  Gloucester, William, earl of, 6

  Gournay, Hugh of, 96

  Graçay ceded to France, 73

  Gray, Walter de, 193

  Grey, John de, bishop of Norwich, 119, 120, 130;
    justiciar in Ireland, 149, 151, footnote 793, 194

  Griffith, prince of South Wales, 135, 140

  Gualo, cardinal and legate, 264–268, 270, 285

  Gwenwynwyn, prince of Powys, 135

  Hardel, William, mayor of London, 270

  Haye, Nicola de, footnote 140, 276

  Hedingham, siege of, 261

  Henry I., charter of, 211, 219–221

  Henry II., king of England, 1–3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11–17, 19–24

  Henry VI., emperor, 49, 164

  Henry, son of Henry II., 1–3, 5, 6, 8

  Henry, son of King John, footnote 575, 283, 284

  Heraclius, patriarch of Jerusalem, 11, 12

  Hereford, bishop of, _see_ Braose

  Hertfordshire harried, 257

  Holland, Ada, countess of, footnote 740

  Holland, William, count of, footnote 740, 202, 273

  Howels, Hugh of, 99

  Hubert Walter, bishop of Salisbury, 46;
    archbishop of Canterbury, 50, 62, 64, 65, 83, 105, 107, 110, 113

  Hugh, S., bishop of Lincoln, 38, 59–61, 78

  Huntingdon, David, earl of, 25, 50, 65, 67

  Huntingdonshire ravaged, 257

  Ingebiorg, wife of Philip Augustus, 72

  Innocent III., Pope, attitude towards John’s divorce, 75;
    sends arbitrators to Philip and John, 94;
    quashes elections to Canterbury, 120;
    consecrates Langton, 127;
    lays England under interdict, _ib._;
    negotiations with John, 129;
    crowns Otto, 166;
    excommunicates him, _ib._;
    bids Philip depose John, 175;
    order for elections to churches, 192;
    mediates between John and Philip, 204;
    John and the barons appeal to, 225;
    his answers, _ib._, 226;
    excommunicates “disturbers of king and kingdom,” 242;
    quashes the Charter, 246;
    excommunicates rebels by name, 262;
    interdicts London, _ib._;
    forbids Louis’s expedition, 264

  Interdict in England, 127;
    Cistercians claim exemption from, 129;
    raised, 207;
    London under, 262, 270

  Ireland, lordship of, granted by Henry II. to John, 17;
    extent of English dominions in, 12;
    John in, 17–19;
    John’s lordship of, 28;
    succession of justiciars in, footnote 595;
    John’s second visit to, 152, 153;
    counties in, 153.
    _See_ March

