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Title: A History of England - Period I, Mediaeval Monarchy
Author: Bright, J. Franck (James Franck)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  _By the_ Rev. J. FRANCK BRIGHT, M.A., _Fellow of University
  College, and Historical Lecturer in Balliol, New, and University
  Colleges, Oxford; late Master of the Modern School in Marlborough

  With numerous Maps and Plans. Crown 8vo.

  This work is divided into three Periods of convenient and handy
  size, especially adapted for use in Schools, as well as for
  Students reading special portions of History for local and other

  Period I.--MEDIÆVAL MONARCHY: The Departure of the Romans, to
  Richard III. From A.D. 449 to A.D. 1485. 4_s._ 6_d._

  Period II.--PERSONAL MONARCHY: Henry VII. to James II. From A.D.
  1485 to A.D. 1688. 5_s._

  Period III.--CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY: William and Mary to the
  Present Time. From A.D. 1689 to A.D. 1837. 7_s._ 6_d._

  [_All rights reserved._]








  From the Departure of the Romans to Richard III.


  With Maps and Plans

  Oxford, and Cambridge

  [_Second Edition, Revised_]


The object of this book is expressed in the title. It is intended
to be a useful book for school teaching, and advances no higher
pretensions. Some years ago, at a meeting of Public School Masters,
the want of such a book was spoken of, and at the suggestion of
his friends, the Author determined to attempt to supply this
want. The objections raised to the school histories ordinarily
used were--first, the absence of historical perspective, produced
by the unconnected manner in which the facts were narrated, and
the inadequate mention of the foreign relations of the country;
secondly, the omission of many important points of constitutional
history; thirdly, the limitation of the history to the political
relations of the nation, to the exclusion of its social growth.
It was at first intended to approach the history almost entirely
on the social and constitutional side; but a very short trial
proved that this method required a too constant employment of
allusions, and presupposed too much knowledge in the reader, to
be suitable for a book intended primarily for schools. It was
therefore resolved to limit the description of the growth of
society to a few comprehensive chapters and passages, and to
follow the general course of history in such a way as to bring out
as clearly as possible the connection of the events, and their
relative importance in the general national growth. This decision,
though taken against his inclinations, the Author can no longer
regret, as the social side of our history has been so adequately
treated by Mr. Green in his _History of the English People_, of the
approaching publication of which he was at the time quite ignorant.
On the same grounds of practical utility, it has been thought
better to retain the old and well-known divisions into reigns,
rather than to disturb the knowledge boys have already gained by
the introduction of a new though more scientific division.

The Author has not scrupled to avail himself of the works of modern
authors, though, in most cases, he has verified their views by
reference to original authorities. In the earlier period the works
of Professor STUBBS, Mr. FREEMAN, and Dr. PAULI; in the Tudor and
Stuart period those of FROUDE, RANKE, and MACAULAY; in the later
period the histories of Miss MARTINEAU and Lord STANHOPE have been
of the greatest assistance. Greater stress has been laid upon the
later than the earlier periods, as is indeed obvious from the
divisions of the work. With regard to the starting-point chosen,
it may be well to explain that the English invasion was fixed
upon, because it so thoroughly obliterated all remnants of the
Roman rule, that they have exerted little or no influence upon
the development of the nation--the real point of interest in a
national history. It is hoped that the genealogies of the great
families will assist in the comprehension of mediæval times in
the history of which they played so large a part, and that the
maps supplied will suffice to enable the reader to follow pretty
accurately, without reference to another atlas, the military and
political events mentioned. A brief and rapid summary for the use
of beginners was originally projected to preface the work, but the
brevity required by a book of this description rendered such an
addition impossible without injury to the more important part. An
attempt has been made to replace it by a very full analysis, which,
in the hands of a careful teacher, has been proved by experience a
useful method of teaching the main facts of history.

  OXFORD, 1875.




  Lappenberg’s _England under the Anglo-Saxon Kings_. Lingard’s
  _History of England_. Sharon Turner’s _History of the
  Anglo-Saxons_. Freeman and Palgrave have each published short
  books for the young on the period.


  All that is necessary to be known is to be found in Stubbs’
  _Constitutional History_. Treated more at length in Kemble’s
  _Saxons in England_, and Sir F. Palgrave’s _History of the
  English Commonwealth_. An excellent sketch in Freeman’s _Norman
  Conquest_. All the ancient laws are collected in Thorpe’s
  _Ancient Laws_; sufficient extracts to be found in Stubbs’
  _Illustrative Documents_. The whole history, including literature
  and society, is given in Green’s _History of the English People_
  in a brief and very interesting form.


  Bæda’s _Ecclesiastical History_, for a century and a half after
  the landing of Augustin. _The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, which
  becomes very important after the time of Alfred. Milman’s _Latin


  Gildas, and the earlier part of the _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_.


  Kemble’s _Saxons_. Stubbs’ _Constitutional History_.


  Asser’s _Life_. Dr. Pauli’s _Life_.


  Stubbs’ Preface to _Life of Dunstan_ (Master of the Rolls’
  series). E. W. Robertson’s _Essay on Dunstan_.


  _Lives of Eadward_, edited by Luard (Rolls’ series). Freeman’s
  _Norman Conquest_, vol. ii.


  Palgrave’s _History of Normandy and England_. Freeman’s _Norman
  Conquest_. William de Jumièges. Orderic Vitalis. William of



  Lingard. Lappenberg. Pearson’s _Early and Middle Ages of
  England_. Hook’s _Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury_.
  Campbell’s _Lives of the Chancellors_. Foss’s _Judges of England_.


  Stubbs’ _Constitutional History_ and _Illustrative Documents_.


  Orderic Vitalis. _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle._


  Eadmer’s _Historia Novorum_. Domesday-Book with Ellis’


  Palgrave’s _William Rufus_. Eadmer’s _Life of Anselm_. Church’s
  _Life of Anselm_.


  William of Malmesbury. Henry of Huntingdon (Surtees Society).


  Gesta Stephani (Surtees Society).


  Dr. Giles’ _Collection of the Letters of Becket, Foliot, and John
  of Salisbury_. Gervais of Canterbury till 1200 (_Twisden’s Decem
  Scriptores_). Benedict of Peterborough, 1169-1192, and Roger of
  Hoveden to 1201, with Stubbs’ Prefaces in the Rolls’ series.
  William of Newbury, to 1198 (English Historical Society). Lord
  Lyttleton’s _Life of Henry II._


  Geraldus Cambrensis’ _Conquest of Ireland_ (Rolls’ series,
  translated in Bohn).


  _Itinerarium Regis Ricardi_ (Rolls’ series). Richard of Devizes
  (English Historical Society). Ralph of Diceto, 1200 (Twisden).
  Several chronicles are translated in Bohn as _Chronicles of the


  Roger of Wendover, who was continued by Matthew of Paris, and
  William Rishanger (Rolls’ series). Chronicles of various abbeys,
  such as Waverley and Dunstable. For the English reader, Stubbs’
  _Illustrative Documents_.


  Matthew of Paris. Rishanger. _The Royal Letters_ (edited by
  Shirley in the Rolls’ series). _The Rhyming Chronicle_ of
  Robert of Gloucester to 1270. Blaauw’s _Barons’ War_. Wright’s
  _Political Songs_ (Camden Society). Brewer’s _Monumenta
  Franciscana_ (Rolls’ series).



  Sharon Turner’s _Middle Ages_. Lingard. Dr. Pauli’s _Geschichte
  von England_. Hook’s _Archbishops_. Campbell’s _Chancellors_.


  Stubbs. Hallam.


  Rymer’s _Fœdera_. Public Documents published chiefly by
  the Record Commission. Various Rolls, especially _Rolls of
  Parliament_, _Statutes of the Realm_, _Proceedings and Ordinances
  of the Privy Council_. Walter of Hemingburgh, to 1346. Thomas of
  Walsingham, a compilation from the Annals of St. Albans Abbey
  (Rolls’ series).


  Hill Burton’s _History of Scotland_.


  Martin or Sismondi’s _History_.


  Trivet (English Historical Society). Rishanger. Palgrave’s
  _Documents and Records illustrating History of Scotland_.
  Freeman’s _Essay on Edward I._ Modus tenendi Parliamentum
  (Stubbs’ _Documents_). _Rotuli Scotiæ_ (Record Commission).


  _Ordinances of the English Guilds_ (Early English Text Society),
  with Brentano’s Preface.


  Trokelowe, to 1323 (Rolls’ series). Anonymous Monk of Malmesbury,
  to 1327. Thomas de la Moor (Camden Society). Adam of Murimuth
  (English Historical Society).


  Froissart. John le Bel. Robert of Avesbury, to 1356 (Hearne).
  Knyghton (Twisden’s _Decem Scriptores_). Longman’s _History of
  Edward III._


  Shirley’s Preface to _Fasciculi Zizaniorum_. Vaughan’s _Life of


  Seebohm’s Essays in the _Fortnightly Review_ for 1865.


  Rogers’ _History of Prices_.


  Walsingham. _Annales Ricardi Secundi et Henrici Quinti_ (Rolls’
  series). _Chronique de la Traison et Mort de Richard_ (English
  Historical Society). M. Wallon’s _Richard II._ is said to be
  the best modern book on the subject. Wright’s _Political Songs_
  (Rolls’ series).



  As before, with Brougham’s _History of England under the House of


  Fabyan, died 1512 (edited by Sir Henry Ellis). Hall, _Henry
  IV._ to _Henry VIII._ Polydore Vergil (Camden Society).
  Stowe, published 1592. Ellis’ _Collection of Original Letters
  illustrative of English History_.


  Walsingham (Rolls’ series). Knyghton. _Royal Historical Letters_
  (Rolls’ series).


  Walsingham. _Memorials of Henry V._ (Rolls’ series). Titus Livius
  _Vita Henrici Quinti_ (copied in part in the _Gesta_). _Gesta
  Henrici Quinti_ (Historical Society). Monstrelet.


  William of Worcester to 1491 (completed by his son). _English
  Chronicle_ (Richard II. to 1471) (Camden Society). Continuator
  of Croyland, 1459-1485. John of Westhampstead (Hearne). _Paston
  Letters_, 1434-1485 (E. D. Gairdner). _Memoir of John Carpenter._
  _Wars of the English in France_ (Rolls’ series). _Procès de
  Jeanne d’Arc_ (Historical Society of France).


  _Arrival of Edward IV._ (Camden Society). Warkworth, 1461-1474.


  _Life_, by Sir Thomas More.


  _History_, by Sir Thomas More. Miss Halsted’s _Life_. _Letters of
  Richard III. and Henry VII._ (Gairdner, Rolls’ series).




       =Departure of the Romans=,                                  1
       =Settlement of the various English tribes=,                 1

  449  The Jutes,                                                  1

  477  The Saxons,                                                 2

  520  The Angles,                                                 2

  597  =Conversion to Christianity=,                               3
       =Struggle for supremacy among the Saxon kingdoms=,          3
       Supremacy of Northumbria,                                   3

  716-819  Supremacy of Mercia,                                    4

  800  _Ecgberht_,                                                 5
       Supremacy of the West Saxons,                               5
       =Period of Danish Invasion=,                                5

  836  _Æthelwulf_,                                                6

  858  _Æthelbald_,                                                6

  860  _Æthelberht_,                                               6

  866  _Æthelred_,                                                 6

  870  =Danish Conquest of East Anglia=,                           7

  871  _Alfred_,                                                   7
       Appreciation of Alfred’s character,                         8
       Continued superiority of Wessex,                           10

  901  _Eadward the Elder_,                                       10

  925  _Æthelstan_,                                               11

  940  _Eadmund_,                                                 11

  946  _Eadred_,                                                  11
       Rise of Dunstan,                                           12

  955  _Edwy_,                                                    13

  957  _Eadgar_,                                                  13
       Dunstan’s government,                                      13
       Division of Northumbria,                                   14

  975  _Eadward the Martyr_,                                      15
       Fall of Dunstan,                                           15

  979  _Æthelred the Unready_,                                    15
       =Third Period of Danish Invasion=,                         15

  991  Battle of Maldon,                                          16

  994  First Danegelt,                                            16
       Æthelred’s Marriage with Emma,                             17

  1002  Massacre of St. Brice,                                    17
        Pernicious influence of Eadric Streona,                   17

  1008  Thurkill’s invasion,                                      17

  1013  Swegen’s Great Invasion,                                  18
        England submits to Swegen,                                18

  1014  Restoration of Æthelred,                                  18

  1016  _Edmund Ironside_,                                        19
        Five great battles,                                       19
        Division of the Kingdom,                                  19

  1017  =Cnut King of all England=,                               19
        His patriotic government,                                 20
        Disputed succession,                                      21
        Importance of Earl Godwine,                               21

  1037  _Harold_,                                                 21

  1040  _Harthacnut_,                                             21
        =Restoration of the English Line=,                        21

  1042  _Eadward the Confessor_,                                  21
        Rivalry of Godwine and the French Party,                  22

  1051  Godwine banished,                                         22

  1052  His return and death,                                     23

  1053  Harold succeeds to his influence,                         23
        He subdues Wales,                                         24

  1066  =Harold made King=,                                       24
        Claims of his rivals, Tostig and William of Normandy,     24
        William’s preparations,                                   25
        Tostig’s invasion,                                        26
        William lands,                                            26
        =Battle of Hastings or Senlac=,                           26
        Death of Harold,                                          27



  WILLIAM I. 1066-1087.

  1066  =Intended resistance of the English=,                     40
        Election of Eadgar,                                       41
        William marches to London,                                41
        =William is crowned=,                                     41
        His position as King,                                     42
        Transfer of Property,                                     43
        The form of Law retained,                                 43
        Castles built,                                            43
        Appointment of Earls,                                     43

  1067  William revisits Normandy,                                44
        Misgovernment by his Viceroys,                            44
        Consequent rebellion,                                     44
        =Insurrections= call him home,                            44

  1068  His position in the North and West,                       45

  1096  His devastations in Yorkshire,                            47

  1070  =Complete subjugation of the North=,                      47
        =William’s legislation=,                                  48
        His reform of the Church,                                 48
        Appointment of foreign Bishops,                           48
        Stigand deposed,                                          48
        Lanfranc Archbishop,                                      49
        His Legislation,                                          49
        He connects the Church with Rome,                         49
        But William still Head of the Church,                     49

  1071  =Final Struggle of the English under Hereward=,           50
        Wales held in check by the Counts Palatine,               51
        Savage invasions from Scotland,                           51

  1072  Malcolm swears fealty,                                    52

  1075  =Troubles in Normandy=,                                   52

  1076  Conspiracy of Norman nobles suppressed,                   52
        Waltheof executed,                                        53
        Quarrel between William and his Sons,                     53

  1079  Reconciliation at Gerberoi,                               54
        Odo’s oppressive government,                              54

  1084  =Cnut’s threatened invasion=,                             54

  1085  =The Domesday Book=,                                      55

  1087  William’s death and burial,                               55


  WILLIAM II. 1087-1100.

  1087  William crowned by Lanfranc,                              56
        Appeases the English,                                     56
        Checks Norman opposition,                                 57

  1089  Lanfranc dies,                                            57
        Flambard succeeds him,                                    57

  1090  =William’s quarrels with his Brothers=,                   57

  1091  War with Scotland,                                        58

  1094  Continued War with Wales,                                 59
        Troubles in Normandy,                                     59

  1095  =Conspiracy of Mowbray=,                                  59

  1100  Size of his Dominions at his death,                       60
        Causes of his inferiority to his Father,                  60

  1089  Disputes with the Church,                                 61
        Bishoprics left vacant,                                   61

  1093  Anselm made Archbishop,                                   61
        William opposes his reforms,                              62

  HENRY I. 1100-1135.

  1100  =Henry secures the crown=,                                63
        Conciliates all classes,                                  63
        His policy,                                               64
        His opponents,                                            65

  1101  =Robert seeks the crown=,                                 65
        Withdraws without bloodshed,                              65
        Henry attacks his partisans,                              65

  1102  =Defeat of Belesme and Norman Barons=,                    66
        Establishment of royal power,                             66
        Belesme received in Normandy,                             66

  1105  Consequent invasion of the Duchy,                         66

  1106  =Battle of Tenchebray, defeat of Robert=,                 66

  1107  =War with France=,                                        67
        Louis supports William Clito,                             67
        End of the War,                                           67

  1113  Treaty of Gisors,                                         67
        Prince William acknowledged heir,                         68

  1115  Renewed War with France and Anjou,                        68

  1119  =Battle of Brenneville=,                                  68
        =Complete prosperity=,                                    68

  1120  =Death of Prince William, and its consequences=,          68

  1124  War with Anjou,                                           69

  1128  Death of William Clito,                                   69
        Attempt to secure the succession to Matilda,              69

  1135  Death of Henry,                                           70
        Wales held in check by colonies of Flemings,              70
        Constant insurrections,                                   70
        =Henry’s Church policy=,                                  70

  1100  Anselm refuses fealty,                                    71
        He has to leave England,                                  71

  1106  Unsupported by the Pope,                                  71
        Makes a compromise at Bec,                                71

  1102  Synod of Westminster,                                     71
        Frequent bad Church appointments,                         72
        Henry corrects them when possible,                        72
        =Wretched condition of the People=,                       72
        Their chief complaints,                                   73
        Baronial tyranny,                                         73
        Heavy taxation,                                           73
        Henry cures what evils he can,                            74
        His strict Police,                                        74
        =Administrative machinery=,                               74
        Local Courts,                                             75
        Curia Regis,                                              75
        Its political effect,                                     76
        The National Assembly,                                    76


  STEPHEN. 1135-1154.

  1135  Strange character of the Reign,                           77
        Great power of the Church,                                78
        Stephen’s Charter,                                        78
        Affairs in Wales,                                         78
        Early signs of disturbance,                               79

  1137  War with Scotland,                                        79
        Last national effort of the English,                      79

  1138  Battle of the Standard,                                   80
        =Growth of Anarchy in England=,                           80
        Creation of Earldoms and castles,                         80
        Robert of Gloucester renounces his fealty,                81
        Stephen’s mercenaries,                                    81
        Jealousy between the old and new Administrations,         81
        =Stephen’s quarrel with the Church=,                      82

  1139  Consequent arrival of Matilda,                            82
        Civil War,                                                82
        Continued quarrel with the Church,                        82

  1141  =Robert of Gloucester, to bring matters to a crisis,
            fights the Battle of Lincoln=,                        83
        =Matilda seeks help from the Church and becomes Queen=,   83
        Importance of the Londoners,                              83
        =Matilda offends both Church and Londoners=,              84
        Consequent revolution of affairs,                         84

  1142  Gloucester taken prisoner and exchanged for Stephen,      84

  1146  Renewal of the old anarchy,                               84

  1147  =Appearance of Prince Henry=,                             84

  1148  Death of Robert of Gloucester,                            85

  1152  Henry’s marriage and increased power,                     85
        =The Church sides with him=,                              85

  1153  Meeting of the armies at Wallingford,                     85
        =The Church mediates a Compromise=,                       86

  1154  Death of Stephen,                                         86
        Quotations from Chroniclers showing the miseries of the
            Reign,                                                86


  HENRY II. 1154-1189.

  1154  =Main Objects of Henry’s Reign=,                          89
        =He restores order in the State=,                         90
        Friendship with Adrian IV.,                               90

  1157  Master of England, Henry attacks Wales,                   91
        Rise of Thomas à Becket,                                  92

  1158  He is employed in foreign negotiations,                   92

  1159  Nevertheless there is war with France,                    92
        Interesting points in it,                                 92
        The Scotch King serves Henry,                             93
        =Introduction of Scutage=,                                93
        =Having reduced the State to order, Henry turns to the
            Church=,                                              93
        General friendship of England and France with the Pope,   94

  1161  Election of Becket to Archbishopric,                      95
        He upholds the Encroachments of the Church,               95

  1164  =Quarrel with Becket, and Constitutions of Clarendon=,    95
        Becket refuses them,                                      96
        Lukewarmness of Alexander III.,                           96
        The quarrel takes a legal form,                           97
        Comes before the Council,                                 97
        Henry presses him with charges,                           97
        Becket leaves the Court before judgment is given,         98

  1165  He is received by the Pope,                               98
        But Henry refuses to oppose Alexander,                    99

  1166  Meanwhile he attacks Wales, and secures Brittany,         99
        Becket excommunicates his enemies,                        99

  1167  The Pope temporizes,                                      99
        Critical position of Henry,                              100

  1170  =Coronation of young Henry=,                             100
        Finding this step unpopular,                             101
        =Henry submits=,                                         101
        Becket ventures to return to England,                    101
        Becket’s death,                                          101
        =Henry retires to the Invasion of Ireland=,              102
        Condition of Ireland,                                    102

  1169  Invasion by Strongbow,                                   102

  1171  Henry himself invades Ireland,                           102
        Irish Church adopts Romish discipline,                   102
        Henry’s reconciliation with Rome,                        103

  1174  =Great Insurrection=,                                    103
        Crisis of the danger,                                    104
        Henry’s penance at Canterbury,                           104
        Capture of the Scotch King at Alnwick,                   104
        =Henry’s complete success=,                              105
        Small diminution of Henry’s power, either temporal or
            ecclesiastical,                                      105
        =Henry’s Judicial and Constitutional changes=,           106
        The Curia Regis,                                         106
        Itinerant Justices,                                      106
        Origin of the Jury,                                      108
        Assize of Arms, Scutage,                                 109
        =Closing troubles with his Sons and with France=,        109
        The causes of these troubles,                            109

  1183  First War, against Young Henry,                          110

  1184  Second War, against Richard,                             111

  1187  Third War,                                               111

  1188  Saladin Tax,                                             111

  1189  Last War, with Richard and Philip,                       112
        Henry’s ill success,                                     112
        Disastrous Peace and Death,                              112
        Importance of the Reign,                                 113

  RICHARD I. 1189-1199.

  1189  Persecution of the Jews,                                 115
        All Offices put up for sale,                             116

  1190  =Richard starts for the Crusade=,                        110
        Leaving England to Longchamp,                            116
        Richard quarrels with Philip in Sicily,                  117

  1191  He conquers Cyprus,                                      118
        Miserable condition of the Kingdom of Jerusalem,         119

  1187  Jerusalem taken by Saladin,                              119

  1189  Acre besieged,                                           119

  1191  Arrival of the Crusaders,                                119
        Richard saves Acre,                                      120
        Philip goes home,                                        120
        Richard quarrels with Austria,                           120

  1192  Truce with Saladin,                                      121

  1191  =John’s Behaviour in England=,                           121
        Return of Philip,                                        122
        Need of Richard’s return,                                122

  1192  His imprisonment in Germany,                             122
        John and Philip combine against him,                     122
        England ransoms him,                                     123

  1194  =Richard’s return, John’s defeat=,                       123
        War with France,                                         123

  1199  Richard’s death at Chaluz,                               124
        Development of the Administrative System,                124


  JOHN. 1199-1216.

  1199  =John secures the crown=,                                126
        His strong position,                                     127

  1200  His danger from France,                                  127
        Peace with Philip, and marriage treaty,                  127
        =Marriage with Isabella de la Marche=,                   128

  1201  Homage of Scotland,                                      128
        Outbreak in Poitou,                                      128

  1202  =John’s French Provinces forfeited=,                     128

  1203  Death of Arthur,                                         129

  1205  =Loss of Normandy=,                                      129

  1206  Peace with Philip,                                       129

  1205  =Election of the Archbishop of Canterbury=,              130
        Stephen Langton,                                         131

  1207  Consecration at Viterbo, and John’s violence,            131

  1208  Interdict and flight of Bishops,                         131

  1209  Excommunication,                                         131

  1210  Attack on Scotland, Ireland and Wales,                   132
        Disaffection of the Northern Barons,                     133
        The King’s rapacity,                                     133

  1211  European crisis,                                         133
        League with Northern Princes,                            133

  1213  John’s deposition,                                       133
        =Surrender of the Crown to the Pope=,                    134
        John’s improved position,                                134

  1214  Renewed difficulties with Stephen Langton,               135

  1215  =John hopes to secure his position by victory in
            France=,                                             135

  1214  =Battle of Bouvines=,                                    136

  1215  =Insurrection in England on his return=,                 136
        Meeting at Brackley,                                     136
        Capture of London,                                       137
        Runnymede,                                               137
        Political position of England,                           137
        =Terms of Magna Charta=,                                 138
        John attempts to break loose from it,                    139

  1216  =Louis is summoned=,                                     139
        John’s death,                                            140

  HENRY III. 1216-1272.

  1216  =Henry’s authority gradually established=,               141
        Difficulties at his accession,                           142
        Pembroke’s measures of conciliation,                     142

  1217  Fair of Lincoln,                                         112
        Louis leaves England,                                    142
        Renewal of the Charter,                                  142

  1218  =Papal attempt to govern by Legates=,                    143
        Pandulf’s government,                                    143

  1221  His fall,                                                143
        =Triumph of national party under Hubert de Burgh=,       143
        Parties in England,                                      144

  1223  Opposition Barons at Leicester,                          144
        Resumption of royal castles,                             145

  1224  Destruction of Faukes de Breauté,                        145
        Danger from France,                                      145

  1223  Death of Philip,                                         145

  1226  Death of Louis VIII.,                                    145
        English neglect this opportunity,                        146
        Poitou remains French,                                   146

  1227  Hubert’s continued power,                                146
        Langton supports his policy,                             146
        Change of Popes--increased exactions,                    147

  1228  Death of Langton,                                        147
        =Quarrel of Henry and De Burgh=,                         147

  1229  Henry’s false foreign policy,                            147

  1231  Return of Des Roches,                                    148

  1232  Twenge’s riots,                                          148
        Fall of De Burgh,                                        148

  1233  =Revolution under Des Roches=,                           149
        Earl of Pembroke upholds De Burgh,                       149

  1234  Edmund of Canterbury causes Des Roches’ fall,            150

  1235  =Henry becomes his own minister=,                        151

  1236  Henry’s marriage,                                        151

  1237  =Influence of the Queen’s uncles=,                       151

  1238  =Formation of a national party under Simon de
            Montfort=,                                           152
        Revival in the Church,                                   152
        Grostête,                                                153

  1243  Loss of Poitou,                                          153
        Prince Richard joins the foreign party,                  154

  1244  Exactions in Church and State,                           154

  1247  =Inroad of Poitevin favourites=,                         155

  1248  Discontent of the Barons,                                155
        Continued misgovernment,                                 155

  1249  Tallages on the cities,                                  155

  1250  Diversion of the Crusade,                                156
        De Montfort’s government of Gascony,                     156
        His quarrel with the King,                               156

  1253  By his aid Gascony is saved,                             156
        The King’s money difficulties,                           157

  1254  =The Pope offers Edmund the Kingdom of Sicily=,          157
        Henry accepts it on ruinous terms,                       157

  1256  Consequent exactions,                                    158

  1257  Terrible famine,                                         158
        =Parliament at length roused to resistance=,             158
        Parliament at Westminster,                               158

  1258  =The “Mad Parliament,”=                                  159
        Provisions of Oxford,                                    159
        Opposition to the surrender of Castles,                  160
        Exile of aliens,                                         160
        Proclamation of the Provisions,                          160
        Government of the Barons,                                160

  1259  Final treaty with France,                                161
        =Henry thinks of breaking the Provisions=,               161

  1261  The Pope’s absolution arrives,                           161
        Quarrel between De Clare and De Montfort,                161

  1262  Return of De Montfort,                                   162

  1263  =Outbreak of hostilities=,                               162

  1264  The Award of Amiens fails,                               163
        =War--Battle of Lewes=,                                  163
        The Mise of Lewes,                                       163
        Appointment of revolutionary government,                 163
        The exiles assemble at Damme,                            164
        De Montfort desires final settlement,                    164
        Royalist movements on the Welsh Marches,                 164

  1265  Parliament assembles,                                    165
        Conditions of Prince Edward’s liberation,                165
        =De Clare forsakes the Barons=,                          166
        He joins the Marchers,                                   166
        =Escape of Edward=,                                      166
        Leicester opposes Edward in Wales,                       166
        Defeat at Kenilworth,                                    166
        =Battle of Evesham=,                                     167

  1266  Dictum of Kenilworth,                                    168

  1267  De Clare compels more moderate government,               168
        =Constitutional end of the reign=,                       168
        =Views of the people on the war=,                        168


  EDWARD I. 1272-1307.

  1272  =Edward’s accession and character=,                      171
        The first English King,                                  172
        His political views,                                     173
        His legal mind,                                          173
        His success,                                             173
        His enforced concessions,                                174

  1275  His first Parliament,                                    174
        Statute of Westminster,                                  174
        Establishment of Customs,                                174

  1278  =Edward’s restorative measures=,                         174
        New coinage,                                             175

  1279  Statute of Mortmain,                                     175
        =Affairs in Wales=,                                      175

  1275  Llewellyn’s suspicious conduct,                          175

  1277  War breaks out,                                          176
        Llewellyn submits, and is mercifully treated,            176

  1282  Second rising in Wales,                                  176
        Death of Llewellyn,                                      176

  1288  Execution of David,                                      176

  1284  Statute of Wales,                                        177
        =Annexation of Wales=,                                   177

  1282  Foreign affairs call Edward abroad,                      177

  1284  The Sicilian Vespers,                                    177

  1286  Edward acts as mediator between France and Aragon,       178

  1288  His award is repudiated,                                 178

  1289  Disturbances in England during his absence,              178
        He returns, punishes corrupt judges, banishes the Jews,  179
        =Second period of the reign=,                            179
        =Relations with Scotland=,                               180

  1290  Extinction of the Scotch royal family,                   181
        Proposed marriage of the Maid and Prince Edward,         181
        Invitation to Edward to settle the Succession,           182
        Death of the Maid,                                       182

  1291  Meeting at Norham,                                       182
        Edward’s supremacy allowed,                              182
        The claimants to the Scotch throne,                      182

  1292  Edward gives a just verdict,                             183
        Balliol accepts the throne as a vassal,                  183

  1293  Scotland appeals therefore to the English Courts,        183
        The appeals not pressed to extremities,                  184
        =Quarrel with France=,                                   184
        Edward is outwitted, Gascony occupied,                   184
        Balliol in alliance with France,                         184

  1295  =First True Parliament=,                                 183

  1296  Edward marches into Scotland,                            185
        Defeat of the Scotch at Dunbar,                          185
        Submission of Balliol and Scotland,                      186
        =Constitutional opposition of Clergy and Barons=,        186

  1296  Refusal of the Clergy to grant subsidies,                186

  1297  The Clergy outlawed,                                     187
        The Barons refuse to assist Edward,                      187
        Compromise with the Clergy,                              187
        Edward secures an illegal grant,                         187
        The Earls demand the confirmation of the Charters,       188
        They are granted with reservations,                      188
        =Scotch insurrection under Wallace=,                     189

  1299  English Treaty with France,                              189
        Edward invades Scotland,                                 190
        =Defeats Wallace at Falkirk=,                            190
        Comyn’s Regency,                                         190

  1301  =Parliament of Lincoln=,                                 190
        The Pope’s claims rejected,                              191

  1303  =Third invasion and conquest of Scotland=,               191

  1306  Bruce murders Comyn and rebels,                          192
        =Preparations for a fourth invasion=,                    192

  1307  Edward’s death near Carlisle,                            192
        =Constitutional importance of the reign=,                193


  EDWARD II. 1307-1327.

  1307  =Edward’s friendship for Gaveston=,                      198

  1308  The Barons demand his dismissal,                         198

  1309  Gaveston’s return,                                       199
        General discontent,                                      199
        Statute of Stamford,                                     200

  1310  =Appointment of the Lords Ordainers=,                    200

  1311  Useless assault on Scotland,                             200
        The Ordinances published,                                201
        Policy of the Opposition,                                201
        Gaveston banished,                                       201

  1312  He reappears with the King,                              202
        He is beheaded at Warwick,                               202

  1314  =Renewal of the War with Scotland=,                      203
        Battle of Bannockburn,                                   203
        Edward refuses to treat,                                 204
        Consequent disasters,                                    204

  1315  Wars in Wales and Ireland,                               204
        Bruce’s invasion of Ireland,                             204

  1316  He is crowned King,                                      205

  1318  He is killed at Dundalk,                                 205

  1316  Distress in England,                                     205
        =Lancaster temporary Minister=,                          205
        =Power of the Despensers=,                               205

  1318  Temporary reconciliation,                                206

  1320  Truce with Scotland,                                     206
        The Welsh Marchers quarrel with the Despensers,          206
        Edward supports his favourites,                          206

  1321  Hereford and Lancaster combine,                          206
        =The Despensers are banished=,                           206
        An insult to the Queen rouses the King to energy,        207
        =Edward recalls the Despensers=,                         207

  1322  Pacifies the Marches,                                    207
        Attacks Lancaster,                                       207
        =Battle of Boroughbridge=,                               207
        Lancaster worshipped as a Saint,                         207
        =Triumph of the Despensers=,                             208
        Renewal of war with Scotland,                            208

  1323  =Peace for thirteen years with Scotland=,                208
        Dangers surrounding the King,                            208

  1324  Difficulties with France,                                209

  1325  =The Queen and Prince in France=,                        209

  1326  =She lands in England=,                                  210
        Her party gathers strength,                              210
        The King is taken,                                       210

  1327  The Prince of Wales made King,                           210
        Murder of Edward,                                        211


  EDWARD III. 1327-1377.

  1327  Measures of reform,                                      214
        =Mortimer’s misgovernment=,                              214
        Fruitless campaign against Scotland,                     214
        Opposition to Mortimer,                                  214

  1330  Conspiracy and death of Kent,                            215
        =Edward overthrows Mortimer=,                            215
        Edward’s healing measures,                               216

  1332  =Balliol invades Scotland=,                              216
        Edward supports him,                                     216
        Siege of Berwick,                                        217

  1333  Battle of Halidon Hill,                                  217

  1334  =Temporary Submission of Scotland=,                      217
        =Edward’s claims on France=,                             218
        =The Scotch, with Philip’s help, renew the War=,         218

  1337  Edward therefore produces his claims,                    218
        =Edward attacks France=,                                 218

  1338  His alliances on the North-east,                         219
        He is made Imperial Vicar,                               219
        Great taxation,                                          219
        He lands in Flanders,                                    220

  1339  Deserted by his allies, he returns home,                 220

  1340  Returns, and wins the Battle of Sluys,                   220
        Fruitless expedition to Tournay,                         220
        Sudden visit to England,                                 221
        Displacement of the Ministry,                            221

  1341  =His dispute with Stratford=,                            221
        Edward yields,                                           221

  1342  Loss of all his allies,                                  222
        =New opening in Brittany=,                               222

  1343  Mediation of the Pope offered,                           223
        Decay of Papal influence,                                223

  1344  His mediation accepted conditionally, it fails,          224
        Edward’s commercial difficulties,                        224

  1345  =War breaks out again=,                                  224
        Derby hard pressed in Guienne,                           224

  1346  Edward, to relieve him, lands in Normandy,               225
        Marches towards Calais,                                  225
        Battle of Cressy,                                        227
        Battle of Neville’s Cross,                               228

  1347  Siege of Calais,                                         228
        =Truce=,                                                 229

  1349  =The Black Death=,                                       229

  1355  =Renewal of the War=,                                    229
        Destructive March of the Black Prince southwards,        229
        The “Burnt Candlemas,”                                   231

  1356  The Black Prince’s expedition northwards,                231
        Battle of Poitiers,                                      231
        Release of King David,                                   232

  1357  =Peace with Scotland=,                                   232
        Terrible condition of France,                            232

  1359  Reviving power of the Dauphin,                           232
        =Edward again invades France=,                           233

  1360  Want of permanent results induce Edward to make =The
            Peace of Brétigny=,                                  233
        The Treaty is not carried out,                           234

  1364  The War in Brittany continues,                           234

  1365  Affairs of Castile,                                      234

  1366  France and England support the rival claimants,          234

  1367  Battle of Navarette,                                     235

  1368  Taxation in Aquitaine,                                   235
        The Barons appeal to Charles,                            235

  1369  =Renewal of French War=,                                 235
        =Gradual Defeat of the English=,                         236

  1370  The Black Prince takes Limoges,                          236
        His final return to England,                             236

  1374  Loss of Aquitaine,                                       236

  1372  Naval victory of the Spaniards,                          236

  1375  Discontent in England,                                   236
        =Politics of the Time=,                                  237

  1376  The Good Parliament,                                     239
        Death of the Black Prince,                               240
        Lancaster regains power,                                 240

  1377  The Lancastrian Parliament,                              240
        Trial of Wicliffe,                                       240
        Uproar in London,                                        240
        Death of the King,                                       240


  RICHARD II. 1377-1399.

  1377  Difficulties of the new reign,                           242
        =Regency and administration of Lancaster=,               242
        Patriotic government,                                    243

  1380  Money wanted for the War in Brittany,                    243
        The Poll Tax,                                            243

  1381  =Insurrection of the Villeins=,                          244
        Death of Wat Tyler,                                      244
        The insurrection suppressed,                             245
        Parliament rejects the Villeins’ claims,                 245

  1383  Suspicions of Lancaster’s objects,                       245
        He deserts Wicliffe,                                     245
        He is charged with the failure in Flanders,              246

  1385  Jealousy of him thwarts the Scotch invasion,             246
        He is glad of the excuse to leave England to support
            his claims in Castile,                               246
        =Gloucester takes Lancaster’s place=,                    246
        =The King’s Favourites=,                                 247

  1386  =Gloucester heads an opposition=,                        247
        Change of Ministry demanded,                             247
        Impeachment of Suffolk,                                  247
        =Commission of Government=,                              247

  1387  The King prepares a counterblow,                         248
        The Five Lords Appellant,                                248
        They impeach the King’s friends,                         248
        Affair of Radcot,                                        248

  1388  =The Wonderful Parliament=,                              248

  1389  Gloucester’s unimportant Government,                     249
        =Richard assumes authority=,                             249

  1393  =Final Statute of Provisors=,                            250

  1394  Expedition to Ireland,                                   250

  1397  Marriage with Isabella of France,                        251
        =Richard’s vengeance after seven years’ peace=,          251

  1398  Hereford and Norfolk banished,                           252
        His arbitrary rule alienates the people,                 253

  1399  During his absence in Ireland,                           253
        =Hereford returns and is triumphantly received=,         253
        He captures Richard,                                     254
        Makes him resign the Kingdom,                            254



  HENRY IV. 1399-1413.

  1399  =Henry’s position in English History=,                   275
        Reversal of the Acts of the late King,                   276
        Tumultuous scene in the First Parliament,                276
        =The King’s insecure position for nine years=,           276

  1400  Insurrection of the late Lords Appellant,                277
        Imprisonment and secret death of Richard,                277
        Hostile attitude of France and Scotland,                 278
        Useless and impolitic march into Scotland,               278

  1401  Insurrection Wales,                                      278
        Owen Glendower,                                          278

  1402  Quarrel with the Percies,                                278
        The pretended Richard,                                   279
        Causes of the quarrel with Northumberland,               279

  1403  The Percies combine with Glendower,                      279
        Battle of Shrewsbury,                                    280

  1404  Submission of Northumberland,                            280
        Widespread Conspiracy,                                   280

  1405  Flight of the young Earl of March,                       280
        Renewed activity of Northumberland, Scrope and Mowbray,  281
        Events which secured Henry’s triumph,                    281
        Capture of James of Scotland,                            281

  1407  Murder of Orleans,                                       282

  1408  Final defeat and death of Northumberland,                282
        =Henry’s improved position=,                             282
        His enforced respect for the Commons,                    282
        Climax of their power,                                   283
        Explained by the King’s failing health,                  283

  1412  Renewed vigour at the end of his reign,                  283
        =Henry’s foreign policy=,                                283
        =His alliance with the Church=,                          284
        His persecuting Statute,                                 285
        Views of the nation with regard to the Church,           285
        =Henry’s jealousy of the Prince of Wales=,               285


  HENRY V. 1413-1422.

  1413  Fortunate opening of his reign,                          287
        General amnesty and release of prisoners,                288

  1414  Signs of slumbering discontent,                          288
        The Lollards,                                            288
        =Henry’s reason for the impolitic French War=,           289
        State of France,                                         290
        Expulsion of the Burgundians from Paris,                 290
        Attempt at national government,                          290
        Henry’s double diplomacy and outrageous claims,          291
        His preparations,                                        291

  1415  =He lands in France=,                                    292
        Conspiracy of Cambridge,                                 292
        Capture of Harfleur,                                     292
        Henry compelled to retire upon Calais,                   293
        =Battle of Agincourt=,                                   295
        The French Government falls into the hands of the
            Armagnacs,                                           296

  1416  Visit of Sigismund,                                      297
        His position in Europe,                                  297
        His close union with Henry,                              297
        Failure of his mediation,                                298

  1417  Armagnac attacks Queen Isabella,                         298
        She allies herself with Burgundy,                        298
        =Henry’s second Invasion=,                               298

  1418  The Parisians, anxious for peace, admit the
            Burgundians,                                         298

  1419  Fall of Rouen,                                           299
        Negotiations for peace,                                  300
        Attempted reconciliation of the French parties,          300
        Murder of Burgundy,                                      300
        Young Burgundy joins England,                            300

  1420  =Treaty of Troyes=,                                      300

  1421  English defeat at Beaugé,                                301
        Henry hurries to Paris,                                  301

  1422  =While re-establishing his affairs he dies=,             301
        Death of Charles VI.,                                    302


  HENRY VI. 1422-1461.

  1422  =Arrangements of the Kingdom=,                           303
        =Position of affairs in France=,                         304

  1423  Bedford’s marriage,                                      304
        Release of the Scotch King,                              304

  1424  Battle of Verneuil,                                      305
        Consequent strength of the English position in France,   305
        It is disturbed by the consequences of Gloucester’s
            marriage,                                            305
        =The first blow to the Burgundian alliance=,             305

  1425  Rivalry of Beaufort and Gloucester,                      306

  1426  Gloucester’s marriage with Eleanor Cobham,               307
        Bedford again secures Burgundy,                          307

  1428  And attacks Orleans,                                     307

  1429  Battle of the Herrings,                                  308
        Danger of Orleans,                                       308
        =Joan of Arc=,                                           308
        Causes of her success,                                   310
        The siege is raised,                                     310
        March to Rheims to crown the Dauphin,                    310
        Unsuccessful attack on Paris,                            311

  1430  Capture of Joan of Arc,                                  311
        Coronation of King Henry,                                311

  1431  Joan’s death,                                            311

  1432  Increasing difficulties of the English,                  312
        State of England,                                        312
        Conduct of Gloucester,                                   312
        Death of the Duchess of Bedford,                         312
        =Bedford re-marries. Second blow to the Burgundian
            alliance=,                                           312

  1433  =Efforts at peace, and=                                  313

  1434  =Rise of a War party under Gloucester=,                  313

  1435  Great Peace Congress at Arras,                           314
        =Bedford’s death=,                                       314
        =Consequent defection of Burgundy=,                      314

  1436  Obstinacy of the War party,                              314
        Continued ill success,                                   315
        Danger from Scotland,                                    315

  1437  James’s death,                                           315

  1440  Peace party procures the liberation of Orleans,          316

  1442  =Peace becomes necessary=,                               316
        =Rise of Suffolk=,                                       316

  1445  Marriage of Henry with Margaret of Anjou,                316

  1446  Pre-eminence of Suffolk,                                 317

  1447  Gloucester’s death,                                      317
        York takes his place,                                    317

  1448  =Ministry of Suffolk=,                                   318
        His unpopularity,                                        318
        Renewal of the War,                                      318

  1449  =Fall of Rouen=,                                         319
        Popular outbreak against Suffolk,                        319

  1450  =Murder of Suffolk=,                                     319
        Continued discontent,                                    320
        Jack Cade,                                               320

  1452  =York’s appearance in arms; Civil War begins=,           320
        He is duped into submission,                             321

  1453  Imbecility of the King,                                  321

  1454  Prince of Wales born,                                    321
        York’s First Protectorate,                               322
        Recovery of the King,                                    322

  1455  York again appears in arms,                              322
        First Battle of St. Albans,                              322
        Character of the two parties,                            323

  1456  York’s Second Protectorate,                              324

  1457  With the Nevilles he retires from Court,                 324

  1458  Hollow reconciliation of parties,                        325

  1459  Renewed hostilities,                                     325
        Battle of Blore Heath,                                   325
        =Flight of the Yorkists from Ludlow=,                    325
        =Lancastrian Parliament at Coventry=,                    325

  1460  =Fresh attack of the Yorkists=,                          325
        Battle of Northampton,                                   326
        =Yorkist Parliament in London=,                          326
        =York at last advances claims to the throne=,            326
        The Lords agree on a compromise,                         326
        =York is defeated and killed at Wakefield=,              326

  1461  The young Duke of York wins the Battle of Mortimer’s
            Cross,                                               327
        The Queen, advancing to London, wins second Battle
            of St. Albans,                                       327
        Sudden rising of the Home Counties,                      327
        =Triumphant entry of Edward=,                            327


  EDWARD IV. 1461-1483.

  1461  Edward secures the crown,                                328
        Battle of Towton,                                        328
        Yorkist Parliament,                                      328

  1462  With French help Margaret keeps up the War,              328

  1464  Battle of Hedgeley Moor,                                 328
        Battle of Hexham,                                        328

  1465  =Edward’s triumph and popular Government=,               329
        =Apparent security of his Throne=,                       330
        =Destroyed by his marriage, and the rise of the
            Woodvilles=,                                         330

  1466  Power of the Nevilles,                                   331
        Their French policy,                                     331
        Edward’s Burgundian policy,                              331

  1467  =Defection of the Nevilles=,                             332

  1469  Popular risings inspired by them,                        332
        Clarence’s weakness drives them to the Lancastrians,     333

  1470  Wells’ rebellion,                                        333
        =Flight of Warwick=,                                     333
        =He returns and re-crowns Henry=,                        334

  1471  =Edward gets help from Burgundy=,                        334
        Clarence joins him,                                      335
        Battle of Barnet,                                        335
        Margaret lands in England,                               335
        Battle of Tewkesbury,                                    335
        =Edward’s triumphant return to power=,                   335
        Murder of Henry,                                         335
        Clarence’s quarrels,                                     336

  1476  With Richard,                                            336

  1477  With Edward,                                             336

  1478  His trial and death,                                     337

  1475  Edward joins Burgundy against France,                    337
        Failure of his expedition,                               337
        Treaty of Pecquigni,                                     338
        Ambitious projects of marriage for his daughters,        338

  1482  Affairs in Scotland,                                     338
        Edward supports Albany,                                  339
        He gains Berwick,                                        339

  1483  =His death and character=,                               339

  EDWARD V. 1483.

  1483  State of parties at Edward IV.’s death,                  340
        =Richard overthrows the Queen’s party=,                  340
        He is made Protector,                                    340
        He quarrels with the new nobles,                         340
        =Hastings’ death, and fall of his party=,                341
        Richard, with Buckingham’s help, secures the crown,      341

  RICHARD III. 1483-1485.

  1483  =Richard’s position, and policy of conciliation=,        345
        His strong position,                                     345
        Weak points in it,                                       346
        Disaffection in the South,                               346
        Death of the Princes,                                    346
        Projected marriage of Elizabeth and Richmond,            346
        =Defection of Buckingham=,                               347
        Richmond’s first Invasion,                               347
        Death of Buckingham,                                     347
        =Failure of the Conspiracy=,                             347

  1484  The great Act of Confiscation,                           347
        Richmond’s continued schemes,                            348
        Richard’s efforts to oppose him,                         348
        Attempts to win the Queen,                               348
        Death of the Prince of Wales,                            348
        Lincoln declared heir,                                   348

  1485  General uneasiness in England,                           348
        Richard has recourse to benevolences,                    349
        =Richmond lands at Milford=,                             349
        Conduct of the Stanleys,                                 349
        =Battle of Bosworth=,                                    349
        Richard’s character and laws,                            350


  1. SAXON ENGLAND                      At end of Book

  2. CRUSADES                              ”      ”

  3. FRANCE                                ”      ”


  5. NORTH OF FRANCE                       ”      ”

  6. ENGLAND AND WALES                     ”      ”


The history of civilization can be traced in great lines which have
more or less followed a similar direction throughout all Europe.
The interest of a national history is to observe the course which
these lines have followed in a particular instance; for, examined
in detail, their course has never been identical. The period
occupied by what we speak of as English history is that, speaking
broadly, during which the great mediæval systems--feudalism and
the Church--have by degrees given place to modern society, of
which the moving-springs are freedom of the individual, government
in accordance with the popular will, and freedom of thought. The
object of a History of England is therefore to trace that change as
it worked itself out amid all the various influences which affected
it in our own nation. The peculiar circumstances of the Norman
conquest prevented the complete development in England of either of
the great Continental systems. Neither the feudal system nor the
system of the Roman Church are to be found in their completeness
in England. The separation of England from the Empire, the entire
destruction of the Roman occupation by the German invaders,
prevented that contact between German and Roman civilization from
which Continental feudalism sprang. And though, if left to itself,
the civilization of the early English would have ripened into some
form of feudalism, it was caught by the Conquest before the process
was completed. The Normans brought with them, indeed, the external
apparatus of the completed system; but in the hands of their great
leader, and grafted upon the existing institutions of the country,
it assumed a new form. The power of the King was always maintained
and the power of the barons suppressed, while room was left under
the shadow of a strong monarchy for the growth of the lower classes
of the nation. In the same way, the Church was always kept from
assuming a position of supremacy, and its subordinate relations
to the State maintained. The establishment of this new form of
government may be held to occupy the first period of our history
since the Conquest, lasting till the reign of John. During that
time the barons, who had more than once attempted to establish the
same virtual independence as was enjoyed by their fellows abroad,
were taught to recognize the power of the Crown. The legislation of
Henry I. and Henry II., and the establishment under the latter of
a new nobility dependent for their status upon their ministerial
services, coupled with the incorporation of the national system
of justice with the feudal system of the conquerors, united all
classes of Englishmen and consolidated the nation, but in so doing
raised to an alarming degree the power of the Crown. The miserable
reign of John, and the tyrannical use he made of the power thus
placed in his hands, called attention to the dangers which beset
the administrative arrangements of his father. The total severance
of England from France, which took place in his reign, and his
rash quarrel with the Church, completed the work of national
consolidation, but placed the united nation in antagonism to the
throne. The nobility, which in other countries were the natural
enemies of all classes below them, were thus forced to assume the
lead of all who desired a reasonable amount of national freedom.

The struggle to harmonize the relations which should exist
between the Crown and the subject occupies the second period of
our history. It assumes several forms; sometimes the dislike of
foreigners, sometimes a desire for self-taxation, sometimes it
seems little more than an outbreak of an over-strong nobility. But
whatever its form, the fruits of the struggle were lasting. The
rival claims of King and nation, acknowledged and regulated by the
wisdom of Edward I., gave rise to that balanced constitution which
in its latest development still exists among us. But it would seem
that this great advance in government had been somewhat premature.
In other nations institutions resembling our Parliament sprang
into existence, and faded away before the power of the Crown, an
effect which can be traced chiefly to the strong line of division
separating the commonalty from the nobles. Without support from
the nobility, and in all its interests in direct antagonism to it,
the commonalty, after supporting the Crown in the destruction of
the baronage, found itself in presence of a power to which it was
unable to offer any resistance. Several causes already mentioned
had in England weakened the sharp definition of classes, but there
was a great risk even there of a similar failure of constitutional
monarchy. It was as the leader of the nobility that Henry IV. first
rose into importance in the reign of Richard II., and subsequently
obtained the crown. The limitation of the franchise in the reign
of Henry VI., and the consequent subserviency of Parliament,
were steps towards the elevation of an aristocratical influence,
which, had it grown till its suppression by the Crown was rendered
necessary, would have reproduced in England the historical
phenomena visible in France. Fortunately the nobility were not at
one among themselves. The various sources from which they derived
their origin, the close family connections, and personal interests,
split them into factions, which, taking advantage of a disputed
succession, brought their quarrel to the trial of the sword
with such animosity that the nobility of England was virtually

But while this faction fight, and the great French war which
preceded it, attract the attention chiefly during the third period
of the history, a quiet advance of great importance had been going
on, sheltered by the more obvious movements of the time. The same
spirit which had found its expression in the establishment of the
Constitution, had indirectly, if not directly, influenced every
class of the nation. The exclusive merchant guild had given place
to the craftsman’s guild. The wars in France, the alienation of
property fostered by the legislation of Edward I., the Black
Death, which had robbed the country of at least a third of its
labouring hands, had sealed the fate of serfdom, and established
in England the great class of free wage labourers. The same
alienation, the gradual increase and importance of trade, and the
formation and introduction of capital, had formed a middle class
of gentry, from which the successful merchant was not excluded.
Nor had this political growth been unaccompanied by an advance of
thought. The failure of the crusades, the last great exhibition
of material religion; the Franciscan revival; the philosophy of
Bacon and his successors; the bold declaration of independence on
the part of Wicliffe, and the grasping and repellent character of
the Roman Court, had shaken the Church to its foundations. The
storm which had shaken the surface of English society had left its
depths unmoved and undisturbed by the great work of extermination
proceeding overhead; these processes of growth had been gradually
continuing their course during the whole of the third period. Thus,
then, when Edward IV. emerged from the troubles of the Wars of the
Roses as King of England, his position, though it might seem very
similar to that of a king who had triumphed over his nobility, was
yet considerably modified. The nobility were no doubt gone, but
it was not the Crown which had crushed them. The Church, indeed,
threw all its influence on the side of the Crown, but it was in the
consciousness of the insecurity of its position in the hearts of
the people that it did so. The King and his Commons stood face to
face, with no intermediate class to check their mutual action, but
the Commons were already free, and headed by a rapidly rising body
of wealthy secondary landowners or merchants. Nevertheless, the
immediate effect of the destruction of the nobility was completely
to check constitutional growth, and to establish a government which
was little short of arbitrary.

The Italian statecraft, which the influence of the Renaissance
rendered paramount, for the moment increased the tendency to
absolutism; and in the reign of Henry VIII., though a shadow of
popular government yet remained, the will of the king was little
short of absolute. What may be called the fourth period of our
history is occupied by the establishment of this arbitrary power,
and the gradual awakening of national life, under the influences
of the Renaissance, and of the circumstances which accompanied the
Reformation, which tended to modify it in the reign of Elizabeth.
When Protestantism and the vigorous young thought of the reawakened
nation became linked indissolubly with the fortunes of the
sovereign in her national war against Spain, the mere necessity of
the union tended much to put a practical limit to the arbitrary
character of the new monarchy. It was the miscomprehension of the
necessity of this union between king and people which produced the
contests which occupy our history during the reign of the Stuarts.

Bred in the theory of monarchy by Divine right, the logical
offspring of feudalism, when separated from the Empire and the
Church, the Stuarts were willing to accept the arbitrary power
of their predecessors, but would not acknowledge the necessity
of harmonious action with the people, on which alone, as things
then were, such arbitrary authority could rest. The middle class
of gentry had been increasing in power and influence till they
were now in a position to assume that leadership in the nation
which the destruction of the nobles had left vacant. And behind
them there was the bulk of the people, whose Protestantism, the
religious character of the late national struggle, and the love of
truth engendered by the Renaissance, had raised to enthusiastic
Puritanism. The constitutional life, checked for a time by the
Tudor monarchy, again sprang into existence. In the struggle which
ensued it was the enthusiastic party which ultimately triumphed,
and its leader, Cromwell, is seen mingling his conscientious
efforts at the establishment of constitutional government with a
religious fervour too great to be sustained.

But his rule, freed from those parts for which, as yet, the
gentry at all events were unprepared, established, definitely
and for ever, the necessity of recurring sooner or later to the
constitutional principles of the fourteenth century. In the
Revolution of 1688 those principles triumphed. But they triumphed
in the hands no longer of a great enthusiastic leader, but of a
party, which found its chief supporters in a limited number of
noble houses, whose aristocratic pride was injured by the arbitrary
power of the sovereign, and whose influence in the formation
of Parliament promised them political superiority under the
establishment of parliamentary government. From that time till the
present the scene of the contest has been changed. A party struggle
of some thirty years gave place to the unchecked predominance of
parliamentary rule. And the last period of our history has been
occupied by the efforts of the excluded nation to make their voice
heard above that of a nominal representation, consisting in reality
of the representatives of a dominant class, under the influence
either of the great Whig families or of the Crown.


(_The founder of the family a kinsman of William I._)


                      Henry de Bohun = Maud, daughter of Geoffrey
                                     |       Fitz-Peter, Earl of Essex.
  1st Earl of Hereford.              |
    Hereditary Constable of England. |
    One of the Guardians of the      |
    Charter. Taken prisoner at       |
    battle of Lincoln. Died 1220.    |
        Humphrey, 2nd Earl of      = Maud, daughter of Earl of Ewe.
          Hereford. Made also      |
          Earl of Essex by Henry   |
          III. Godfather to Prince |
          Edward. On Barons’       |
          side. Taken prisoner     |
          at Evesham. Restored     |
          to favour.               |
                              Humphrey = Eleanor, daughter of
                        Commanded on   |       Eve and William de Braose.
                        Barons’ side   |
                        at Lewes.      |
                        Taken prisoner |
                        at Evesham.    |
                        Died 1266.     |
              Humphrey, 3rd Earl of Hereford     = Maud, daughter of
                and Essex. Restored to favour    |      Ingelram de Fines.
                by Edward I. Fought in Scotland. |
                Refused to fight for             |
                Edward I. Compelled him to       |
                ratify the Charter. Died 1298.   |
                         Humphrey, 4th Earl of Hereford = Elizabeth, daughter
                           and Essex. Fought for        |     of Edward I.
                           Edward I. and II. in         |
                           Scotland. Taken prisoner at  |
                           Stryvelin; exchanged for     |
                           Bruce’s wife. Refused to     |
                           obey Edward’s order not to   |
                           fight Despenser. Joined      |
                           Lancaster’s insurrection.    |
                           Killed at battle of          |
                           Boroughbridge, 1322.         |
      1                          2               3      |
      |                          |               |
    John = Alice Fitz-Alan,    Humphrey      William    = Elizabeth, daughter
  5th Earl     daughter of   6th Earl      Fought at    |   of Badlesmere,
  of Hereford  Earl of       of Hereford   Cressy. Made |   widow of Edmund
  and Essex.   Arundel.      and Essex.    Earl of      |   Mortimer.
  Died 1335.                               Northampton, |
                                           1337.        |
                                           Died 1360.   |
                                     Humphrey           = Joan, daughter of
                                7th Earl of Hereford,   |   Richard, 9th Earl
                                Essex, and Northampton. |   of Arundel.
                                Died 1372.              |
             |                               |
        Eleanor = Thomas of Woodstock,     Mary = Henry IV., who thus became
                    sixth son of Edward             Earl of Hereford, Essex,
                    III., who thus became           and Northampton.

(_Family founded at the Conquest._)



  Walter de Beauchamp    = Bertha de Braose.
    Fought against John. |
    Made peace with      |
    Henry III. One of    |
    the Barons-Marchers. |
    Died 1235.           |
                    Walcheline = Joan, daughter of
                    Died 1235. |   Roger Mortimer,
                               |   who died 1215.
                           William = Isabel, sister and
                Fought in Gascony. |   heiress of
                  and in Scotland. |   William Maudit,
                  Died 1268.       |   Earl of Warwick.
                               William = Maud Fitz-John,
                  1st Earl of Warwick. |   widow of Girard
                    Distinguished in   |   de Furnival.
                    Edward I.’s wars.  |
                    Died 1298.         |
                                      Guy = Alice de Toni.
                     2nd Earl, “The Black |
                       Dog of Ardenne.”   |
                       Caused Gaveston    |
                       to be beheaded.    |
                       Died 1315.         |
                                       Thomas = Catherine, daughter
                             3rd Earl. Fought |   of Roger Mortimer,
                               at Cressy and  |   1st Earl of March.
                               Poitiers. Died |
                               of the plague  |
                               at Calais,     |
                               1369.          |
                                           Thomas = Margaret Ferrars.
                    4th Earl. Governor of Richard |
                      II. Joined Thomas of        |
                      Gloucester. Condemned to    |
                      death. Banished to Isle of  |
                      Man. Kept in the Tower.     |
                      Restored by Henry IV. Died  |
                      1401.                       |
                                              Richard = 1. Eliz. de Lisle.
                         5th Earl. Fought against the = 2. Isabel Despenser,
                           Percies at Shrewsbury.     |    daughter of Earl
                           Governor of Henry VI.      |    of Gloucester,
                           Lieutenant-General of      |    widow of Richard
                           France. Died 1439.         |    Beauchamp, Earl
                                                      |    of Worcester.
           |                                      |
         Henry       = Cicely Neville.          Anne     = Richard Neville,
  6th Earl, Premier  |                    Became heiress |  “The Kingmaker.”
    Earl of England. |                    on her niece’s |
    Duke of Warwick  |                    death.         |
    (married at ten  |                                   |
    years old). Died |                                   |
    1445.            |                                   |
                     |                                   |
                     |         +-------------------------+
                     |         |                         |
                    Ann.     Isabel = George,           Ann = Prince Edward.
                Died 1449.            Duke of               = Richard III.

(_Family founded at the Conquest._)


               William de Mowbray = Agnes, daughter of Earl of Arundel.
  Strong against John. One of the |
    25 Guardians of the Charter.  |
    Taken prisoner at battle of   |
    Lincoln. Made peace with      |
    Henry III. Lands restored.    |
    Died 1222.                    |
                                 Roger = Maud, daughter of Beauchamp
                            Died 1266. |     of Bedford.
                                     Roger = Rose, daughter of Richard de
                           Fought in Wales |    Clare, Earl of Gloucester.
                             and Gascony.  |
                             Died 1298.    |
                                         John = Aliva de Braose.
                          Fought in Scotland. |
                            Warden of the     |
                            Marches towards   |
                            Scotland, 1314.   |
                            Joined Lancaster. |
                            Hanged at         |
                            York 1322.        |
                                            John = Joan, daughter of Henry,
                                  In favour with |    Earl of Lancaster.
                                    Edward III.  |
                                    Fought in    |
                                    France.      |
                                    Died 1361.   |
                                              John = Elizabeth, granddaughter
                             Died fighting against |   and heiress of Thomas
                               the Turks at        |   de Brotherton, Earl
                               Constantinople,     |   Marshall, and Earl of
                               1368.               |   Norfolk.
    |                                              |
  John, made Earl of                             Thomas = Elizabeth, daughter
        Nottingham,      Earl of Nottingham, 1383. Earl |   of Richard, Earl
        1377. Died         Marshall, 1386. Governor     |   of Arundel.
        1379.              of Calais. Helped to execute |
                           Arundel, his father-in-law,  |
                           and Thomas of Woodstock.     |
                           Had the lands of Arundel     |
                           and of Thomas Beauchamp,     |
                           Earl of Warwick. Duel with   |
                           Hereford. Banished for       |
                           life. Died at Venice, 1400.  |
            |                         |                      |
         Thomas  = Constance,       John     = Kate      Margaret = Robert
  Earl Marshall.    daughter     Earl of     |  Neville.          |   Howard.
  Joined Scrope.    of Holland,  Nottingham, |                    |
  Beheaded 1405.    Duke of      Duke of     |          John, became Duke of
                    Exeter.      Norfolk.    |            Norfolk, and Earl
                                 Died 1432.  |            Marshall after
                                             |            Anne’s death, 1483.
                                            John        = Eleanor Bouchier.
                                           3rd Duke of  |
                                             Norfolk,   |
                                             Died 1461. |
                                     John  = Elizabeth, daughter of Talbot,
                         Earl of Warrenne  |      Earl of Shrewsbury.
                          and Surrey 1451, |
                          4th Duke of      |
                          Norfolk. Died    |
                          1475.            |
                                         Anne = Betrothed to Richard,
                                                  son of Edward IV.


                    Roger, related to William I.
                    Ralph, fought at Hastings for William. Conquered
                      |        and succeeded Edric at Wigmore.
                    Hugh, opposed accession of Henry II. Conquered
                      |        by him. Died 1185.
                    Roger, constantly fighting the Welsh. Died 1215.
    |                             |
  Hugh--Strong partisan          Ralph = Gladuse, daughter of Llewellyn,
         of John.               Strong |    widow of Reginald de Braose.
         Died 1227.     against Welsh. |
                                    Roger = Maud de Braose.
    Fought in Gascony and against Wales.  |
      On Henry III.’s side against the    |
      Barons. Escaped to Wales after      |
      battle of Lewes. Planned Edward’s   |
      escape. Commanded 3rd division at   |
      Evesham. As reward was made Earl    |
      of Oxford. Sheriff of Hereford.     |
      Died 1282.                          |
                                Edmund = Margaret, a Spaniard,
        Wedding at Edward I.’s expense.|   related to Queen Eleanor.
          Died fighting against the    |
          Welsh, 1303.                 |
                                     Roger = Joan of Genevil, daughter of
             Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.   |      Lord of Trim in Ireland.
               Paramour of Queen Isabella. |
               1st Earl of March, 1327.    |
               Hanged at Smithfield, 1330. |
                                       Edmund = Elizabeth, daughter of
                               Lord Mortimer. |          Lord Badlesmere.
                                 Died 1331.   |
                                           Roger = Philippa, daughter of
                 Went to France with Edward III. |   Montague, 1st Earl
                   Knighted there. Restored      |   of Salisbury.
                   to his Earldom of March,      |
                   1355. Died 1360.              |
                                              Edmund = Philippa, daughter of
                      3rd Earl of March. Treated for |   Lionel Plantagenet,
                        peace with France when only  |   Duke of Clarence.
                        18. Lord-Lieutenant of       |
                        Ireland, 1380. Died 1381.    |
                                                   Roger = Eleanor Holland,
                             4th Earl of March, ward to  |   daughter of Earl
                               Richard, Earl of Arundel. |   of Kent.
                               Lieutenant of Ireland.    |
                               Made heir-apparent, 1386. |
                               Died 1398.                |
                |                             |
             Edmund   = Ann, daughter of     Ann = Richard Plantagenet, son
    5th Earl of March.    Earl of Stafford.      |  of Edmund of York, 5th
      Ward to Henry IV.                          |  son of Edward III.
      Fought in France.                          |  Beheaded 1415.
      Lord-Lieutenant of                         |
      Ireland. Died 1424.                        |
                                             Richard   = Cicely Neville,
                                    Baron Mortimer,    |    daughter of the
                                      Duke of York,    |    1st Earl of
                                      killed at        |    Westmoreland.
                                      Wakefield, 1460. |
                                                    Edward IV.

(_Family founded at the Conquest._)


                              Ralph de Neville = Alice de Audley.
                Commissioner to Scotland 1334. |
                  Warden of the West Marches,  |
                  conjointly with Henry        |
                  de Percy. Died 1367.         |
             |                                           |
           John Lord Neville  = Maud, daughter of    Margaret = Henry Percy,
      Lieutenant of Aquitaine |   Lord Percy.                    1st Earl of
        1379. Died 1388.      |                                  Northumber-
                              |                                  land.
                   Ralph de Neville = 1. Margaret, daughter of Hugh, 2nd Earl
      Guardian of the West Marches        of Stafford, by whom he had nine
        1386. 1st Earl of                 children. Ralph his grandson by
        Westmoreland 1399. For            this wife became 2nd Earl of
        assisting Henry IV., was made     Westmoreland.
        Earl Marshal of England.
        Fought against the Percies
        1403. Died 1425.            = 2. Joan Beaufort, daughter of
                                    |     John of Gaunt.
            |                       |                  |                 |
          Richard  = Alice,      William = Joan of   George  = Elizabeth |
        Earl of    | daughter    Lord       of       Lord      Beauchamp |
        Salisbury. | and         Falcon-   Falcon-   Latimer.  daughter  |
        Warden of  | heiress     bridge,   bridge.   Died      of 5th    |
        the        | of the      Earl of             1649.     Earl of   |
        Marches.   | Earl of     Kent.                         Warwick.  |
        Beheaded   | Salisbury.  Died 1462.                              |
        after      |                                                     |
        Wakefield, |                                                     |
        1460.      |                                                     |
                   |                                                     |
  +----------------+                                                     |
  |                                                                      |
  |                                                                      |
  |    +----------------------+-------+----------------+----------+------+--+
  |    |                      |       |                |                    |
  |  Edward = Elizabeth    Robert,  Kate = Duke of   Eleanor = Lord         |
  |  Lord       Beauchamp   Bishop          Norfolk.            Spencer     |
  |  Abergav-   heiress of  of           = Sir John          = Henry        |
  |  enny.      the         Durham.         Woodville.          Percy       |
  |             Despensers.                                     2nd Earl    |
  |                                                             of North-   |
  |                                                             umberland.  |
  |                                                                         |
  |                                                +------------------------+
  |                                                |
  |                                        +---------------+
  |                                        |               | (& 4 others.)
  |                                   Anne = 1st    Cicely = Richard
  |                                        | Duke          | Duke of
  |                                        | of            | York.
  |                                        | Buck-         |
  |                                        | ingham.       |
  |                                        |               |
  |                                        |            Edward IV.
  |                                        |
  |                         +--------------+------------+
  |                         |                           |
  |                     Humphrey = Margaret           Henry = Margaret
  |                                of Somerset.               Tudor.
        |                         |           |                   |         |
    Richard  = Anne Beauchamp,  Thomas.     John   = Isabel    George,      |
  Earl of    | heiress of the   Killed at   Lord      Ingolds-  Arch-       |
  Warwick.   | 6th Earl of      Wakefield,  Montague. thorp.    bishop      |
  “The King  | Warwick. On the  1460.       Killed at           of York,    |
  Maker.”    | death of her                 Barnet              Chancellor. |
  Killed at  | daughters her                1471.                           |
  Barnet,    | inheritance was                                              |
  1471.      | restored to her,                                             |
             | and by her                                                   |
             | transferred to                                               |
             | Henry VII.                                                   |
             |                                                              |
         +---+--------------------+                                         |
         |                        |                                         |
       Isabel = George, Duke    Anne = Edward, Prince of Wales.             |
                  of Clarence.       = Richard III.                         |
     |              |                   |               |                   |
   Joan = Fitz-   Cicely = Henry      Alice = Lord   Eleanor = Thomas       |
          Alan,            Beauchamp,         Fitz-          | Stanley,     |
          16th             Duke of            Hugh.          | who          |
          Earl of          Warwick.                          | afterwards   |
          Arundel.       = Earl of                           | married      |
                           Worcester,                        | Margaret     |
                           beheaded,                         | Tudor.       |
                           1470.                             |              |
                                                             |              |
                                                           Lord Strange.    |
                    |                        |
                  Kate = Lord            Margaret = De Vere, Earl of Oxford.
                         Bonville.                = Lord Hastings.


                                 William Marshall = Isabel de Clare, heiress
                     Governor while Richard at    |    of Strongbow, Earl of
                     at Crusade. Made Earl of     |    Pembroke.
                     Pembroke 1199. John gave him |
                     Leinster 1208. Guardian of   |
                     Henry III. Died 1219.        |
               1                                  |     2
               |                                        |               |
          William, 2nd Earl of   = 1. Alice,        Richard, 3rd Earl   |
            Pembroke, one of the      daughter        of Pembroke.      |
            25 Guardians of the       of Earl of      Fought against    |
            Charter. Fought           Albermarle.     Henry III. for    |
            against Llewellyn.     2. Eleanor,        his castles in    |
            Captain-General in        sister of       Ireland. Killed   |
            Brittany. Died 1231.      Henry III.      in Ireland 1234.  |
           3                       |         4
           |                                 |                          |
        Gilbert, 4th Earl = Margaret,     Walter, 5th Earl = Margaret,  |
          of Pembroke.      daughter       of Pembroke.      daughter   |
          Opposed to           of          Acknowledged by      of      |
          Henry III.        William,       Henry III. in      Robert    |
          Killed at a       King of        in spite of the      de      |
          tournament        Scotland.      family politics.   Quincy.   |
          1241.                            Died 1245.                   |
       5                        |        6
       |                                 |                              |
    Ansolm, 6th = Maud de              Maud   = 1. Hugh Bigod, 3rd      |
     Earl of         Bohun,       Obtained    |    Earl of Norfolk.     |
     Pembroke      daughter of     office of  |    One of the 25        |
     for eighteen  Humphrey,       Marshall on|    Guardians of the     |
     days only.    2nd Earl of     Anselm’s   |    Charta. Died 1225.   |
     Died 1245.    Hereford.       death.     | 2. William of Warrenne, |
                                              |     Earl of Surrey.     |
                                              | 3. Walter of            |
                                              |     Dunstanville.       |
                                              |                         |
  +-------------------------------------------+                         |
  |                                                                     |
  |                                +------------------------------------+
  |                                |
  |                                |
  |    7                8          |           9                10
  |    +----------------+----------+-----------+-----------------+
  |    |                |                      |                 |
  |  Joan = Warine    Isabel  = 1. Gilbert  Sybil = William de  Eve = William
  |         de Mont-   Had        de Clare.   Had     Ferrars,      de Braose
  |         chensy.   Kilkenny  2. Richard,  Kildare  Earl of       of
  |                   for her     Earl of    for her  Derby.       Brecknock.
  |                   portion.    Cornwall.  portion.
                 |                                     |
          Roger Bigod  = Isabel, sister of       Hugh Bigod  = Joan Burnet.
        4th Earl of        Alexander,          Made Chief    |
        Norfolk. A hot     King of             Justice by    |
        partisan of the    Scotland.           the Barons    |
        Barons. Made                           1257.         |
        Governor of Orford                                   |
        Castle by the                                        |
        Barons after Lewes.                                  |
        Inherited the                                        |
        Marshallship                                         |
        through his mother.                                  |
                        Roger Bigod = 1. Alice Basset, widow of Despenser.
                5th Earl of Norfolk.  2. Joan, daughter of Earl of Bayonne.
                Compelled Edward to
                ratify the Charter.
                Made him his heir.
                [Edward made his son
                Thomas (de Brotherton)
                Marshall and Earl of

(_Family founded at the Conquest._)


        John Fitz-Alan = Isabel, heiress of Albini,
  Fought against John. |    4th Earl of Arundel.
  Died 1239.           |
            John, 5th Earl = Maud de Verdun.
            of Arundel.    |
            Died 1270.     |
                John, 6th Earl = Isabel de Mortimer.
                Died 1272.     |
                 Richard, 7th Earl = Alice de Saluce.
                 Died 1301.        |
                      Edmund, 8th Earl = Alice Plantagenet, heiress of the
     Received the confiscated lands of |   Earl of Warrenne and Surrey.
     Mortimer. Fought in Scotland.     |
     Beheaded by Mortimer 1326.        |
                         Richard, 9th Earl = Eleanor, daughter of Henry
                   Restored by Edward III. |  Plantagenet, Earl of Lancaster.
                   Died 1375.              |
       |                             |             |
    Richard  = Elizabeth, daughter  Thomas       John = Eleanor Maltravers.
  10th Earl. |   of William de      Arundel,          |
  Fought in  |   Bohun, Earl of     Archbishop        |
  France.    |   Northampton.       of Canterbury.    |
  Beheaded   |                      Chancellor.       |
  1398.      |                      Died 1413.        |
             |                                        |
      +------+--------+                   John, 12th Earl = Eleanor Berkeley.
      |               |                 Lord Maltravers.  |
  Thomas       Elizabeth = William,     Died 1421.        |
  Restored by              son of the                     |
  Henry IV.                2nd Earl of          John, 13th Earl = Maud Lovel.
  11th Earl.               Salisbury.         Fought in France  |
  Died 1415.             = Thomas  Mowbray.   Died 1434.        |
                           [See Mowbray.]                       |
                                 |                                   |
                               William  = Joan Neville,          Humphrey
                             15th Earl. | daughter of Earl      14th Earl.
                             Died 1487. | of Salisbury.
                           Thomas, 16th Earl = Margaret Woodville.
                           Died 1524.        |
                              William, 17th Earl = Anne, sister of
                                    Died 1543.   |  the Earl of
                                                 |   orthumberland.
                                    Henry, 18th Earl  = Catherine Grey,
                                  Imprisoned in       |  daughter of 2nd
                                  Edward VI.’s reign. |  Marquis of Dorset.
                                  Died 1579.          |
                                                    Mary = Thomas Howard,
                                                            who became Earl
                                                            of Arundel.

(_Family founded in Henry I.’s reign._)


                   Hugh  = Aliva Basset of Wycombe,
  Joined Barons against  |   widow of Roger Bigod,
    Henry III. Made      |   Earl of Norfolk.
    Justiciary 1260. Had |
    custody of the King  |
    after Lewes. Killed  |
    at Evesham, 1265.    |
                        Hugh  = Isabel, daughter of Beauchamp,
     Fought at Dunbar, 1296.  |   1st Earl of Warwick,
       In favour with Edward  |   widow of Patrick Chaworth.
       I. Favourite of Edward |
       II. Banished by        |
       Parliament. Recalled.  |
       One of Lancaster’s     |
       judges. Earl of        |
       Winchester. Seized by  |
       Isabella. Hanged,      |
       aged 90, 1326.         |
                            Hugh  = Eleanor, daughter of Gilbert de Clare,
         The favourite of Edward  |    Earl of Gloucester.
           II. Excited the enmity |
           of the Barons.         |
           Impeached and hanged,  |
           1327.                  |
                   |                          |
           Hugh, Baron in            Edward   = Anne Ferrars.
             Parliament, 1338.     Died 1342. |
             Fought in France and             |
             Scotland. Died 1349.             |
                                          Edward = Elizabeth de Burghersh.
                                      Fought at  |
                                      Poitiers.  |
                                      Died 1375. |
                                              Thomas  = Constance, daughter
                            Made Earl of Gloucester,  |   of Edmund, 5th son
                             1398. Degraded by        |   of Edward III.
                             Henry IV. Beheaded, 1400.|
                             |                              |
    2.                       |      1.                      |
    Richard Beauchamp    = Isabel = Richard Beauchamp,  Richard = Eliz.,
    5th Earl of Warwick, |        | Lord Abergavenny,             daughter of
    nephew of Earl of    |        | Earl of Worcester.            Ralph, Earl
    Worcester.           |        |                               of West-
                         |        |                               moreland.
                         |        |
      Cicely Neville = Henry    Elizabeth = Edward Neville, son of Ralph,
        d. of Earl                           1st Earl of Westmoreland,
        of Salisbury.                        who thus obtained the
                                             Baronies of Despenser and


                  HENRY III.
     |                              |
  Edward I.                       Edmund    = Blanche, daughter of Robert
               Proposed King of Sicilies.   |   of Artois, third son of
                 was Earl of Chester, 1246, |   Louis VIII., widow of King
                 was given the land of      |   of Navarre.
                 Simon de Montfort. Made    |
                 Earl of Leicester. Fought  |
                 in Scotland, Wales,        |
                 Gascony. Crusade,          |
                 1270-1272. Died 1295.      |
               |                                            |
            Thomas  = Alice, daughter                 Henry = Maud, daughter
  Earl of Lancaster,    of de Lacy,    Earl of Leicester,   |  and heiress of
    Lincoln,            Earl of        1324. Helped to      |  Sir Patrick
    Salisbury,          Lincoln        depose Edward II.    |  Chaworth.
    Leicester, and      and            Guardian to Edward   |
    Derby. Fought       Salisbury.     III. Restored to his |
    in Scotland.                       brother’s Earldoms,  |
    Headed the                         1327. Captain-General|
    party against                      in Scotland. Died    |
    both Gaveston                      1345.                |
    and the                                                 |
    Despensers.                                             |
    Taken prisoner                                          |
    at Boroughbridge.                                       |
    Beheaded at                                             |
    Pontefract, 1321.                  +--------------------+
                |                                 |
              Henry  = Isabel, d.    2. Ralph  = Maud = 1. William de Burgh,
  Captain-General    |  of Lord      de Ufford |      | Earl of Ulster.
  in Scotland. Earl  |  Beaumont.              |      |
  of Derby, 1338.    |              Thomas = Maud.  Elizabeth = Lionel,
  Fought in Flanders |             de Vere,                   |  Duke of
  and Sluys. Earl    |             8th Earl                   |  Clarence.
  of Lancaster and   |             of Oxford.                 |
  Leicester, 1345.   |             Died 1371.            Philippa = Edmund
  Steward of         |                                               Mortimer
  England. Duke of   |                                                (see
  Lancaster and Earl |                                             Mortimer).
  of Lincoln, 1350.  |
  Died 1360.         |
      |                          |
    Maud = Lord Stafford.    Blanche = John of Gaunt, Earl of Richmond,
         = Duke of Zeeland.          |  who thus became Duke of Lancaster,
           No children.              |  Earl of Derby, Lincoln and
                                     |  Leicester.
                                  Henry IV. (Earl of Hereford, Derby,
                                             Lincoln and Leicester,
                                             and Duke of Lancaster.)


           William de la Pole  = Catherine, daughter of
  Great Merchant at Kingston,  |   Sir John Norwich.
    advanced £1000 to Edward   |
    III., for which he was     |
    made a Banneret.           |
                Michael de la Pole  = Katherine Wingfield.
              Earl of Suffolk 1385. |
              Impeached and exiled. |
              Died at Paris 1388.   |
                             Sir Michael = Katherine, daughter of
                 Restored to his Earldom | the Earl of Stafford.
                 1399. In the French     |
                 wars. Died at Harfleur  |
                 1415.                   |
                 |                            |
               Michael                    William, 4th Earl = Alice, grand-
   3rd Earl of Suffolk.           Commanded at Verneuil and |  daughter of
   Died at Agincourt              Orleans. Brought Margaret |  Chaucer.
   1415.                          of Anjou over. Duke of    |
                                  Suffolk 1448. Impeached,  |
                                  banished, murdered in the |
                                  boat, 1450.               |
                               John de la Pole = Elizabeth, sister
                         Duke of Suffolk 1463. | of Edward IV.
                         Died 1491.            |
      |                           |                         |
    John, Earl of Lincoln.     Edmund. Fought at        Richard. Fought
   Lord Lieutenant of          first for Henry VII.     for the French.
   Ireland. Declared heir-     Subsequently took        Died at Pavia 1525.
   apparent by Richard III.    offence and withdrew     His dukedom of
   Joined Lambert Simnel.      to his aunt Margaret     Suffolk given to
   Died at Battle of           of Burgundy. Was given   Charles Brandon.
   Stoke 1487.                 up. Imprisoned in the
                               Tower. Executed as
                               a Yorkist 1513.


                          John of Gaunt = Catherine Swinford.
       1                                |                  2
       |                                                   |           |
  John, Earl of Somerset  = Margaret, daughter of    Henry Beaufort,   |
    One of the accusers   |   Sir Thomas Holland,    Cardinal Bishop   |
    of Gloucester, 1397.  |   Earl of Kent.          of Winchester.    |
    Died 1410.            |                                            |
                          |                                            |
     +--------------------+                                            |
     |                         3                  4                    |
     |                         +------------------+--------------------+
     |                         |                  |
     |                  Thomas = Margaret    Joan = Sir Ralph Neville,
     |      Earl of Dorset and     Neville.           first Earl of
     |      Exeter. Admiral 1404.                     Westmoreland.
     |      Chancellor. Fought at
     |      Agincourt. Died 1426.
             1                 2       |
             |                 |                                |
          Henry.             John = Margaret, daughter of       |
          Died     Lieut.-Gen. in |   Sir John Beauchamp.       |
          young.   France. Killed |                             |
                   himself, 1444. |                             |
                                  |                             |
                             Margaret = 1. Edmund Tudor,        |
                                      |    Earl of Richmond.    |
                                      | 2. Sir Henry Stafford,  |
                                      |    son of 1st Duke      |
                                      |    of Buckingham.       |
                                      | 3. Thomas, Lord         |
                                      |    Stanley.             |
                                      |                         |
                                Henry VII.                      |
                            3              |               4
                            |                               |
                          Edmund,  = Eleanor Beauchamp,   Jane = James I. of
            1st Duke, 4th Earl     |   daughter of 5th              Scotland.
            of Somerset, fought    |   Earl of Warwick.
            under Duke of Bedford. |
            Beseiged Harfleur.     |
            Regent of France,      |
            1445. Killed at St.    |
            Albans, 1455.          |
         |                |        |            |
      Henry, Duke of   Edmund     John,      Margaret = Humphrey, Earl of
       Somerset,        Beaufort,  killed at          |  Stafford (son of 1st
       beheaded after   beheaded   Tewkesbury.        |  Duke of Buckingham,
       Hexham, 1464.    after                         |  who died at battle
                        Tewkesbury,                   |  of Northampton).
                        1471.                         |  Killed at St. Albans
                                                      |  1455. [See genealogy
                                                      |  of Edward III.]
     Henry, 2nd Duke of Buckingham = Catherine Woodville.
       Helped Richard III. Joined  |
       Richmond. Beheaded 1483.    |
                  Edward, Duke of Buckingham  =  Eleanor, daughter of Percy,
                Restored by Henry VII. High   |    Earl of Northumberland.
                Constable. Offended Wolsey.   |
                Beheaded 1521.                |
                     Henry, Lord Stafford  = Ursula, daughter of
                     restored in blood by  |  Sir Richard Pole
                     Edward VI., 1547.     |  and Margaret
                     Died 1562.            |  Plantagenet.
                           |                             |
                        Edward, Baron Stafford.      Richard, whose grandson
                                                       became a cobbler.



                        Richard de Widvile  = Jacquetta of Luxembourg,
                     Seneschal of Normandy. |   widow of Duke of Bedford.
                     Earl Rivers 1466.      |
                     Beheaded 1469.         |
             |                       |           |           |          |
          Anthony  = Elizabeth,    John,       Lionel,     Richard,     |
          Lord        heiress of    Beheaded    Bishop of   2nd Earl    |
          Scales.     Lord Scales.  1469.       Salisbury.  Rivers.     |
          Earl Rivers.                                                  |
          Guardian                                                      |
          of Edward V.                                                  |
          Beheaded                                                      |
          1483.                                                         |
                         |                       |                      |
     2. Edward IV. = Elizabeth = 1. Sir John   Margaret = Fitz-Alan,    |
                   |           |   Grey a                 Earl of       |
                   |           |   Lancastrian.           Arundel.      |
                   |           |   Died at St.                          |
  +----------------+           |   Albans 1455.                         |
  |                            |                                        |
  |    +-----------------------+                                        |
  |    +                                     +--------------------------+
  |    |                                     |
  |    |                                     |
  |    |      +---------------------+--------+------------+
  |    |      |                     |                     |
  |    |    Mary = Earl of    Katherine = 2d Duke of    Anne = Lord Bouchier.
  |    |           Huntingdon.             Buckingham.       = Earl of Kent.
  |    |                                = Jaspar Tudor.      = Sir Anthony
  |    |                                = Sir Richard           Wingfield.
  |    |                                   Wingfield.
  |    |
  |    +----------------------------+
  |                                 |
  |                    +------------+--------------+
  |                    |                           |
  |                 Thomas, 1st  = Cecily      Sir Richard Grey
  |               Marquis of     |  Bonvile.    Beheaded 1483.
  |               Dorset,        |
  |               escaped to     |
  |               Brittany       |
  |               1483. Restored |
  |               by Henry VII.  |
  |               Died 1501.     |
  |                              |
  |                              |
  |                           Thomas Grey = Margaret Wotton.
  |                2nd Marquis of Dorset. |
  |                A great General under  |
  |                Henry VIII. Died 1530. |
  |                                       |
  |                                 Henry Grey = Lady Frances Brandon,
  |                             3rd Marquis of |   daughter of Henry
  |                             Dorset. Duke   |   VII.’s daughter Mary.
  |                             of Suffolk.    |
  |                             Beheaded 1554. |
  |                                            |
  |                       +--------------------+-------+
  |                       |                            |
  |                Lady Jane Grey = Guildford     Katherine = Edward
  |                                   Dudley.                   Seymour.
       |      |     |                  |                      |
    Edward V. | Elizabeth = Henry VII. |                      |
              |                        |                      |
              |                  Katherine = Sir William    Anne = Duke of
            Richard,                       |  Courteney,            Norfolk.
             Duke of                       |  Earl of Devon.
             York.                         |  Suspected of
                                           |  treasonable
                                           |  intercourse with
                                           |  Edmund de la Pole.
                                           |  Imprisoned till
                                           |  1509. Died 1512.
                       Edward Courtenay. Marquis = Gertrude Blount,
                       of Exeter. Involved in    |  daughter of
                       Henry Pole’s conspiracy.  |  Lord Mountjoy.
                       Beheaded 1539.            |
                                        Edward Courtenay,
                                  Imprisoned from 1539 to 1553.
                                  Proposed as a husband for
                                  Elizabeth, 1554. In Wyatt’s
                                  rebellion. Died at Padua 1566.


[Sidenote: Departure of the Romans.]

The dominion of the Romans in Britain had been complete. The
country, as far as the Frith of Forth, had been brought under Roman
civilization. But in England, as elsewhere, the continuance of that
form of civilization had produced weakness; and the unconquered
Britons of the North, known by the name of Picts, broke into the
Romanized districts, and pushed their incursions far into the
centre of the country. On all sides, the nations outside the Empire
were breaking through its limits and threatening its existence.
The danger which threatened the very heart of the Empire, from the
advance of the Goths into Italy, compelled the Romans in 411 to
withdraw their legions from Britain, and leave the inhabitants of
the island to fight their own battles with the Picts. When these
enemies formed an alliance with the pirates of Ireland, known by
the name of the Scots, and with the German pirates of the North
Sea, known as English or Saxons, the civilized Britons were unable
to make head against them, and found it necessary to seek for aid
among the invaders themselves They therefore made an arrangement
with two Jutish chiefs or Ealdormen, Hengist and Horsa, to come to
their assistance. The German rovers consisted of three nations--the
Saxons, the inhabitants of Holstein, who had advanced along the
coast of Friesland; to the north of them the Angles or English, who
inhabited Sleswig; and still further to the north, the Jutes, whose
name is still perpetuated in the promontory of Jutland.

[Sidenote: The Jutish settlement in Kent. 449.]

[Sidenote: The Saxons in Sussex. 477-495.]

[Sidenote: The Angles in East Anglia. 520.]

The first landing-place of the Jutish allies of the Britons was in
the Isle of Thanet, separated at that time by a considerable inlet
from the British mainland. Their aid enabled the Britons to drive
back the Pictish invaders. But their success, and the settlement
they had formed, enticed many of their brethren to join them,
and their numbers were constantly increasing. Increase of numbers
implied increased demand in the way of payment and provisions.
Quarrels arose between the new-comers and their British allies.
War was determined on. The inlet which divided Thanet from the
mainland was passed, and at Aylesford, on the Medway, a battle was
fought, which, though it cost Horsa his life, put the conquering
Barbarians into possession of much of the east of Kent. The victory
was followed by the extermination of the inhabitants; against the
clergy especially the anger of the conquerors was directed. The
country was thus cleared of the inhabitants, and the new-comers
settled down, bringing with them their goods and families and
national institutions. This process was repeated at every stage of
the conquest of the country, which thus became not only a conquest
but a re-settlement. The Jutish conquest of Kent was followed,
in 477, by an invasion of the Saxons, who, under Ella, overran
the south of Sussex, and captured the fortress of Anderida near
Pevensey; and in 495, by a fresh Saxon invasion under Cerdic and
Cymric, who passed up the Southampton water and established the
kingdom of the West Saxons. A momentary check was given to the
advance of the conquerors, in 520, at the battle of Mount Badon.
But almost immediately fresh hordes of Angles began conquering
and settling the East of England, where they established the East
Anglian kingdom, with its two great divisions of Northfolk and
Southfolk. Between that time and 577, the date of a victory at
Deorham, in Gloucestershire, the West Saxons had overrun what
are now Hampshire and Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and the
valley of the Severn, reaching almost as far as Chester; while the
Angles, entering the Humber and working up the rivers, established
themselves on the Trent, where they were known as Mercians or
Border men, and formed two Northern kingdoms, that of Deira in
Yorkshire, and that of Bernicia, extending as far as the Forth. The
capital of this last-named kingdom was Bamborough, founded by Ida,
and called after his wife Bebba, Bebbanburgh, or Bamborough.

The junction of these two kingdoms under Æthelfrith, about 600,
established the Kingdom of Northumbria; thus was begun the process
of consolidating the several divided English kingdoms. This
tendency to consolidation is marked by the title of Bretwalda,
which is given to the chief of the nation dominant for the time
being. The name had been applied to Ella of Sussex, to Ceawlin
of Wessex, and was held at the time of the establishment of the
Northumbrian power by Æthelberht of Kent. There were thus two
pre-eminent powers among the English--Northumbria, under its
king Æthelfrith, claiming supremacy over the middle districts of
England, including the Mercians and Middle English; and Kent, under
Æthelberht, paramount over Middlesex, Essex, and East Anglia;
while a third kingdom, that of Wessex, though large in extent and
destined to become the dominant power, was as yet occupied chiefly
in improving its position towards the west. Beyond these lay the
district still in the possession of the Britons. The possessions of
this people were now divided by the conquest of the English into
three--West Wales, or Cornwall; North Wales, which we now call
Wales; and Strathclyde, a district stretching from the Clyde along
the west of the Pennine chain, and separated from Wales by Chester,
in the hands of the Mercians, and a piece of Lancashire in the
hands of the Northumbrians.

[Sidenote: Conversion of the English. 597.]

It was while the kingdoms of Northumbria and Kent were thus in
the balance that the conversion of the English to the Christian
faith began. Æthelberht of Kent had married Bercta, the daughter
of the Frankish King of Paris. She was a Christian; and Gregory
the Great at that time occupying the Roman See, which was rapidly
rising to the position of supremacy in the Christian Church, took
advantage of the opening thus afforded, and despatched a band of
missionaries under a monk named Augustine to convert the people.
In 597 they landed in Thanet. By the influence of the Queen they
were well received, and established themselves at Canterbury,
which has ever since retained its position as the seat of the
Primacy. The Kings of Essex and East Anglia followed the example
of their superior Lord, and became Christians. The Northern
kingdom was still heathen. But Eadwine, who succeeded Æthelfrith
on the Northumbrian throne, surpassed his predecessor in power.
On Æthelberht’s death, he received the submission of the East
Anglians and men of Essex, and conquered even the West Saxons.
Kent alone remained independent, but was compelled to purchase
security by a close alliance with Eadwine, who married a Kentish
princess. With her went a priest, Paulinus; and priest and Queen
together succeeded in converting Eadwine, and bringing the Northern
kingdom to Christianity. Heathenism was however not extinct. It
found a champion, Penda, King of the Mercians. In alliance with
the Welsh king he attacked and defeated Eadwine, in 633, at the
battle of Heathfield, and united under his power those who were
properly called Mercians and the other English tribes south of
the Humber. He also conquered the West Saxon districts along
the Severn, and thus established what is generally known as the
Kingdom of Mercia. Paulinus had fled from York after the battle
of Heathfield. But the contest between heathen and Christian was
renewed by Oswald, Eadwine’s successor; for Paulinus’ place was
taken by Bishop Aidan, a missionary from Columba’s Irish monastery
in Iona, who had established an Episcopal See in the Island of
Lindisfarne. From thence missionaries issued, who continued the
work of conversion, to which Oswald chiefly devoted his life.
Birinus, sent from Rome, with the support of Oswald, succeeded
in converting even Wessex, and establishing a Christian church
at Dorchester. Penda still continued in the centre of England to
uphold the cause of heathendom. At the battle of Maserfield he
conquered and slew Oswald, and re-established his religion for
a time in Wessex. But at length, in 655, he succumbed to Oswi,
Oswald’s successor, and with him fell the power of heathendom. It
seemed as though Irish Christianity, and not Roman, would thus be
the religion of England. But Rome did not suffer her conquests
to slip from her hand. A struggle arose between the adherents of
the two Churches. The matter was brought to an issue in 664 at a
Council at Whitby. The Roman Church there proved predominant. And
this victory was followed by the appointment of Theodore of Tarsus,
an Eastern divine, to the See of Canterbury. Under him the English
Church was organized. Fresh sees were added to the old ones, which
had usually followed the limits of the old English kingdoms.
Canterbury was established as the centre of Church authority.
Theodore’s ecclesiastical work tended much both to the growth of
national unity and to the close connection of Church and State
which existed during the Saxon period. The unity of the people was
expressed in the single archiepiscopal See of Canterbury and in the
Synods; while the arrangement of bishoprics and parishes according
to existing territorial divisions connected them closely with the

[Sidenote: Supremacy of Mercia. 716-819.]

The contest for supremacy between Mercia and Northumbria still
continued. After the fall of Penda, the supremacy of the Northern
kingdom was for some time unquestioned. But sixty years later,
during the reign of three Christian kings, Ethelbald, Offa, and
Cenwulf (716-819), Mercia again rose to great power. Offa indeed
came nearer to consolidating an empire than any of the preceding
kings, although he is not mentioned among the Bretwaldas. It is
said that he corresponded on terms of something like equality
with Charlemagne; and the great dyke between the Severn and the
Wye which bears his name is supposed to mark the limits of his
conquests over the Britons.

[Sidenote: Ecgberht. 800-836.]

[Sidenote: Consolidation under the West Saxons.]

With these princes the supremacy of Mercia closed, for a great
king had in the year 800 ascended the throne of Wessex. Ecgberht
had lived as an exile in his youth at the court of Charlemagne,
and there probably imbibed imperial notions. During his reign of
thirty-six years he gradually brought under his power all the
kingdoms of the English, whether Anglian or Saxon. In 823, at the
great battle of Ellandune, he defeated the Mercians so completely
that their subject kingdoms passed into his power. Four years later
Mercia owned his overlordship, and Northumbria immediately after
yielded without a struggle. These great kingdoms retained their
own line of sovereigns as subordinate kings. Ecgberht continued
the hereditary struggle against the British populations, with the
West Welsh or Cornish, and the North Welsh or Welsh, and in each
instance succeeded in establishing his supremacy over them. North
of the Dee, however, his power over the British population did
not spread. Thus the kingdom of the West Saxons absorbed all its
rivals, and established a permanent superiority in England.

[Sidenote: Period of Danish invasion. 790-1013.]

Already, however, a new enemy, before which the rising kingdom
was finally to succumb, had made its appearance; a year before
his death, Ecgberht was called upon to defend his country from
the Danes. This people, issuing from the Scandinavian kingdoms in
the North of Europe, had begun to land in England, to harry the
country, and to carry off their spoil. At first as robbers, then
as settlers, and finally as conquerors, for two centuries they
occupy English history. Their first appearance in this reign was
at Charmouth in Dorsetshire. Subsequently, in junction with the
British, they advanced westward from Cornwall. This led to the
great battle of Hengestesdun, or Hengston, where the invaders were
defeated (835). It seems not unnatural to trace the appearance
of the Northern rovers in England to the state of the Continent.
Driven from their own country by want of room, obliged to seek new
settlements, they found themselves checked by the organized power
of Charlemagne’s empire. They were thus compelled to find their new
home in countries they had not yet visited. The reign closed with
the capture of Chester, the capital of Gwynedd, the British kingdom
of North Wales.

[Sidenote: Æthelwulf. 836-857.]

The reign of Æthelwulf, the successor of Ecgberht, was chiefly
occupied in constant war with the Danes. Various success attended
his efforts. The great battle at Ockley (851), where they were
heavily defeated, for a time kept them in check; but, on the whole,
the invaders constantly gained ground, and at last, in 855, for
the first time so far changed their predatory habits as to winter
in the Isle of Thanet. Another characteristic of Æthelwulf’s
reign is the connection with Rome which he established. When his
youngest son Alfred was still a child, he sent him to Rome, where
the young prince was anointed; and two years afterwards he himself
took the same journey, was received on the road by Charles the
Bald, King of France, and spent a whole year in Italy. He there
re-established the Saxon College, and by his engagement to supply
funds for its support seems to have originated the well-known
Peter’s Pence. His connection with Charles the Bald was further
cemented by his marriage with Judith, daughter of that king. After
Æthelwulf’s death she married her stepson Æthelbald, was divorced
by him, returned to France, married Baldwin of Flanders, and was
the ancestress of Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror. These
connections show the rising importance of England, and the entrance
of the country into the general politics of Europe. Something in
Æthelwulf’s government, perhaps his lengthened absence abroad,
or the step he had taken in getting Alfred anointed, excited
discontent. His eldest surviving son, Æthelbald, conspired with
other nobles to exclude him from the country, and he was forced to
consent to a compromise, accepting as his own kingdom, Kent and the
Eastern dependencies of Wessex, while his son ruled over the rest
of the kingdom.

[Sidenote: Æthelbald. 858-860.]

[Sidenote: Æthelberht. 860-866.]

On his death he bequeathed his own dominions to Æthelberht, his
second son, while Wessex was, upon the death of Æthelbald, to pass
in succession to his two sons, Æthelred and Alfred. In spite of
this will, on the death of Æthelbald five years later, Æthelberht
of Kent succeeded in making good his claims to Wessex also, and
upon Æthelberht’s death, after a reign of five years, marked only
by renewed attacks of the Danes, both kingdoms passed without
question to Æthelred.

[Sidenote: Æthelred. 866-871.]

[Sidenote: Danish conquest of East Anglia. 870.]

It was during the reign of Æthelred that the Danes first
established themselves permanently in the country. In 867 Ingvar
and Hubba, said to be the sons of Ragner Lodbrog, a great
Scandinavian hero, invaded England. Legend says that this invasion
was intended to exact vengeance for the death of their father,
who had been cruelly put to death by Ella of Northumberland.
There are chronological difficulties in the way of accepting this
story, which are increased by the fact that the Danish landing
was really in East Anglia. Thence, in 867, they advanced into
Northumbria and took York. The anarchy in which Northumbria lay,
caused by the rival claims of Osberht and Ella to the throne,
rendered its conquest easy. In 868, they marched towards Mercia,
and took Nottingham. Burhred, the King of Mercia, then implored
the aid of Æthelred and his brother Alfred, who so far succeeded
that they drove the Danes back to Northumbria. From thence, in
870, an invasion, under many leaders, whose connection is not very
clear, was directed against East Anglia. They were there joined by
Guthrum, another Danish leader, and their combined forces pressed
victoriously onwards through Croyland, to Peterborough, Huntingdon,
and Ely. After defeating the English at Thetford, they took Edmund,
the Saxon King of East Anglia, prisoner, and, upon his refusal to
accept the pagan religion, put him to death. For his constancy he
was honoured with the title of Saint Edmund. East Anglia was thus
completely in possession of the Danes, and Guthrum took to himself
the title of king. East Anglia became henceforward for some time
the principal point of Danish settlement in England. From thence
the invaders passed into Wessex, under the command of Bagsecg
and Halfdene. They were vigorously met by Æthelred. They pushed
on, however, as far up the Thames as Reading, near which town a
series of battles was fought,--at Englefield, where the Danes were
beaten; at Reading, where the fortune of the day was changed; and
subsequently at the great battle of Ashdown, where the victory of
the English was regarded as being due to Alfred, who, being in
command of half the army, attacked and defeated the enemy, while
his brother was losing the precious moments in prayer for success.
Though the victory of Ashdown was complete, it did not close the
war. Almost immediately afterwards we hear of battles at Basing and
at Merton, in which the Danes were again successful. These battles
took place just before the death of Æthelred.

[Sidenote: Alfred. 871-901.]

[Sidenote: Treaty of Wedmore.]

He was succeeded at once by his brother Alfred. Another victory
of the Danes at Wilton compelled Alfred to make peace. For a
time the Danes withdrew from Wessex, and employed their energy
in subjugating Mercia. Burhred, who had married Alfred’s sister,
was driven from the throne, and retired to Rome to die. A Danish
agent, named Ceolwulf, was put in his place, and the country laid
under heavy contribution. But Ceolwulf in his turn was displaced,
and the Danes took possession of much of the country themselves,
conquering among other places the five great towns, Lincoln,
Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, and Stamford, known as the five
Danish Burghs, or, with the addition of York and Chester, the seven
Burghs. They also carried their invasions northward, and Cumberland
and part of Strathclyde were overrun and peopled by them, under the
command of Halfdene. Nor was the treaty with the East Anglian Danes
permanent. Guthrum sailed round the coast and captured Wareham and
Exeter. To oppose them on their own element, Alfred introduced a
new form of ship, of greater size and length than had hitherto been
used, and succeeded in winning a great naval victory in Swanage
Bay. But the Danish forces were gradually closing round him. London
and Essex had been taken, and a colony of Danes had conquered South
Wales. At length, attacked in all directions, his kingdom of Wessex
was practically limited to the country of the Somersœtas; and,
unable to make head against his enemies, the King took refuge among
the impassable morasses of the river Parret. It is during this
time of his exile that the well-known story of the burnt cakes is
told. But while apparently completely beaten, Alfred succeeded in
gathering a new army, issued from his seclusion, and attacking the
Danes at Edington (878), near Westbury, completely defeated them.
The consequence of this battle was the Treaty of Wedmore. By this
treaty the kingdom of East Anglia was surrendered to the Danes, and
a line was drawn to separate their kingdom from that of Wessex.
This line from the Thames ran along the Lea to Bedford, then along
the Ouse till it struck Watling Street, and then followed Watling
Street to the Welsh Border. The greater part of Mercia was thus
restored to Wessex. In exchange, Anglia and Mercia beyond this
line were ceded to the Danes, who were to hold them as vassals of
the West Saxon king, and who were to become Christians. The limits
of their occupation are still to be traced by the occurrence of
the termination “by” in the names of the towns; it was in many
instances appended to the name of the Danish holder of the manor.
Guthrum, on his baptism, took the name of Æthelstan, and many
difficulties in the chronology of the legends of the time may
be solved by supposing that the Æthelstan mentioned in them is
Guthrum, and not the Æthelstan who reigned in the year 925. This
treaty, although it curtailed the supremacy of Wessex, made the
kingdom in fact stronger, and secured a temporary rest for the
whole of England. Mercia, that part of it at least which remained
English, was governed by its Alderman Æthelred, and by the King’s
daughter Æthelflæd, known as the Lady of the Mercians. On the death
of Gutred, the Danish King of Northumbria, Alfred re-established
his power there, and the peace and prosperity of England were
further increased by the fact that the energy of the Danes was for
the present chiefly directed against France and Belgium. Guthrum
died in 890, and though the treaty was confirmed by his successors,
the defeat of the Danes in Belgium threw fresh invaders into the
kingdom. In 893, Hasting, a well-known sea-rover, in alliance
with the Anglians and Northumbrians, committed fresh ravages in
all directions; but at last, having ventured up the Lea, Alfred
hit upon the expedient of draining the river, and leaving their
ships aground. After this they were glad to retreat, but lesser
expeditions were constantly vexing the coast. The reign of Alfred
is thus divided into two periods of Danish war, between which, and
at the close of his life, there occurred intervals of peace.

[Sidenote: Appreciation of Alfred’s character.]

It has been usual to attribute to Alfred most of the marked
peculiarities of English civilization, the formation of shires,
the establishment of juries, and so on. Such assertions will not
bear examination. As a lawgiver, he collected the laws of the
three principal states over which he ruled--Kent, Mercia, and
Wessex--which had been already recorded by the Kings Æthelberht,
Offa, and Ine. As a warrior he was on the whole victorious, and
understood the necessity of establishing a fleet, which he appears
to have constructed on a different principle from that of the
Danes, the ships being longer, and serving less as mere stages on
which to fight. As a governor he was impartial and strict; his
police was severe, the system of mutual responsibility became
universal, and under him the idea of morality began to mingle with
the idea of injury to the commonwealth, which had been the Saxon
notion of crime. His son Eadward, who succeeded him, was probably
as great as his father, but he had not the love of literature which
forms the marked characteristic of Alfred’s public life. It has
been questioned whether Alfred could himself read; however this
may have been, he was so conscious of the necessity of literature
for the people that he set himself to work to make translations
for them. “The History of the World on Christian Principles,” by
Orosius, Bede’s “History of the Anglo-Saxon Church,” and Boethius’
“Consolation of Philosophy,” were the works he translated.
Besides his own literary work, he established conventual schools
at Shaftesbury and Athelney, and probably a more general one at
Oxford. The love of the people, whom his indefatigable energy saved
from their barbarous and pagan invaders, has attributed to their
hero an original genius of which there are no distinct proofs.
What is really known of him is, that he was an able, honest,
persevering governor, gifted with that power and habit of method
and organization which is perhaps more useful in advancing early
civilization than greater and more splendid gifts. Upon Alfred’s
death, though England, as a whole, had suffered by the loss of the
country granted to the Danes, or, as it was called, the Danelagu,
Wessex had assumed a position of superiority, and was regarded
as the representative state of the English. This position it
fully vindicated during the reigns of Eadward, Alfred’s son, who
succeeded him, and of the four next kings, till the kingdom of
Wessex grew to be the kingdom of England, and exerted an imperial
supremacy over the whole island.

[Sidenote: Supremacy of Wessex.]

[Sidenote: Eadward the Elder. 901-925.]

Eadward’s first difficulty was with his cousin Æthelwulf, the
son of Alfred’s elder brother Æthelred. This prince claimed the
throne. He landed in England, was driven to Northumbria, where he
was chosen king, and then, in company with Eohric, the King of
East Anglia, marched up the Thames to Cricklade. He was however
defeated, and with his ally killed by a portion of the English
army near the Ouse. The consequence was the renewal of the
acknowledgment of the supremacy of Wessex by Guthrum II. of East
Anglia. In conjunction with his sister, the Lady of the Mercians,
Eadward attempted to secure himself from further molestation by the
erection of numerous stone castles. These castles, which seem to
have been built on a new and better plan than any before erected,
became also in many instances the origin from which towns sprang;
for laws were passed creating them into markets, and forbidding
bargains to be made without the walls. Some sort of monopoly
of trade was thus secured for fortified posts. On the death of
Æthelflæd, Mercia, both Anglian and Danish, submitted to Eadward’s
authority. He continued the active government of his sister, and
went on with her work of fortress-building. An invasion by the
Danes of Northumbria in conjunction with the Welsh, who hoped to
find Mercia unguarded, was signally defeated. The Welsh kings
swore alliance to Eadward, and the Danes of Northumbria, and even
the Kings of Scotland and Strathclyde, acknowledged him as their
“father and lord.” Eadward was thus in fact master of the whole of
England, and had completed more thoroughly the work of Ecgberht.
The greatness of his position is clearly marked by the marriages
of his children with the greatest Princes of the Continent. One
married Charles the Simple of France, a second Hugh the Great,
Count of Paris, a third Otto I., Emperor of Germany.

[Sidenote: Æthelstan. 925-940.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Brunanburh. 943.]

The greatness Eadward had thus secured descended to his son
Æthelstan, with whom the grandeur of the Saxon monarchy reached
its highest point. He married one of his sisters to a Northumbrian
prince, Cytric, receiving his allegiance for Benicia from the Tees
to Edinburgh, and, on the death of Cytric, incorporated the country
with his own dominions. Cytric’s two sons fled, the one to Ireland,
where the Danes received him willingly, the other (Guthrith) to
Constantine, King of Scotland. The consequence of the escape of
these princes became evident in after years. In 934, Constantine
and his heir Eorca, Owen or Eugenius, King of Cumberland, made
war upon England, but were defeated and compelled to acknowledge
the supremacy of Æthelstan. The attention of the English King
was subsequently drawn abroad, where he upheld the cause of his
nephew, Louis de Outre-Mer, son of Charles the Simple, against the
attacks of his brothers-in-law, the German Otto and Hugh of Paris.
It was while thus employed that the Scotch kingdoms again rose in
insurrection. A great conspiracy against Æthelstan appears to have
been formed, at the head of which were Anlath, son of that Guthrith
who had fled to Scotland, Constantine, Owen, and several princes
of the Danes from Ireland. Their object was the re-establishment
of the Danish power in Northumbria. The attempt was completely
thwarted by the great battle of Brunanburh, near Beverley, in
Yorkshire. Not long after this decisive victory Æthelstan died. His
splendid reign is further marked by legislation of a more original
description than that of his predecessors. He ordered, among other
things, that every man should have a lord who should be answerable
for him to justice, and rendered more systematic the arrangement
of mutual responsibility, which appears to have been one of the
principles of Saxon police.

[Sidenote: Eadmund. 940-946.]

[Sidenote: Eadred. 946-955.]

His younger brothers, Eadmund and Eadred, followed in his
footsteps, defeating the Northumbrian rebels, who from time to
time elected kings of their own, but were completely conquered by
Eadred. He so thoroughly incorporated the country with his own,
that its ruler could no longer claim the title of king. Both
Bernicia and Deira were bestowed as an earldom on Osulf, who had
assisted in the conquest of the rebels, and remained in the hands
of his family till the Norman Conquest. Eadmund also maintained
his supremacy over Scotland, with which country his relations were
of a very friendly nature, as he granted a part of the kingdom
of Strathclyde, consisting of Cumberland and Galloway, to King
Malcolm, to be held by military service.

[Sidenote: Rise of Dunstan.]

The policy of Eadred and of his successors seems so closely
connected with the rise of Dunstan, that it may be justly
attributed to him. The monkish historians, to whom we owe our
knowledge of this great man, have overlaid his history with
mythical stories, and have given him a character and policy to
suit their own purposes. In their eagerness to secure the name of
the greatest statesman of the age in support of their pretensions
against the secular clergy, they have drawn him as a youth of
miraculous gifts, of severe monkish asceticism, whose claim to
greatness consisted in the establishment of the Benedictine rule.
In the same way they have painted his opponent King Edwy [Eadwig]
in the blackest colours. The common story tells us that, after a
childhood passed in learning, so deep as to excite a suspicion
of magic, illness drove Dunstan to the cloister at Glastonbury;
that he there established the Benedictine rule, entering with
such vehemence into its spirit that his asceticism almost turned
his brain. On the accession of Edwy, the young king, it is said,
deserted the assembly of the nobles, to pass his time in the
company of the beautiful Ælfgyfu [Elgiva], his mistress. Dunstan
is represented as violently dragging the unworthy king back to
his proper place, as securing the banishment of Ælfgyfu, and with
his partisans cruelly putting her to death upon her return. Edwy
is then described as raging fiercely against all the monks in his
kingdom. In truth, it is in politics rather than in ecclesiastical
discipline that Dunstan’s greatness must be sought, and he must
take his place in history rather as a conciliatory and patriotic
governor than as an ascetic and violent churchman.

Born at the beginning of King Æthelstan’s reign, and trained
partly at Glastonbury, where he found and studied books left by
wandering Irish scholars, and partly at the King’s Court like
other young nobles of the time, an illness induced him to devote
himself to the Church. His interest secured him the Abbey of
Glastonbury at the early age of seventeen. He shortly returned
to the Court, became the King’s treasurer, and as an influential
minister joined himself to the party which he found pre-eminent
during the reign of Eadred. That king was a constant invalid, the
influence of the Queen Mother was paramount, and she was supported
by the chiefs of East Anglia and those whose views were national
rather than provincial. The kingdom of Northumbria was in a state
of ceaseless confusion. Again and again the Danes and Ostmen
raised insurrections there. Wulstan, the Archbishop of York, with
constantly shifting policy, at one time supported the insurgents,
at another persuaded the Northern Witan to submit to Eadred. At
length, in a final insurrection, he was overcome and imprisoned.
The affairs in Northumbria had to be settled. It is here that the
national policy of the dominant party made itself felt. Contrary
to the views of the Wessex nobles, who would have wished for
active interference of the government, the kingdom was reduced to
the condition of an earldom under Osulf. But English supremacy
being thus established, Wulstan was released, and self-government
both in Church and State permitted. This conciliatory policy was
interrupted by the death of Eadred.

[Sidenote: Edwy. 955-957.]

[Sidenote: Eadgar. 957-975.]

The new King Edwy, nephew of Eadred, was a mere child, and a
palace intrigue, headed by Æthelgyfu and her daughter Ælfgyfu,
who had obtained influence over the lad, drove the Queen Mother
Eadgyfu from the Court, and established the power of the Wessex
party. Unpopular among the Wessex nobles and in his own monastery,
Dunstan was driven abroad, and took refuge in Ghent. But his party
was still strong in England. Indignant probably at a violent
resumption of grants from the Folkland, the nobles of England,
with the exception of Wessex, set up Edwy’s younger brother Eadgar
as a rival king, and were sufficiently powerful to oblige Edwy to
divide the kingdom and content himself with the territories of
Wessex south of the Thames. Dunstan was recalled by his partisans.
He received from King Eadgar the sees of Rochester and of London;
and when, on the death of Edwy, Eadgar succeeded to the undivided
sovereignty of the kingdom, Dunstan rose with him, and became his
chief minister and Archbishop of Canterbury.

[Sidenote: Dunstan’s government.]

[Sidenote: Division of Northumbria.]

As minister, Dunstan had both Church and State to reform. In
both, decay had made great progress. The increased importance
of the English King had raised him to a position very different
from that of the tribal monarch. Along with the King had risen
his dependants, the old members of the Comitatus. His Thegns or
servants, rendered rich by grants of the public land, had gradually
succeeded the old nobility by birth, of the German races. The
troubled situation of the country had driven the freeholders more
and more to seek safety by placing themselves and their land in a
state of dependence on the Thegns. Even as early as Alfred every
man was obliged to have a lord. At the same time the spirit of
provincialism was strong, each district which had been a separate
kingdom wishing to maintain its own independence. Dunstan seems
to have understood that a change in the character of the monarchy
was inevitable, and that national unity could only be secured by
upholding that change, placing the monarch in what may be regarded
as an imperial position over the subject kingdoms, and allowing
the separate districts as much self-government as possible. Within
the kingdom of Wessex itself, and perhaps of Mercia also, he
established a strict police, and suppressed disorder with a strong
hand. Beyond that, the largest freedom was permitted. Thus, the
subordination of Northumbria was further secured by its division
into three parts. The district between the Tees and the Humber was
intrusted to Oslac. From the Tees to the Tweed remained in the
hands of Osulf, while the Lothians between the Tweed and the Forth
were given out on military service to the King of Scotland; and in
subsequent history it was this district, peopled with English and
Danes, which formed the civilized centre of the Scottish kingdom.
But, when the supremacy of Wessex was thus secured, the Danes of
the North were allowed to keep their own customs and make their
own laws. Similarly, friendship with the Northmen of Ireland was
maintained, and through their friendship the King was enabled
to keep up a powerful fleet, which constantly sailed round the
coasts, and kept them free from foreign invasion. The tradition
that Eadgar was rowed upon the Dee to Chester by eight tributary
kings, whether the fact be true or not, points to the imperial
position which Dunstan had secured for him. In the Church the same
policy was pursued. The great disturbances of the kingdom had
thrown much power into the hands of the Church, the most permanent
element of society. This increase of influence had been followed
by an increase of secularity. The bishops became statesmen, and
even commanders of armies. The older form of monasticism died out.
Marriage of priests was constant. Livings began to be handed on
from father to son. There was some chance of the establishment
of an hereditary priestly caste. In Ghent, Dunstan had become
acquainted with the Benedictine rule lately established there.
He saw its efficiency for securing discipline among the clergy.
Like other strong rulers, he regarded anarchy with aversion,
and was therefore anxious to introduce the rule into England. He
intrusted the work to his friend Æthelwold, whom he made Bishop of
Winchester, and to Oswald, whom he raised to the See of Worcester.
In Wessex and Mercia he carried out his reform with vigour, even
with violence: but, as in his secular government, he kept himself
under the restraints of prudence. Thus, when Oswald was appointed
Archbishop of York, he made no efforts to restrain the marriage of
the clergy, and in Dunstan’s own See he yielded to the prejudices
of the people, and allowed the abbeys to continue in the hands
of secular clerks. The title of Eadgar the Peaceful, and a reign
of seventeen years unbroken by any great foreign war, attest the
success of Dunstan’s policy.

[Sidenote: Eadward the Martyr 975-979.]

[Sidenote: Fall of Dunstan.]

But with Eadgar’s death, and the accession of his son Eadward,
this prosperous state of things ended. For a time Dunstan held his
own, but not without strong opposition. Again and again he had
to plead his cause before the Witan. And at one synod, at Calne,
it was intended to bring the matter to a crisis. Beornhelm, a
Bishop of the Scottish Church, was brought forward as a champion
by his enemies. His eloquence was carrying the assembly with him,
and Dunstan could only appeal to heaven for assistance. Nor was
that assistance denied; by accident or design, the floor of the
upper chamber where the meeting was held gave way in that part
where Beornhelm and his friends were seated, and they were hurried
to swift destruction, while Dunstan’s triumphant party remained
uninjured on the floor above. But even miraculous interferences did
not suppress the enemies of the Prelate. A conspiracy, in which
Ælfthryth [Elfrida], the mother of Ethelred, seems to have been
chiefly engaged, was formed; and Eadward, returning from the chase,
was killed at her castle at Corfe.

[Sidenote: Æthelred the Unready. 979-1016.]

[Sidenote: Third Period of Danish invasion.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Maldon. 991.]

[Sidenote: The first Danegelt. 994.]

[Sidenote: Æthelred’s marriage with Emma.]

[Sidenote: Massacre of St. Brice. 1002.]

[Sidenote: Pernicious influence of Eadric Streona.]

Eadward the Martyr, as his monkish chroniclers call him, being
thus disposed of, his brother, Æthelred the Unready, ascended the
throne. Dunstan, compelled to assist at the coronation, did so
only to denounce curses on the new king He had to withdraw from
Court. His policy was at an end. Mercia and the North fell away
from Wessex. The King’s own character, at once weak and cruel, was
not such as to inspire confidence; and we accordingly enter upon
a period of almost inexplicable treasons, weakness, and disorder.
The Danes reappear on the coast, and what has been spoken of as
the third period of Danish invasion begins. The fleets were no
longer merely piratical expeditions, but were commanded by kings
of whole countries, and towards the end of the period the object
was no longer plunder, or even settlement, but national conquest.
The change was closely connected with the gradual consolidation
of the three Northern kingdoms of Europe--Norway, Sweden, and
Denmark, in each of which, as in England, one sovereign had now
become paramount. The chief personage in these invasions is Swegen
or Swend, son of the King of Denmark. In the year 982 he made
his appearance on the English coasts, and Southampton, Chester,
and London were either taken or destroyed. The kingdom was in no
condition to offer a firm resistance. Internal dissensions had
already begun. The King was at enmity with the whole of Dunstan’s
party. We hear of a fierce quarrel with the Bishop of Rochester.
The allegiance of Mercia and Northumbria was more than doubtful.
East Anglia, where resistance to a kindred people might have been
least expected, alone succeeded in checking the Danes. There, under
Brihtnoth, the great battle of Maldon was fought, which forms the
subject of one of the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon poems. Such
single instances of resistance were of no real avail. Sigeric of
Canterbury, who had succeeded to Dunstan’s position and policy,
and was therefore by no means unfriendly to the Danes as the
opponents of Wessex, induced the King to entertain a fatal plan
of buying off the invaders. With the consent of his Witan, he
raised £10,000, with which he bribed the Danish hosts. This was
the origin of the tax known as Danegelt, which became permanent,
and lasted till the reign of Henry II. The effect of such a bribe
was naturally only to excite the Northern robbers to further
efforts. Accordingly, in 994, Swegen and Olaf of Norway made their
appearance, and England was assaulted by the national fleets of
Denmark and Norway. Divided by faction, undermined by treason,
and without a leader, the English knew no expedient but the
repetition of bribes. Olaf, as a Christian, was indeed induced to
return to his own country, but Swegen’s invasions were continuous.
Supported by the disloyal chiefs of the North, he ravaged in turn
Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent. And when, in the year
1000, a temporary lull occurred, Æthelred, with a madness which
seems almost inconceivable, insisted on quarrelling, first with the
King of Cumberland, who is said to have refused the disgraceful
tribute demanded of him, though willing to serve with his forces
against the Danes, and afterwards with the Normans in France.
An expedition undertaken against this people with ridiculous
ostentation was easily defeated. A peace was made, and hostility
changed into alliance, cemented by the marriage of the King with
Emma, a Norman Princess. In her train came certain followers, who
obtained high office and military commands, and added a fresh
element of weakness to already weakened England. But though
contemptible in the field, with the craft and cruelty of a weak
mind Æthelred planned the massacre of all the Danes in Wessex. Many
of these were settled quietly in different parts of the country,
or billeted and living on friendly terms with their landlords.
On the 13th of November 1002, on the festival of St. Brice, the
cruel plan was carried out. Among other victims was a sister of
Swegen’s who had become a Christian; she was put to death with
circumstances of unusual barbarity, it is said, at the instigation
of Eadric _Streona_, or _the Gainer_. This man henceforward plays
a prominent part in the history. Though of low birth, he had
contrived to make himself the favourite of the King, whose daughter
he subsequently married. Selfish, unscrupulous, and treacherous,
his influence as the King’s adviser was most pernicious; while, if
it suited his own ends, he never hesitated to betray his master.
So completely is he identified with the disasters of England, that
there is scarcely any criminal act of the reign that is not traced
to him. But his repeated treasons do not seem to have destroyed
the trust which Æthelred and his nobler son Edmund placed in him.
After the massacre of St. Brice the Danes naturally sought revenge.
Exeter was taken by the treachery of Hugh the Frenchman, one of
Emma’s followers. Wiltshire and Salisbury were deserted by the
traitor Ælfric. Again East Anglia, under Ulfcytel the Ealdorman,
made the only show of resistance; but here too, treason, not of
the commander but of the soldiers, themselves of Danish origin,
proved fatal. Famine and civil quarrels added to the misery of
the English. Again Eadric is visible, ruining rival Thegns, and
advising still further use of bribes. In 1006, he had succeeded in
getting made Ealdorman of the Mercians. His family rose with him,
and in 1008, when at last a great national fleet was collected, the
quarrels of his brother Brihtric and his nephew Wulfnoth destroyed
its utility.

[Sidenote: Thurkill’s invasions.]

[Sidenote: Swegen’s invasion.]

[Sidenote: England submits to Swegen. 1013.]

In the same year, a fresh host, one division of which was commanded
by Thurkill or Thurcytel, one of the most formidable of the
Danish sea kings, made its appearance In 1010, the English were
again defeated at the battle of Ipswich, and the country was in
a condition of absolute collapse. Mercia and Wessex itself were
overrun. The cause of Æthelred looked so hopeless, that Eadric
the Gainer thought it time to change sides, and after the capture
of Canterbury and the death of the Archbishop St. Alphege, the
Witan was collected under Eadric, without the participation of the
King, and a further large tribute paid, while by some arrangement,
probably the cession of East Anglia, Thurkill was drawn to the
English side. This step of Thurkill seems to have opened Swegen’s
eyes at once to the inutility of single invasions, and to the
possibility of himself effecting some similar arrangement. He felt
confident of the support of Northumbria and Mercia against Wessex.
He therefore moved his fleet to the Humber, and advanced to York.
He had not miscalculated. The whole of the Danelagu joined him, and
with this assistance, leaving his son Cnut behind him in command of
the fleet in the Humber, he advanced into Wessex. His success was
constant. Oxford was taken, and the royal town of Winchester. At
Bath the Danish conqueror received the submission of the Thegns of
the West. London, which we find constantly rising in importance,
alone held out, nor was it till Æthelred deserted the city that it
surrendered. But then, there being no longer any opposition, Swegen
was, in fact, King of England. Æthelred sought and obtained an
asylum in Normandy, till recalled by Swegen’s death the following

[Sidenote: Restoration of Æthelred. 1014.]

The Danes acknowledged Cnut as King, but the bulk of the English
wished to retain the House of Cerdic, if Æthelred would pledge
himself to rule better. This he promised to do, and his cause
for a time was successful. Cnut had to retreat to his ships.
Nevertheless, we hear of another large tribute, but it was paid
probably to a fleet of Danish auxiliaries serving upon the English
side. Eadric had of course again joined the victorious party; but
again his persistent treachery was the destruction of the country.
He enticed Sigeferth and Morkere, Thegns of the Five Danish Burghs,
to Oxford, and there murdered them. Sigeferth’s widow was kept a
prisoner, and taken in marriage by Edmund Ironside, Æthelred’s
son. This prince thus acquired possession of the Five Burghs, and
secured an influence which enabled him to take up a position in
opposition to Eadric. On the renewal of the invasion by Cnut both
Eadric and Edmund collected their forces; but, angry at the new
rivalry he was experiencing, Eadric led his troops to join Cnut.
Wessex was thus thrown open, and by a strange inversion of affairs,
Edmund, with Utred of Northumberland, occupied the northern part of
England, while the Danes, under Cnut and Eadric, held Wessex and
the South. In 1016, Æthelred died.

[Sidenote: Edmund Ironside. April to Nov. 1016.]

[Sidenote: Five great battles.]

[Sidenote: Division of England.]

The Witan of the South immediately, under the influence of the
conquerors, elected Cnut as his successor, but London and the
rest of the Witan chose Edmund. It was plain that Wessex could
acknowledge Cnut only through fear, and thither Edmund betook
himself, and collected troops. As if to prove what the English
could do if well commanded, in a few weeks he fought, on the whole
successfully, five great battles. At Pen Selwood in Somerset; at
Sherstone, where the English were only prevented from winning
by a trick of Eadric’s, who, raising the head of another man,
declared it was the head of the slain English king; at Brentford;
and afterwards, when Eadric had again changed sides, at Otford in
Kent; and Assandun in Essex. In this last battle the whole forces
of England were arrayed. The sudden withdrawal of Eadric, who was
commanding the Magesætas, or men of Hereford, secured a victory
for the Danes, and Edmund had to retreat across England into the
country of the Hwiccas, or Gloucestershire. Not yet wholly beaten,
he was preparing for a sixth battle, when he was persuaded to make
an arrangement similar, though not identical, with that which
Alfred had made with Guthrum. He surrendered to Cnut Northumberland
and Mercia, retaining for himself Wessex, Essex, East Anglia, and
London. On St. Andrew’s Day of the same year, Edmund Ironside
died, a misfortune, like most other acts of villainy of the time,
attributed to Eadric. With him fell the hope of the English. The
treachery of Eadric, the folly of Æthelred, met with their reward,
and Cnut was acknowledged King of England.

[Sidenote: Cnut. 1017.]

[Sidenote: The four Earldoms.]

[Sidenote: Cnut’s patriotic government.]

Indeed, Edmund’s sons were so young that it was not probable that
the Witan would elect them. The only other claimant was Edwy,
Edmund’s brother. To secure himself against him, Cnut is said to
have employed Eadric to put him to death; and though he escaped on
that occasion, he was certainly outlawed, and all the old members
of the royal family were kept abroad. The children of Æthelred and
Emma, Edward and Alfred, were in Normandy with their mother. The
children of Edmund Ironside, Edward and Edmund, were sent first to
Sweden, and then to Hungary, where Edward married Agatha, niece of
the Emperor Henry II. Cnut’s object, on finding himself King of
England, appears to have been to obliterate, as far as possible,
the idea of conquest, to rule England as an English king, and
making that country the centre of his government, to form a great
Scandinavian Empire. To this end, pursuing the policy of Dunstan,
he divided England into four great earldoms, representing the old
kingdoms. Northumberland and East Anglia were intrusted to Danes;
Mercia was given to Eadric; Wessex he kept in his own hands.
Eadric’s influence had compelled Cnut thus to promote him, but he
so mistrusted him, that within a year he caused him to be put to
death. In the same year he sent for Queen Emma from Normandy, and
married her, though she must have been much older than himself,
with the object apparently either of connecting himself with the
late dynasty, or of securing the friendship of the Normans. The
next year the Danish fleet was sent home. Englishmen were again put
in high office. Thus Leofric was made Earl of the Mercians, and
Godwine, of whom we now first hear, and whose origin and rise is
variously related, was made Earl of Wessex, presumably the second
man in the country. Thus, too, Cnut flattered the feelings of the
English by moving the body of St. Alphege, who had been killed by
the Danes twelve years before, with all honour to his own Church at
Canterbury; and thus, too, he did not scruple to fill the English
bishoprics with Englishmen, and even to promote them to high office
in Denmark. During his reign England was at peace within its
own borders, while Scotland was brought to submission. In 1031,
Malcolm, King of the Scotch, and two under-kings, did homage to the
English King. A strong, well-ordered government was established,
supported for the first time by a standing body of troops, known as
the House-carls. Early in the reign Eadgar’s law had been renewed
with the advice of the Witan, and, in 1028, Cnut promulgated a code
of his own, which is little else than repetition of former laws
and customs. But the proof of his good government is this, that
just as the law of the great Eadgar was looked on as typical, and
demanded by Cnut’s Witan, and as after the Conquest the Confessor’s
law was demanded, so we find the people of the North demanding
Cnut’s law,--in each case law meaning system of government. His
importance as a king is marked by the respect shown him on his
pilgrimage to Rome in the year 1027. There, as he tells his people
in a letter which he sent them, he negotiated with the Pope, the
Emperor, and King Rudolph of Burgundy, for the free passage of
English pilgrims and merchants; he received large gifts from the
Emperor, and made the Pope promise to lessen his extortions upon
granting the Pallium or Archiepiscopal cloak. His daughter by Queen
Emma, Gunhild, was, moreover, thought a fitting wife for Henry,
afterwards the Emperor Henry III. Cnut died still young in 1035.

[Sidenote: Disputed succession.]

[Sidenote: Importance of Earl Godwine.]

[Sidenote: Harold. 1037.]

[Sidenote: Harthacnut. 1040.]

With him fell his plans, both of the Scandinavian Empire and of
good government in England. His sons, Harold and Harthacnut, in
no way inherited his greatness; they appear to have been little
better than savage barbarians. The succession was disputed between
them. Godwine and the West Saxons obtained the South of England for
Harthacnut, while Harold reigned in the North. But as Harthacnut
did not come to England, but remained in his kingdom of Denmark,
Godwine was the practical ruler. This great Earl, whose sympathies
were wholly national, was accused of putting to death Alfred, the
son of Æthelred and Emma, who seems to have taken advantage of
the absence of Harthacnut to aim at re-establishing himself in
Wessex. But as the actual murderers were the men of Harold whom
Godwine had opposed, it would seem that the charge was a false one.
The continued absence of Harthacnut enabled Harold to secure the
whole of the kingdom, over which he reigned for two years. On his
death, in 1040, Harthacnut stepped unopposed into his position. His
short reign was marked by no great events. Godwine, having cleared
himself by oath and by compurgation (in which a large number
of Earls and Thegns joined) of the charge of murdering Alfred,
remained in power. A tyrannical use of the King’s House-carls in
collecting a tax produced an outbreak in Worcester, which was
punished with brutal severity. And when the King fell dead, while
drinking at a bridal feast, the English were glad to be rid of a
line of such barbarous sovereigns, and to restore the House of
Cerdic in the person of the late king’s half-brother Edward, who,
in the absence of direct descendants of the Danish house, entered
almost unopposed on the kingdom.

[Sidenote: Edward the Confessor. 1042.]

[Sidenote: Rivalry between Godwine and the French party.]

[Sidenote: Godwine banished. 1051.]

[Sidenote: Return and death of Godwine. 1052.]

It was the eloquence of Godwine which overcame the slight
opposition offered to Edward’s election, and secured him the
throne. This nobleman thus reached the summit of his power, and
two years afterwards his daughter Edith became the King’s wife.
Edward’s education and training had rendered his tastes and policy
as decidedly French as those of Godwine were national. There thence
arose, and continued throughout the reign, a constant enmity
between the two parties--the Frenchmen, whom Edward brought over
in great numbers and employed particularly as bishops, and the
national party, headed by Godwine and his sons. It is the progress
of this quarrel which forms the history of the reign, side by side
with the efforts of Godwine to push his family prominently forward
in opposition to the family of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. On the
one hand, the King lavished favours upon his foreign followers.
A Frenchman, Robert of Jumièges, became Bishop of London, and
afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury; Ulf, another Norman, became
Bishop of Dorchester in Oxfordshire; Ralph, the son of Edward’s
sister and the Count of Mantes, was made an Earl; and Eustace of
Boulogne, her second husband, was loaded with honours. On the other
hand, Godwine succeeded in securing for members of his own family
the earldoms of Somersetshire and Herefordshire, and of the East
and Middle Angles. The crisis of the rivalry at length arrived. It
arose from an outrage committed by the followers of Eustace on the
citizens of Dover. The townsmen rose against the insolent Normans
and drove them from the city; and when Godwine, as Earl, was called
upon to punish the citizens, he positively refused unless they were
fairly tried before the Witan. Both sides took up arms,--Godwine
and his sons on one side; the King, with Siward of Northumberland,
Leofric of Mercia, and his own French partisans on the other. The
armies faced each other in Gloucestershire; but Godwine, unwilling
to press matters to extremity, accepted the proposal of Leofric
that the question should be referred to the Witan. When the Witan
assembled, the King was there with a great army. Overawed by this
force, the Witan, recurring to the old charge against Godwine and
to a late act of violence on the part of his son Swend, ordered
Godwine and his sons to appear before them as criminals. This they
refused to do unless hostages were given, and as this demand was
refused, they would not appear, and were outlawed. Godwine and
three sons retired to Baldwin of Bruges, Leofwine and Harold to
Ireland. The French party were triumphant. Robert, as we have seen,
was made Archbishop, William, another Frenchman, succeeded him as
Bishop of London, and Odda, probably an Englishman in the French
interest, was given the western part of Godwine’s earldom. Harold’s
earldom was given to Ælfgar, son of Leofric. At the same time, to
complete the French influence, William of Normandy came over to
England, and, as he always declared, received a promise of the
succession from his cousin Edward.

The administration of foreigners was so unpopular and so
unsuccessful, that Godwine and his family thought that an
opportunity had arisen for their return. Unable to procure their
restoration by peaceful means, they determined upon using force;
and after various expeditions, but feebly opposed by the English,
who at heart wished them well, Godwine found himself strong enough
to sail up the Thames; and so preponderating was the feeling of
the country in his favour, that, as the King refused justice, it
was agreed that the matter should be referred to the Witan. What
their decision would be was not doubtful, so the French prelates
and earls and knights, who had been building feudal castles, at
once fled, and Godwine and his sons came back in triumph. Stigand,
a priest, who had been originally appointed by Cnut to an abbey
raised at Assandun in memory of the Danish victory over Edmund
Ironside, and who had acted as principal mediator, was elected
to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, left vacant by the flight of
Robert. The next year Earl Godwine died suddenly, while at dinner
with the King.[1] His death restored the balance between the two
great families. While Harold succeeded to the earldom of the West
Saxons, and the vacant earldom of Northumbria was given to his
brother Tostig, East Anglia was restored to Leofric’s son Ælfgar.
Earl Siward of Northumbria had died in 1055.[2]

[Sidenote: Importance of Earl Harold.]

[Sidenote: Death of Edward. 1066.]

The succeeding years are marked by the gradual increase of the
power of Harold and his family. In 1055 Earl Ælfgar was outlawed,
and his earldom given to Gurth, Harold’s brother. The exiled Earl,
making common cause with Griffith [Gryffydd] of Wales, defeated
Ralph, the French Earl of Herefordshire. To repair this disaster
the war was intrusted to Harold; he prosecuted it with success,
and Herefordshire, which he had thus rescued, was added to his
earldom. The death of Leofric still further increased the power of
the House of Godwine, although Ælfgar, the late Earl, was allowed
to succeed him; and finally, Essex and Kent were formed into an
earldom for Leofwine, the remaining brother of Harold. Godwine’s
sons now possessed all England, with the exception of Mercia. The
last probable heir to the throne--the Ætheling Edward, the son of
Edmund Ironside--had been brought over from Hungary, but had died
almost immediately after reaching England. And when, in 1063,
Harold, by employing his men as light troops, succeeded in the
final subjugation of Wales, his greatness was such that he must
almost certainly have been regarded as the next king. Three years
afterwards, in January 1066, King Edward, the last male descendant
of Cerdic who reigned in England, died. His last year had been
troubled by a great insurrection of the Northern counties against
the rule of Tostig. The house of Leofric had had a stronghold in
the North, and Tostig’s injudicious vigour in attempting to reduce
the barbarous population to order had excited great discontent.
His energy seems more than once to have led him into murder. The
Northumbrian therefore deposed him, and elected Morcar [Morkere],
the grandson of Leofric, in his place. His brother, Edwin of
Mercia, who had succeeded his father Ælfgar, made common cause
with him; and Harold, whose policy was always conciliatory, found
it necessary to persuade the King to confirm Edwin and Morkere in
their possessions. Tostig retired as an exile to Bruges. While
England was thus troubled, the King died--a good man, devoted to
the Church and the monks, and therefore afterwards canonized, but
as a king unfitted by his pliant character, and more especially
by his love of foreign favourites, to rule over England at such a
difficult crisis.

[Sidenote: Harold elected king. 1066.]

[Sidenote: Claims of William of Normandy.]

The Witan at once assembled, and used its power of election. This
power was usually exercised within the limits of the royal family;
but on this occasion, as there was no claimant of the royal house
but Edmund Ironside’s grandson, the child Eadgar, the Witan looked
beyond their usual limit, and elected almost unanimously the great
Earl Harold. Though thus King of England by the most perfect
title, he found himself opposed by two enemies. On the one hand
was his brother Tostig, the exiled Earl of Northumberland, who
had been a favourite of the late king, and had perhaps himself
hoped to be elected; and upon the other Duke William, who, out of
a variety of small and insufficient pretexts, had constructed a
very formidable claim to the crown of England. He asserted that the
Confessor had promised him the kingdom, that he was the nearest of
kin, and that Harold had himself sworn to him to be his man, to
marry his daughter, and to own him allegiance. The circumstances
under which this last event had taken place are not very certain;
but it seems to be true that Harold, on some occasion, had been
shipwrecked on the coast of France and taken prisoner, and held to
ransom, according to the barbarous custom of that day, by Guy,
Count of Ponthieu, lord of the country. The intervention of William
as superior lord rescued him from his disgraceful position. He
spent some time in friendly intercourse at William’s court, and
there probably, as was not unusual, made himself the Duke’s man,
and did homage. Such an act could be only personal, and could
have nothing to do with the kingdom of England, and even as a
personal tie was not very binding. It was his knowledge of this
which induced William to play the well-known trick upon Harold.
When the Earl had taken what he believed to be only a common oath
of homage, the cover of the table on which his hands had been
placed was withdrawn, and he found he had been swearing upon most
sacred relics. With regard to the other claims, it may be said
that Edward the Confessor, in accordance with the constitution of
England, could not promise the crown to any one, and, moreover,
had nominated Harold on his deathbed; while, although William was
the cousin of the late king, it was only through Edward’s Norman
mother, Emma, that he was so. But when put forward artfully,
and mingled with coloured accounts of the injuries suffered by
the French in England at the return of Godwine, these claims
seemed very plausible to the French, especially when backed by
the influence of the Papal See wielded by Archdeacon Hildebrand,
afterwards Pope Gregory VII. The Papal support was won partly by
representing Harold as a perjured man, partly because the Normans
in Italy were regarded as the great champions of the Papal See,
but chiefly because Godwine and Harold had throughout sided rather
with the party of the secular clergy in England than with that of
the monks,[3] and had been national in their views with regard to
the Church as well as in other matters. The Pope, Alexander II.,
was led by Hildebrand to see the opportunity offered, and expressed
his approbation of the expedition by sending a consecrated ring and

[Sidenote: William’s preparations.]

[Sidenote: Tostig’s invasion.]

William, immediately after the death of the Confessor, sent to
demand the crown, which was of course refused. He then proceeded to
collect troops, not only his own Norman feudatories, but also large
bodies of adventurers from other parts of France. Aware of the
intended invasion, Harold collected his forces, and occupied the
Southern coast. But William was so long in coming, that Harold’s
militia army, anxious to return to their agricultural works, and
straitened for food, could not be kept together. He was left
with his immediate followers, his House-carls and Thegns. Just
then, when his great host had disappeared, news was brought to him
that Tostig had invaded the North of England. Foiled in a weak
attempt upon the South near Sandwich, and refused aid by William of
Normandy, Tostig had fallen in with the fleet of Harold Hardrada,
King of Norway. This king was a great warrior, who had served
in the armies of the Byzantine Empire, and fought in Africa and
Sicily. He was easily persuaded to join Tostig, and reinforced by
the Earls of Orkney, they together sailed up the Ouse, and reached
Fulford on the way to York. Edwin and Morkere, the sons of Ælfgar,
whose sister Harold had lately married, honestly opposed them,
but after a severe battle they were beaten. Arrangements by which
the North was to join Harold Hardrada were being made at Stamford
Bridge upon the Derwent, when Harold, who had hastened with extreme
rapidity from the South, fell upon the invaders. They were taken
by surprise, and some, but slightly armed, were overcome; but the
bridge over the Derwent was held with determination, and a fierce
battle was fought on the other side. The English were entirely
triumphant, both Tostig and Harold Hardrada being slain. The
Norwegian fleet was forced to withdraw. This was on the 25th of

[Sidenote: Landing of William.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Hastings. Oct. 14.]

[Sidenote: Death of Harold.]

On the 28th King William landed at Pevensey. Harold was still at
York when the news reached him. He hastily gathered what troops he
could round the nucleus of his own immediate followers who had been
with him at Stamford Bridge. All the South of England joined him
gladly, both from Wessex and East Anglia. But Edwin and Morkere,
in their jealousy of the rival house, forgot their patriotism and
Harold’s good deeds to themselves, and deserted him. With such
an army as he had, Harold took up his position upon the hill of
Senlac, where Battle Abbey now stands. This hill runs out from the
North Sussex hills southward like a peninsula. There Harold erected
palisades, and arranged his men with a view to defensive action
only. This step was rendered necessary by the difference of the
armies; the English fought all on foot, a large proportion were
irregularly armed militia, and the hand javelin--not the bow and
arrow--was their national missile. The Normans, on the other hand,
fought as chivalry on horseback, and had many archers. Once in the
plain Harold’s army might have been crushed by the charge of the
mailed cavalry. But repeated charges uphill against an entrenched
foe, stubborn and heavily armed, could not but wear out the
mounted knight. Our descriptions are all from Norman sources, and
the contrast between the religious Norman and the jovial Englishman
is fully brought out. On the one side, the night is said to have
been passed in prayer, and on the other in revelry. There were
certainly, however, priests and monks upon the side of the English,
and probably this story is a monkish exaggeration. Harold drew up
his forces with his own picked troops upon the front of the hill,
between the dragon banner of Wessex and his own banner adorned with
a fighting man. The backward curves of the hill were occupied by
his worse armed troops. He himself, with his brothers Gyrth and
Leofwine, took their place beside the standard. The French advanced
in three divisions,--the Bretons, under Alan, on the left; the
Normans, under their Duke and his two brothers, Robert and Odo,
Bishop of Bayeux, in the centre; the adventurers, under Roger
of Montgomery, on the right. They galloped forward, preceded by
Taillefer, a minstrel, tossing his sword aloft and singing songs
of Charlemagne. But their efforts were vain. The heavy axe of the
English hewed down man and horse if any reached the barricade,
and the French had to draw back. The Bretons began the flight,
and the Normans soon followed, but the English militia were not
steady enough to withstand the excitement of victory. The veteran
centre stood firm, but the troops opposed to the Bretons broke from
their position in pursuit. William saw his advantage, rallied his
troops, drove back the pursuers, and made a second vehement assault
upon the barricade. The Earls Gyrth and Leofwine were killed, the
barricade in part removed, but still Harold held his ground, and
William had to have recourse to stratagem before he could secure
a victory. His present comparative success had been caused by the
accidental over-eagerness of the English. He determined to try
whether he could not again induce them to break their line. The
Normans turned in apparent flight, the English, heated by the
long fight, rushed forward in pursuit. The Norman cavalry turned
round and rode down their pursuers, and, driving them before them,
again charged up the hill; while the archers, whose skill had been
somewhat foiled by the shields of the English, were ordered to drop
a flight of arrows upon the heads of Harold and his men. The plan
was fatally successful; the battle was still stubbornly contested,
though no longer in serried ranks, when Harold fell, pierced in the
eye by an arrow. With him disappeared all hope of English success.
His body was found, and buried under a cairn by the sea, till
afterwards removed to his minster of Waltham.



[Sidenote: The Mark system.]

The chief interest in the Conquest is the change that it is always
said to have exercised in the character of the institutions
of England. It used to be asserted that the feudal system was
introduced, and completed as a wholly new system to the English,
after the Conquest; and Hume speaks of the division of the kingdom
into so many knights’ fiefs, into so many baronies, as if there
were complete reorganization of the whole constitution. Modern
inquiry tends to confirm what would naturally have been supposed,
that the whole of the elements of the feudal system existed in
England as in other Teutonic countries before the arrival of the
Normans. The form which the civilization of the Scandinavian and
Teutonic nations took seems to have been that of a collection of
village communities, such as may be seen at work at present in
India. The district occupied by such community was called the Mark,
and was divided into three parts, in each of which every free
member of the community had his share, but which were cultivated in
strict accordance with the customary system of agriculture which no
one might break. There was first the village, then the arable mark
(cultivated land), then the common pasture, and beyond that the
waste. Every freeman had a share in the arable and in the common
pasture, but he was bound to sow the same crops as his neighbours,
and to follow the same arrangement, which appears to have been
simple and barbarous. The common fields, or mixed lands as they
are called, were divided into three strips by broad grassy mounds;
one was sown with autumn crops, one with spring crops, and the
third left fallow. In the same way, though under somewhat varying
rules, the grass mark was partitioned. Frequently all enclosures
were removed at the close of the hay harvest, and the cattle grazed
in common, as they were allowed to do also in the stubble of the
arable mark. Lands were probably redistributed at certain intervals
of time, and the power of devising hereditary property by will was
strictly restrained. Traces of common fields cultivated on the
threefold system, and of customary cultivation, are still to be
found in England, and were plentiful in the last century.

[Sidenote: German institutions.]

[Sidenote: Division of ranks.]

[Sidenote: The Comitatus.]

[Sidenote: Growth of feudalism.]

But though this system would appear to have been common in
nations of Germanic origin, it can be gathered from the Germania
of Tacitus that other political institutions existed in Germany.
Thus, the subdivisions of the Tribe were called Pagi, which seem
to answer to the English Hundred. The Pagus was under the official
chieftainship of an elective head called the Princeps, answering
to the Saxon Ealdorman. This Pagus, which may perhaps have been
originally a division of a hundred heads of families, supplied a
hundred warriors to the host, a hundred assessors at the Judicial
Court of the Princeps. Below this we come to the Vicus or township,
which was probably organized upon the Mark system above described,
or on some modification of it. The commanders in war, or Duces,
were elected, probably from among the Principes, for each special
occasion. It is, moreover, clear that private property had begun to
exist. In pastoral life, where the common right of grazing would
be the chief common privilege, there would be no difficulty in
one man possessing more cattle than another. Neither would it be
a great step to grant to such wealthier men, upon the redivision
of the common arable mark, extra shares for the support of slaves
or dependent freemen whom his wealth had attracted around him.
There also existed a variety of ranks, which may be roughly
divided into three classes,--the noble or _eorl_, who must have
owed his nobility to birth; the freeman or _ceorl_, possessing his
own homestead, his own share in the common land, and dependent
on no man; and the _læt_ or dependent workman, cultivating his
lord’s land. Besides these, there were actual slaves or _theows_,
consisting of men who had lost their liberty either as captives,
or for debt, or for some other easily conceivable causes. It does
not appear that nobility of birth gave any additional political
rights, although personal consideration was awarded to the noble.
It was the possession of free land which made a man a full member
of the tribe. The læts, however, were probably dependent only
as regarded their lord, in every other respect free. Thus, like
other members of the community, their death had to be atoned for
by the payment of a sum of money or _weregild_, although the sum
was smaller than in the case of freemen. They probably formed a
considerable part of the armed force of the nation. The class may
have consisted originally of a conquered population of kindred
blood, or of men who voluntarily put themselves into a state of
dependency upon their richer neighbours for security, or because
for some reason they had become landless. Side by side with this
democratic constitution, there was a peculiar institution known as
the _Comitatus_. Each Princeps was allowed to collect around him,
under a tie of personal dependence, a body of professed warriors,
who were bound to him by the closest ties of honour; and the
importance of each chief must have depended in a great degree upon
this following. In case of conquest, it would naturally be the duty
of the conquering chief to see to the welfare of his followers, and
to give them grants, which might either be grants in perpetuity,
or only the right of present possession, and which would be drawn
from the conquered land remaining over after its distribution among
the body of freemen. To cultivate these grants, the comrades of
the king would have had to employ their own dependants, and these
dependants would settle in villages, which took the form of village
communities, except that the rights, which in the free communities
would be vested in the whole body of the freemen, were in this case
vested in the lord. We here have the germ of the relation between
vassal and lord. But this element of feudalism soon acquired
greater strength. The conquering chief would take upon himself
the title of king, claim descent from the gods, and make his line
hereditary. As the position of the king advanced, the position of
the comrade or Gesith would advance also. As the king of a tribe
became the king of a nation his dignity would greatly increase,
and with his that of his followers, who, as the court became more
formal, would accept as honours duties about the household, and the
word _Gesith_, comrade, changed into _Thegn_ or servant. In times
of war such nobles by service became natural leaders of the people,
and the position of the chief men of the village proportionately
sunk. So that there arose a class of nobles in immediate connection
with the crown, possessing property not belonging to a village
community, and exercising rights of lordship over its inhabitants.
It is not difficult to see in what a superior position they were
thus placed; what powers of encroachment they might have; and
how willingly, in times of danger, village communities would put
themselves in the same position with regard to them, as that
occupied by those settlers on the Thegn’s lands, who had always
acknowledged them as their lords. We have therefore two sources
from which feudalism might have arisen; the village headman, in
accordance with what seems to be a general law, as his powers came
to be legally defined (especially in the matter of collecting the
king’s taxes), would be regarded as the hereditary lord of the
village, and would obtain the right of permanently enclosing his
share of the common land; while the king’s Thegn, side by side with
him, would plant his own subject villages, and accept by what is
called _commendation_ the supremacy of such villages as might offer
it to him.

[Sidenote: Saxon institutions introduced into England.]

[Sidenote: Land.]

The Saxons then brought with them, in their invasion of England,
their threefold division of rank, their association or township,
their Pagus or Hundred, the Mark system, the principle of election
to public functions, and the Comitatus or personal following of
their chiefs. The conquering Principes or Ealdormen became kings.
The country in all probability was divided out with some degree
of regularity between villages, similar in constitution with
those of Continental Germany. There was no necessity for these
apportionments being equal. But a certain number of villages,
whatever their property was, were divided into Pagi or Hundreds.
This explains the inequality of those divisions. The unoccupied
land was left in the king’s hands to reward his chief followers.
On these demesnes, and on the public lands, the _læts_ found their
homes, with such of the conquered race as remained; and from time
to time fresh estates were granted as fresh conquests increased the
surplus land. From this land also the monasteries were endowed.
The portion allotted to each free household was called the _Hide_.
Land held by hereditary possession or by original allotment was
called the _Ethel_. That held by grant from the public land and by
charter was called _Bocland_ (_i.e._ book-land). The land neither
partitioned nor granted was the common property of the nation, and
was called _Folcland_. As all land, whether bocland or folcland,
could be let out, and was so treated on various conditions, there
was much variety in the tenures of that class of people who did not
possess free land of their own.

[Sidenote: Judicial organization.]

Whether the mark system prevailed to any great extent or not,
(and this is a somewhat uncertain point,) practically it was the
township which formed the lowest part of the general organization.
The hundred was a collection of townships, the shire a collection
of hundreds. The chief officer of the township, the town reeve,
was elected by the freeholders of the township, and with four of
their number represented that township in the Court of the Hundred,
of which the township was a subordinate division. Townships
established upon the lands of lords also had their reeve, but
probably he was appointed by the lord. Their constitution was
the same, but the proprietor of the soil took the duties and
privileges which in a free township belonged to the freeholders.
Such townships formed manors. It was from the township also that
the burghs or towns arose. The Saxons had a natural dislike for
town life, and we must not look for the arrangements of the borough
to the remnants of Roman civilization. But when the village grew
very large the same constitution as existed in the township was
employed, the freeholders within the limits of the borough forming
the municipal body. Such boroughs may also frequently have arisen
from an agglomeration of townships. They would then be analogous
to the hundred. The existence of two or three parishes in most
boroughs leads to the same conclusion; for, ecclesiastically,
the limits of the township and the parish were the same. Such
towns, growing up naturally round the dwellings of wealthy men
or of the king, would generally be either on folcland, and as
such, dependent upon the crown, or upon the land of some lord
on whom they would then depend. When the national system became
organized, there would thus be the Court of the Township, with its
counterpart in the dependent Township of the Manor Court. Above
that, the Hundred Court, presided over by the Hundred-man, while
the township were represented by their Reeve and four members. And
above that there was the Shire Court or Gemot. The shires were not,
properly speaking, part of the original organization. They seem to
be in most cases the old sub-kingdoms. The Court, therefore, of
the Shire represented the National Court. Over these sub-kingdoms
or shires was appointed a royal officer, shire-reeve or sheriff,
representative of the king for judicial and fiscal purposes. There
is no proof that he was an elective officer. Beside the sheriff,
who represented the central authority, was the Ealdorman, who had
the command of the military force of the shire and the third of the
fines levied. He was the representative of the old sub-king. He
was a national officer, appointed by the king and by the central
assembly of the nation, the Witana-Gemot. He sat with the sheriff
in the Shire Court, but it would seem that the sheriff was the
official whose presence constituted the court. In all the courts it
was a principle that the suitors of the court, those, that is, who
were liable to its jurisdiction, were also the judges; that is to
say, the courts were essentially popular. The whole body present
settled the disputes or judged the crimes of the individuals, the
chief officer being, in fact, the chairman. Practically, in the
Shire Court, twelve chief Thegns or chief freeholders sat with the
sheriff as judges, representatives of the whole body. It was also a
principle, at all events originally, that no superior court should
have jurisdiction till the inferior courts had done their best
towards the settlement of the disputed point.

Ecclesiastically, the parishes were co-extensive with the
townships, the bishoprics in a great degree co-extensive with the
shires or ancient kingdoms.

[Sidenote: Growth of territorial jurisdiction.]

In process of time, the position of the king somewhat changed. He
began to be regarded as the one lord of the land. From being the
King of the Saxons he gradually became the King of England. His
personal relation became territorial. The folcland became royal
demesne, and the king came to be regarded as the origin of justice.
This change, among other causes, tended much to the growth of a
system which was in fact incipient feudalism. The national courts
constantly became more the private courts of great lords. The
connection between the possession of land and the judicial power
grew constantly stronger. It had early been the custom to establish
in the favour of lords to whom grants were made Liberties, or
_Soken_, as they were called; that is, land was granted exempted
from the jurisdiction of the Hundred. The judicial rights of the
Hundred, together with the payments accruing from them, were vested
in the lord who received the grant. These rights are implied in the
words _sac_ and _soc_. As townships on a lord’s land became manors,
so these Liberties, on which there were many townships, became
private Hundreds. They were probably, before the Conquest, not
exempted from the jurisdiction of the Shire. It has been already
mentioned that, either by commendation or by the encroachment of
local magnates, freemen (allodial proprietors as they were called)
took in many cases the position of dependants. Their property then
assumed the character of bocland, or land held by charter, instead
of hereditary freehold. By commending themselves to a lord they
would free themselves from the burden of military duty, which would
then fall upon the lord as proprietor of the land. Justice would
be more easily obtained from the neighbouring court of the lord
than from the distant court of the Hundred or county. Protection
from invasion or from the violence of neighbours would be gained.
Again, the police regulation, by which all landless men were
obliged to seek a lord, would strengthen the idea of the necessity
of dependence.

Meanwhile, the Franchises and territorial jurisdictions went on
increasing till the ideas of possession of land and jurisdiction
began to go constantly together. The Thegn, who only possessed five
Hides, had his court. In the time of Cnut a further step was taken.
The wealthy landowner, under the name of Landrica, represented
the king in his district, and had jurisdiction over the lesser
freeholders. While, to crown all, the new position of the king gave
him the sole jurisdiction over the holders of bocland, to which,
as we have seen, allodial property was gradually assimilating
itself. In all these ways private and territorial jurisdictions
were strengthened, and enabled very largely to encroach upon the
national and popular courts. The position of the Landrica was
little else than that of a feudal baron, and the independence
of the great hereditary official, so marked a characteristic of
Continental feudalism, was almost reproduced in England, when Cnut
divided the kingdom into four great Earldoms.

[Sidenote: Central government. The Witan.]

[Sidenote: Increased power of the King.]

[Sidenote: Finance.]