  Isabel of Angoulême, _see_ Angoulême

  Isabel of Gloucester, _see_ Gloucester

  Issoudun ceded to France, 73

  Jerusalem, kingdom of, 11

  Jews, persecuted by John, 137;
    plundered by the barons, 230

  Joan, daughter of John and Isabel, 198

  Joan, daughter of John and wife of Llywelyn, 135, 158, 169

  John Lackland born, 1;
    his surname, 2;
    alleged grant of Mortain to, 3;
    betrothed to Alice of Maurienne, 4, 5;
    provision for him in 1174, 6;
    betrothed to Isabel of Gloucester, 7;
    named lord of Ireland, _ib._;
    his early years, _ib._, 8;
    compared with Geoffrey, 10;
    character, _ib._, 11;
    offered crown of Jerusalem, 11, 12;
    knighted, 12;
    receives homage for Irish fiefs, 14;
    visits Ireland, 17–19;
    project for his crowning, 19;
    his first campaign, 20, 21;
    proposal to marry him to Adela, 21, 22;
    with Henry at Le Mans, 22;
    leaves him, _ib._, 23;
    count of Mortain, 24, 25;
    marriage, 25;
    dealings with Wales, _ib._, 26;
    his lands interdicted, 26;
    their extent, 26–28;
    his household, 28, 29;
    despoils William the Marshal, 29;
    oath of absence from England, 30;
    returns, _ib._;
    rivalry with Longchamp, 31–38;
    recognised as heir to the Crown, 39;
    league with Philip Augustus, 40;
    dealings with Longchamp and Puiset, 41, 42;
    with the justiciars, 43, 44;
    goes to Normandy, 44;
    treaty with Philip, 45;
    rebellion, 45, 46;
    Richard’s opinion of, 47;
    intrigues with Philip, 49;
    cited for trial, 50, 51;
    reconciled with Richard, 52;
    his lands confiscated, _ib._;
    recovers Evreux for Richard, 53;
    helps Richard against Philip, 53–55;
    ratifies exchange of Andely, 55;
    accused by Philip to Richard, _ib._;
    leaves Richard, 56;
    designated as his heir, _ib._;
    William of Newburgh’s character of, 58;
    goes to Britanny, 59;
    acknowledged by Angevin barons, _ib._;
    relations with S. Hugh, 59–61;
    goes to Normandy, 61;
    crowned duke, 62;
    regains Le Mans, 63;
    goes to England, _ib._;
    crowned, _ib._, 65, 66;
    dealings with Scotland, 66, 67;
    goes to Normandy, 68;
    truce with Philip, _ib._;
    alliance with Flanders, _ib._;
    French barons do homage to, 69, 70;
    agreement with William des Roches, 70;
    joined by Arthur and Constance, 71;
    returns to Normandy, 72;
    truce with Philip, _ib._;
    goes to Aquitaine, _ib._;
    meets Philip, _ib._;
    goes to England, 73;
    quarrels with the Cistercians, _ib._;
    treaty with Philip, _ib._;
    does him homage, 74;
    goes to the south, _ib._;
    his divorce, 75;
    second marriage, 77;
    returns to England, _ib._;
    receives homage of William the Lion, 78;
    quarrel with the Lusignans, _ib._, 79;
    with English earls, 80;
    takes money from the host, _ib._;
    returns to Normandy, 81;
    visits Paris, _ib._;
    appeals the Poitevin barons of treason, _ib._;
    treaty with Navarre, 83;
    cited for trial, _ib._;
    fails to appear, 84;
    summons Arthur, 85;
    relieves Mirebeau, 86;
    returns to Normandy, 87;
    burns Tours, _ib._;
    keeps Christmas at Caen, 89;
    visits Alençon, _ib._;
    designs against Arthur, 90;
    indifference to Philip’s successes, 93;
    complains of Philip to the Pope, 94;
    besieges Alençon, _ib._;
    his building at Château-Gaillard, 95;
    nicknamed “Softsword,” 96;
    plan to relieve Château-Gaillard, _ib._, 97;
    conversation with the Marshal, 98;
    returns to England, 99;
    letter to Roger de Lacy, _ib._;
    summons the host, 102;
    preparations for defence, 104, 105;
    secret negotiations with Philip, 105–107;
    relations with Archbishop Hubert, 104, 107;
    with the Marshal, 106, 107, 109, 110;
    meets the host at Porchester, 107, 108;
    dismisses it, 111;
    claims fines from it, 112;
    remark on Hubert Walter’s death, 113;
    goes to Aquitaine, 114;
    besieges Montauban, _ib._;
    regains Angers, 115;
    truce with Philip, 116;
    intrigues with Canterbury chapter, 118–121;
    financial difficulties, 122, 123;
    sells charters to towns, 124;
    loans to barons, _ib._, 125;
    scheme for taxing clergy, 125;
    demands a thirteenth of moveables, 126;
    refuses election of Langton, 127;
    confiscates Church property, 128;
    negotiates with Rome, 129;
    his triumph, 130–132;
    dealings with Scotland, 132–134;
    with Wales, 135, 136;
    excommunicated, 136;
    cruelties to the clergy, _ib._;
    to the Jews, 137;
    dealings with Ireland, 139–154;
    with the Braoses, 139–141, 149–151, 155, 156, 287, 288;
    expeditions to Wales, 158, 159;
    negotiates with Langton, 159;
    cuts down his woods, _ib._;
    extorts money from monks, 160;
    meets Pandulf, 161, 162;
    knights Alexander of Scotland, 162;
    helps William the Lion, 163;
    orders inquests into services, etc., _ib._;
    seizes men of Cinque Ports, _ib._;
    alliance with Otto, 164–166;
    league against France, 166, 167;
    prepares to go to Gascony, 167;
    to Wales, 169;
    hangs Welsh hostages, _ib._;
    returns to London, _ib._;
    interview with Peter of Pontefract, 170;
    demands hostages from the barons, 171;
    and a quit-claim from the clergy, 172;
    relations with barons in Ireland, _ib._, 173;
    renews negotiations with Rome, 174;
    preparations for defence of England, 176–178;
    offers terms to Innocent, 178;
    agreement with Pandulf, 179;
    homage to the Pope, 180;
    alleged embassy to Morocco, footnote 806;
    league with Flanders, 185, 186;
    receives Langton, 187;
    his expedition checked, 188, 189;
    schemes of vengeance, 189;
    homage to legate, 190;
    conference with barons and bishops, 191;
    orders elections to churches, 192, 193;
    truce with the Welsh, 193;
    comment on Geoffrey Fitz-Peter’s death, 194;
    summons “men of the shire” to council, 195;
    receives homage of count of Flanders, 196;
    goes to Poitou, _ib._;
    success in Aquitaine, 197;
    negotiations with the Lusignans, 197–199;
    victory at Nantes, 200;
    wins Angers, _ib._;
    betrayed at La Roche-au-Moine, 201, 202;
    his continental allies, 202;
    their defeat, 203;
    summons forces from England, _ib._;
    truce with Philip, 204, 205;
    returns to England, 206;
    demands quit-claim from clergy, 207;
    grants free election to churches, 209;
    dispute with barons about scutage, 210, 211;
    England’s grievances under, 212–217;
    relations with Langton, 218, 222, 223;
    discussions with barons about Charter, 220–222;
    demands oath of allegiance, 223;
    sends for troops from Poitou, 224;
    appeals to Rome, 225;
    takes the cross, 226;
    negotiates with barons, 227;
    rejects their schedule, _ib._, 228;
    preparations for war, 228;
    grants election of mayor to London, _ib._, 229;
    proposes arbitration, 229;
    garrisons Rochester, 231;
    his desperate condition, 232;
    grants the Charter, 232–234;
    behaviour afterwards, 237;
    sickness, _ib._;
    insulted by barons, 238;
    dealings with the Irish March, 240;
    seeks help over sea, 241;
    refuses to meet barons, _ib._;
    sails to Sandwich, 243;
    appeals to the Pope, 246;
    besieges Rochester, 248–251;
    divides his host, 255;
    march to the north, 256;
    ravages of his troops, _ib._, 257–259;
    takes Berwick, 260;
    raids on Scotland, _ib._;
    reconquers Yorkshire, _ib._;
    marches on the eastern counties, 261;
    threatens London, 263;
    negotiations with northern barons, _ib._;
    relations with towns, _ib._;
    encourages commerce, 264;
    sends embassy to France, _ib._;
    writes to Louis, _ib._;
    prepares for defence against him, 267;
    meets Gualo, 268;
    goes to Sandwich, _ib._;
    retires, 269;
    plans of defence, 274, 275;
    relieves Windsor, 277;
    burns Crowland, 278;
    ravages Lincolnshire, 279;
    goes to Lynn, _ib._;
    seaports loyal to, 280;
    sickness, 281;
    losses in crossing the Wash, 282;
    last days, 282–284;
    will, 284, 285;
    death, 285;
    epitaph, 286;
    relations with Eustace de Vesci, 289, 293;
    with Robert Fitz-Walter, 289–293