To pass from the local government to the central. It has been
seen that justice and municipal law were carried on through a
series of free assemblies or Gemots; so too the general meeting,
or Gemot of the nation, constituted the chief legislative and
judicial assembly. This was called the Witan or wise men, or the
Witana-Gemot or assembly of wise men. It was doubtless originally
the National Assembly of all free men, but by an easy change which
befalls all such assemblies, attendance on it grew awkward to
the multitude, and was shortly confined to those who bore office
about the court, the king’s Thegns and bishops. The principle
of representation was not understood, and the freemen, although
they possessed an inherent right to be present, were not in fact
represented, except in so far as the presence of friendly and
neighbouring Thegns might be held to represent them. The power
of the Witan was great and various, being in theory the power
of a free nation. They could elect and discrown a king, and
practically did elect him, though usually from among the nearest
relatives of the late king. A remnant of this elective form of
the monarchy still exists in our form of coronation. Peace and
war were discussed in the Witan. The co-operation of the Witan
was necessary to authorize alienation of public land; and to them
ultimate judicial appeals were made. Early in the eleventh century,
however, the king had so far improved his position that he was able
to grant land without their leave, and also to call to his court
cases not yet completed in the lower courts. The same change in
the character of the king, which has been already mentioned, shows
itself here also. He was originally the leader of a free tribe,
perhaps of a clan, but gradually as his dominion extended his power
rose also; and his personal influence, though somewhat undefined,
was paramount. The great king could always wield the Witan as he
pleased. His office was, as has been said, elective, but under
certain restrictions. It seems to have been regarded as necessary
that he should be an Ætheling (or born in legitimate wedlock), and
in England. With this limit, and with a certain preference allowed
to the eldest son, and to the one whom the dying king nominated,
the choice of the Witan was free; and, practically, the prince
of the royal house best fitted for the immediate circumstances
of the kingdom was chosen. Thus the king’s brother was sometimes
chosen instead of his son, who, in his turn, might succeed his
uncle to the exclusion of his uncle’s children. This preference
for the best man over the nearest relative continued after the
Conquest, and renders erroneous the appellation of usurper when
applied to the early Norman kings. The arrangements of finance,
as far as they can be understood, were very simple. Upon every
citizen, whether agricultural or urban, there was laid a _trinoda
necessitas_, that is to say, the duty of serving in war, the repair
of bridges and public roads, and the maintenance of fortifications.
It is plain, therefore, that the wants of the crown were chiefly
personal, that what we consider the chief expenses of government,
justice, maintenance of public works, and military expenditure,
were supported by the people themselves, without the interposition
of government. The expenses of the crown would be discharged very
largely from the public property or folcland reserved to the
nation, and from such taxes as were rendered necessary from time
to time to support the grandeur and hospitality of the king as
national representative.

[Sidenote: Police.]

The system of police was based on the idea of mutual
responsibility. Frankpledge or _frithbohr_, by which is meant
the division of the country into sections of ten men mutually
responsible for one another, cannot be proved to have existed
before the Conquest. On the other hand, its principle no doubt
existed. Every man, by the law of Cnut, was bound to be in a
Hundred and a _tithing_. This latter term cannot be accurately
defined, but it was a subdivision of the Hundred. By the laws of
Æthelstan and Eadgar every landless man was compelled to have a
lord to answer for him in the courts, and every man a surety to
answer for him if he were absent when legally required.

From this sketch it will be seen that, with regard to classes,
there must have been at the time of the Conquest _Thegns_, who
were to all intents and purposes feudal barons; _Sokmen_, those
freemen who owed suit to the lord’s soke or court; a certain number
of _Eorls_ or nobles by birth, who would most likely have become
assimilated to the Thegns; _freeholders_, holding land in common
where it had not yet come under the suzerainty of a lord (this same
class of freemen degenerated under various circumstances and with
varying tenures into villeins, or dependent cultivators, under
lords); and absolute slaves, consisting originally probably of the
conquered race, and added to by criminals and outlaws, or others
who had lost their rights as freemen.

There was here every element of the feudal system. Even the tenure
of land upon military service existed. The main distinction between
the condition of England and that of the Continent, where the
feudal system had been fully established, lay in this,--there still
existed a certain number of freemen whose land was their own. They
were indeed obliged to acknowledge the jurisdiction of a lord,
but they were free to choose their own lord. They were suitors to
his court, but he did not possess their land. The feudal system
in its completed form may be regarded as exhibiting two peculiar
features:--jurisdiction was in the hand of large landowners; and
the lord was regarded as the possessor of the land over which he
exercised jurisdiction. In England, one feature alone had become
prominent. The judicial power was in the hand of large landowners;
but their jurisdiction extended over men whose land they did not
possess, but who were owners of their own property, and able to
attach themselves to any lord they liked. With the Conquest, while
the judicial power was restrained, the connection between that
power and the possession of land over which it was exercised became

[Sidenote: The Church.]

The Church occupied a position of very great importance. It was the
guardian of the morality of the country, and as such had a share
in all secular jurisdictions; but it was the remnant of a national
Church, not closely united to the Roman See. It was therefore
inclined to be somewhat disorderly. Its bishops were appointed
properly by the king and the Witan, but latterly the power had
practically been with the king alone. These bishops obtained their
license from the Pope. But the case of Archbishop Stigand, to whom
the Pope had not sent the Pallium, shows how little weight was
given to this proceeding. Similarly, the lower clergy had formed
the habit of marrying, contrary to Papal laws, and although there
was a growing feeling that this was wrong, the practice still
continued while the monks were constantly attempting to break free
from their rules and establish themselves as canons.

[Sidenote: Effects of the Conquest.]

[Sidenote: Restraints upon feudalism.]

To such a civilization came William, who had seen the evils of
Continental feudalism in his own country, and had secured his
position only after long struggles. He claimed England, not as a
conqueror, but as the legitimate sovereign, nominated by Edward
the Confessor, and as such was accepted by the Witan, and crowned
in London after the battle of Senlac. His natural policy was,
therefore, to continue such institutions as were not yet feudal,
and thus his arrival checked that natural growth of feudalism which
was running its course in England as in other Teutonic countries.
On the other hand, it was impossible from his position that he
should do otherwise than introduce many feudal institutions. He had
brought with him many of his vassals, who held from him in feudal
tenure; and it was necessary, when, from the confiscated lands of
Harold and his family and of the other nobles who either opposed
his entrance into England or afterwards revolted against him,
he made large grants to reward the adventurers of whom his army
mainly consisted, he should make those grants in accordance with
the system with which he was acquainted in exchange for military
service, and saddled with the usual feudal burdens. While he thus,
on the one hand, was the national English sovereign, on the other
he was the supreme landowner and feudal lord. Under this double
influence, the tenure of land, following the universal tendency
of Europe, became wholly feudal and military. But the other side
of feudalism--with its isolation, the virtual independence of
the feudatories (among whom the king was but the first among his
peers), and the suppression of national jurisdiction, which were
the chief characteristics of French feudalism--was kept in careful
restraint. Thus, the whole machinery of justice, the Hundred
Court and the Shire Gemot were retained under presidency of the
sheriff, side by side with that territorial jurisdiction which
he could not refuse to his feudal vassals. The police system of
mutual responsibility was kept up and systematized under the name
of _frankpledge_, and on the whole nation still lay the _trinoda
necessitas_. The Witan remained, although its members were now
feudal vassals; the laws as they existed were for the most part
perpetuated, though certain emendations were made, such as the law
of Englishry,[4] for the protection of his Norman subjects, and
the liberty allowed to the different nationalities to be tried
according to their own law. At the same time, the further to
restrain the independent power of the great feudatories, the great
earldoms which Cnut had created were broken up, with the exception
of three border counties, Chester, Durham, and Kent; the business
of the counties was transacted by the sheriff, who was a royal
officer, and the earldoms were either of one county only, or if of
more than one, of counties far apart. As a final court of appeal,
he established the Curia Regis, formed of the Justiciary (who was
the king’s representative and regent when he left the country),
with a staff of justices, consisting originally of the officers of
the household, but tending gradually to consist of new nobility
appointed by the king for the purpose. This was the final court of
appeal, and could draw to it any suit from the county court. But
the chief restriction upon military feudalism, which rendered its
appearance in England impossible, was, that each freeholder swore
allegiance, not to his immediate lord, but to the king. Abroad, if
a great noble went to war with the king, his vassals were doing
right in following him; in England, they were committing treason.

[Sidenote: William’s position.]

This oath was exacted after the great work of the Domesday Book
was completed. This book consisted of a registration of all the
lands in the kingdom, made by commissioners, after inquiry upon
oath of the chief men and lesser freeholders of each district.
By it not only were the limits of property settled, but the king
knew what resources he could rely upon both in men and money. The
king’s power was nominally limited by the “counsel and consent”
of the National Council, which was at once the old English Witan
and a feudal assembly, but its power was really nominal. The taxes
seldom called for interference, as they were derived principally
either from the old national dues, the _ferm_ of the shire (a fixed
rent of the old public lands and royal domains), the danegelt, and
the proceeds of fines or feudal aids. The army was also completely
in the king’s hands; as national sovereign, the old national
militia was at his command; as feudal sovereign, he could claim
the military service of his vassals, which was defined in every
case by the Domesday Book, while the whole people were bound to him
by oath. We thus see William the Conqueror occupying the position
of a practically irresponsible monarch, with a mixed monarchy of
national and feudal character, but, with the exception of some
parts of the administration of justice, carried on wholly under
feudal forms.

[Sidenote: The Church.]

As regards the Church, two important changes were made. As the
champion of orthodoxy, William, by means of his Archbishop,
Lanfranc, restored the Roman discipline to the Church, and
connected it closely with the See of Rome. And, secondly, he
separated the ecclesiastical jurisdiction from the secular.
The bishops withdrew from the county court (perhaps finding
their position there useless now that those courts had sunk in
importance), and established courts of their own. During William’s
reign no inconvenience arose from this, but the inherent defects
of the step became obvious when Henry II. attempted to reorganize
the kingdom after the disorder of Stephen’s reign. The Conqueror’s
police was unusually strict. It became the common saying that
a man laden with gold could pass unharmed through the country.
He abolished the penalty of death (which was, however, speedily
resumed), and substituted mutilations of various kinds. He also
repressed the right which the Saxon laws had allowed of killing the
murderer or the thief when taken red-handed. It has been suggested
that the great forests he created, and the care with which they
were maintained, is to be attributed as much to the king’s desire
to maintain an efficient staff of police always ready as to his
great love of hunting.



                   Born 1027 = Matilda of Flanders.
       |               |            |          |
  Robert, Duke    William II.    Henry I.    Adela = Stephen, Earl
  of Normandy.                                     |   of Blois.
    d. 1134.                                       |
                                       |           |           |
                                   Theobold    Stephen  Henry, Bishop of

                        CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

   _Scotland._   |   _France._  |  _Germany._  |   _Spain._
                 |              |              |
  Malcolm III.,  |  Philip I.,  |  Henry IV.,  |  Sancho II., 1065.
    1057.        |    1060.     |    1056.     |  Alphonso VI., 1072.

  POPES.--Alexander II., 1061. Gregory VII., 1073. Vacancy one year.
                           Victor III., 1086.

  _Archbishops._   |     _Chief-Justices._      |     _Chancellors._
                   |                            |
  Stigand,         | Odo of Bayeux, and William | Herfast, afterwards Bishop
       1052-1070.  |   Fitz-Osbern, 1067.       |   of Elmham, 1068.
  Lanfranc,        | William de Warenne, and    | Osbern, afterwards Bishop
       1070-1089.  |   Richard Fitz-Gilbert,    |   of Exeter, 1070.
                   |   1073.                    | Osmund, afterwards Bishop
                   | Lanfranc, Geoffrey of      |   of Salisbury, 1074.
                   |   Coutances, and Robert,   | Maurice, afterwards Bishop
                   |   Count of Mortain, 1078.  |   of London, 1078.
                   |                            | William de Beaufeu, Bishop
                   |                            |   of Thetford, 1083.
                   |                            | William Giffard, 1086.

[Sidenote: Intended resistance of the English.]

[Sidenote: Election of Eadgar.]

The death of Harold left England without a king. As yet, although
William had expected the immediate submission of the whole country,
no such course was thought of. The idea which occupied men’s minds
was the election of a new king, who might continue the defence
of the country. The two sons of Ælfgar, the great northern Earls
Edwin and Morkere, whose jealousy of Harold had been one of the
chief causes of his disaster, found themselves, now that the House
of Godwine was practically destroyed, the most prominent leaders
of the English. They came to London, and there, collecting about
them such nobles and important people as they could readily find,
they held an assembly which in some sort represented the Witan.
They probably expected that the crown would be given to one of
themselves, and that the hour for the triumph of the Mercian house
had arrived. They were disappointed in their hopes. Of properly
qualified candidates there were none, but the Southern Witan
preferred to place the crown upon the head of the grandson of
Ironside, the heir of the old royal house, and elected the Ætheling
Eadgar, young though he was.[5] It does not seem however that he
was actually crowned, that ceremony being postponed till the feast
of Christmas.

After the slaughters of the late battles, the means of resistance
in the Southern counties must have been much diminished, and
when Edwin and Morkere completed their treasonable conduct by
again withdrawing their troops, and, though they had accepted the
election, refused to give practical support to the defence of
Wessex, immediate opposition to the Conqueror became hopeless. No
further combined action was possible and no other great battle was

[Sidenote: William’s march to London.]

[Sidenote: Receives the crown at Berkhampstead.]

[Sidenote: Coronation of William.]

Meanwhile William, disappointed in his hopes, proceeded with
his own foreign forces to make good his conquest. He determined
to subdue the South-eastern counties before he advanced against
London. He marched eastward, took Romney, and captured the castle
and town of Dover, and had reached Canterbury, when he was seized
with an illness which kept him inactive during the whole month of
November. Thence he sent an embassy which secured the great town of
Winchester, and thence in December he moved to attack the capital,
but contented himself with burning the suburb of Southwark, and
passed on westward on the southern side of the Thames, which he did
not cross till he reached Wallingford, intending to pass northward
and thus cut the city off from the unconquered country. With this
view he marched to Berkhampstead in Hertfordshire. But his progress
had broken the spirit of the Londoners, and he was there met by
Eadgar, Ealdred the Archbishop of York, and others, who submitted
to him, and offered him the crown. After a feigned rejection of it,
till he had further secured the kingdom, he accepted it at the
earnest request of his followers, and marching into London, was
crowned at Christmas. The ceremony was performed by Ealdred of York
in the place of Stigand of Canterbury, whose appointment to the See
had not been strictly canonical; it was impossible that William,
one of whose professed objects was the reform of the uncanonical
Church of England, should receive his crown from the hands of a
schismatic. Stigand’s importance as the chief official of the
English prevented William from taking immediate steps against him.
He was therefore present at the ceremony, but though William thus,
and for some time afterwards, temporized with him, his ruin was
already determined. The coronation was performed with the usual
English ceremonies; the name of the King was proposed for election
to those who were present, and the shout of acquiescence excited
the alarm of the Norman troops outside the church. They proceeded
to set fire to buildings in the neighbourhood; the assembled
multitude rushed from the church to extinguish the flames, and
William was left almost alone with the officiating ecclesiastics.
But the ceremony was completed in the midst of fears and misgivings
of those within the Cathedral, and of uproar and confusion without.

[Sidenote: William’s position as king.]

William was thus crowned King of England, having received the crown
from the hands of the Witan, and having been nominally elected
by the popular voice. His position was in strict accordance with
the claims he had raised, and he proceeded to pursue a policy in
harmony with it. He had come to claim his rights against a usurper,
he had obtained those rights, and would henceforth make them good
while strictly following the forms of law. As crowned King of
England, opposition to him was treasonable, and the property of
traitors legally confiscated. It is clear that this position gave
him great advantages, and would induce many a weak-hearted or
peaceful Englishman to accept without opposition the _de facto_
king, while it enabled William to hide the harsh character of the
conqueror under the milder form of a monarch at war with rebellious

In pursuance of this policy, no sudden change was made in the
constitution or social arrangements of the country. In the first
period of his rule, William merely stepped into the place and
exercised the rights of his predecessor; but those rights he found
sufficient to secure his own position and to reward his followers.
For these purposes it was necessary for him to give to Normans much
of the conquered land, by which means he would spread as it were a
garrison throughout the country, and at the same time gratify his

[Sidenote: Transfer of property. The form of law retained.]

[Sidenote: Castles built.]

He started from the legal fiction that the whole of the land, as
the land of traitors, was confiscated. The folcland he made crown
property, thus completing a change which had been long in progress.
The large domains of the House of Godwine were by the destruction
of that house naturally at his disposal, as was also the property
of those who had fallen in arms against him at Hastings or been
prominent in opposition. The land thus gained he granted to his
followers, not making a new partition of it, but putting a Norman
in the place of the dead or outlawed Englishman who was legally
regarded as his ancestor. To complete this process, and appropriate
all the conquered land, would obviously have been impolitic; and
very shortly after his coronation he appears to have allowed a
general redemption of property. Proprietors submitted, paid a sum
of money, and received their lands back as fresh grants from the
Conqueror. In addition to this, many of the smaller Thegns and
free Ceorls were too insignificant to be disturbed, and in many
instances some little fragment of their dead husband’s property
was given in contemptuous pity to the widows, saddled frequently
with some ignoble tenure. Still further to complete the subjection
of the country, in every conquered town of importance a castle was

[Sidenote: Appointment of Earls.]

In addition to his grants of land, William had the government
of the country to attend to, and the vacant earldoms to fill.
In doing this he was guided by his past experience, and in the
fully conquered parts of England was careful not to put any earl
into the position occupied by the great earls of the last days
of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy. In this respect, as in some others,
the spirit of feudalism had been making rapid strides in England,
and the great earls, as well as the great cities, were bidding
fair to assume the position of the feudatories and free cities of
the Continent. William was careful to return to older precedent,
and to confine his earldoms to one shire. The importance of this
in English history is great, as it obliged the nobility to work
in alliance with the commonalty, and secured national rather
than aristocratic progress. Thus his two most trusted servants,
to whom in his absence he left the vice-regency of the kingdom,
William Fitz-Osbern and his brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, were
respectively but Earls of Hereford and of Kent. William thus
arranged that part of England which he had really conquered. In the
North he as yet continued the existing state of things. Edwin and
Morkere did homage and received their Earldoms back again. Waltheof
remained Earl of Nottingham, and Copsige (Copsi or Coxo) was given
the earldom of the Northern province of Northumberland. To secure
the allegiance of these great unconquered Earls, William took them
with him when in March he went to revisit his native duchy. The
kingdom he left in charge, the South to Odo of Bayeux, the North to
William Fitz-Osbern.

[Sidenote: William revisits Normandy.]

[Sidenote: Misgovernment by his viceroys and consequent rebellion.]

His retirement from England has sometimes been traced to an
evil intention of enticing his new subjects into a more serious
rebellion, that he might conquer them more completely. His natural
desire to display his triumph in his own country would seem to
supply a sufficient reason, without attributing to him such
double dealing. The effect of his absence, however, was in fact
to produce such an insurrection. In the midst of his conquests
and confiscations he had always kept a strong hand upon his
followers, and his police was good. The case was different under
the government of his viceroys. The rapacity and licentiousness
of the conquerors made itself heavily felt. Discontent began to
show itself in the North, in the West, and in the South; and the
native English, despairing of their unaided efforts, began to seek
assistance from abroad. The news of this danger brought William
back to England in the December of 1067. But already a revolt in
Bernicia, as the Northern division of Northumberland was called,
had produced the death of the newly-made Earl Copsige. Eadric the
Forester in the West of England, in union with the Welsh, had
ravaged Herefordshire, and the men of Kent had obtained assistance
from Eustace of Boulogne in a fruitless attack upon Dover. It was
the dread of more important foreign allies which brought William
back. The English efforts to get aid from Henry IV. of Germany, or
from the Prince of Norway, had been frustrated either by William’s
intrigues or by the character of the Princes to whom they applied,
but Swend of Denmark seemed likely to embrace their cause.

[Sidenote: William returns.]

[Sidenote: Insurrection in the West. Taking of Exeter.]

On his return, William found that although his lieutenants had
repressed actual insurrections, the unconquered districts both of
the North and West of England were gloomy and threatening. Want
of union was still the bane of the English; the insurrection of
Exeter and the West had been suppressed before York and the North
moved. The party of Harold and his family was strong in Exeter
and the Western shires. At Exeter, indeed, it is probable that
what remained of the family of Godwine was at this time collected.
William marched against the city, harrying Dorset as he passed.
The position of Exeter was characteristic. As in the case of the
great earldoms, so in that of the great cities, the feeling of
local independence had been rising, and the chief men of Exeter
seem to have had some thought of making their city a free town.
They offered to own the King’s supremacy and to pay his taxes,
but refused to admit him within their walls. The one point of
William’s policy which is most prominent is his determination to
establish the strength of the monarchy, as against local interests.
He therefore rejected the proposition, and marched upon the city.
The civic chiefs offered to submit, but the people repudiated
their arrangements, and stood the siege. The city was captured by
means of a mine. Harold’s family fled--Gytha, his mother, to the
islands in the Bristol Channel, his sons to Ireland. As usual, a
castle was built in the city; the tribute of the town considerably
increased; both Devonshire and Cornwall completely subdued, and the
same process of partial confiscation which had marked the first
steps of the Conqueror carried out there. The earldom of Cornwall,
and a large quantity of property, was given to Robert of Mortain,
William’s half-brother. The conquest of the West was completed by
the subjugation of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

[Sidenote: Insurrection in the North.]

[Sidenote: William’s position in the North and West.]

This insurrection was hardly over when a general confederation
against the Conqueror was set on foot in the North. Edwin and
Morkere, and Eadgar, the nominal king, combined with Eadric the
Forester, and had good hopes of assistance from the Welsh, from
Malcolm Canmore of Scotland, and from Swend of Denmark. This help
was not forthcoming; civil war hindered the Welsh, and Malcolm and
Swend were not ready. The feeling against the Normans was, however,
very strong, many of the inhabitants of Yorkshire taking to the
woods rather than submit. The insurrection was a failure. Again
Edwin and Morkere showed complete want of energy, submitted, and
were received into favour. Such a desertion destroyed all unity of
action; their armies dispersed to their own homes. A certain number
of the insurgents retired and held Durham, others took refuge in
Scotland, but William found no opposition; York submitted, and the
usual castle, the constant badge of conquest, was built there.
On his homeward march through Lincolnshire, the town of Lincoln
and that part of England was also subjugated, while, at the same
time, Malcolm of Scotland sent an embassy, and commended himself
to William. At the close of 1068 William was actual possessor of
England as far northward as the Tees; but Cheshire, Shropshire,
Staffordshire, and part of Herefordshire were still unconquered;
Durham, Northumberland, and Scotland were his only by the tie of

At this time it is said that a considerable number of his Norman
followers, disliking to leave their homes so long, returned to
Normandy, throwing up their estates in England. This movement has
been exaggerated, as Hugh de Grantmesnil, who is mentioned as the
leader of the returning Normans, undoubtedly held property in
England afterwards. It is, however, probable that some returned,
for William at this time discharged many of his mercenaries, acting
henceforward more completely as English king.

[Sidenote: Revolt in the North.]

At the midwinter meeting of the Witan he proceeded to act as though
the North was completely conquered, and granted the earldom of
Northumberland, vacant by the flight of Gospatric, to his follower
Robert de Comines. But the reception of this new earl showed how
unsubdued as yet the northern earldom was. He reached Durham, and
was received by the Bishop Æthelwine; but when his troops treated
the city as though they had conquered it, the inhabitants rose and
put him and his men to death. The spirit of insurrection spread,
and the citizens of York at once also rose and slew one of the
commanders there, Robert Fitz-Richard. This blow, which seems
to have been concerted, was immediately followed by the return
of Eadgar and the other exiles from Scotland. William hurried
thither in person, re-established his authority, and built a second
castle, which he put into the hands of William Fitz-Osbern. He
then withdrew into the West of England, conscious probably that
the Northern insurrection was only one of his dangers, for Swend
of Denmark had at length sent a fleet to the assistance of the
English, the sons of Harold were landing in Devonshire, and Eadric
the Wild was threatening the north-west of his dominions. In fact,
we have in this year the great final struggle of the English, and
the Norman dominions were assaulted upon all sides.

[Sidenote: Futile insurrections against the Normans.]

[Sidenote: William’s devastation in Yorkshire.]

[Sidenote: Complete subjugation of the North. 1070]

As usual, however, the want of proper concert and of any
acknowledged and heroic leader rendered the English efforts futile.
The sons of Harold were disastrously defeated by Count Brian of
Brittany, their wandering and ill-disciplined troops conquered in
two battles in one day, and they themselves, escaping to Ireland,
are heard of no more. This was in July. In September the Danish
fleet approached. It touched, but was beaten off, both in Kent
and in East Anglia, and finally entered the Humber, where it was
joined by the great English exiles. Thence the combined English
and Danish army moved upon York, while Eadric, in Staffordshire
and the Welsh border, moved forward and besieged Shrewsbury, and
the men of the West, though unaided by the sons of Harold, rose
and besieged the castle of Montacute in Somersetshire. These
two lesser insurrections William could afford to leave to his
lieutenants; Bishop Geoffrey of Coutances relieved Montacute,
and William Fitz-Osbern and Earl Brian apparently completed the
subjugation of the West, compelling Eadric the Forester to retire
after he had destroyed Shrewsbury, and re-establishing the Norman
influence in Devonshire. William himself hastened to the scene
of greatest danger. Already the castles of York were taken, as
the story tells us chiefly by the prowess of Waltheof; but having
completed this object the army had foolishly dispersed, and the
Danes, lying in the Humber, were occupying Lindesey and the north
of Lincolnshire. There William’s sudden march surprised them, and
they were compelled to withdraw to the other side of the Humber.
William then set quietly to work, with his army, which had now
joined him, at the reconquest of Yorkshire. Staffordshire and
Nottingham were secured, and after a lengthened delay at the
passage of the Aire, during which he was probably engaged in
negotiations with the Danes, he moved on practically unopposed to
York. He there re-established his two castles, and proceeded to
give the inhabitants of the country a lesson they were not likely
to forget. He set to work systematically to lay waste the whole
of the territory from the Humber to the Tees. Every house, every
store of food, the very cattle themselves were included in the
great burning. The completeness of the destruction is marked by the
entries of “Waste,” following each other in unbroken succession in
the Domesday Book. For nine years the country was left untilled,
the towns wholly uninhabited, and the few survivors lived like
beasts of the field, feeding upon unclean animals, and reduced
even, in their utter want, to eat human flesh. Having completed
this terrible work, William kept his Christmas in state at York. He
pursued his advantage further, and, as the winter went on, advanced
and secured the hitherto unconquered town of Durham. The North of
England was at length completely conquered.

But the North-west, the counties of Cheshire and Shropshire, was
still unsubdued, and in the dead of the winter William made his
way, in the midst of unspeakable difficulties, through the wild
moorland and hill country which joins the Peak district with the
higher mountains of the Pennine range. The conquest of Chester, and
the ravaging of the neighbouring counties, completed his work. And
when, early in the year Osbern, the commander of Swend’s fleet,
yielding to the diplomacy and bribes of William, sailed away to his
own land, the conquest of England may be said to have been finished.

[Sidenote: William’s legislation.]

For the moment free from military difficulties, William proceeded
to the regulation of his Conquest. He is said now to have
re-enacted the laws of Edward, and although it is probably a legend
that he issued a complete code of laws, it is likely that he took
the opportunity of declaring the re-enactment of existing laws,
with such changes as he chose to introduce. Two ordinances which
seem to belong to this period exist. One, ordaining that peace and
security should be kept between English and Normans, and the laws
of Edward, with regard to land and other matters, upheld, with the
addition of such as the King had added for the advantage of the
English people. The second, enacting a heavy fine for the death
of any one of his soldiers, which fine is to be made good by the
Hundred in which the murder was committed; this was for the defence
of his troops against lawless patriotism, and grew into the law of
Englishry, by which an unknown corpse was always presumed to be
that of a Frenchman, and the fine inflicted, unless the English
nationality of the murdered man was proved.

[Sidenote: His reform of the Church. Appointment of foreign Bishops.]

[Sidenote: Stigand deposed.]

But William had always kept before him, as an object, the change
and reform of the English Church, which till this time had been
strictly national, its laws having been enacted by the mixed
secular and ecclesiastical Witan, and the bishop having presided
side by side with the secular judges in the shire gemot. The
intention of William, whose enterprise had been undertaken with
the full concurrence of the Roman See, whose interests he, as
well as the Normans of Sicily, had much at heart, was to Romanize
this national Church. For carrying out that scheme he looked
to the gradual displacement of bishops of English birth, whose
places could be filled with foreigners. This connection with Rome
is marked by the re-coronation of the King in 1070 by the Papal
Legates, immediately after which the attack upon the English Church
began. The Primate Stigand was the first victim. With him the King
had hitherto temporized; when he was charged with holding the See
of Winchester with his own archbishopric, with having obtained the
Pallium from the false Pope Benedict X., and with having accepted
his bishopric during the lifetime of his predecessor Robert. He was
deprived of both his bishoprics, and kept a prisoner at Winchester.
His brother Æthelmær was removed from the bishopric of the East
Angles. Æthelwine of Durham was also deprived and outlawed, and
Ethelric, Bishop of Selsey, deposed. The Archbishopric of York,
too, was vacant by the death of Ealdred, so that William had here
a good opportunity for carrying out his plans.

[Sidenote: Lanfranc made Archbishop.]

[Sidenote: Lanfranc’s legislation connects the Church with Rome.]

The most important appointments were the two archbishoprics. For
his new Primate he selected Lanfranc, an Italian priest, at this
time Abbot of the little monastery at Bec, whose learning and
importance were such that he had already been offered and had
refused the Primacy of Normandy. It was not without much show
of opposition on his part that he accepted the Archbishopric of
Canterbury; but, when once appointed, he proved himself a most
efficient instrument in carrying out the plans of the King. To
the other vacant bishoprics, in almost every case, chaplains of
the King were appointed. The changes thus begun were carried out
gradually during the whole reign, and were in fact an offshoot of
the great movement for the revival of the Papacy being carried
out in Europe by Hildebrand. Having first, for the purposes of
centralization, established the supremacy of the See of Canterbury
over that of York, Lanfranc set on foot the habit of holding
separate ecclesiastical councils after the great National Meetings
had been dissolved; the bishops withdrew from the county court, and
established ecclesiastical courts of their own; as far as possible
regular canons were put in the place of the secular canons, of whom
many of the chapters consisted; and although the archbishop had
sufficient sense to tolerate those of the clergy who were already
married, for the future such marriages were strictly prohibited.

[Sidenote: But William still head of the Church.]

[Sidenote: The change good on the whole.]

The effect of such legislation was to separate the clergy from
the laity, and to connect the Church much more nearly with Rome.
This policy, which in after times was the source of so much evil,
was rendered harmless during the reign of William by his great
power and decision. He always claimed the position of supreme head
of the Church in England, nor would he suffer any encroachments
from the Papal See. On more than one occasion he exhibited this
determination. To the end of his reign he insisted upon giving
the ring and staff to his bishops. He would not allow any of
his soldiers to be excommunicated without his leave, and when
Hildebrand, occupying the Papal throne as Gregory VII., demanded
that he should both pay Peter’s pence and declare himself the
Pope’s man, he replied, the money he would pay, as his predecessors
had, that the homage he would refuse, as he had neither himself
promised it, nor had his predecessors paid it. In many respects
the change was doubtless for the better. The bishops were on the
whole more learned men, and education was improved. The spirit
of self-denial for the sake of the Church, and the consequent
establishment of foundations and cathedrals, was revived, and the
Church, brought into better discipline, was more able to play its
proper part of mediator and peace-maker in an age of violence. The
distribution of patronage was not, however, without its dark side.
In many instances ecclesiastical position was given in reward of
services to men qualified rather to be soldiers than clergymen;
and complaints exist of the tyrannical manner in which these
soldier-abbots or bishops behaved to their English inferiors.

[Sidenote: Final struggle against the Normans under Hereward. 1070.]

[Sidenote: William conquers him. 1071.]

The conquest of England was completed, as we have seen, in 1070.
But it was six years more before William enjoyed the throne in
peace. The remnant of the conquered nation gathered around a
national hero, called Hereward, in the Fen country. His origin
is not certain, but he seems to have been a Lincolnshire man who
had been deprived of his property by a Norman intruder. He first
appears as assailing with a host of outlaws the monastery of
Peterborough, where one of those soldier abbots just mentioned,
Turold by name, had been lately appointed. He is next heard of
when, in 1071, the Earls Edwin and Morkere, who had seen the
destruction of their old earldoms, while living in inglorious ease,
half prisoners half guests at the Norman court, at length awoke
from their lethargy and attempted to renew the war. Edwin was
killed as he fled, stopped by the flooding of some river; Morkere
succeeded in joining the insurgents at Ely. Hereward’s fastness was
known by the name of the Camp of Refuge. There were collected many
of the noblest of the old English exiles; and legend speaks of the
presence of several people who were undoubtedly not there; but, at
all events, Æthelwine, the deposed Bishop of Durham, was with the

The attack was intrusted to William of Warenne, Earl of Surrey, and
Ivo of Taillebois, under the superintendence of William himself,
who came to Cambridge. The difficulties of the situation were
overcome by the building of a great causeway across the fens. The
defence of the camp is described as lengthened and heroic, but
before the end of the year it seems to have been captured, and
Morkere and Æthelwine both prisoners. Hereward himself escaped, and
in 1073 is mentioned as leading the English contingent in William’s
attack on Maine. The legend describes how, while living in peace
with the king, he was surprised at his meals by a band of Normans,
and after a terrific combat, in which he slew fifteen or sixteen
Frenchmen, was finally overpowered by numbers. In sober fact, his
end seems to have been peaceful, as he appears in Domesday Book as
holding property both in Worcester and Warwick.

[Sidenote: Wales held in check by the Earls of Chester and

From the English William had no further trouble; with the
neighbouring kingdoms he had still some difficulties. With the
Britons in Wales, the old Earls of Mercia and the house of Leofric
had had friendly connection; but all sign of this had ceased upon
the Conquest. The wars carried on against them were however local
in character; for, contrary to his usual practice, William had
established upon the West March two palatine counties of Chester
and Shrewsbury. In these counties the whole of the land belonged to
the earl and his tenants, and the king had no domain. They were,
therefore, like the great feudal holdings of France. Chester he
at first placed in the hands of Gerbod the Fleming, his stepson,
and, upon his withdrawal to the Continent, in those of Hugh of
Avranches, surnamed Lupus, a man of whom the chroniclers speak
much evil as at once licentious and tyrannical. Together with
his lieutenant, Robert of Rhuddlan, he waged continual war with
the Welsh. The same task fell to Roger of Montgomery, Earl of
Shrewsbury, who took advantage of the disputes among the Welsh
Princes, and succeeded so far as to build and hold, far in Wales,
the castle of Montgomery, called after his own property in the
neighbourhood of Lisieux in Normandy.

[Sidenote: Scotland’s savage invasions.]

Malcolm Canmore had throughout appeared as the supporter of the
conquered English, and at his court the exiles had been constantly
received. This did not prevent him from pushing his ravages
into the Northern counties; nor did they cease when he received
Eadgar Ætheling and his sisters on their flight to the North
(1070). This was followed by acts of extraordinary barbarity.
Gospatric, who had found favour with William, and accepted the
Earldom of Northumberland, attempted a counter invasion into the
Scotch district of Cumberland. In rage at this Malcolm gave
orders to spare neither sex nor age. The old and the infants were
slaughtered, the able-bodied men and maidens were carried off
into slavery, so that there were few Scotch villages where there
were not English slaves. Malcolm, however, grew milder under the
influence of his wife Margaret, Eadgar’s sister, and the effect of
the presence of the numerous English, either refugees or slaves,
was such that the Lowlands became thoroughly Anglicised.

[Sidenote: William makes Malcolm swear fealty. 1072.]

In 1072, William himself revenged the inroad of the year 1070, by
marching into Scotland and receiving the oath of fealty of Malcolm
at Abernethy on the Tay. It is mentioned that the last great noble
who had held out against him, Eadric the Wild, accompanied him on
this expedition, which marks not only the Conquest of England, but
the assumption on the part of William of that Imperial position in
Great Britain which the great English kings had held.

[Sidenote: Trouble in Normandy. 1075.]

His foreign neighbours also gave William some trouble. The province
of Maine, which he had conquered in 1063, threw off his allegiance.
The citizens of Le Mans had risen in insurrection against their
lords, and formed themselves into a free commune; but Geoffrey
of Mayenne, a nobleman whose help they had sought, betrayed the
burghers in their efforts to reduce one of the neighbouring
nobility, and they were obliged to call in the assistance of
Fulk of Anjou, who had claims upon the province. William reduced
Le Mans, but was obliged to make a peace with Fulk, who had
strengthened himself by an alliance with the Bretons; and, by the
treaty of Blanchelande, William’s son Robert took the government of
Maine, but did homage for it to Anjou.

[Sidenote: Conspiracy of Norman nobles suppressed. 1076.]

[Sidenote: Waltheof executed. 1076.]

While affairs on the Continent were thus occupying his attention,
in 1075 a conspiracy of his own nobles in England broke out. Ralph
of Gwader (or Wader), the son of Ralph the Staller and a Breton
lady, had been intrusted with the Earldom of Norfolk. Roger,
the son of William Fitz-Osbern, had succeeded to the Earldom of
Hereford. These two nobles sought to ally their houses, and,
against the will of William, Ralph married Emma, Roger’s sister.
At the bridal feast Waltheof of Nottingham, the one remaining
English Earl, was present, and there a conspiracy was entered into,
apparently on account of the strong hold which William kept over
his nobles, and in the interests of more perfect feudalism. The
kingdom was to be divided among the three earls, one of whom was to
be king. Waltheof had been well treated by the King, and married
to his niece Judith. His conscience seems to have pricked him, and
he confessed all to Lanfranc, at that time governing England. The
conspiracy was at once suppressed; Norwich alone, under Emma, the
new married bride, made a brave defence. Ralph fled to Brittany.
Roger was taken prisoner, and spent his life in captivity. Waltheof
was at first received into favour, but afterwards, it is believed
at the instigation of his wife, he was tried before the Witan
and found guilty of death. The sentence was executed in secret
outside the town of Winchester. During his imprisonment the Earl’s
penitence had been deep, and it was while still on his knees
uttering the Lord’s Prayer that the impatient executioner smote off
his head. The national hero, dying in this religious state of mind,
speedily became the national saint. His remains were removed to
Crowland, which he had much benefited, and miracles were worked at
his tomb. The confiscation of the property of these two earldoms,
and the death of Queen Edith, the widow of the Confessor, threw
great property into the hands of William, who did not reappoint to
the earldoms.

[Sidenote: Quarrels between William and his sons.]

[Sidenote: Reconciliation at Gerberoi. 1079.]

From this time onward William lived generally in Normandy, leaving
England to the care of Lanfranc and Odo of Bayeux. The great
success of his reign had indeed been reached, and the remaining
years were disturbed by constant disputes with his sons and with
his suzerain the King of France. Already, when pursuing Ralph of
Gwader on his retreat into Brittany, and besieging him in the town
of Dol, he had found himself checked by the union of Philip of
France with Alan Fergant of Brittany, and had found it advisable
to marry his daughter Constance to that nobleman as the price of
peace. So, too, to lessen the jealousy the King of France might
naturally have felt at his vassal’s great aggrandisement, he had
made the Norman barons swear fealty to his son Robert as his heir,
and had caused him to do homage in his place for Maine. Robert
desired to make this nominal position real; and, as a part of the
same feudal movement perhaps which produced the conspiracy of
1075, he demanded Normandy and Maine of his father. His demand
was refused; and when, during an expedition of William against
the Count of Mortagne, an accidental quarrel arose between Robert
and his brothers, in company with many of the younger nobility
he broke into open rebellion. With these, after an unsuccessful
attempt at Rouen, he fled to Hugh of Neufchâtel. Beaten thence,
he wandered from court to court, assisted by his mother Matilda,
against William’s will. At length he found an ally in Philip, who
established him in 1079 in Gerberoi, near the borders of Normandy.
It was there that father and son met face to face, and that William
was unhorsed by Robert. The siege of Gerberoi had to be raised, and
William underwent the humiliation of seeking a reconciliation with
his son, a reconciliation which was of short duration, as in 1080
Robert again fled from court.

[Sidenote: Odo’s oppressive government.]

In all directions ill success was attending William. He had been
defeated at Dol and at Gerberoi; his son Robert in the period
between his two quarrels had failed in an expedition against
Scotland; he had just lost his son Richard in the New Forest;
and in 1083 he lost his wife, to whom he was deeply attached.
Meanwhile Odo had been ruling with extreme severity. In suppressing
an insurrection in Northumberland he had been guilty of extortion
and of cruel punishment even of the innocent. In his general
government he seems to have been extremely avaricious. In the
year 1082 his wealth and pride had risen to such a point that he
thought of attaining to the Papacy. This he intended to secure by
violent means. He purchased a magnificent palace in Rome to win the
favour of the people, and even collected an army, in which Hugh
of Chester took service, to cross the Apennines. William met him
and apprehended him at the Isle of Wight; nor could the complaints
of the Pope, which we cannot conceive to have been very earnest,
produce any effect. He was seized, as the King affirmed, not as
Bishop but as Earl of Kent, and remained in prison till the King’s
death. Odo’s oppressions had been very severe, and the condition
of England no doubt had become much worse since the complete
subjugation of the country, and now, in addition to a famine which
had just wasted the country, a heavy direct tax was laid on all
land, and worse than that, a vast host of foreign mercenaries
was quartered on all the King’s tenants, for a great danger was

[Sidenote: Cnut’s threatened invasion. 1084.]

[Sidenote: The Domesday Book. 1085.]

Cnut was on the throne of Denmark. He had been one of the
commanders in Swend’s disastrous expeditions; he had married
Adela the daughter of Robert of Flanders, one of William’s chief
Continental enemies, and had now determined to invade England. He
had induced the King of Norway to join him, and their combined
fleets were expected. William took ruthless precautions against his
enemies. The old tax of the Danegelt was reimposed, and all the
land along the coast was laid waste. The people were even ordered
to shave and change their dresses, that the Danes might not easily
recognize them. Disputes among the leaders, and the death of
Cnut, prevented the invasion. But it was probably the difficulties
which William had found in collecting his taxes and troops on this
occasion which induced him to set on foot the great survey which
produced the Domesday Book. For this purpose commissioners were
appointed, who went through England, and in each shire inquired
of the sheriff, priests, reeves, and representatives of the
inhabitants, the condition of the land and its value, as compared
with what it had been in the reign of the Confessor. The whole of
this great work was completed in one year. On its completion a
great assembly was held on Salisbury Plain. It was, in fact, a vast
review, attended by no less than 60,000 persons. In this assembly
was passed the important ordinance which ordered that every man
should be not only the man of his immediate lord, but also the
man of the king. This was in direct opposition to the usual rule
in feudal countries. The whole assembly took the oath to William.
This great piece of work, which rendered England one nation, was a
fitting conclusion to William’s reign.

[Sidenote: William’s death and burial. 1087. Sept. 9.]

In the following year a war broke out for the possession of the
Vexin claimed by the King of France. Angered by a coarse jest of
that monarch, William entered the country and ruthlessly ravaged
it, and at the destruction of the town of Mantes, his horse stepped
upon a burning coal and threw him forward upon the pummel of the
saddle; the bulk of the King aggravated the injury, which in a few
days caused his death. Before he died he released his prisoners. No
sooner had the breath left his body than his attendants are said
to have fled. He owed his burial not to his son, but to the kind
offices of a neighbouring knight, and when brought to his Church
of St. Stephen’s at Caen, it was not till the clergy had paid the
price of the grave that Anselm Fitz-Arthur, whose property had been
seized to make room for the Church, would allow his body to be



                            CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

     _Scotland._      |  _France._   | _Germany._   |  _Spain._
                      |              |              |
  Malcolm III., 1057. | Philip I.,   | Henry IV.,   | Alphonso VI.,
  Donald Bane, 1093.  |      1060.   |      1056.   |         1072.
  Duncan, 1094.       |
  Donald Bane, 1094.  |
  Edgar, 1097.        |

                    POPES.--Urban II., 1088. Pascal II., 1099.

     _Archbishops._    |   _Chief-Justices._      |    _Chancellors._
                       |                          |
  Lanfranc, 1070-1089. | Odo of Bayeux, 1087.     | William Giffard, 1087.
  Anselm, 1093-1109.   | William de S. Carilepho, | Robert Bloett, 1090.
                       |   1088.                  | Waldric, 1093.
                       | Ranulf Flambard, 1094.   | William Giffard, 1094.

[Sidenote: 1087.]

While the late King was on his deathbed, he had been induced to
declare his wishes with regard to his kingdoms. In pursuance,
perhaps, of a wise policy, and with the wish to keep up and
increase the nationality of England, he gave his hereditary
dominions to his son Robert, England to his second son William. He
told his son Henry to bide his time, and gave him £5000 in money.

[Sidenote: William is crowned by Lanfranc, and appeases the English.]

[Sidenote: Opposition of the Normans checked. 1088.]

William at once hurried to England to secure his succession, and,
winning the support of Lanfranc, was in less than three weeks
crowned by him. At Winchester he found the King’s treasure, from
which he distributed gifts among the churches in England, and a sum
of money for the poor in every shire. A promise of laws more just
and mild than their forefathers had known, attached the English to
him for a time. Thus supported by the Church and by the conquered
people, who could not but rejoice at the separation of England from
Normandy, it was only the Norman Baronage he had to fear.

In Normandy the character of the new Duke Robert, who was a mere
knight-errant, induced the great nobility to get rid of the royal
garrisons from their castles, and otherwise to establish their
feudal independence. A similar movement was begun in England,
where Odo of Bayeux, liberated at the late King’s death, had
returned to his county of Kent, and now found himself at the head
of a strong party who disliked the separation of their conquered
possessions from their hereditary property. Among the adherents of
the party we find such names as the two great bishops, Geoffrey of
Coutances and William of Durham, Robert, Count of Mortain, Roger of
Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, his son Robert of Belesme, and Hugh
of Grantmesnil, with others. Odo occupied the castle of Rochester,
and against it William led a body of English, collected by a threat
that all who had remained behind should be proclaimed “nithing,”
or worthless. The efforts of the discontented barons in other
parts of England were checked, and finally the castle of Rochester
was captured. Odo of Bayeux and the Normans of the garrison were
allowed to march out, which they did amid the revilings of the
besiegers, and to retire to France. The King thus secured his
position in England.

[Sidenote: Lanfranc dies. Ralph Flambard succeeds him. 1089.]

He had hitherto been kept in some restraint by the influence
of Lanfranc; but when that prelate died in 1089, his coarse,
licentious, sceptical and avaricious character began to display
itself. His chief minister was Ralph Flambard, a Churchman, who,
like many others, was of low parentage, but who seems to have
recommended himself to William by his skill as a financier. One of
the plans attributed to him was a more accurate completion of the
Domesday survey, and the measurement of the hides of land there
returned. This would have been harmless enough, but there must have
been many other more flagrant exactions, though very likely covered
by some form of law, to account for the hatred with which he was
regarded. Although his office is not mentioned, he was probably

[Sidenote: William’s quarrels with his brothers in Normandy. 1090.]

While England was groaning under the exactions of this man, so
that “men would rather wish to die, than to live under his power,”
the attention of the King was chiefly engaged in intrigues with
the nobles of Normandy. The easy character of Duke Robert, and the
rising anarchy among the nobles, afforded abundant opportunity. On
one occasion it was the citizen Conan of Rouen with whom he was
in correspondence; and when this plot was discovered, and Prince
Henry, at that time acting with Duke Robert, had thrown the traitor
from the cathedral tower, it was a quarrel between Grantmesnil
and Curci on the one side, and Robert of Belesme on the other,
which gave him an opportunity of mixing in the affairs of the
duchy. In 1091, however, the brothers came to an agreement, and a
treaty was made at Caen, by which they engaged that the survivor
should succeed to the possessions of his brother; and meanwhile
Eu, Fécamp, Mont S. Michel, Cherbourg, and some other territories,
were given to William, who in return promised to conquer Maine for
Robert. Twelve barons of either party swore to the observance of
this treaty.

[Sidenote: Feb. 1091.]

[Sidenote: Henry obtains Domfront.]

Prince Henry, finding himself completely ignored by this
arrangement, took possession of the rock of St. Michel, and bade
defiance to his brothers. After a siege of some duration he was
driven thence; but in the general anarchy of the duchy he found a
home at Domfront, where the citizens begged him to be their lord,
on the condition that he would not give them up to any other. It
is doubtful whether he could have kept possession of this strong
place, had not William’s attention been engaged by the affairs of

[Sidenote: War with Scotland. 1091.]

[Sidenote: 1093.]

Malcolm had renewed hostilities, and William found it necessary to
march in person against him. His expedition was not successful.
The weather destroyed a fleet which accompanied it, and, by its
inclemency, caused much loss to his army. His presence, however,
was sufficient in some degree to overawe Malcolm; a compromise
was effected; Malcolm again did homage, and received back certain
properties in England of which he had been deprived, and which
were perhaps manors which had been given him as resting-places
when he came to do homage to his suzerain. At the same time,
William turned aside into the district of Cumberland, which was a
dependency of the Scotch crown. He re-established Carlisle, and
filled the county with peasants brought from the South of England
from destroyed villages in the neighbourhood of Winchester. In this
he disregarded the interests of the Scotch King, the immediate lord
of the country, who therefore complained, and was invited to meet
William at the next assembly at Gloucester. There, on the refusal
of William to do him justice, a new quarrel broke out, and Malcolm
was shortly afterwards killed, while invading England, at Alnwick,
by Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland.

[Sidenote: Continued war with Wales. 1094.]

In the neighbourhood of Wales, too, fighting was almost perpetual.
Not only did the great Earldoms of Shrewsbury and Chester increase
their borders, but many knights took advantage of the frequent
civil divisions of the Welsh to push westward and set up their
castles. The course of the war had lately been in favour of the
Welsh rather than of the Normans, and in 1095 William thought
it necessary to lead an army against them. His attempt was not
successful, nor was a repetition of it two years later more so. The
nature of the ground was too difficult for the advance of a great
army, and William, thus a second time repelled, had again to trust
to the self-interest and courage of individual Norman settlers.
This plan he strengthened by granting to Normans portions of land
as yet unconquered. Thus two members of the house of Montgomery,
brothers of Hugh, Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger and Arnulf, did homage
for lands in Powys and Dyfed, and Hugh de Lacy for lands to the
west of Herefordshire. This guerilla warfare was successful, and
Hugh of Chester was just succeeding in winning back Anglesey, which
had been taken from him, when an invasion of Magnus of Norway
checked for the time the Norman success. The Earl of Shrewsbury,
while assisting Hugh of Chester, lost his life, and was succeeded
by Robert de Belesme, his brother. On the whole, the English
frontier constantly advanced, and the border counties were thronged
with castles either of the great Earls or of individual adventurers.

[Sidenote: Troubles in Normandy. 1094.]

[Sidenote: Conspiracy of Mowbray crushed.]

[Sidenote: William obtains Normandy from Robert. 1096.]

[Sidenote: Size of his dominions at his death, 1100.]

Intrigues and irregular fighting had meanwhile been constant in
Normandy. In 1094 King Philip of France had been called in by
Robert, but nothing of importance arose from this. But it gave
rise to a curious act of extortion on the part of William, who
summoned 20,000 men from England, evidently the old English County
Militia, and on their arrival at the coast dismissed them, taking
from them the ten shillings a head, viaticum, or journey-money,
they had received from their counties. In 1095 a great conspiracy
of the nobles in England, headed by Mowbray of Northumberland,
came to light. Mowbray threw himself into Bamborough castle, which
could not itself be taken, but immediately opposite to it another
castle, called Malvoisin, was raised, and the garrison of this
“ill-neighbour” found means to decoy Mowbray out of his stronghold
and to take him prisoner. The danger which threatened William was
thus got over; while the following year the object of his wishes
came into his hands, when Robert, eager to join a crusade which
had just been preached, pledged Normandy to him for the sum of
£6,666. His new situation as ruler of Normandy brought William into
hostility with the neighbouring countries, and especially with
Maine, where Hélie de la Fléche made head against him, and, with
the assistance of Fulk IV. of Anjou, succeeded in beating him off
from Le Mans. William’s power was now, in spite of this repulse,
very great, and the King of France, with whom he became involved
in war in 1097 on the old subject of the Vexin, looked with
anxiety at the growth of his great vassal, especially when a close
friendship arose between him and the Duke of Poitiers and Guienne.
This conjunction, giving the English King a grasp of France all
round the seaboard, made men believe that his ambition reached to
the throne of France, especially as Philip had but one son, Louis.
The strange death of William put an end to all such thoughts. He
was hunting in the New Forest, whither he had been warned not to
go, and there met his death; whether by an accidental arrow from
the bow of Walter Tyrrel, or falling forward upon the point of an
arrow as he stooped over his prey, or slain by the hands of some of
those whom his cruelty and avarice had made his implacable enemies,
is uncertain. The flight of his attendants, and the unceremonious
treatment of his corpse, seemed to favour the last supposition.

[Sidenote: Causes of William’s inferiority to his father.]

In spite then of his unamiable character; of the difficulties
which had beset him from his somewhat questionable title; of
the natural impulse towards feudal isolation of his barons; of
troublesome neighbours; and occasional want of success in his
expeditions; Rufus had on the whole succeeded in his plans, as
far as his external circumstances were concerned. It was in his
domestic government, especially with regard to the Church, that
his inferiority to his great father is most obvious. Unlike the
Conqueror, he was unable to see, or if he saw, to care for the
national advantages which sprung from a well-organized Church. With
a similar determination to be a perfect king in his own dominions,
he asserted that opinion by violent acts against the Church itself,
by appointments of the worst description, and by a life from which
all show of decency was banished. As long as Lanfranc lived, he
kept some restraint upon himself, but upon his death he began to
show his real temper.

[Sidenote: Disputes with the Church.]

[Sidenote: Bishoprics left vacant.]

[Sidenote: Repenting after illness, he makes Anselm Archbishop.]

[Sidenote: Anselm unwillingly accepts. 1093.]

[Sidenote: Anselm’s reforms.]

[Sidenote: William opposes him.]

It was a critical time in the history of the Church. The quarrel
about investitures was raging in Europe. The skill of Lanfranc
and the power of the Conqueror had, as we have seen, prevented
the quarrel from reaching England during that King’s reign; and
to the end of Gregory’s life, 1085, he had kept up friendly, even
flattering, relations with the English King. When Henry IV. had, in
1080, raised the Anti-Pope Guibert to the Papal throne under the
name of Clement III., Lanfranc had contrived not to commit himself
to either party, but, on the whole, it is probable, that during his
life the regular Popes, Victor III. and Urban II., who succeeded
him in 1088, were acknowledged in England. On his death advantage
was taken of the Schism practically to acknowledge neither Pope,
and to leave the abbeys and bishoprics vacant. Indeed, we are told
that it was openly asserted that it was a privilege of the King
of England to acknowledge the Pope or not as he pleased. Thus for
four years the archbishopric was unfilled, along with several other
important ecclesiastical preferments, and the want of discipline in
the Church grew worse and worse. Ralph Flambard, as administrator
of the diocese of Lincoln, was unlimited in his extortions. The
Norman Church dignitaries marched between lines of armed men to
church. The Bishop of Wells demolished the houses of the canons to
build his own palace, and even the religious and moral scruples of
the English monks were laughed at by their licentious superiors.
In 1093 the King fell very ill, and for the time became repentant
and religious; he proceeded to listen to the wishes of his people
and fill up the vacant appointments. The most important of these
was the archbishopric. For this post he selected Anselm of Aosta,
Abbot of Bec. This man was a Piedmontese, who had been attracted to
Normandy by the fame of Lanfranc, and had entered the Abbey of Bec
under him. Upon Lanfranc’s removal to Caen he was made Prior, and
afterwards Abbot. Both his character and attainments commanded the
veneration of the age; and at the present time he had been invited
by Hugh the Fat, Earl of Chester, to come over and assist him in
establishing a Benedictine abbey at Chester. For this purpose, and
charged with a mission from his monastery, he was induced much
against his will to come to England. In the first access of the
King’s repentance--after issuing a royal proclamation promising
afresh the freedom of captives, the good laws of King Edward, and
the punishment of evil-doers--he proceeded so far to action as to
appoint Anselm Archbishop. It was not without something like actual
violence that Anselm was forced to accept the Episcopal staff. The
great importance of the primacy and Anselm’s view of the King’s
character are well shown by some words that are attributed to him:
“England’s plough is drawn by two supereminent oxen, the King and
the Archbishop of Canterbury.... Of these oxen one is dead, and the
other, fierce as a savage bull, is yoked young to the plough, and
in place of the dead ox you would yoke me a poor feeble old sheep
with the wild bull.” The feeble old sheep, however, was a very
decided ecclesiastic. He insisted at once upon the restoration of
the whole of the lands of the See of Canterbury, more even than
Lanfranc had held. He declared that he would publicly acknowledge
Pope Urban. And when, after his consecration, on his presenting
the King with £500 of silver, the King demanded £1000, he withdrew
his intended present and distributed all to the poor. Nor was it
as a defender of ecclesiastical rights that he was pre-eminent. He
set himself to check as far as it was possible the shameless and
abominable vice that was rampant in England. Among other signs of
the degraded licentiousness of the times was the effeminate foppery
of the courtiers. Against their long hair and sharp-peaked shoes
the Archbishop was never weary of inveighing. The King’s absence
from England put an end for a time to the disputes between the
Archbishop and the King, but upon his return Anselm demanded leave
to obtain his pall from Pope Urban. This open acknowledgment of
the Pope William wished to avoid, and at a council, summoned to
consider the matter, the deposition of Anselm appears to have been
suggested. The bishops, creatures of the King, basely deserted
their chief; and the wisdom of the Baronage of England, under the
guidance of Robert, Count of Mellent, who throughout this and the
preceding reign appears as the good adviser to the sons of the
Conqueror, alone saved him from that disgrace. Unable to refuse
Anselm’s wish absolutely, the King contrived to persuade the Pope
to send _him_ the pall, but Anselm stoutly refused to receive
it from secular hands, and ultimately triumphed so far as to be
allowed to take it himself from the high altar of the Cathedral of
Canterbury. For the moment the primate was triumphant, the cowardly
bishops sought his absolution. Bishoprics which fell vacant were at
once filled up. The Irish and Scotch prelates acknowledged Anselm’s
superiority. But William, cunning and implacable, was not to be
thus foiled. If the churchman could not be touched, the feudal
tenant could; and Anselm was accused of insufficient performance
of his duty in supplying military followers for an expedition into
Wales. In 1097, unable to withstand the royal violence, he left
England, and made his way to Rome. He there was present at two
great councils, that of Bari in 1098, where the orthodox doctrine
as to the Holy Ghost was established; and one at Rome in 1099,
where a curse was laid on all laymen who conferred ecclesiastical
investitures and upon all churchmen who received them. Upon
William’s death Anselm returned to England.



                   Born 1068 = Matilda of Scotland.
              |                               |
  William, Duke of Normandy.    Henry V. = Matilda = Geoffrey of Anjou.
           d. 1119.                       d. 1167. |
                                                Henry II.

                           CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._   |   _France._      |   _Germany._     |   _Spain._
                  |                  |                  |
  Edgar, 1097.    | Philip I., 1060. | Henry IV., 1056. | Alphonso VI., 1072.
  Alexander I.,   | Louis VI., 1108. | Henry V., 1106.  | Alphonso VII.,1109.
    1106.         | Lothaire II.,    |                  | Alphonso VIII.,
  David I., 1124. |   1125.          |                  |   1134.

  POPES.--Pascal II., 1099. Gelasius II., 1118. Calixtus II., 1119.
                   Honorius II., 1124. Innocent II., 1130.

    _Archbishops._    |   _Chief-Justices._    |   _Chancellors._
                      |                        |
  Anselm, 1093-1109.  | Robert Bloett, 1100.   | William Giffard, 1100.
  Ralph of Escures,   | Roger the Poor, Bishop | Roger the Poor, 1101.
    1114-1122.        |   of Salisbury, 1107.  | William Giffard, 1103.
  William of Corbeil, |                        | Waldric, 1104.
    1123-1135.        |                        | Ranulf, 1108.
                      |                        | Geoffrey Rufus, 1124.

[Sidenote: Henry secures the Crown. 1100.]

[Sidenote: He conciliates all classes.]

Henry had been hunting in the New Forest when his brother
William was killed, and rode at once to Winchester to secure the
King’s treasure. As the rights of primogeniture had not yet been
established, and he was very obviously a fitter man to be King than
his brother Robert, the slight opposition offered by the treasurer
was speedily overruled, and the Sunday following (August 5, 1100)
he was crowned at Westminster. To secure his position, however, he
found it necessary to conciliate all parties. The Church he won
by the immediate filling of vacant sees, and by the recall of the
exiled Anselm. William Giffard, the chancellor of Rufus, was made
Bishop of Winchester; Girard of Hereford, Archbishop of York; while
both Norman and Saxon laity were bound to him by a charter, by
which he laid some constitutional restrictions upon the despotism
established by his father. In that charter he promised to abolish
all oppressive duties, and to confine his demands to his just
claims as feudal lord; rendering the same agreement obligatory on
his tenants towards their vassals. False coining was checked, the
right of leaving personal property by will granted, and the law
of King Edward, which meant the old institutions of the country,
re-established. He likewise thought it well to win the heart of
the people by marrying a Princess of English descent, Matilda,
niece of Eadgar Ætheling, daughter of Margaret and Malcolm of
Scotland. Further to show his disapproval of his brother’s policy,
he arrested Ralph Flambard, who, however, found means to escape to
Normandy, and was made Bishop of Lisieux.

[Sidenote: His policy.]

Henry had thus declared the policy he intended to pursue, the
policy of his father rather than of his brother. He meant to be at
once a friend and master of the Church, and a national sovereign of
the English, a character which became a prince who had been born in
that country. That position implied a power much more centralized
than that of a feudal suzerain; and in England his chief policy
was directed throughout his reign to upholding his mastery over
the Church and over refractory barons who aimed at more perfect
feudalism. He was in heart however a Norman, and, in pursuit of his
objects, did not shrink from using his English subjects with great
severity. Similarly, his chief foreign difficulties were produced
by his wish to win the Duchy of Normandy, and having won it to rule
it in the same masterful spirit in which he ruled England. We find
then in his reign ecclesiastical disputes, disputes with the feudal
barons of both England and Normandy, wars for the conquest of the
duchy, and consequent complications with his suzerain the King of
France. Mixed with these are stories, chiefly from Saxon sources,
of cruel and unjust exactions and acts of injustice, tolerated, if
not ordered, against his Saxon subjects.

[Sidenote: His supporters.]

[Sidenote: His opponents.]

His views found supporters in the two sons of that Roger de
Beaumont, to whom his father had left the regency of Normandy when
he first came to England. These were the two great Earls, Robert,
Count of Mellent,[6] afterwards Earl Leicester, and his younger
brother Henry, Earl of Warwick, the elder of whom had received no
less than ninety-one manors from the Conqueror, and was the most
influential and wisest statesman of the day. On the other hand, he
was constantly opposed by his brother Robert, a military prince of
the feudal type, and Robert de Belesme of the House of Montgomery,
possessor of the Earldoms of Alençon in France and of Shrewsbury in
England, and by right of marriage of the county of Ponthieu.

[Sidenote: Robert of Normandy seeks the English Crown. 1101.]

Robert heard of his brother’s accession to the throne while on
his journey home from the Holy Land. He had served with credit
throughout the first crusade, especially at Dorylæum and at
Ascalon. He had declined the offer of the crown of Jerusalem, and
on his return home had married Sibylla, the daughter of Geoffrey
of Conversana. He was a man of extravagant and profligate habits,
and speedily squandered the fortune which his wife had brought him,
but the entreaties of English exiles, and of those discontented
nobles who longed for an easier rule than they could expect from
Henry, roused him to assert his claim to the English crown. Robert
of Belesme and his brothers, Walter Giffard, Robert Malet, Ivo of
Grantmesnil, even William of Warrenne, Earl of Surrey, closely
connected with the royal house, joined his party.

[Sidenote: Withdraws without bloodshed.]

[Sidenote: Henry attacks his partisans.]

[Sidenote: Defeat of Belesme. Establishment of royal power in

But the English were true to the King. Fitz-Hamon, Bigot, and
the Earl of Mellent, added their influence to the same side. It
was probably chiefly the talents of Mellent, and the threat of
excommunication from Archbishop Anselm, which brought about a
peaceful solution of the difficulty. A treaty was arranged by which
Robert renounced his claims in exchange for the Cotentin and 3000
marks a year. It was also stipulated that a complete amnesty should
be extended to the partisans of either prince in his brother’s
country. It was not Henry’s intention however to carry out this
part of the stipulation, and no sooner had Robert left the country
than the King proceeded to take steps against the two leaders of
his brother’s faction, Ivo of Grantmesnil and Robert of Belesme.
Ivo had been a crusader, and was one of those who had fled from
the siege of Antioch, being let down the wall with a rope. He had
thus earned the title among the witty Normans of the “Rope-dancer,”
and finding his credit gone he withdrew from England. His share
in the earldom of Leicester was given to Robert of Mellent, who
subsequently acquired the rest of the earldom. Alarmed by these
measures of the King, William de Warrenne induced Robert foolishly
to come over to England to negotiate for the safety of his
partisans. His position there was one of great jeopardy, and he
was glad to retire, having renounced his money payment, but having
secured the restitution of William in his Earldom of Surrey, of
which he had been deprived. The withdrawal of Robert from the
contest allowed Henry to turn his undivided attention to the
destruction of Robert de Belesme, the head of the Norman party in
England. From him he won the castles of Nottingham and Tickhill,
and subsequently that of Bridgenorth, to which he had retreated.
When many of the barons combined to seek his pardon, Henry, still
resting on the support of the English, refused to listen to them,
and proceeded to win from him his last stronghold, the Castle of
Shrewsbury. Upon this Belesme withdrew with his two brothers into
Normandy, and the disaffection of the aristocracy was permanently

[Sidenote: Belesme received in Normandy. Consequent invasion of the
Duchy. 1105.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Tenchebray. 1106.]

It had been stipulated that the brothers should not receive each
other’s exiles. In spite of this Robert of Normandy, enraged
at the persecution of his partisans, restored to Belesme his
continental property. Henry consequently on his side continued his
measures against Robert’s partisans. He first banished the Count
of Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, who claimed also the Earldom of Kent
in succession to Odo of Bayeux, the possession of which would have
rendered him the most powerful noble in England, and then proceeded
to Normandy to continue his attacks upon Belesme. He alleged not
only the reception of his exiles, but the general misgovernment of
Robert, as an excuse for his proceedings; and in truth, under that
Prince, Normandy had become a scene of anarchy. As an instance of
this it is mentioned, that on his arrival a church was pointed out
to him full of property sent there for safety from the hands of the
marauding barons. He captured the towns of Caen and Bayeux, and
found allies in the persistent enemies of the Dukes of Normandy,
Fulk Count of Anjou, and Hélie de la Fléche, who had succeeded in
regaining the County of Maine. With Count Robert of Flanders also
he renewed friendly relations. With such support he proved too
strong for the Norman Duke, and before the Castle of Tenchebray a
battle was fought, on the anniversary of the battle of Hastings,
which ended in favour of the King. Duke Robert himself, the Count
of Mortain, and Eadgar Ætheling, who had been serving with the
Duke, were taken prisoners. Eadgar was liberated, and died in peace
in England some years after; but Duke Robert and the Count of
Mortain were imprisoned for the rest of their lives. Normandy and
England were thus again united.

[Sidenote: Wars with France. 1107.]

[Sidenote: Louis upholds William Clito as claimant to the Duchy.]

[Sidenote: End of the war. Treaty of Gisors. 1113.]

The possession of Normandy brought Henry into more immediate
contact with France. Louis VI. was upon the throne of that kingdom,
the first of those great kings to whom the monarchy owed its
ultimate triumph over feudalism. It was natural that he should
look with jealousy on the vast strength of his great vassal, and
should attempt to curtail that power which the supineness of his
predecessor had allowed to accumulate. A constant border warfare
was the consequence, rendered the more possible by the doubtful
position of such counties as Maine, Evreux, the Vexin, Blois,
and Alençon, the counts of which were for ever changing their
allegiance. Louis had no difficulty in finding a pretender to
the Norman Duchy whom he might use as his instrument in opposing
the English King. William, the son of Robert, had fallen into
Henry’s hands, and had been by him intrusted to the care of Hélie
de St. Saen. In 1110, in connection apparently with a movement of
disaffected nobility (for Braiose, Malet, and Bainard are mentioned
as being exiled at that time), Hélie fled with the young Prince,
and sought to raise all the neighbouring princes in his cause.
Their efforts were not successful. Henry’s arch-enemy, Robert of
Belesme, fell into the King’s hands at Bonneville, where he had
presented himself with extraordinary effrontery, trusting that a
message with which he was charged from the King of France would
give him the security due to an ambassador. The same year Theobald
of Blois, acting for Henry, defeated the French King at Puysac.
And when Henry himself succeeded in capturing the town of Alençon,
and in attaching the Count of Anjou to his interests, by giving
him his heir, William the Ætheling, as a husband for his daughter,
Louis found it desirable to conclude a peace at Gisors, by which he
resigned his claim of suzerainty over Maine, Belesme, and Brittany,
and left entirely unmentioned the rights of William, son of Robert.
There followed a period of some years, during which Henry was able
to live in tolerable peace in England.

[Sidenote: Prince William acknowledged heir.]

His position was, indeed, unusually strong. His son was contracted
to the daughter of the Earl of Anjou; his natural daughter to
Conan, son of Alan Fergant of Brittany; and, in the following year,
his daughter Adelaide or Matilda was married to the German Emperor
Henry V. He took this opportunity of securing the succession to
his son William, to whom, in the years 1115-1116, he succeeded in
inducing the barons both of England and Normandy to promise their
allegiance. But this cessation of hostilities was not of long

[Sidenote: Renewal of the war.]

[Sidenote: Depression of Henry.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Brenneville, and complete prosperity. 1119.]

The causes of war had not been removed. There was still chronic
disaffection among the Norman barons, who disliked the firmness
of Henry’s rule; constant jealousy upon the part of the French
King; and the Pretender William, the Clito as he is called, was an
ever-ready instrument for their hands. Thus the border warfare was
renewed, and we hear of the disaffection, not only of the King’s
great barons, but of his allies, both Robert of Flanders and Fulk
of Anjou adopting William’s cause. Other distresses likewise came
upon Henry. He lost his wife Matilda, and his firm and sagacious
minister, Robert of Mellent. But, in 1118, prosperity again
returned to him. The Count of Flanders was killed in an attack upon
the Count of Eu. Money or negotiation won back the friendship of
Fulk, and in the following year a battle between a few knights at
Brenneville, at which both Henry and Louis were present in person,
was regarded as so decisive a victory for the English, that, by
the mediation of Pope Calixtus, a new Treaty was arranged, and
William’s interest completely disregarded. Thus was triumphantly
closed the second of Henry’s wars in France.

[Sidenote: Death of Prince William and its consequences. 1120.]

At this period of his greatest prosperity a blow fell upon Henry
from which he is said never to have recovered. He was returning
in triumph to England, when a certain Thomas Fitz-Stephen, whose
father had conveyed the Conqueror to England, claimed the privilege
of conveying the royal party. To gratify him, Prince William,
with the king’s natural daughter Matilda, the Countess of Perche,
and other young nobles, consented to embark in his ship called
the “Blanche Nef.” They remained behind the rest of the fleet
and celebrated the occasion in festivity, which ended in the
drunkenness of the crew. As they rode upon the harbour of Barfleur
in the moonlight they suddenly struck upon the rocks of the Ras de
Catte, and there was barely time for the young Prince to escape in
a boat from the sinking ship. The cries of his sister are said to
have induced William to return towards the wreck, when the hurried
rush of the despairing crew capsized his boat, and all on board
were drowned. Of the whole crew of the ship one only, Berold, a
butcher of Rouen, survived, owing his safety to the warmth afforded
him by his rough garb of undressed sheepskins. With fear and
trembling the news was broken to Henry by the young son of Count
Theobald of Blois. Henry is said to have fallen fainting from his
seat, and from that time onwards never to have relaxed into a smile.

[Sidenote: Insurrection of the Duke of Anjou.]

[Sidenote: Death of William Clito.]

The death of Prince William was not only a domestic misfortune.
By it was broken also the tie which bound the Count of Anjou
to Henry’s interests. It was a natural jealousy of his great
neighbour, the Norman Duke, which had induced Fulk to act in
alliance with Henry. When Robert’s imprisonment put Henry on the
throne of Normandy, he in turn became the object of Fulk’s enmity.
The state of the Duchy, where a disaffected party constantly
existed, afforded him ample opportunity of giving effect to that
enmity. Thus, in 1124, Henry was again recalled to Normandy to
suppress a rebellion in favour of William Clito, who was supported
by Anjou. Not only Anjou but France was inclining to join the
rebels, and it was only by instigating his son-in-law the Emperor
to attack France that Henry could manage to make head against his
opponents. As it was, however, a fortunate surprise by which all
the leaders fell into his hands enabled him to crush the rebellion,
and again induced the foreign powers to desert William. The King
of France indeed did not wholly give him up; but in 1127, after
investing him with several important territories, he brought him
forward as a claimant to the throne of Flanders, to which he had a
claim through his grandmother, Matilda, the Conqueror’s wife, who
was a daughter of Baldwin, Count of Flanders. Against him Henry
supported the claims of Diederik or Dirk, Count of Alsace, the last
count’s nephew, and his rightful heir. The matter came to war, and
in July 1128, before Alost, Prince William was wounded, and died of
his wounds. Henry was thus rid of his most formidable opponent.

[Sidenote: Attempt to secure the succession to Matilda.]

It remained for him to secure the succession for his daughter
Matilda, and he induced all the great men of England to acknowledge
her, and swear to support her claims. The list of those who swore
was headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, followed by the King’s
nephew, Stephen of Boulogne, and his natural son, Robert of
Gloucester. They always declared that they accepted the oath on the
condition that she should not be married to a foreigner without
their consent, and therefore many of them held themselves absolved
from their oath, when she was betrothed and ultimately married to
Geoffrey, son of the Count of Anjou.

[Sidenote: Death of Henry.]

The close of his reign was chiefly occupied in arranging disputes
in consequence of this marriage. It was while still in Normandy on
this business, though his presence was imperatively demanded in
England to suppress an insurrection in Wales, that he died, as it
is said, of the effects of a hearty meal of lampreys on the 1st of
December 1135.

[Sidenote: Welsh held in check by colonies of Flemings.]

[Sidenote: Constant insurrections.]

Throughout the reign he had had considerable difficulties with
the Welsh, for although, as has been said, many Norman knights
and barons had established strongholds among them, they were by
no means subdued. They took part in the insurrection of Robert
of Belesme; and Henry, conscious that they would be difficult to
conquer, hit upon the plan of establishing among them colonies of
Flemings, many of whom had come over with the Conqueror, and still
more about the year 1106, driven from their country by inundations.
The land granted them was in the western part of Wales, near
Haverfordwest and Tenby, where they acted at once as a military
post, and, through their knowledge of manufacture and agriculture,
as an instrument of civilization. In 1114 the Welsh rose under
Gryffith. The occupation of Caermarthen and Cardigan, where
Gilbert Strongbow, Earl of Strigul, was at that time commanding,
separated the Flemings from the English, and Henry was compelled to
march to their rescue. This insurrection was suppressed by Robert
of Gloucester, himself the son of Gryffith’s sister.[7] Small
insurrections continued. In 1122 Henry again went in person to
Wales, but, on the whole, the inhabitants were kept in subjection
by the Flemings and by numerous Norman castles till 1134, when they
were provoked to a new outbreak, so important that the King was
preparing to cross from Normandy to suppress it, when he died.

[Sidenote: Henry’s Church policy.]

[Sidenote: Anselm refuses fealty.]

[Sidenote: Anselm has to leave England.]

[Sidenote: Unsupported by the Pope, makes compromise at Bec. 1106.]

[Sidenote: Synod of Westminster.]

At home the great points of Henry’s reign were those which form
the domestic history of all feudal monarchies, the relation of the
Church and State, and the maintenance of police. With regard to the
Church his views were those of his father. He was ready to support
and increase its influence; he was not ready to give up any of the
prerogatives which his predecessors had possessed. He thus reversed
all the action of his brother, recalled Anselm at once with marked
honour, and filled up the vacant benefices. But the Archbishop
during his exile had mixed in Continental politics, at that time
consisting almost entirely of the question of investitures. He
returned home determined to assert to the full the independence of
the Church. He therefore refused to swear fealty, and do homage to
the King, or to consecrate those bishops who had received their
investitures from him. Henry, supported by his lay counsellors,
was equally determined to uphold the rights of the crown. The
matter was referred to the Pope, Pascal II. The Papacy had enemies
enough already, and could not afford to drive to extremities a
Prince so powerful, and in the main so friendly, as Henry. The
reply which was returned was ambiguous. Henry again commanded the
Archbishop to perform his usual duties. A second application to
Rome produced no better result. Anselm was urged to perseverance.
Henry’s ambassadors were given to understand that, as long as his
appointments were good, the King should not be interfered with.
Firm in his own views, but uncertain as to the Pope’s wishes,
Anselm had no course open to him but to visit Rome in person. He
there met with but lukewarm support, and withdrew to Lyons, while
Henry laid hands upon all the revenues of the archbishopric. For
some time Anselm rejected all offers of compromise; but when, after
all his efforts, he could induce the Pope to go no further than the
excommunication, not of the King, but of some of his ministers,
he lost heart, and, in 1106, a compromise was arranged at Bec, by
which Henry retained the really important part of investiture,
the oaths of fealty and homage, while resigning the idle symbol
of the gift of ring and crozier. This compromise, which was the
same in effect as that made sixteen years afterwards at Worms
between Henry V. and Calixtus II., set at rest for the present that
rivalry between Church and State which the policy of the Conqueror
had introduced. The decrees of a Synod held at Westminster,
1102, by Anselm before going to Rome, show the abuses which the
ecclesiastical disputes of the last reign had introduced. They are
directed against such habits as simony, marriage of the clergy, the
assumption of lay dress by ecclesiastics, the holding of secular
courts by bishops, the adoration of unauthorized saints and relics,
and vindicate the claims of the Church to be considered as the
chief civilizing agent of the time by forbidding the selling of men
for slaves.

[Sidenote: Frequent unfit appointments in the Church. Henry
corrects them when possible.]

It was not always that the Church appeared in such an amiable
light. Henry no doubt, on the whole, attempted to make good
appointments, but interest or desire to reward an ardent partisan
sometimes put an unfit person into office. Thus Henry of Poitou was
given the Abbey of Peterborough, although he already held an abbey
in France, apparently as a reward for the support he gave the King
in upholding the illegality of the marriage between William Clito
and Sibylla of Anjou on the score of consanguinity. “He came like
a drone to a hive,” says the chronicler; “all that the bees draw
towards them the drones devour and draw from them, so did he.” It
is fair to say that Henry, when he found out how bad a person he
had appointed, had him removed. “It was not very long after that
that the King sent for him, and made him give up the Abbey of
Peterborough, and go out of the land.” Thus, again, after a great
distribution of abbeys in 1107, it is remarked “that the abbots
were rather wolves than shepherds.” Such complaints are however
usually uttered by English writers, and the plight of the conquered
people was evidently very miserable.

[Sidenote: Wretched condition of the people.]

[Sidenote: Extracts from old chroniclers.]

It was a time of great suffering on more accounts than one,
and the suffering was of a kind to fall chiefly upon the lower
orders. Agriculture was so rough that any little irregularity in
the seasons produced a failure of the crops, and the habits of
the people were such that any infectious disease was liable to
become a pestilence. The constant warfare, either against his
vassals or his enemies, which the King carried on, was the cause
of frequent taxation, against which no class in the State had it
in their power to remonstrate; while the natural and artificial
causes of suffering were further aggravated by the frequent issue
of false coin. Thus we find year after year such entries as these
in the chroniclers:--“The year 1105 was very miserable, because of
the failure of the crops, and the ceaseless taxation.” “The year
1110 was full of wretchedness, because of the bad season, and the
tribute the King demanded for his daughter’s dowry.” “In this year
(1124) were many failures in England in corn and all fruit, so
that between Christmas and Candlemas the acre seed of wheat was
sold for six shillings; and that of barley, that is three seedlips
for three shillings, the acre seed of oats for four shillings,
because there was little corn, and the penny was so bad that a
man who had at market a pound could by no means buy therewith
twelvepenny-worth.” “In this same year (1125) was so great a flood
on St. Lawrence’s mass day that many towns and men were drowned,
and bridges shattered; corn and meadows totally destroyed, and for
all fruits there was so bad a season as there had not been for many
years before.” “In that year (1131) there was so great a murrain of
cattle as never was in the memory of man.” This carried off neat,
swine, and domestic fowls alike. And when the harvest was good the
pestilence came. “This year (1112) was a very good year, and very
abundant in wood and field, but it was a very sorrowful one through
a most destructive pestilence.” Or again, the year 1104, “It is not
easy to recount all the miseries the country suffered this year
through various and manifold illegalities and imposts which never
ceased nor failed, and ever as the King went there was plundering
by his followers on his wretched people, and at the same time often
burnings and murders.”