  John of Alençon, 51

  Justice, abuse of, 213, 215

  Kahanger, William de, footnote 129

  Knight-service, inquiry concerning, 163

  Lacy, Hugh de, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19

  Lacy, Hugh de, the younger, 143, 144, 148, 152, 154

  Lacy, Roger de, 34, 35, 65, 71, 80, 95

  Lacy, Walter de, 140, 141, 143, 144, footnote 660, 149, 151, 152, 154,
      240, 285

  Laigle, Gilbert de, 280

  La Marche, county of, 76, 79

  La Marche, count of, _see_ Lusignan

  Langton, Stephen, elected archbishop of Canterbury, 121;
    consecrated, 127;
    John’s negotiations with, footnote 549, 159;
    goes to Rome, 175;
    to England, 186, 187;
    absolves John, 187;
    presides at council in London, 189;
    stops John’s vengeance on the barons, _ib._, 190;
    agreement with John about elections, 193;
    negotiations with the Welsh, 194;
    threatens appeal against the legate, 208;
    relations with the barons, 211, 212, 218, 219, 222;
    with John, 222, 223;
    mediates between them, 227;
    allows John to garrison Rochester, 231;
    his share in the Charter, 234;
    custody of the Tower given to, 239;
    Rochester castle restored to, _ib._;
    goes to Rome, 244;
    suspended, _ib._;
    suspension confirmed, 255

  La Roche-au-Moine, siege of, 201

  La Rochelle reinforced by John, 112, 113;
    John lands at, 114

  Leicester, Robert, earl of, 25, 100

  Leinster granted to Earl Richard de Clare, 12;
    to William the Marshal, 149

  Le Mans, Henry II. and John at, 22;
    Arthur and Philip at, 61;
    regained by John, 63

  Leominster burnt, 150

  Limerick, city, struggles of Irish and Normans for, 13, 15;
    won by the “English,” 138;
    William de Burgh custodian of, _ib._;
    transferred to De Braose, 141;
    resumed by the Crown, 144;
    restored to De Braose, 145

  Limerick, kingdom of, 14, 15

  Limerick, honour of, granted to William de Braose, 139, 140;
    confiscated, 154

  Limoges, Guy, viscount of, 76, 87

  Lincoln, William of Scotland does homage at, 78;
    taken by barons, 232, 273;
    castle besieged, 31, 276;
    bishop of, _see_ Hugh

  Lincolnshire ravaged by barons, 273;
    by John, 279

  Llywelyn ap Jorwerth, prince of North Wales, 135, 157–159, 167

  Loches surrendered to Philip Augustus, 113

  London supports John against Longchamp, 39;
    election of mayor granted to, 228, 229;
    joins the barons, 229;
    suburbs fired, 258;
    interdicted, 262, 270;
    welcomes Louis, 270;
    councils in, 42, 100, 103, 125, 189, 190, 206, 211;
    mayor of, _see_ Hardel

  Longchamp, William of, bishop of Ely and chancellor, 30–44

  Los, count of, footnote 740

  Louis, son of Philip Augustus, his marriage, 73;
    designs on England, 175, 176;
    besieges Montcontour, 199;
    challenges John at La-Roche-au-Moine, 201;
    invited by English barons, 253, 254;
    sends them help, 255, 257, 261, 262;
    his claims to the Crown, 264–266;
    goes to England, 268;
    his manifesto, 269;
    advance to London, 270;
    excommunicated, _ib._;
    takes Winchester, 271;
    joined by magnates, 272;
    disputes among his followers, _ib._, 273;
    returns to London, 273;
    besieges Dover, 276, 280;
    joined by Alexander, 276;
    raises the siege, 281

  “Lou Pescaire,” 88, 96

  Louvain, duke of, 202

  Lucius III., Pope, 19

  Lusignan, Almeric of, 76

  Lusignan, Geoffrey of, 76, 199

  Lusignan, Guy of, 76

  Lusignan, Hugh of, count of La Marche, 76, 77, 79, 199

  Lusignan, Hugh of, the younger, 76, 199

  Lusignan, Ralf of, count of Eu, 77–79

  Lusignan family, 81–82, 86, 87, 197–199

  Lynn, John at, 279, 281

  MacCarthy, Dermot, king of Desmond, 15

  Maelgwyn, prince of South Wales, 135

  Maine overrun by Philip, 61;
    Arthur acknowledged in, _ib._

  _Maltôte_, 205

  Mandeville, Geoffrey de, earl of Essex, 196, 238, 253, footnote 1184,

  Mandeville, William de, earl of Essex, 20, 22

  Mantes, council at, 94

  March, the English, in Ireland, 142;
    its organization, 153–155;
    John’s later dealings with, 240

  Marlborough, John married at, 25;
    fealty sworn to John at, 132;
    castle, conflicting claims to, 272