[Sidenote: Their chief complaints.]

[Sidenote: Baronial tyranny.]

In these extracts, which might be largely multiplied, the chief
causes of the people’s misery are mentioned. Heavy taxes, famines,
floods, pestilence, false money, and purveyance. To attempt to
rectify such of these as were within the power of man, was one main
part of Henry’s duty. To that was added the work of suppressing, by
a centralized royal power, the excesses of the feudal barons. What
crying necessity there was that they should be suppressed is made
plain by the stories related of Robert of Belesme, their chief.
He is spoken of as guilty of the most unheard-of barbarities, as
having scorned the ransoms of his captives to torture them by
newfangled instruments; he found delight in seeing men and women
impaled and struggling in the agonies of death. “He was a man,”
says William of Malmesbury, “intolerable for the barbarity of
his manners, remarkable besides for cruelty;” and, among other
instances, he relates how, on account of some trifling fault of its
father, he blinded his godchild, who was his hostage, by tearing
out the poor little creature’s eyes with “his accursed nails.”

[Sidenote: Heavy taxation.]

[Sidenote: Henry cures what evils he can.]

One complaint of his people Henry systematically disregarded. He
could not afford to do without his taxes, and on all classes on
this point he leant with a heavy hand. But in other respects,
as far as in him lay, he rectified abuses of administration,
and established a vigorous and effectual police. The evils of
purveyance had become extreme; no property was safe from the hands
of the followers of the court, and when they found larger supplies
than they wanted, “if it was liquor they washed their horses’
feet in it, or food they wantonly destroyed it.” But Henry made
a regulation for the followers of his court, at whichever of his
residences he might be, stating what they should take without
payment from the country folk, and how much, and at what price
they should purchase, punishing the transgressors by heavy fine or
loss of life. So with regard to false coinage, immediately after
the complaint of high prices in the year 1124, it is mentioned
that Henry at once sent from Normandy to England, and commanded
that all the moneyers should have their right hands cut off, and
be otherwise mutilated. Bishop Roger of Salisbury sent all over
England, commanded them all to come before him, and then and there
punished upwards of fifty. Henry was careful, indeed, in other ways
with regard to the money, having the whole of the coinage broken
to prevent the refusal of broken silver pennies; for it seems to
have been the custom to break the coinage to see that the money was
good, and tradesmen not unfrequently refused the broken coins.

[Sidenote: His strict police.]

Against offences of violence Henry was equally vigorous. At one
single court held in Leicestershire by Basset the Justiciary,
during the King’s absence in 1124, no less than forty-four thieves
were condemned and hanged, besides others mutilated. “He sought
after robbers and counterfeiters with the greatest diligence,
and punished them when discovered,” says William of Malmesbury.
Rivalling his father also in other respects, he restrained by edict
the acts of his courtiers, thefts, rapine, and the violation of
women, commanding the delinquents to be deprived of sight. He also
displayed singular vigilance against the mint masters, suffering no
man who had been guilty of “deluding the innocent by the practice
of roguery” to escape without losing his hands. “A good man he
was,” says the Saxon Chronicle, “and all men stood in awe of him;
no man durst misdo against another in his time. He made peace for
man and beast. Whoso bare his burden of gold and silver, no man
thirst do him aught but good.”

[Sidenote: Administrative machinery.]

[Sidenote: Local courts.]

[Sidenote: Curia Regis.]

To carry out this strict police some apparatus was necessary,
which at the same time should serve the purpose of diminishing the
power of the great nobles, and that of beginning at all events,
by its centralizing influence, to re-form the conquered people
and their conquerors into one nation. The rudiments of such an
apparatus Henry found already existing in the arrangements which
the Conqueror had made. The system of frankpledge, increased and
adapted to the more general feudal form of society, supplied him
with an efficient system of police. There was no man in the kingdom
but some one was answerable for him. If he was a vassal, his lord.
If he was a freeman, the knot of freemen of which he was a member.
As courts to carry out this system, there were the old Hundred and
Shire gemots. These Henry strengthened and, it would seem from one
existing order, restored when in any way decayed to their original
purity. To these courts criminal cases belonged, and civil suits
between vassals of different lords. Questions between vassals of
the same lord seem to have fallen within the jurisdiction of the
lord. But these inferior courts, although they were excellent for
police purposes, and as a check upon the powers of the baronial
courts, would have done little towards the formation of nationality
had they not been brought into connection with a superior court
of which the king was chief. This central court consisted of the
King in his ordinary council, which, since the Conquest, was
known as the Curia Regis. Over it was the justiciary, who was the
King’s representative, his regent during his absence, the head of
his administration, both judicial and financial, at all times.
Under him was a selection of barons, the chief officers of the
royal household, and those best qualified for judicial purposes.
The clerks of this court were placed under a head, who was the
chancellor. The judges themselves sat for financial purposes in
the exchequer chamber, and were spoken of as the barons of the
exchequer. For general business they were called justices, and
their head the chief-justice. The organization of this court dates
from the reign of Henry I. The office of chief justiciary had been
founded by William the Conqueror, but the regular formation of the
Exchequer Court was the work of Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, in the
hands of whose family the direction of the machinery remained for
nearly a century.[8] It was afterwards, as we shall see, brought
to its completion by Henry II., but all its essential parts are
to be found in the reign of his grandfather. It was as officers
of finance that the justices first began to traverse the country.
The sheriffs could not always be trusted in their own localities,
and change of property and other causes gave rise to difficult
questions, requiring to be settled by the immediate intervention
of the King’s officers. From financial questions their authority
naturally passed to questions of justice, and their connection
with the local courts was further strengthened when Henry united
several sheriffdoms under one of his justices. Following a natural
tendency, the men employed for these offices were not the great
barons, but new men, who rose by their talents, and were naturally
upholders of the royal power and of order in opposition to the
anarchical baronial party.

To sum up; after the year 1108, when the local courts were
re-established, both the Hundred and county courts were the same in
constitution and in arrangement as before the Conquest. But they
were connected with the central government; because matters in
which the King was interested were set aside for the consideration
of the Curia Regis, or travelling justiciary sent out from that
body; and because the Norman lawyers had introduced the practice of
issuing writs from the King’s court, whereby the King, in virtue
of what is called his “equitable power,” that is, his power of
securing justice where the law did not give it, prescribed the
method of action in certain difficult cases. The Hundred court
was sometimes a lower court for the arrangement of small debts;
the Bailiff of the Hundred then presided. Sometimes it was the
great court held only twice a year; the sheriff then presided, the
court exercised criminal jurisdiction, and was known as the “Court
Leet.” It also saw to the filling up of the divisions of ten men
required by the system of Frankpledge; this was called “the view of
frankpledge.” The court was then known as “the Sheriff’s Tourn.”
Below these local courts were the feudal manor courts, the old
motes of the township, now become the courts of the lord. But we
must not suppose that the authority of the sheriff and the local
courts (now virtually royal courts) was universal. Certain great
lords enjoyed franchises, that is, exercised jurisdiction over
several manors. If the lord had “sac and soc,” his court had the
authority of the Court Leet. If he had “the view of frankpledge,”
the suitors at his court were free from attendance at the Sheriff’s
Tourn. His court was then in all points like the Hundred court, but
independent of the sheriff. This double system Henry had apparently
to submit to, watching the baronial power as well as he could, by
means of the local courts and travelling justices.

[Sidenote: The National Assembly.]

It is to be carefully remembered that though the Curia Regis,
representing the King’s council, attested charters, and revised
and registered laws, it had no legislative authority. Both the
imposition of taxes and the making of laws still rested with the
King and his great council, the representative of the Witan, which
had become a feudal court, and consisted chiefly of the King’s
vassals. Their “counsel and consent” was a necessary condition of
all legislation.



                       Born 1105 = Maud of Boulogne.
                   |                                      |
       Eustace, Earl of Boulogne.             William, Earl of Boulogne.
                d. 1152.                               d. 1159.

                             CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._       |   _France._       |   _Germany._  |   _Spain._
                      |                   |               |
  David I., 1124.     | Louis VI., 1108.  | Lothaire II., | Alphonso VIII.,
  Malcolm IV., 1153.  | Louis VII., 1137. |   1125.       |   1134.
  Frederick I., 1152. |                   | Conrad III.,  |
                      |                   |   1138.       |

  POPES.--Innocent II., 1130. Celestine II., 1143. Lucius II., 1144
                  Eugenius III., 1145. Anastasius IV., 1153.

    _Archbishops._     |  _Chief-Justice._   |  _Chancellors._
                       |                     |
  William of Corbeuil, | Roger, Bishop of    | Roger the Poor, 1135.
        1123-1136.     |   Salisbury.        | Philip, 1139.
  Theobald, 1139-1161. |   1135-1139.        |

[Sidenote: Stephen’s accession.]

On Henry’s death, according to the oath of the nobles, Matilda,
late Empress, now wife of Geoffrey of Anjou, should have become
Duchess of Normandy and Queen of England. But the principle of
hereditary succession was by no means firmly established; a female
sovereign was not desirable for a feudal country; her child
Henry was an infant; and the nobles held that the conditions of
their oath of fealty had been broken when Matilda had married a
foreigner. There was therefore almost a unanimous feeling that
one or other of the Princes of Blois, grandsons of the Conqueror,
Theobald the elder brother, or Stephen, Count of Mortain and
Boulogne, should ascend the throne. Steps were being taken in
Normandy to induce Theobald to come forward, when news was brought
to him that the superior quickness of his brother Stephen had
already secured the crown in England, where, though not without
some demur, the influence of the Church, headed by his brother
Henry of Winchester, had secured him success.

[Sidenote: Strange character of the reign.]

[Sidenote: Great power of the Church.]

There followed a period of twenty years without a parallel in the
history of England. It was the only time during which the feudal
baronage assumed that position of practical independence which
it was always aiming at, which it frequently enjoyed abroad, but
which the wise management and strong government of the Conqueror
and his two sons had rendered impossible in England. The weak
title of the King, and the constantly urged claim of the Empress,
joined with the personal character of Stephen, who seems to have
been unable to refuse a request, afforded an opportunity to the
barons of asserting virtual independence and fighting for their own
interests, while nominally upholding one or other of the claimants
to the throne. The same causes affected the Church, which was now
able to make good that commanding position which the legislation
of the Conqueror had given it, although up to this time the strong
hand of the King had rendered the position worthless. The only
organized power in the midst of anarchy, it was enabled to use its
influence to the full. It was the Church that set Stephen on the
throne; it was his quarrel with the bishops which lit up the civil
war in England; the success of the Empress was of no avail till she
was accepted by the Church; her attack upon Henry of Winchester was
the signal for her discomfiture; it was the mediation of the Church
which ultimately produced a cessation of the war.

[Sidenote: The interest of the reign.]

The facts of the reign are few and in themselves unimportant. To
the growth of the constitution it added nothing. It is nevertheless
interesting as exhibiting the effects of unbridled feudalism,
and as preparing the way for the great work of consolidation
perfected by Henry II.; on the one hand by the misery and disgust
excited by the lawless outrages of the barons; on the other by the
overwhelming power thrown into the hands of the Church, which could
not co-exist with any true national monarchy.

[Sidenote: Stephen’s charter.]

[Sidenote: Affairs in Wales.]

On his coronation, Stephen, in general terms, promised to uphold
the good laws of his predecessors. At the first great council
of his reign he issued a more explicit charter, securing to the
Church their property and privileges, and promising to suppress
illegalities on the part of the sheriffs. The character of the
reign rendered such a charter quite inoperative. The insurrection
in Wales, which had been bringing Henry to England when he died,
continued. Its conduct fell chiefly to Ranulf, Earl of Chester, and
Richard Fitz-Gilbert of Clare. Stephen’s presence on the borders
did not succeed in checking it. Richard Fitz-Gilbert was killed,
and he left the country as before to be conquered by the gradual
advance of the lords marchers.

[Sidenote: Early signs of disturbance.]

[Sidenote: War with Scotland. 1137.]

[Sidenote: Its connection with an English conspiracy.]

[Sidenote: Battle of the Standard. Aug. 22, 1138.]

Already, it would seem, the yielding character of Stephen had
been discovered. Already barons began to take advantage of it.
Roger Bigot seized the Castle of Norwich, and wrested from the
King the earldom of that county and of East Anglia. Robert of
Bathenton and Baldwin of Redvers, in Devonshire, began to rebel.
They were indeed both conquered, but such movements mark the
temper of the times. In 1137 Stephen found himself strong enough
to cross to Normandy, where Geoffrey of Anjou was making war upon
his provinces. His success there was not great. He purchased
from Geoffrey a cessation of hostilities. Meanwhile the Northern
frontier of England had become a scene of war. David of Scotland,
the nephew of Eadgar Ætheling, and uncle through his sister Matilda
of the Empress, had himself some claims to the English throne.
But these he declared that he waived, wishing to abide true to
the oath he had taken to support his niece. He, however, demanded
that his son Henry should be allowed to do homage to Stephen for
Cumberland, and that he himself should receive the counties of
Northumberland and Huntingdon, which he claimed in right of his
wife, the daughter of Earl Waltheof. Though he himself declared
that he had no desire for the English throne, there is mentioned
by one chronicler[9] a general conspiracy of the native English
with their exiled countrymen, of whom the south of Scotland was
full, for the purpose of taking advantage of the condition of
the country to put to death the Normans, and to place the crown
upon David’s head. The plot was discovered by the Bishop of Ely,
who was at once Bishop and Governor of that district, which had
been formed by the last king into a modified county palatine. He
told his discovery, and many of the conspirators were hanged, but
many others found a refuge in Scotland. At length, in 1138, David
entered England with a large army, and pushed forward as far as
Northallerton in Yorkshire. He was there met by the forces of the
Northern bishops and barons, gathered under the command of Walter
Espec, Thurstan, the aged Archbishop of York, William of Albemarle,
Roger of Mowbray, and other barons. They gathered round a tall
mast borne upon a carriage, on which, above the standards of the
three Northern Saints, St. Peter of York, St. John of Beverley,
and St. Wilfred of Ripon, was displayed a silver pyx bearing the
consecrated wafer. The motley army of the Scots, some armed as the
English, some in the wild dress of the Picts of Galloway, after a
well-fought battle, broke against the full-clad Norman soldiers,
and were killed by the arrows, which had now become the national
weapon of the English; 11,000 are said to have fallen on the field.
But, in spite of the victory, Stephen, conscious of his general
weakness, accepted an unfavourable peace, by which Northumberland
was given to Prince Henry.

[Sidenote: Growth of anarchy in England.]

[Sidenote: Creation of earldoms and castles.]

All this time the spirit of lawlessness had been increasing. “Many
persons,” says the chronicler,[10] “emboldened to illegal acts,
either by nobility of descent or by ambition, were not ashamed,
some to demand castles, others estates, and indeed whatever came
into their fancy, from the King. When he delayed complying with
their request ... they, becoming enraged, immediately fortified
their castles against him, and drove away large booties from his
lands.” “He created likewise many earls where there had been none
before; appropriating to them rents which had before belonged to
the crown. They were the more greedy in asking, and he more profuse
in giving, because a rumour was pervading England that Robert of
Gloucester would shortly espouse the cause of his sister.” The
creation of earldoms had been rare under the three first Norman
kings, and as those offices died out their places had not been
filled. It is said, indeed, that in 1131 there were but three earls
in England, Robert of Gloucester, and the Earls of Chester and
Leicester.[11] As the earl received the third penny of the fines
of his earldom, the creation of earls manifestly impoverished
the crown. But Stephen appears to have gone beyond the filling
up of regular earldoms, and to have created titular earls,[12]
with grants of royal demesne lands to support their dignity. The
building of castles[13] was the great sign of the anarchical
condition of England, implying private war and all the other
horrors of the worst forms of continental feudalism.

[Sidenote: Robert of Gloucester renounces his fealty. 1138.]

[Sidenote: Stephen’s mercenaries.]

This anarchy began to assume a form when Robert of Gloucester,
alleging his previous oath to Matilda, and asserting that the
conditions on which he had accepted Stephen had not been kept,
renounced his fealty. His influence was in his earldom, and in the
West of England; the headquarters of his party was Bristol; and
his agent during his absence was Milo, Constable of Gloucester,
afterwards Earl of Hereford. Nearly all the West, and by no means
the West only, declared for Matilda. But in most cases the rival
claims to the throne were used as an excuse merely. Change of sides
was common, and there are instances of leaders excluding their own
nominal partisans from strongholds they had won.[14] At first the
insurrection was unsuccessful. Stephen, conscious of his weakness,
had collected mercenaries from Flanders and from Brittany. The
condition of the country made them eager to come. In Stephen’s
time numbers of freebooters from Flanders and Brittany flocked to
England in expectation of pillage.[15] The chief leader of the
Flemings was William of Ypres; the Bretons were commanded by Alan
the Black of Richmond, Hervé of Léon, and Alan of Dinan. With the
aid of these Stephen speedily regained the great castles he had
lost, such as Bath, Castlecary, Harptree, and Shrewsbury; and might
perhaps even yet have established his authority, when an act of
supreme folly set him at variance with the Church.

[Sidenote: Jealousy between the old and new administration.]

The new administrative class was represented by Roger of Salisbury,
who had succeeded in procuring for his nephew Alexander the
bishopric of Lincoln, for Nigel the bishopric of Ely, while
his illegitimate son Roger was Chancellor. The vast wealth and
influence of this family encouraged them to build castles, and
Devizes, Sherborne, Malmesbury, and Salisbury were strongly
fortified. The family of Beaumont, Earls of Mellent, had been
generally firm supporters of the crown and of authority. They
now seem to have seen with jealousy their position as the chief
advisers to the crown occupied by men of law, ecclesiastics, yet
without the sanctity which befits the ecclesiastical profession. At
their instigation, and at that of their friends, the King took the
ill-advised step of beginning his assault on his castle-building
barons by demanding the surrender of these bishops’ castles. The
Bishops of Lincoln and Salisbury were suddenly arrested at an
assembly held at Oxford (1139); the Bishop of Ely took refuge in
the castle of Devizes. Thither the King betook himself, with his
two prisoners, as some accounts assert, kept entirely without food,
one in a cow-stall and the other in a hovel. This treatment of the
bishops, and a threat of hanging Roger the Chancellor, produced the
surrender of Devizes as well as the other three castles.

[Sidenote: Stephen’s quarrel with the Church.]

[Sidenote: Consequent arrival of Matilda. Sept. 30, 1139.]

The success was dearly bought. The King’s brother, Henry of
Winchester, upheld the dignity of his order. He summoned a council,
produced a Papal letter declaring him legate, proceeded to lay
his charges against the King before the council, and advised him
to submit to canonical punishment. Stephen’s case was defended
by Aubrey de Vere, who, when the aggrieved bishops spoke of an
appeal to Rome, declared that the King advised them not to do so,
as whoever went might find it difficult to return; and himself
appealed to the jurisdiction of the Pope. This threat, and an
ominous appearance of drawn swords around the meeting, prevented
the bishops from proceeding to extremities; but none the less had
Stephen forfeited their support. The immediate effect was the
arrival of Gloucester and the Empress in the South of England.

[Sidenote: Civil war.]

After a short stay at Arundel, the Empress withdrew to join her
brother, who had preceded her, at Bristol. There had been a
friendly meeting with Henry of Winchester upon their arrival,
and it was the same Henry who escorted the Empress to join her
brother.[16] The scene of confusion became still more confused.
Brian Fitz-Count[17] held Wallingford for the Empress; Milo of
Gloucester regained many of the Western castles which Stephen had
won. In Cornwall, Reginald of Dunstanville, a brother of the Earl
of Gloucester, upheld, though without much success, the cause of
the Empress. In Wiltshire, Fitz-Hubert, a Fleming, and Fitz-Gilbert
fought nominally for the Empress, really for themselves, till
Fitz-Gilbert enticed Fitz-Hubert, who had refused admission to the
partisans of the Empress for whom he was nominally fighting, to the
Castle of Marlborough, and there hanged him.

[Sidenote: Continued quarrel with the Church.]

[Sidenote: Robert, to bring matters to a crisis, fights the battle
of Lincoln. Feb. 2, 1141.]

The quarrel between Stephen and his bishops grew worse and worse.
Roger of Salisbury died in 1139. The Bishop of Winchester demanded
the See for his nephew. Again Waleram of Mellent thwarted the
Church, and his request was refused. At the Whitsuntide festival
(1141) held in London, but one bishop,[18] and that a foreign one,
was with the court. The state of uncertain anarchy was becoming
highly distasteful to Robert of Gloucester. An opportunity occurred
of bringing matters to a crisis. Ranulph, the Earl of Chester, had
hitherto played fast and loose with both parties, and the King had
parted from him at Lincoln, which he possessed in right of his
mother Lucia, believing him to be his partisan. But, a few days
after his departure, Ranulph and his brother William of Roumare,
surprised the castle, on which the King, who was a good soldier and
very rapid in his movements, suddenly came back and besieged it.
Ranulph escaped from the castle to Robert of Gloucester, who seized
the occasion to bring on a pitched battle. With Ranulph, his own
partisans, and the Welsh, he reached the Trent, passed it with some
difficulty, and appeared suddenly before Lincoln. A great battle
ensued, in which the victory fell to Gloucester, and Stephen was
himself taken prisoner.

[Sidenote: Matilda seeks help of the Church, and becomes Queen.]

[Sidenote: Importance of the Londoners. 1141.]

Of course this defeat somewhat changed the balance of affairs.
Cornwall was regained for the Empress, and her influence reached
eastward as far as Bedford and Nottingham. But she could not hope
in any true sense to obtain the crown without the consent of the
all-powerful Church. At once therefore negotiations were opened
with Henry of Winchester. Having won his adherence, and with it
that of the greater part of the bishops, she went from Gloucester,
accompanied by the Bishop of Ely and other supporters, to
Winchester. In an open plain without the city she swore to follow
the advice of the Legate on Church matters. Her oath was attested
by Milo, afterwards Earl of Hereford, Earl Gloucester, Brian
Fitz-Count, and others. A council of the Church was held a few days
after. The Legate addressed the assembly, and declared his adhesion
to Matilda. It is to be observed that he waited a day to receive
the citizens of London, who were “as it were nobles by reason of
the magnitude of the city.” Both the Londoners and many of the
nobility besought for the release of Stephen, but their request was
refused, and many of the royal party executed. Having obtained the
castle of Oxford from Robert of Oilli, Matilda proceeded to London;
but there the haughtiness of her behaviour soon produced the ruin
of her cause.

[Sidenote: Matilda’s opportunity, but she offends both Church and

[Sidenote: Consequent revolution of affairs.]

[Sidenote: Gloucester taken prisoner, and exchanged for Stephen.

It seems as though, if he could only have regained his liberty,
Stephen himself and his partisans would have been willing now
to retire from the contest. The Earls of Leicester and Mellent,
hitherto staunch supporters of the King, together with his old
friend Hugh, the Bishop of Rouen, went so far as to offer the
crown to Stephen’s brother Theobald. But that prince declined
to receive it, and even advised them to transfer their offer to
Geoffrey of Anjou, on the sole condition that Stephen should
be liberated. Taking advantage of such an opportunity as this,
while supported by the friendship of Henry of Winchester and the
Londoners, Matilda might have made her throne secure, but she at
once took steps which alienated both. To Henry of Winchester,
who must naturally have felt the ties of relationship towards
his brother, she refused the natural request that Stephen’s son
Eustace might be placed in possession of his father’s foreign
fiefs. From the Londoners she demanded a heavy tallage, in spite of
their complaints that they had been already stripped by taxations.
King Stephen’s Queen, to whom many of the fugitives from Lincoln
had betaken themselves, made use of the discontent thus excited
to advance against London. The inhabitants rose, and the Empress
barely escaped with a few followers to Oxford. The insurgents
demanded the liberation of Stephen. In this demand the Bishop of
Winchester now joined, and the Empress besieged him in his castle
outside the town of Winchester. But her besieging army was soon
itself besieged, its communications and means of subsistence
cut off, and she found herself obliged to retire. The Earl of
Gloucester therefore despatched her before him to Devizes, while
he himself covered her retreat. But he was hotly pursued and taken
prisoner. This neutralized all his previous successes. After some
negotiations the great prisoners were exchanged, and the state of
parties fell back very much to its position before the battle of

[Sidenote: Renewal of the old anarchy. 1146.]

[Sidenote: Appearance of Prince Henry.]

[Sidenote: Death of Robert of Gloucester. 1148.]

Of decided successes on either side there were none. In 1142, the
Empress, hard pressed at Oxford, barely made her escape with two
knights, all clothed in white, across the snow. In the following
year Stephen, on the other hand, suffered a defeat at Wilton. The
same struggle for individual liberty on the part of the barons was
apparent everywhere. Thus the Cathedral of Coventry was changed
into a fortress by a baron of the name of Marmion, the Abbey of
Ramsey by Mandeville. Nor did the retirement of several of the
hotter spirits from the contest to join in a crusade which St.
Bernard was then preaching materially change the aspect of affairs.
But, in 1147, new actors begin to appear upon the scene. Wearied
with the long useless struggle, Matilda withdrew to France. But
to take her place her son Prince Henry came over to England. As
it were to match him, Stephen brought his son Eustace prominently
forward. This change of persons is still more clearly marked by
the death of the great Earl of Gloucester, a man to whom many acts
of cruelty in accordance with the temper of the time could be
attributed, but who, if we may judge from the testimony of William
of Malmesbury, was far superior in character and civilization to
most of those by whom he was surrounded.

[Sidenote: Henry’s marriage and increased power.]

[Sidenote: Church sides with him.]

The withdrawal of the Empress and the appearance of Henry made a
considerable difference in the views of those barons in England
who were not wholly selfish. Stephen had been tried and failed.
They had no longer to fear the rule of a woman. And thus we find
Robert of Leicester, second son of the great Earl of Mellent, who
had hitherto served Stephen and done him good service in Normandy
against the Angevins, giving in his adherence to the young prince.
In company with his cousin Roger of Warwick, he held the town and
castle of Worcester for him, and succeeded in driving off the
royal army. Henry’s accession to the county of Anjou upon the
death of his father Geoffrey, in 1151, and still more his marriage
with Eleanor, the divorced wife of Louis, heiress of Poitiers and
Guienne, changed the character of the war. He was no longer a
poor claimant, at best the son of a count, but had been suddenly
transformed into one of the most powerful princes in Europe. In
addition to this, since the death of Pope Innocent in 1144, the
Papal See had been taking a more decided course against Stephen.
The legatine authority had been withdrawn from Henry of Winchester,
whose relationship with Stephen made his action always doubtful,
and been given to Theobald the Archbishop, but Stephen, with his
usual want of address, contrived to quarrel with him, and he
therefore threw his whole weight upon the side of Henry.

[Sidenote: Meeting of the armies at Wallingford. 1153.]

[Sidenote: Church mediates a compromise. 1153.]

[Sidenote: Death of Stephen. 1154.]

Thus, when Henry contrived to form a truce with his rival the
French King, and to enter England with a considerable army, the
country was much disposed to receive him. Many of the nobility
began to declare for him. The Beaumonts, as we have seen, were
already his friends. The Countess of Warwick placed her castle in
his hands. Robert of Leicester supplied him with provisions, and
he marched in good hope to relieve Wallingford, which, defended
by Brian Fitz-Count, Stephen was now besieging. There the two
armies met; but the desire for peace was so general, that they both
demanded that negotiations should be opened. Nothing was then
settled, but the armies separated. Stephen proceeded to besiege
Ipswich, where Bigot had declared for Henry, and Henry, taking
Nottingham on the way, was marching to relieve it, when the heads
of the Church saw their opportunity, and Theobald and Henry of
Winchester combined to mediate a peace. This was the more easy on
account of the death of the young Prince Eustace. On the 7th of
November the Treaty of Pacification was concluded at Winchester.
It was a compromise. Stephen was to remain King of England during
his life; Henry was to be accepted as his son and heir; Stephen’s
son William was to do homage to Henry for all his large possessions
in England and in Normandy. There then followed an arrangement for
restoring the administration which the war had ruined. The castles
were to be razed, the coinage reformed, the sheriffs replaced, the
crown lands resumed, the new earldoms extinguished, foreigners
banished, and administration of justice restored.[19] After this
treaty Henry’s duties summoned him chiefly to France; and Stephen,
for the short remnant of his life, remained undisputed King of
England. He died on the 25th of October 1154.

[Sidenote: Quotations from chroniclers. The miseries of this reign.]

Two short extracts from chroniclers give a more complete view
of the misery which attended this lawless period than any fresh
description could do. William of Newbury says: “Wounded and
drained of blood by civil misery, England lay plague-stricken.
It is written of an ancient people, ‘In those days there was no
king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own
eyes;’ but in England, under King Stephen, the case was worse. For,
because at that time the King was powerless, and the law languished
because the King was powerless, though some indeed did what seemed
right in their own eyes, many because all fear of King and law was
taken off them, did all the more greedily what by their natural
instincts they knew to be wrong.... Neither King nor Empress was
able to act in a masterful way, or show vigorous discipline. But
each kept their own followers in good temper by refusing them
nothing lest they should desert them.... And because they were worn
out by daily strife, and acted less vigorously, local disturbances
of hostile lords grew the more vehement. Castles too rose in great
numbers in the several districts, and there were in England, so
to speak, as many kings, or rather tyrants, as lords of castles.
Individuals took the right of coining their private money, and of
private jurisdiction.” We have here the effects of the loosened
hold of the crown,--castles, private war, private coinage, private
justice. The Saxon Chronicle supplies us with a picture of the
effect of these feudal usurpations upon the lower ranks of the

“When the traitors perceived that Stephen was a mild man, and
soft and good, and did no justice, then did they all wonder. They
had done homage to him and sworn oaths, but held no faith; for
every powerful man made his castles and held them against him, and
they filled the land full of castles. They cruelly oppressed the
wretched men of the land with castle works. When the castles were
made, they filled them with devils and evil men. Then they took
those men that they imagined had any property, both by night and
by day, peasant men and women, and put them in prison for their
gold and silver, and tortured them with unutterable torture; for
never were martyrs so tortured as they were. They hanged them up by
the feet and smoked them with foul smoke; they hanged them up by
the thumbs or by the head, and hung fires on their feet; they put
knotted strings about their heads, and writhed them so that it went
to the brain. They put them in dungeons, in which were adders, and
snakes, and toads, and killed them so. Some they put in a ‘cruset
hûs,’ that is in a chest that was short and narrow and shallow,
and put sharp stones therein, and pressed the man therein, so that
they brake all his limbs. In many of the castles were instruments
called a ‘lāŏ (loathly) and grim;’ these were neck-bonds, of which
two or three men had enough to bear one. It was so made, that is,
it was fastened to a beam, and they put a sharp iron about the
man’s throat and his neck, so that he could not in any direction
sit, or lie, or sleep, but must bear all that iron. Many thousands
they killed with hunger; I neither can nor may tell all the wounds
or all the tortures which they inflicted on wretched men in this
land; and that lasted the nineteen winters while Stephen was King;
and ever it was worse and worse. They laid imposts on the towns
continually; and when the wretched men had no more to give, they
robbed and burned all the towns, so that thou mightest well go all
a day’s journey, and thou shouldest never find a man sitting in a
town, or the land tilled. Then was corn dear, and flesh and cheese
and butter; for there was none in the land. Wretched men died of
hunger; some went seeking alms who at one while were rich men;
some fled out of the land. Never yet had more wretchedness been in
the land, nor did heathen men ever do worse than they did; for
everywhere at times they forbore neither church nor churchyard, but
took all the property that was therein, and then burned the church
and altogether. Nor forbore they a bishop’s land, nor an abbot’s,
nor a priest’s, but robbed monks and clerks, and every man another
who anywhere could. If two or three men came riding to a town, all
the township fled before them, imagining them to be robbers. The
bishops and clergy constantly cursed them, but nothing came of it,
for they were all accursed, and forsworn, and lost. However a man
tilled, the earth bare no corn; for the land was all foredone by
such deeds, and they said openly that Christ and His saints slept.
Such, and more than we can say, we endured nineteen winters for our

A people who had suffered these things must certainly have sighed
for a strong government, by whatever hand it should be wielded;
and miserable though the reign had been, it tended towards the
consolidation of nationality.



             Born 1133 = Eleanor.
    |       |       |                     |     |                  |
  Henry.    |     Geoffrey = Constance   John  Matilda = Henry     |
  d.1182.   |              | of Brittany.               the Lion   |
          Richard.         |                            of Saxony. |
                         Arthur.                                   |
                  |                       |
                Eleanor = Alphonso IX.  Joanna = William II.,
                                                   King of Sicily.

                          CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._  |    _France._      |  _Germany._  |    _Spain._
                 |                   |              |
  Malcolm IV.,   | Louis VII., 1137. | Frederic I., | Alphonso VIII., 1134.
    1153.        | Philip Augustus,  |   1152.      | Sancho III., 1157.
  William, 1165. |   1180.           |              | Alphonso IX., 1158.

  POPES.--Adrian IV., 1154. Alexander III., 1159. Lucius III., 1181.
        Urban III., 1185. Gregory VIII., 1187. Clement III., 1187.

     _Archbishops._    |   _Chief-Justices._    |   _Chancellors._
                       |                        |
  Theobald, 1139-1161. | Robert, Earl of        | Thomas à Becket,
  Thomas à Becket,     |  Leicester, 1154-1167. |   1154-1162.
    1162-1170.         | Richard de Lucy,       | Ralph de Warneville,
  Richard, 1174-1184.  |  1154-1179.            |   1173-1181.
  Baldwin, 1185-1190.  | Ranulf Glanville,      | Geoffrey, the King’s
                       |  1180-1189.            |   son, 1181-1189.

[Sidenote: Main objects of Henry’s reign.]

[Sidenote: First acts of his reign.]

The consolidation of the nation was the great work of Henry of
Anjou. He brought to it great gifts, sagacity, masterful courage,
a legal and judicial mind; while his training, as the prince of
widely extending countries, prevented the intrusion of petty local
interests into his views for his people’s good. The lessons of the
last reign were not lost on him. Before all things he desired a
strong government and good order. In pursuing these objects he took
for his model his grandfather and great-grandfather, and worked out
in greater and more systematic detail the policy they had begun.
And though in his efforts to subordinate the Church he may seem to
have run counter to the legislation of his great-grandfather, it
will be seen that in many points his policy was really the same.
In the earlier part of his reign work lay ready to his hand, and
the compromise at Winchester had already marked out his line of
action. He could not immediately come to England, being detained
by an insurrection in Guienne. But when he had settled this, and,
by a humility of bearing he knew well how to feign, secured the
friendship of Louis VII., he crossed the Channel, and at once
proceeded with his reforms.

[Sidenote: He restores order in the State.]

He renewed the charter of the City of London; fixed a short period
during which the Flemish auxiliaries, who had already probably
begun to return home, should leave the country; recalled grants
of the royal domains which had been made in Stephen’s reign;
re-established the old number of limited earldoms; and proceeded
to lay hands on both the royal castles which individual barons had
appropriated and those private fastnesses with which the country
had become covered. Their number is variously estimated, by some
it is put as high as 1150. It was not without some opposition
that he carried out this work. It was chiefly in the North and
West that difficulty occurred. Before the year was over he had
received the submission of William of Albemarle, who was nearly
independent in Yorkshire. In February of the next year he expelled
Peveril, who had been guilty among other things of poisoning the
great Earl of Chester, from his Earldom of Nottingham. He followed
up his success by compelling the border barons, Roger, son of
Milo, Earl of Hereford, and Hugh Mortimer, a descendant of the
same family as Robert de Belesme, to surrender their fastnesses.
To complete his dominion at home he marched against Malcolm of
Scotland, who was occupying the three Northern counties. These he
compelled him to resign, obliging him to do homage for the county
of Huntingdon, which he claimed as a descendant of the old Earl
Waltheof. Throughout all the earlier part of the reign the Scotch
King appears as a great English baron, following the King to his

[Sidenote: Friendship of Adrian IV.]

Henry even thus early began to think of curbing the overgrown
power of the Church; and Henry of Winchester, in fear of what
might happen, thought it better to lay aside his episcopal robes
and retire for a time to Clugny, from which, however, he was soon
induced to return. An event, indeed, soon occurred which rendered
the King’s position with the Church peculiarly strong. In 1154
Nicolas Breakspear ascended the Papal throne, the only Englishman
who ever attained that honour. The connection between England and
the Papal See, always close since the Conquest, was drawn even
closer, and the Pope made a grant of the schismatical country
Ireland to the English King; a grant the enjoyment of which Henry
postponed till a more convenient season. Henry’s widely spread
dominions kept him constantly moving, and in 1156 the affairs of
his native county summoned him to France. He left his kingdom in
charge of Robert of Leicester, his great justiciary.

The difficulty in Anjou arose from the claim raised by his younger
brother Godfrey to that province. This claim rested upon a doubtful
will, by which his father was said to have intended Anjou for
Godfrey if Henry was called to the throne of England. By force
of arms Henry reduced the country; and his brother withdrew on
the receipt of certain payments, being shortly after called by
the burghers of Nantes to become lord of their town. This affair
was scarcely settled when Henry hurried back to England, there
to complete his conquest of the Scotch King, by obliging him to
surrender his strong castles of Bamborough, Newcastle and Carlisle,
and again to do homage for Huntingdon, on which occasion, however,
the clause “Salvis omnibus dignitatibus suis” was introduced into
his oath. This, with the surrender of castles by Hugh Bigod in
Norfolk, and of William, called of Warrenne, son of the late King,
and Earl of Surrey, completed the subjugation of the feudal nobles,
and rendered him absolute master of England.

[Sidenote: Master of England, Henry attacks Wales.]

[Sidenote: Rise of Thomas à Becket.]

[Sidenote: He is employed in foreign negotiation. 1158.]

Wales alone gave him further trouble. Thither, in 1157, he led
an army against Owen Gwynneth at the instigation of his fugitive
brother Cadwallader. The expedition was not successful; on this, as
on subsequent occasions, Henry found it impossible to reduce the
Welsh in their mountain strongholds. It is noteworthy, as affording
the first instance of scutage, or money payment in exchange for
personal service, which was in this instance demanded of knights
holding from the clergy; and for the shameful flight of Henry de
Essex, the royal standard-bearer, which gave rise afterwards to
a remarkable judicial duel. In the year 1163 Robert de Montfort
impeached Henry de Essex for cowardice and treachery. The matter
came to the ordeal of battle, and Essex being conquered, forfeited
all his lands, and retired as a monk to the Abbey of Reading. This,
and the confiscation of the property of Peveril, already mentioned,
are the only two instances of confiscation during the reign.

It was during this prosperous period of the King’s reign that
Thomas à Becket becomes prominent. The son of a citizen of
London, his talents had been early seen and employed by Archbishop
Theobald. In 1143 he had succeeded in getting for his patron the
legatine authority over England, and afterwards that Papal bull
which prevented the crowning of King Stephen’s son Eustace. He
was richly rewarded by livings in the Dioceses of Oxford, London,
and Lincoln, and, in 1154, with the position of Archdeacon of
Canterbury. The recommendation of the Primate soon placed him
about Henry’s court. He was appointed chancellor, and as such was
the chief clerk of the Curia Regis, kept the King’s seal, and had
the management of vacant ecclesiastical benefices. He was further
intrusted with the guardianship of the Tower of London, and with
the castle of Eye in Berkhampstead, thus occupying a position
partly secular, partly ecclesiastical. In this situation he
exhibited all the splendour of a great noble; kept a magnificent
table, followed the sports of the field, and was a proficient in
knightly exercises. Henry found much pleasure in his society, and
employed him in delicate negotiations. Thus, in the year 1158,
he was sent to arrange a match between Margaret of France and
Henry’s son Henry. His magnificent embassy dazzled the eyes of
the Frenchmen and was completely successful. The object of the
arrangement was to win the friendship of Louis, and prevent him
from interfering with the King’s plans on Nantes, where he meant to
make good his claim as successor to his brother Godfrey, who had
lately died. A meeting with Louis was effected on the river Epte.
Henry accompanied him back to Paris, and received from him the
child princess, whom he intrusted to the care of Robert of Neuburg,
Justiciary of Normandy. Strong in this new-formed friendship, Henry
found no difficulty in securing Nantes, and thereby a hold upon

[Sidenote: Nevertheless there is war with France. 1159.]

[Sidenote: Interesting points in it.]

[Sidenote: Scotch King serves him.]

[Sidenote: Introduction of scutage.]

In spite however of his apparent agreement with Louis he soon
found himself at open war with him. Queen Eleanor’s grandfather,
on going to the Crusades, had mortgaged the county of Toulouse to
Raymond of St. Gilles. The mortgage money had not been repaid,
as Raymond of St. Gilles still held the city. This nobleman had
married the French King’s sister Constance. When therefore Henry
raised the claim of his wife, the French King openly adopted the
cause of Raymond.[20] Henry determined to have recourse to arms,
and in 1159 raised an army for the purpose. The war is interesting,
not so much in itself, as in two or three collateral points
connected with it. Thus Malcolm of Scotland came with forty-five
ships, and a Welsh prince likewise joined the army. Again, the
presence of Becket at the head of an unusually well-equipped body
of 700 men is mentioned. He is said to have urged the King to
active measures against the French monarch. But Henry--who was
surprised at finding his lately made friend in arms against him,
and opposing with all his power a claim he had once himself urged,
and who by no means wished to drive matters to extremity--showed
some scruple in attacking his suzerain, and contented himself
with gaining his object by laying waste the country and capturing
the castles. At the same time he contracted an engagement between
his son Richard and Berengaria, the daughter of Count Raymond of
Barcelona, the son-in-law of the King of Aragon,[21] and in fact
Governor of that country. But the most important point about the
war was the introduction of the habit of money payments in exchange
for military service. This measure had been adopted previously
with respect to the Church in the war with Wales. On the present
occasion the sum is said to have amounted to £180,000.[22] There
were many advantages in the change. The King was enabled to hire
mercenaries, and dispense with the irregular services of his feudal
followers; he got contributions from the Church lands, and was
enabled to do without the hated tax of the Danegelt, at the same
time that he struck a blow at the military importance of his feudal

[Sidenote: Having reduced the State to order, Henry turns to the

[Sidenote: General friendship of England and France with the Pope.]

Thus far the course of Henry’s reign had been one of unbroken
prosperity. He had settled and increased his dominions both in
England and on the Continent, had on the whole gained in his
opposition to his suzerain the King of France, and had strengthened
himself by prudent marriages for his children. He was henceforward,
except for a very few years, to be plunged in disputes and
difficulties. It has been mentioned that the Church in England had
reached a position of great pre-eminence during the troubled period
of Stephen’s reign. The policy of the Norman kings had been always
to support the Church to the utmost, to keep on good terms with
Rome, but at the same time to make good the supremacy of the power
of the king in his own dominions. William the Conqueror, it will be
remembered, had entirely separated the spiritual from the temporal
jurisdiction. Before the arrival of the Normans, all offences not
strictly ecclesiastical had been tried and punished in the County
and Hundred courts, where both bishop and aldermen presided side by
side. In withdrawing the bishop from the secular courts, William
had desired to raise the character of the clergy by confining them
more completely to spiritual matters. But an abuse had easily
grown up, which produced a directly opposite effect. As the
pretensions of the Church rose, not only were spiritual questions
to be tried in the spiritual courts, but spiritual men were also
withdrawn from the secular jurisdiction, and the doctrine became
prevalent that the cleric could be only tried by his ecclesiastical
superior.[23] Now ecclesiastical courts could not inflict corporal
punishments. Censures, excommunications, and penances were their
weapons. Consequently clerks might and did commit every sort of
crime without suffering any punishment. To Henry’s love of justice
and order this was most repugnant. But at the same time that he
wished to curtail the license of the clergy, and to establish the
superiority of the royal jurisdiction, he distinctly upheld the
policy of his predecessors in supporting the Roman See. It was a
critical time for that power. The great Frederick Barbarossa was
upon the throne of Germany and attempting to establish with regard
to himself and the Pope on a larger scale what Henry was anxious
to do in England. With a comprehensive view of the struggle, he
had invited the Kings of England and France to join him in united
action for the establishment of the supremacy of the secular power.
His overtures had not been received; and when, upon the death
of Hadrian, in 1159, after a stormy conclave, the Italian party
elected Rolando Bandinelli, under the title of Alexander III.,
and the imperial party Cardinal Octavian, as Victor IV., the two
Western kings gave in their adhesion to Alexander. When expelled
from Italy, they received him with extreme honour at Chateauroux,
where they acted as his grooms, leading his horse between them. He
finally found shelter in the French town of Sens.

[Sidenote: Election of Becket to Archbishopric. 1161.]

[Sidenote: Becket upholds encroachments of the Church.]

[Sidenote: Henry produces Constitutions of Clarendon. 1164.]

In 1161, Theobald the Archbishop died, and it seemed to Henry that
the opportunity had arrived for carrying out his reforming plans.
Without difficulty he secured the election of his Chancellor,
believing that he would serve him still in that capacity. But such
were not the views of Becket. He found himself in a position where
he might not only serve but rival the King, and he at once became
the ambitious and fanatical ecclesiastic. His manner of life was
wholly changed, fasts and penances took the place of his former
gaiety; the ostentation which he still exhibited was for others
and not for himself; he scarcely touched food while his guests
were feasting; and poor saints and beggars took the place of the
courtiers who had formerly thronged his hall. He did not wait to
be attacked, but himself began the quarrel with the King. He at
once insisted on resigning his temporal offices. He then demanded
homage from some barons whom he declared to be liegemen of the See
of Canterbury and not of the King. He refused in bold outspoken
words to pay the usual tax for the sheriff at a court at Woodstock.
But these were only slight beginnings. A meeting of the clergy
was held at Westminster, and the great subject of ecclesiastical
jurisdictions was raised. A very bad instance had just excited
the King’s attention. A clerk of the name of Philip Brois had
committed a murder and received no punishment. At the assizes of
Dunstable, Simon Fitz-Peter, the King’s Justice, had found him
guilty of the murder, but Becket insisted on his being withdrawn
from the secular jurisdiction, and sentenced him to two years’ loss
of his benefice. To Henry this seemed at once an insult to his
authority and a mere fostering of crime. He determined upon action,
and demanded of the bishops whether they would accept the ancient
customs of the country. Many of the clergy Henry knew he could rely
upon, such for instance as Becket’s old enemy Roger of York, and
Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London. He did not expect to meet much
opposition anywhere. With much persuasion Becket certainly accepted
the customs. Henry, determined that there should be no question on
this matter, caused these customs to be drawn up in the form of
Constitutions, and presented to a great council held at Clarendon.
There Becket distinctly broke his word and retracted.

[Sidenote: Becket refuses them.]

Bishops and laymen, knowing the King’s character, besought Becket
not to risk the fortunes of the Church by further opposition. For a
moment he seemed to yield, but the next day, when his final answer
was to be given, he again refused to sign them. He stated his
objections fully. His arguments were based principally on the Canon
law of Gratian[24] and the False Decretals. The Body of Customs,
as presented to him, consisted of sixteen clauses. By these,
which did not pretend to be new legislation, but a recapitulation
of the old practices of the country, the line was sharply drawn
between criminal and ecclesiastical cases; the criminal clerk being
amenable to the civil jurisdiction: questions with regard to land
claimed by the clergy were to be referred to a jury: as also cases
of crime where there was no accuser: the King was made the ultimate
hearer of appeals, except by his own special leave: bishops
were restrained from leaving the country without leave, or from
excommunicating the King’s men: elections to bishoprics were to be
held in the King’s chapel, in the presence and with the consent
of those whom he should summon: and the newly-elected officer was
to swear fealty to the King.[25] Other minor matters with regard
to the position of the Church were also settled, but it is these
chiefly which were to secure the supremacy of the crown. Becket is
said to have particularly objected to any subordination of clerks
to secular jurisdiction; to have held that one punishment for one
offence was enough, and that the Church should look to; and to have
regarded with displeasure any restrictions laid upon the right of
clerical jurisdiction or excommunication.[26] Ultimately, however,
he was certainly induced to accept and to seal them. On retiring
from the council he at once began to show signs of repentance, and
got absolution for what he had done from the Pope.

[Sidenote: Lukewarmness of Alexander III.]

[Sidenote: The quarrel takes a legal turn.]

[Sidenote: Comes before the council.]

[Sidenote: Henry presses him with charges.]

[Sidenote: Becket leaves the court before judgment is given.]

Alexander’s position was peculiar, and, as in the case of Anselm,
it was too important to him in his present difficulties to retain
the friendship of England for him to allow himself to side very
strongly with Becket. Throughout the quarrel it is the Archbishop
who urges the Pope onward, and not the Pope the Archbishop. Such
lukewarmness suited neither party, and Henry summoned another
council for 8th of October at Northampton. Two days before the
council the Archbishop arrived. He did not receive the kiss of
peace, and it was plain that matters were coming to extremities.
Again the Archbishop began the attack. He lodged some complaint
against a nobleman, and had justice promised him; but was then in
his turn charged with delaying justice, in the case of an official
of the Treasury called John the Marshall, who demanded a piece
of land in his court. Marshall summoned him before the royal
court, and he was now told that the case would come on before the
council on the following day. On that day therefore the court sat
in judgment upon the Archbishop. He was found guilty. The extreme
penalty, which would have been the seizure of all his moveables,
was remitted, and a heavy fine of £500 substituted. No sooner
was this charge finished than a fresh charge was brought against
him, and £300 demanded of him, which he had borrowed upon the
castles of Eye and Berkhampstead. On the following day a sum of
500 marks, which he had borrowed for the expedition to Toulouse
on the King’s security, was demanded. Becket declared it was a
gift. He found fresh securities, and retired in dudgeon. He found
his hall deserted by the knights and barons. Then followed the
final blow. As chancellor he had had the administration of vacant
ecclesiastical and baronial benefices; and now he was ordered to
account for a sum of not less than 30,000 marks. On accepting
the bishopric, he had been discharged from all liability by
Prince Henry and Richard de Lucy the Justiciary. The demand was
manifestly an unjust one, and the greater part of the bishops
appealed against it. The temporal nobles refused to allow the
appeal, as it had yet to be proved that the King was a party to
the discharge. Sickness kept the Archbishop confined to his house
for some days. Meanwhile the bishops attempted to make him yield,
and finally for the most part deserted him, and betook themselves
to the court. The Archbishop was determined to meet the charge in
all the magnificence of his office, and went to the council with
his cross and other insignia. The bishops, overawed by this unusual
demonstration, which they regarded as a challenge to the King, went
to him, leaving the accused Archbishop sitting alone with a few
friends. They tried in vain to get the King’s demand lessened, and
changed for the fine usual in Kent, which was only forty shillings.
Henry, in wrath, merely asked whether the Archbishop had made up
his mind to accept the Constitutions. Becket refused to plead
upon any charge except that of John the Marshall, and at length
openly declared that he placed himself and the Church under the
guardianship of the Pope and of God. The disturbance was great. The
King wished the bishops to declare the sentence. They earnestly
entreated not to be called upon to judge their superior, and
finally the duty was left to Robert of Leicester the Justiciary.
But the Archbishop would not let him speak. “How can you judge me
who appeal to a higher power? And do not thou Earl of Leicester
venture to judge thy spiritual father!” He rose, and, leaning on
his cross, swept from the hall. As cries of “traitor” arose behind
him, his old worldly vehemence got the better of him, and he turned
and cried, “Might I but wear weapons, I should soon know how to
clear myself of the charge of treason.” As he passed on his way
through the streets people knelt and demanded his blessing. A final
answer was required of him the following day, but in the night, in
the midst of wild weather, he secretly left Northampton, and after
a difficult flight, on the 2nd of November contrived to cross to

[Sidenote: He is received by the Pope. 1165.]

On the very same night, an embassy, consisting of his chief
enemies--the Bishops of York, London, Exeter, Chichester and
Worcester, together with John of Oxford, the King’s chief adviser
in this matter,--crossed to seek the Pope. The Archbishop put
himself under the protection of the King of France at Soissons; and
the two parties carried their case before the Pope at Sens, where
John of Salisbury, Becket’s emissary, had already been winning him
friends. The King’s embassy entreated that legates might be sent
to finish the case in England. But Alexander, although the Peter’s
Pence from England were absolutely necessary to him, refused their
request. Upon receipt of this information, the King drove abroad
all friends and dependants of the Archbishop, who had succeeded
meanwhile in getting a favourable reception from Alexander. Till
1170 he remained abroad, carrying on his struggle with the King.

[Sidenote: But Henry refuses to oppose Alexander.]

Of course, during that time Henry could not afford to let his
other business rest. But it is the quarrel with the Archbishop
which gives its complexion to the history of those years. In
1165 the Pope was enabled to return to Italy, but Frederick of
Germany, still refusing to acknowledge him, at an Assembly at
Wurtzburg caused Cardinal Guido to be elected under the title of
Pascal III. in the place of Octavian, who was just dead. Henry
seized the opportunity. He had already forbidden all intercourse
between England and the Pope, and he now despatched an embassy,
headed by John of Oxford and Richard of Winchester, to attempt to
act in consort with Frederick. This was in reply to a demand on
the part of the Emperor, who had sent his chancellor, Reginald
of Cologne, to ask for two of Henry’s daughters in marriage,
the one for his son, the other for Henry the Lion of Saxony.
The ambassadors declared that there were fifty bishops ready to
accept the anti-pope. However, matters did not reach this point:
Alexander still temporized. The clergy of England were very averse
to deserting the legitimate Pope, and the old policy of the Norman
kings had yet a strong hold upon Henry.

[Sidenote: Meanwhile he attacks Wales, and secures Brittany. 1166.]

[Sidenote: Becket excommunicates his enemies.]

Meanwhile, leaving the quarrel in abeyance, he again invaded
Wales, again without much success. He was more successful in
the following year in his designs on Brittany. “He dealt,” says
the Chronicler,[27] “with the nobles of the district of Le Mans
according to his pleasure, and the region of Brittany, and with
their castles....” A treaty of marriage between his son Geoffrey,
and Constance, the daughter of Conan of Brittany and Richmond,
having been entered into, this Earl made a grant to him of the
whole of Brittany, with the exception of Guingamp, which had
descended to him from his grandfather. The King received the
homage of all the barons of Brittany at Thouars. Thence he came
to Rennes, and by taking possession of that city, the capital
of Brittany, he became lord of the whole duchy. While thus
triumphing, he received news that Becket, weary of the Pope’s
procrastination, had gone to the Church at Vezelay, and there,
after explaining the Constitutions of Clarendon, had excommunicated
John of Oxford, Richard of Ilchester, and Richard de Lucy, the
King’s Counsellors, and Joscelin of Balliol, and Ranulph de Broc,
who had entered into possession of his confiscated estates. This
step caused considerable anxiety, and the bishops and abbots of
England met and appealed to the Pope, thus postponing the execution
of the excommunication. The Archbishop, in reply, bid them carry
the excommunication at once into effect, and at the same time
excommunicated Godfrey Ridel, the Archdeacon of Canterbury, for
not remitting to him the income of his see. In anger, the King
threatened to expel from England the whole Cistercian order, as a
punishment for allowing the Archbishop to dwell in their monastery.
To avoid this, Becket withdrew to Sens.

[Sidenote: The Pope temporizes.]

The appeal however went on, and, to the surprise of every one,
the Pope, who had perhaps been bribed, at length appointed
legates to examine the dispute. In 1167, John of Oxford, the
King’s ambassador, came home in triumph, declaring that the
excommunications had been removed. Naturally therefore Becket
dreaded the approach of the legates. By means of his influence
with the French many obstacles were thrown in their way, and as a
fresh declaration that his views were unchanged, he excommunicated
Gilbert of London. At length the legates obtained meetings both
with Becket and Henry. In neither instance were they satisfactory.
Becket refused to withdraw the convenient words “saving our order,”
and Henry would hear of no half measures. However, their temper was
on the whole conciliatory, and they removed the excommunications
conditionally. This friendly feeling on the part of the Pope
was still further shown by his suspending the Archbishop for a
time from the exercise of his office. In fact, the Pope had just
been driven from Rome by Barbarossa, and Henry’s support was
indispensable to him. All this made no difference to Becket, who,
on Palm Sunday, repeated his excommunications, and contrived at
length to get them smuggled over into England, where, with striking
effect, Gilbert of London was suddenly suspended in the midst of
the celebration of mass in his own church.

[Sidenote: Critical position of Henry.]

The political difficulties under which Henry was at this time
struggling may have given fresh courage to the Archbishop, for,
both during 1167 and 1168, there was war with Louis of France
and with his other neighbours. The Count of Flanders was even
threatening a descent on England, while the Counts of Marche,
Angoulême, and Limousin, counting on the succour of the French,
were laying waste Henry’s southern dominions. This difficulty he
left in the hands of his General, Count Patrick of Salisbury, while
he himself was called upon to suppress disturbances in Brittany.
His fortunes were indeed at a very low ebb. In presence of these
difficulties, Henry found it necessary to lower his tone; a
peace with his enemies was patched up at Montmirail. There too a
commission from the Pope awaited him, and he found himself obliged
to consent virtually to the demands of Becket. As however he
refused to give his refractory Archbishop the kiss of peace, which
was regarded as the only sure sign of reconciliation, the quarrel
was not yet terminated. Although the point at issue was a small
one, both parties continued obstinate.

[Sidenote: Coronation of Young Henry. June 14, 1170.]

[Sidenote: Finding this step unpopular, Henry submits.]

[Sidenote: Becket ventures to return to England.]

[Sidenote: His death. Dec. 29, 1170.]

Henry, determined to show his authority, caused his son Henry to be
crowned in England by the Archbishop of York. This was a distinct
invasion of the rights of the Archbishop of Canterbury, for the
coronation was performed in the southern province. It produced so
great an outcry, that Henry felt he had gone too far, especially
as he had neglected to have Henry’s wife, the French princess,
crowned with him, which Louis regarded as a great insult. With this
feeling against him, Henry consented to a meeting at Fretheval, and
there yielded what was required of him, embracing the Archbishop,
raising him from the ground, when he knelt before him, and holding
his stirrup for him to remount. The quarrel seemed ended, but some
slight delays occurred before Becket could return to England, and
more than one warning message was sent to him that England was no
safe place for him. When he demanded a safe conduct from Henry, it
did not promise any true reconciliation that John of Oxford was
sent as his escort. He ventured however, but found the feeling in
England, among the laity at all events, very strong against him,
and was bidden to withdraw to his city of Canterbury. Although
conscious of the power of his enemies, he continued his obstinate
course, excommunicated the Archbishop of York, De Broc, and other
lay holders of the property of the See, whom he found it difficult
to dispossess. When the King heard of this conduct, the anger which
had been boiling within him, but which circumstances had obliged
him to suppress, broke loose, and he accused his courtiers of
caring nothing for him since they suffered this audacious priest
to live. Four knights took him at his word, hurried across to
England, collected followers among his enemies, and proceeding to
Canterbury, demanded the immediate removal of the excommunication.
The monks in terror hurried the Archbishop to the Cathedral, and
wished to shut the doors, believing him then in safe sanctuary,
but he would not allow any sign of weakness. Headed by the
knights, the armed mob broke in, still demanded the removal of the
excommunication, were still refused, and killed him at the altar.

The outcry which rose throughout Europe told Henry that he had lost
his cause. He at once declared himself innocent, refused food, took
on him all the outward signs of penitence, and despatched a mission
to exculpate him at the court of the Pope. Though Alexander was
very angry, he was persuaded to send legates for a formal inquiry.
Henry did not await their coming, but as a means of employment and
retirement, proceeded to carry out an intention he had long had of
conquering Ireland.

[Sidenote: Henry retires to the invasion of Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Condition of Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Invasion by Strongbow. 1169.]

[Sidenote: Henry himself invades Ireland. 1171.]

[Sidenote: Irish Church adopts Romish discipline. 1172.]

His opportunity there indeed had fully come. The country, divided
among petty chieftains, had from time to time been gathered under
the command of one chief king. When his authority was at all
strong, some little order existed; when he was weak, wild disorder
reigned. The present holder of that position was Roderic O’Connor
of Connaught. In 1153, Diarmid, or Dermot, King of Leinster, had
carried off the wife of O’Ruark, Prince of Breffni, or Leitrim.
When O’Connor gained the crown of Tara in 1166, he proceeded to
punish the offender who fled to England, and, collecting round
him some Welsh adventurers, returned home. Still unable to cope
with his enemies, he sought Henry in Guienne, did homage to him,
and received leave to collect an army in England. In 1169, the
half-brothers Robert Fitz-Stephen and Maurice Fitz-Gerald crossed
over to Wexford. This advance-guard was followed by a stronger
party of Welshmen under Richard of Clare, Count of Strigul,
surnamed Strongbow, who, deeply in debt, had lost his possessions
in England, and was glad to seek some elsewhere. He took Waterford,
and married Eva, Dermot’s daughter; while Dublin, which belonged
to the Danes who had settled in Ireland, was captured by Milo of
Cogan. In 1171 Dermot died, and Strongbow succeeded to the crown
of Leitrim as his heir. Henry was not pleased with the rapid
success of his vassal, and proceeded to deprive him of his English
property. In vain were ambassadors sent to the King; he refused
them admittance. It was only when the Earl surrendered Waterford,
Dublin, and his other castles, to the King, that Henry secured
to him his other conquests. Matters were in this condition when
Henry determined himself to visit Ireland. After a month spent in
preparation, he reached Waterford with a fleet of 400 ships in
October. Here Strongbow did homage to him for Leinster, and several
Irish princes acknowledged him for their chief. From Roderic
O’Connor he had to be contented with such slight acknowledgment as
the acceptance of his envoys, De Lacey and William Fitz-Aldelm,
might imply. With the Church he was more successful. All the
archbishops and bishops took the oath of fealty. At a synod held
at Cashel the Roman discipline was introduced; and in 1174, bulls
from Rome, authorizing the collection of Peter’s Pence and the
conquest of the country, were received and accepted. In a wooden
palace, built outside the walls of Dublin, Henry exhibited the
splendours of the English crown, and granted out the conquered
lands to his vassals. Hugh de Lacey received the Earldom of Meath,
and was made Viceroy; Fitz-Bernard received Waterford, De Courcey
and others were instructed to carry on the work of conquest; and
English colonists were placed in Dublin and other devastated towns.
Having made these arrangements, Henry returned to Normandy, where
his presence was much required. But his conquest was by no means
completed; disturbances arose at once upon his departure; nor was
it till 1175 that Roderic was subdued. He then sent delegates to
make his submission to the King at a council held at Windsor. A
treaty was arranged, which acknowledged him as chief of all the
Irish princes, with the exception of Henry and his knights. He
consented to pay a yearly tribute. But except in the conquered
countries, Irish law (the Brehon law as it was termed) held good
throughout Ireland, and English law only within those provinces
which had been thoroughly subdued and were called the English Pale.

[Sidenote: Henry’s reconciliation with Rome. 1172.]

It was partly to meet the Papal legates that Henry returned from
Ireland. He met them at Avranches, and there swore that he had
nothing to do with the murder of the Archbishop, and promised
adhesion to Pope Alexander in opposition to the German anti-pope,
free intercourse with Rome, the abrogation of the Constitutions
of Clarendon, and personal attendance at a crusade, either in the
East or in Spain, within three years, meanwhile paying the Templars
to undertake this duty for him. Although this seemed a complete
submission, it in fact left the question of the supremacy of the
civil power open.

[Sidenote: Great insurrection of 1174.]

[Sidenote: Crisis of the danger. 1174.]

[Sidenote: Henry’s penance at Canterbury.]

[Sidenote: Capture of the Scotch King at Alnwick.]

[Sidenote: Henry’s complete success.]

All his dominions seemed now at peace, but a great danger was
brewing. His son Henry, since his coronation, had already, at the
instigation of the French King, his father-in-law, demanded the
actual possession of some portion at least of his kingdom, and
this combination caused him well-grounded apprehension. He took
the opportunity of the general peace of his kingdom to negotiate
a marriage for his son John with the daughter of Count Humbolt of
Savoy, and promised to give with him as her dowry Chinon, Loudon,
and Mirabeau. The young king Henry protested against this treaty,
and suddenly disappearing from court, took refuge with Louis VII.
at St. Denis. The old king understood only too well what this
meant. Shortly, there was a universal insurrection throughout all
his dominions. It is not difficult to understand. His domestic
relations were not happy, although he was very fond of his
children; his wife was constantly urging them to disobedience. His
dominions were widespread, and consisted of various races; his hand
was heavy upon the feudal nobility, when the English nobles had
not yet forgotten the charms of the late reign; while the defeat
which the King had sustained in his quarrel with Becket gave a
false impression of his weakness. The discontent was very general.
While Louis recognized the young Henry as the rightful king, and
entered into his quarrel in company with the Counts of Blois,
Boulogne, Flanders, and others, the nobles of Aquitaine rose in
insurrection, the princes Richard and Geoffrey made common cause
with the insurgents, William the Lion of Scotland was engaged to
take part with them, and the great Earls of the middle and north of
England, Leicester, Ferrars of Derby, Chester, and Bigod, joined in
the general alliance. Henry, though alarmed, did not despair. His
policy had led him to trust much to his auxiliaries, and with these
he determined to withstand the feudal malcontents. Leaving his
generals to resist the attack from Flanders and France, he won a
great battle before Dol in Brittany, took the great Earl of Chester
prisoner, and re-established his power in that province. Meanwhile,
Leicester had been besieged by Lucy, his justiciary in England;
the efforts of William the Lion, who demanded Northumberland and
refused homage for Huntingdon, were thwarted by the brave defence
of the border castles; and an invasion of Flemings from the East,
headed by the Earl of Leicester, was defeated at Farnham, near
Bury St. Edmunds. But the existing truce with France terminated
at Easter; the king of that country was able to enter actively
into the war; and Henry’s successes, and the large offers he made
his sons, seemed alike unavailing. Hostilities began again, and
Henry was obliged to take the command in person in his hereditary
provinces, Maine and Anjou, where he was received with enthusiasm.
The troops of his son Richard were conquered; while in England the
King’s natural son, Geoffrey Plantagenet, and Richard de Lucy,
made head against the nobles in the East and a fresh invasion from
Scotland; but were still so pressed, that messengers were sent in
haste to summon Henry across the Channel. It was indeed a moment
of great danger. Philip of Flanders and his allies, to whom Kent
had been promised, were assembling a fleet at Whitsand; the Scotch
invaders had reached Alnwick. Henry hastened home. But before he
proceeded to active measures, in deference to the popular feeling,
which attributed his difficulties to the Divine anger at Becket’s
death, he made a pilgrimage and did penance at the shrine of the
martyr. Immediately after this while still in anxious doubt as
to the fate of his kingdom, news was brought him that Ranulf de
Glanvill had surprised the Scotch at Alnwick, and that William
the Lion and many of his nobility were prisoners. A few days
afterwards the town of Huntingdon was taken, and Hugh, the Bishop
of Durham, who had joined the insurgents, conquered. By July all
the English nobles had returned to their allegiance, and Prince
David had withdrawn the Scotch troops. The same rapidity which
saved England saved Normandy also. The sudden arrival of the King
before Rouen raised the siege of that place, which had been hard
pressed, and before long a peace between Henry and Louis was made,
by which all the French conquests were restored, and the young King
Henry’s dependants had to abjure the fealty which they had taken
to him. The great insurrection which for a moment had threatened
the existence of Henry’s monarchy was thus over. To his sons Henry
was merciful. To Richard he granted two castles in Poitou, with
half its revenues; to Geoffrey, similar terms in Brittany. They
were required to renew their allegiance. William of Scotland was
forced to content himself with harder terms. He was only released
upon condition of appearing at York in the following year with
all his barons, and swearing fealty to Henry as his suzerain. He
and his brother did homage for Scotland, for Galloway, and for
their English possessions; while the Scotch clergy acknowledged
the supremacy of the Archbishop of York. In the following year
the young Henry left his French patron and reconciled himself
completely with his father.

[Sidenote: Small diminution of Henry’s power, either temporal or

This outbreak may be regarded as a consequence of Henry’s defeat in
his dispute with Becket. The King had shown how little that defeat
had weakened his real power in temporal matters. His appointments
to the vacant bishoprics, which were a necessary consequence of
the termination of that quarrel, prove how little he had really
lost even in influence. Of the six bishoprics which were filled
up, three were given to avowed partisans of the King. Winchester
fell to Richard of Ilchester; Ely, to Godfrey Ridel, Becket’s great
opponent; and Lincoln to Geoffrey Plantagenet; while, shortly
after, the Bishopric of Norwich was given to John of Oxford, who
had been Henry’s chief agent throughout the Becket difficulty. Such
disputes as still existed in the Church ceased to have political
meaning, and assumed the form of quarrels between the monks and
the secular clergy. It was thus that Richard, the Prior of Dover,
a man in the royal interests, was elected to succeed Becket after
a lengthened dispute between the monks of the Holy Trinity at
Canterbury, who claimed the right of election, and the other
bishops of the province. Henry’s influence was naturally employed
in favour of the episcopal candidate, but he contrived to confine
the dispute within the limits of the ecclesiastical body.

[Sidenote: Henry’s judicial and constitutional changes.]

[Sidenote: The Curia Regis.]

[Sidenote: Itinerant justices.]

The period which elapsed between the suppression of the great
rebellion and the outbreak of the quarrel between Henry and his
sons is the period of his greatest power. It is at this time that
we find the greatest marks of his activity as a lawgiver. The year
1176 is marked by the great Assize of Northampton, an expansion of
a similar Assize of Clarendon in the year 1166, the fruit perhaps
of his experience in the late rebellion, and the knowledge gained
by his inquiries into the conduct of the sheriffs in 1170. That
inquiry, which was called for by the complaints of the exactions
of the sheriffs, proved to him that their conduct had not been
free from peculation, and led him to believe that the employment
of local nobles as his chief officials was dangerous. He took
the opportunity of making a general examination of the judicial
system of the country, the fruit of which was the concentration and
organization of the Curia Regis, and the arrangements embodied in
the Assize of Northampton. The King’s court consisted originally,
as has been already mentioned, of all those tenants who held
their land direct from the crown (tenants _in capite_), and was
the ordinary feudal court, and the natural parent of our present
Parliament, and especially of the House of Lords. But for the
ordinary despatch of business, whether judicial or financial,
what may be regarded as a permanent committee of this body of
immediate holders was employed. This committee consisted of the
great officers of the household, such as the chancellor, treasurer,
marshal and others, and other selected barons closely connected
with the royal household. The head of this committee, or Curia
Regis, was the great justiciary, the King’s representative. The
royal chaplains or clerks were formed into a body of secretaries,
at the head of which was the chancellor. The Curia Regis at first
attended the King and had a twofold duty; when they sat as judges
its members were called justices, in financial questions they
sat in the exchequer[28] chamber, and were called barons. This
administrative system, which had been organized in Henry I.’s
reign, was entirely destroyed by the wild reign of Stephen. Its
reconstitution was the great work of Henry II. In the earlier part
of his reign the visitations were renewed upon the old system,
the itinerant justice being usually either the great justiciary,
chancellor, or some other great household officer. In the year
1168 four barons of the exchequer performed this duty; in 1176
the country was divided into six circuits. This number was not
permanent, several alterations were made in it. Nor was the number
of visitations thoroughly established. By Magna Charta in John’s
reign commissions are promised four times a year, but shortly
afterwards it would seem that the general journey of the itinerant
justices was every seven years, until the reign of Edward I. It
is to be remembered that these visitations were for all sorts
of objects; for hearing civil cases, for inspecting the working
of criminal jurisdiction, and, perhaps before all things, for
arranging the financial matters of the country, and superintending
the sheriffs in all matters connected with the exchequer. The
itinerant justices during their circuits superseded the sheriff’s
authority and presided in his courts. They were also allowed to
enter and preside in the baronial courts. It has been mentioned
that these courts were in most respects complete Hundreds. The two
parallel systems, now on certain occasions presided over by the
same official, were thus assimilated and brought into immediate
connection with the central authority. This administrative
organization gave rise to what is of much political importance, a
new class of barons, new men who had risen by their talents and by
the King’s favour, whose interests were therefore on the side of
order and of the crown. At one period, in 1178, Henry II. appears
to have found his new ministers untrustworthy, at all events in
that year he restricted the Curia Regis to five persons, keeping
the highest appellate jurisdiction in the hands of himself and the
old Curia Regis, which may henceforth be regarded as the King’s
_ordinary council_. The name Curia Regis has thus passed through
three phases; a feudal court, a permanent committee of the feudal
court, and a restricted committee of that committee. In these
various bodies we have the sources of all the judicial bodies in
England. The feudal court, with certain additions, became the
Parliament; without those additions the Great Council, retaining
its natural prerogative of final court of appeal, and represented
now by the House of Lords. The permanent committee, or ordinary
council, is represented by the privy council, still retaining
some of its judicial powers. From its body of clerks, headed by
the chancellor, arose the courts of Chancery. While the limited
committee was divided shortly after the Magna Charta into three
courts, the exchequer, the common pleas, and the king’s bench, at
first with the same judges for all, but by the end of Edward III.’s
reign with a separate staff.

[Sidenote: Origin of jury.]

Henry’s legal mind, which thus organized the administration,
introduced many improvements In judicial procedure. It is to
this reign that can be traced the origin of trial by jury. This
method was not employed first in criminal cases, but in carrying
out inquiries of various kinds. As soon as such inquiries came to
be made on oath, the beginning of the jury system had arrived.
As early as the great Domesday survey, the sheriff, barons,
freeholders, the priest, the reeve, and six villeins of each
township, had been all examined upon oath. Judicially this method
of inquiry was first applied in civil cases. By the ordinance of
the Grand Assize, a choice was given to any person whose right to
the possession of land was called in question. He might either
if he pleased defend his claims by the old-fashioned appeal to
battle, or he might have his right examined by twelve freeholders
on their oath, selected by four freeholders also on their oath,
nominated by the sheriff. These sworn freeholders were evidently
at first witnesses; twelve others were subsequently added to them,
who, from their neighbourhood or other reasons, might be supposed
to be better acquainted with the facts. This took place in Edward
I.’s reign. The double jury was then separated, the original twelve
playing their part as jurors of the present day, judging of the
facts asserted by the second twelve, who represent the witnesses.
In 1166, by the Assize of Clarendon, the same process was extended
to criminal cases; that is to say, twelve lawful men from each
hundred, and four from each township, were sworn to inquire whether
there were any criminal, or receiver of criminals, in their
district, and to present the same to the itinerant justices or to
the sheriffs. These criminals were then put to the ordeal without
further investigation. This was the origin of the grand jury.
The abolition of ordeal rendered some substitute necessary, and
ordinary trial by jury was the consequence.

[Sidenote: Scutage.]

[Sidenote: Assize of arms.]

The Assize of Northampton in 1176 was, as has been said, a
repetition in stronger terms of the Assize of Clarendon. It is
moreover interesting, as giving a notion of the duties of the
itinerant justices, who on this occasion were six in number. Not
only was the examination of crimes in their hands, but they had to
arrange the law with regard to tenure of land, reliefs of heirs,
dowers of widows, and other such matters, and to exact fealty
from all classes of the commonwealth, and to see to the complete
destruction of private castles, and the secure guardianship of
those of the crown. These latter points were probably rendered
necessary by the Rebellion of 1174. The same feeling of mistrust of
his feudal barons which dictated these precautions was the cause
of two other measures of this reign. The military service of the
tenants in chief was changed into a money payment called scutage.
This money enabled the King to hire men for his foreign wars, and
to dispense with the service of his barons; while, by the Assize of
Arms in 1181, the national militia of England, the old _fyrd_ of
the Saxons, to follow which was one of the duties of the _trinoda
necessitas_, was reorganized, and the arms required of each class
in the country carefully defined.

[Sidenote: Henry’s importance in Europe.]

[Sidenote: Closing troubles with his sons and France.]

At the same time that Henry was thus organizing his authority in
England, his position in Europe was a great one. Two of his sons
were married or betrothed to daughters of the King of France. Of
his three daughters, the eldest was the wife of Henry the Lion of
Saxony, the rival of Frederick Barbarossa; the second, Eleanor,
was Queen of Castile; the third, Joanna, though still a child, was
taken to Sicily as the bride of the Norman king of that country,
which at this time was the dominant power of the Mediterranean.
His importance indeed was such that he seemed of all the kings
in Europe most firmly seated on his throne, and was selected on
account of his power and character, as well as for family reasons,
as arbitrator between Alphonso of Castile and his uncle Sancho of
Navarre, and as the strongest ally to whom Henry the Lion could
have recourse when he was stripped of his German possessions. This
befell him in consequence of his desertion of Frederick Barbarossa
before his invasion of Lombardy, which terminated in the great
battle of Legnano. But in the midst of his greatness there were two
dangers constantly besetting Henry; on the one hand was the King of
France, on the other were his own children. Not only did the great
power of a feudatory naturally excite the French King’s jealousy,
Henry had pursued a crooked policy with regard to the marriage
of his sons; he had refused to surrender to Louis the Vexin and
Bourges as he had promised to do upon their marriages. There was
thus a constant opportunity for quarrel. On the other hand, with
regard to his sons, his measures had been still more unfortunate.
Anxious to secure his succession, and conscious probably that his
kingdom was too large to be held by one hand, he had caused his
eldest son to be crowned, thus exciting the envy of his brothers;
while, at the same time, he had given them large duchies, which
rendered them nearly independent of him. In addition to this, his
dislike for his wife had rendered her a constant enemy, while his
foolish affection for his youngest son John gave still further
cause of offence. When therefore, as was likely to happen, any of
his sons determined to oppose him, they were certain of assistance
from France, and of bad advice from their mother.

[Sidenote: First war; against young Henry. 1183.]

It is difficult to arrange the constant brief wars which
characterized the close of his reign, complicated as they are
by the rising interests in the affairs of the East, which were
gradually bringing on the third Crusade. They may perhaps be
divided into four; the first extending to the death of young
Henry; the second to the death of Geoffrey of Brittany; the third
from 1184 to a peace negotiated in the interests of the crusades
in 1188; and the last, the quarrel with Richard and John, which
terminated with the King’s death. The first of these broke out in
1183. Richard had entered with zest into the wild feudal life of
Poitou and Aquitaine, and had been very successful there. He had
even pushed his arms to Bayonne, in the territories of the Basques,
and to the borders of Navarre. This had aroused the envy of his
elder brother. This young prince, who regarded himself, and was
regarded by many, as the flower of knighthood, was capable of any
amount of hypocrisy and double dealing, and seems to have so far
cajoled his father as to persuade him to demand from his younger
brothers homage to the elder. This Richard positively refused to
give. But his arbitrary rule in Poitou and Aquitaine had made
him many enemies, at the head of whom was the wild intriguing
noble, at once warrior and troubadour, Bertram de Born. With these
young Henry allied himself, and, with the aid of his brother from
Brittany, pressed so heavily upon Richard, that the old king had
to come to his assistance. At this crisis the young king caught
a fever and died, forgiven but unvisited by his father. The King
took advantage of his son’s death to pursue his success, and
succeeded in subjugating the refractory barons, and re-establishing
peace. Conscious that the young King Philip II. of France, who had
succeeded to the throne in 1180, and over whom he had once had much
influence, had been mixed in his son’s rebellion, Henry tried to
make peace with him too. Philip met the request by a demand for
the restitution of Gisors and the dower of his sister Margaret,
young Henry’s widow, and it was with much difficulty that temporary
peace was patched up; but it was finally arranged that part of the
dowry should be restored, and Gisors transferred to Richard on his
marriage with the Princess Alice.

[Sidenote: Second war; against Richard. 1184.]

[Sidenote: Third war. 1187.]

Constantly unwise in his conduct to his sons, Henry now demanded
from Richard, perhaps as a recompense for his assistance, a part
of Aquitaine, to be given to his favourite son John. This Richard
refused to give, and consequently both John and Geoffrey of
Brittany attacked him. But though Geoffrey was thus ready enough to
quarrel with his elder brother, it was from no love of his father
that he did so. He, as well as Richard, was hurt by Henry’s evident
partiality for John. He took the opportunity of putting in his own
claim for Anjou. On Henry’s refusal, he at once fled to France,
where he was as usual well received. His death relieved his father
for the time from his opposition, but sowed the seed of further
difficulties; for on the one hand his province Brittany was at once
divided between the French and English faction, and on the other
King Philip II. raised claims as overlord to the guardianship of
his young son Arthur. There was a growing disinclination however
on all sides to plunge into war; for the Pope was constantly
urging a general peace, and the combination of Christian princes
for the great Eastern Crusade. A succession of weak princes, and
the unnatural and artificial character of the feudal kingdom of
Jerusalem, together with the rise of the new Mahomedan power of the
Saracens under Saladin, had reduced European power in the East to a
very low ebb; and in 1184, Heraclius, the Bishop of Jerusalem, had
found it necessary to come over, to attempt to persuade the Kings
of England and France to embark in a new crusade. But to Henry,
although under a pledge to join such an expedition, the idea of
leaving his European dominions in their present critical situation
was very distasteful, and he consequently postponed taking
action. The feeling however that a crusade was imminent rendered
hostilities more difficult; so that when, in 1187, the arbitrary
behaviour of Richard in Aquitaine had produced fresh difficulties
with France, which as usual terminated in the flight of Richard and
the junction of his interests with those of his father, the news of
the great battle of Hettin, in which the flower of the Christian
army of Jerusalem had been entirely destroyed, and the arrival
of William of Tyre for the purpose of exciting the enthusiasm
of the West, put a sudden end to the hostilities; and, in 1188,
the two kings met in perfect friendship under the old elm in the
neighbourhood of Gisors, which was their usual place of treaty,
and joined with apparent heartiness in taking the Cross. Upon this
occasion Henry imposed upon England the tax, known as the Saladin
tax, which was a tenth on all property, and in the collection of
which the King’s officers were to work hand in hand with the Church.

[Sidenote: Last war; with Richard and Philip. 1189.]

But nothing could keep the restless Richard in order; before the
year was over, he was engaged in fresh quarrels with Geoffrey of
Lusignan and Raymond of Toulouse. After mutual demands for the
ransom of some captives, Richard advanced in arms against Raymond,
who applied to his suzerain Philip for assistance. This open
attack on his dominions Philip could not put up with. At length he
declared himself the open enemy of the English. It was in vain that
his great feudatories reminded him that he was under the crusader’s
vow, in vain that a meeting was held at Gisors. The enmity of the
kings was only thereby inflamed, and, in token of his eternal
hostility, Philip had the old elm of reconciliation hewn down. One
would have supposed that Richard, the cause of the quarrel, would
have clung to his father; nor is the reason for his not doing so
very plain. Perhaps it may be traced to his father’s refusal to
give him up Alice, the French King’s sister, for his wife, wishing
it is said to make her his own; perhaps it was continued jealousy
of his brother John. Certainly he did betake himself to the French
court, and with him many others of Henry’s French feudatories fell
away. Henry thus found himself in a difficult situation; broken in
mind and body, his resources strained to the utmost by the late
heavy taxation of England, and his nobles rapidly deserting him.

[Sidenote: Henry’s disastrous peace and death.]

His health appears to have influenced his mind. He remained
inactive at Le Mans, while Philip overran Maine and threatened to
besiege Tours. At length Le Mans, where Henry was with his son
Geoffrey, was taken. The city where he had himself been born was
the particular object of Henry’s love. He felt its loss as a heavy
blow, and though he knew his weakness, could not bring himself to
retreat to Normandy, where his chief strength lay. With a sudden
accession of energy, he reappeared in Anjou. But his appearance had
no effect. One by one the fortresses of Maine were captured, and
Philip constantly approached Tours. When that town fell, Henry’s
spirit was quite broken. He agreed to an interview with Richard
and Philip on the plain of Colombières, to make his submission.
Almost fainting, and held upon his horse by his attendants, in the
midst of a violent thunderstorm, he met his undutiful son, and
brought himself to give him the kiss of peace, whispering as he
did so, however, “May God not let me die until I have taken me due
vengeance on thee.” The terms of his submission were complete. He
promised to give up the Princess Alice; he allowed his nobility to
swear fealty for their lands to his son Richard; he promised to
pay Philip 50,000 marks for the restoration of his conquests. He
had asked, in exchange, for a list of those nobles who had joined
Richard in rebellion. When he found at the head of the list the
name of his beloved son John, his heart was broken. “I care no
more for myself nor for the world,” he said. A day or two longer
he lingered, and was carried to Chinon, murmuring at intervals,
“Shame, shame, on a conquered king,” and there died, attended only
by his natural son and Chancellor Geoffrey.[29]

[Sidenote: Importance of the reign.]

It is scarcely possible to place the importance of this reign too
high, or to overvalue the work of Henry II. We find in his reign
the organization of almost all departments of the government
subsequently completed by Edward I. The arrangements of the Curia
Regis and the reforms in judicial procedure have been already
mentioned. The exchequer also was put on a new footing. It now
becomes possible to see with some clearness the sources and amount
of the royal revenue. To the revenues derived from the domain lands
and from the Danegelt, the Norman kings had added feudal dues. Both
the proceeds of the royal domain and of the Danegelt appear to
have been farmed. The farm of the counties amounted in Henry II.’s
reign, after the deductions caused by the grants both of Stephen
and of Henry, to about £8000 a year. The Danegelt, originally two
shillings on every hide, amounted in Henry I.’s reign to about
£2500. As this is about a tenth of what the tax would have produced
had it been fully exacted, it must probably also have been farmed
to the sheriff, who collected what he could of it, and paid a fixed
sum to the exchequer. This unsatisfactory tax came to an end in
Henry II.’s reign, perhaps through the agency of Becket. The other
source of revenue was the _Donum_ and _Auxilium_, contributions
paid by vassals to assist their lords. The first term applied to
the counties, the second to the towns. These names became the
general names of all irregular imposts, which are also sometimes
called hidage, scutage, or tallage, the tallage being the aid
raised from towns, the scutage the aid raised from knights’ fees,
the hidage the aid raised from tenants in socage. The importance
of the scutage as a commutation for military service has been
already dwelt upon. Recourse appears to have been had to these
scutages only three or four times during the reign. To these
sources of revenue are to be added the fees from the law courts,
and the incomes arising from feudal incidents, such as wardship,
marriage, and reliefs. The whole income of the country was perhaps
about £50,000. The taxes seem to have been assessed by Barons
of the Exchequer, aided by the declaration of the knights as to
their own holdings, by juries in the case of minor tenants. But it
was not only in details of administration that Henry showed his
character. He constantly summoned great councils, and as his power
was so great and centralized that he could certainly have acted
without them, this appears to show a fixed intention on his part
to assume the position of a national and constitutional king. The
general effect of his work at home was to form the nation. Normans
became English. The English no longer felt themselves a conquered
people. Their oppressors, the feudal nobility, were destroyed or
kept in restraint. The new nobles were chiefly ministers of the
crown, and all sections of the people looked to the King as the
national representative. The importance of Henry’s reign abroad was
scarcely less striking. His immense continental dominions made him
one of the great powers of Europe. His close contact with France,
and the difficulties which it produced, began the hereditary
policy of opposition to that country which has characterized the
whole of English history. On the other hand, though he may have
had no clear view of what he was doing, he set on foot also the
lasting friendships of the nation. The marriage of his daughter
with the Guelph Duke brought England into constant friendship
with Germany, and caused Otho, the son of Henry the Lion, to be
brought up in England, and to be regarded as an English prince.
The marriage of his other daughter with Spain set on foot that
connection which lasted even beyond the Reformation. His work as a
whole may be summed up in the words of Professor Stubbs: “He was
faithful to the letter of his engagements. He recovered the demesne
rights of the crown, so that his royal dignity did not depend
for maintenance on constant taxation. He restored the usurped
estates; he destroyed the illegal castles, and the system which
they typified; he maintained the royal hold on the lawful ones,
and the equality and uniformity of justice which their usurpers
had subverted; he restored internal peace, and with it plenty,
as the riches of England in the following reign amply testify.
He arranged the administration of justice by enacting good laws
and appointing faithful judges. He restored the currency; he
encouraged commerce, he maintained the privileges of the towns;
and, without encouraging an aggressive spirit, armed his people for
self-defence. He sustained the form, and somewhat of the spirit
of national representation. The clergy had grounds of complaint
against him for very important reasons; but their chief complaints
were caused by their preference for the immunities of their class
to the common safeguard of justice.”



                       Born 1157 = Berengaria of Navarre.

                              CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._  |   _France._      |    _Germany._       |   _Spain._
                 |                  |                     |
  William, 1165. | Philip Augustus, | Frederick           | Alphonso IX.,
                 |   1180.          |   Barbarossa, 1155. |   1158.
                 |                  | Henry VI., 1191.    |
                 |                  | Philip, 1198.       |

  POPES.--Clement III., 1187. Celestine III., 1191. Innocent III., 1198.

     _Archbishops._      |     _Chief-Justices._       |   _Chancellors._
                         |                             |
  Baldwin, 1185-1190.    | Hugh of Durham, and         | William Longchamp,
  Reginald Fitz-Jocelin, |   William Earl of Essex,    |   1189.
    1191.                |   1189.                     | Eustace, Bishop of
  Hubert Walter, 1193.   | William Longchamp, 1190.    |   Ely, 1197.
                         | Walter of Rouen, 1191-1194. |
                         | Hubert Walter, 1194-1198.   |
                         | Geoffrey Fitz-Peter,        |
                         |   1198-1199.                |

[Sidenote: Richard seems to begin well.]

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Jews.]

Richard began his reign with some show of penitence. He got
absolution for his disobedience to his father, and gave his
friendship to the existing ministers, with the exception of the
Seneschal of Anjou and Ranulf de Glanvill. It is possible that the
government of this great justiciary had been over arbitrary, for
in England, where his mother acted principally for him, Richard
is said to have freed all those prisoners who were confined by
the orders of his father or the justiciary, but demanded bail for
those who were legally imprisoned. He also seems to have punished
the severity of some of the sheriffs. His coronation pomp was
interrupted by a strange disturbance. The Jews had been ordered
to absent themselves from the ceremony. This strange people had
been admitted to England by the Conqueror; the only capitalists
of the time, their ability and willingness to lend money rendered
them invaluable both to the rising industry of the country and to
the crown; and to their knowledge is due much of the growth in
science which was beginning to be made in this century. So great
was their use, in spite of the heavy usury they demanded, that
they were allowed to establish themselves in various towns, in
districts known as Jewries, to build synagogues, and follow their
own customs. They were not however admitted to full citizenship.
The Jewries, like the forests, were not under the protection of
the common law of the country, but were entirely in the King’s
power. In spite of the evident advantages derived from their
presence in England, their wealth, their foreign manners, their
high usury, and their strange worship rendered them objects at
once of contempt and hatred to the people. Some of them, in spite
of the order forbidding their presence, showed themselves at the
ceremony of the consecration. They were assaulted by the soldiery.
This gave a signal to the the crowd who attacked the detested
people in all parts of the city. Nor was this all; the same feeling
spread throughout England. In some places the Jews gained safety
by conversion; but early in 1190, in Norwich, in Stamford, and in
York, many were put to death. In the last-mentioned place, the Jews
sought refuge in the castle, and being besieged there, determined
to die together. Firing the tower, they first killed their own
women and children, and then sprang with them into the flames.

[Sidenote: All offices put up for sale.]

In fact, the Crusades brought with them a passion for adventure
and licentiousness, as well as religious enthusiasm. This spirit
was now abroad in England, and the King, with his wild love of
adventure at any price, was its fitting representative. For the
sake of adventure, honesty, good government, and national honour,
were sacrificed. Thus there was scarcely an office which was
not openly put up up for sale; cities bought their charters,
judges their seats on the bench, bishops their sees. Thus too
Hugh de Pudsey bought the Earldom of Northumberland for £1000;
and Longchamp, the Bishopric of Ely for £3000; while the King
relinquished all the advantages his father had won over William the
Lion of Scotland for 10,000 marks; it was for Huntingdon alone that
the Northern King did fealty to Richard.

[Sidenote: Starts for the Crusade, leaving England to Longchamp.

Having by such unjustifiable means procured money for his purposes,
entirely regardless of the misery he could scarcely fail to leave
behind him, Richard crossed over to France to join his forces with
those of Philip Augustus. Such precautions as he did take against
maladministration in England were not of the wisest. He put the
whole power into the hands of William Longchamp, Bishop of Ely,
whom he made at once Chancellor and Chief Justiciary, securing
for him also the authority of Papal Legate. But Longchamp was a
man who could not fail to have many enemies. Of low extraction,
and regarded as merely the favourite of Richard, he was fond of
exhibiting his grandeur in the most ostentatious manner; moreover,
in making him justiciary Richard supplanted Hugh de Pudsey, to whom
the office had already been given. Pudsey did not surrender without
some opposition. He obtained from the King letters patent, naming
him justiciary north of the Humber; when he exhibited these to
Longchamp, the Chancellor contrived indeed to entrap him to London,
and there made him surrender his claims, but he had made himself a
powerful enemy for life. Richard also, as a second precaution, made
his brother John, and his half-brother Geoffrey, who had got the
Archbishopric of York in exchange for the chancellorship, promise
not to enter England during his absence. But he afterwards unwisely
absolved John from his vow. He thus left behind him in England a
possible claimant to the succession, whose power as a baron was
very great, for he was the possessor of Derbyshire, the inheritance
of the Earl of Gloucester, which he had obtained by marriage, and
of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset, which Richard had himself
given him.

[Sidenote: Quarrels with Philip in Sicily.]

The death of William II. of Sicily, and of the French Queen
Isabella, delayed the Crusade till June 1190. But at the end of
that month, the Kings set out towards their first point, which was
Sicily, Philip by Genoa, Richard by Marseilles. At the same time,
a fleet of more than a hundred sail left the harbours of Brittany
and Guienne. On reaching Sicily the friendship of the two kings was
at first most edifying, but it was not long before various causes
of dispute arose between them. To the inhabitants of the island
the Crusaders seemed a horde of new invaders. The overbearing
character of Richard exasperated the feelings of jealousy thus
aroused. The conciliatory manners of Philip, on the other hand,
were such that he was known as the Lamb, in contradistinction to
Richard, who was called the Lion. The difference of feeling with
which they were regarded was plainly shown when, on the occasion of
some quarrel, the town of Messina was closed against Richard, while
Philip was admitted within its walls. The enemies of the French
King suggested indeed that his mildness was a proof of treasonable
lukewarmness towards his fellow Crusaders. These suspicions were
afterwards confirmed. On the death of William II.,[30] Tancred,
an illegitimate son of William’s brother Roger, had seized the
throne, despoiling of her rights Constance, the daughter of Roger
and the wife of Henry VI. of Germany, and keeping in some sort of
confinement Richard’s sister Joanna, the widow of William the Good,
and retaining the dowry secured her by her husband’s will. The
enmity thus excited in Richard’s mind gave way, after a lengthened
dispute, to the natural feeling of friendship between the two
Norman houses. Joanna and her dowry were given back to Richard; and
at one of the meetings between the two princes, Tancred informed
him of a plot on the part of the French to fall treacherously on
the English army. Philip does not seem to have denied the charge,
and it was perhaps the consciousness of his guilt which prevented
him from making any effectual opposition when Richard repudiated
his sister Alice. Contrary to the national feelings, and on purely
political grounds, Richard had been contracted to this princess by
his father. He now, throwing over this unnatural match, sought for
himself a wife from Spain, a country then and for long afterwards
connected by close friendship with England. This wife was
Berengaria, the daughter of Sancho I. of Navarre. Though unavenged,
the insult was felt. From that time onwards Philip and Richard were

[Sidenote: Conquers Cyprus. 1191.]

[Sidenote: Jerusalem taken by Saladin. 1187.]

[Sidenote: Acre besieged. 1189.]

[Sidenote: Arrival of the Crusaders.]

[Sidenote: Richard saves Acre.]

[Sidenote: Philip goes home.]

At length the armies broke up from Sicily and sailed for Acre. With
the three leading ships of the English fleet were Berengaria and
the King’s sister Joanna. Richard brought up the rear. Two of the
Queen’s vessels were wrecked upon the Isle of Cyprus, and their
crew imprisoned by Isaac, the ruler of that island. This monarch, a
descendant of the Emperor John Comnenus, banished from Byzantium,
had established himself with the title of Emperor in the Isle of
Cyprus. He was an inhuman tyrant, the dread of pilgrims and of
shipwrecked sailors. He tried to entice the two queens to land,
but luckily Richard’s fleet arrived. The Cyprians were driven from
Lymesol, where the King established his court. He there received
Guy of Lusignan, the nominal King of Jerusalem, completed his
marriage with Berengaria, and made a treaty with Isaac. But when
the Emperor sought to evade his engagements, Richard conquered the
rest of the island, and organized it in the feudal fashion. On the
8th of July he reached Acre. The arrival of this warlike prince
raised the spirit of the besiegers, who were in a very depressed
condition. The siege had lasted since 1189, having been undertaken
by Guy of Lusignan, who saw the importance of the place, if he
was to continue to hold his kingdom. This was indeed a doubtful
question. The Christian fortunes had sunk very low. Among the
Mahomedans power after power had arisen with rapid success, and
sunk as rapidly under the attacks of its own slaves or vassals. As
the Abbassid Caliphs yielded to the Seljukian Turks, the Seljukians
in their turn yielded to the Atabeks. The power of this race was
brought to its height by Noureddin, who established his rule at
Damascus, and extended it even into Egypt. Saladin, the son of
Ayub, had attended his uncle Shiracouh, when he destroyed the rule
of the Fatimite Caliphs in Egypt, and brought that province under
the power of Noureddin. On Noureddin’s death, Saladin acquired
possession of Egypt, to which he subsequently added the provinces
of Damascus and Aleppo, and raised an empire which reached from
Tripoli in Africa to the Tigris. It was this new warlike power
which had overwhelmed the kingdom of Jerusalem. Baldwin IV.,[31]
King of Jerusalem, became a leper. His sister Sybilla married Guy
of Lusignan, a French prince of weak character, who succeeded
to the throne. His elevation excited the jealousy of Raymond,
Count of Tripoli, the greatest of his vassals. By his treacherous
advice, Saladin attacked Tiberias. To complete his treachery,
Raymond persuaded the Christians to take up a position in a camp
destitute of water, and withdrew with his forces at the moment of
attack. The destruction of the Christians was complete. In a few
months Jerusalem itself was taken, and Tyre and Tripoli the only
places left in Christian hands. Tyre was defended with success by
the bravery of Conrad of Montferrat, who, in consequence of this
success, was regarded as the great champion of the Christians.
He had married a young sister of Sybilla of Lusignan, and upon
the death of Sybilla, holding that the right went to the living
princess, his wife, rather than to Lusignan, the husband of the
dead princess, he demanded the throne. Meanwhile Guy besieged
Acre, thirty miles south of Tyre, and was there surrounded by an
army under the command of Saladin, and cut off from all assistance
except by sea. It was under these circumstances, in the midst of
the disputed succession to the throne, that the third crusade had
begun. Frederick Barbarossa, who had marched with the Germans by
land, perished on the road, and the Duke of Swabia reached the camp
with only five thousand wearied men. The arrival of the hosts of
England and France by sea changed the aspect of affairs; and the
kingdom might have regained had it not been for the bad feeling
which existed between Richard and Philip, which found new food
in the rivalry of the two claimants for the crown of Jerusalem.
Conrad of Montferrat at once allied himself with the French
monarch; Guy of Lusignan, whose family in Languedoc were English
vassals, attached himself to Richard. Directed by the enthusiasm
of Richard, who, whenever mere fighting was the question, came
prominently forward, the arms of the besiegers were successful, and
Acre fell. The superiority which Richard acquired in actual warfare
added fresh fuel to Philip’s anger. There were besides certain
circumstances in his own kingdom, where he had lately acquired
Flanders, which seemed to require his presence. He therefore
withdrew from the crusade, leaving the Duke of Burgundy with a part
of his army under Richard’s command. Had Richard been a general as
well as a soldier, he had still forces enough to have brought this
crusade to a successful issue. As it was, it consisted but of a
series of brilliant but useless skirmishes. Even the great battle
of Arsouf, which Richard won in September on his way to Joppa,
brought him no nearer his object.

[Sidenote: Richard quarrels with Austria.]

[Sidenote: Truce with Saladin. 1192.]

The presence of Philip in France, in close proximity to his own
dominions, made him wish to be at home; and in 1192 he began
negotiations with Saladin. He might even yet have been successful.
In the course of the year he marched within sight of the Holy City.
But his allies insisted that the capture was impossible, and he
withdrew to Ascalon. There all causes for giving up his enterprise
became stronger. The split with France widened. He quarrelled
deeply with the Archduke of Austria, and with the faction of Conrad
of Montferrat, who was also intriguing with Saladin. News of the
disturbances in his own kingdom reached him. Everything urged him
to go home. He summoned a council to settle the dispute as to the
kingdom, was astonished when Conrad was named, but unwillingly gave
his consent. At this very time, in what appeared to be only too
opportune a moment for Richard, Conrad was murdered, as there seems
no reason to doubt, by two members of the sect of the Assassins
sent by the Old Man of the Mountain;[32] but the crime was soon
fastened upon Richard. For the present, however, he was free to
take advantage of the death of Montferrat. Sure of the incompetence
of Lusignan, he gave the kingdom to Henry of Champagne. To save
appearances, he made one more rapid advance towards Jerusalem,
but halted within sight of the city, apparently overborne by the
argument that an attack on Egypt would be more profitable. Hearing
that Saladin was besieging Joppa, he hastened to the relief of that
town, and there won his final victory. Both he and Saladin were
worn in health and weary of the strife. A three years’ truce was
arranged between them. By this it was agreed that Ascalon should
be shared with the Turks, while the Christians should possess from
Joppa to Tyre, the Counts of Tripoli and Antioch should be included
in the treaty, and pilgrims have free access to Jerusalem. He then
set off on his homeward voyage.

[Sidenote: John’s behavior in England. 1191.]

It was indeed time for the King to return. Richard had left William
of Ely the chief command both in Church and State. An ambitious
upstart, of ostentatious habits, William speedily roused against
himself the bitterest hatred. He had one dangerous enemy who could
give a voice to this unpopularity. This was the King’s brother
John, who wished to secure what he believed would be the speedy
succession to the throne, while William sought to give a seeming
legality to his position by upholding the claim of young Arthur
of Brittany. Hence arose two great factions in the kingdom. The
King, hearing in Sicily of the misdeeds of his Chancellor, had
commissioned Archbishop Walter of Rouen, and William, the heir
of Strongbow of Pembroke, if necessary, to remove him from the
regency; at all events to join themselves with him and Fitz-Peter
in a committee of government. Archbishop Walter shrank from the
task. The quarrel came to an issue at Lincoln, which Gerard of
Camville held in the interests of John, and which the Chancellor
claimed for the crown. John seized the royal castles of Nottingham
and Tickhill, and the question was brought before a meeting at
Winchester, where a compromise was effected. A second cause of
quarrel occurred, when the Bishop caused Geoffrey, the King’s
natural brother, the new Archbishop of York, who had landed in
England contrary to his oath, to be apprehended in the very church
at Dover. The two brothers made common cause. They demanded
satisfaction for Geoffrey, and summoned a meeting between Reading
and Windsor. Meanwhile the Chancellor suddenly left Windsor, and
shut himself up in the Tower of London, and the meeting reassembled
in St. Paul’s. There all the charges against the Chancellor were
produced; Hugh of Durham produced his old grievances, Geoffrey of
York his late injuries. The Tower was ill provided with food; the
Chancellor was obliged to appear and to plead; but now at length
Richard’s envoys produced their authority. Longchamp was dismissed
from his offices. Walter of Rouen was put in his place, and the
fallen Chancellor took refuge in France. The Pope received him,
and excommunicated his enemies; but as usual this proceeding, when
against the popular feeling, had but little effect.

[Sidenote: Return of Philip Augustus.]

Meanwhile Philip Augustus had been returning from the Holy Land.
In December 1192 he reached Paris, and early in the following year
demanded from the Seneschal of Normandy the restoration of his
sister Alice, the Castle of Gisors, and the towns of Aumale and
Eu, which he said that Richard had promised him. On the refusal of
this request he began to tamper with John, begging him to come to
him, when Normandy and England should be assured to him. John was
stopped from immediate action by the influence of Queen Eleanor,
but the disorder in the country was becoming flagrant. Richard’s
French vassals in Aquitaine were with difficulty suppressed.

[Sidenote: Need of Richard’s return.]

[Sidenote: His imprisonment in Germany.]

[Sidenote: John and Philip combine against him.]

It was plain that the return of the King alone could save the
kingdom. Yet those English pilgrims who returned home before
Christmas were surprised to find the King yet absent. He did not
come, and the gloomy news was at length noised abroad that he
was in a dungeon in Germany. He had attempted to return by sea,
but afraid to travel through France, he had made his way up the
Adriatic, intending to cross Germany to the dominions of his
friend and relative the Duke of Saxony. Travelling in disguise,
he had been discovered while in the Duchy of Austria; and the
Archduke, whose anger he had roused at Ascalon, made him his
prisoner. He shortly after sold him to Henry VI., Emperor of
Germany. The capture of the King, whose name was in every one’s
mouth, strongly excited the feelings of Europe, and steps were
immediately taken for his liberation. But to John his imprisonment
served only as a means of aggrandizement. He hurried abroad, did
homage to Philip, purchasing his favour with Gisors, the Vexin,
and with Tours, and pledging himself not to make peace with his
brother without Philip’s permission. He tried to persuade the
English justiciaries that his brother was dead, and secured, with
his auxiliaries, Wallingford and Windsor. Philip, too, basely
took advantage of his rival’s position, used all his influence to
lengthen his imprisonment, broke off the feudal connection between
them, and invaded his dominions. Richard’s subjects were, however,
remarkably true to him. The justiciaries, assisted by Queen
Eleanor, boldly opposed John in England, and the burghers of Rouen
put Philip to a shameful flight.

[Sidenote: England ransoms him.]

In Germany Richard did homage to Henry for England. The connection
of England with Germany makes it possible that there may have been
some political meaning in this act. Some general action against
France, or against Apulia, may have been thought of. But it came
to nothing. It was afterwards cancelled by Henry himself, and has
been generally regarded as a mere formality. However formal the
act of homage may have been, Richard was certainly much connected
with the German Empire. He mixed authoritatively in the next
imperial election, after the death of Henry VI. in 1198; and it
was chiefly by his influence that Otho, his nephew, a prince of
the Guelphic royal family, and generally regarded as an English
prince, was elected to succeed him. Of more immediate importance
to England than this connection was the sum of money demanded for
the King’s ransom. The form of a trial was gone through at Spiers.
All the charges which had been brought against him in the East
were repeated;--his friendship with Tancred, his victory over
Isaac, the murder of Conrad, his insults to Austria, even his final
treaty with Saladin. He replied frankly and eloquently to these
charges, and it was finally agreed that he should be liberated on
the payment of 100,000 marks of silver, and 50,000 additional as
a contribution to the Emperor’s proposed march against Apulia. He
was to be liberated as soon as the first sum was paid; for the
payment of the second hostages were to be left. With considerable
difficulty the money was collected, chiefly from the estates of
the Church; and after some further difficulties, caused by the
intrigues of Philip Augustus, in 1194, on the 13th of March the
King landed at Sandwich.

[Sidenote: Destruction of John’s party.]

[Sidenote: War with France.]

[Sidenote: Richard’s death at Chaluz. 1199.]

His appearance in England at once destroyed the influence of John’s
party. Hubert the Justiciary had been doing his best to suppress
it; such castles as still held out surrendered at the presence of
Richard. His residence in England was short. He caused himself to
be re-crowned, to remove the stain of his captivity, had recourse
to his old nefarious means of gathering money, and then, weary of
idleness, crossed into the more troubled country of France. With
Philip it was impossible that he should have peace. An almost
continuous war between the kings occupied the rest of the reign.
Richard never displayed the talents of a general, and the war
dwindled into an uninteresting series of petty skirmishes. These
were usually decided in favour of Richard. Once, in the year 1196,
united action among the enemies of France seemed to threaten Philip
with a heavy blow. Raymond of St. Gilles, Richard’s old enemy,
married his sister, Joanna of Sicily; the Count of Flanders, the
Bretons, and the Count of Champagne joined in the league; and in
the following year, Count Baldwin of Flanders succeeded in taking
Philip prisoner, but he was freed on promising peace; nor for want
of leaders did the alliance get much beyond the ordinary petty
warfare of the time. At length, in 1198, a truce was patched up by
the Papal influence, but before disbanding his troops, Richard led
them to attack the Castle of Chaluz, where the Count of Limoges was
said to be keeping some treasure which the King claimed. He was
there wounded in the shoulder, as he rode round the walls, and the
wound proved fatal. During his illness the castle was taken, and
all the garrison hanged, with the exception of Bertrand de Gourdon,
who had discharged the fatal arrow. He was reserved for the King’s
own judgment. “What have I done,” asked the King, “that you should
take my life?” “You have killed my father and my two brothers,”
answered he, “and I would willingly bear any torture to see you
die.” King Richard is said, in spite of his merciless temper, to
have ordered his life to be spared. Mercadi, the chief of his
mercenaries, was not so scrupulous; he had him flayed and hanged.

Although the King himself was but a few months in his own
country, the conduct of affairs in England possesses some
interest, as showing the further advance of the administrative
system established by Henry II. After the King’s return from his
captivity, and final triumph over the machinations of John, the
kingdom was left in the hand of Hubert Walter, Archbishop of
Canterbury. He had been trained by Glanvill, and belonged to the
class of officials created by the late King. It was through his
activity that, while the ransom was still being collected, the
kingdom was reduced to tranquillity, and John’s castles captured
in the name of the King. On Richard’s withdrawal to his native
dominions, Hubert held the three high offices of Justiciary,
Archbishop, and Papal Legate. The whole government of the
kingdom was virtually in his hands. It was carried on by him in
harmony with the system in which he had been trained; and in the
instructions given to the justices, for a great visitation of the
kingdom in the year 1194, we find the superiority of the central
to the local courts still further increased by an order, that
sheriffs should not act as justices in their own counties. The
dangerous power of these officers was for the time destroyed,
when afterwards by the Magna Charta they were forbidden to hold
the pleas of the crown at all, that is to say, all business in
which the crown was interested was removed from their jurisdiction
to that of the central courts. The demands of Richard for money
were incessant. And on one occasion, when a large carucage, or
tax upon every carucate of land, was demanded, which was in fact
a renewal of the Danegelt in another shape, a fresh survey of
the country, established by sworn and representative witnesses,
and very similar to the Domesday survey, was ordered. In this
system of representative inquiry for financial purposes is to be
found the beginning of the representative system subsequently
employed in Parliament. So heavy were the taxes, that opposition
was finally excited, and Hugh of Lincoln followed the example of
Thomas à Becket, and refused payment from his Church land. It was
apparently in connection with this opposition that Hubert, in 1198,
withdrew from his secular work, and was succeeded by Geoffrey
Fitz-Peter. Politically, the strength of the crown exhibited in
these transactions, the very completeness and excellence of Henry’s
system, tended to change the interests of the various classes in
England. The crown, hitherto the champion of the people against
the feudal barons, began to overstrain its power, and all classes
were gradually forced into opposition to it,--a work completed by
the greater and less glorious tyranny of John, and by the increased
feeling of nationality excited among the barons, when the loss of
Normandy severed them entirely from France.

                          _Lines of Jerusalem and Sicily._

  Godfrey de Bouillon, 1st King of Jerusalem; his brother Baldwin I.,
  2nd King.

                    Baldwin II., cousin of Godfrey, 3rd King.
                      Melisenda = Fulk of Anjou.
                       |               |
                  Baldwin III.       Almeric.
     |                |                             |
  Baldwin IV.,     Sybilla = Guy of Lusignan.  Elizabeth = Conrad of
     the leper.                                              Montferrat.


           Tancred of Hauteville, descended from Rollo, Duke of Normandy.
         |                             |
  Robert Guiscard,                   Roger.
  conquered Sicily,                    |
  1090.                              Roger, 1st King of Sicily, 1130-1154.
        |                      |                    |
      Roger, died 1148.    William I., 1154.    Constance = Henry VI.,
        |                      |                              Emperor.
      Tancred, 1189.       William II., 1166 = Joanna.



                    Born 1167 = 1. Hadwisa of Gloucester.
                              = 2. Isabella de la Marche.
      |       |    |                |                   |
  Henry III.  |   Jane=Alexander  Isabella=Frederick  Eleanor = 1. William of
              |            II.                 II.                 Pembroke.
           Richard.                                           = 2. Simon de
           d. 1272.                                                Montfort.

                             CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

     _Scotland._       |   _France._      |  _Germany._     |   _Spain._
                       |                  |                 |
  William, 1165.       | Philip Augustus, | Philip, 1198.   | Alphonso IX.,
  Alexander II., 1214. |     1180.        | Otho IV., 1209. |     1158.
                       |                  |                 | Henry I., 1214.

                           POPE.--Innocent III., 1198.

   _Archbishops._   |   _Chief-Justices._        |      _Chancellors._
                    |                            |
  Hubert Walter,    | Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, 1199. | Hubert Walter, 1199.
      1193-1205.    | Peter des Roches, 1214.    | Walter Grey, 1205.
  Stephen Langton,  | Hubert de Burgh, 1215.     | Peter des Roches, 1213.
      1207-1228.    |                            | Walter Grey, 1214.
                    |                            | Richard de Marisco, 1214.

[Sidenote: John secures the crown.]

King Richard had nominated John as his successor, having never
renewed the recognition of Arthur of Brittany which he had made in
Sicily. The new King at once set about securing his possession.
He succeeded in laying hands upon the treasury at Chinon and the
castles of Normandy. In Brittany, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine,
there were signs of opposition. The barons put forward the claim
of Arthur; Constance, his mother, took the young prince to the
court of Philip, and that king proceeded in his name to master the
towns and fortresses. But the assistance of his mother Eleanor, who
had taken possession of her old inheritance Poitou and Aquitaine,
enabled John to make successful opposition to the invasion, and
on the 25th of April he was crowned at Rouen, and felt himself
strong enough to establish his claims in England. Thither he
had already sent the chief of his brother’s ministers--Hubert
Walter, the Archbishop of Canterbury; Fitz-Peter, justiciary, and
afterwards Earl of Essex; and William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke.
These ministers had already obliged the nobles to tender their
oath of allegiance; and John, on his arrival in May, was crowned
at Westminster, taking the usual oaths to guard the Church, to do
justice, and to repeal bad laws, but giving no further charter.
The Archbishop is said to have begun the coronation with the
declaration that the throne was elective, an assertion received
with acclamation by those who were present. He is said afterwards
to have declared that he took this step, knowing the King’s
character; he was, however, throughout his life a devoted servant
of the crown.

[Sidenote: His strong position.]

[Sidenote: His danger from France. 1200.]

John’s position at the beginning of his reign was good. He was
accepted in England; he was strong enough to refuse the Scottish
King’s demands on Northumberland and Cumberland; the Counts of
Flanders and Boulogne made offers of friendship; and Otho of
Germany even pressed him not to make peace with the French king,
promising to come to his assistance. It was from Philip only that
he appeared to have to dread any danger; for that king’s early
friendship for him had now changed to hatred, as he declared
because he had accepted his continental dominions without asking
leave of him, his feudal superior. We have thus early the key to
the policy of Philip Augustus, who was determined to make use
of the letter of the feudal law to bring his great vassal into
subjection and establish royalty in France. He had a ready weapon
in the person of young Arthur, who had already done homage to him
for Maine, Anjou, Touraine, and Brittany. The efforts of the Church
were however constantly exerted to keep the peace between these
rivals; and Philip had a difficulty on his own hands which induced
him to desire peace. He had married Ingelborga of Denmark, but had
almost immediately separated from her and married Agnes de Méranie.
The cause of the divorced princess was warmly taken up at Rome, and
in this year Innocent III. had laid France under an interdict.

[Sidenote: Peace with Philip, and marriage treaty.]

[Sidenote: Marriage with Isabella de la Marche.]

[Sidenote: Homage of Scotland.]

Under these circumstances a treaty was patched up. John promised
to young Louis, the heir of France, the hand of his niece Blanche
of Castile, and along with her the Earldom of Evreux; at the
same time pledging himself not to assist his nephew Otho against
the rival Emperor of Germany, Philip of Swabia. Philip in return
secured to England the disputed province of the Vexin, and for the
time dropped the claims of Arthur. A formal interchange of homage
was then made; on the part of John for his French possessions, on
the part of Louis for his newly acquired earldom, on the part of
Arthur for his provinces in France. John at once began to destroy
his good position. A large aid gathered before his coronation, and
another for the purpose of paying a sum of money demanded by the
late treaty, had already excited anger in England. He now proceeded
to rouse the displeasure of some of his chief French nobles. He
put away his wife Hadwisa, the daughter of the Earl of Gloucester,
and was beginning to treat for the hand of a Portuguese princess,
when he suddenly fell in love with Isabella, the daughter of the
Count of Angoulême, and carried her off from her betrothed husband,
the Count de la Marche. Before the storm broke, however, he was
able to oblige the Scotch king, with whom he had been in constant
correspondence, to meet him at Lincoln, and there to do him homage,
and to swear to be his liegeman for life, limb and land. It must
be supposed that this was real personal homage for the kingdom of
Scotland, as William the Lion’s claims on the Northern counties
were still postponed.

[Sidenote: Outbreak in Poitou.]

[Sidenote: John’s French provinces forfeited. 1202.]

But the King’s difficulties soon began. Wishing to collect an
army to suppress disturbances in Poitou, he was met by a refusal
from his barons, who assembled at Leicester, and demanded the
establishment of their rights. The disturbances in Poitou were
caused by the insurrection of the Count de la Marche, full of
anger at losing his wife. Deserted by his barons, John was unable
to suppress the insurrection. He had been invited to Paris, and
received with every demonstration of friendship; but while there
the barons of Poitou, following the policy of Philip Augustus, and
it is fair to believe induced by him, lodged formal complaints with
the French king as their suzerain. John was called upon to plead
before the feudal Court of Peers. He refused, averring that the
Duke of Normandy had never transacted business with his suzerain
except personally upon the borders of his own duchy. Philip seized
the opportunity, urged that the Duke of Normandy was at the same
time Count of Poitou, obtained judgment against John, declared all
his fiefs forfeited and again raised the claims of Arthur. War was
the immediate consequence. The defection of the Count of Boulogne
opened the west of Normandy, and that side of the country was
speedily in the hands of the French.

[Sidenote: Death of Arthur. 1203.]

Arthur himself now appeared in arms, renounced John, and entered
Poitou in alliance with the insurgent barons. He there besieged
Mirabeau, where the old Queen then was lying ill on her return from
a journey into Spain, whither she had gone to fetch the Princess of
Castile, according to the treaty with the French King. The capture
of the castle seemed inevitable, when John, with one of those
sudden acts of vigour which broke his indolent life, suddenly came
upon the besiegers, and surrounded them, rescued his mother, and
took the young prince captive. The war became still more vehement.
The Bretons claimed the restoration of their prince. Philip moved
his army to the Loire, and town after town was captured, while John
lay in sensual enjoyment at Rouen. The Norman barons, unused to
an unwarlike governor, deserted to Philip, and John was compelled
to return to England. He had hardly reached it when the terrible
rumour spread that the young Prince Arthur had disappeared. His
fate is variously related. The more commonly accepted story is,
that, imprisoned at Falaise, under the care of Hubert de Burgh, he
escaped, by the good will of his custodian, from the designs of
John, who had sent to have his eyes put out. He was thence removed
to Rouen, to the charge of Robert de Vipont, and murdered, perhaps
by his uncle’s own hand, and his body thrown into the Seine.

[Sidenote: Loss of Normandy. 1205.]

However he may have died, his death raised a storm of indignation.
Philip pressed more boldly forward. In March 1204, Chateau
Gaillard, the key of Normandy upon the Seine, was taken. One after
the other, Caen, Bayeux, Coutances, Lisieux, and all the country
to Mont St. Michel, were captured; Rouen alone remained. John was
again summoned before the Peers at Paris. Philip even prepared to
invade England, and to make good there the claims of the Counts of
Brabant and Boulogne, who had married the granddaughters of King
Stephen. In June, Rouen was compelled to capitulate, and in the
following year, Loches and Chinon, south of the Loire, yielded, and
Rochelle, Niort, and Thouars, in Poitou, were the only towns left
in the possession of the English.

[Sidenote: Peace with Philip. 1206.]

Meanwhile John had tried in vain to assemble an effective army in
England. He had raised money and collected troops, but it would
seem that they were disaffected; for at the urgent entreaties of
his faithful servants, Hubert of Canterbury and William Marshall,
they were disbanded. One futile attempt was indeed made from
Rochelle, and John boasted loudly of his capture of Montauban, but
he was none the less compelled in October of this year to make a
two years’ peace with Philip. The connection between England and
Normandy was thus for ever broken; henceforward the country was
thrown upon its own resources, and its life and interests became
more distinctly national.

Many causes had been at work to separate the interests of the crown
and nation, but before mentioning them it will be necessary to
speak of the second great event of John’s reign, his dispute with
Innocent III.

[Sidenote: Election of the Archbishop of Canterbury.]

[Sidenote: Election of Stephen Langton. 1207.]

In July 1205, had died Hubert of Canterbury, whose influence as
minister of the crown had been paramount during this and the
preceding reign. The right of election to the metropolitan See
had been constantly disputed between the monks of the cathedral
and the suffragan bishops of the province. The younger monks
thought to steal a march upon their rivals, and, even before the
Archbishop had been buried, had elected Reginald, the sub-prior.
Without waiting for the King’s approval, which had been invariably
required during the reigns of the Norman kings, they hurried the
Archbishop elect abroad, binding him not to disclose his election
till he reached Rome. His vanity got the better of his wisdom;
he boasted of his good fortune. A rumour of what had been done
reached the ears of the King. The elder monks took fright, betook
themselves to John, and received orders from him, in complete
disregard of the claims of the bishops, to elect John de Grey,
Bishop of Norwich, one of his ministers. He was elected, invested
with the temporalities, and messengers stating the fact were at
once sent to Rome. It was now the turn of the bishops to complain.
In point of fact, the last three archbishops had been elected by
the common consent of the bishops and monks, and with the approval
of the crown. The older right was decidedly with the bishops, and
they too despatched messengers to the Papal Court. A claim raised
by three distinct parties, and brought to his court to settle, was
exactly the opportunity Innocent desired. There was much in the
position of England and the English Church which he would have
wished to see changed. The election of bishops and archbishops,
under whatever forms it had been carried on, had been virtually
in the hands of the crown. Many of these appointments had been
given to Churchmen, who had devoted their chief time to the great
administrative system which Henry II. had perfected.[33] The
mixture of lay and ecclesiastical elements was very objectionable
to the Pope; while if there was one thing more than another which
he was desirous of suppressing, it was the independence of national
churches as represented by their bishops. Innocent, therefore, now
ruled that the bishops had not the slightest voice in the matter,
that the monks alone had from time immemorial possessed the right
of election, although it had accidentally fallen into abeyance. He
thus robbed both king and bishops of their share in the election,
and then declaring that the election of Reginald in the present
instance had been irregular, bade the monks, a considerable number
of whom had come to Rome, proceed at once to the election of his
old friend and fellow-student, Stephen Langton, cardinal priest
of St. Chrysagonus. He so far acknowledged the existence of John
as to write him several letters pressing him to receive the
Archbishop. On the rejection of these overtures, foreseeing that
he was entering on an important struggle, he arranged a peace with
Philip of Swabia, the rival of Otho the Guelph, the Papal candidate
for the throne of Germany, and proceeded to consecrate the new
archbishop with his own hands at Viterbo.

[Sidenote: John’s violence.]

[Sidenote: Interdict and flight of bishops. 1208.]

[Sidenote: Excommunication. 1209.]

John had already quarrelled with the bishops, because they
had refused, at a council held at St. Albans, to give him a
contribution which he had required, for the assistance of this same
Otho, who was his nephew. The news therefore of the consecration
at Viterbo at once moved him to violence. The monks of Canterbury
were driven from their monastery, and when, in the following year,
an interdict which the Pope had intrusted to the Bishops of London,
Ely and Worcester, was published, his hostility to the Church
became so extreme, that almost all the bishops fled; the Bishops
of Winchester, Durham and Norwich, two of whom belonged to the
ministerial body, being the only prelates left in England. The
interdict was of the severest form; all services of the Church,
with the exception of Baptism and extreme unction, being forbidden,
while the burial of the dead was allowed only in unconsecrated
ground; its effect was however weakened by the conduct of some of
the monastic orders, who claimed exemption from its operation,
and continued their services. The King’s anger knew no bounds.
The clergy were put beyond the protection of the law; orders
were issued to drive them from their benefices, and lawless acts
committed at their expense met with no punishment. While publishing
the interdict, the Pope had threatened still further measures, and
the King, conscious of his unpopularity among the barons, sought to
secure himself from the effects of the threatened excommunication
by seizing their sons as hostages. Nevertheless, though acting thus
violently, John showed the weakness of his character by continued
communication with the Pope, and occasional fitful acts of favour
to the Church; so much so, that, in the following year, Langton
prepared to come over to England, and upon the continued obstinacy
of the King, Innocent, feeling sure of his final victory, did
not shrink from issuing his threatened excommunication. John had
hoped to be able to exclude the knowledge of this step from the
island, as his father Henry had done; but the rumour of it soon
got abroad, and its effect was great. The fidelity even of the
ministers was shaken, and one of them rose from the council table,
asserting that it was unsafe for a beneficed clergyman any longer
to hold intercourse with the excommunicated King.

[Sidenote: Attack on the other insular nations, Scotland.]

In a state of nervous excitement, and mistrusting his nobles,
the King himself perpetually moved to and fro in his kingdom,
seldom staying more than a few days in one place. None the less
did he continue his old line of policy. Sums of money were still
frequently demanded, and sent out of the kingdom to support the
cause of Otho, who, having procured the assassination of his rival,
was again making head in Germany. Nor did he refrain from carrying
out a policy which in any other king would have been accepted as
national and good. The loss of the French provinces had thrown
England back upon itself, and the country now seemed inclined
to seek a surer foundation for its power in the more complete
subjection of the immediately surrounding nations. Thus William
the Lion of Scotland was compelled, by the advance of an English
army, to make a treaty which was in fact a complete submission to
England. He was obliged to pay a large sum of money, and to give up
into the hands of John his daughters Margaret and Isabella, as well
as hostages drawn from the noblest families of the country; while
some years later, in 1212, his son Alexander appeared in London,
and was knighted and swore fealty to the King.

[Sidenote: Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Wales.]

[Sidenote: Disaffection of the Northern barons.]

Shortly after this success in the North, John betook himself to
Ireland, where quarrels had arisen between the angry Irish nobles,
and where Hugh de Lacy had suppressed his rival John de Courcy,
and, being enfiefed with the kingdom of Ulster, had arrogated
to himself rights closely touching upon royalty. John raised
supplies from the English towns, and crossed over to Waterford. He
there succeeded in establishing order, and having introduced the
English form of administration, returned to England, leaving John
de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, behind him as his representative. He
then directed his arms towards Wales. Along the marches of that
country there was constant strife, as the Lords Marchers erected
new castles and encroached upon their neighbours. In 1211 the King
marched through the country, and received at the foot of Snowdon
the submission of Llewellyn, his son-in-law,[34] and other princes.
A fresh outbreak, accompanied by the usual cruel slaughter of the
garrisons of the castles, roused his anger. At Nottingham he had
all the Welsh hostages he had taken under the late treaty hanged,
and was preparing for further vengeance when news reached him of
the discontent of the Northern barons. He was induced therefore
to direct his arms against them, filled Northumberland with his
foreign mercenaries, and seized fresh hostages from his suspected

[Sidenote: The King’s rapacity.]

These wars had but afforded still further opportunities for the
King’s rapacity; from which every class in the kingdom was now
suffering. Those classes even which John had hitherto somewhat
spared now felt the pressure. There was a universal persecution
of the Jews, who were all suddenly apprehended, and many of them
tortured to declare their wealth. He is said to have extracted
60,000 marks from the race. The clergy too had been obliged to find
him £100,000; the Cistercian monks some £30,000, or £40,000, and
subsequently, in 1212, another £12,000 was wrung from them, because
the chief of the order, acting as Papal Legate, had, during the
Albigensian crusade, injured Raymond, the King’s brother-in-law.

[Sidenote: League with Northern princes.]

While he had been thus, even in the pursuit of national objects,
estranging by his tyrannical conduct his own subjects, John had
been carrying on his opposition to the Pope outside the limits
of the kingdom; and events in Europe were rapidly approaching a
crisis. Otho, the Guelphic Emperor, upon the death of his rival,
had so completely succeeded, that in 1209 he had been solemnly
crowned Emperor in Italy. But no sooner had he gained his object
than the inevitable rivalry between Pope and Emperor again arose,
and in a few years he had forfeited the Pontiff’s favour so
completely as to become the object of his greatest hatred; he had
even been excommunicated, while the Pope found a new protegé in
the young Frederick of Sicily, whose anti-papal tendencies were
not at that time suspected. Similarity of circumstances rendered
still closer the bond of union between John and his nephew, and in
1211 a league of excommunicated leaders was formed, including all
the princes of the North of Europe; Ferrand of Flanders, the Duke
of Brabant, John, and Otho, were all members of it, and it was
chiefly organized by the activity of Reinald of Dammartin, Count of
Boulogne. The chief enemy of most of these confederates was Philip
of France; and John thought he saw in this league the means of
revenge against his old enemy.

[Sidenote: John is deposed 1213.]

[Sidenote: Surrender of the crown to the Pope.]

To complete the line of demarcation between the two parties,
Innocent, who was greatly moved by the description of the disorders
and persecutions in England, declared John’s crown forfeited,
and intrusted the carrying out of the sentence to Philip. In 1213
armies were collected on both sides, Philip was already on the
Channel, and John had assembled a large army on Barhamdown, not far
from Canterbury. But Innocent probably never intended to proceed
to extremities. To embroil two Christian nations would have been
to thwart one of his greatest objects, which was a new crusade.
But he knew his man; he knew the weakness which was hidden under
the violence and ostentatious passion of John, and he also well
knew from his emissaries in England the widespread disaffection
there. While the army was still lying in its camp, there appeared
at Dover Pandulf, as the Pope’s Legate. He demanded and obtained
an audience with the King, and there explained to him the gravity
of his position. He found means to bring home to his mind the
perfect insecurity of his position at home, while John, from his
own experience, knew both the power and the skill of Philip. The
consciousness of his danger destroyed his boastful obstinacy, and
he made an unconditional submission. The paper which he signed was
drawn up almost in the very words of the demands of Pandulf. He
offered to plead before the Papal Court; he promised peace and a
good reception to Langton, the other bishops, and banished laity;
he was to restore all Church property, and to make restitution for
all loss since the interdict. Having accepted these conditions,
the King went further. On the 15th of May, at Dover, he formally
resigned the crowns of England and Ireland into the hands of
Pandulf, and received them again as the Pope’s feudatory.

[Sidenote: John’s improved position.]

[Sidenote: Renewed difficulties with Stephen Langton.]

It was not without ulterior objects that John took this disgraceful
step. He believed that he saw in it a way out of all his
difficulties, and the means of revenging himself upon his enemies.
He had no intention of allowing his new position to interfere
with his continental alliances, and it was to their success that
he looked to re-establish his power. When Philip of France was no
longer the agent of Papal authority, he believed that it would
be possible for him to resist the storm that was gathering round
him. He expected that one great victory would go far to give him
back his lost French dominions, when the prestige of success, the
friendship of the Church, and the increase of power derived from
his regained dominions, would make him master of the situation
in England. At first all seemed to work as he wished. Pandulf
immediately hurried to France, and forbade Philip to attack the
Pope’s new vassal. The opportune attacks of Ferrand of Flanders
diverted the French army towards the dominions of that prince;
the English fleet which was sent to assist the Flemings destroyed
the whole French shipping in the port of Damme; the Archbishop
Langton was received with honour, John threw himself at his feet,
reconciled himself with the Church, issued writs to all the
churches to inquire into the amount of damages to be restored, and
ordered a great council to meet at St. Albans to settle finally the
restitution of the Church property. He then summoned his barons
to meet him, and join him in an attack upon Poitou. But he was
mistaken, both in the character of the Churchman, in whom he hoped
to find an obedient servant of the Papal See, and in the amount of
dissatisfaction among his nobles. The barons of the North refused
to follow him, and the meeting at St. Albans resulted, not in a
settlement of Church difficulties, but in the open declaration of
the complaints of all classes. A few weeks after, Langton, who had
seen through the character of John, and was full of hatred of his
tyranny, met an assembly of malcontents at St. Paul’s in London,
and there declaring that he had found documentary proof of their
rights, produced the coronation charter of Henry I., which was at
once accepted by the barons as the declaration of the views and
demands of their party.

[Sidenote: John hopes to remove them by victory in France. 1214.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Bonvines. 1214.]

In the meantime, two events had happened disastrous to the royal
cause. Nicholas of Tusculum had arrived as Papal Legate, and the
justiciary Godfrey Fitz-Peter had died. The Legate, ignorant of
the feelings of the English, and eager to support and make real
the Papal authority, had thoroughly adopted the King’s cause. He
threatened the clergy unless they at once accepted the arrangements
which the King offered; and although it was the very thing which
had before excited the anger of the Pope, he proceeded to fill
vacant benefices with the devoted adherents of the royal party.
In the place of the experienced Fitz-Peter, who, however far he
might have strained the administrative power of the crown, had
yet exercised a wholesome restraint on the King, Peter des Roches
was raised to the office of justiciary, and appointed to be the
representative of the crown during John’s absence in France. The
people saw themselves, as they thought, both in spiritual and
temporal matters in the hands of the tyrant. A great success abroad
might yet have checked the growing disaffection. The King led an
army to Rochelle. At first he was successful everywhere. He overran
Poitou, and crossing the Loire captured Anger, but the Poitevin
barons had been too deeply injured by him to be faithful friends;
their disaffection soon compelled him to retire. But the great
confederation was at work upon all sides. The Count of Flanders was
pressing in upon the North, Otho was advancing from Germany. In
July a junction was made at Valenciennes. Thither Philip now betook
himself; he was followed faithfully by most of his great nobles,
and by the militia of the chartered cities. The whole success of
his policy was at stake. A defeat would ruin the object of his
life--the establishment of the royal power in France. For Otho too
the stake was high; the triumph of the Guelphic house in its long
war against the Hohenstaufen would be the fruit of victory. For
such prizes the battle of Bouvines was fought, at a small place
upon the little river Marque. The fortune of the day was with the
French; in all directions they were victorious. Both for Otho
and John the defeat may be said to have been final; the Emperor
withdrew to his hereditary dominions, in Brunswick, where, after
some not very important fighting, he died in 1218. John returned,
having lost his last hope of re-establishing his power at home by
foreign conquests.

[Sidenote: Insurrection in England on his return. 1215.]

He returned to England to find himself in a worse position than
ever; for Innocent had found out the errors his legate had
committed, and recalled him; and John had lost another of his most
trusty counsellors by the death of the Bishop of Norwich. Thus left
to his own resources, with his usual folly he took the opportunity
of demanding a heavy scutage from those barons who had not followed
him abroad. The nobles of the North rose. A meeting was held in
November at Bury St. Edmunds, and it was there determined that they
would make their formal demands upon the King in arms at Christmas
time. John was keeping his Christmas at Worcester; but having no
doubt heard of the action of the barons, hurried to London, where
they appeared before him in arms. He demanded till Easter for
consideration. The time was given him. He used it in an attempt
to sow dissension among his enemies. He granted to the Church the
free right of election, hoping thereby to draw Langton from the
confederation. He took the oaths of the crusader to put himself
more immediately under the guardianship of the Church, and hastily
summoned troops of mercenaries from Poitou.

[Sidenote: Meeting at Brackley.]

[Sidenote: Capture of London.]

[Sidenote: Runnymede.]

The barons at once reassembled at Brackley. At their head was
Fitz-Walter, an old enemy of the King, and William Marshall, son
of the Earl of Pembroke. Their strength consisted of the nobles of
the North--and they were spoken of as the Northerners,--but many
barons from other parts of England joined them, and in spite of
various compromises offered by the King, they laid siege to the
castle of Northampton. They there received messages of adherence
from the mayor and citizens of London, into which city they were
received in May; and thus masters of the greater part of England,
and of the capital, they compelled John to receive them and hear
their demands at Runnymede, a meadow by the Thames’ side not far
from Staines. There was signed, on the 15th of June, the paper
of forty-nine articles, which they presented, and which were
afterwards drawn up into the shape of the sixty-three articles of
the Great Charter.

[Sidenote: Political position of England.]

That Great Charter was the joint work of the insurgent lords,
and of those who still in name remained faithful to the crown.
In many points this rising of the barons bears the appearance of
an ordinary feudal insurrection. Closer examination proves that
it was of a different character. The very success of Henry II in
his great plan of national regeneration had tended to change the
character of English politics. Till his time, the bulk of the
people had regarded the crown on the whole as a defence against
their feudal tyrants. In the pursuit of good government he had
crushed the feudal nobles, and had welded Norman and English into
one nation. In so doing, he had greatly increased the royal power;
for in those early times good government invariably implied a
strong monarchy. In patriotic hands his work might have continued.
But when the increased royal power passed to reckless rulers, such
as Richard and John, it enabled them to play the part of veritable
tyrants. They had used this power in ruthlessly pillaging the
people. The great justiciaries, Hubert and Fitz-Peter, content with
keeping order and retaining constitutional forms, had almost of
necessity lent themselves to this course, while lesser officials
had undoubtedly acted with arbitrary violence. The interests of the
King and his ministers had thus become separated from those of the
nation. To oppose this tyranny, nobles and people could now act in
concert. The struggle was no longer between King and people on one
side against the nobles on the other, but nobles and people had
joined against the King. Besides this political change, a great
revolution had taken place in the character of the nobility itself.
The feudal nobles, the friends of the Conqueror, had for the most
part given place to a new nobility, the sons of the counsellors
and ministers of Henry II. In the centre of England alone did
remnants of the old feudal families remain. The insurrection then,
coming from the North, was the work not of feudal barons but of
the new ministerial baronage. Again, the claims raised, although,
inasmuch as the monarchy was still in form a feudal monarchy, they
bear a resemblance to feudal claims, were such as might have been
expected from men trained in the habits of administration. They
were claims for the redress of abuses of constitutional power, and
were based upon a written document. In addition to this, they were
supported by the clergy, who were never and could never be feudal
in their views, and by the towns, whose interests were always
opposed to those of the feudal nobility. There is another thing to
be recollected; the Charter, as ultimately granted, was not the
same as the demands of the barons. A considerable number of the
older barons, of the bishops, and even the Archbishop himself,
remained ostensibly true to the King, and were present at Runnymede
as his followers. We are told that it was the younger nobles who
formed the strength of the reforming party. Nevertheless, with the
exception of the King’s actual ministers, and of those foreigners,
the introduction of whom was one of his gravest errors, the whole
of John’s own following acknowledged the justice of the baronial
claims, sympathized with the demands raised, and joined in putting
them into the best shape. The movement was in fact, even where not
in form, national.

[Sidenote: Magna Charta.]

The terms of the Charter were in accordance with this state of
affairs. To the Church were secured its rights and the freedom
of election (1). To the feudal tenants just arrangements in the
matters of wardship, of heirship, widowhood, and marriage (2-8).
Scutage and aids, which John had from the beginning of his reign
taken as a matter of course, were henceforward to be granted by
the great council of the kingdom, except in three cases, the
deliverance of the king from prison, the knighting of his eldest
son, and the marriage of his eldest daughter (12). The same right
was secured by the immediate tenants to their sub-tenants. The
great council was to consist of archbishops, bishops and abbots,
counts and greater barons, summoned severally by writ, and of
the rest of the tenants in chief, summoned by general writ to
the sheriff (14). The lands of sub-tenants, seized by the king
for treason or felony, were to be held by him for a year only,
and then to be handed over to the tenant’s immediate lord (32).
Similarly the crown was no longer to claim wardship in the case
of sub-tenants, nor to change the custom of escheated baronies,
nor to fill up vacancies in private abbeys (43, 46). These are all
distinct regulations of feudal relations. The more general acts
of tyranny of the crown were guarded against, by fixing the Court
of Common Pleas at Westminster (17); by the settlement of land
processes by itinerant justices in the counties where the disputes
arose (18); by the limitations of punishments within reasonable
limits (20-22); by the restriction of the powers of constables,
sheriffs, and other royal officers, both in the matter of royal
lawsuits and of purveyance (28-31); by an article (36), which is
held to foreshadow the Habeas Corpus Act, stipulating the immediate
trial of prisoners; and by other articles (38-40), which are held
to foreshadow trial by jury, and which forbid the passing of
sentence except on the verdict of a man’s equals, and witness upon
oath. Other points secured their liberties to the free towns and
to merchants. This Charter was to be guaranteed by the appointment
of a committee of twenty-five nobles, any four of whom might claim
redress for infractions of it, and upon refusal proceed to make war
upon the king.

[Sidenote: John’s attempts to break loose from it.]

[Sidenote: Louis is summoned. 1216.]

This Charter, which with its final clause implied absolute
submission, John never intended to keep. No sooner were his first
ebullitions of anger over, than he proceeded to take steps for
destroying it. Messengers were at once sent to Rome to get it
annulled, and to Poitou to collect mercenaries. Troops came over in
crowds, and the barons in alarm ordered William D’Aubigné to attack
the castle of Rochester. He seized it, but was there besieged,
and compelled to surrender to John’s mercenaries. All the common
men of the garrison were hanged. John’s other message was equally
successful. A letter from Innocent announced that he totally
disallowed the Charter, and ordered Langton to excommunicate the
King’s enemies. This he refused to do, and other excommunications
and interdicts were also futile. John’s temporal weapons were more
successful. He overran England with his mercenaries, burning,
slaying and harrying with vindictive fury, and so superior was he
in the field, that the barons found themselves obliged to summon
Louis of France to their assistance. Louis’ wife was John’s niece,
and they probably intended to use this slender connection to change
the dynasty.

[Sidenote: John’s death.]

His success was not very rapid, though at first he seemed to have
the game in his hands. He wasted his time and lost his opportunity
before the castles of Dover and Windsor. His conduct also in
bestowing fiefs upon his French followers began to excite the
jealousy of the English; and John’s cause was again wearing a more
hopeful appearance, when, marching from Lincoln, which he had
lately conquered, he crossed the Wash, with all his supplies which
he had lately drawn from Lynn. The rise of the tide destroyed the
whole of his train, and broken by his loss, or perhaps poisoned, or
perhaps a victim to his greediness, he died on the 19th of October
at Newark. In July of the same year he had lost his great protector
Innocent III.



                   Born 1207 = Eleanor of Provence.
     |                   |                       |
  Edward I.    Edmund, Earl of Lancaster.    Margaret = Alexander III.

                          CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

   _Scotland._    |    _France._       |   _Germany._    |    _Spain._
                  |                    |                 |
  Alexander II.,  | Philip Augustus,   | Philip, 1197.   | Henry I., 1214.
     1214.        |    1180.           | Otho IV., 1208. | Ferdinand III.,
  Alexander III., | Louis VIII., 1223. | Frederick II.,  |    1217.
     1249.        | Louis IX., 1226.   |    1218.        | Alphonso X.,
                  | Philip III., 1270. | Interregnum,    |    1252.
                  |                    |    1250.        |

  POPES.--Honorius III., 1216. Gregory IX., 1227. Celestine IV., 1241
    (vacancy 1241). Innocent IV., 1243. Alexander IV., 1254. Urban IV.,
    1261. Clement IV., 1265 (vacancy 1268). Gregory X., 1271.

    _Archbishops._   |   _Chief-Justices._  |    _Chancellors._
                     |                      |
  Stephen Langton,   | Hubert de Burgh,     | Richard de Marisco,
      1207-1228.     |    1215-1232.        |     1214-1226.
  Richard le Grand,  | Stephen Segrave,     | Ralph Neville,
      1229-1231.     |    1232-1234.        |     1226-1244.
  Edmund Rich,       | Hugh Bigot,          | Walter de Merton, 1261.
      1234-1240.     |    1258-1260.        | Nicholas de Ely, 1263.
  Boniface of Savoy, | Hugh le Despencer,   | Thomas Cantilupe, 1265.
      1245-1270.     |    1260.             | Walter Giffard, 1265.
                     | Philip Basset, 1261. | Godfrey Giffard, 1267.
                                            | Richard Middleton,
                                            |     1269-1272.

[Sidenote: Difficulties at Henry’s accession.]

[Sidenote: Pembroke’s conciliatory measures.]

[Sidenote: Fair of Lincoln.]

[Sidenote: Louis leaves England.]

Immediately upon the death of John, William Marshall, Earl of
Pembroke, and Gualo, the Papal Legate, the leaders of John’s
faithful followers, declared Prince Henry king. It was a moment of
extreme danger. The Scotch had advanced as far as Carlisle, the
Welsh were harassing the Marches, the East and South of England
were in the hands of Louis and the revolted barons, the court could
with difficulty uphold its influence in the West. But Marshall was
a man of tried experience, of trustworthy character, and, though
a firm adherent of the crown, no friend to tyranny. The presence
of the French prince in England shocked all national prejudices.
Pembroke set on foot a policy of conciliation, and attempted to
unite all parties against the foreigner. He at once separated the
cause of the young Henry from that of his father by accepting the
Charter. He wrote friendly letters to the leaders of the revolted
barons, and found assistance in the ecclesiastical weapons wielded
by Gualo. One by one the insurgents, feeling themselves sure of
constitutional treatment at the hands of Pembroke, joined the royal
party. Pembroke found himself strong enough to risk a battle. Louis
had received reinforcements, and with the insurgent nobles who
still upheld his cause marched to Lincoln, where, though the town
was in his possession, the castle still held out for the English
king. Thither Pembroke betook himself, determined to bring on a
decisive engagement. Gaining access to the town through the castle,
his troops fell upon the French in the streets, and completely
routed them, capturing nearly all the English leaders. London and
its neighbourhood alone remained to Louis, and when a great French
fleet, under Eustace the Monk, which was bringing him assistance,
was completely defeated by Hubert de Burgh and D’Albiney, Louis
felt that his cause was lost, and consented to treat. The English,
who only wanted to get rid of him, granted easy terms, including
the freedom of most of their prisoners. They even advanced 10,000
marks towards defraying the heavy fine which Gualo on the part of
the Church demanded as an expiation for disobedience to the Roman
See, and Louis was escorted with all honour to the sea coast, and

With Louis the great obstacle to the settlement of the country was
gone. Pembroke continued to act in a conciliatory spirit. A pardon
was issued, including all political offenders; peace with Scotland
was secured; and the Charter, together with the charter of the
forests, was again signed. It underwent, however, some changes.
The King was no longer acting under coercion; restrictions which
Pembroke considered inexpedient were therefore removed. His object
appears to have been to reproduce as far as possible the state
of things existing in the reign of Henry II. The destruction of
castles erected during the late reign was therefore ordered, and
the clause of the Charter forbidding the levy of scutage without
the consent of the barons omitted. The reconciliation thus effected
was in fact the triumph of the crown; the offices were filled with
adherents of John. But in the hands of Pembroke the regained power
of the crown would have been constitutionally employed.

[Sidenote: Papal attempt to govern by legates.]

[Sidenote: Pandulf’s government.]

[Sidenote: His fall.]

His death opened the door to a strange attempt on the part of the
Papal See. The influence of Gualo, the Papal Legate, had been
great. It had been so because John’s resignation of his crown was
regarded at Rome as no vain formality, but as a real cession. But
Gualo, a man of somewhat weak character, was no match for Pembroke,
and was unfitted to make good the authority which Rome was inclined
to claim. He was recalled, and a much more energetic legate
appointed in the person of Pandulf, now Bishop elect of Norwich.
His appointment represents an effort on the part of Rome to govern
England as a conquered province by means of its legates. The
natural governor of England during the minority of the sovereign
was the great justiciary Hubert de Burgh. But Pandulf assumed
authority over him, and his letters amply prove how overbearingly
he used it. His government was at first successful. The dangers
of a French invasion were averted by a renewal for four years of
the Peace of Chinon. The friendship of Scotland was secured by the
marriage of Henry’s sister Jane with the Scotch king. A splendid
coronation, and an ostentatious ceremonial at the removal of
Becket’s bones to the Cathedral of Canterbury, seemed to show the
restored grandeur both of King and Church; while a Bull from Pope
Honorius commanded the restoration of the royal castles, which the
poverty of the King had, in many instances, obliged him to pledge
to their governors. But Pandulf’s conduct was too overbearing to be
endured. Langton, as the head of the English Church, and therefore
no friend to the immediate government of Rome, tried to curb him by
demanding his obedience as one of his suffragan bishops. The Pope
declared him free from this obedience so long as his consecration
to the See of Norwich was uncompleted. Langton finally betook
himself to Rome, and there, by what means we know not, succeeded in
obtaining an order for his recall, accompanied by a promise that
no resident legate should be appointed in England during his own

[Sidenote: Triumph of national part under Herbert de Burgh.]

Hubert de Burgh at once took his proper position as regent,
supported by the national Church; and the attempt at immediate
rule from Rome may be said to have failed, though throughout the
reign England was regarded as in a special manner a fief of the
Papal See, and, as Pope Innocent IV. said afterwards, “a well of
wealth from which Rome might draw unlimitedly.” For eight years
Hubert ruled England well. He was unduly grasping of money, he
was occasionally arbitrary, but on the whole his government was
directed to the honest support of the Great Charter, and the
destruction of that foreign influence under which England was

[Sidenote: Parties in England.]

[Sidenote: Opposition barons at Leicester. 1223.]

[Sidenote: Resumption of royal castles.]

[Sidenote: Destruction of Faukes de Breauté. 1224.]

The centre of this influence was Peter des Roches, who had the care
of the King’s person. These two ministers, Hubert and Peter, were
the representatives of the different sides of that quarrel which
gives its tone to the whole reign. The characteristic feature of
the period is the growth of national feeling. This feeling had been
outraged by John by the introduction of foreign favourites. The
claims of the Pope on England, the tyranny which he exercised on
the national Church, and the constant bestowal of English livings
upon foreigners, had a similar effect in shocking the feelings of
the clergy. Thus while the Pope and King appear throughout the
reign as the favourers of foreigners, the national party both in
State and Church were closely connected. As yet, indeed, the King
was too young for such a part; the representative of the foreign
party was Des Roches. Round him gathered themselves all classes
of malcontents, consisting chiefly of those foreign mercenaries
whom John had raised to power, and who were occupying the royal
castles, of Llewellyn of Wales in close connection with them, and
of the nobles of Ireland. Des Roches’ influence at Rome secured for
this party on most points the support of the Pope. For two years
they were constantly thwarting the government of De Burgh. The
necessities of the government had obliged him to be severe in the
collection of money; but there was some slight colouring for the
charge of undue severity which was laid against him. An uproar in
London, headed by Constantine Fitz-Alulf, an old partisan of the
French invaders, had been followed by the summary execution of that
demagogue. Attacks both in Wales and in Ireland upon the property
of William Marshall, who was thoroughly English in his views,
were the first signs of the coming storm. A Bull which De Burgh
obtained from Honorius declaring the King of age, and demanding the
restitution of the castles, brought matters to a crisis. Under this
provocation the barons and Peter des Roches proceeded to action.
An attack on London was planned, but failed. But the discontented
nobles openly appeared before the King; and Peter des Roches
formally charged Hubert with treason, and demanded his dismissal.
Led by the Earl of Chester, they retired, and kept Christmas with
great pomp at Leicester. The Justiciary and the King determined to
hold a rival meeting at Northampton. The royal appeal for help
was warmly answered. The force collected at Northampton was too
strong for the malcontents. Excommunication issued against them by
Stephen Langton completed their discomfiture. They separated and
obtained peace as a price of the surrender of the castles. There
was one exception, Faukes de Breauté, who contrived to retain his
strongholds. This man, a mercenary of John, had risen to be the
sheriff of six counties, the governor of several castles, and a
Baron of the Exchequer. Hubert determined to complete his victory
by destroying him. His opportunity occurred, when Faukes’ brother
William laid hands on the travelling justice Henry Braibroc and
imprisoned him at Bedford. With extreme rapidity De Burgh marched
against him and captured Bedford. Faukes fled to join his former
comrades; but it was in vain that both Chester and Peter des
Roches, now at one with the Justiciary, petitioned in his favour,
De Burgh remained unmoved, and De Breauté was stripped of all his
offices, and condemned to perpetual exile. He betook himself to
Rome, where he managed to obtain the ear of the Court, and still
further increased the difficulties of the English government.

[Sidenote: Danger from France. Death of Phillip.]

[Sidenote: English neglect the opportunity.]

[Sidenote: Poitou remains French.]

Although he had thus worsted his domestic enemies the Justiciary
was surrounded with difficulties. Philip Augustus had died in
1223, and had been succeeded by his son Louis VIII., the old enemy
of England. He had begun his reign with a threat of renewed war,
to which the disturbed state of Poitou and Guienne afforded a
constant opportunity. In those countries there was a succession
of unceasing disputes between town and town and noble and noble;
the country roughly forming itself into two parties, the towns
and the nobles. In 1224, war had in fact broken out. Henry had
sought the friendship of the German Emperor Frederick against
France, and connected himself with Peter Duke of Brittany, and when
Louis appeared at the head of a great army, nominally for a war
against the Albigenses, it seemed probable that its real aim was
the English provinces. Louis’ unexpected death changed the state
of affairs. The new king was a child in the hands of his mother
Blanche, and the French nobles took the opportunity to loosen the
connection between themselves and the crown which Philip II. had
established, and thus destroyed for the present the possibility of
united national action. But although, on the first slackening of
authority, all Poitou passed into the English hands, the chance of
forming a united opposition among the discontented French nobles
was allowed to pass unused. One by one even the old allies of the
English returned to their allegiance to France. At length, Richard,
the King’s brother, who had the title of Count of Poitou, and had
commanded his army, joined in the general pacification.

[Sidenote: Hubert’s continued power.]

It was the financial difficulties of the government which had
chiefly prevented the success of this war. The opposition to
Hubert de Burgh was constant, and it had only been upon condition
of again signing the Charter that the King had been able to raise
a fifteenth for the French war. This tax was probably the first
raised in strict accordance with the terms of the Charter. De Burgh
was honestly desirous, in opposition to the arbitrary views of his
rival Des Roches, that the King should rule constitutionally, and
both by proclamation and by official letters he took care to spread
a knowledge of the Charter in the country. Although Henry was
declared of age in 1227, when he was twenty, the government of De
Burgh practically continued. He was made Earl of Kent, and declared
Justiciary for life; and his victory was completed by the absence
of Peter des Roches, who thought it better to withdraw for a time
to the Crusades. His rule was not very popular among the nobles:
not only was he naturally disliked by the chiefs of the adverse
party, he even quarrelled with Richard, the King’s brother, and
with William Marshall. Such an act indeed as the following could
scarcely have failed to make him enemies. An inquisition was issued
to examine into the title deeds[35] of all tenants in chief, who
were obliged to make good their titles by large payments. The sum
derived from this inquiry amounted to £100,000.

[Sidenote: Langton supports his policy.]

[Sidenote: Change of Popes: increased exactions.]

The support which the Justiciary invariably received from Langton
bears witness to the national character of his government. The
Archbishop’s efforts to free the Church from its foreign slavery
were perhaps even more laborious than those of the Justiciary.
Already the system which reached such excesses afterwards had been
established. Gualo and Pandulf had been but single instances of a
number of Roman officials who had grown rich on gifts of English
benefices; and now the Roman Court determined, under the pretext of
raising money for the Crusade, to demand both in France and England
two benefices in each diocese and each abbey for the exclusive
use of Rome. In neither country was the demand allowed. Otho, a
Papal legate, held a council in 1226 at Westminster, and brought
forward the demand. The clergy would probably have had to yield,
had not the Archbishop, by private negotiations with the Pope,
succeeded in getting the Legate’s commission withdrawn. The clergy
then expressly declared that by the laws of England they were free
from such exactions. That England was allowed thus to escape, and
that the exactions were comparatively so light in these first
years of the reign, is due to the character of Honorius and to the
interest which he always took in the young King, whom he regarded
as his special vassal and ward. The case was different when he was
succeeded by Gregory IX., the nephew of Innocent III., and the
heir to his imperious temper. It was fortunate that his constant
war with the German Emperor prevented him from meddling much with
English politics.

[Sidenote: Death of Langton. 1228.]

But this period, during which England was governed by such
patriotic leaders as De Burgh and Langton, working in harmony with
one another, was coming to a close. In 1228, the Archbishop died,
and was succeeded, after a disputed election, by Richard Chancellor
of Lincoln, who was authoritatively nominated by the Pope. The
new Archbishop did not live long, and was in his turn succeeded,
also on the nomination of the Pope, by Edmund Rich, a man of
great sanctity and singleness of purpose. In the following year,
a quarrel occurred between the King and the Justiciary, which was
probably the beginning of that nobleman’s fall.

[Sidenote: Quarrel of Henry and De Burgh.]

[Sidenote: Henry’s false foreign policy.]

Henry, now that he was of age, had become anxious to distinguish
himself by regaining some of his continental dominions. To this
he was pressed by the discontented French nobles, more especially
by the Count of Toulouse, who was suffering from the Albigensian
crusades, by the Counts of Brittany and of the provinces in the
north-east of France. In other words, he was thinking of throwing
England back into that position of entanglement and dependence
which had hitherto prevented the formation of the national spirit.
This was exactly opposed to the Justiciary’s views. He was unable
to change the King’s mind; but when Henry arrived at Portsmouth,
where his army was assembled, he found the ships insufficient for
its transport. Full of rage, he turned upon Hubert, abusing him as
a grey-haired traitor, and affirming that he was bribed by France.
The expedition had to be postponed, which was fortunate, as the
scutage which had been demanded from the Barons and the Church had
indeed been granted, but not yet collected. It was not till the
end of April 1230 that the armies sailed. Although the expedition
was unwise in itself, it was well timed. With the exception of
the Count of Champagne, nearly all the French Barons were in arms,
or ready to rise, against the Queen Regent Blanche; but Henry
was incapable of seizing the opportunity. He tried diplomacy
instead of war, but it was in vain that he persuaded many of the
Barons of Poitou to join him; Blanche found means to break up the
confederation against her. This change in the aspect of affairs
compelled Henry to make a truce, and before the end of the year he
returned home, leaving a small army behind him.

[Sidenote: Return of Des Roches.]

[Sidenote: Twenge’s riots.]

Under pretext of continuing the war, a new scutage was demanded
and granted, not without opposition from the clergy; but finally
a peace for three years was concluded in July 1231, which was
again renewed for five years in 1235. We may suppose, although
Henry declared that he was on perfectly good terms with the
Justiciary, that their great difference on foreign policy made his
suspicious mind inclined to listen willingly to the insinuations
of Des Roches, his evil genius, who in this year returned from
the Crusade. Every difficulty of the Justiciary was artfully
taken advantage of. Among other things laid to his charge was
the insecure state of the Welsh borders. He was even represented
as fostering a strange lawless opposition to the encroachment
of Rome, which had been showing itself in the kingdom. A secret
society, part lay, part clerical, had been formed to check the
habit of granting English livings to foreign priests, thus not
only destroying the funds of the English clergy, but overriding
the rights of private patronage. The society wrote letters to all
ecclesiastical bodies, threatening them with vengeance if they
paid the incomes of the foreign interlopers. The associates did
not confine themselves to threats; several foreign priests were
robbed and outraged. The head of the conspiracy, Sir Robert Twenge,
boldly justified his conduct to the King, and was allowed to depart
unharmed, and carry his complaints direct to Rome. The rioters
were said to have shown in their justification letters from the

[Sidenote: Fall of De Burgh.]

[Sidenote: Effects of taking sanctuary.]