  Marsh, Geoffrey, 240

  Marsh, Richard, 241

  Marshal, John, footnote 128

  Marshal, William, earl of Pembroke, his marriage, 29;
    despoiled by John, _ib._;
    joins John against Longchamp, 38;
    policy on Richard’s death, 56–58;
    goes to England, 62, 64;
    belted earl, 65;
    sent to Normandy, 80;
    to France, 93, 100;
    agreement with Philip, 101;
    relations with John, 98, 106, 107, 109–111;
    goes to Ireland, 146;
    intrigues of Meiler and John against him, 146–148;
    Leinster regranted to, 149;
    shelters the De Braoses, 151;
    meets John at Dublin, 155;
    recalled to England, footnote 793;
    negotiates between John and the barons, 227, 229, 232;
    embassy to France, 264;
    dissuades John from fighting Louis, 269;
    named guardian to Henry III., 284;
    executor of John’s will, 285

  Marshal, William, the younger, 272, 273

  Mauclerc, William, footnote 807, 225

  Mauléon, Savaric de, 86, footnote 482, 224, 251, 255, 258, 263, 271,
      278, 279, 285

  Mauley, Peter de, 284

  Maurienne, 4, 5

  Mausé, Porteclin de, 197

  Meath granted to Hugh de Lacy, 12;
    to Walter de Lacy, 149;
    confiscated, 154;
    restored, _ib._, 240

  Melrose, homage of barons to Alexander at, 259

  Melun, council at, 265

  Mercadier, 54, 63

  Mervant, siege of, 199

  Middlesex harried, 257

  Milécu, siege of, 197

  Mirebeau, siege of, 86

  Monmouth, John of, 285

  Montauban, siege of, 114

  Montcontour, siege of, 199

  Montfort, Simon de, 174, 252

  Moreve, 103

  Mortain, Henry’s alleged grant of, to John, 3;
    granted to John by Richard, 24, 25

  Mortimer, William of, 99

  Moveables, taxation of, 124, 126

  Mowbray, William de, 65

  Munster, North and South, 14

  Navarre, Sancho VII., king of, 83

  Nevers, count of, 272, 276–278

  Neville, Hugh de, 272

  Newark, John at, 283–285

  Newcastle burnt by Scots, 259

  Nicolas of Tusculum, cardinal legate, 190–192, 206–208

  Nonant, Hugh of, bishop of Coventry, 37, 50, 51

  Norham, conference at, 132;
    siege of, 258, 259

  Normandy submits to Philip Augustus, 102

  Northampton, meeting of John and Pandulf at, 160, 161;
    rising of townsfolk, 232;
    castle, siege of, 228, 229, 248

  “Northerners,” 226, 239

  Norwich, bishops of, _see_ Grey, Pandulf

  Nottingham, council at, 50;
    muster at, 169;
    castle betrayed to John, 31;
    siege of, 50

  Novel disseisin, inquiry concerning assizes of, 163

  O’Brien, Donell, king of Thomond, 18

  Oliver, son of King John, 271

  O’Toole, S. Laurence, archbishop of Dublin, 17

  Otto of Saxony, 164–166, 175, 202, 203

  Oxford, John born at, 1;
    councils at, 42, 104, 126, 195;
    meeting of barons and bishops at, 242;
    siege of, 248

  Oxford, earl of, _see_ Vere

  Pandulf, cardinal and legate, 160–162, 179, 180, 184, 208, 233, 244,

  Paris, John at, 81

  “Pelu,” Count, 202

  Pembroke, earl of, _see_ Marshal

  Perche, count of, 280

  Percy, Richard de, 273

  Peter of Capua, cardinal, 72

  Peter of Pontefract or Wakefield, 170, 184

  Petit, William, footnote 595

  Philip Augustus, king of France, his dealings with Henry and Richard,
      20, 21;
    league with John, 40, 45;
    treaty with Richard, 47, 48;
    intrigues with John, 49;
    besieges Verneuil, 51;
    withdraws, 53;
    defeated at Fréteval, 54;
    attacks Normandy, _ib._, 55;
    truce with Richard, 55;
    accuses John to Richard, _ib._;
    overruns Maine, 61;
    receives Arthur’s homage, _ib._;
    meetings with John, 68;
    his demands, _ib._, 69;
    receives Eleanor’s homage for Poitou, 69;
    seizes Conches, 70;
    razes Ballon, _ib._;
    truce with John, 72;
    treaty with him, 73;
    receives John’s homage, 74;
    renews treaty with John, 81;
    cites him for trial, 83;
    attacks Normandy, 84;
    dealings with Arthur, 85;
    besieges Arques, 87;
    burns Tours, _ib._;
    takes Saumur, Conches, etc., 93;
    appeals to the Pope, 94;
    refuses the Pope’s arbitration, _ib._;
    agreement with John’s envoys, 101;
    wins Normandy, _ib._, 102;
    wins Poitou, 103;
    wins Loches and Chinon, 113;
    marches against John, 116;
    truce with him, _ib._, 117;
    treaty with Philip of Suabia, 164;
    league against, 166, 167;
    alliance with Frederic of Sicily, 175;
    plans for conquest of England, _ib._, 176;
    checked by Pandulf, 179;
    attacks Flanders, 185;
    marches against John, 198;
    victory at Bouvines, 203;
    truce with John, 205;
    dealings with English barons, 254, 257;
    attitude towards Louis’s expedition, 264–267

  Philip, bishop of Durham, 66, 67

  Philip of Suabia, 164, 166

  Pippard, Peter, footnote 595

  Planes, Roger de, footnote 129, 39, footnote 595

  Plough-tax, 73

  Poer, Robert le, 14

  Poitou, its feudal position, 69;
    attacked by the Lusignans, 79;
    submits to Philip Augustus, 103;
    John in, 114

  Pommeraye, Jocelyn de la, 14

  Popes, _see_ Alexander, Innocent, Lucius, Urban

  Porchester, muster at, 186

  Port, Adam de, 150

  “Port Alaschert,” 115

  Portsmouth, musters at, 107, 113

  Préaux, Peter des, 89, 99, 101, 102

  Presentation, inquiry concerning rights of, 163

  Puiset, Hugh of, bishop of Durham, 42, 46

  Quincy, Saher de, earl of Winchester, 254, 257, 292

  Radepont, sieges of, 85, 97, 98

  Raymond the Fat, 13, 16, 138

  Reading, meeting of king and bishops at, 191

  Rees ap Griffith, prince of South Wales, 25, 26

  Reginald, sub-prior of Canterbury, 119, 120

  Richard, duke of Aquitaine, 1, 9;
    king of England, 24, 25, 44, 47–56, 164

  Richard, son of King John and Isabel, footnote 575, 284

  Richard, son of King John, 196

  Richard, bishop of Chichester, 285

  Richard of London, constable of Cork, 15

  Ridel, Stephen, footnote 129

  Robert, bishop of Bangor, 158

  Roche, Emeric de, 197

  Roches, Peter des, bishop of Winchester, 130, 157, 196, 212, 244, 285

  Roches, William des, 70, 86, 88, 201

  Rochester castle garrisoned by the king, 231;
    restored to Langton, 239;
    surrendered to barons, 248;
    besieged by John, 248–251

  Roderic O’Connor, king of Connaught, 12, 139

  Ropesley, Robert de, 273

  Ros, Robert de, 263, 273

  Rouen, John proclaimed duke at, 62;
    surrendered to Philip, 102;
    archbishop of, _see_ Walter

  Runnimead, 233

  S. Albans, councils at, 188, 215, 255

  S. Edmund’s, meeting of barons at, 221

  S. Edmund’s, Adam of, 50

  Ste. Maure, Aimeric of, 285

  Salisbury, bishop of, _see_ Hubert

  Salisbury, Ela, countess of, footnote 1241

  Salisbury, William Longsword, earl of, 112, 179, 185, 186, 202, 203,
      229, 230, 247, 255, 272, 281