It is scarcely possible that this could have been true; but,
together with the disturbances on the Welsh Marches, it formed the
chief among a series of very trivial charges which were brought
against Hubert, and produced his fall. On the 29th of July 1232, he
was suddenly suspended from all his offices. His place was taken by
Stephen de Segrave, a close ally of Des Roches. Peter de Rivaux,
probably the Bishop’s son, was made treasurer, and other favourites
of the Bishop were raised to office. Hubert, aware of the strength
of his enemies, took refuge in the Priory of Merton in Surrey. He
was granted a few weeks to prepare his defence, and to get ready
accounts which were demanded of all the money that had ever passed
through his hands. Supposing that he was thus at liberty for the
present, he went to Bury St. Edmunds to join his wife, but on his
journey thither, at Brentwood, he was, by order of the Court,
assaulted, and fled for refuge to the sanctuary of a neighbouring
chapel. He was torn from his refuge, and hurried to London. The
favour he had gained in the eyes of the people and his whole
political aim are well shown in the words that are reported to have
been used by a smith when ordered to put irons on him: “Is not this
that true and noble Hubert who has so often snatched England from
the devastating hand of the foreigners, and made England, England?”
The Church obliged Henry to restore him to his sanctuary, and the
love with which he was regarded was shown by the touching offer of
his own chaplain, Luke, Bishop of Dublin, to give himself up in
his place. The effect of taking sanctuary was, that the fugitive
was bound to swear before the coroner that he would leave England
for ever. This exile he was bound to seek within forty days,
leaving the coast within a tide after his arrival there, or, if
the wind made that impossible, walking daily into the sea to show
his willingness to do so. Hubert could not bring himself to abjure
England; he would not therefore leave his sanctuary, and being
surrounded by his enemies, was starved into submission. He was
treated mercifully; his Crown fiefs were taken from him, his own
property he retained, but he was kept in confinement in the Castle
of Devizes.

[Sidenote: Revolution under Des Roches. 1233.]

[Sidenote: Earl of Pembroke upholds Hubert.]

Once in command of the government, Peter des Roches pushed headlong
to the attainment of his objects. The friends of De Burgh were
swept from the Court. The offices were filled with foreigners.
Henry was persuaded to bring over 2000 troops from France. But
Hubert was not the only Englishman among the nobility. Richard
Marshall of Pembroke, the second son of the great Regent, and now
his representative, raised the voice of patriotism, and declared
to the King that as long as foreigners were ruling none of his
English counsellors would appear at Court. Des Roches answered
insolently that the King and his foreigners would soon bring rebels
to reason. At assemblies at Oxford and at Westminster the same sort
of language was used. By Peter’s advice, the King began to proceed
against his discontented subjects. He deprived Gilbert Basset of
his property, and ordered the apprehension of his brother-in-law
Siward; they fled to the Earl Marshall, their property fell to
Rivaux. In August, a day was appointed for the delivery of hostages
by the suspected nobles. Pembroke, the Marshall, hearing that there
was a plot against his life, retired to his Welsh possessions. The
King summoned troops to meet him at Gloucester. The Marshall and
his friends were outlawed without trial; fresh foreign troops came
thronging over, and civil war began. The King’s army did not fare
well, and the clergy began to take up the cause of the Marshall.
They protested against the confiscation of a peer’s property
without trial. “There are no peers in England,” said Des Roches,
“as in France; the King may sentence whom he will, and drive
them from the country.” The clergy could not hear such absolute
principles unmoved. They threatened Des Roches and his favourites
with excommunication; and when the King demanded their censure upon
the Marshall for an attack upon Gloucester, they said the city was
his, and they found no grounds for censure.

[Sidenote: Edmund of Canterbury causes Des Roches’ fall. 1234.]

[Sidenote: Henry becomes his own minister.]

Meanwhile, afraid for his life, De Burgh had escaped from Devizes
and again taken sanctuary. Again he was illegally torn from it,
again the Church remonstrated, and he was again restored. A sudden
inroad into Wiltshire under the Marshall’s friend Siward set him at
liberty, and he immediately joined the Marshall at Strigul. Again
and again the royal troops were worsted; and at length, in 1234, at
a meeting of the clergy at Westminster, Archbishop Edmund took the
matter up, explained to the King the wretched effects of trusting
to his foreign counsellors, warned him that excommunication would
most likely fall upon him too, and induced him at length to order
the Bishop of Winchester to retire and attend to his spiritual
work in his diocese. For a month longer the war went on, or rather
attacks continued to be made upon the followers of Peter. But in
May, news arrived that Richard Marshall had been treacherously
killed in Ireland at the instigation of Des Roches. This was more
than the King himself could bear, and the Archbishop received
orders to restore to favour all those whom Des Roches had outlawed.
Gilbert Marshall received the property and office of his late
brother, and Hubert was allowed to retain the earldom of Kent
and his own property. This change was followed by the removal of
Peter’s creatures. After some years of absence, he himself returned
to England, was received into favour, and died in his diocese in

The fall of Des Roches was not productive of such advantageous
changes in the government as might have been expected. Segrave
held for a few years the office of Justiciary. On his death the
office was not renewed till after the Parliament at Oxford. Ralph
Neville continued in more or less favour as Chancellor till 1244,
when that office also fell into abeyance. The King practically
became his own minister, and unfortunately his views of government
had more in common with those of Des Roches than with those of De
Burgh. It is true that the growing power of the Great Council,
which was gradually gaining the name of Parliament, prevented any
great infractions of the Charter, and compelled the King again and
again to renew that document, though always in exchange for an aid.
The frequency of renewal, however, seems to show repeated efforts
on the part of the King to free himself from it; nor was the state
of his treasury such as to enable him to do without legitimate
sources of revenue. The real faults of his reign were not illegal
extensions of the royal power, but the readiness with which he
allowed and even joined in the exactions of the Papal See, and
the total absence of national objects which distinguish his rule,
which may be traced to his culpable partiality to foreigners. From
the year 1236 till the Parliament of Oxford, these errors were
continually on the increase.

[Sidenote: Henry’s marriage.]

[Sidenote: Influence of the Queen’s uncles.]

The first great influx of foreigners was caused by his marriage.
In 1236, he married Eleanor, the second daughter of Count Raymond
Berenger of Provence, and sister of the Queen of France. From
that moment, the Court was in the hands of the Queen’s relatives.
It was especially the Queen’s uncles into whose hands patronage
fell. William, Bishop of Valence, was the first. To him was given
the vast property of Richmond in Yorkshire, which had previously
belonged to the Counts of Brittany, and the King had almost
succeeded in securing for him the Bishopric of Winchester when news
of his death was brought. He was succeeded by another uncle, Peter
of Savoy. Richmond was handed on to him; Pevensey and Hastings
were intrusted to him, and the wardship of the Earl of Warrenne,
which completed his power in the south-east corner of England. To
increase his influence, he brought over numbers of young foreign
ladies, and married them to some of the great Earls of England. The
death of Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1240, allowed
the King to secure that See, after an interval of five years,
for another of his uncles, Boniface, whose violence and warlike
bearing, as well as his youth, made him a strange contrast to his
predecessor. Peter de Aigue Blanche, another Savoyard, was made
Bishop of Hereford, and afterwards became Henry’s disreputable
agent in the business of the Sicilian monarchy. This lavish support
of foreigners naturally caused great discontent in England, and was
repeatedly the subject of complaints in the Great Council. Thus,
in 1236 and 1237, there were three stormy councils, nor was the
money the King required granted till the sanctions of the Magna
Charta were again renewed. The arrival of the Cardinal Otho as
Papal Legate did not mend matters; his efforts at reconciliation
were useless, and he soon tuned his attention to collecting money
for the Church. At this time, for a very short period, it seemed as
if Richard Earl of Cornwall, the King’s brother, might have assumed
the post of leader of the English party; but his patriotic efforts
were short-lived. A few years after he married the Queen’s sister,
and threw his influence upon the side of the foreigners.

[Sidenote: Formation of a national party under Simon de Montfort.]

A far greater man took the post he thus resigned. Simon de
Montfort, destined to be the real national leader of England, was
rising into importance. The sister and heiress of Count Robert of
Leicester had married the Count of Montfort, and died in 1204. In
1215, the whole English property had been given to Ralph Earl of
Chester. Simon de Montfort, the Conqueror of the Albigenses, never
possessed it, but his eldest son Almaric, after the death of the
Earl of Chester, in 1232, demanded the property and honours of
Leicester for his younger brother Simon, who was thus acknowledged
as the owner of the property. He held the bason of water as
High-Steward at the Queen’s coronation, shortly after married the
King’s sister, the widow of William, second Earl of Pembroke, and
succeeded in getting that marriage acknowledged by Gregory IX. in
1238. Like all those who had to do with Henry, he was obliged to
bear extraordinary changes of fortune from the fickle character
of the King. An angry quarrel drove him abroad, and, in 1240, in
company with Richard of Cornwall, he set out for the Holy Land.

[Sidenote: Revival in the Church.]

[Sidenote: Grostête.]

During their absence the government of England grew continually
worse. Men began to weary of the personal government of the King.
For several years the great offices of justiciary and chancellor
had been left unfilled, and their duties performed by subordinate
officials, upon whom the King lavished his favours. One of the
chief of these was Mansell, who is said to have held no less than
700 livings, and to have been in the yearly receipt of 8000 marks.
The Church was gradually driven to make common cause with the lay
opposition. It was a time of spiritual revival. The great monastic
orders had lapsed into the position of wealthy landowners. The
work which in the early times they had so well performed, the
civilization of the country districts, was over. They had become
lazy and luxurious. The prelates had for the most part deserted
their spiritual calling and become statesmen. The Church as a
whole, as represented by the Pope, had misused its influence.
Crusades had become the instruments of temporal aggrandizement,
or of revenge upon the personal enemies of the Pope. A spiritual
revival had been set on foot almost at the same time by St. Dominic
and St. Francis d’Assisi, who had founded the two great orders of
Dominicans and Franciscans, the Black and Grey Friars. The vow of
poverty, evaded by the older orders, had become a reality. The
establishments of the Friars had met with great success; thousands
thronged to be enrolled in their orders. They had rapidly spread
over Europe, and had lately arrived in England, and there begun
their work of regeneration. They had laboured chiefly in the towns
and among the most wretched outcasts of society, and had there
called into life new religious energy, mingled with hatred towards
their wealthy predecessors the old monks, and with a consciousness
of personal equality in the sight of God, which tended much to
strengthen the democratic feeling which supplied Simon de Montfort
with his strongest support. Their teaching had not affected the
lower classes alone; numbering among them many learned men, they
speedily got possession of the education at Oxford, and found a
friend in Grostête, the learned Bishop of Lincoln. The reforms
which the Church demanded were carried out by him as far as
possible in his diocese; and under his guidance, and that of Edmund
Rich, the Church of England was becoming at once spiritual and
national. The folly of the King, who filled the high ecclesiastical
offices with foreign favourites, the exactions of the Pope, who,
acting hand in hand with him, placed hundreds of benefices in the
hands of Italian priests, compelled all that was best in the Church
to throw itself absolutely on the side of the reformers.

[Sidenote: Affairs of Poitou.]

[Sidenote: Loss of Poitou. 1243.]

[Sidenote: Prince Richard joins the foreign party.]

Ecclesiastical and secular misgovernment went on side by side.
Disastrous expeditions to France, and consequent exactions from
the people, were intermingled with the visits of Papal emissaries,
to wring from the wretched clergy contributions for the Papal
war against the Hohenstaufen. In 1242, the King undertook to
regain Poitou. Richard of Cornwall had been nominal Count of that
province, when, in 1241, Louis gave his brother Alphonse the same
title. The most important nobleman in the country was the Count
de la Marche, who had married Henry’s mother. He at first did
homage to the new Count, but afterwards, urged it is supposed by
his ambitious wife, renounced his fealty, and demanded assistance
from Henry. The King therefore landed in the following year in
Gascony. De la Marche soon began to repent of what he had done,
and Henry, never a very active warrior, was disheartened by his
treachery. The armies at length met near Taillebourg, on the
Charente. Afraid of being surrounded, Henry employed his brother
Richard, who had gained general favour with the French by liberally
ransoming prisoners in the Crusade, to secure an armistice. He
took the opportunity of falling back to Saintes, where he was
almost surprised by the pursuing enemy. After this he was gradually
driven backwards to the Garonne, while Marche and his revolted
barons again accepted their French lord. The year was wasted in
fruitless negotiations with the discontented Count of Toulouse,
and in collecting money and troops from England. Henry quarrelled
with his own nobles, who gradually left his army; and early in
1243 returned to England, having accepted a peace, which deprived
him of the whole of Poitou and of the Isle of Rhé. Gascony was now
the only part of France remaining to the English. It was during
this campaign that Richard of Cornwall met and married Sancha, the
Queen’s sister, throwing up from this time all chance of leading
the national party, and attaching himself to the foreigners.

[Sidenote: Exactions in Church and State. 1244.]

[Sidenote: Council at Lyons.]

[Sidenote: Futile attempts to check exactions. 1246.]

Such a war did not tend to the popularity of the King. The
exchequer had been empty, money was stringently and often illegally
exacted. A new Pope, Innocent IV., was elected, and the exactions
from the English clergy resumed more vigorously than ever: for the
Pope was carrying on the contest he had inherited against Frederick
II., and was now summoning at Lyons the council his predecessor had
failed to collect, in hopes of destroying for ever the power of the
Hohenstaufen. His agent, Master Martin, travelled through England,
pillaging the clergy till the English could bear it no longer, and
the barons joined with the Church in demanding his dismissal. The
foreign element in the Church too continued its baneful activity.
Boniface, the Archbishop, laid waste his rich see, cutting down the
timber and sending the profits abroad, while the King attempted,
though in vain, to secure the Bishopric of Chichester for Robert
de Passelewe. The nation determined to demand its rights at
the Council of Lyons. The English ambassadors there took an
opportunity of charging the Pope with not being contented with his
Peter’s Pence and the yearly 1000 marks which John had promised,
with sending his messengers to make further exactions, and with
filling English benefices against the will of their patrons with
Italian priests. 60,000 marks a year thus passed into the hands of
foreigners, ignorant of the language, and mostly living abroad. The
Pope vouchsafed no answer, but shortly afterwards issued a Bull
forbidding pluralities, and promising to respect the rights of
patrons. The Bull remained a dead letter; and the very next year
6000 marks were exacted, and foreign priests were as plentiful as
ever, admitted to their benefices under what was spoken of as “non
obstante” clauses, which set aside all previous Bulls. The feeling
in England against the Pope, who exacted, and the King, who allowed
the exactions, grew more and more determined.

[Sidenote: Inroad of Poitevin favourites. 1247.]

[Sidenote: Discontent of Barons.]

[Sidenote: Continued misgovernment.]

[Sidenote: Tallages on the cities.]

[Sidenote: Diversion of the crusade. 1250.]

In 1247 matters grew still worse. A fresh swarm of foreigners
arrived in England; De la Marche was dead, and the King’s
half-brothers came over and were at once received with favour
and honoured with profuse gifts. Chief among them was William of
Valence, and his brother Aymer, who, in the year 1250, was made
Bishop of Winchester, though he was never consecrated. The foreign
policy of England was by these men managed for their own interests.
Thus on the death of Raymond Berenger, Provence was allowed to pass
into the hands of Charles of Anjou, who had married the Queen’s
youngest sister; and thus Henry made use of a crusade, on which
he said that he was going, to demand large sums of money from the
people. In 1248 the crisis seemed approaching. At a meeting of
Parliament many charges were raised against the favourites; and
the feeling against the King’s personal government, which had
long been growing, found vent. In blind security, Henry continued
his course. The King’s revenue, squandered in empty magnificence
or lavish grants to his foreign friends, became more and more
dilapidated. Money had to be borrowed. All men with an income of
£20 were compelled to take up their knighthood; and afraid to have
recourse to illegal aids from the nobility, the King turned upon
the cities, more especially London, and demanded and obtained great
tallages from them. The crusade constantly supplied him with an
excuse for these exactions; yet even when the King of France was
taken prisoner in Egypt, Henry and his crusaders made no movement.
He contented himself with appointing a day for his expedition;
the expedition itself did not take place. Innocent indeed had
other ends in view; he was bent far more on the destruction of the
Hohenstaufen than on the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. Frederick
II. had died in December 1250, and the Pope’s energies were now
directed to driving those who remained of this family from their
kingdom of the two Sicilies.

[Sidenote: Montfort’s government of Gascony.]

[Sidenote: His quarrel with the King.]

Far indeed from assisting Louis, Henry had regarded his absence
as an opportunity for regaining his power in the south of France.
Gascony was in a state of complete confusion, chiefly through the
insurrections of Gaston of Bearn and assaults from the King of
Navarre. To bring it into order, Henry had, in 1248, appointed
Simon de Montfort his governor there. His government had been
completely successful, and at length, in 1250, Gaston was sent a
prisoner to England. In his foolish soft-heartedness, Henry at once
pardoned and released him. But the vigorous government of Simon had
excited the displeasure both of the nobles and of the towns. They
sent an embassy under the Archbishop of Bordeaux to lay charges
against him before Henry. The King, fickle and jealous, listened
to them; and Leicester was summoned home. He had almost ruined
himself in his efforts to carry on his government well, and an
angry scene of personal recrimination occurred, the King charging
him with treason, while Simon demanded repayment for the money he
had expended. It shows the state of personal contempt into which
the King had fallen, that Leicester could venture to give him the
lie direct. But the King could not do without him; by the influence
of the Earl of Cornwall the quarrel was adjusted, and De Montfort
returned as he believed to his government. His back was scarcely
turned when the King appointed in his place his young son Edward,
and ordered the Gascons not to obey De Montfort. Feeling himself
thus freed from his charge, De Montfort went to Paris. The opinion
of his abilities was so high, that he was offered the regency of
France; but slighted though he had been at home, he was still true
to his adopted country, and declined the flattering offer.

[Sidenote: By Leicester’s aid Gascony is saved.]

[Sidenote: Henry’s money difficulties.]

Left to himself, Henry found the Gascons more than he could manage.
He collected indeed much money for the expedition; the Charter
being renewed as usual as the price of a grant. The Jews had to
advance money, the towns were tallaged. But, after all, things
would have gone badly had not Leicester again patriotically offered
his services, and taken command of the disturbed province. With
his assistance, and with money obtained from England, by dint of
lying letters, narrating the extreme danger of the King from the
approach of a vast army of Christians and Saracens under the King
of Castile, peace was made with Alphonso X., at that time the
King of Castile, and a marriage arranged between Edward and his
daughter the Princess Eleanor. This expedition therefore had on
the whole been successful; but it plunged the King still deeper
into money difficulties, while his constant demands for money, and
the dishonest means he had taken to secure it, had lowered him
still further in the eyes of the people. His foolish ambition and
his adherence to the Papal See completed what his long reign of
misgovernment had begun.

[Sidenote: The Pope offers Edmund the kingdom of Sicily. 1254.]

[Sidenote: Henry accepts Sicily on ruinous terms.]

It has been said that the Pope’s chief object was to remove the
Hohenstaufen from their Italian dominions. As early as 1252,
seeking some prince whom he might set in their place, and being
assured of the fidelity of the English King, he offered the throne
of Sicily to Richard of Cornwall. That Prince, remembering that
Henry, Frederick’s son, was his own nephew, and too prudent to
trust himself blindly to the Pope, declined the offer. But when
young Henry died in 1253, and Sicily fell into the hands of Conrad
and of his half brother Manfred, the Pope repeated his offer to
King Henry’s son Edmund. By him it was foolishly accepted; Conrad
also died, and a great opportunity was opened for the Pope’s
intrigues. There were three parties in Sicily: the German party,
who upheld a son of Conrad, the Italian Gibellines, who obeyed
Manfred, and the Sicilians, who followed Peter Rufus, the Emperor’s
lieutenant. The Pope succeeded in bribing the leader of the German
party, and his views seemed on the point of realization, when he
died. He was succeeded by Alexander IV., who was reputed a moderate
man, but who accepted all the arrangements of his predecessor.
Henry had returned from Gascony, after a costly visit to Paris,
deeply in debt. The Charter of London was again set aside, and
a heavy tallage inflicted; the Jews were again compelled to pay
large sums of money; and the Barons in Parliament were loudly
complaining of grievances, and demanding the appointment of a
Parliamentary Justiciary and Chancellor. In the midst of all these
difficulties, the King was foolish enough to accept the Sicilies on
ruinous terms. Two hundred ounces of gold yearly, and the support
of 300 knights, were to be promised, the expenses of the war to be
paid, and an army at once sent to claim the kingdom. The Pope kept
the management of this war in his own hands, but the Bishop of
Hereford, Henry’s envoy, was allowed to make the King responsible
for the outlay. The Pope began immediately to send his creditors
direct to Henry, and twice before the end of the year 1256, a Papal
Legate of the name of Rustand had appeared in England, raised money
of unknown value from the English Church, and freed the King from
his Crusader’s oath, that he might employ his forces against Sicily.

[Sidenote: Consequent exactions.]

[Sidenote: Terrible famine. 1257.]

[Sidenote: Parliament at length roused to resistance.]

The English Church was indeed at his mercy. Boniface of Canterbury
lived abroad, and was completely in the Papal interest, the
Archbishopric of York was vacant, the Bishops of Winchester and
Hereford were creatures of the King. Henry himself was acting in
complete harmony with the Pope, who had several times granted him
a tenth from the clergy, and had given him the incomes of all
vacant benefices, and of intestates. The Church was driven into
close union with the rapidly rising baronial opposition, and was
obliged to regard its temporalities as ordinary baronies. Scotland
and Wales were again becoming troublesome, and the lukewarmness
of the English Barons prevented successful resistance to their
inroads. To add to the difficulties of England, 1257 was a year of
fearful want. The weather was so bad that the harvest stood rotting
in the fields even in November. Wheat rose from two shillings to
fifteen or twenty the quarter. The harvest of 1258 promised to be
as bad. Thousands were dying of hunger.[36] And when, in the midst
of this misery, the Pope’s Legate (who in 1257 had stated the
amount of debt to the Pope to be 136,000 marks, and had succeeded
in wringing 52,000 marks from the clergy) repeated his demand the
following year, and threatened an interdict unless the debt was at
once paid, Englishmen of all classes felt that the time for action
had arrived, and, taking advantage of the absence of the Earl of
Cornwall, who was abroad attempting to make good his election to
the German Empire, the Barons assembled at a Parliament held at
Westminster determined upon reform.

[Sidenote: Parliament at Westminster.]

It was a stormy scene. William de Valence and Simon de Montfort
almost came to blows. William spoke of Montfort as “an old traitor,
and the son of a traitor.” “No, no,” said Simon, “I am no traitor,
nor traitor’s son; my father was very different from yours,”
referring to the constant treasons of the old Count de la Marche.
He then poured out his grievances, the squandering of the royal
property on favourites, the folly, in the face of such financial
difficulties, of accepting the Sicilian throne, and the admission
of Papal legates to rob the clergy. At length a sort of compromise
was arrived at, and aid was promised if the Pope would lower his
demands, and the King on his side promised reform, a promise to
which several of his chief favourites had to put their signatures.
The King also pledged himself to give full consideration to the
Barons’ demands at a Parliament to be assembled at Oxford at
Whitsuntide, and to leave the question at issue to be decided by
a commission of twelve from either side, whose verdict should be

[Sidenote: Mad Parliament. 1258.]

[Sidenote: Provisions of Oxford.]

On June 11th, this Parliament met. It is known by the name of
“The Mad Parliament.” The Barons, of whom there were about a
hundred,[37] appeared in arms, under the pretext of the war with
Wales, in reality to overawe the King’s violent step-brothers.
At that Parliament the promised commission of twenty-four was
chosen. The King’s Commissioners, with the single exception of
John of Plesseys, Earl of Warwick, were men pledged to the old
evil courses, either by their relationship with the King or by
the favours they had obtained from him. At the head of the Barons
appeared Richard de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, the natural head of
the English party, and De Montfort, himself indeed a foreigner,
but of such high ability and character that he was indispensable
to his party. To these twenty-four was intrusted the duty of
securing reform. They were not like the twenty-five guardians of
the Charter, pledges for the carrying out of the treaty, but a
committee representing for the time the executive authority of the
Crown. These Barons chose a council of four, John Mansell, the
King’s secretary, the Earl of Warwick, and two Bigods (the Earl of
Norfolk and his brother). These in their turn were to nominate a
council of state or executive ministry of fifteen. The predominance
of the baronial party is shown by the fact that of those fifteen
two-thirds were on the Barons’ side.[38] This Council of fifteen
produced the Provisions of Oxford, and appointed new officers. Hugh
Bigod was chief justice, John of Peterborough, treasurer, Nicholas
of Ely, chancellor. The royal castles were ordered to be placed
in the hands of Englishmen; and three times a year a Parliament
was to be held, consisting of the fifteen, and twelve members of
the old twenty-four representative Barons. These are said to be
representatives of the commonalty of England, but it does not as
yet appear that the commonalty meant anything but the baronage.
These Provisions were accepted and sworn to by the King, Prince
Edward, and the Barons, and subsequently, on his return to England,
by Richard, King of the Romans.

[Sidenote: Opposition to the surrender of castles.]

[Sidenote: Exile of aliens.]

[Sidenote: Proclamation of the Provisions.]

The article which demanded the surrender of castles by foreigners
met with much opposition.[39] The King’s step-brothers refused to
surrender theirs. Simon de Montfort, as a foreigner, on the other
hand, showed a good example by surrendering two of those he had in
charge.[40] When William de Valence refused this order, “I will
have the castles,” said De Montfort, “or your head.” The threat
was too serious to be disregarded; the foreigners crept off in
the night, and went to Winchester, where they hoped that Aymer de
Valence would afford them protection. The Barons at once pursued
them. They were obliged to yield, and were exiled. The Barons then
proceeded to check the bad government of the sheriffs. Four knights
from each shire (a step towards the coming admission of the lower
gentry to Parliament) were appointed to inquire into the question;
and it was arranged that the sheriffs should be elected yearly. The
Londoners readily accepted the new order of things; and finally,
in October, the Provisions were solemnly proclaimed, together
with the Magna Charta, in Latin, French and English. In this the
King declared his full adhesion to the Oxford Ordinances. It was
countersigned by thirteen of the fifteen counsellors. This is the
first public document issued in the English language, and may be
regarded as a sign of the real question at issue during the reign:
Was England to be, in fact, England, and the English to be a nation?

[Sidenote: Government of the Barons.]

[Sidenote: Final treaty with France. 1259.]

The fifteen counsellors were intrusted with the duty of producing
other reforms before the following Christmas. This they neglected
to do, and it was only in October 1259 that they produced another
series of Provisions. These by no means answered the expectations
of the Barons, and were so moderate that, after the cessation of
the war, they were incorporated in the Statute of Marlborough,
1267. They were chiefly directed to prevent encroachments on feudal
rights. Prince Edward had earnestly pressed for the production
of these Provisions. He was at this time a strong reformer, and
it was perhaps on account of the inefficient character of the
reforms now produced, that a quarrel arose between Leicester and
Gloucester, in which, we are told, that Leicester was supported
by Edward, Gloucester by the King. The government was meanwhile
practically in the hands of the fifteen. They felt that their chief
work was in England, and therefore freed themselves as much as
possible from foreign complications. They made peace with Wales,
entirely renounced all claims upon Sicily, and made a definitive
treaty with France. By this treaty Bordeaux, Bayonne and Gascony,
with the addition of the Bishoprics of Limoges, Cahors and
Périgord, which the honesty of the French King restored, were to be
held by England as fiefs of France; all claim on Normandy, Anjou,
Touraine and Poitou was to be given up; and the King of France
promised to give a sum of money for the maintenance of five hundred
knights for two years, to be used only for the good of England or
the Church. This last article proved afterwards a source of danger
to the baronial cause.

[Sidenote: Henry thinks of breaking the Provisions.]

[Sidenote: Pope’s absolution arrives.]

[Sidenote: Quarrel between De Clare and De Montfort.]

Their whole government seems to have given satisfaction; but it was
not likely that Henry should calmly submit to their domination.
With the peculiar faculty of making his religion compatible with
bad government and dishonesty, which was the characteristic of
this King, he applied, almost immediately after the Parliament of
Oxford, to the Pope for an absolution from his promises. A visit
twice repeated to the King of France gave rise to the suspicion
that he was concerting measures with that monarch; and, in 1261, he
was certainly fortifying the Tower. In April of that year an answer
of Alexander IV., entirely absolving him from his vows, reached
him. He ordered it to be publicly read, proceeded to give some
castles into the hands of foreigners, and proclaimed that he would
no longer consent to the restraint imposed upon him. The Barons met
at Kingston; and, unwilling to proceed to extremities, agreed to
refer their differences to the King of France, whose character for
honour stood high, though in this instance rumours were afloat that
he was already pledged to the King’s interest.[41] The King would
probably not have ventured on this course had not a quarrel arisen
in the baronial party, which deprived them of their ablest leader.
It is not certain what the cause of quarrel was, but as early as
1259, De Clare and Montfort had exchanged hot words, and from that
time De Montfort had been very much abroad, and the leadership of
the baronial party entirely in the hands of De Clare. In 1262, a
second absolution reached the King, and was by his orders publicly
promulgated by Mansell, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by the
Bishop of Norwich.

[Sidenote: Return of De Montfort.]

[Sidenote: Outbreak of hostilities.]

But meanwhile a stronger leader than Richard Earl of Gloucester
had appeared in England, and the King’s attempts at recovering
his authority were peremptorily checked. The Earl of Leicester,
hearing of the death of Gloucester, had returned from abroad, and
found himself the unquestioned chief of the party. With himself he
associated the late Earl’s son, young Gilbert de Clare, and matters
soon seemed to be coming to extremities. Llewellyn of Wales,
apparently in the baronial interest, attacked the lands of Roger
de Mortimer and of that foreign Bishop of Hereford who had been
the King’s agent at Rome. A general persecution of all those who
could not speak English followed in the border counties. The Bishop
of Hereford’s treasures were seized, and he himself had to fly
abroad. At the same time the Bishop of Norwich, who was disliked
for having published the absolution, was attacked. John Mansell
was driven into France; while, on the other hand, Prince Edward,
who had hitherto remained true to the Statutes of Oxford, was
reconciled to his father, and appeared in arms against the barons.
The people of London joined in the general disturbance. The Queen
had to leave London and retire to Windsor. On her way thither, as
she was passing up the river, she was assaulted and maltreated by
the Londoners, an event which Prince Edward is said not to have

[Sidenote: Award of Amiens. 1264.]

[Sidenote: It fails.]

While the parties were thus already beginning to appeal to arms, in
January 1264, the King of France published his verdict at Amiens.
It was entirely in favour of the Crown, and annulled the Provisions
of Oxford, especially declaring that the King had right to employ
aliens as the governors of his castles. The verdict was clear
enough, and Henry believed that it put him entirely in the right.
On the other hand a clause was added of which the Barons took hold
to support their cause. By this it was asserted that the verdict
was not intended to derogate in anything from the royal privileges,
charters, liberties and laudable customs of the kingdom. With this
loophole for variety of opinion, the award left the main question
unsettled, although it enabled a certain number of those who were
pledged to the Provisions, but disliked the Barons’ rule, to join
the King. Among others, his brother Richard, the King of the
Romans, took advantage of this opportunity. Still unwilling to
press their claims to the uttermost, the Barons offered to accept
the award, excepting only the one clause, which was in fact the
point for which they were fighting, that, namely, which permitted
the employment of aliens. The Londoners would not even go so far as

[Sidenote: War, and battle of Lewes. May 14.]

[Sidenote: The Mise of Lewes.]

The King refused their offer, and war became inevitable. It began
by the capture of Northampton by Prince Edward, and gradually
drifted southward, till the two armies met at Lewes. The King
occupied the town, with the castle and priory; the Barons, the
down to the west. The battle ended in a decisive victory for the
Barons. Prince Edward, carried away by his anger against the
Londoners, whom he despised and hated, was induced to pursue an
advantage he had won over them too far. Richard, the King of the
Romans, was misled into an attack upon a cage-shaped litter, which
he believed to contain De Montfort, who had been wounded by a fall
from his horse. De Montfort had purposely left it in his rear,
together with his standards and baggage; it really contained only
four refractory Londoners of the King’s party. These two errors on
the part of the enemy secured the victory to De Montfort; and when
Prince Edward returned from his pursuit, he found the battle lost,
and the struggle only prolonged by the fighting round the castle at
Lewes. De Montfort, evidently the victor, offered to put an end to
the bloodshed by an immediate truce; and an agreement known as the
Mise of Lewes was made, by which the questions at issue were to be
settled by a court of arbitration consisting of two Frenchmen and
one Englishman. The two Princes, Edward and Henry d’Almeyne, were
to remain in captivity meanwhile, in exchange for their fathers,
the King and his brother Richard, who had been taken prisoners; and
the prisoners on both sides were to be released.

[Sidenote: Appointment of revolutionary government.]

De Montfort was for the time completely master of the country. He
at once proceeded to act with vigour to bring the country into
order. The King’s peace was proclaimed everywhere. The prisoners
were exchanged, and till the open question with regard to the
election of sheriffs should be settled, guardians of the peace were
appointed for each county. In the offices thus created, as well as
in those of the King’s Council, the friends and followers of Simon
were put. A Parliament was then called, which assembled in June,
at which it is probable that knights of the shire were present. At
this Parliament a committee of three was appointed, who nominated
nine others, in whose hands the government was to be placed. If the
nine could not come to agreement, the final decision remained with
the three, who were the Bishop of Chichester, Simon de Montfort,
and Gilbert de Clare. At the same time the affairs of the Church
were put in order, its grievances being left to the settlement of
three bishops appointed by statute.

[Sidenote: Exiles assemble at Damme.]

[Sidenote: Montfort desires final settlement.]

De Montfort thus seemed in a fair way to make his position
durable; but unfortunately three important men had made their
escape from Lewes:--these were the Earl of Warrenne, Hugh Bigod
and William de Valence. These three fugitives betook themselves to
Damme, in Flanders, where the Queen, in company with the exiled
foreigners, Archbishop Boniface, Bishop of Hereford, Peter of
Savoy, and John Mansell, had assembled an army of hired troops.
Great preparations were made to meet the expected invasion, but
the winds were so contrary that the ill-provided army, weary of
waiting, separated. The closeness of the danger, however, induced
Simon to send ambassadors to France, to urge on the completion of
the settlement according to the Mise of Lewes. The embassy was at
the same time to try and make terms with the Papal Legate, who had
been quickly despatched to uphold the cause of so good a vassal of
Rome as Henry. They were unsuccessful in both their objects. The
Queen had been beforehand with Louis, and the Legate, who shortly
afterwards ascended the Papal throne as Clement IV., replied only
by excommunication. The Bull, however, was taken by the mariners of
the Cinque Ports before reaching England, and thrown into the sea;
and the excommunication did not take effect.

[Sidenote: Royalist movements on the Welsh Marches.]

Meanwhile, the royalist barons on the Marches of Wales, especially
Mortimer, Clifford and Leybourne, began to bestir themselves. Some
of them even pushed as far as Wallingford, where Prince Edward
was a prisoner, and attempted, though in vain, to liberate him.
The liberation of this Prince was now the chief object of the
royalists, and the pressure put upon Leicester was so great, that
he had, though unwillingly, to consent to measures which should
bring it about. There was indeed every reason to desire that he
should be freed. The part he had played in the late disputes had
been highly honourable; he had remained true to the Provisions
of Oxford, till the breaking out of the war seemed to render it
his imperative duty to assist his father; and from his subsequent
conduct it is plain that, although he must have disliked the
present restrictions upon the royal power, there was much in the
national policy of the Barons with which he sympathized. All those
who resented the assumption of power by Montfort, while desiring
a reform in government, would have found in him a welcome leader.

[Sidenote: Parliament of 1265.]

It was principally for this object that the famous Parliament of
1265 was called. To it were summoned only twenty-three peers,
friends of De Montfort, though the great Northern and Scotch
barons, who had strongly supported the King at Lewes, also received
safe conducts. Of the higher clergy there were no less than one
hundred and eighteen, a number by no means unprecedented, but
which seems to show how completely the Church sympathized with
the Barons. There were also knights of the shires--two from each
county. Even from the time of the commission for forming the
Domesday Book, elected knights had been occasionally consulted upon
the affairs of their county; since Henry II.’s reign, although
they had never been properly summoned to Parliament, this practice
had been more frequent. But the addition of two burghers from the
chief cities was wholly new, and although the practice was not
continued without a break, this, says Hallam, is the epoch at which
the representation of the Commons becomes distinctly manifest. To
De Montfort it was of the greatest importance that the general
acquiescence of all important classes of the country in his
government should be shown.

[Sidenote: Conditions of the Prince’s liberation.]

The assembly thus formed had first of all to consider what was
to be done with the present insurgents and with the exiles, and,
secondly, on what conditions Prince Edward might be with safety
liberated. On the first point it was decreed that the barons of
the Welsh Marches should be exiled to Ireland for three years, and
the fugitives from Lewes were summoned to stand their trial before
their peers, a summons to which, of course, they paid no attention.
The other question was more important, but the conditions were
finally arrived at on which the Prince might be set at liberty.
There was to be complete amnesty for all that was past; the King
and Prince were never to receive their former favourites; the royal
castles were to be placed in trustworthy hands; the great charters
of liberty were to be again established; the Prince was not to
leave the country for three years, and must choose his council
by the advice of government; and the county of Chester, with its
castle, together with the castles of the Peak and Newcastle, were
to be given up to De Montfort. For this, however, an equivalent
was to be given from De Montfort’s county of Leicester. All
these arrangements were made under the most solemn sanctions.
On the last article much of the abuse of Leicester for avarice
and self-seeking has been rested. But, in fact, the position
of the lands commanding the Scotch and Welsh borders afforded a
sufficient political reason for requiring their cession. A copy of
this arrangement was sent to each sheriff, and the great charters
of liberty publicly read, with a solemn threat of excommunication
against all who should break them.

[Sidenote: Defection of De Clare. He joins the Marchers.]

[Sidenote: Escape of Edward.]

These arrangements tended to the establishment of a peaceful
government and to the healing of faction; but unfortunately there
was constant jealousy of De Montfort among his colleagues, arising
probably in part from his foreign birth and royal connections, in
part from the truly popular nature of his views, with which the
Barons had but little sympathy. Again, as on a previous occasion,
De Clare, the leader of the English Barons, deserted him, and
began to intrigue with his enemies. At the same time, William de
Valence landed in his lordship of Pembroke. By the instrumentality
of Mortimer, Edward made his escape from Ludlow Castle; and the
invaders, the Prince, the Lord Marchers, and Gloucester opened
communications one with the other. The trick by which Edward
effected his escape is well known. On pretence of racing, he
wearied the horses of his guardians, and then galloped from them on
a particularly swift horse that had just been sent him, which he
had kept fresh. The danger had become so pressing that Leicester
advanced against the invaders in the South of Wales: but while in
that distant corner of the country, the Prince, with the men of
Chester, who willingly joined their old governor, marched down the
Severn and took Gloucester, thus cutting Leicester off from the
rest of his supporters.

[Sidenote: Leicester opposes Edward in Wales.]

[Sidenote: Defeat at Kenilworth.]

De Montfort at once recognized that Edward was his chief enemy,
and turned back to meet him, at the same time summoning to his aid
his son the younger Simon, who was with an army at Dover. Had he
executed this duty intrusted to him satisfactorily, Edward would
either have been enclosed between the two armies, or De Montfort
largely reinforced. As it was, he wasted some time at Kenilworth,
his father’s chief stronghold, and foolishly suffered his troops to
encamp outside the walls of the castle. A female spy brought Edward
news of his enemy’s mistake, and a sudden onslaught scattered De
Montfort’s reinforcement in disgraceful flight. Edward tried to
check De Montfort’s return by breaking down all the bridges over
the Severn, but a way was at length found to cross the river about
four miles below Worcester, and the baronial army reached Evesham
in the full expectation of speedily meeting their friends.

[Sidenote: Battle of Evesham. Aug. 4.]

As they marched out in the early morning on the 4th of August,
they saw a well-ordered army approaching, and Leicester’s barber,
who happened to be the longest-sighted man amongst then, at first
recognized all the standards as belonging to young De Montfort;
only after he had ascended a church-tower did he perceive the
emblems of De Clare and Edward mingled with them. De Montfort was
thus greatly outnumbered and surprised. As the enemy approached in
three well-arrayed divisions, “Ah,” said he, “that arrangement is
not your own, I have taught you how to fight.” Then, as it became
evident that he had neither time nor men to secure the victory,
he added, “God have mercy on our souls, for our bodies are the
Prince’s.” The stories of the fidelity of his party are touching.
He begged his partisans to fly while there was time. They refused
to leave him, while his son Henry begged him to make good his
retreat, and leave him alone to fight the battle. He was not a
man to listen to such advice. At length the assault came. He saw
the best of his followers and his son killed or disabled around
him. But still, though his horse was killed under him, “like a
giant,” says one, “like an impregnable tower for the liberties of
England,” says another of the Chroniclers, he fought on, wielding
his sword with both hands, till he fell overpowered by the assault
of numbers. Three hours completed the battle, which was little
else than a massacre. “Thus lamentably fell the flower of all
knighthood, leaving an example of steadfastness to others. But
since there is no curse more baleful than a domestic enemy, who
can wonder at his fall? those who had eaten his bread lifted their
heels against him, they who loved him by word of mouth lied in
their throat.”[42]

[Sidenote: Kenilworth and the Fens hold out. 1266.]

[Sidenote: Dictum of Kenilworth.]

The victory produced a complete reaction in England. Castle
after castle opened its gates to the royalists. At Kenilworth
alone, which Simon had defended with extraordinary machines which
his skill as an engineer had invented, and in the inaccessible
marshes in the East of England, the baronial party still held out.
The conqueror proceeded at once to act with reckless severity.
The whole of Leicester’s property was confiscated and given to
Prince Edward, all his followers were deprived of civil rights
and property, and all acts of the government since the battle
of Lewes were declared null. This was the work of a Parliament
summoned at Winchester, where of course there is no sign either
of county or of borough representation. After London, which made
some opposition, was conquered, and for the time disfranchised,
all efforts were directed against Kenilworth. This stronghold had
become a centre from which, as from the Eastern Fens, disorderly
bodies pushed out to wreak their vengeance on the King’s followers.
The defence was heroic. It seemed plain that the reaction had been
carried much too far. One party at all events of the royalists,
with Prince Henry d’Almeyne and perhaps Prince Edward at its head,
desired a more conciliatory policy, and at length, at the end of
the year, a Commission of twelve was established to attempt to
produce peace. Under their management, a Parliament and Convocation
was held, the Magna Charta again acknowledged, even by the Papal
Legate, and those who had been disinherited were allowed to regain
their lands by paying a certain number of years’ income to the
new possessors. The sons of Lord Derby and Leicester were alone
excepted. In accordance with this arrangement, called the Dictum of
Kenilworth, the castle was surrendered.

[Sidenote: De Clare compels more moderate government.]

[Sidenote: Constitutional end of the reign.]

The insurgents in the Fens afterwards submitted on the same terms,
but not before Gilbert de Clare had again changed sides, making it
plain to the government that however much jealousy of De Montfort
might have broken the baronial moderate party, the feelings which
had dictated the Provisions of Oxford were still unconquered. Under
these circumstances it was found necessary to take further measures
to insure moderation of government. In May 1267, Magna Charta
was again enacted, and from this time forward kept. The offices
were given into the hands of Englishmen, and Englishmen only. The
Sicilian project had become impossible, indeed the crown had been
given to Charles of Anjou; and, finally, Prince Edward, whose
influence might have been dangerous, had withdrawn from England on
a crusade, and taken many English nobles with him. The Barons’ war
had thus, although in its outward form a failure, secured its main
object--tolerable constitutional government, and the establishment
of a national rule. In 1272 the King died.

[Sidenote: Views of the people on the revolution.]

It is always difficult to know how far the popular feeling is
engaged in political revolutions. The great bulk of the nation is
never the originator of such changes. The fate of a country is
settled by the conduct and thought of its educated men, though the
mass of the people plays a very prominent part as an instrument
in the hands of its leaders. There is much to make us believe,
however, that the movement of the Barons was in reality a national
one. More particularly is this true in the case of Simon de
Montfort. He is constantly spoken of by contemporary writers with
admiration. “Il eime dreit, et att le tort,” (He loves right and
hates the wrong), says one poet. “It should, however, be declared,”
says the Chronicler of Melrose, “that no one in his senses would
call Simon a traitor, for he was no traitor, but the most devout
and faithful worshipper of the Church in England, the shield and
defender of the kingdom, the enemy and expeller of aliens, although
by birth he was one of them.” The Londoners were his devoted
adherents, while the character of the Parliament which he summoned
after the battle of Lewes was certainly popular. It seems fair to
believe that he was the unselfish supporter of the national policy.

Again, all the writers of the time, with very few exceptions,[43]
whether chroniclers or poets, were in favour of the baronial party.
When some of the leaders seem flagging in their energy, they were
cheered by such words as these,--

      “O Comes Gloverniæ, comple quod cæpisti,
      Nisi claudas congruè, multos decepisti.”

      “O tu Comes le Bygot, pactum serva sanum
      Cum sis miles strenuus, nunc exerce manum.
      O vos magni proceres, qui vos obligatis,
      Observate firmiter illud quod juratis.”

Again, in one political poem of the day we have the question at
issue argued out in a manner which shows the advance of political
knowledge, and in a constitutional tone which would become a modern
Whig. “All restraint does not deprive of liberty. He who is kept
from falling so that he lives free from danger, reaps advantage
from such keeping, nor is such a support slavery, but the safeguard
of virtue. Therefore that it is permitted to a king all that is
good, but that he dare not do evil--this is God’s gift.... If a
prince love his subjects, he will be repaid with love; if he reign
justly, he will be honoured; if he err, he ought to be recalled by
them whom his unjust denial may have grieved, unless he be willing
to be corrected; if he is willing to make amends, he ought to be
raised up and aided by those same persons.... If a king be less
wise than he ought to be, what advantage will the kingdom gain
by his reign? Is he to seek by his own opinion on whom he should
depend to have his failing supplied? If he alone choose, he will
be easily deceived. Therefore let the community of the kingdom
advise, and let it be known what the generality thinks, to whom
their own laws are best known. Since it is their own affairs that
are at stake, they will take more care and will act with an eye to
their own peace.... We give the first place to the community; we
say also that the law rules over the king’s dignity, for the law
is the light without which he who rules will wander from the right

That proclamations should be published in English is also a
significant fact, and it may on the whole be considered that
this war was practically the conclusion of foreign domination in
England. It is the great honour of Edward I. to have perceived this
so clearly, that he willingly accepted the new national line of
policy which the Barons had marked out, and he may be regarded as
our first purely national monarch.



                           Born, 1239 = 1. Eleanor of Castile.
    |         |         |         |          |                 |
  John.     Henry.    Alfonso.  Edward II.  Eleanor = Henry    |
  d. 1271.  d. 1274.  d. 1284.                        of Bar.  |
             |                |                   |
           Joan = Gilbert,  Margaret = John of  Elizabeth = 1. John of
                  Earl of              Brabant.                Holland.
                  Gloucester.                               2. Humphrey
                                                               de Bohun.
                                      = 2. Margaret of France.
                       |                              |
                    Thomas, Earl of Norfolk.       Edmund, Earl of Kent.

                             CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

     _Scotland._     |  _France._   |   _Germany._    |   _Spain._
                     |              |                 |
  Alexander III.,    | Philip III., | Rodolph, 1272.  | Alphonso X.,
     1249.           |    1270.     | Adolphus, 1291. |    1252.
  Margaret, 1286.    | Philip IV.,  | Albert, 1298.   | Sancho IV.,
  Interregnum, 1290. |    1285.     |                 |    1284.
  Baliol, 1292.      |              |                 | Ferdinand IV.,
  Interregnum, 1296. |              |                 |    1295.
  Robert I., 1306.   |              |                 |

  POPES.--Gregory X., 1271. Innocent V., 1276. Adrian V., 1276.
    John XX., 1276. Nicholas III., 1277. Martin IV., 1281. Honorius IV.,
    1285. Nicholas IV., 1288. Vacancy, two years. Celestine V., 1292.
    Boniface VIII., 1294. Benedict X., 1303. Vacancy, one year.
    Clement V., 1305.

    _Archbishops._   |    _Chancellors._          |   _Chief-justices._
                     |                            |
  Robert Kilwardby,  | Walter de Merton, 1272.    | Ralph de Hengham,
     1273-1278.      | Robert Burnell, 1273-1292. |    1273-1289.
  John Peckham,      | John Langton, 1292.        | Gilbert de Thornton,
     1279-1292.      | William Greenfield, 1302.  |    1289-1295.
  Robert Winchelsey, | William de Hamilton, 1304. | Roger Brabazon, 1295.
     1294-1313.      | Ralph de Baldock, 1307.    |

[Sidenote: Edward’s peaceful accession. 1272.]

[Sidenote: His journey home, 1274.]

Edward was still abroad when the news of his father’s death was
brought to him. His accession had been so long looked forward to
as a happy termination to the difficulties of the last reign, that
what might have been a dangerous crisis passed over peacefully.
An assembly was summoned at Westminster, not only of the nobles,
but also of the representatives of the lower estates, and there an
oath of fidelity was taken to the absent King. Three prominent
nobles seem to have assumed the position of governors; the
Archbishop of York, as head of the clergy, Edmund of Cornwall, the
King’s brother, as representative of the royalty, and Gilbert of
Gloucester, as chief of the baronage. Under them the government
pursued its old course. Hearing that things were going well in
England, Edward did not hurry home. He returned by Sicily and Rome,
where he induced the Pope to visit upon the young De Montforts
the murder of Henry D’Almeyne, whom they had killed at Viterbo.
Thence he passed into France, joined in a great tournament at
Châlons, where jest was changed to earnest, and a rough skirmish
ensued, known as the little battle of Châlons. True to his legal
obligations, he did homage at Paris for his French dominions,
demanding what as yet had not been fulfilled, the completion of
the late definitive treaty in France: and after settling, not
without application to the French King as feudal superior, his
quarrels with Gaston de Bearn in Gascony, and establishing friendly
relations with Flanders, he returned in 1274 to England, and there,
on the 18th of August, was crowned and received the homage of his
Barons, and that, among others, of Alexander III. of Scotland.
Shortly after, he appointed as his chancellor Robert Burnell, who
served him throughout his life as chief minister, while Anthony
Beck, Bishop of Durham, was his chief agent in all diplomatic

[Sidenote: The importance of the reign.]

From the reign of Edward began what may be properly spoken of as
the _English_ monarchy. The last reign had brought prominently
forward the two great points which constituted the nationality
of the country. Primarily the object of the baronial party had
been to separate England from the overwhelming importance of its
foreign connections, and to prevent it from becoming a mere source
of wealth to foreign adventurers. In this the baronial party had
succeeded. While declaring themselves national, they had been
obliged to have recourse for support to other elements of the
nation than those from which the ruling class had hitherto been
formed. The advance of these new classes had, as has been seen,
been gradual. Already, in earlier reigns, the principle both of
election and representation had been, on more than one occasion,
accepted. But it was the formal admission both of knights of the
shire and of burghers to parliamentary privileges, even though the
practice had not been continued, which rendered it impossible long
to ignore the growing feeling that all classes should in some way
be consulted about what interested all.

[Sidenote: Edward the first English king.]

[Sidenote: His political views.]

[Sidenote: His legal mind.]

[Sidenote: His success.]

[Sidenote: His enforced concessions.]

Edward was well fitted, both by position and character, to play the
part of the first English king. He had given distinct proofs in the
earlier part of the late baronial quarrels that a good and national
government was what he desired. But it would be wrong to suppose
that he was at all inclined to what we should now call liberal
policy. In the latter part of his father’s reign he had made it
clear that to his mind a strong monarchy was a necessary condition
of good government. It was only gradually, and in accordance with
a love of symmetrical government which strongly characterized him,
that he recognized the advantage of the complete admission of the
hitherto unprivileged classes to the rights of representation.
He set before him as his object the establishment of a good and
orderly government in the national interests, but carried out by a
strong, nay despotic monarch, subjected only to the restrictions
of the law. This is indeed another prominent characteristic of the
King, in which he went along with the tendencies of the age. His
mind was essentially legal, and just at this time the Roman and
civil law were forcing their way into prominence throughout Europe.
In Edward and his great rival Philip IV. of France, we have,
allowing for their differences in personal character, instances
of the same course of action. They both intended to make use of
feudal law, interpreted more or less by the Roman law, and pressed
to its legal and logical conclusions, to strengthen the monarchy.
It is thus that we find Edward constantly enacting statutes and
constitutions, making use of feudal claims to compel the submission
of his neighbours, and exerting to the full, sometimes even beyond
the limits of honesty, the rights the constitution gave him, but
never wilfully transgressing what he regarded as the law. He was
successful in carrying out the two first branches of his threefold
policy; in the third he failed. Good government he established by
a series of admirable administrative enactments, and by that power
of definition which a living historian[44] has attributed to him,
in spite of the difficulties presented by the independent position
of the Church, and by the disorders still remaining from the late
troubled times. Nationality he was able to foster both by foreign
wars and by his great plan of connecting all the kingdoms of Great
Britain. But in his efforts to establish an absolute monarchy, he
was met by the financial difficulties into which the late reign had
plunged the Crown, and by that entanglement in foreign politics
which the English possessions in France, of which he was not yet
quite free, continually caused. Urged by his wide schemes to have
recourse to arbitrary means for replenishing his treasury, he
excited again an opposition similar to that of his father’s reign,
and found himself obliged to make concessions which effectually
prevented any of his successors from attempting to render the Crown

[Sidenote: First Parliament. Statute of Westminster. 1275.]

[Sidenote: Establishment of customs.]

[Sidenote: His restorative measures. 1278.]

The first years of the King’s reign were employed in restoring
order to the government and the finances. His first Parliament
met at Westminster in 1275, where was passed a great restorative
measure known by the name of the First Statute of Westminster.
It was so wide and far-reaching that it might be called a code
rather than an Act. Its object is said by a contemporary writer to
have been to “awake those languid laws which had long been lulled
asleep” by the abuses of the time. It secured the rights of the
Church, improved the tardy processes of law, and re-established
the charters, further limiting the sums which could be demanded
for the three legal aids. At the same Parliament, an export duty
on wool and leather, the origin of the customs, was granted to
the King, the more readily, perhaps, as his firmness had lately
re-established the wool-trade with Flanders. During the next three
or four years other less popular measures were taken with a view to
replenish the King’s treasury. Commissions were issued to inquire
into the exact limits of the grants of the late King to the clergy,
and to inquire into the tenure of property throughout England, with
the twofold view of establishing the rights of property disturbed
by the late war, and of clearly defining the revenue due to the

[Sidenote: New coinage.]

[Sidenote: Statute of Mortmain. 1279.]

It was not till the year 1278 that the effect of this commission
was seen. Orders were then issued to the itinerant justices to make
use of the evidence which had been obtained, and to issue writs
of “quo warranto,” to oblige owners to make good their titles.
This was the occasion of the well-known answer of Warrenne, Earl
of Surrey, who presented his sword to the judge, saying, “This
is my title-deed, with this my ancestors won my land, with this
will I keep it.” The temper thus shown by one of his most faithful
followers prevented Edward from pushing matters to extremity.
During these years was set on foot also the practice of demanding
that those who were wealthy enough should receive knighthood. The
practice was kept up during the reign, but the property counted
sufficient for the holder of that dignity varied from £20 to £100
a year. The King’s activity reached in all directions. Another
commission was issued to inquire into the conduct of sheriffs. The
coinage, much clipped and debased, was renewed; it was ordered
that its shape should always be round, as the prevalent method of
clipping had been to cut the pieces into four, so that the exact
edge could not be known. At length, in 1279, Edward proceeded to
regulate one of the great abuses of the Church. Not only had that
body become exorbitantly rich, but the privileges which it claimed
had begun to be detrimental to the Crown; and when, in the earlier
part of the year, Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury, produced and
authorized, at a meeting at Reading, some canons tending to the
independence of the Church, the King was determined to strike a
blow in return. As corporations could not die, land which had
passed into their possession was free from the fines and payments
due from an incoming heir, which were thus lost to the feudal
superior. Moreover, and this touched the Crown more nearly, it had
become a habit to give property to the Church, and fraudulently to
receive it back again as a Church fief, and thus free from feudal
services. By the Statute of Mortmain, which was now passed, it was
forbidden, without the King’s consent, to transfer property to the

[Sidenote: Wales. 1275.]

[Sidenote: Llewellyn’s suspicious conduct.]

[Sidenote: War breaks out. 1277.]

[Sidenote: Llewellyn submits.]

[Sidenote: His merciful treatment.]

Meanwhile, while Edward had been thus busied at home, affairs in
Wales had begun to attract his attention. Llewellyn had always
been in close alliance with the Leicester party, and had shown his
dissatisfaction at the accession of Edward by refusing to come
to the assembly which swore fealty to the new King. Edward, who
wished honestly to heal the late differences, had summoned him to
his coronation, and had again been refused. Had he not desired a
peaceful solution of the difficulty, he would certainly now have
proceeded to extremities. But no less than six opportunities were
given to the Prince of appearing in England, to set himself right;
on every occasion he had refused to do so. The suspicions which
his conduct excited received a strong confirmation when it was
known that he was contemplating a marriage with the daughter of
De Montfort. It is probable that this marriage was to be carried
out in pursuance of some scheme for continuing the disturbances
of the last reign. Fortunately the lady was captured, with her
brother Almeric who was escorting her, on her way to Wales.
This brought matters to a crisis. In 1276, Llewellyn, who had
refused all approaches to friendship, demanded, in the language
of an independent prince, a treaty, and the restoration of his
wife. In November of that year Edward, acting in concert with
his Parliament, ordered his army to meet him at Worcester, and
the war began. Even the strength of his country did not enable
Llewellyn to hold out against the superior power and ability of the
English King. A fleet of ships from the Cinque Ports cut him off
from Anglesea, and mastered that island, while the English army
forced him back towards the mountains of Snowdon. He was induced
to treat. The terms given him were stringent. The Cantreds or
Hundreds between Chester and Conway were given up to the English.
Anglesea alone he was allowed to keep in full, on the payment of
1000 marks, while a few baronies around Snowdon were left in his
hands, to prevent his title of Prince of Wales being a mere empty
honour. Besides this, he had to pay 50,000 marks for the expenses
of the war, and a tribute of 1000 marks. Once conquered, however,
and brought to complete submission, his treatment was generous. The
money payments were at once remitted. His brother David, his enemy,
and a probable source of discomfort to him, was kept in England and
pensioned; and finally, he came to England, and received his wife,
their marriage being nobly celebrated by the King.

[Sidenote: Second rising in Wales. 1282.]

[Sidenote: Death of Llewellyn.]

[Sidenote: Execution of David. 1283.]

[Sidenote: Statute of Wales. Annexation of Wales. 1284.]

[Sidenote: Statute of Winchester. 1285.]

In less than three years the whole arrangement was again destroyed.
David, though he had fought for Edward and been well rewarded,
suddenly deserted to his fellow countrymen. He attacked the Castle
of Hawardyn, and, in company with his brother Llewellyn, besieged
Rhuddlan and Flint. Edward at once advanced against them. Hard
pressed, the brothers divided their forces. David continued to
fight in the North, while his brother betook himself to South
Wales. He was there surprised, defeated, and killed, on the River
Wye, and his head sent to Edward, and displayed in London, in scorn
adorned with an ivy crown, in allusion to some prophecy that he
should be crowned in London. David was shortly afterwards compelled
to surrender. A Parliament had been summoned to grant supplies;
some difficulty had arisen, and before an answer could be given,
a fresh one was called at Shrewsbury, (moved afterwards to Acton
Burnell, the seat of the Chancellor,) by which the unfortunate
Prince was tried, and condemned to death. This Parliament
afterwards proceeded to the settlement of the conquered country, by
what is known as the Statute of Wales. By this a considerable part
of English law and English institutions, with some modifications
to suit the prejudices of the Welsh, were introduced. The conquest
was completed by the famous presentation to the people of the
King’s new-born heir, under the title of the Prince of Wales. There
was henceforth no longer any pretence of feudal supremacy; Wales
was annexed to the English Crown. The following year the Parliament
at Winchester produced the Statute known by the name of that city,
which arranged the defence of the country upon a national basis. Of
that piece of legislation, as well as of others before and after
it, more will be said by and by. In the year after this, Edward
left England, placing the government in the hands of his brother

[Sidenote: Foreign affairs call Edward abroad.]

[Sidenote: Sicilian Vespers.]

It will be necessary to turn for a moment to Edward’s foreign
relations to explain the necessity of his journey abroad. He had
the misfortune, like his predecessors, to be master of Aquitaine,
and as Duke of that province a vassal and peer of France. He was,
moreover, cousin of the King of France, and brother-in-law of
the King of Castile. Although a definitive treaty had been made
between Henry III. and the French King, it had never been properly
carried out; Edward had, as in duty bound done homage for his
French possessions, and had from time to time renewed his claims.
He had even been allowed in 1279, in right of his wife, to take
possession of Ponthieu. There was, nevertheless a constant feeling
of distrust between the French King and his too powerful vassal.
Edward had therefore done his best to cement his friendship on
the side of Spain. But, in 1282, an event happened which enabled
him to secure a settlement of his French claims, and to assume
the important position of mediator in a great foreign quarrel. A
war seemed imminent between Castile and France, when Peter III.
of Aragon, for whose favour both parties had been intriguing,
suddenly raised a large army, the destination of which was said to
be Africa, but which shortly after proved to be intended for the
conquest of Sicily from the French. This put an end to the quarrel
with Castile, and brought Aragon forward as the Spanish power
against which the French energies were directed. Charles of Anjou
had received from the Pope the grant of the Two Sicilies when the
Barons of England had obliged Edmund to renounce it. He had made
good his position with extreme cruelty; and now the Sicilian people
entered into that famous conspiracy known by the name of Sicilian
Vespers, and massacred the French throughout the island. They then
proceeded to give themselves to Peter III. of Aragon, in concert
with whom they had certainly been acting. He was successful in
his enterprise. His admiral, Loria, had everywhere defeated the
fleets of Anjou, and in 1284 had taken prisoner Charles, Prince of
Salerno, the Duke of Anjou’s heir. For a short time there seemed
some possibility of the quarrel being ended by a single combat
between Peter and Charles; formal preparations were made, and
Edward was entreated to preside as umpire. But chivalrous though
he was, he was too much of a statesman to give his consent to so
trivial a form of settlement; and, in 1285, Charles died.

[Sidenote: Edward mediator between France and Aragon. 1286.]

[Sidenote: His award is repudiated.]

His quarrel was taken up by the French King, and matters had
reached this point when Edward thought it necessary to go abroad
(especially as a new King, Philip IV., had just come to the
throne), to arrange if possible a question which, involving not
only his own interests, but also the authority of the Pope, was
one of European interest. He succeeded in inducing Philip IV. to
allow the justice of his claims with regard to the provinces to
be united to Gascony, and proceeded the following year to act the
part of mediator between the Courts of France and Aragon. He was
trusted absolutely in this negotiation, and after some difficulty
hoped that he had arrived at some conclusion, when he had succeeded
in obtaining the freedom of Prince Charles of Salerno, although
the terms of liberation were very hard. Large sums of money were
to be paid, and Sicily was to be given up to the Spanish Prince,
James. But no sooner was Charles at liberty than he repudiated
these conditions; and Edward, disgusted with his want of faith,
and thinking probably that it was wiser not to plunge too deep
into European politics, determined to return home, neglecting the
offered opportunity of forming an alliance with Aragon, which might
have formed some counter-poise in Southern Europe to the power of
France and of Rome.

[Sidenote: Disturbances in England during his absence. 1289.]

[Sidenote: Edward returns.]

[Sidenote: Punishes corrupt judges.]

His presence at home indeed was much wanted. The moment the back
of the great ruler was turned, and the weight of his hand removed,
it became evident that much time would be necessary before his
arrangements could restore more than external order to the deeply
disturbed society of England. Fresh disturbances had arisen in
Wales, where Rhys ap Meredith had been roused to rebellion by the
strictness with which the English law was carried out. Nor had
the Regent’s army, under Gilbert de Clare, succeeded in capturing
him. It seems indeed that several of the greater nobles had begun
to show discontent, and in 1288, Surrey, Warwick, Gloucester, and
Norfolk had all appeared in a disorderly fashion in arms. There
were other disturbances too in the lower strata of society. The
Statute of Winchester was not yet fairly in operation, bands of
outlaws appeared in the forest districts, and among others, one
Chamberlain had fallen upon a fair held at Boston in Lincolnshire,
and had burnt the town. The presence of the King restored order,
but the fundamental cause of the misgovernment was laid open to
him by his faithful Chancellor, Burnell. Like Henry II., he had
employed as his judges professional lawyers, and they had not been
proof against the great temptations of their office. The judges
were corrupt, and justice was bought and sold. Very serious charges
were brought against them in October; all except two, who deserve
to be mentioned, John of Methingham and Elias de Bockingham, were
convicted. The chief baron, Stratton, was fined 34,000 marks, the
chief justice of the King’s Bench, 7000, the master of the rolls,
1000; while Weyland, chief justice of the common pleas, fled to
sanctuary, was there blockaded, and after his forty days of safety
had to abjure the realm. His property, which was confiscated, is
said to have amounted to 100,000 marks.

[Sidenote: Banishes the Jews. 1290.]

At the same time the King banished all the Jews from the kingdom.
Upwards of 16,000 are said to have left England, nor did they
reappear till Cromwell connived at their return in 1654. It is
not quite clear why the King determined on this act of severity,
especially as the Jews were royal property, and a very convenient
source of income. It is probable, however, that their way of doing
business was very repugnant to his ideas of justice, while they
were certainly great falsifiers of the coinage, which he was very
anxious to keep pure and true. Earlier in the reign he had hanged
between 200 and 300 of them for that crime, and they are said to
have demanded 60 per cent. for their loans, taking advantage of
the monopoly as money-lenders which the ecclesiastical prohibition
of usury had given them. Moreover, about this time, the great
banking-houses of Italy were becoming prominent. With them Edward
had already had much business, and their system of advances upon
fairer terms was much more pleasing to him. From this time onwards
the money business of England was in their hands.[45]

[Sidenote: End of First Period of the reign.]

We have now reached what may be considered as the close of the
first period of Edward’s reign, which had been occupied by
legislation and by the conquest of Wales. From this time onwards,
it is the conquest of Scotland, and the great constitutional
effort of the reign, intermingled with foreign affairs, which we
shall have to observe.

[Sidenote: Relations with Scotland.]

It is uncertain when Edward’s thoughts were first directed to the
Northern kingdom, but events had been rapidly occurring, which
threw Scotland almost entirely into his hands. Quite early in the
reign he seems to have wished, as was natural for one of his legal
mind, to have the disputed question of homage cleared up. Again
and again homage had been paid to his predecessors; but, except in
the case of William the Lion’s homage to Henry II., it had been
always open to the Scotch King to assert that it was for fiefs
in England, and not for Scotland, that his homage was rendered.
Even that clear instance had been annihilated by the subsequent
sale of the submission then made by Richard I. It would seem in
fact that the claim to overlordship was really based upon much
earlier transactions. Scotland consisted of three incorporated
kingdoms--the Highlands, or kingdoms of the Scots, Galloway, which
was part of the British kingdom of Strathclyde, and the Lothians,
which had undoubtedly been a part of the Anglian kingdom of
Northumbria. In the time of the English Empire the King of Scots
and all the people had chosen Eadward the Elder as father and lord;
that is to say, they had what is technically called commended
themselves to the English King. Strathclyde had been conquered
by Eadmund, and by him had been granted to Malcolm as a fief, on
condition of military tenure; while afterwards the Lothians had
been granted by Eadgar to the Scotch kings as an English earldom.
Thus, on various grounds, all parts of the Kingdom of Scotland
acknowledged the English King as their overlord. When England fell
into the hands of the Normans, William, professedly assuming the
position which his predecessor had held, would naturally expect
the same homage to be paid to him. It is equally certain that
the Scotch kings would object to pay it. It had therefore been a
constantly open and disputed question till the time of Edward.
Meanwhile the feudal law, which had not existed at the time of the
original commendation, had grown up and been formulated. Edward,
as we have seen, intended to use it to the full. He therefore
desired the uncertain acknowledgment of the old supremacy to be
brought, as it had never hitherto been, within the precise and
clearly-defined limits of feudal overlordship. The character of
Alexander III. was such as to strengthen such ideas. In 1275, his
wife, Edward’s sister Margaret, had died. The tie of relationship
thus broken, Edward had demanded and received, in 1278, a homage,
which he declared to his chancellor was complete and without
reservation;[46] and since that time, more than once, Alexander had
seemed to acknowledge the supremacy.

[Sidenote: Extinction of the Scotch royal family.]

[Sidenote: Proposed marriage of the Maid and Prince Edward.]

[Sidenote: Accepted with restrictions. 1290.]

But it was the rapid extinction of that monarch’s family which
brought matters to a crisis. Margaret had had two sons and one
daughter, Margaret. Both the sons had died young, and the daughter
had married Eric, King of Norway, with the promise that she was
to retain her rights to the Scotch succession. In accordance with
this, when she died in her first confinement, her little child
of the same name, spoken of as the Maid of Norway, was, in 1284,
declared heiress of the throne. In 1286 King Alexander died. He
had married again, but had no children; the crown would therefore
have naturally come to the Maid of Norway. During her absence, a
regency, consisting of the Bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow,
the Lords Fife, Buchan, and Comyn, and others, was appointed. But
already other claimants had come forward, and their respective
parties had begun a civil war. To Edward it seemed the opportunity
had arrived of establishing his rights without violence. A marriage
between his son and the Maid of Norway at once occurred to him. For
this he had secretly cleared the way by obtaining from the Pope a
dispensation to enable these cousins to marry. Armed with this,
but acting ostensibly in the Norwegian interest, he contrived to
bring about a meeting at Salisbury between commissioners on the
part of Eric, of the Scotch government, and of himself, at which
it was agreed that the young Queen should be received in Scotland
free of matrimonial engagements, but pledged not to marry except
by the advice of Edward and with the consent of her father. Almost
immediately after this, the plan of the marriage was made public,
and was at once willingly accepted by the Scotch, who were anxious
to be saved from a civil war, but who, while accepting it, took
care, at a parliament held at Brigham in 1290, to guard with
scrupulous care the independence of the kingdom.

[Sidenote: Invitation to Edward to settle the succession.]

[Sidenote: Death of the Maid.]

[Sidenote: Death of the Queen.]

[Sidenote: Meeting at Norham. 1291.]

It was not exactly thus that Edward understood the treaty. He at
once despatched Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham, to act in unison
with the guardians of Scotland, as Lieutenant of Queen Margaret and
her husband, at the same time demanding possession of the royal
castles, ostensibly for the purpose of preserving the peace of the
kingdom. The governors of the castles declined to give them up,
but seven great Earls wrote to Edward, as though to a superior,
begging him to curb the power of the regency, while, on the other
hand, a member of the regency, the Bishop of St. Andrews, also
wrote, begging Edward to approach the border to assist in keeping
order, and to appoint a king if the rumour which had been spread of
the death of the Maid of Norway should prove true. The report was
true, Margaret had died on her journey from Norway in the Orkney
islands; and acting on these two letters, which he construed as an
invitation, Edward summoned a meeting at Norham, to be held after
Easter 1291. The delay was probably occasioned by a heavy blow
which had fallen on Edward. In November he had lost his much loved
wife Eleanor. It is one of his titles to our respect, that in a
licentious age he was remarkably pure, and that no word was ever
breathed against his perfect fidelity as a husband. After a period
of bitter sorrow, and a pompous funeral, each stage of the journey
being subsequently marked by a beautiful cross, he returned again
in the following year to his Scotch plans. At that meeting he put
forward his claim as superior and overlord of the kingdom, saying
that it lay with him in that capacity to put an end to discord. He
ended by asking that his title should be acknowledged, in order
that he might act freely. A delay of three weeks was demanded, at
which time the assembly met again on Scotch ground opposite the
Castle of Norham. An answer seems to have been meanwhile sent, but
the King had regarded it as not to the point; and at the assembly
itself no objections were raised to his claim. All the competitors
acknowledged his authority in set words, and the case was put into
Edward’s hands.

[Sidenote: Edward’s supremacy allowed.]

[Sidenote: The claimants.]

[Sidenote: Edward gives a just verdict. 1292.]

[Sidenote: Balliol accepts the throne as a vassal.]

[Sidenote: Scotland appeals to the English Courts. 1293.]

[Sidenote: The appeals not pressed to extremities.]

There were a great number of claimants; but three only established
a case worth consideration. These were Bruce, Balliol, and
Hastings. The claims of all these went back to David I. This king
had three grandsons; Malcolm IV., who was childless, William the
Lion, whose direct descendants had just come to an end, and David,
Earl of Huntingdon, from whom all three claimants were descended.
He had had three daughters; Margaret, the eldest, whose grandson
was Balliol, Isabella, the second, whose son was Bruce, Ada, the
third, whose grandson was Hastings. Besides these three, Comyn was
also a grandson of Margaret, but being a son of a second daughter,
his claims were obviously inferior to those of Balliol.[47] To
decide these claims, Edward, as lord superior, established a
great court; forty of Bruce’s friends, forty of Balliol’s, and
twenty-four members on the part of Edward, were to constitute
it. Edward seems to have proceeded with the full intention of
giving a just and legal judgment, and after several meetings, in
November 1292, a decision was arrived at in favour of John Balliol.
Meanwhile, during the settlement of the question, Edward had
taken possession of the Scotch castles, had appointed the great
officers of the kingdom, and had caused the regents to exact an
oath of fealty to him as superior lord. The new King accepted the
throne distinctly as a vassal of England, and finally, to make
his dependence perfectly clear, did homage after his coronation.
He did not find his new position free from difficulty. He found
that the letter of the feudal law to which he owed his elevation
could be turned against himself. It was indeed unnatural to expect
the Scotch to submit to the inconveniences without claiming the
advantages of that law. Balliol had not been long on the throne
before they asserted that, if he was a vassal, appeals would lie
from his judgments to the English courts. In the following year two
or three such appeals were made, one from a goldsmith, and one from
Macduff, Earl of Fife. When summoned to appear before the English
courts, Balliol refused to come. He made his appearance however at
the Parliament held in the autumn of 1293, and there declared that,
as King of Scotland, he could not act without the advice of his
people. A delay was given him for the purpose of consulting his
parliament; he did not take advantage of it. The case of Macduff
was therefore given against him by the English baronage in his
presence. He was fined to Macduff 700 marks, to Edward 10,000.
On the protest of Balliol, a fresh delay was allowed, nor does
Edward seem to have been in any way disposed to do more than make
good his legal position. It is plain, however that the position of
vassal king, with its awkward and probably unexpected incidents,
disgusted Balliol; and political events soon enabled him to make
his displeasure felt.

[Sidenote: Quarrel with France.]

[Sidenote: Edward outwitted. Gascony occupied. 1294.]

[Sidenote: First true Parliament.]

Philip IV., the new King of France, was as legal in his mind as
Edward, but more dishonest. It was as plain to him that it was
desirable to unite France by annexing Guienne, as it was to Edward
that it was advantageous to England to annex Scotland. They set
about their designs in somewhat the same way. The sea was at
this time regarded as a sort of no man’s land, where incessant
fighting little short of piracy was allowable. There were plenty of
instances of battles between English and French merchant-ships. The
Normans are said to have infested the whole coast of France from
Holland to Spain. The Cinque Ports mariners were probably not much
behind them. At last a formal meeting was arranged in 1293, where
the matter was to be fought out. An empty chip marked the point of
contest, and there the fleets of France and England fought a great
battle, which terminated in the defeat of the French. Edward, who
knew Philip’s character and the resources of the feudal law, was
anxious to do what he could to clear himself of complicity in the
quarrel; but no representations of his were attended to by the
French King, and Philip summoned him to appear before the French
Parliament. As the English offenders were not given up, and as
Edward declined to appear, the Constable of France took possession
in the King’s name of Edward’s French provinces. With much more
important matters in hand, and with the knowledge probably of what
Balliol’s conduct was going to be, Edward tried all he could to
settle the matter peacefully. He sent over to France his brother
Edmund, whose wife[48] was the mother of the French Queen. Through
the instrumentality of these Queens a treaty was arranged, by
which the summons to Paris was annulled, and a personal meeting at
Amiens arranged, pending which the strongholds of Gascony were to
be put in Philip’s hands. Edmund withdrew the English army, and
dismissed the commander, St. John, and at the same time demanded
a safe conduct for his brother at the proposed meeting. But Philip
refused the safe conduct, declared himself dissatisfied with the
surrender of the towns, and refused to leave the country which he
had occupied. Fresh insulting messages were sent to Edward, and, in
1294, Edmund returned to England, and war became necessary. Great
preparations were made; alliances were formed on the north-east of
France; money was granted by Parliament. This proving insufficient,
no less than half their property was demanded from the clergy.
An insurrection in Wales, and the news that an alliance had been
formed between Philip and the Scotch, rendered the preparations

It was plain to Edward that it was worth risking his foreign
dominions to consolidate his power as King of Great Britain. For
the present, therefore, he left Gascony alone, and turned his
arms against Scotland. Engaged at once in a war with France, with
Scotland, and with Wales, he found it necessary to raise supplies
from all branches of his subjects. A genuine Parliament was
therefore called in October, in which all estates were represented,
and which has been considered the true origin of our Parliament as
it now exists. The three Estates granted the supply as different
orders; and it was not without difficulty that the clergy,
suffering from the late enormous exaction, were induced to grant
him a tenth. The other estates seem to have come readily to his
assistance at this great crisis.

[Sidenote: Edward marches into Scotland. 1296.]

[Sidenote: Defeat of Scotch at Dunbar.]

[Sidenote: Submission of Balliol and Scotland.]

In March a large army was assembled at Newcastle, and while the
Scotch crossed the borders and ravaged Cumberland with savage
ferocity,[49] Edward pushed forward into Scotland. In three days
Berwick was captured. While still before that place, he received
from Balliol, who seems to have been under some constraint,
renunciation of his allegiance; and before the end of April brought
his army, under the Earl of Surrey and Warrenne, to Dunbar. The
Scotch advanced to meet him, occupying the higher ground; but
foolishly mistaking the movements of the English army in the
valley for a flight, they left their strong position, and were
hopelessly routed, with a loss of 10,000 men. This battle decided
the fate of Scotland. Several of the great Earls and many knights
were taken prisoners. The King met no further opposition in his
march through Edinburgh to Perth. On the 10th of July, Balliol
made his submission, was allowed to live under supervision in
the Tower of London, whence he afterwards proceeded to Normandy;
and Edward henceforth acted no longer as feudal superior, but as
King. At a Parliament held at Berwick, he received the fealty of
the clergy, gentry, and barons of Scotland, whose names, filling
thirty-five skins of parchment, are still preserved among the
English archives. Scotland was left as much as possible in its old
condition, but the Earl of Warenne and Surrey was made Guardian;
Hugh de Cressingham, Treasurer; William of Ormsby, Justiciary; and
an Exchequer was established in the English fashion. At the same
time the coronation stone of Scone was removed to Westminster,
where it still is. Edward had thus completed his first conquest of
Scotland. Both legally and politically, his conduct is justifiable.
The consolidation of Great Britain was a most desirable object.
The French alliance, the invasion of England, and the renunciation
of vassalage, constituted by feudal law a sufficient cause for
confiscating the possessions of a vassal prince. But this leaves
untouched the question, how far it is right to annex a free people
against their will? It must be remembered that the submission of
Scotland had been made by the nobility only, who were in fact
Normans, and many of them English Barons.

[Sidenote: Refusal of the clergy to grant subsidies. Nov. 3. 1296.]

[Sidenote: Clergy outlawed.]

Freed from danger on the side of Scotland, Edward was now at
liberty to turn his attention towards France. But his late
exertions had caused great expenditure, to which had been added
the subsidies by which he had been compelled to purchase the
alliance of the Princes on the north-east of France. To meet this
necessity, a Parliament was summoned at Bury St. Edmunds, at
which the Barons and Commons gave fresh grants. But the clergy,
driven to extremity by the King’s late demands upon them, found
themselves in a position to refuse. Benedict of Gaita had lately
been elected Pope, under the title of Boniface VIII., and had at
once entered upon a policy resembling that of the great Popes
of the twelfth century. He had issued a Bull known by the name
of “Clericis Laicos,” in which he had forbidden the clergy to
pay taxes to their temporal sovereign. Backed by this authority,
Archbishop Winchelsea refused in the name of the clergy to make any
grant to Edward. The clergy, it was said, owed allegiance to two
sovereigns--the one temporal, the other spiritual. Their obedience
was due first to their spiritual chief. An exemption from taxation
of the Church, which had rapidly been growing enormously wealthy,
would have crippled Edward’s resources. He had already accepted
the principle, that all should be consulted and all pay in matters
touching the advantage of all. He proceeded at once, therefore, to
meet the claim in his usual legal fashion. If the clergy would not
help him, he would not protect the clergy. The Chief Justice was
ordered to announce publicly from the bench in Westminster Hall,
that no justice would be done the clergy in the King’s Court, but
would nevertheless be done to all manner of persons who had any
complaint against them. Nor was this sentence of outlawry a vain
one; the tenants began at once to refuse to pay their rents, the
Church property was seized, and the owners could get no redress.
This severe treatment induced many of the clergy to make their
submission, but the Archbishop still held out.

[Sidenote: Barons too refuse to help Edward.]

[Sidenote: Compromise with the clergy.]

[Sidenote: Edward secures an illegal grant.]

Matters thus remained till another Parliament met at Salisbury
in February 1297, when, the Barons only being summoned, the King
explained his plan for the war with France. He was under pledge
to pay subsidies, and to bring an army to his allies in Flanders.
This army he would personally command. He wished his Constable and
Marshall, the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk, to take charge of a
second army destined for Guienne. These two noblemen positively
refused. They had learnt law from their King, and alleged as their
excuse, which was evidently only a technical one, that they were
only bound to follow the King in person. They then withdrew from
the Assembly, which broke up, with nothing done. The King, in want
of money, gave free vent to his arbitrary temper, seized the wool
of his merchants, and ordered large requisitions of provisions
to be made in the counties, for which, however, he promised
future payment. In the following March, Winchelsea had a personal
interview with the King, in which he appears to have arranged some
sort of temporary compromise; for immediately afterwards a meeting
of the clergy was held, in which he recommended them to act each
for himself as best he could. Determined to proceed in spite of
all opposition, the King summoned the whole military force of the
kingdom to meet him at London on the 7th of July. There the Earls
still refused to do their duty, and fresh officers were appointed
in their place. The King reconciled himself with the clergy, and
appointed the Archbishop one of the counsellors who were to act
as advisers to his young son Edward, in whose hands he left the
government. He also induced those nobles and Commons who were with
him, though in no sense a Parliament, to make him a money grant.
They gave him an eighth of the moveables of the barons and knights,
a fifth of the cities and boroughs. This grant was given expressly
for a promised confirmation of the charters. This seems to show
what the real point at issue was. The King’s excessive arbitrary
taxation had aroused the old feeling which had produced the
baronial wars of the preceding reign. The clergy were also asked
for a grant in a convocation held upon the 10th of August. It was
there decided that there was good hope that leave would be given
them to make a grant. On this the King acted, and ordered a levy of
what amounted to a fifth on all their revenue, both temporal and

[Sidenote: The Earls demand the confirmation of the charters.]

[Sidenote: It is granted with reservations.]

Shortly after this, he received the demands of the refractory
Earls, complaining of the non-observance of the charters, of the
tallages, aids and requisitions, and of the tax on wool. Declining
to give an answer at present, on the 22nd of August he set sail
for Flanders. On the very next day the Earls appeared in the
Exchequer Chamber, and peremptorily forbad the collection of the
irregularly granted eighth, until the charters had been signed
which had been the express condition of the grant. The necessity
for concession had become obvious, and in a Parliament summoned
on the 6th of October, the promised confirmation was given by the
Prince. The Earls, who appeared in arms, with troops, insisted upon
the addition of some supplementary clauses, which have since been
known as the statute “De tallagio non concedendo.” They further
demanded that the late grant should be considered illegal; it was
therefore cancelled, and a new constitutional grant of a ninth was
made in its place. Prince Edward’s confirmation was renewed by the
King in person at Ghent. It was again renewed, in 1299, with an
unsatisfactory clause “saving the rights of the Crown,” which the
King was obliged subsequently to remove, and finally, in 1301, at
the Parliament of Lincoln. The charters thus confirmed were the
amended charter of Henry III., the additions to it were contained
in the supplementary articles of the two Earls, which forbid
what had hitherto been undoubtedly constitutional, the arbitrary
tallaging of towns and taxing of wool. They contained however
a clause “saving the old rights of the King,” and Edward took
advantage of this afterwards, in 1304, to continue the old wool-tax
and to tallage the towns in his own domain.[50]

[Sidenote: Appearance of Wallace.]

It was the dangerous condition of his affairs which induced the
King to yield to the pressure of the Barons; for in the spring of
1297, Wallace had made his appearance in Scotland. The younger son
of a small proprietor in Elderslie, and without means of his own,
he had established his fame as a guerilla leader. In the woods and
mountains he collected a band of outlaws, with whom he attacked
isolated parties of English, all of whom were at once put to
death. His cruelties especially against the nuns and priests are
described as most revolting. Cressingham, Treasurer of Scotland,
foolishly despised him, and thus allowed the insurrection to gain
head. He was joined by Sir William Douglas; but on the whole was
both disliked and despised by the Scotch nobility. At length,
as his followers had increased to an army, and threatened the
fortress of Stirling, it became necessary to take measures against
him. Warrenne, Earl of Surrey, and Cressingham, raised an army,
and advanced to the Forth. The armies met early in September
at Cambuskenneth, near Stirling. The river is there spanned
by a narrow bridge, at the north end of which the Scotch were
strongly posted. With overweening folly, Cressingham insisted on
an immediate advance across the bridge. The natural consequence
followed; when a small portion of the English had crossed, and were
thus cut off from support, the Scotch fell on them and completely
routed them. Warrenne, an old and feeble man, took to hasty flight,
and the army was in fact destroyed. This victory was followed up
by a fierce invasion of the north of England. Wallace seems to
have collected troops by violent means; he then led them across
the English border, and sweeping it lengthwise from Newcastle to
Carlisle, “he left nothing behind him but blood and ashes.”[51] His
cruelties were indeed beyond description, and could not but have
filled the English with horror, something akin to that which the
English in India must have felt at the outbreak of the mutiny.

[Sidenote: Treaty with France. 1299.]

Edward’s expedition to Flanders had been a failure. The people in
the cities, angry with his interference in the wool trade, were
opposed to him; his allies had been tampered with by Philip, who
had also won a victory over them at Furnes; the Pope was urging
peace; and Edward, who always regarded his French affairs as
secondary, made a truce before the end of the year 1297, which two
years afterwards ripened under the arbitration of Boniface to the
Treaty of Chartres. By that treaty, Guienne was restored to the
English King, who withdrew his support from his Flemish allies;
while Philip in return gave up the cause of the Scotch. The treaty
was cemented by a double marriage. Edward himself married Margaret,
the French King’s sister; while his son Edward was betrothed to
Isabella, Philip’s daughter.

[Sidenote: Edward returns and invades Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Defeats Wallace at Falkirk.]

[Sidenote: Comyn’s regency.]

Shortly after his return, Edward advanced to revenge the insults
of Wallace, who had meantime unwisely taken the title of the
Guardian of the Kingdom, thus still further exciting the jealousy
of the nobles. He retired before the English army, laying waste
the country behind him, and Edward had almost been starved into a
retreat, when two Scotch Earls told him that Wallace was in the
woods in his immediate neighbourhood. Edward at once advanced to
meet him. Wallace, with his infantry formed into solid squares,
awaited his attack. Such horse as he had fled without striking a
blow. The arrows of the English archers broke the squares, and the
7000 heavy armed English cavalry had no difficulty in completing
the victory. Wallace fled, and resumed his outlaw’s life, nor does
he again play a prominent part in history. In 1305, he was betrayed
by one of his own followers named Jack Short to Sir John Monteith,
by whom he was given up to the English King, and suffered death,
with all the extreme penalties of the law.[52] The bitter feeling
his outrages had caused in England made any other fate impossible.
But though Wallace sinks into obscurity, his work had not been
without effect. The southern counties were so ravaged that the
King could not maintain an army there, and had to retire from the
country, which passed into the hands of a temporary regency, at the
head of which was Comyn.

[Sidenote: Parliament of Lincoln.]

For several years the steps taken for the reduction of Scotland
were marked by great weakness. Edward’s energy was paralyzed,
partly by the affairs in France, partly by questions arising with
regard to the charters in England. Frequent complaints had been
raised with regard to infringements of the Charter of Forests. It
was to settle these complaints, and to discuss an extraordinary
claim raised by Pope Boniface, that a Parliament was assembled at
Lincoln in 1301. With regard to the charter the King yielded, and
a considerable disafforesting of districts illegally included
within the limits of the forests took place. Pleased with the
King’s constitutional conduct, the baronage joined heartily in
the rejection of the Papal claim. Boniface had issued a mandate
desiring the King to abstain from all further attacks on Scotland,
“which did and doth still belong in full right to the Church of
Rome.” This mandate was delivered while Edward was in Scotland,
and Boniface’s position as arbiter between Edward and the King of
France prevented him from at once rejecting it. It is probable
that Boniface was only asserting his position as guardian of
international law, but the English treated the claim as serious.
When it was brought before Parliament, the baronage replied that
the kingdom of Scotland never had belonged to the See of Rome, and
that they, the Barons of England, would not allow Edward, even if
he wished it, to surrender the rights of the Crown. It was not till
1303 that Edward was able to resume his conquest of that kingdom.
Early in that year he ordered his Barons to assist John Segrave,
Governor of Scotland, in marching from Berwick to Edinburgh. But
that General mismanaged his march, and as he approached Roslin on
the way to Edinburgh, in three divisions, he was fallen upon by
Comyn, and his army defeated in detail.

[Sidenote: Fresh invasion of Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Second conquest of Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Bruce murders Comyn, and rebels.]

[Sidenote: Preparations for fourth invasion.]

[Sidenote: Edward’s death near Carlisle.]

The King had thus much to revenge when, in June, he began his
march. On this occasion he was accompanied by a fleet to bring
his supplies. He thus avoided the difficulty which the desolate
state of the country had hitherto presented. He pushed onward
into the far North. On returning he took up his abode for a
time in Dunfermline. Most of the Scotch Barons there sought and
obtained pardon, and at length Comyn, who had been the leader of
the rebellion, made a treaty in Fife, by which the Lords agreed
to suffer any pecuniary fine Edward thought fit, and the castles
and government were to be in Edward’s hands. One stronghold only
refused to obey this treaty. Sir William Oliphant held the fortress
of Stirling, and it required three months to reduce its gallant
defenders to submission. This was the last opposition Edward had
to fear; he at once admitted the Scotch to pardon, and settled the
country, placing his chief confidence apparently in Wishart, Bishop
of St. Andrews, John de Mowbray and Robert Bruce. It was soon seen
how little reliance could be put on the first and last of these

Robert Bruce was the grandson of the claimant of the Scotch throne;
his grandfather had been an English judge, his father a constant
friend of Edward. It was only by marriage that the family had
acquired the estates of Carrick and Annandale. He was therefore
to all intents and purposes an Englishman, or rather a Norman
Baron, possessed of that peculiar characteristic of the race which
rendered it in fact a race of adventurers, with the constant hope
of winning great things before their minds. The instances of
Norman Barons who had won earldoms, kingdoms and empires, were
too numerous not to have had effect upon aspiring members of the
race. Bruce had up to this time played a somewhat vacillating
game, but on the whole, perhaps because of his feud with Balliol,
he had remained faithful to Edward. He seems now to have thought
his opportunity had arrived. It may perhaps have been the King’s
growing infirmities that encouraged him. At all events, early in
February 1306, he murdered in the church of Dumfries Comyn, who,
in accordance with the interpretation of the law which Edward
had recognized, stood next to the Balliols in succession to the
Scotch throne, and who, since he had last submitted to Edward, had
been true to him. Bruce then, joined by a few nobles, raised the
standard of revolt. He proceeded at once to Scone, and there, in
March, was crowned by Wishart and other of Edward’s Commissioners.
This unexpected insurrection from those whom he had trusted
roused Edward to extreme anger. With great pomp, at a meeting at
Westminster, he knighted his son, and took a solemn oath to avenge
John Comyn’s death. Carlisle was the point of rendezvous, but
already Bruce had been defeated at Methven near Perth by Aymer de
Valence, Earl of Pembroke, and was wandering barefoot and in misery
among the hills and woods of the country. He was reduced to demand
the pity of the King, but was refused; and a severe ordinance was
issued that all abettors of the murder of Comyn should be hanged,
and that all those who assisted Bruce should be imprisoned. The
ordinance was carried out with severity. Nigel Bruce, two Seatons,
the Earl of Athole and Simon Fraser, were all executed, and the
Countess of Buchan, who had crowned Bruce, was imprisoned, with
ironical cruelty, in a crown-shaped cage. But Bruce himself was not
taken, and issuing from his fastnesses, he inflicted many losses by
surprise upon the English. He even in his turn defeated the Earl of
Pembroke, and shortly after the Earl of Gloucester; and Edward was
rousing himself to attack him, though scarcely able to mount his
horse, when he died upon the march.

[Sidenote: Constitutional importance of the reign.]

The mere narration of the political facts of the reign, although
it brings out prominently much of Edward’s greatness, gives no
idea of the real constitutional importance of his work. Not only
was he the first truly English King, both by his circumstances
and political views, but he became, in virtue of his love of order
and legal arrangement, the completer of the English Constitution.
In the first place, it is to him that we owe the perfection of
the Parliamentary system, of the complete representation in
Parliament of the three Estates of the realm, the Lords, Commons,
and Clergy. For it is plain that it was his intention to combine
the three, although the clergy refused to accede to his wish, and
preferred to tax themselves separately in Convocation; a body which
however, as will be afterwards seen, also owes its representative
arrangements to him. The gradual introduction of the representative
system of the counties has been mentioned. Again and again, on
special occasions, knights, to represent the shire and to give
information with regard to their counties, had been summoned. Simon
de Montfort had even introduced representation of the boroughs; but
this was regarded as wholly exceptional. Nevertheless, Edward was
not long in seeing both the justice and advantage of the system.
In the first Parliament of his reign, when enacting the first
great Statute of Westminster, a healing and restorative measure
applicable to the whole country, he said that he made it with the
consent of the _commonalty_; there were possibly representatives of
the counties present; more probably their consent was arrived at
in some other way. At the same time, the high view which he took
of his own constitutional position is marked by a change in the
ordinary form of enactment. Statutes had hitherto been enacted “by
the counsel and consent of Parliament.” The alteration of a few
letters changed the meaning of this phrase. The present statute was
said to be enacted “by the King by the advice of his Council and
the assent of Parliament.” The legislative power was thus made to
reside in the King and his Council. It is the power thus claimed
which gave rise to the legislative, or rather the ordaining power
claimed by the King in Council, which was afterwards frequently
complained of by the Parliament. But Edward, in spite of these
pretensions, accepted the view that all should be consulted where
the interests of all were at stake. This was of course chiefly
in the matter of taxation, and the convenience as well as the
justice of the method which Simon de Montfort had set on foot soon
became evident to his mind. From the beginning of this reign, the
method of taxation had been changed. Instead of an aid, raised
from the land, it had become a subsidy raised by an assessment
on the moveables of the people. Most frequently the proportion
granted was a tenth or fifteenth, but in these early times every
variety of proportion was granted. As yet, however, these taxes
had been collected locally in accordance with arrangements made
by Exchequer officers, sheriffs, or the county court. In 1282,
the King, being in want of money for his Welsh wars, proceeded by
his ordinary method. The sums raised locally were insufficient;
while his Barons were with him at the wars it was inconvenient to
hold a Parliament; writs were issued therefore to the sheriffs
and archbishops to collect their two Estates, the Commons and the
clergy, at two centres, York and Northampton. At these meetings
were present four representative knights from each county, and
all freeholders of more than one knight’s fee. The Commons made
their grant of a thirtieth. The assemblies of the clergy declined,
until the parochial clergy were represented. For this purpose the
election of Proctors was then ordered, and they have since formed
a regular part of the Convocation. These negotiations were not
completed when what is called the Parliament of Acton Burnell was
summoned to settle the affairs of Wales. At that meeting there
were present no clergy, and representatives of twenty towns only,
summoned separately. In 1290, a further proof is given that for
taxation by subsidy the representation of the Commons was beginning
to be considered necessary. In that year an old-fashioned feudal
aid was granted for the marriage of the King’s daughter. It was
granted by the baronage for the whole commonalty, and was in the
old form of land-tax, but the Commons being subsequently present,
it was changed at their request to a fifteenth. It was possible for
the baronage to grant the aid upon military tenants, but the rest
of the people could not be reached. Two principles had by this time
been established,--that the clergy should be fully represented, and
that for subsidies upon the whole kingdom it was both convenient
and just that the Commons should in some way be represented; but
it was not yet held necessary for feudal matters, or for questions
touching the baronage only, that the Commons should be present.
Indeed, at this very Parliament, the statute “Quia Emptores” was
passed by the Barons before the Commons assembled. All these
preparatory steps found their completion in the Parliament of 1295,
when writs were issued to the Archbishops to appear themselves, and
to send Proctors to Westminster; to the Prelates and Barons, as
Peers, and to the sheriffs, summoning the knights of the counties,
and two burghers from each town.[53] There was thus a Parliament
complete in all its parts, such as it has since remained. We must
not suppose, however, that the Estates acted in common, or that
the Commons had much voice in the deliberation. At this very
Parliament of 1295, the grant of each order was different, nor
was it till 1318, in Edward II.’s reign, that the Commons can be
considered as perfectly incorporated in the Legislative Assembly.
The constitutional view at present was, that the King, with the
assent of his Barons, granted the petitions of the Commons and the

[Sidenote: Great statutes of the reign.]

The great statutes which were passed in these various Parliaments
must now be mentioned. Those which were of most general national
interest were the First Statute of Westminster, which, as has been
before said, revived and re-established the old constitutions of
the country, and limited the employment of feudal aids; and the
Statute of Winchester, passed in 1285, which was a re-enactment
and completion of the Assize of Arms established by Henry II., and
aimed at once at the defence and police of the country. It laid
upon the counties, under heavy penalties, the duty of indicting
felons and robbers, ordered the police arrangements of walled
towns, the enlargement and clearing of the edges of public roads,
and further defined the arms which each class of the population
was bound to procure for the preservation of the land. Constables
and justices were to be appointed to see to the proper observance
of this statute, from whom subsequently grew the justices of the
peace. Some such statute was indeed very necessary, and even its
stringent provisions were not sufficient to establish order. In
1305, England was full of riotous outlaws, who were willing to
hire themselves out for purposes of private outrage when they were
not plying their own trade of robbery; these were known by the
name of “trail-bâtons.” To suppress them it was found necessary to
issue commissions to travelling justices, empowering them to act
summarily towards such breakers of the peace. Their strictness is
mentioned in the political songs of the day. It was impossible,
it was said, any longer to beat your children, you were at once
punished as a trail-bâton.[54] Even the stringency of these
measures of suppression mark Edward’s love of order. Lastly, must
be mentioned the great Acts for the confirmation of the charters,
which are sometimes regarded as the statute “De tallagio non
concedendo.” From this time forward arbitrary tallages, though
occasionally used, began to be regarded as illegal.

There were also two great statutes bearing almost entirely upon the
feudal relations of landed proprietors. The first was the statute
of “Quia Emptores” (1290), which forbad subinfeudation and the
formation of new manors. Its original object was to prevent feudal
lords from being defrauded of their dues. Henceforward, property
alienated ceased to belong in any sense to the subordinate grantor,
and returned to the property of the lord superior of the whole
estate. The effect, unforeseen by the enacters, was to increase the
number of independent gentry holding immediately from the crown or
from the great lords. The second statute is known by the name of
the Second Statute of Westminster, or “De donis conditionalibus.”
When an estate had been given to a man and to his children, it had
hitherto been held sufficient that the child should be born. The
estate had then become the absolute property of the man to whom it
had been granted, and he could alienate it at his will. It was now
enacted that he had but a life interest in it, that if his children
were not living at his death, it reverted to the original grantor.
Thus was established the power of entail. There remains one great
statute to be mentioned, the Statute of Mortmain. This was aimed
against the increasing power and wealth of the Church, and against
a legal trick by which laymen had freed themselves from feudal
liabilities. It had become a custom to give property to the Church
and to receive it back as tenant of the Church, thus freed from
obligation to lay superiors. At the same time, even though this
device was not used, the accumulation of property in the hands of
the Church withdrew it from many feudal duties. It passed, it was
said, “in mortuam manum”--into a dead hand. All transactions by
which lands or tenements could in any way pass into mortmain were
now forbidden. The same spirit which produced these laws had been
felt in the administration of justice, where the three courts of
Exchequer, King’s Bench and Common Pleas were finally separated,
and each provided with a full staff of officials. Even from this
short sketch of the work of Edward I. may be gathered the great
constitutional importance of the reign.



                     Born 1284 = Isabella of France.
      |           |               |                 |
  Edward III.   John, Earl of   Joan = David II.  Eleanor = Duke of
                  Cornwall.                                 Gueldres.

                            CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._    |   _France._        |   _Germany._      |  _Spain._
                   |                    |                   |
  Robert I., 1306. | Philip IV., 1285.  | Albert, 1298.     | Ferdinand IV.,
                   | Louis X., 1314.    | Henry VII., 1308. |    1295.
                   | Philip V., 1316.   | Louis IV., 1313.  | Alphonso XI.,
                   | Charles IV., 1322. |                   |    1312.

  POPES.--Clement V., 1305. Vacancy for two years. John XXII., 1316.

      _Archbishops._    |              _Chancellors._
  Robert of Winchelsea, | John Langton, 1307.     John de Salmon, 1320.
       1308-1313.       | Walter Reynolds, 1310.  Robert de Baldock, 1323.
   Walter Reynolds,     | John de Sandale, 1314.  Adam de Orleton, 1327.
       1313-1327.       | John de Hotham, 1318.

  _Note._--The names of the Justiciaries, who now became legal
  rather than political officers, are no longer given. Throughout,
  the names under the head of Spain are those of the Kings of

The reign of Edward II. affords the best apology for any excessive
exertions of power which can be laid to the charge of Edward I.
It is plain that there existed a readiness on the part of the
nobles to take advantage of any weakness in the government of their
ruler; on the part of the clergy to reclaim the liberties of their
order; and of the lower classes to find a popular hero in every
opponent of the government. It would seem indeed that there was no
alternative between a strong and practically despotic government
and anarchy. It was not till the feudal barons of England had had
their fill of anarchy in the Wars of the Roses, and had destroyed
themselves, that constitutional government, in our sense of the
word, had a chance of existence, and our sympathies are constantly
divided between the Church and barons, whose efforts alone promised
freedom, and the power of the encroaching ruler, who alone ensured
order. For the weakling who could secure neither one nor the other
we can feel no sympathy. In the reign of Edward II. we feel as
if we had fallen back again to the time of his grandfather. The
great question at issue throughout is the same--Shall foreigners,
or indeed any other king-chosen favourites, supersede the national
oligarchy of great barons? The constant prominence of this question
(which in the present reign was further embittered by the personal
character of one at least of the favourites) renders it very
difficult to distinguish the part played by real patriotic demands
for good government and for constitutional limits to the royal
power. It is pretty clear that the favourites were the chief cause
of the disturbances of the reign; but, on the other hand, the
evident advantages offered by some of the baronial claims, and the
love of the populace, who ranked even Lancaster with its saints,
compel us to believe that these turbulent disturbers of the peace
were worthy of some sympathy.

[Sidenote: Edward’s friendship for Gaveston.]

[Sidenote: Barons demand his dismissal. March 3, 1308.]

When the late King died in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, he
believed that the war with Scotland would have been carried on by
his son, of whom he was very fond; while he thought he had secured
him from that danger which he had already foreseen would beset
his reign, by insisting on the dismissal of his favourite, Piers
Gaveston. Gaveston was a young man of Gascon or Basque origin, of
greater refinement apparently than the rough barons of England,
their equal, if not their superior, in martial exercises, and
possessing those courtly tastes for music and the arts which marked
the young King. But Edward disappointed his father’s hopes. He
had already (before his father had insisted on the dismissal of
Gaveston) gone so far as to beg for him, though in vain, the royal
county of Ponthieu. On his father’s death he immediately recalled
him. A hasty and ineffectual march into Scotland, where Aymer de
Valence was left as lieutenant, was all that came of the great
preparations at Carlisle, and the King’s mind seemed to be occupied
in lavishing favours on his friend. He gave him the Earldom of
Cornwall, hitherto an appanage of some royal prince. He seized the
property of Walter, Bishop of Lichfield, who in the late reign
had opposed him in his office as treasurer, and bestowed it on
Gaveston; and after that young man had, by his ostentation, by his
success in the lists, and by a reckless use of his happy gift of
applying nicknames, excited the anger of the great nobles, Edward
was foolish enough, on leaving England to do homage for his French
dominions, to leave him as Governor of the country. Consequently,
no sooner was he crowned than the Barons demanded in Parliament the
dismissal of the favourite. The demand could not be refused, and
Edward promised to accede to it, but proved at the same time how
determined he was to evade his promise, by not only bestowing fresh
grants on Gaveston, but by appointing him Lord Deputy of Ireland.
There for a year he reigned with almost royal power.

[Sidenote: Gaveston’s return.]

The quarrel thus begun became the chief question of the reign. All
other matters, even the conquest of Scotland, were subordinated
to it; and while it was continuing, Bruce was quietly subduing
fortress after fortress, and subjugating the whole south of
Scotland. In the following year, the King still further showed his
untrustworthiness by receiving Gaveston back in England. He met
him with great marks of affection at Chester, having probably had
recourse already to that dangerous expedient, a Papal dispensation
from his promises. In fact, again like his grandfather, Edward
found it expedient throughout his reign to keep on very friendly
terms with the Pope, and to back his authority by the undefined
power which the Head of the Church still wielded. It has been seen
how even his great father was unable to resist this temptation.
Clement V., an obsequious servant of the French King, and reigning
at Avignon, was very different from the formidable Boniface
VIII. There was no difficulty in persuading him to renew the old
alliance with the sovereign which placed the Church at his mercy.
Moreover, at this time he was anxious, in the interests of his
master, to procure Edward’s co-operation in the unprincipled
destruction of the order of the Temple. Philip IV. of France,
urged by an avaricious desire to confiscate the vast property of
this order, had set on foot the most extraordinary reports of
their licentiousness and blasphemy. In October 1307, all their
establishments were laid hands on, the inmates imprisoned, their
wealth confiscated. He then, in union with the Pope, begged all
his neighbours to adopt a similar course. Edward II. consented,
and in January 1308, all the Templars in England were imprisoned.
They were tried by the Church on the accusation of the Pope. In
France, torture, and the skill of Philip’s lawyers, had produced
certain confessions, on which the King acted, and the Order was
there destroyed, its Grand Master, James de Molé, being burnt
as a heretic. In England, not even torture, which was now first
used,[55] could produce any important revelations. The inquiries
lasted till 1311. Eventually, certain supposed proofs of heterodoxy
having been produced, some of the Knights were confined in
monasteries, the Order suppressed, and their property given to the

[Sidenote: General discontent and Statute of Stamford.]

[Sidenote: Appointment of the Lords Ordainers.]

The effect of Gaveston’s return, and the renewal of Papal
influence, was of course to increase the discontent, till, on
the 27th of July, at a Parliament held at Stamford, the King was
compelled to give his consent to a statute of reform. By this the
first Statute of Westminster was renewed, the undue power exercised
by the constables of the royal castles, and the extortions of the
officers of the royal household, were checked; all old taxes upon
wool and hides beyond the legal customs were removed; while, at the
same time, a general letter was directed to the Pope, begging him
to abstain from his exactions. The storm continued to rise. Very
shortly after this, the great Earls of Lancaster, Lincoln, Warwick,
and others, refused to appear at a meeting at York, if Gaveston
were present. A meeting summoned in London at the beginning of the
following year met with no better success. The Barons threatened
to appear in arms if they appeared at all. The King, in fear,
concealed Gaveston for a time; the Barons then indeed came, but
came only to demand a complete reformation in the government, to
which the King was compelled to give his consent. The precedent in
his grandfather’s reign was then followed. From the present March
to Michaelmas of the following year the government was placed
in the hands of a commission of twenty-one members, who were to
produce ordinances of general reform. Pending the production
of these ordinances, some preliminary articles were at once
established. For the payment of the King’s debts grants were to
be recalled, and his expensive housekeeping was to be limited.
To satisfy the national feeling, and in the hope of lightening
the taxes, the Italian house of the Frescobaldi, who had hitherto
farmed them, was to be deprived of that advantage, and Englishmen
alone were to be employed in their collection; and before all
things, the charters of liberty were to be observed.

[Sidenote: Useless assault on Scotland. 1311.]

[Sidenote: The Ordinances published.]

[Sidenote: Policy of the opposition.]

[Sidenote: Gaveston banished.]

Hoping, probably, to gain popularity for himself and his favourite,
and to be thus able to get rid of the Barons’ interference, Edward
determined on an expedition to Scotland; but the great Barons, on
the plea that they were busied with their ordinances, refused to
accompany him. Some of his immediate adherents, such as Gloucester,
Warrenne, his half-brother, Thomas, Earl of Norfolk,[56] and
Gaveston, alone went with him. His hopes of gaining popularity by
victory were disappointed. The Scotch retired before him. Though
Gaveston crossed the Forth, he could not bring on an engagement;
and when the English retreated, the Scotch hung upon their rear,
and pursued their advantages into the county of Durham. In his
necessity, the King was driven to illegal actions. He appropriated
the property of the Earl of Lincoln and of the Bishop of Durham,
and taxed the province of Canterbury. The Parliament, therefore,
was in no improved temper when Edward, leaving Gaveston in the
protection of Lady de Vescy, went to meet it in London in October.
The Ordinances were there produced. In addition to the articles
already granted, there were others which seem to explain the policy
of the opposition, and to show the chief forms of misgovernment at
that time prevalent. No war was to be carried on without consent
of Parliament;--taken in connection with the conduct of Bohun
and Bigod in the last reign, with the abstention of the Barons
from the war with Scotland, and with the treaty between Bruce and
Lancaster, which will be afterwards mentioned, this seems to show
that the Barons desired a complete settlement of England before
engaging in foreign wars. All taxes upon wool and other exports
since the coronation of Edward I. were to be removed:--the Barons
seem to have seen that export duties are a tax on production, and
are advantageous in the long run to foreign manufactures only.
The great officers of state were to be nominated with consent of
Parliament; while, to complete the system, the sheriffs, whom
Edward I. had made elective, were to be nominated by these great
officers; in other words, the royal power was to be restricted by
a baronial oligarchy. Parliament was to be held at least once a
year, which, considering that his father had held at least three
Parliaments a year, seems to show a tendency on the part of the
King to arbitrary government. Bad companions were to be removed
from the King, and his household reformed. Many of these companions
are mentioned by name, and appear to have been foreigners. The
King’s tastes had collected around him foreigners connected with
display of the arts, and on them he had lavished favours, which
excited the national feeling. But the chief attack after all was
upon Gaveston, his countryman De Beaumont, and his sister, Lady de
Vescy. It was ordered that Gaveston should leave the kingdom by the
port of Dover on the 1st of November, and never again enter any
territory belonging to the English Crown.[57]

[Sidenote: His reappearance with the King. 1312.]

[Sidenote: The baronial chiefs.]

[Sidenote: Gaveston beheaded at Warwick.]

In pursuance of these Ordinances, Gaveston left England, and
took refuge in Flanders. But before the year was over he again
appeared in England, and joined Edward as he hurried to the North,
to be, as he believed, less within the reach of his enemies. At
Knaresborough, Edward thought himself strong enough to put forward
a proclamation declaring the banishment of Gaveston contrary to the
Constitution. He readmitted him to favour, and restored him his
property. It was even reported that he was intriguing to secure
him a retreat in Scotland. This flagrant violation of his word set
all England against the King. The old Archbishop Winchelsea of
Canterbury, as in the last reign, became a centre of revolution; he
excommunicated Gaveston, while the Barons, at the head of whom were
now the Earls of Lancaster and Hereford, proceeded to take active
measures. This Lancaster was the eldest son of Edmund, brother
of Edward I. His power in England was enormous; he was Earl of
five counties. From his father he had received Lancaster and the
confiscated estates of De Montfort and Ferrers, the Earldoms namely
of Leicester and Derby; he had married the heiress of the De Lacys,
and upon the death of the Earl of Lincoln had succeeded to the
Earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury. He began that opposition, which
will be frequently mentioned afterwards, of the younger branch of
the Plantagenets to the reigning house. Hereford, the son of the
great Humphrey Bohun, was the hereditary chief of the baronial
party. He had married Elizabeth, the King’s sister. The leaders of
the baronial party agreed to repair to those parts of England where
they had most influence. Lancaster proceeded northwards so rapidly,
that the King had to fly before him, and was nearly captured at
Newcastle, where Gaveston’s jewels and horses fell into Lancaster’s
hands, and thence he took ship for Scarborough. Lancaster took
up his position in the middle of England, while the rest of the
baronial party besieged Gaveston in that fortress, where he was
soon obliged to surrender. This he did to the Earl of Pembroke,
who was no enemy to the King, upon a promise that if he could not
come to terms with the Barons he should be restored to Scarborough.
Pembroke persuaded him to go with him to his castle at Wallingford,
but on the way, during a temporary absence of Pembroke, he was
surprised by Warwick, who hated him for having nicknamed him “The
Black Dog,” brought to his castle of Warwick, and there beheaded on
Blacklow Hill. The King was naturally full of anger, nor did he, in
fact, ever forgive Lancaster, but he yielded to necessity, being
perhaps in a particularly good humour at the birth of a son and
heir; and the Barons, who appeared in arms at Ware, all received
pardon in exchange for some slight concessions, among others for
the restoration of Gaveston’s jewels. It was not, however, till the
close of the following year that the pardons were completed, Edward
having in the meantime been to France.

[Sidenote: Renewal of war with Scotland. 1314.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Bannockburn.]

This closes the first period of the reign, but it is plain that
the Barons were not yet satisfied. Their chief enemy was removed,
but their policy was not accepted. Thus, when in 1314 the King
collected a large army, many of them still held aloof, though
they sent their forces. If Scotland was to be saved it was time
for energetic action. One by one the fortresses had been taken.
Stirling still held out, but the Governor promised to capitulate
unless relieved before St. John’s Day. By a rapid march Edward
reached the place before the fatal day. But Bruce was ready to
receive him. He had arranged his troops a little to the south and
east of the castle, with his right resting on the little brook
Bannockburn. His position was carefully prepared. His front was
partly covered by a marsh, and where this ceased and waste land
began he had dug shallow pitfalls, with a pointed stake in each,
to check the advance of the heavy cavalry, of which the English
army then consisted. His left was defended by the cliffs of the
castle. Edward Bruce commanded the right, Thomas Randolf the left,
Walter Stewart and James Douglas the centre, a small rearguard was
commanded by Bruce himself. On the eve of St. John’s the English
attempted to secure Stirling, but were beaten back by Randolf. On
the morning of the 24th of June, the Abbot of Inchaffray said mass
in the Scotch army. As they knelt, Edward exclaimed, “See, they
beg pardon.” But Ingram of Umfranville, a Scotch nobleman, by his
side, replied, “Yes, sire, but of Heaven, not of you.” Immediately
after this the battle began, and already the weight of the English
men-at-arms and the flights of arrows were thinning the Scotch
ranks, when Bruce fell upon the flank of the archers with his
reserve. The fortune of the day was still doubtful, when troops
were seen advancing with flying standards behind the Scotch. They
were the camp followers of Bruce’s army, who were eagerly pushing
forward to watch the fight, but the English believed it was the
arrival of reinforcements. They had already found enough to do, and
did not wait the new arrivals. The flight soon became a disorderly
rout. The horses stumbled and fell in the pitfalls or stuck fast in
the morass, and the Scotch pursued ruthlessly. With difficulty the
King, under the guidance of the Earl of Pembroke, escaped from the
field, and sought safety with a few hundred men in Dunbar, whence
he took ship to Berwick. The Earl of Gloucester, with great numbers
of Barons and Knights, were left dead upon the field, and during
the retreat the Earl of Hereford was captured at Bothwell. He was
subsequently exchanged for the Bishop of Glasgow and Bruce’s wife
and daughter, who had long been in honourable custody in England.

[Sidenote: Edward refuses to treat. Consequent disasters.]

Edward thought for a moment of renewing the war, and again summoned
a fresh army; but the condition of England rendered further
action impossible. The discontented Earls attributed the disaster
to the refusal of the King to accept the Ordinances, and to the
influence of his new favourites Beaumont and Despenser. Money,
too, was wanting; and the King’s renewed efforts to obtain it from
the clergy by means of the new Archbishop Walter were met with
firm opposition. But though war was useless, he would not listen
to Bruce’s overtures for peace, obstinately refusing to regard
that Prince in any other light than that of a rebel. The North of
England was thus left open to the fierce inroads of the Scotch.

[Sidenote: Wars in Wales and Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Edward Bruce’s invasion of Ireland.]

[Sidenote: He is crowned King. 1316.]

[Sidenote: Is killed at Dundalk.]

The loss of the English prestige was more disastrous than the
immediate loss of the battle. The Welsh and Irish thought their
opportunity had arrived for obtaining their independence. The
Welsh insurrection was indeed subdued after a year of fighting;
but it required three years before Ireland was again secured to
the English Crown. In that country Edward I. had done but little.
It was in its usual state of disorder. The feuds among the Norman
adventurers, to whom the conquest had been left, were scarcely
less constant or bitter than the wars among the native tribes who
surrounded them. Against these tribes, however, they exercised
the greatest cruelties. To be an Irishman was to be excluded from
all justice, to be classed at once as a robber and murderer. The
news of the Battle of Bannockburn induced the Irish to beg the
assistance of Bruce, and to offer him their crown. He declined it
for himself, but his brother Edward, as ambitious as the Scotch
King, accepted the offer. In May 1315 he landed, supported by the
great tribe of the O’Niells, and probably also by the Norman Lacys,
and was victorious over the combined forces of the Butlers and De
Burghs. In vain did Edward send John of Hotham, a clergyman, to
attempt some combination among the English and the Irish tribes.
The English dislike to the royal lieutenant Butler prevented
union, and in May 1316, O’Niell of Tyrone gave up his claim to
the Irish throne to Edward Bruce, who was crowned King. But a
series of separate attacks upon the natives was more successful.
At Athenry the O’Connors were almost exterminated. The arrival
of King Robert in Ulster, and a march in winter to Limerick and
Dublin, produced no permanent effect, and at length, in 1317,
Roger Mortimer, landing with a considerable army, succeeded in
establishing some order. The Lacys were executed for treason; the
tribes began quarrelling among themselves; and finally, in 1318,
Edward Bruce fell in a battle, in which he was defeated by John of
Birmingham, in the neighbourhood of Dundalk. The English government
was re-established in all its oppression.

[Sidenote: Distress in England.]

[Sidenote: Lancaster temporary minister. 1316.]

[Sidenote: Power of the Despensers.]

Meanwhile, England itself had been in a miserable plight. 1315 and
1316 were years of fearful famine. Prices rose to an unprecedented
height. Wheat was sold for 40 marks a quarter; and Parliament still
further aggravated the evil by fixing a maximum price, which for
a time closed the markets altogether. Terrible diseases followed
in the wake of the famine. Again and again the northern counties
were mercilessly ravaged; whole districts and dioceses were glad
to compound with the Scotch for safety. An attempt was made by a
Parliament in this year to re-establish the national prosperity,
by obliging the King to accept Lancaster as his chief minister.
Lancaster accepted this position, upon the condition that he
should be allowed to resign if the King refused to follow his
advice, or if men objectionable to Parliament were admitted to
the King’s Council. For a moment there was peace. The Ordinances
were accepted, and ordered to be published throughout the country.
But it was not in the King to act honourably when the fortunes of
his favourites were at stake; and Lancaster soon found himself
thwarted by the ever-increasing power of the Despensers. It was in
vain that Pope John XXII. was called in as a mediator. His legates
were equally unsuccessful in their attempts to heal the domestic
quarrels of the country and to establish a truce with Scotland.
Bruce refused to treat unless he was acknowledged as King. He
continued his enterprises, and captured the town of Berwick. The
legates could do nothing but put him under the ban of the Church.

[Sidenote: Temporary reconciliation in England.]

[Sidenote: Truce with Scotland. 1320.]

At last, in 1318, a crisis was reached. The necessity of union
against Scotland began to be obvious. The Despensers were for a
time removed from England, and a committee in the interest of
Lancaster was appointed to watch the royal action in the intervals
of Parliament. This temporary adjustment of affairs in England was
followed before long by a truce with Scotland. Edward tried and
failed in an attempt to regain Berwick. Another furious invasion
had ravaged the North of England, in which no less than eighty-four
towns and villages were burned. It was plain that the Scotch were
too strong for him. At the same time Bruce was anxious to be rid
of the excommunication, and agreed to waive his claim to the
obnoxious title. Under these circumstances there was no difficulty
in treating.

[Sidenote: The Welsh Marches quarrel with the Despensers.]

[Sidenote: Edward quarrels with the Marchers.]

[Sidenote: Hereford and Lancaster combine. 1321.]

[Sidenote: Despensers banished.]

It soon became evident that the late attempts at compromise between
the two parties in England were hollow. The question had to be
tried by an appeal to arms. Nothing could induce the King to get
rid of his favourites, nor the opposition to act in common with
them. It was a little private quarrel, and no great question,
which at length blew the smouldering discontent to a flame. The
marriage of young Hugh Despenser with the daughter of the Earl
of Gloucester, who had died at Bannockburn, had introduced a new
and objectionable power into the midst of the Welsh Marches. A
quarrel arose about a vacant fief, and the Marchers made common
cause against the favourite. The King ordered the question to be
settled before his own court, and subsequently before Parliament;
but Hereford refused to appear unless the Despensers were removed.
As the King vindicated his favourites, and refused to remove
them, Hereford marched northward, joined Lancaster, and made a
formal agreement with him that there should be no peace till
the Despensers were gone. The confederates came in arms to the
Parliament held at Westminster, found themselves completely master
of the King, presented him with eleven articles of reformation, and
procured from him, irregularly, and in spite of the protestations
of the clergy, the condemnation and banishment of the Despensers.
This condemnation was afterwards formed into a statute, and a
pardon given to all those who had compelled the King to grant it.

[Sidenote: Insult to the Queen rouses Edward to energy.]

[Sidenote: He recalls the Despensers. Pacifies the Marches.]

But though Edward had temporarily yielded, parties were so evenly
balanced that very little turned the scale. Young Despenser was
serving as admiral on the coast of Kent. He was therefore safe from
such personal attacks as Gaveston had been exposed to, and the
King was able to repair to the coast and concert measures with him.
As the Queen was travelling from London to Canterbury to meet him,
she was refused admittance to the royal castle of Leeds by the
Governor, Badlesmere. Angry at this insult, the King attacked the
castle and hanged the garrison. It seems to have been felt that, in
insulting the Queen, the opposition party had gone much too far.
The King was able to recall the Despensers, several of the nobles
declared that the late sentence of banishment had been procured by
overwhelming force; and as he marched towards the West against the
Welsh Marches, his brothers, the Earls of Norfolk and Kent, and
several others of the greater nobility, followed his standard. By
occupying the valley of the Severn, he separated the Marchers from
Lancaster, who was collecting troops at Doncaster. Mortimer and
most of the Marchers came to terms, and surrendered. Hereford with
several others, broke through the royal army, and joined Lancaster.
The King’s enemies were now collected into one body, and he rapidly
turned against them. To secure support, and probably in pursuance
of their usual policy, the rebel lords had entered into a treaty
with the Scotch. Bruce was to come to their assistance, but no
conquests that he should make were to be permanent. The price of
his help was to be peace, and the acknowledgment of his royal title.

[Sidenote: Defeats Lancaster at Boroughbridge.]

[Sidenote: Lancaster worshipped as a saint.]

On the approach of the King, the rebels fell back, and were
intercepted at Boroughbridge by Sir Andrew Harklay, Governor
of Carlisle. On attempting to cross the bridge, Hereford was
killed from below; while the fords were so strongly guarded that
the passage of the river seemed impossible. Lancaster, with
some hundred barons and knights, surrendered. He was taken to
Pontefract. The accusations against him, including his treasonable
compact with Bruce, were stated before a committee of the King’s
Barons, and condemnation passed against him unheard. He was
beheaded, with all circumstances of indignity. A considerable
number of barons suffered either with him or immediately after.
Thomas of Lancaster appears to have been an ordinary feudal party
leader, with a policy which was directed chiefly to domestic
reforms and to the curtailment of the royal power. At the same
time, the commonalty of England must have understood that, however
selfish that policy might have been, it yet led, in the existing
state of society, to improvement in the condition of the lower
orders. Not otherwise can we explain the fact that miracles
before long were worked at the tomb of Lancaster, and his memory
so worshipped and honoured by the people, that the King found it
necessary to surround the place of his execution with armed men.

[Sidenote: Triumph of the Despensers.]

[Sidenote: Renewal of war with Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Peace for thirteen years.]

The triumph of the Despensers seemed complete. The elder of them
was made Earl of Winchester. Their policy too was at once adopted.
The Ordinances were revised, all that could touch the King’s
prerogative was cut out. It was ordered especially that hereafter
no baronial committee should dictate laws to the King, but he
“should make all laws concerning the estate of the crown or of
the realm in Parliament, with the consent of the prelates, earls,
barons, and universality of the realm.” The two years’ truce being
now out, the King marched to Scotland, but, like all others of this
reign, the expedition came to nothing. No important battle was
fought. Want of food compelled the English to return, followed by
their indefatigable enemies. So close were they upon their heels,
that at a place called Byland, in Blackmoor Forest, Edward was as
nearly as possible surprised. So unexpected was the attack, that
treason was at once suspected. To the astonishment of all, Sir
Andrew Harklay, who had been made Earl of Carlisle for his services
at Boroughbridge, was proved, for some unexplained reason, to
have been in correspondence with Bruce. For this treason he was
executed. Such constant failures became ridiculous, and at length,
Edward, acknowledging Bruce’s title as King, made a treaty with him
for thirteen years.

[Sidenote: Dangers surrounding the King.]

It seemed for the moment that Edward’s troubles were over. The
baronial party was crushed, their intercourse with the Scotch had
damaged their reputation; the assumption on their part of the
sole power of legislation had produced some reaction. The truce
with Scotland had secured Edward from danger from the North.
There seemed no reason why he and his favourites should not rule
almost as they wished. In fact, however, the crisis of his reign
was approaching; dangers surrounded him on every side. That the
baronial party was still alive and active was soon made evident by
a plot to liberate all the political prisoners. The plot indeed
miscarried, but Mortimer found means to make good his escape from
the Tower, and, taking refuge in France, became a centre round
which disaffection might gather. Want of money, too, was a constant
source of danger; while the meagre grants made by Parliament showed
how general was the national feeling against the government of
the favourites. Nor was the Church in much better temper than
the Barons and the Commons. On more than one occasion the King
had quarrelled with the national Church, which found an active,
able, and somewhat unscrupulous champion in Adam Orleton, Bishop
of Hereford. This man had been deeply implicated in the baronial
movements, had been deprived of his temporalities, and thus
became a determined enemy of the King. While quarrelling with the
national Church, Edward had shown no vigour in opposing Rome. On
two occasions he failed in procuring the election to bishoprics
of his nominees, and yielded without a struggle to the authority
of the Pope. But submission to Rome had now become a sure way of
gaining unpopularity both among clergy and laity. On the death of
Boniface VIII., the grandeur and independence of the old Papal
system had come to an end, but its constant demands upon the
national churches were by no means lessened; and such exactions had
become more intolerable now that the ill-gotten wealth which they
supplied found its way into the hands of a Pope holding his court
at Avignon, a mere creature of the French King: to the old dislike
of Papal supremacy there was now added the national dislike of

[Sidenote: Difficulties with France. 1324.]

[Sidenote: The Queen and Prince in France. 1326.]

To crown Edward’s difficulties, he found himself involved in a
dispute with France. In 1322, Charles IV., son of Philip the Fair,
had ascended the throne. It at once became evident that he intended
to pursue his father’s policy. He demanded personal homage from
King Edward. His ambassadors could procure nothing but the threat
that, unless it was paid, Guienne would be seized. In the little
town of Saint Sardos, in the Agenois, a quarrel between the people
and their English Seneschal brought the matter before the French
King. He summoned Edward before his court. It was clear that the
old machinery of feudal supremacy was again to be set in motion.
War in fact actually began; the French armies captured Ponthieu
and the Agenois. It was in vain that King Edward offered justice
to the aggrieved inhabitants of Saint Sardos in his own courts,
in vain that he sought the mediation of the Pope. He was himself
entirely in the hands of the Despensers; and those noblemen,
afraid probably to allow the King to get beyond the reach of their
personal influence, used all their power to prevent him from going
himself to France. It was at last decided that Queen Isabella, the
French King’s sister, should go to Paris, and try if she could come
to some arrangement. She procured leave for her eldest son Edward
to represent his father, and do homage for Guienne. But, when the
young Prince reached Paris, he was in no haste to return. In fact,
the Queen had fallen in love with Mortimer, and had passed entirely
under his influence and that of the other baronial exiles; and
under the skilful management of Orleton, Mortimer and his friends
were engaged in a great conspiracy. It was in vain that the King
perpetually wrote to demand her return. She pleaded personal dread
of the Despensers, and complained of the King’s ill-usage. For a
woman living in adultery with her husband’s enemy, such charges
are perhaps not worth much; but it does seem probable that as a
high-spirited woman she had much to bear from the King’s partiality
for his favourites, many of whom were men of the lower ranks of

[Sidenote: She lands in England.]

[Sidenote: Her party gathers strength.]

[Sidenote: The King is taken. 1326.]

[Sidenote: Prince of Wales made King.]

[Sidenote: Murder of the King.]

The conspiracy was so widespread, and so judiciously managed, that
her cause was soon regarded as a national one. Nobles, clergy,
and commonalty seem alike to have been in her interest. At the
instigation of the Pope, she was obliged to leave Paris, but she
took the opportunity of going to Hainault, and there contracting a
marriage between her son Edward and the daughter of the Count, and
of engaging that Prince to assist her in her enterprise. On the
24th of September she landed with her foreign auxiliaries at the
mouth of the Orwell. She was joined by the King’s brothers, by his
cousin Henry of Lancaster, and by all the nobility of the East.
The Archbishop of Canterbury supplied her with money. London rose
in her favour. The skilful management of the Bishop of Hereford
won her allies on all sides, and the King found it necessary to
fly before her advance. Leaving the Earl of Winchester in Bristol,
he tried with young Despenser to reach Lundy Isle in the Bristol
Channel. The wind prevented him, and he was driven to land in
Wales. Bristol was taken by the Queen without a siege, and the
King finally fell into the hands of his pursuers in Wales. He was
put into the charge of Henry of Lancaster, brother of the late
Earl, at Kenilworth. William Trussel, whom the Queen had made her
judge, superintended the trial of the Despensers and their friends,
and they were all put to death. In December the Parliament met at
Westminster, and swore fealty to the Queen and Prince. The Bishop
of Hereford put the question whether Edward or his son should
henceforward rule. The assembly declared for the Prince, who
accepted the situation, binding himself to six articles, which seem
to represent the complaints against the King, and which laid to
his charge, the rule of favourites, the contempt of good advice,
the loss of Scotland, acts of violence against the clergy and the
nobles, and the refusal of justice. Isabella pretended to be angry
at this act of deposition, but her pretence could deceive nobody.
Finally, a deputation waited upon the unfortunate Edward, and
procured his resignation. He was hurried from fortress to fortress,
and before long met a cruel death in Berkeley Castle.

[Sidenote: Character of the opposition.]

Throughout the baronial efforts of the reign, constitutional
views and personal interests had been closely interwoven. The
single-minded patriotism of Simon de Montfort had been entirely
absent. It was the personal ambition of a Prince of the blood, of
enormous wealth and influence, which had supplied the baronial
party with their first leader. The vindictive feelings of
personal dislike had produced an unjustifiable murder of the
royal favourite. Success had been followed by an unconstitutional
appropriation of all the powers of government. To support their
supremacy the Barons had not shrunk from an alliance with their
national enemies. To secure a second triumph and revenge they
had adopted the cause of an adulterous Queen and her worthless
favourite. Yet throughout, the pretence of their action had been
the maintenance of the old constitution, and the act which closed
the reign was a formal declaration on the part of Parliament of a
constitutional right of the nation to depose a sovereign who proved
himself unfit for his high position.

                           EDWARD III., died 1377.
       1                   2   |     3                            5   +---+
       +-------------------+---+-----+----------------------------+---| A |
       |                   |         |                            |   +---+
       |                   |         |                            |
    Edward,  = Joan,    William,  Lionel,    = Elizabeth          |
  the Black  | daughter  died     Duke of    | de Burgh.          |
  Prince,    | of Earl   1335.    Clarence,  |                    |
  died 1376. | of Kent,           died 1368. |                    |
             | widow                     Philippa = Edmund        |
             | of Sir T.                          |  Mortimer,    |
             | Holland.                           |  Earl of      |
             |                                    |  March.       |
         Richard II.,                             |               |
         died 1400.                            Roger, = Alianore  |
                                       Earl of March, | Holland,  |
                                       declared heir- | daughter  |
                                       apparent, died | of Earl   |
                                       in battle in   | of Kent.  |
                                       Ireland, 1398. |           |
                                                      |           |
             +----------------------------------------+           |
             |                                                    |
             |                                          +---------+
     +-------+-----------+         +------------+       |
     |                   |         |            |   Edmund     = Isabel,
  Edmund,              Anne = Richard,          |   Duke of    | daughter
  died 1424.                | Earl of           |   York,      | of Pedro
                            | Cambridge         |   Earl of    | Castile.
                            | beheaded at       |   Cambridge, |
                            | Southampton       |   died 1402. |
                            | for conspiring    |              |
                            | against           +--------------+
                            | Henry V., 1415.
                         Richard   = Cicely
                    Duke of York,  | Neville,
                    fought against | daughter of
                    Henry VI.      | Earl of
                    Killed at      | Westmoreland.
                    Wakefield,     |
                    1460.          |
           |                       |                              |
    Edward IV. =  Elizabeth    George   = Isabel, daughter of     |
    died 1483. |  Woodville.   Duke of    Earl of Warwick         |
               |               Clarence,  (The King-maker).       |
               |               killed                             |
               |               1478.                              |
          Edward V.,                                              |
          died 1483.      +---------------------------------------+
      |                                |                  |
  Richard III. = Anne, daughter   Elizabeth = John    Margaret = Duke of
  died 1485.   |  of Earl of                | de la             Burgundy.
               |  Warwick, widow            | Pole.
               |  of Edward, son            |
               |  of Henry VI.              |
               |                          John.
            Edward,                  Declared heir-apparent,
            died 1484.               d. at Battle of
                                     Stoke, 1487.

   +---+        4                             6
   | A |--------+-----------------------------+
   +---+        |                             |
                |                             |
  Katherine = John       = 1. Blanche,      Thomas,     = Eleanor
  Swinford  | of Gaunt,  | daughter         of          |   de Bohun.
            | Duke of    | of Duke of       Woodstock,  |
            | Lancaster, | Lancaster        Duke of     |
            | died 1399. | = 2. Constance,  Gloucester, |
            |            | daughter         strangled   |
          John,          | of Pedro         at Calais   |
         Earl of         | of Castile.      1397.       |
         Somerset.       |                              |
           |          Henry IV.  = Mary de            Anne = Edmund
           |          died 1413. | Bohun.                  |   Stafford.
    +------+                     |                         |
    |                            |                   Humphrey,  = Anne
    |                            |                First Duke      Neville.
    |                            |                of Buckingham
    |                            |                killed at
    |                            |                Northampton
    |                            |                1460.
    |                            |
    |                            +--------+---------+----------------------+
    |                            |        |         |                      |
  John Owen  = Katherine   = Henry V.  Thomas,    John     = 1. Anne of    |
    | Tudor  | daughter of | died      Duke of    Duke of   Burgundy.      |
    |        | Charles VI. | 1422.     Clarence,  Bedford  = 2. Jacquetta  |
    |        |             |           killed at  died      of Luxembourg. |
    |        |             |           Beaugé,    1435.                    |
    |        |             |           1421.                               |
    |        |             |                            +------------------+
  Margaret = Edmund      Henry VI. = Margaret           |
           | Earl of       died    | of Anjou.       Humphrey = Jacqueline
           | Richmond      1471.   |                 Duke of    of Hainault.
           | died 1456.            |                 Gloucester,
           |                       |                 rival of
           |                       |                 Beaufort,
           |                       |                 died 1446.
           |                       |
           |                   Edward    = Anne, daughter
        Henry VII.,            killed at   of Earl of
        died 1509.             Tewkesbury  Warwick (The
                               1471.       King-maker).



              Born 1312 = Philippa of Hainault.
    |                   |         |           |           |         |
  Edward,   = Joan of   |       Lionel,    John of     Edmund,   Thomas of
  the Black |   Kent.   |       Duke of    Gaunt,      Duke of   Woodstock,
  Prince,   |           |       Clarence,  Duke of     York,     Duke of
  d. 1376.  |        William,   d. 1368.   Lancaster,  d. 1402.  Gloucester,
            |        d. 1335.              d. 1399               d. 1397.
       Richard II.

                             CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._     |   _France._        |  _Germany._  | _Spain (Castile)._
                    |                    |              |
  Robert I., 1306.  | Charles IV., 1322. | Louis IV.,   | Alphonso XI., 1312.
  David II., 1329.  | Philip VI., 1328.  |   1314.      | Pedro, 1350.
  Robert II., 1370. | John, 1350.        | Charles IV., | Henry II., 1368.
                    | Charles V., 1364.  |   1347.      |

  POPES.--John XXII., 1316. Benedict XI., 1334. Clement VI., 1342.
          Innocent VI. 1352. Urban V., 1362. Gregory XI., 1370.


                    Simon Mepeham, 1328.
                    John of Stratford, 1333.
                    Thomas Bradwardine, 1349.
                    Simon Islip, 1349.
                    Simon Langham, 1366.
                    William Whittlesey, 1368.
                    Simon Sudbury, 1375.


      Henry of Burghersh, 1327.       Robert of Sadyngton, 1343.
      John of Stratford, 1330.        John of Offord, 1345.
      Richard of Bury, 1334.          John of Thoresby, 1348.
      John of Stratford, 1335.        William of Edington, 1356.
      Robert of Stratford, 1337.      Simon Langham, 1363.
      Richard Bynteworth, 1338.       William of Wykeham, 1367.
      John of Stratford, 1340.        Sir Robert Thorpe, 1371.
      Robert of Stratford, 1340.      Sir John Knyvet, 1372.
      Sir Robert Bourchier, 1340.     Adam Houghton, 1377.
      Sir Robert Parnynge, 1341.

[Sidenote: Measures of reform.]

[Sidenote: Mortimer’s misgovernment.]

As the conquest of England by Queen Isabella and Mortimer had been
ostensibly undertaken for purposes of reform in the government,
and freedom from the influence of favourites, the first measures
taken were such as might befit a reforming party. The charters of
liberty were solemnly renewed, and the removal of the more obvious
abuses promised, the judgment against Lancaster and his friends
was reversed, and the government nominally placed in the hands of
a council of regency, formed of four Bishops, four Earls, and
six Barons. Nevertheless, the real power remained in the hands of
Mortimer; to him and to the Queen a considerable portion of the
royal revenues were diverted, and before long all trace of reform
had disappeared, and Mortimer, forgetful of the pretext which had
secured him his position, and of the fate of his predecessors,
became to all intents and purposes himself a favourite, giving to
that word the meaning which best describes it, an irresponsible
and all-powerful minister. He even surrounded himself, we are
told, with a guard of 180 knights, and altogether adopted an
ostentatious bearing which could not but create enemies; at the
same time his connection with the Queen excited the displeasure of
all respectable men.

[Sidenote: Fruitless campaign against Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Peace.]

His early government was rudely interrupted by an invasion from
Scotland. The truce was not yet expired, but the opportunity
was too good to be lost. To the English the renewal of war was
distasteful, and measures were taken to avoid it. A meeting was
arranged with the Scotch King, but the conclusion was so evidently
foregone, that Robert summoned his army to assemble on the very
day appointed for the meeting, and while the negotiations were
still going on, the Scotch crossed the borders in force. The
campaign against them was not successful. More used than the
English to rapid movements, capable of living upon much less,
and able to supply themselves with that little from an enemy’s
country, the Scotch constantly avoided a great battle. Twice was
Edward deceived by a simple stratagem of the Scotch, who left
the watchfires burning, while they secretly decamped, and he was
finally obliged to close the campaign without a battle. It became
necessary for Mortimer and Edward to treat, and the Queen offered
her daughter Jane as the price of peace. In March 1328, that peace
was concluded; Robert’s son, David, was to marry Jane; the English
were to use their best endeavours to have the ecclesiastical
censures which hung over Bruce removed, and on the payment of
£20,000, promised to give up all claims upon the Scotch crown, and
to acknowledge Bruce as king.

Though the English nobles had long disliked the Scotch war, and had
at all events made use of their pretended dislike as a weapon of
opposition to the government, they now, with true party spirit, and
moved probably more by dislike to Mortimer than by any patriotic
feeling, declared themselves horrified at the disgraceful treaty,
and held aloof from the Parliament which ratified it. Dislike to
the government was in truth growing to a head. Associations were
formed to uphold the ordinances of the last reign. At length, at
a Parliament called at Salisbury, to be present at the creation
of new peers--when Mortimer was made Earl of March; Prince John,
Earl of Cornwall; and James Butler, Earl of Ormond--Prince Henry
of Lancaster, the brother and successor of Earl Thomas, and other
malcontents, refused to appear. Shortly afterwards it was heard
that they were in arms at Winchester. The King’s uncles, the
Earls of Kent and Norfolk, had hitherto supported Lancaster, but
as Mortimer drew near with his army, they suddenly deserted him.
This caused the failure of the insurrection, and Lancaster and his
friends were obliged to submit to hard terms, purchasing their
freedom with half their incomes, and the pledge that they would no
longer oppose the government.

[Sidenote: Conspiracy and death of Kent. 1330.]

It is not to be supposed that this ineffectual insurrection put
an end to the discontent. During the whole of the following year,
while Edward was absent in France, rumours began to prevail that
the old King was still alive, and in the Spring Parliament of 1330,
the country was astonished by the sudden apprehension of Edmund,
Earl of Kent, the King’s uncle. He and many other nobles, among
others the Archbishop of York and Bishop of London, had undoubtedly
joined in a conspiracy nominally for the restoration of the late
King. The examinations made it evident that this insurrection had
been fomented by the agents of Mortimer, and that Kent had fallen
a victim to their machinations. He confessed his complicity in
the scheme, and was beheaded. Mortimer doubtless was glad of the
opportunity of thus weakening the party of his enemies. Among the
petitions of the Commons in the first Parliament of the reign was
one against the exactions of the royal Princes; this renders it
probable that they had taken upon themselves to exact purveyance,
and Mortimer might rely upon the popular feeling being with him in
this act of violence.

[Sidenote: Edward overthrows Mortimer.]

But a more important enemy now made his appearance. Edward, who
had been married to Philippa of Hainault in 1328, had now a son,
afterwards the Black Prince, and therefore could not but feel that
he had reached man’s estate. He was weary of the domination of
Mortimer, and could hardly have looked with favour on the man who
had killed his father and his uncle, and was now living in adultery
with his mother. He determined to assume the reins of government,
and, in alliance with the Barons, suddenly seized Mortimer during
the sittings of the Parliament at Nottingham, and procured his
speedy trial and execution. To the Queen he acted firmly but
mercifully; he allowed her £3000 a year; he subsequently even
increased this income, and during her lifetime paid her a yearly
visit of ceremony, but he refused to allow her any influence in the
government, and she passed the remaining twenty-seven years of her
life in privacy at Risings Castle.

[Sidenote: Edward’s healing measures.]

The young King was satisfied with the vengeance he had taken, and
proceeded by acts of leniency to heal party feeling, restoring
the forfeited inheritances to the sons of those who had lately
suffered, and extending his kindness to the wives even of Mortimer,
and Gournay his father’s murderer. He made common cause with those
nobles who had hitherto been discontented. Henry of Lancaster
became a prominent member of his council; the great seal was placed
in the hands of John of Stratford, the author of the bill of
deposition in the last reign.

[Sidenote: Balliol invades Scotland.]

Edward’s attention was almost immediately drawn to Scotland.
Robert Bruce had died in 1329, leaving his son David still a
child, so that the government fell into the hands of a succession
of regents. Scotland had been so closely connected with England,
that many barons held property in both kingdoms. During the war of
independence, these properties had naturally been confiscated on
both sides. At the peace of 1328 they should have been restored.
On the part of Scotland this was not done. The party of Balliol
and of Comyn was by no means extinct, and the disinherited lords
gathered round Edward Balliol, the son of John, who thus became the
head of a formidable body of men, whose interests were strongly
opposed to the government of the Bruces. They suddenly determined
on an expedition to restore if possible Balliol to the throne.
Sailing from Ravenspur in Yorkshire, Balliol and his friends landed
at the mouth of the Tay, defeated, with much loss, the Regent at
the battle of Duplin, pushed onwards towards Perth, and, while
his English ships annihilated the Scottish squadron in the river,
was crowned at Scone; thus in seven weeks from the time he left
England he had apparently secured the crown. His repulse was almost
as rapid as his success. In three months the friends of Bruce had
rallied, and Balliol, unable to make head against them, had been
driven from the country.

[Sidenote: Edward supports him.]

[Sidenote: Siege of Berwick and battle of Halidon Hill. 1333.]

[Sidenote: Submission of Scotland. 1334.]

Edward, while ostensibly discountenancing Balliol’s movement in
England, had, in truth, determined to make use of his success; and
a treaty was arranged between them, by which Balliol promised to
own the supremacy of England and to give up Berwick, while the
two kings were mutually to defend each other against all enemies.
He made a show of deferring the question first to Parliament, and
upon failing to obtain an answer, to the judgment of the Pope and
the French King. But there were seldom wanting excuses for a war
with Scotland. Border disturbances speedily arose, and in 1333,
acknowledging the treaties he had made, he advanced to the siege
of Berwick. Archibald Douglas, the then Regent, came with an army
to relieve this important fortress. To oppose him the English had
taken up a strong position to the west of their lines upon Halidon
Hill. A swampy ground was before them, and as the Scotch knights
fell into disorder in the marsh, the English archers “made their
arrows flee as thick as motes on the sunne-beme.” It was in vain
that the nobility bravely attempted to storm the hill. They were
defeated with fearful loss, the Regent, four Earls, the prime of
their nobility, and 30,000 common soldiers fell upon the field. On
the following day Berwick opened its gates. Balliol proceeded to
take possession of the kingdom; fortress after fortress fell; the
young King David was taken to the Court of Philip VI. of France,
and found refuge in Chateau Gaillard in Normandy. As the price of
his assistance Edward received the oath of fealty from the Scotch,
and the part of Scotland to the east of Dumfries and Linlithgow.
As long as Edward was not otherwise employed, Balliol remained
upon his throne; but events soon occurred abroad which called the
English King away, and Balliol was again driven from his kingdom.

[Sidenote: Edward’s claims on France.]

[Sidenote: Philip helps the Scotch.]

[Sidenote: Claims consequently produced. 1337.]

As early as 1329, on the death of Charles the Fair, the third
and last of the sons of Philip IV., Edward, the son of the
daughter of that King, laid claim to the French throne.[58] His
rival was Philip of Valois, the son of Charles of Valois, Philip
IV.’s brother, and, granting the existence of the Salic law, the
undoubted heir; for all the three last kings had died without male
issue. Edward’s claims then rested upon three principles; females
were excluded from the French throne, or Joan, Queen of Navarre,
daughter of Louis X., would have succeeded. The male issue of such
females were not excluded; but, thirdly, they must be born during
the lifetime of their grandfather, or else the children of the
daughters of the three last kings would have a better claim than he
had. The question had been properly tried by the Peers of France,
and Philip of Valois had been declared King, and in 1331 Edward
had himself done homage to him for Guienne. There was however a
standing quarrel with regard to certain towns of the Agenois which
Charles IV. had conquered. These, Edward understood, were to be
restored to him, while Philip VI. declined to surrender them. This
quarrel might perhaps have been passed over, but the reception
of David on his flight from Scotland, and the assistance which
Philip gave to the party opposed to Balliol, by degrees rendered
war inevitable; and when once this became obvious, it was clearly
good policy on the part of Edward to make his claims as national
as possible, and instead of trusting to such secondary causes of
hostility as were afforded by Philip’s refusal to surrender a few
unimportant towns in a distant dependency, or his intrigues for the
restoration of the Bruce dynasty, he at once, with the consent of
Parliament, asserted his claim to the French throne.

[Sidenote: Edward’s alliances on the North-east. 1338.]

[Sidenote: Is made Imperial Vicar.]

There was at present in England a Frenchman whose influence is said
to have had much to do with determining Edward to this step. This
was Robert of Artois. On the death of his grandfather a dispute
had arisen as to the succession of the country. The fief did not
follow the ordinary feudal custom, but fell to the nearest of
blood. Matilda, the daughter of the late Count, therefore succeeded
in preference to her nephew Robert. Philip V. had married her
daughter, and during his lifetime and that of his two brothers,
Robert had been compelled to be content, but on the accession of
Philip of Valois he demanded restitution. During the trial which
ensued he produced as evidence charters which were proved to be
forgeries, and in 1337 took refuge in England, where Edward adopted
his cause, and used him as a sort of set-off to David Bruce, whose
cause the French King had taken up. The great war with France was a
distinct breach in the policy of Edward I. But the present King was
not the great statesman his grandfather had been. A false chivalry
had gradually been taking the place of the old feudal sentiment,
and Edward was open to be moved both by the impulses of a spurious
knight-errantry and by personal motives of ambition and passion.
When once engaged in the war, however, he acted both energetically
and prudently. His marriage with Philippa of Hainault, and the
close commercial interdependence of England and the countries on
the North-east of France, gave him an opening which he eagerly
employed. He entered into alliances with the Princes of that
neighbourhood, with Brabant, Gueldres, Juliers and Cologne. In
Flanders, where the great mercantile cities were at enmity with
their count, who was on his side supported by the French influence,
he allied himself heartily with James Van Artevelt, the Brewer
of Ghent, the acknowledged chief of the burgher party. He took
advantage also of the fierce dispute at that time raging between
the Emperor Louis of Bavaria and the Pope, who was a mere creature
of the French crown, to secure not only the Emperor’s friendship
but the title of Imperial Vicar. This title gave something of a
national character to that alliance of German Princes which he had
arranged. But all these alliances, though they promised so fair,
were both expensive and hollow. In every case they assumed the form
of subsidies, the foreigners promising to supply troops in exchange
for English money. On the other hand, Philip, although unable to
take actual possession, took seisin of Guienne, that is, he sent an
officer to each of the great towns, and declared that he had taken
possession of it. He had also, as was natural in the disturbed
state of Germany, found some friends in that country.

[Sidenote: Great taxation.]

Edward had set himself right in the eyes of his people by a public
declaration of the state of affairs; and relying on the good
feeling thus established, and on the favour of the mercantile
classes, whose interests he had forwarded by his efforts, though
often mistaken ones, to improve the growth and manufacture of wool,
he proceeded to raise taxes with an unsparing hand. Not content
with the subsidies granted him, he laid tallages on the towns,
collected forced loans, induced Parliament to grant him half of
the last wool crop, even seized large quantities of wool for which
he promised to pay in the course of two years, and laid an extra
tax of 40s. the sack on the cost of exportation. He thus obtained
abundant money for his present need, although he found he had gone
rather too far, when, in the following year, Parliament petitioned
for the removal of the “Maletolte,” or additional wool tax.

[Sidenote: He lands in Flanders. 1338.]

[Sidenote: Deserted by his allies. Returns to England. 1340.]

[Sidenote: Returns and wins battle of Sluys.]

[Sidenote: Fruitless expedition to Tournay.]

In 1338 he landed with a large army in Flanders, where the people
who had lately driven away their count, and were anxious to
secure for their cities the monopoly of the English wool trade,
received him gladly. But all his efforts came to nothing. He could
not bring the French King to an engagement, and shortly became
aware of the instability of his foreign allies; in spite of his
title as Imperial Vicar they were little inclined to follow him,
and speedily found pretexts to desert him. He had to retire to
Flanders, but by no means lowered his tone. On the contrary, at
the instigation of the people there, he now first took on himself
the title of King of France. But he had now to return to England
to collect fresh supplies. These were granted him freely, the
Parliament giving him the ninth lamb, the ninth fleece, and the
ninth sheaf. His back was no sooner turned than Philip began to
attack Flanders, and with the aid of the Genoese collected a
considerable fleet to prevent his return. On the 24th of June,
the English fleet, with Edward on board, found the French at
Sluys, where a great sea-fight took place, ending in the complete
destruction of the French. They had fought in three lines,
connected by chains, imitating as far as possible a land army.
The English, after a little manœuvring, had fallen upon them thus
huddled together, had thrown them into inextricable confusion, and
driven many of the crews in their terror to seek refuge by leaping
overboard. So great was the disaster, that none but the jester
durst inform Philip of it. “What cowards those English are,” said
he, “they had not the courage all to jump overboard as the French
did.” In spite of this glorious beginning of the campaign, the year
was as unfruitful as the last; simultaneous advances on St. Omer
and Tournay both proved failures. Philip, who had been intriguing
with the English allies, knew better than to come to a fight,
and Edward was not sorry to conclude a truce at the instigation
of Jane of Hainault, the sister of Philip. This truce, signed at
Esplechin in September, was to last till the following midsummer,
and comprehended the allies of both parties.

[Sidenote: Sudden visit to England and displacement of ministry.]

Edward’s position was most irritating; his allies were deserting
him; in spite of his stringent exactions, his finances were
exhausted; he was so deeply in debt that the Flemings, who
regarded his presence as a security against France, kept him as
it were in pledge. He could not bring himself to believe in such
complete failure of his hopes. He was easily led to listen to evil
counsellors, who whispered to him that his ministers at home were
defrauding him in the matter of the taxes. Suddenly, he set sail
with a few of his most trusted friends, leaving behind him some
nobles in pledge to his creditors, and arrived in London in the
dead of the night of the 30th of November. He immediately displaced
his ministry, his Chancellor, his Treasurer, the Master of the
Rolls, and imprisoned several of the judges and officers of the
Exchequer. On the bishops he could not lay hands; they claimed the
privileges of their order. However, commissions of inquiry were
issued to find charges against the late government, new sheriffs
were appointed, and, apparently in mistrust of clerical influence,
Robert de Bourchier was appointed chancellor.

[Sidenote: Dispute with Stratford. 1341.]

[Sidenote: Edward yields.]

As had happened so frequently before in English history, the
champion of liberty was found in the ranks of the Church. The
President of the Council, John of Stratford, Archbishop of
Canterbury, retired to his See, and thence wrote to Edward at
length, refusing to answer to the charges brought against him,
except before his peers in Parliament. At the same time he warned
the King to remember his father’s fate, and begged him not to
act as he was now doing against the Charter. He wrote also to
the new officials, declaring that the late grants had been given
under conditions which must not be broken, that they were to be
collected only from those represented in Parliament, and not
from the clergy who were not represented there, at the same time
threatening with excommunication all who should disturb the peace
of Church and State. In vain the King threatened; his want of money
compelled him to summon a Parliament (April 23). An attempt was
still made to exclude the Bishops. Whenever they appeared they
were refused admittance to the Parliament, and directed to the
Exchequer Chamber. At length the baronage grew thoroughly angry,
and the King was compelled to admit the Archbishop, but at the same
time left the House in anger, and betook himself to the Commons.
The Peers were firm in their demand that no Peer should be tried
except by his peers in Parliament. At last the King yielded. All
the Estates joined in begging him to admit Stratford to his favour,
and promising him in exchange for this submission assistance in
his necessities. Large help was granted, and the rights claimed
thrown into the form of a statute, securing the privilege of the
peerage, the immunity of the clergy from the exactions of temporal
officials, and ordering that at the beginning of each Parliament
the great officers should temporarily resign their offices, to give
time for an examination of their conduct. In October, the King
having secured his grants, thought fit to revoke the statute,
and was not ashamed to avow that he had “wilfully dissembled as
he ought” to avoid the dangers which threatened him. The statute
was cancelled in 1343, but the privileges then granted were not

[Sidenote: Loss of all his allies. 1342.]

[Sidenote: New opening in Brittany.]

As arranged, the truce with France continued till midsummer 1342.
During that time Edward found that his German allies had completely
left him, and that even Louis of Bavaria had been won over to
Philip. This change in the Emperor’s policy was caused by a wish to
obtain Philip’s mediation with his enemy the Pope. He excused it
by urging that the treaty of Esplechin had been made without his
consent. Thus left without allies, and impoverished by his late
subsidies, which indeed, in the absence of money, he had in some
instances been obliged to pay in raw wool, Edward might have been
content to leave France alone, had he not obtained a new footing
in Brittany. The war there was again a war of succession. John
III. of Brittany had three brothers, Guy, Peter, and John Earl of
Montfort. Guy and Peter died before their brother the Duke. Guy had
a daughter, Jane, who as heir of the duchy had married Charles of
Blois, the French King’s nephew. But upon the death of John, his
sole surviving brother, John Earl of Montfort claimed the duchy,
and did homage to Edward as King of France. The Peers of France
adjudged the duchy to Charles of Blois, and the two kings armed in
favour of their respective allies. Charles was at first successful,
and took John of Montfort prisoner. The war was, however, carried
on with enthusiasm by his wife, Jane of Flanders. She had the
good wishes of the people, and held out during the winter in the
fortress of Hennebone. She was almost reduced by famine, when the
arrival of Sir Walter Manny, who was followed later in the year by
Edward himself, raised the siege. But the country now became the
battleground between England and France. Edward on the one hand,
and the French King’s eldest son on the other, entered the duchy,
but so little was effected, that at the end of the year a truce for
three years and eight months was entered into, the matters at issue
being referred to the Pope.

[Sidenote: The Pope’s position as Arbiter of Europe.]

It is somewhat surprising to see how constantly the judgment of
the Papal See is appealed to, even more frequently than in earlier
times, when its authority was of greater weight. No doubt the
spiritual position of the Popes had constantly been used as a
means of interference in secular questions, and by mere force of
encroachment the Pontiff had come to be regarded as the natural
arbiter of Europe. But behind this there lay a more real ground for
the exercise of the Papal authority. The Papal Curia had in fact
inherited a certain portion of the powers and duties of the Roman
Empire. During the vigour of Imperial institutions difficulties
arising between various states included within the limits of the
Empire were settled by the Emperor, who thus became the guardian of
international law. When the Empire lost its universal character,
and the German Kaiser (whatever vague notions of universal power
may have hung about his title) became practically the sovereign
only of a part of Europe, he lost the power of enforcing his
decisions in the case of quarrels between Princes, who were in fact
his equals. National quarrels must therefore have been settled
by the sword alone, had not the Court of Rome, still claiming
universality, still supplying trained lawyers and adequate courts,
afforded an opportunity for continuing in some degree the system of
international arbitration. The natural inclination of a spiritual
power towards peace rendered still more easy this transfer to
the Papacy of the guardianship of the international relations
of Europe. The thirteenth century had been remarkable for its
systematizing character. Powers, acknowledged by common practice
and consent but not reduced to system, began to be defined; and
as Edward I. in England and Philip IV. in France had brought into
fixed and legal shape the lax constitutions of their several
kingdoms, so Boniface VIII. had attempted to render Rome a formal
court of appeal in all questions of international law. It was thus
that we find Wallace and the guardians of Scotland appealing to
Rome in their quarrel, and the Pope asserting his supremacy over
the Scotch kingdom at the close of the reign of Edward I., and
thus that we constantly find the Kings of Europe appealing to the
decision of the Papal Curia.

[Sidenote: Mediation of the Pope offered. 1343.]

[Sidenote: Decay of Papal influence.]

[Sidenote: Mediation accepted conditionally.]

[Sidenote: The King’s commercial difficulties.]

[Sidenote: Mediation fails.]