  Sandwich, John at, 268

  Saumur taken by Philip Augustus, 93

  Savigny, John of, 285

  Scotland, kings of, _see_ Alexander, William

  Scutages under Richard, 122;
    under John, 73, 101, 123, 125, 210

  Sheriffs, their maladministration, 213–215;
    in Ireland, 153

  Silvester, bishop of Worcester, 285

  Soissons, council at, 175

  Sotinghem, Gerard de, 281

  Staines, tournament at, 239;
    meeting of bishops and barons at, 243

  Stamford, barons assemble at, 226

  Stonor, Louis lands at, 268

  Taxes under Richard, 122;
    under John, 73, 123–126

  “Tenseries,” 273, 274

  Teyson, Geoffrey, 197

  Thomond, 14, 15

  Thouars, truce made at, 116

  Thouars, Almeric, viscount of, 71, 79, 80, 113, 115, 117, 201, 204

  Thouars, Guy of, 102, 116

  Tickhill castle betrayed to John, 31;
    siege of, 46, 50

  Tonbridge castle, 255

  Toulouse, Raymond, count of, 166, 196

  Tours burnt by John, 87

  Tower of London besieged by barons, 232;
    dispute for its custody, 238

  Towns, John sells charters to, 124

  Turnham, Robert of, 59

  Ulecotes, Philip de, 274

  Ulster granted to John de Courcy, 13;
    forfeited, 143;
    granted to Hugh de Lacy, 144;
    confiscated again, 154

  Urban III., Pope, 19

  Valognes, Hamo de, footnote 595

  Vasseville, Reginald de, 35

  Vaudreuil, siege of, 54;
    betrayed to Philip, 292

  Venneval, William de, 33, 35

  Vere, Robert de, earl of Oxford, 261

  Verneuil besieged by Philip Augustus, 51;
    relieved, 53;
    surrendered, 102

  Vesci, Eustace de, 169, 171, 187, 219, 225, 263, 276, 289

  Vexin ceded to France, 73

  Vouvant, siege of, 199

  Wales, struggles for supremacy in, 135;
    princes of, _see_ Gwenwynwyn, Griffith, Llywelyn, Maelgwyn, Rees

  Wallingford, meeting of John and barons at, 191;
    castle betrayed to John, 42

  Walter, archbishop of Rouen, 32, 38, 57, 62

  Walter, Hubert, _see_ Hubert

  Walter, Theobald, 29, 30, 50

  Warren, earl of, 179, 272

  Warwick, earl of, 65

  Waterford held by Henry II., 12, 14;
    county of, 153

  Wells, Hugh of, 106

  Wexford held by Henry II., 12, 14

  Whitchurch, muster at, 158

  William the Lion, king of Scots, 36, 66, 73, 78, 132–134, 162, 169

  Winchester, meetings of John and Longchamp at, 31, 32;
    John absolved at, 187;
    burnt, 271;
    taken by Louis, _ib._;
    bishop of, _see_ Roches

  Winchester, earl of, _see_ Quincy

  Windsor, council at, 42;
    castle betrayed to John, _ib._;
    sieges of, 46, 276, 277

  Woodstock, homage of Welsh princes to John at, 136

  Worcester, Philip of, 17

  Worcester, John buried at, 285

  Wrotham, William de, 193

  York, John at, 124;
    rising at, 259;
    siege of, 263;
    mayor of, _ib._;
    archbishop of, _see_ Geoffrey


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.

Transcriber’s Note

An errata slip was included in this book. It reads (footnote numbers
have been added in square brackets):


P. 57, note 1 [238], _for_ “the writer, John d’Erlée,” _read_ “John of
Earley (_d’Erlée_), on whose relation to the _Histoire_ in its present
form see M. Meyer’s introduction, vol. iii. pp. ii.–xiv.”

P. 62, note 6 [256], _for_ “John d’Erlée, the Marshal’s biographer,
asserts (_Hist. de G. le Mar._, vv. 11909–16) that he himself,” _read_
“The writer of the _Hist. de G. le Mar._ asserts, vv. 11909–16, that
John of Earley.”

P. 70, note 6 [293], _for_ “John d’Erlée, _Hist. de G. le Mar._,”
_read_ “The writer of the _Hist. de G. le Mar._”

P. 77, ll. 7 and 8 from foot, _for_ “on or about August 26” _read_ “on
August 24”; and same page, note 6 [330], _for_ “_Itin._ a. 2, and _Rot.
Chart._ p. 75,” _read_ “_Memorials of S. Edmund’s_, vol. ii. p. 8.”

P. 89, note 5 [396], ll. 11 and 13, and p. 106, note 3 [464], _for_
“D’Erlée” _read_ “the Marshal’s biographer.”

These corrections have been applied to this text.

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