But although the Papal See thus comes constantly forward as
mediator in the quarrels of princes, and though cardinals were
repeatedly charged with missions of peace in all directions, since
the French had caused the overthrow of Boniface VIII. it had no
longer its old influence or its old character. Seated at Avignon,
the Pope was completely in the hands of the French King; while the
rising spirit of freedom, the abuse of crusades which had been
frequently employed against Christian princes, and the infinite
exactions invented by the papal lawyers, had roused the temper of
the people against him. The English Parliament, therefore, was
doing a less difficult thing than the Parliament of Lincoln in
Edward I.’s reign, when it insisted that the mediation specified
in the treaty should be regarded only as that of a private man,
without special authority or sanctity, and coupled even that
modified acceptance of the offer with a strong protest against
provisors. Having thus protested against the Pope, not without
covert allusion to the King’s own connection with him, the people
made grants, which were terribly wanted to save the King from his
impoverished condition. The great Italian house of the Bardi was
ruined by the great advances it made to him; the German merchants
of the Steelyard, the only corporation of German merchants in
London, had got a grant of much of the taxes; the subsidies, as we
have seen, had been paid in raw wool, seized at the rate of £6 the
sack, and sold at £20; the main point of Bishop Stratford’s defence
had been that the enormous interest on the royal loans swallowed up
at once all the money that was collected. But for the timely and
liberal grants of the people the government must apparently have
stopped. Meanwhile, the Pope was preparing his decision; but it was
impossible to expect an honest verdict from him, and though, by the
treaty, Philip should have restored his prisoners, he still kept De
Montfort and others in prison.

[Sidenote: War breaks out again. 1346.]

[Sidenote: Derby hard pressed in Guienne.]

[Sidenote: Edward to relieve him lands in Normandy.]

[Sidenote: Marches towards Calais.]

It was plain that the war would soon be renewed. The Parliament
in the year 1344 made their grants on the express understanding
that this was the case, and that Scotland was waiting to join in
the quarrel. In 1345 the expected event took place. The close
connection between England and Artevelt has been mentioned. It
was of the last importance to the Flemings that England should
help them against their Count, and supply their looms with wool.
Artevelt now offered to make the Prince of Wales Count of Flanders;
and in all probability the attack upon France would have been in
the old direction, had not a quarrel between the weavers and the
fullers in the Flemish towns produced the murder of their great
leader. It was in Gascony that the war actually broke out. Thither
the Earl of Derby,[59] the son of Henry of Lancaster, had been
sent, and he had there won a great victory over the French at
Auberoche. He was soon, however, hard pressed by Philip’s eldest
son, the Duke of Normandy, and driven to stand a siege in the
fortress of Aiguillon, on the Garonne. Meanwhile, a great fleet and
army had been collected, apparently for the purpose of relieving
them. But while sailing down the Channel Edward suddenly changed
his course, it is believed on the advice of Geoffrey of Harcourt, a
French refugee, and landed at La Hogue in Normandy. His object was
to draw the Duke of Normandy northward, and thus to relieve Derby,
while he himself marched through France into Flanders, and joined
his Flemish allies, who had already crossed the French frontiers.
But in executing this manœuvre, Edward found all the bridges over
the Seine broken, and the French King in force upon the other side,
evidently desirous of hemming him in between his own army and that
of his son advancing from the south. It was in vain that Edward
pushed even to the suburbs of Paris, Philip would not be provoked
to break his plan of the campaign. It became absolutely necessary
for Edward to cross the river. A rapid feint upon Paris left the
broken bridge of Poissy open. Edward hurried back, mended the
bridge, and the river was passed.

The tables were now turned. It was the French King who wanted,
Edward who avoided, battle. He pushed on, destroying the country as
he went, till a fresh obstacle met him at the Somme. With Philip
and his vastly superior army immediately in his rear, his position
became critical. A peasant was induced to show him the ford of
Blanchetaque, near Abbeville, where the river could be crossed.
Even that ford was strongly defended, and only won after a sharp
skirmish in the midst of the water. The returning tide checked
the pursuit of the French, and enabled Edward, who had at length
determined to bring matters to a decisive issue, to choose his
ground in the neighbourhood of Cressy.[60] There was fought the
first of that great series of battles, in which the small armies of
the English showed themselves superior to overwhelming numbers of

[Sidenote: Change in the character of the army.]

The cause of this superiority lay partly in the skill of the
English archers, but still more in the practised discipline of
regular volunteer soldiers, when opposed to an army still formed
upon the feudal model. The wars with the Scotch had taught the
English a lesson they had not been slow to learn. Edward I. had
been a soldier of the old school; the strength of his armies had
always consisted in the heavy armed cavalry, in which man and horse
had been laden with defensive armour to the utmost limits of their
capacity; the infantry had been entirely a secondary consideration.
But Wallace had proved at Cambuskenneth, and (even though defeated)
at Falkirk, the power of resistance which resides in firmly
arranged bodies of infantry. Bruce at Bannockburn had shown still
more plainly the weakness of heavy cavalry upon ground not exactly
suited for their particular form of fighting. Edward III.’s chief
claim to greatness as a soldier rests on the readiness and skill
with which he adopted the idea supplied him by Bruce and Wallace.
The difficulties of keeping together a feudal array during a
lengthened foreign campaign, the comparative cheapness of an
equipment of foot-soldiers, the increasing number of freemen not
employed upon the soil, were all likewise inducements to change
the character of the army. The cavalry employed in the French
wars was insignificant in comparison to the infantry. The midland
counties supplied the army with archers, Wales with ordinary
infantry. This change in the army, itself in part the fruit of
social growth, reacted on society. Regular hired troops required
trained commanders; and there thus grew up a class of professional
soldiers, whose existence dealt a heavy blow to the hitherto
unquestioned superiority of the feudal leaders.

[Illustration: CRESSY

_August 26. 1346._

  1. Edward III.
  2. Northampton & Arundel.
  3. Prince of Wales.
  4. Genoese.
  5. Alençon.
  6. Philip VI.

(_From Sprüner._)]

[Sidenote: Battle of Cressy. Aug. 26.]

The hired army of the English, and the professional soldiers who
commanded them, formed a far more efficient body of troops than was
supplied by the feudal levies and noble leaders of the French. The
English were arranged in three divisions, the foremost of which
was nominally commanded by the Prince of Wales. From the summit
of the hill, Edward had a general survey of the field. As usual,
the archers began the battle; their flights of arrows threw the
Genoese crossbow-men, to whom they were opposed, into confusion.
The confusion once begun, the very numbers of the French did but
add to it. The Duke of Alençon, and the Count of Flanders, with
their followers, cut their way through their own troops before they
could reach the English men-at-arms. While these successfully held
their ground, the remaining masses of the French were decimated by
the English arrows, nor could any sufficient support be given to
Alençon. At length, as night closed in, Philip left the field, and
the further disconnected efforts of individual French commanders
were useless. The English could hardly believe their good fortune,
and Edward, fearing a return of their enemies, kept them under
arms during the night. The loss of the French was enormous; the
heralds appointed to examine the field reported the death of eleven
princes, 1200 knights, and 30,000 of inferior rank. The English had
killed considerably more than their own numbers; but their little
army was quite insufficient to advance into France, and Edward,
following his original plan, marched on to the siege of Calais.

[Sidenote: Battle of Neville’s Cross. Oct. 17.]

The battle was on the 26th of August. Already some days before,
Lionel of Clarence, who had been left in command of England, had
summoned troops for the defence of the Scotch border; and Philip
now wrote strongly to David, begging him to make a diversion. David
was not sorry to answer to the call. Cumberland was overrun, and
the Bishopric of Durham; but the English levies, inspirited by
the courageous language of the Queen, and under the joint command
of the Percies and Nevilles, defeated him completely at Neville’s
Cross, David himself being taken prisoner. The battle of Cressy
had relieved the Earl of Derby, who was again overrunning the
south-west of France. The year closed in triumph for the English
arms in all directions.

[Sidenote: Siege of Calais. 1347.]

This year of success was shortly crowned by the fall of Calais.
Edward had attacked that city by way of blockade, shutting his army
round it, and guarding the approaches by the sea with his ships.
All the efforts of the French King to relieve it had been useless,
and the slow process of famine at length obliged its defenders to
surrender. The inhabitants had not been free from the usual crime
of seafaring life at that time--they were the rivals in piracy
of the Cinque Ports and St. Malo. They had but little mercy to
expect from the King. Eustace de St. Pierre, an important citizen,
offered to give himself up, with a certain number of friends, to
bear the first brunt of the King’s anger, hoping thereby to save
his fellow-citizens. Barefooted and bareheaded, with ropes round
their necks, Eustace, with his devoted friends, appeared before the
King. Irritated with the long defence of the town, and their former
misdeeds, Edward would hear of no mercy; it was only at the urgent
prayer of Queen Philippa that the lives of the deputation were
spared. The advantages of the possession of Calais were obvious.
It afforded an excellent entrance into France in the immediate
neighbourhood of the King’s Flemish allies, and supplied him also
with a good central mart for the national commerce, which in the
existing state of trade was a thing much desired. The inhabitants
were therefore given their choice of being French or English; those
who refused to become English were expelled, and their places
occupied by English colonists, and the whole “staple”[61] trade of
England was for a certain number of years confined to this town,
which accordingly became prosperous.

[Sidenote: Truce.]

[Sidenote: The Black Death. 1349.]

It is somewhat strange to observe the smallness of the effect of
the late great victories. Edward seemed no nearer his objects
than before he had won them. The exhaustion of his own kingdom
was almost equal to that of France, and shortly after the fall of
Calais, a truce was made for a few months, and afterwards from time
to time extended. One cause, no doubt, of the general quietness
which prevailed at this time in Europe was the presence of the
Black Death, a terrible scourge, which, after passing over Europe,
reached England in 1349. Its ravages were fearful. It is calculated
that at least a third, if not a half, of the whole population of
England was swept away. Such calculations are based partly upon
the mortality among the clergy: more than one half of the priests
in Yorkshire died, more than two-thirds of the beneficed clergy of
Norfolk. In Norwich alone 60,000 people are said to have perished.
So fearful a plague unavoidably changed the whole relation between
employer and employed, and while famine was threatening the
country, while farms could no longer be worked or harvests gathered
for want of hands, there was a natural disinclination to continue
the war.

[Sidenote: Renewal of the war. 1355.]

It was not, therefore, till the year 1355 that the war was renewed.
Meanwhile, Philip of Valois had died, and been succeeded by his
son John, and at the instigation of the Pope, following his usual
pacific course, in 1354, a treaty had been set on foot. Edward,
regarding his claim to the French throne as hopeless, was willing
to accept a peace, if the French King would give him the province
of Aquitaine in full sovereignty. English plenipotentiaries
appeared at Guisnes ready to conclude the treaty, but the French
envoys then declared that they would never surrender a fragment of
the French sovereignty.

[Sidenote: Destructive march of the Black Prince. 1355.]

Edward had no choice, therefore, but to renew the war. He now
possessed two points whence an attack on France was easy; while he
pushed out from Calais, the Black Prince was to lead an army from
Bordeaux. As so often happened upon the northern frontier, the
operations were without fruit; and the King was hastily recalled
to England by the news that the Scots had surprised Berwick, and
were over the Borders. The Black Prince’s expedition was more
successful. He marched at the foot of the Pyrenees, and all through
Languedoc to Narbonne, and to Carcassonne, plundering and burning
in all directions, destroying in seven weeks more than five hundred
towns or villages. Such brutal and destructive war had indeed
become habitual to the English.

[Illustration: POITIERS.

_September 19. 1356._]

[Sidenote: The Burnt Candlemas.]

[Sidenote: Black Prince’s expedition north. 1356.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Poitiers.]

The King’s return checked the advance of the Scots. Purchasing
the property and rights of Edward Balliol, he advanced into
the country, determined to treat it as a land of rebels. He
systematically destroyed every building, and laid waste the country
for twenty miles from the coast. But his severity was of no avail;
famine again drove him home, and the Scots again hung upon his
retreating forces. The following year the Black Prince attempted
a repetition of his last exploit. But he now pressed northwards,
and had reached the neighbourhood of Poitiers, when the news that
a large French army was near forced upon him the danger of his
situation, thus wholly separated from his base of operations. The
army which threatened him was commanded by King John in person,
and all the French princes were with him. So irresistible did it
seem, that Edward would have listened to any good terms, but John
would hear of nothing but unconditional surrender, and the English,
remembering their success at Cressy, determined to fight. Again,
what was regarded as their extraordinary good fortune, but which
was no doubt their superior organization, secured them complete
victory. On a piece of ground difficult of access, except by a
narrow road exposed to the fire of the archers, and covered by
enclosed country, the hedges of which were lined by the same class
of troops, he awaited the assault of the French. The consequences
can be easily conceived. The heavy armed Frenchmen in the road
formed a target for the arrows; the confined space encumbered with
wounded men and horses made the confusion irremediable. The first
body of the French being thus disposed of, the Black Prince with
his men-at-arms attacked the second, while the third, alarmed by
a flank attack of six hundred English horse whom the Prince had
detached for that purpose, left the field. Between the Prince and
the second body of the French the conflict was a fierce one. It
eventually terminated in the complete victory of the English, and
the capture of King John.

[Sidenote: Release of King David.]

[Sidenote: Peace with Scotland.]

This victory was followed by a truce for two years, and Edward had
time to attend more particularly to the state of his affairs with
regard to Scotland. King David had been a prisoner, honourably
treated, in England since his capture at the battle of Neville’s
Cross. More than once the national party in his country had
attempted to come to terms for his release. His character, however,
was not such as to induce them to be eager on the matter; and
he himself seems to have preferred the comfort of England to
the position of King among his unruly subjects. He had been so
obsequious, that he had twice during these ten years visited
Scotland as Edward’s agent, for the purpose of obtaining, if
possible, the submission of those who were contending for his
throne. But the Stewart, who was the head of the national party,
refused the recognition of English supremacy, and no terms could be
arrived at. In 1354 Edward thought he had gained the success of his
plan. David was to be released for 90,000 marks. As we have seen,
the intervention of the French, followed by the fearful vengeance
of Edward in that expedition which is known as the Burnt Candlemas,
put an end to this treaty. Now, when all hope of help from France
was gone, they renewed their negotiation, and David was at length
released upon the promise of 100,000 marks, in ten yearly payments,
a promise confirmed by the delivery of important hostages. Edward
knew that he was really releasing a willing subject, and that it
was probable that the failure of payment, or the party quarrels of
the country, would before long put the kingdom into his hands.

[Sidenote: Terrible condition of France.]

[Sidenote: Reviving power of the Dauphin. 1359.]

He was, at all events, free to act against France. On the capture
of its King, that country had fallen into the wildest disorder.
The Free Companies, as the hired bodies of soldiery were called,
from which both armies had been recruited, freed from their
engagements, pillaged the helpless country. In their misery the
lower commonalty broke out in fierce insurrections. The people of
Paris, under the Provost of the Merchants, Stephen Marcel, enacted
those scenes of revolution with which that city has been too often
familiar. Wearing the red cap of liberty, the mob burst into the
palace, killed two of the Dauphin’s most trusted counsellors before
his eyes, and drove that Prince to Compiègne. Charles of Navarre,
grandson of Louis X., who was surnamed the Bad, broke from the
prison in which he had been confined, made common cause with the
Parisian mob, roused his tenants in Normandy, where he had much
property, to insurrection, and called in the English King. What
with the Jacquerie,[62] the fierce plunderings of the soldiery, the
attacks of England, and the riot in Paris, the condition of France
was in the last degree terrible. However, the murder of Stephen
Marcel in Paris, and the success of the Dauphin in compelling
Charles the Bad to enter into treaty with him, somewhat changed the
aspect of affairs. Nor would the Dauphin consent to yield any part
of France to his English conquerors.

[Sidenote: Edward again invades France.]

[Sidenote: Want of permanent results induces Edward to make the
peace of Brétigny. 1360.]

Thus the time of truce wore away in useless negotiations. As it
ended, Edward renewed his invasions. Sir Walter Manny poured
with an army of German hirelings over Picardy and Artois. Edward,
accompanied by all his sons except Thomas, whom he left at home as
ruler, pushed into the heart of Champagne, tried in vain to take
Rheims, where he hoped to be crowned, and purchased the neutrality
of the Duke of Burgundy. But, successful and destructive as these
invasions were, they were only vast plundering excursions; there
was little systematic action, no gradual conquest of the country,
no firm basis of operations. The very destruction which they caused
roused the national spirit, and while Edward pushed to Paris,
and tried in vain to excite the Dauphin to a general engagement,
the Norman fleet was ravaging England in the neighbourhood of
Winchelsea. Moreover, the wasted country could not support the
invading armies unassisted by a proper commissariat, and as Edward,
retiring from before Paris, was met by a fearful tempest, which
seems to have forced upon him the difficulties of his position,
he expressed himself ready to listen to the terms of peace which
the envoys of the Legate and the Dauphin offered him. Thus, on the
8th of May, the great peace of Brétigny was made. The terms were,
of course, very favourable to the English. Not only Gascony and
Guienne, but all Poitou, with the counties of Xaintonge, Agen,
Périgord, Limoges, Cahors, Rovergue, Bigorre, and in the north,
Montreuil, Ponthieu, with Calais and Guisnes, were to be the
possessions of the English crown, freed from all feudal claims. In
return, all claim to the crown of France was given up, together
with all claims in Normandy, Touraine, Anjou, Maine, Brittany, and
Flanders. King John was to be liberated on the payment of 3,000,000
pieces of gold.[63] Scotland and Flanders were to be left to

[Sidenote: Treaty not carried out. 1364.]

Edward thus appeared, even though he had not made good his claims
to the crown, to have regained and put on a better footing the much
disputed provinces of the south-west. But it was one thing to make
such a treaty and another to secure its being carried out. The very
misery of France produced a reaction. Though King John himself
returned to France to collect it, his enormous ransom was not
forthcoming. The barons of Poitou declared that they would not be
severed from the French crown; while the hatred to the English was
kept alive by the great bands of discharged soldiers, who, joining
themselves to the great Free Companies, swept across France, put
the Pope himself to ransom, and finding no congenial employment
elsewhere, quartered themselves on the people. At the head of
the party who were set against the completion of the treaty was
Charles the Dauphin. His accession upon the death of John, who had
honourably returned to England when he found himself unable to pay
his ransom, marked a change in the national policy of France. Under
the new King, it was managed that the renunciations required by the
treaty should not be carried out. There were other causes also at
work which promised a speedy renewal of the war.

[Sidenote: War in Brittany continues.]

[Sidenote: Affairs of Castile.]

[Sidenote: France and England support the rival claimants.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Navarette.]

By the treaty it had been expressly stipulated that the quarrel
between De Montfort and Charles de Blois might be continued, though
it was added, that whichever party conquered was bound to swear
fealty to France. Du Guesclin, a soldier of a different class from
the ordinary feudal leaders who had risen to eminence during the
late wars, was sent to support the claims of Charles. The news of
his arrival was at once followed by a similar step on the part of
the English. Chandos, an English general, marched from Guienne to
support De Montfort. A battle was fought at Auray, in which De
Montfort’s party were successful, and Charles de Blois killed. The
Free Companies too, of which the best known are those of Calverley
and Knowles, still ravaged France, and were a constant cause of
complaint. The English themselves had to take part against them,
but at length the means taken by King Charles to rid his kingdom
of this burden again brought the French and English into contact.
The provinces of the south-west of France had been erected into
the independent duchy of Aquitaine, and given to the Black Prince,
who held his court at Bordeaux. Thither, when driven from his
country, Pedro the Cruel, of Castile, betook himself. This king had
secured his throne by a series of murders. His natural brother,
Henry of Trastamare, had fled and taken refuge with the French
King. When Pedro carried his cruelty to the pitch of putting to
death his wife, Blanche de Bourbon, a French princess, the court
of France had determined to assist Henry to dethrone his brother,
and had intrusted Du Guesclin with the duty of enlisting the Free
Companies for this purpose. His attempt had been successful; Pedro
had taken flight, Henry had ascended the throne. But Pedro, as
a fugitive king, found ready support at the hands of the Black
Prince, thoroughly imbued with the false chivalry of the day. It
was whispered to the Free Companies that their loved commander had
an expedition on foot. In numbers they deserted from the French
army, and gathered round the Black Prince, who was thus enabled to
cross the Pyrenees at Roncesvalles at the head of 30,000 men. The
rival armies met at Navarette. The French were completely beaten,
Du Guesclin taken prisoner.

[Sidenote: Taxation in Aquitaine.]

[Sidenote: Barons appeal to Charles. 1368.]

[Sidenote: Renewal of war.]

[Sidenote: Gradual defeat of the English.]

[Sidenote: Black Prince takes Limoges.]

[Sidenote: His final return to England.]

[Sidenote: Loss of Aquitaine. 1374.]

But Pedro, again upon the throne, forgot his engagements to his
protector, and the Black Prince returned to his duchy, broken
in health by the hardships of the campaign, and ruined by its
expenses. It became necessary to lay heavy taxes upon his subjects.
Those subjects were already discontented; the barons of Poitou
objected to the English supremacy, and had applied to Charles as
their suzerain. Charles had been fomenting their discontent, and
had sent secret envoys to raise a similar feeling among the barons
of Ponthieu in the north. To these malcontents were now added the
Counts of Armagnac, and other barons of the northern slope of the
Pyrenees, who regarded the infliction of the tax as a breach of
their privileges; and after keeping the matter in abeyance for a
year, till he was ready to strike, King Charles, taking advantage
of the non-completion of the renunciations, proceeded to treat the
Black Prince as a vassal, and summoned him before his court. The
Prince answered he would appear at the head of 60,000 men-at-arms.
The threat was idle. Before, in his distressed position, he could
make any vigorous preparation, the French troops had begun to
conquer the outlying parts of his province, and a declaration of
war was at once issued. But several years of peace, during which
the exhausted country had begun to recover itself, had disinclined
the English to renew the war. The King appears to have grown old
before his time, and to have thought only of enjoying in pleasure
the fruits of his successful youth. Preparations went on but
slowly, while insurrections among the nobles, and the pressure of
the French army, continually increased around Guienne. There the
Black Prince was so ill that he could not himself take the field.
His brother Edmund of Cambridge, Chandos and Knowles, were indeed
with him, but could scarcely make head against the insurgents. An
attack upon Poitou failed, and Chandos lost his life. None of the
English plans met with success. Knowles indeed, placed in command
of Calais, marched again successfully to Paris, but the long wars
had given birth to a new race of French generals, and Du Guesclin,
now Constable, prevented any great success. At length the Black
Prince roused himself, and took the field. At his mere name the
French armies began to dissolve, and he advanced triumphantly to
Limoges, a town he had much favoured, and on which he intended
to wreak his vengeance. The wall was mined, and the town taken.
Men, women, and children, to the number of 3000, were pitilessly
murdered. In the midst of this cruel slaughter, the Prince could
show his knighthood by sparing and honouring some French gentlemen
who made an unusually gallant resistance. It was his last triumph.
Early in 1371 he returned to England, broken and dying. There is no
need to trace the progress of the war further. The gradual advance
of the French could not be checked. The English armies might march
far into the country, as one under Lancaster did in 1373, but the
French invariably avoided a general action; and thus, by 1374,
England had lost all her possessions in France, with the exception
of Calais, Bordeaux and Bayonne, and a few towns upon the Dordogne.

[Sidenote: Naval victory of the Spaniards. 1372.]

The sequel of the Black Prince’s friendship for Pedro of Castile
deserves to be noticed. Upon the withdrawal of the English, Henry
of Trastamare again conquered Pedro, and the brothers having met in
Henry’s tent, a quarrel ensued, terminating in a personal struggle
and the death of Pedro. Henry thus regained the throne; and
subsequently two daughters of Pedro married two of Edward’s sons,
Lancaster and Cambridge. Upon the Duke of Lancaster’s assuming the
title of King of Castile, Henry entered actively into the war,
and at a great naval battle off Rochelle in June 1372, completely
destroyed the English fleet under the Earl of Pembroke. At length a
truce was agreed on, which, though it never ripened into a peace,
continued from time to time during the rest of the reign.

[Sidenote: Discontent in England.]

A strange change of fortune thus clouded the end of what promised
to be a glorious reign. Edward, making war in the spirit of a
knight-errant, and trusting completely to the courage of his troops
on the day of battle, had neglected all the precautions which the
conquest of a country requires. He had been successful neither as
a strategist nor as a statesman, and his war with France, adorned
with splendid victories, and for one moment promising to establish
on a firm footing the English power in the South of France, had
ended in a more complete overthrow of that power than had been seen
since the time of King John. It was natural that the close of such
a reign should be marked by some expressions of discontent among
the people. Old before his time, in the hands of a woman of the
name of Alice Perrers, whose ostentation was constantly shocking
the public eye, Edward had fallen under the influence of bad
advisers, and had let the reins of government slip into the hands
of John of Gaunt, his third son.

[Sidenote: Politics of the time.]

To understand the politics of this time, we have to rid ourselves
of both the names and ideas of the present day. The lines which
divided classes were much more distinctly marked. Political life
was confined entirely to the upper ranks. The House of Commons,
which we are in the habit of regarding as a popular assembly,
and which was, in fact, the most popular assembly of that time,
was in part entirely aristocratic, in part representative of the
moneyed interests of the country. Below this no class could make
its voice heard at all, and this moneyed and aristocratic House
of Commons was only beginning by slow degrees to force itself
into political power. It had, in fact, consisted at first of two
separate orders,--the knights of the shire, who represented the
lesser nobility, and the burgesses. The knights had naturally
joined without difficulty in the deliberations of a baronage who
were socially their equals; the burgesses had busied themselves
almost exclusively with financial questions touching their own
order. Various causes had gradually tended to draw the two lower
orders together, and by the beginning of the reign of Edward III.,
the division of Parliament into two Houses, of which the lower
consisted of knights and burgesses, had been completed. Indeed,
the Act of 1321, passed when Edward II. was victorious over the
barons, had acknowledged the claims of the burgesses to share in
the proceedings of Parliament. The practical government of the
country had hitherto been in the hands of the House of Lords.
There were thus three distinct classes, the baronage, the upper
or represented commonalty, consisting of knights and burgesses,
and the lower commonalty. Power was as yet in the hands of the
baronage. When, therefore, no common cause was driving the baronage
to united action, as among all governing classes, there was certain
to be a difference of view, and the baronage would be divided
into parties. On the other hand, the upper Commons, just forcing
their way upwards, were inclined to be sometimes subservient to
the wishes of the Barons, sometimes ready to join that one of the
baronial parties which seemed to give them the greatest promise
of political assistance. The lower, or unrepresented Commons,
unable to make themselves heard, had been of no political account;
although a series of events had lately contributed to put them in
such a position that their friendship was worth having, and to
enable them soon to speak with arms in their hands, in a way which
was very terrible. Each of these classes had its own particular
interests, and made their combinations with the other classes to
suit the advance of those interests. The Barons desired power, the
higher Commons good administration, especially of the finances;
the lower Commons such improvements in their position as they
afterwards claimed under Wat Tyler. Hitherto, in the main, the
interest of the baronage had been the restriction within fixed
limits of the royal authority; they had hitherto been the guardians
of the constitutional growth of the country, and their rebellions
and opposition, whatever selfish leaven may have been mixed with
them, deserve to be regarded as efforts towards popular liberty.
About the period which we have now reached, this guardianship
of the Constitution passed into the hands of the upper Commons.
The Barons themselves having now acquired a preponderance in the
government, it was their encroachments rather than the King’s which
had to be guarded against. In principle, the safeguards of the
Constitution had been established by Edward I., and were therefore
no longer the subject of contention. The baronage was no longer
interested to secure power, but to enjoy a power already secured.
They thus fell into parties whose real object was to appropriate
that power. For that purpose, like other political parties, the
rival Barons would seek to attach to themselves any of the other
sections of society, and would therefore adopt those principles and
those party cries which seemed to promise them the most success. It
becomes, therefore, impossible to say that this or that baronial
insurrection was popular or constitutional. For their own objects,
the most disorderly Barons might attach themselves to the Commons,
to the lower classes, or to the King. Their divisions had, in fact,
become party struggles for power.

Now the chief questions at that time exciting England were the
position of the Church, the continuation of the war with France,
and the management of the finances. On any of these questions
the baronage might form itself into parties, which might seek
their own advantage by adopting the interests of other sections
of society. It is in this way that must be explained the apparent
contradictions in the conduct of the Parliament at the close of
Edward’s reign. For many years there had been growing a strong
dislike to the Church in England. The oppressions of the Popes,
the selfish character of their government at Avignon, the loss of
spirituality on the part of the higher clergy, from whose ranks the
statesmen of the time were largely drawn, and the deterioration of
the mendicant orders, together with the idea always prevalent in
England of the supremacy of the state, had given birth to a party
who desired the pre-eminence in all matters of the laity,--a party
which is of course connected with the doctrinal views at this time
brought forward by Wicliffe. The existence of this lay party is
clearly shown by the proceedings of the year 1340, when for the
first time a lay Chancellor, Sir Robert Bouchier, was appointed
in the place of Stratford. When the baronage were divided, the
natural leaders of the parties were the royal princes. Thus, when
circumstances had put the reins of power into the hands of John
of Gaunt, he fortified himself by assuming the leadership of the
lay party, which found its adherents in all sections of society,
but no doubt mainly among the barons, jealous of the great part
played in the government by the clergy, the vast wealth which the
Church held, and which is calculated at more than a third of the
land, and rendered self-confident by their successes in the French
war. Already schemes for the confiscation of Church property had
been publicly mentioned, and the Commons, with the approbation of
John of Gaunt, had in 1371 petitioned for the removal of all the
clergy from the higher offices of state. The Bishop of Winchester,
William of Wykeham, had surrendered the great seal, which, together
with the offices of the exchequer, had been put into the hands of
laymen. There are many proofs that the class which was represented
in the Commons partook strongly of the dislike to the Church. But
any claim to popularity which Lancaster’s administration might
have advanced on this ground was destroyed by their mismanagement
of the finances and the disasters of the foreign war. In fact,
there is little doubt that the ecclesiastics he had displaced
were far better governors than the partisans he had put in their
places. Another party was therefore formed, at the head of which
was the Black Prince, a party consisting of those who preferred
the old system of government, and which included the higher clergy
and the financial reformers. It has been pointed out that the
disastrous government of John of Gaunt had found its partisans
chiefly among the Barons. On the whole, therefore, the Commons
attached themselves to the party of the Black Prince. For the
time a restoration of good government and well-managed finance
seemed to them of more importance than the overthrow of the
Church, especially as their interests as a class seemed to lead
in the same direction. The struggle came to an issue in the Good
Parliament, which met in April 1376. The Commons presented a
remonstrance, which, after enumerating their financial grievances,
and asserting the mismanagement of the Government, demanded a
change in the council; in other words, a change of ministry. The
clergy, and William of Wykeham among them, again came into office.
They were not content with this, but impeached--and this is the
first instance of parliamentary impeachment--Lord Latimer, the
Chamberlain. A considerable number of the other officers were
arrested and thrown into prison, and Alice Perrers was forbidden
to use her influence under pain of banishment. They were still
discussing further reforms, when the death of the Black Prince
deprived them of their chief support. Afraid that John of Gaunt had
views on the succession, they insisted on the immediate recognition
of the Black Prince’s son; and a deputation waited on the old King
at Eltham to receive an answer to their complaints and petitions.
These, as might be expected, were chiefly directed against the
encroachments of the Papacy, in hatred to which all parties in
England joined. Still the King’s reply shows the influence of the
newly restored clerical counsellors. Enough, he said, had been done
in the way of legislation, he would continue his personal appeals
to the Pope. Parliament then separated.

[Sidenote: Death of Black Prince. Lancaster regains power.]

[Sidenote: Lancastrian Parliament. 1377.]

[Sidenote: Trial of Wicliffe.]

[Sidenote: Uproar in London.]

[Sidenote: Death of the King.]

It at once became plain that the Black Prince’s death had again
thrown the power into the hands of John of Gaunt. The power of
the new Privy Council disappeared, Lord Latimer was pardoned,
Peter de la Mare, the speaker of the Good Parliament, was thrown
into prison, William of Wykeham was again driven from the court.
The Parliament which assembled next year was thoroughly in the
Lancastrian interest. Sir Thomas Hungerford, the Duke’s steward,
was elected Speaker, the proceedings against Alice Perrers
withdrawn, and a new form of tax--a poll-tax of 4d.--granted. But
the clergy did not thus easily yield their ground. They attacked
the apostle of the lay party, Wicliffe. He had to appear before
Courtenay, Bishop of London, in St. Paul’s. He came, supported
by Lancaster and by the Marshall, Henry Percy, a close adherent
of that party of which Lancaster was the head. An unseemly brawl
arose in the church. Lancaster threatened to drag Courtenay out of
the church by the hair. The Londoners were already so ill disposed
to Lancaster, that measures were in preparation to remove their
mayor, and put the government of the town in the hands of a royal
commission. The insult to their Bishop roused them to fury. It
was only by Courtenay’s intervention that Lancaster’s house was
saved from demolition; and a wretched man was killed under the
supposition that he was Henry Percy. Lancaster escaped, and the
city had to make some sort of reparation; but the quarrel was
scarcely quieted when the King died. Deserted by his mistress, who
is said to have torn the rings from his dying hand, and by his
servants, the wretched old man died, tended only by a single poor



                  Born 1397 = 1. Anne of Bohemia, 1382.
                            = 2. Isabella of France, 1396.

                         CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

   _Scotland._  |  _France._    |  _Germany._   |   _Spain._
                |               |               |
  Robert II.,   | Charles V.,   | Charles IV.,  | Henry II., 1368.
     1370.      |    1364.      |     1347.     | John I., 1379.
  Robert III.,  | Charles VI.,  | Wenceslaus,   | Henry III., 1390.
     1390.      |    1380.      |     1378.     |

  POPES.--Gregory XI., 1370. Urban VI., 1378. Boniface IX., 1389.
  [Also Clement VII., 1378. Benedict XII., 1394.]


                      Simon Sudbury, 1375.
                      William Courtenay, 1381.
                      Thomas Arundel, 1397.


         Sir Richard le Scrope, 1378.    Michael de la Pole, 1383.
         Simon Sudbury, 1379.            Thomas Arundel, 1386.
         William Courtenay, 1381.        William of Wykeham, 1389.
         Lord Scrope, 1381.              Thomas Arundel, 1391.
         Robert de Braybroke, 1382.      Edmund Stafford, 1396.

[Sidenote: Difficulties of the new reign.]

[Sidenote: Regency.]

[Sidenote: Patriotic government.]

The young King was but a child, and there was a prospect of a long
minority, affording an ample field for the intrigues of party.
The position of the kingdom too was such as to promise a time of
considerable difficulty. The war with France had been put off by a
succession of truces, but was still threatening, and England was in
no condition to meet it. An invasion actually took place. French
troops landed in the Isle of Wight, and laid waste the country.
Moreover, the last reign had closed amidst domestic difficulties.
The Lords therefore thought it right to take the settlement of the
kingdom into their own hands. At a great council it was determined
to form a Council of Regency, drawn from all orders represented in
Parliament, to assist the great officers of the crown. The dangers
which beset the country induced all parties for a time to rally
honestly round the throne. The royal princes, who might become
party leaders, were on that account excluded from the Council. The
national party again gained the majority in the Commons, and again
elected De la Mare as their Speaker. But the Commons had no wish
to drive matters to extremity, or to change the existing balance
of power. They fell back into their old position, which they had
temporarily felt themselves obliged to desert, declined to have
anything to do with matters of state; and when told to consider
the best means for the defence of the kingdom, they pleaded their
inability to answer, named a council of peers whom they thought
qualified for the purpose, and made overtures of friendship by
placing Lancaster’s name at the head of the list. Lancaster, who
desired power and had no fixed principles, accepted the position,
first making a solemn denial of all the calumnious reports which
were afloat about him, and thus again became practically Prime
Minister. But the Commons showed that they intended to keep
their own great object, economical management of the finances,
steadfastly in view, by insisting that the subsidy, which was
granted at once upon this reconciliation, should be paid into the
hands of two treasurers named by themselves. They also demanded, as
a further guarantee of good government, that the great officers of
state and the judges should be chosen by the Lords, and publicly
named to the Commons. The King was left unrestrained in the choice
of those who should be about his person. At the next Parliament,
held at Gloucester in 1378, they still pursued the same policy,
and refused to grant a new subsidy till the accounts of that last
granted had been exhibited to them. It was plain that the constant
repetition of subsidies was much disliked.

[Sidenote: Money wanted for war in Brittany. 1380.]

[Sidenote: Poll-tax.]

But the continuation of war in Brittany soon made fresh demands
for money necessary. This war had closed by a sudden revulsion of
feeling on the part of the Bretons, who had been roused to extreme
anger by the annexation of the province by the French King. But on
his death they became equally hostile to their late friends the
English, and drove them from the country. To supply this want of
money, new methods of taxation were devised. A poll-tax, graduated
from £6, 13s. 4d. on the Duke of Lancaster, to 4d. on the ordinary
labourer and his family, was granted, but produced not half the sum
required. Further demands were made, and the consent of the Commons
purchased by reforms of the household, and by the establishment
of a Parliamentary finance committee. Even the new grants thus
purchased did not suffice, and at the end of the year 1380, a poll
tax graduated from £1 to 1s. per head was imposed on every male and

[Sidenote: Insurrection of the Villeins. 1381.]

The exaction of this tax, which fell proportionately with much
greater weight on the lower, unrepresented orders, produced the
great insurrection known as Wat Tyler’s insurrection. Many causes
had been at work, not in England only, but throughout Europe,
to excite discontent among the labouring classes. The severity
and rough inquisitorial spirit with which the present impost was
collected was beyond what they could bear. In Essex, under Jack
Straw, at Dartford, under Wat Tyler, whose daughter had been
subjected to insult, and at Gravesend, where Sir Simon Burley had
laid claim to a labourer as his villein, insurrections broke out.
Wat Tyler was chosen for the general leader, accompanied by John
Ball, the popular itinerant preacher. But the insurrection was
not confined to these counties only, it extended from Winchester
to Scarborough. It was in all respects a revolutionary movement.
Manor-houses were pillaged and destroyed, and the court rolls,
where the villeins’ names were written, were burnt. Officials,
those who had served on juries, justices, and even lawyers, were
put to death. The rebels were particularly embittered against
John of Gaunt, swearing to admit no king of the name of John, and
refused all taxes except the customary tenth and fifteenth.

[Sidenote: Death of Wat Tyler.]

[Sidenote: Insurrection suppressed.]

The insurgents entered Southwark, and pillaged the palace of
Lambeth; on the following day penetrated into London, freed the
prisoners in Newgate, destroyed Lancaster’s house of the Savoy,
and showed their national spirit by killing some fifty Flemish
merchants. The King was alone in London; he offered to meet them
at Mile End. He there received their petition, which demanded not
political but social rights,--the abolition of villeinage, the
reduction of rent to fourpence an acre, the free access to all
fairs and markets, and a general pardon. The King granted their
demands; and charters were at once drawn up for every township.
But, in the meanwhile, the more advanced leaders, disliking the
moderation of the bulk of their followers, broke into the Tower
and ransacked it. On the following day, the King came across these
men in Smithfield. Tyler was at their head. He advanced to have
a personal interview with the King, and was suddenly killed by
Walworth, the Lord Mayor, as he played with his dagger, an action
which was construed as a threat. The young King, with remarkable
presence of mind, rode forward to the astonished rebels, declared
that he would be their leader, and induced them to follow him
to Islington, where they found themselves in the presence of
Sir Robert Knowles and 1000 soldiers. They at once yielded,
and demanded the King’s mercy; he declined to punish them, and
dismissed them to their homes. When time had thus been gained, the
crisis was over. Richard found himself at the head of an army.
Several defeats and numerous executions broke the spirit of the
rebels, and the insurrection was suppressed.

[Sidenote: Parliament rejects the villeins’ claims.]

In autumn the Parliament met. The King declared he had recalled
his charters, but asked the Commons to consider the propriety of
abolishing villeinage. The ignorance and want of sympathy with
the feelings of the class below them, which existed among the
representative Commons, was then made evident. No men, they said,
should rob them of their villeins. The charters were therefore
finally revoked; and not only the charters, but the general pardon
also: at least 250 persons were exempted from it. Meantime, the
House of Commons made political capital out of the insurrection;
they declared that the cause of the insurrection was not the social
oppression of the labourer, but their own grievances, purveyance,
the rapacity of the officers of the Exchequer, the maintainers, or
bands of robbers who carried on depredations in some counties, and
the heavy taxation. This was followed by a further inquiry into the
royal household.

[Sidenote: Lancaster’s government.]

[Sidenote: He deserts Wicliffe.]

Lancaster continued in power for three years longer. His ministry
was unmarked by success; and the feeling against him, which had
been exhibited in the insurrection, found frequent expression. With
regard to Church reform he had completely changed his tactics.
When Wicliffe passed beyond his attacks upon the abuses of the
Church, and touched its doctrine, questioning even the fundamental
point of Transubstantiation, Lancaster withdrew his support.
Although Wicliffe was so far upheld by Parliament, that a statute
which had been passed for the suppression of his “poor priests”
was repealed, he was unable, without Lancaster’s assistance, to
withstand the power of the Church, and was compelled to make some
form of recantation before he regained his living of Lutterworth,
where he died in 1384. But Lancaster reaped no advantage from
this change in his conduct. Every disaster was still laid to his
charge, and the old suspicion that he harboured covert designs upon
the throne still clung to him. The great schism was at this time
dividing the Catholic Church. For seventy years the Papacy fixed
at Avignon had been the servant of the French king: the Babylonish
captivity the Italians called it. Gregory XI. restored the Papacy
to Rome, but his death was followed by a double election. The
French cardinals elected Clement VII., the Roman cardinals Urban
VI.; and the Christian world was divided in its allegiance. In the
interests of Pope Urban, who was received in England, the Bishop of
Norwich, a remarkable prelate, who had distinguished himself in the
suppression of the late insurrection, was engaged to lead an army
against France. He selected the old road of attack. The Flemish
citizens, in spite of the death of their great leader, Philip Van
Artevelt, and of a crushing defeat they had received from the
French chivalry at Rosbecque, continued their enmity to France. The
Bishop was to act in concert with them.

[Sidenote: Is charged with the failure in Flanders.]

[Sidenote: Jealousy of him thwarts the Scotch invasion. 1385.]

His expedition failed; it was currently reported that Lancaster had
thwarted it. A certain friar came to the King offering to prove
traitorous designs on the part of Lancaster. Sir John Holland,
the King’s half-brother, and a partisan of Lancaster’s, into
whose charge he was given, killed him. His death was no doubt
suspicious. His story against Lancaster was believed. In 1385,
Scotland, which had been subsidized by France, became troublesome.
Richard led an army against it; but the advice of De la Pole,
the King’s chancellor and favourite minister, who pretended to
dread the designs of Lancaster, induced Richard to retreat, and
the expedition came to nothing. Moreover, still further to mark
his fear of Lancaster, Richard declared Roger, Earl of March, his
presumptive heir. The enmity between March and Lancaster, in which
perhaps may be traced the first beginnings of the Wars of the
Roses, had been already marked in the last reign. Peter de la Mare
was the steward of the Earl of March, while Sir Thomas Hungerford,
the speaker of the following Parliament, occupied the same office
in the household of Lancaster.

[Sidenote: He is glad to have to support his claims in Castile.]

John of Gaunt, thus mistrusted and opposed, was glad to embrace the
opportunity of leaving England, which was offered him by affairs in
Spain, where he wished, in union with the Portuguese, to push the
claim to the throne of Castile, which he derived from his wife, the
daughter of Pedro the Cruel.

[Sidenote: Gloucester takes his place.]

[Sidenote: The King’s favourites.]

[Sidenote: Gloucester heads an opposition.]

[Sidenote: Change of ministry demanded. Impeachment of Suffolk.]

He was at once succeeded in his influence and in his party
leadership by a far more dangerous man, another uncle of the King,
Thomas, Duke of Gloucester. Meanwhile the politics of England had
changed, and had fallen back into their normal condition. We have
seen that the King had been allowed the free selection of his own
household. He had surrounded himself by men not drawn from the
higher baronage.[64] His chief favourite was De Vere, whom he
had made Earl of Oxford, and subsequently Duke of Ireland, and to
whom he had intrusted the government of that disturbed country;
while his ministers nominated by Parliament were also men who owed
their position to their capacity rather than to their birth. The
chief of these was Michael de la Pole, the chancellor, whom the
King had raised to the rank of Earl of Suffolk. He was thus open
to the old charge of favouritism. The Lancastrian party had set
themselves against his favourites. Already one of them, the Earl
of Stafford, had been killed by Sir John Holland, and Gloucester
found no difficulty in forming a powerful party among the barons,
taking for his cry the reform of the administration, and seeking to
excite the national feeling, by keeping alive the animosity against
France, towards which country Richard was much drawn; while the
specious pretext of reform as usual attracted the Commons. In 1386,
Gloucester took advantage of a threatened invasion from France to
produce charges against the administration. The King’s officers, it
was said, had used the public revenues for their own purposes; the
Commons had been impoverished by taxes, the landowners could not
get their rents, and tenants were compelled to abandon their farms
through distress. The three last of these charges were traceable,
not to government, but to economical changes, but served well as a
party catchword; and so successful were they, that in a Parliament
held at Westminster, Commons and Lords united in demanding a change
of ministry. After a contest of three weeks the King yielded.
Suffolk was dismissed, and his dismissal was immediately followed
by his impeachment. The charges brought against him were held to
be partly proved, and he was sentenced to be kept in prison during
the King’s pleasure. After the dissolution of Parliament he was
released. His place was taken by Arundel, Bishop of Ely.

[Sidenote: Commission of Government.]

[Sidenote: The King prepares a counterblow. 1387.]

[Sidenote: The five Lords Appellant in arms impeach the King’s

[Sidenote: Affair of Radcot.]

This blow, though severe, was followed by a worse one. The old
baronial policy of establishing a committee of reform was renewed.
To intimidate the King, the statute of the deposition of Edward
II. was produced in Parliament. The estates having declared that
unless he granted their requests they would separate without his
permission, he was finally compelled to authorize a commission of
eleven peers and bishops, to inquire into abuses and regulate
reform. Their duty was a very wide one, touching the household, the
treasury, and all complaints out of the reach of law. The partisans
of Gloucester formed the majority of this committee, of which the
Duke himself and his chief friend, Lord Arundel,[65] were members.
It was arranged that the power of the committee should last for
one year only. It does not seem to have brought to light any great
abuses, nor was its government sufficiently superior to that which
had preceded it to justify its establishment. Richard had no mind
to submit to a limitation of his prerogative which seemed so
little called for. He set to work with his usual secretiveness. At
Shrewsbury, and again at Nottingham, he inquired of the judges how
far the late conduct of the reformers was constitutional. Their
reply was strongly in favour of the prerogative. They declared
the late measures treasonable, and its authors liable to capital
punishment, denied the power of Parliament to impeach, and declared
Suffolk’s condemnation false. Fulthorpe, one of the King’s judges,
though sworn to secrecy, at once told Gloucester of the King’s
questions. Consequently, when Richard had made all preparations
for a sudden coup d’état, he was alarmed to find that Gloucester,
Arundel, and Nottingham, had reached London the same day as
himself, with a numerous army. At Waltham Cross the Earls of Derby
and Warwick joined them, and they proceeded to appeal, or, as we
should say, accuse of high treason, the Archbishop of York, the
Duke of Ireland, the Earl of Suffolk, Robert Tresilian the judge,
and Sir Nicholas Brember, whose influence had been employed to
secure London for Richard. The accused sought refuge in flight, and
the Duke of Ireland succeeded in raising troops in the West, and
attempted to bring the matter to the issue of battle. But the Lords
Appellant were beforehand with him; he was unable to cross the
Thames, as he hoped, at Radcot; and being there surrounded, with
difficulty escaped by swimming the river.

[Sidenote: The Wonderful Parliament.]

[Sidenote: Gloucester’s unimportant government.]

The appellants, now masters of the kingdom, made a thorough
clearance of all who could be considered King’s favourites. Eleven
of his intimate friends were imprisoned, a number of the lords and
ladies of the Court removed, and in February 1388, a Parliament
known as the “Wonderful or merciless Parliament” assembled, which,
in a long session of 122 days, was employed almost entirely in
destroying the enemies of Gloucester. His appeal was heard, and
all the five accused gentlemen were found guilty; three escaped,
Tresilian and Brember were put to death. Some of the judges were
likewise executed, some pardoned on the intercession of the
bishops, and four knights, old and intimate friends of Richard, of
whom Sir Simon Burley is the best known, were also impeached and
beheaded. Parliament closed with an ordinance, declaring that the
treasons for which these men had suffered were not established by
any statute, and should not form a precedent; and by exacting a
repetition of Richard’s coronation oath. For a year, Gloucester
ruled at his will, without any marked success. The Percies were
defeated by the Scotch at Otterbourne, and an invasion from France
was only averted by the incessant dissensions which had arisen in
that country during the minority of Charles VI. Before the end of
Gloucester’s administration, however, truces were concluded with
both Scotland and France.

[Sidenote: Richard assumes sole authority. 1389.]

Richard appears to have been able to dissemble profoundly; he
had been most submissive to his conquerors, who believed their
power safe, when, at a council in the spring of 1389, he quietly
asked Gloucester how old he was. Gloucester replied that he was
twenty-two. “Then,” said the King, “I am certainly old enough
to manage my own affairs. I thank you, my lords, for your past
services; I want them no longer.” He then proceeded to change
the ministry, removed Arundel from the chancellorship,[66] and
took the government into his own hands. Although the ministry was
changed, there was no great reversal of policy, no punishment of
the Lords Appellant. On the contrary, the King, under the advice,
it is probable, of William of Wykeham, seemed determined to
ignore party, and to attempt a moderate government. He declared
that he would be bound by the decisions of the late Parliament,
employed among his most intimate counsellors, Derby, who had been
one of the appellants, and the Duke of York, who had been on the
commission of 1386; and it would appear that he did not even
remove Gloucester from his councils. In pursuance of this national
and healing policy, in the following year, the chief officers
temporarily resigned their offices, that their administration
might be examined. The Commons found not the slightest cause of
complaint, and they were reinstated at once. This peaceable state
of affairs continued till 1397. During the whole of that time, we
must believe that Richard was only waiting his opportunity. There
were indeed some signs of his secret thoughts. Some of his banished
friends were relieved or obtained places in Ireland. On the death
of Robert de Vere he succeeded in obtaining the Earldom of Oxford
for his uncle, Aubrey de Vere; and a year or two afterwards he
brought his friend’s body, which had been embalmed, from abroad,
and before it was reburied, had the coffin opened, and gazed with
much emotion upon the dead man’s face. But outwardly such unity
reigned, that national matters could be considered, and the period
is marked by the completion of the quarrel with the Papacy with
regard to Provisors, and by an expedition to Ireland.

[Sidenote: Final Statute of Provisors.]

England, it has been said, embraced the cause of Urban VI. In his
gratitude he had given the King the nomination to the two next
vacant prebends in all collegiate churches. But the appointment by
the Pope of an Abbot of St. Edmunds, in 1380, produced a repetition
of the Statute of Provisors of Edward III.’s reign.[67] Still
the laws were repeatedly evaded, the Pope always presenting to
benefices which fell vacant at Rome. As the cardinals generally
died at Rome, this was a large exception. In 1390, the 29th of
January of that year was settled as a term. All Provisors before
that year were legal; all after, together with the introduction of
any Papal letter of recommendation, absolutely illegal. In 1391,
the new Pope, Boniface IX., declared all these enactments void, and
proceeded to grant Provisors. Consequently, in 1393,[68] was drawn
up the final Statute of Provisors, or Præmunire. By this any man
procuring instruments of any kind from Rome, or publishing such
instruments, was outlawed, his property forfeited, and his person

[Sidenote: Expedition to Ireland. 1394.]

The following year the King made an expedition to Ireland. The
condition of that country had long demanded attention. Since the
invasion of the Bruces, the native tribes had made considerable
advances on all sides, but their domestic dissensions prevented
any permanent success. A far greater evil was the condition of the
Irish of old English race. The want of strong central authority had
allowed the individual chieftains to establish something like royal
power in their own dominions; they were gradually falling back into
barbarism, and in a way very unusual among conquering races, had
been gradually adopting the manners and laws of the conquered race
around them. Among them, as among the natives, perpetual discord
and fighting existed. So disorderly were they, that Edward III. had
ordered that no official places should be occupied except by men
born in England; and Lionel of Clarence, who had been appointed
to bring the country into order, had, in 1364, procured, at the
Parliament of Kilkenny, statutes, directed not against the Irish,
but against the English settlers, making the adoption of Irish
habits, and of the Brehon or Irish law, high treason. Earlier in
the reign, Richard had appointed his favourite De Vere to restore
order. His success had been prevented by the attack upon him by the
Lords Appellant in 1387. The King now, in the year 1394, determined
to go in person. His measures were just and moderate, and he
succeeded in inducing all the native princes to swear fealty.

[Sidenote: Marriage with Isabella of France. 1397.]

He was called home by the excesses of the Lollards, as the
followers of Wicliffe were called. They had prepared a petition,
containing a forcible exposition of their own tenets, and a
vigorous attack on the priests. The Church demanded the presence
and protection of the King, who, on his arrival in England,
expelled the Lollards from Oxford. At the same time he contracted
a marriage, consonant with his known French views, with Isabella,
the daughter of Charles VI. of France, a Princess of ten years of
age. In 1397, the marriage ceremony having been performed, the
young Queen was crowned. It seems possible that it was in reliance
upon this new friendship with France that the King now determined
to execute his long dissembled vengeance. The seven years of
peaceful government had allayed suspicion, and won him popularity.
Lancaster, who had returned from Spain, had ceased to take a
very prominent part in the government, and had, moreover, been
gratified by the legitimization of his children by his mistress
Catherine Swinford. His son, the Earl of Derby, had deserted his
former associates, and was one of the King’s advisers. Mowbray
of Nottingham, another of the Lords Appellant, had also been won
over. The Duke of York had throughout been friendly disposed to the
King. On the other hand, Gloucester had been continually acting
in a spirit of covert hostility. He had made political capital by
opposing the French match, and by publicly speaking against the
extravagances of the royal household, which appear to have been
very great. Froissart, indeed, mentions a story, which however
needs confirmation, that he had combined with Warwick and the
Arundels in a plot to seize the King.

[Sidenote: Richard’s vengeance after seven years’ peace.]

Richard carried out his plans of vengeance with his usual secrecy
and skill. Suddenly, Warwick, Arundel and Gloucester were
apprehended, and sent to different and distant castles. He then
proceeded against them as they had themselves proceeded against
his friends. They were appealed of treason by a number of Earls
in the royal interest. Rickhill, one of the justices, was sent
to Calais to obtain Gloucester’s confession, and a Parliament was
assembled at Westminster, in which the good will of the Commons
had been already secured. As a preliminary measure, all pardons
to Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick were revoked. An impeachment
was then brought against the Archbishop Arundel, and the appeal
against the Duke and the two Earls was heard. Arundel refused to
plead anything but his pardon. This having already been revoked,
he was at once condemned and executed. The Earl Marshall, to whom
Gloucester had been intrusted, was ordered to produce him, but
replied that the Duke was dead. It seems almost certain that he had
been murdered by Richard’s orders at Calais. The Archbishop was
condemned to banishment for life; and Warwick, who pleaded guilty,
was exiled to the Isle of Man. Lord Mortimer, who was also involved
in the accusation, fled to Ireland, and was outlawed. A shower of
new titles was lavished on the obsequious Lords. Derby and Rutland
were made Dukes of Hereford and Albemarle; Nottingham, Duke of
Norfolk; De Spencer, Neville, Percy and Scrope, respectively, Earls
of Gloucester, Westmoreland, Worcester and Wiltshire. A statute
was passed making it treason to levy war against the King, and
declaring the penalty of treason against any one who should attempt
to overthrow the enactments of this Parliament. The next Parliament
at Gloucester, in 1398, acted in the same obsequious manner. The
Acts of the Wonderful Parliament were repealed. To the grant of
a subsidy was added the tax on wool and hides for life; and a
permanent committee of twelve peers and six commoners was appointed
to represent Parliament for the future.

[Sidenote: Hereford and Norfolk banished.]

The new Dukes of Hereford and Norfolk alone remained unpunished of
the old Lords Appellant of 1386. These two men, who had shared in
the destruction of their former associates, had now quarrelled, and
Hereford brought a formal charge against Norfolk of treasonable
conversation. To the Parliamentary committee this question was now
referred, and by them laid before a court of chivalry; at the same
time the committee enacted laws in the royal interest, exactly as
though it had been the Parliament. It was agreed that the dispute
between the two dukes should be settled by the arbitrament of
battle. The lists were prepared at Coventry, but as the combatants
were about to engage, the King took the matter into his own hands,
and, on what principle it is impossible to conceive, punished both;
Hereford he banished for ten years, Norfolk for life. Richard had
thus destroyed his old enemies, rid himself of the constraint of
Parliament, and was practically despotic. “Then the King began
to rule,” says Froissart, “more fiercely than before. In those
days there were none so great in England that durst speak against
anything that the King did. He had council meet for his appetite,
who exhorted him to do what he list. He still kept in his wages
10,000 archers. He then kept greater state than ever, no former
king had ever kept so much as he did by 100,000 nobles a year.”[69]

[Sidenote: His arbitrary rule alienates the people.]

[Sidenote: During his absence in Ireland, 1399.]

He acted in accordance with his position. He raised forced loans,
meddled in the administration of justice, and went so far as to
declare no less than seventeen counties outlawed, for having, as
he asserted, favoured the Lords Appellant before the affair at
Radcot Bridge. But he overrated his real power. His government had
been accepted because it had been constitutional and moderate.
The change which was evident since his acquirement of the sole
authority induced the people to give the credit of that moderation
to Hereford, who had been a chief member of that council, and who
was a popular favourite. Thousands had attended him as he left
England for his banishment, and excitement spread through the
country when the King, in contravention of his promise and of law,
refused him the succession to his father’s title and property upon
the death of that prince. Regardless of the discontented feeling
of the people, Richard unwisely determined upon another expedition
to Ireland, to complete his work there, and to exact vengeance for
the death of the Earl of March, whom he had named as his successor.
The kingdom was thus left vacant, and in the charge of the Duke
of York, whose subsequent conduct proved that he shared in the
national feeling.

[Sidenote: Hereford returns and is triumphantly received.]

[Sidenote: Captures Richard.]

The new Duke of Lancaster took advantage of this act of folly to
land at Ravenspur in Yorkshire, declaring loudly that he came but
to demand his family succession. The Percies, the old friends
of the Lancastrians, received him with gladness, and his march
southwards soon became formidable. The King’s ministers, Wiltshire,
Bussy, and Greene, fled for refuge to Bristol. Thither York also
betook himself, thus leaving the capital open. Lancaster, now at
the head of a powerful army, also drew to the West. As he came
within reach of the Duke of York, civilities were exchanged, which
proved that he had no opposition to fear from him. Bristol opened
its gates. The King’s favourites were seized and executed, and
the King, who had landed in Wales from Ireland, with the Duke of
Albemarle and other nobles, saw his army rapidly dissolve, and
had to take refuge in the castle of Conway. Henry of Lancaster
found himself joined by all the nobility. He commissioned Percy
of Northumberland to procure a meeting with Richard at Flint.
The proposed meeting was a trap to catch the King; as he rode
from the castle with Northumberland, Richard found himself in the
midst of hostile troops. When he was introduced to the presence of
Lancaster, he knew that his fate was sealed, and with his peculiar
power of accepting circumstances, was entirely submissive in his

[Sidenote: Makes him resign the kingdom.]

A Parliament had been summoned to meet in September; but before
that time, Richard was induced to make a formal resignation of the
kingdom. Not content with this, when the Parliament met, Henry
caused the coronation oath to be read. It was contended that
Richard had broken it, and therefore forfeited the crown. The
Bishop of Carlisle alone raised his voice in favour of the fallen
King, and demanded that he should at least be heard in his defence.
His interference was, of course, in vain. The deposition of the
King was voted. The throne being thus vacant, the Duke was not long
in laying claim to it. In a curious document, in which he mingled
the claims of blood, of conquest, and the necessity of reform,
he put forward his demands. They were unanimously admitted. The
Archbishop of Canterbury took him by the hand and led him to the
throne. It was his cue to act with strict legality, yet he could
not afford to do without a Parliament so obviously devoted to his
interests. As that Parliament had expired by Richard’s deposition,
he immediately issued writs for a new one, returnable in six days,
thus rendering it absolutely impossible to make any new elections.
It was with the Parliament thus secured that he began his reign.



Although the narration of political facts implies much of the
history of the country, it leaves out of sight much that touches
the real life of the people. During the last hundred years great
social changes had been going on, and great social progress made.
In fact, till the end of the reign of King John, the social, like
the political history of the country scarcely deserves the name of
national. The description of any feudal society will in a great
measure suit it. But the national existence had been worked out in
the reign of Henry III., and was completed and finally established
by the great time of Edward I. From that time onwards, continuous
change and growth had been visible, and that growth had been
national. The great fact of all modern history is the breaking up
of the feudal and ecclesiastical system of the middle ages, and
the introduction, as political and social elements of weight, of
the middle and industrial classes. It is the beginning of that
process which constitutes therefore the history of this period. The
points to observe will be, therefore, the growth and advance of
the commons, the decay of the aristocracy. But it is as yet quite
impossible to speak of the commons as one body. The line which
divided the class which sent its representatives to Parliament,
and which was already becoming of political importance, from the
mass of the labouring part of the nation, was very clearly drawn,
and the characteristics, the employments, and the feelings of the
one class, as well as the causes of their advance, will be very
different from those of the other. A brief sketch has been already
given of the gradual introduction of the commons into Parliament.
But it still remains to explain and illustrate the sources of their
wealth, their aristocratic tendencies, and the prevalence among
them of a strong distaste for the pre-eminent position occupied
by the Church. It was their wealth which gained them admission
to Parliament, and the way in which that wealth was gained which
greatly influenced their views after they had been admitted.

[Sidenote: Trade.]

[Sidenote: The staple.]

Trade, on which their riches depended, was as yet in its infancy;
and the views which regulated its management as yet too crude to be
spoken of by such a dignified title as political economy. As far as
they went, however, they were very clear, and were, in fact, though
afterwards improved, the same in spirit as those which existed in
England before the time of Adam Smith. Observing only the obvious
fact, that the possession of money enabled a man to purchase
whatever he wanted, early traders conceived the idea that money
was wealth, and that nothing else was. And as the wealth of the
nation was of the last importance, both to the governor and to the
governed, and as trade was the chief method by which money could
be supplied, and by which money might be drawn from the country,
the regulation of trade became one of the most important duties of
the King and the Parliament. Now money being the sole wealth, in
that regulation of trade it became necessary to aim first at the
introduction of money; secondly, at its retention. It was to these
objects that the frequent ordinances and statutes with regard to
trade were directed. Although very various and, as such regulations
were almost certain to be, frequently inefficacious, they were
energetic and simple. England was not as yet a manufacturing
country. Its trade was an export trade of raw materials,
principally derived from sheep farming on the vast spaces of
uncultivated land which then existed, and from its mineral wealth.
Its principal commodities were wool, sheep-skins, or wool-fells,
and leather, together with tin and lead.[70] Only the coarsest
kind of cloth was manufactured; sometimes intentionally rough and
coarse, to be changed into fine cloth afterwards in Flanders, but
exported as cloth to avoid the tax on wool. Primitive trade, when
the seas were beset with pirates, had been carried on chiefly
inland, and great fairs, such as that of Troyes in France, had been
established under the guardianship of feudal lords, who guaranteed
the safety of the merchants for a toll. Domestic trade was carried
on in the same way, and one of the forms of royal exaction was to
open a fair, and insist upon all other shops and other places of
sale being closed during its continuance.[71] As the seas became
safer, and the mercantile spirit of the Flemings rose, the great
free cities of Flanders became as it were perpetual fairs, and were
known as staples, from the German “stapeln,” _to keep up_. In order
that trade should be well under command, it was necessary that it
should be carried on in few channels. The English government had
therefore chosen some of these Flemish towns, and ordered that
all the chief productions of England, which have been already
mentioned, should be sold in those towns, and nowhere else. These
goods were therefore called staple commodities; the merchants who
traded in them, the merchants of the staple. And this staple trade
was put under an organization--there being a mayor, a constable,
and courts of the staple. At these staple towns, the King’s
customers, or custom-house officers, by means of this organization,
had every bargain under direct supervision; and every bargain thus
supervised was obliged to be made for a certain sum of actual coin,
the government thus securing a continual flow of silver into the
hands of the English merchants. The staple towns were frequently
changed. To reward any particularly faithful ally, or to raise the
importance of any particular town, as for instance Calais, the
staple was removed to that Prince’s province, or to that town. The
proportion of each bargain to be brought over in coin was also
constantly varying. Indeed, the frequent interference of government
in such matters was not among the least of the restrictions of
trade. Edward III. was said, at one time of his life, to have had a
different plan every month. Upon the whole, however, the principle
was the same. Amongst the most remarkable plans of Edward III. was
one for keeping the evident riches that accrued to the staple towns
within the limits of England. In the twenty-seventh year of his
reign he named nine towns in England which were to be the exclusive
selling places of the English staple commodities. For an Englishman
to carry such commodities beyond the seas was punishable by death.
As Edward could not protect the foreign merchants visiting his
staples, and as the additional trouble of purchasing goods at them
naturally lowered prices, this plan did not answer. It was, in
fact, suicidal for an island people, since it destroyed all object
in the keeping up a mercantile navy. It was therefore speedily
abandoned; and after the reign of Henry VI., Calais became the sole
English staple town. A similar attempt was made in the fourteenth
year of Richard II., when it was enacted that no Englishman
should buy wool except of the owners of the sheep, and for his own
use. The export trade was thus again for a time given over to the
foreign merchant, for the sake of securing to the wool-grower the
profits of the retail as well as the wholesale trade; the effect
was naturally a decrease of purchasers, which reduced the growers
to great distress. The government had, by insisting on money
payments in every bargain, secured an influx of silver; but as the
nation was too far advanced in civilization to do without foreign
products, there were a certain number of foreign importers, who
threatened in their turn to withdraw it again. One or two attempts
were indeed made to confine English trade to the limits of the
country. Thus, it was the view of Simon de Montfort, who disliked
all extravagance in dress, that the production of the country was
enough to supply its own inhabitants; and in 1261, and in 1271,
exportation of English wool was forbidden, and people acquired the
habit of dressing in undyed native cloth. Such primitive patriotism
could not last in an advancing nation. Trade soon resumed its old
course. The greater part of the foreign merchants were Germans, and
to keep them under government supervision, they were formed into a
guild, given certain privileges, allowed to possess a guild-hall,
and are generally known as the Merchants of the Steelyard.[72]
Other alien merchants there also were, who were protected by law;
notably by the great statute of Edward I., “De mercatoribus.” But
although the goods they brought were necessary, their bargains, no
less than those of the staple merchants, were under supervision.
They were bound to employ a certain proportion of the money
obtained from their sales in English goods.[73] Moreover, all
foreign merchants were held to be mutually responsible for each
other’s debts. Thus the retention of the silver in England was
also secured, while, to avoid any varieties in the value of money,
English coin alone was current, and foreign coin had at once to be
exchanged at the royal exchangers.

[Sidenote: Coinage.]

Since money was so important an object, the coinage was naturally
regarded with great care. It was an exclusive royal monopoly, and
in the reign of Edward III. the punishment of death was enacted
against false coiners. There was a constant dread lest in the
exchange England should be the loser. The belief was prevalent that
the value of the money depended upon the denomination. It had not
yet entered men’s minds to think that it was but another commodity,
worth exactly its intrinsic value, which no change of name could
alter. Up till the reign of Edward III., although clipped and
lightened in use, and although Edward I. had begun the bad practice
of depreciating the coin by diminishing its legal weight, the
coinage had been on the whole but little tampered with. But between
the years 1344 and 1351, the number of silver pennies made from the
pound of silver had increased from 243 to 270. In that year, groats
of the nominal value of 4d., but of the weight of only three and
a half of the diminished penny, were issued. It is impossible to
make any true estimate of the comparative value of money then and
at the present time. The facts with regard to the actual amount of
silver employed are these: The pound, which only nominally existed,
was a full pound of silver, which would at present be coined into
£2, 16s. 3d. The shilling, which seems also to have been a nominal
coin, was the twentieth part of this, or 2s. 9¾d. The silver penny,
which was, till the time of Edward III., almost the only coin, was
therefore worth 2¾d. Edward introduced several new coins; some of
gold, which, as there was no fixed proportion between them and
silver, were not popular, and were recalled; and nobles of the
value of 6s. 8d., or half a mark; together with the groats above
mentioned. But of the purchasing value of the money thus made
no fixed estimate can be given, as that of course depends upon
the relative value of the articles purchased; and under the very
different circumstances of those times the relative value of those
articles was so different, that to compare the value of money with
any one of them would give a totally false impression. It is usual
to say roughly that to reach the present value of any sum mentioned
it should be multiplied by fifteen.

[Sidenote: Guilds.]

This form of commerce, restricted as has been before explained, was
certain to break down as the wants of the nation increased. There
was a company of merchant adventurers founded, perhaps, though this
seems very uncertain, as early as Henry III.’s reign, which had
the right to trade in other commodities besides the staple, and
to choose its own ports. It was the growth of this company which,
in the next century, had most to do with breaking down the staple
monopoly. It is needless to point out the bad effects which this
constant interference must have produced. It is certain that the
foreign merchant paid himself well for the extreme difficulties
placed in the way of his business; while, at the same time, the
difficulties of procuring foreign articles of luxury must have
gone far to render the habits of ordinary life rough and simple.
The same principle of restriction, which was established in the
commerce of the country, existed in the retail trade. The towns of
England were of natural and accidental growth, accumulations of
men who had gathered for purposes of self-defence or convenience,
living in accordance with the ordinary habits of the country, in
the same position, in fact, with regard to the king and their
lords as any other society of men--citizens originally by right of
the possession of land, and as the system of lordship established
itself, bound to customary duties to their lord, just as the
inhabitants of the country were. In the same way the citizens
of the town, with the exception of these customary duties, were
free and self-governing. They gradually, and chiefly by means of
purchase, obtained freedom from the customary duties, and thus
became independent, self-governing communities. Charters securing
them freedom, in the case of the royal cities at all events, were
many of them due to the necessities of the Angevin kings, and to
their want of money for the payment of their mercenary troops. The
close neighbourhood of the inhabitants of towns early introduced
an artificial system of union, analogous to the frankpledge.
Men formed themselves into what were known as frith-guilds,[74]
the members of which were mutually responsible for one another,
met at periodical feasts, supported one another’s poor, and in
other respects performed the duties of members of an artificial
family. As trade increased these guilds in the generality of cases
coalesced into one, which took upon itself the direction of trade,
and was known as the merchant guild. With the natural tendency
of a governing body, this old merchant guild became exceedingly
exclusive. New-comers to the town were not admitted to it, and
craftsmen were generally excluded from its limits. In turn those
craftsmen established guilds of their own, known as craft-guilds,
by the warden and leaders of which the bye-laws of the particular
craft were formed. Between these and their aristocratic neighbours,
the merchant guild, quarrels arose, and in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries the contest between the two was fought out,
the craft-guilds eventually securing their acknowledgment and a
share in the government of the town. Speaking generally, therefore,
we may conceive of the towns of England as being divided into a
series of guilds, the leaders of which usually formed a governing
body, and which were capable of making bye-laws for their own
special members. The commercial aim of these associations was,
to insure good work, to insure work for all its members, and to
resist that spirit of competition which was gradually rising, and
which ended in the creation of two classes, the capitalist and
the workman. To secure these objects, they limited the number of
master workmen, admitted candidates to their association only after
lengthened apprenticeships, limited the number of apprentices each
master might employ, and kept a close supervision over the articles
made, which were usually authenticated by the corporation mark.[75]

These restrictions upon industry at the close of our period were
beginning to break down; round the master workmen, there was
arising a class of journeymen or day labourers, whose ranks were
constantly swelled by fugitive serfs from the country; while, on
the other side, individual enterprise was making itself felt, and
capital was being collected, the owners of which refused to submit
to the old corporation laws. The constant supervision both of trade
and of the work of artisans supported the notion that governing
bodies had the right to set prices on the articles under their
control, a principle which was used not only by the guilds, but by
the Government, as when, in the famine years of 1315 and 1316, it
prescribed the exact price of all articles of food. As this had
the natural effect of keeping things entirely out of the market,
so that butcher’s meat disappeared altogether, it was shortly
repealed; the prices to be demanded for victuals were constantly
subject to the supervision of justices. The assize of bread, which
is commonly assigned to the fifty-first year of Henry III., 1266,
regulated the price in accordance with the market prices of corn,
but the assizes of other matters, such as wine, wood, fish, fowls,
etc., seem to have been perfectly arbitrary.

[Sidenote: Ships.]

Though thus restricted, the trade of the English was very
considerable. Their ships reached into the Baltic, where a constant
communication was kept up with the Teutonic order, to whom Prussia
belonged. The intercourse with that order was close. We hear of
Henry, the first Duke of Lancaster, the Earl of Derby, afterwards
Henry IV., and Thomas of Gloucester, repairing to their assistance.
But the English merchants could never secure an equality of rights
in the Baltic, the trade of which was regarded as a monopoly by the
Hanseatic towns. English ships also visited Spain, so that Chaucer
could describe his experienced shipman as knowing all the harbours
from Gothland to Finnisterre;[76] while Venetian and Genoese
merchants, in whose hands the whole trade of the East was, brought
their goods largely to England; indeed, in 1379, a Genoese merchant
is said to have suggested to Richard II. to make Southampton the
emporium of all the oriental trade of the North. So great was the
importance of the English shipping, that Edward III. distinctly
claimed for himself and his predecessors the dominion of the
sea.[77] The ships were, however, though numerous, of small burden;
in the great fleet employed by Edward at Calais, there were 710
vessels, with crews amounting to 14,151 persons, which would give
an average crew of about twenty men; and as it is said that there
were about sixty-five sailors to every hundred tons, it would make
the average size of the vessels very small. Indeed, a ship manned
by thirty seamen, employed to convey Edward I. to the Continent,
was regarded as a wonder for its size. Of navy, properly speaking,
there was little or none. There were only twenty-five royal ships
at Calais, the rest were all merchantmen pressed for the service.
About this time it became habitual to put cannon on board ships.
When used for military purposes, they were manned by troops and

It has been mentioned that the trade of England was almost entirely
in raw materials. The cloth manufactured had hitherto been of the
roughest description, but Edward III., true to his view of keeping
English trade for the English, and moved perhaps by the wealth of
his allies the Flemish, attempted to introduce the manufacture
of finer cloths. In 1331, he invited weavers and fullers from
Flanders, and the patent exists which he gave to one John Kempe,
to practise and teach his mystery.[78] This seems to have been the
beginning of the finer cloth manufactures of England.

[Sidenote: Furniture.]

[Sidenote: Dress.]

[Sidenote: Houses.]

The fact of so much trouble being taken to organize trade shows
the extent of it, and in spite of all ignorance and mismanagement,
it was certain to produce wealth. The standard of comfort among
all classes was improving, though there was nothing like what we
should now speak of as luxury. The furniture used, even in the
houses of the rich, was still rude. Things which are now found
everywhere, and taken as matters of course, were then valuable
rarities--beds, bedsteads, and rich clothing were frequently left
by will. The lists of moveables, on which taxes were paid, are
exceedingly meagre. A stool or two, a chest, and a few metal pots,
constituted the ordinary supply of furniture. In the houses of
the very rich, art had indeed begun to show itself. The payments
of Henry III. to foreign artists for paintings in his house are
mentioned. Intercourse with the French, and especially with
the Spaniards, tended to increase these more luxurious habits.
Carpets had always been used by Eastern people, and the Moors
had introduced the custom in Spain. Thus, on the marriage of
Edward I., before the arrival of Eleanor of Castile, her brother,
the Archbishop of Toledo, made his appearance. The hangings
of his chamber excited the wonder of the people, and Edward,
always inclined to ostentation, had the rooms of the bride elect
similarly decorated. This is said to have been the introduction
of carpets to England; but still the usual covering of the floor
was rushes. There is frequent mention of payments for rushes for
the King’s chambers. In the matter of clothes the same change is
observable. The extravagant court of Edward II. is said to have
introduced parti-coloured garments. In Edward III’s reign, wealth
had so increased in all ranks that it was found necessary to pass
sumptuary laws, sharply dividing classes by the dress they were
allowed to wear, and to confine silk and the finer woollen cloths
to the higher ranks, for the sake perhaps of the English wool
manufactures. In Richard II.’s reign, extravagance went still
further. With his Queen, Anne of Bohemia, came in the awkward
habit, soon adopted by all classes, of wearing long shoes, called
cracowys or pykys, which required to be tied with silver chains
to the knee before the wearer could move.[79] And Stowe says that
Richard himself wore a garment made of gold, silver, and precious
stones, worth 3000 marks. At the same time the rich built more
comfortable houses. Castles ceased to be mere places of defence.
They were at once strongholds and handsome dwelling-places. Warwick
and Windsor castles may be looked on as fair specimens of the more
magnificent buildings of the time. Meanwhile, though among the few,
and on special occasions, splendour was found, houses, even in the
streets of considerable towns, such as Colchester, the tenth city
of the empire, were still built of mud. In Edward III.’s reign,
it was still necessary to issue frequent orders for the cleansing
of the streets of London, that his courtiers might not get into
difficulties as they moved from Westminster to the City. Filth
accumulated in the narrow by-lanes; and, as in the East, crows
were held sacred as the only scavengers. Pavement there was none,
and lanterns were hoisted from the top of Bow Church, to guide
the wayfarer through the paths of the heaths that surrounded the

[Sidenote: Food.]

Barbaric profusion in the matter of food made up for the want of
substantial comforts. At the coronation of Edward I., 380 head of
cattle, 430 sheep, 450 pigs, 18 wild boars, 278 flitches of bacon,
and 20,000 capons, was the amount of food provided. The conduits
ran wine, and hundreds of knights, who attended the great nobles,
let their horses run free, to be the prize of the first captor. In
1399, at a Christmas feast of Richard II., there were daily killed
twenty-eight oxen and 300 sheep, beside numberless fowl. Richard
of Cornwall, at his marriage, is said to have invited 30,000
guests; while we are told that the usual household of Richard II.
numbered 10,000. But though at these great festivals there was
vast abundance of meat, at other times, especially at the Church
fasts, fish, often of the coarsest sort, was eaten. The wife of
Simon de Montfort ate the tongue of a whale dressed with peas,
and a porpoise dressed with furmenty, saffron and sugar. Enormous
quantities of herrings were consumed, spoken of as Aberdeens; in
six days of March, Eleanor de Montfort’s household consumed no less
than 3000. Her meals were diversified by dog-fish, stock-fish,
conger eels, and cod. Wine was drunk in great quantities,
frequently mixed with honey. Hops, though known in Flanders, had
not been introduced; the beer which was largely consumed was made
of any grain, and seasoned with pepper.

[Sidenote: The House of Commons.]

It was the increasing wealth of the country, especially of the
mercantile classes, which had caused their introduction to
Parliament. Thither they came with all the exclusive notions
which their trade traditions had fostered. They were as careless
of the class below them as the Barons. Indeed, it would be true
to say that the feeling of the House of Commons was completely
aristocratic. One part of it was of necessity entirely so: the
knights of the shire, originally the representatives of the lower
baronage, were elected in the county court, which was the general
meeting-place of all freeholders, whether they held immediately
from the crown or not. Consequently, the baronial freeholders
became merged in the lesser freeholders, and the class of gentry
was created. Many things had tended to the increase of that class.
The breaking up of great properties, the division of property
among younger children, and alienation, had increased the number
of freeholders. The statute “Quia Emptores,” intended as a check
upon subinfeudation, had really increased alienation by authorizing
it. The smaller estates, thus separated from the large baronies,
had to be worked to profit, and could not be regarded merely as
means of military or political influence. There thus had arisen
an industrial as well as a military class of landholders. The
representatives of towns, also elected upon a writ directed to
the Sheriff, were, if not at first, certainly soon after elected
in the county courts. This similarity of election united the two
classes in feeling; and the smaller baronies, small landowners, and
burghers, formed the body of representative Commons, aristocratic
in feeling in accordance with the origin of the more aristocratic
part of the class. It is thus that we find the Commons regarding
the Barons as their natural leaders, not joining the crown against
them as in France. Edward III., in his difficulties with Stratford,
had tried to produce this combination, but had failed; and the
Commons joining with the Barons, had insisted on the restoration
to favour of that prelate. And thus, too, we find the Commons
without sympathy with the demands of the rebels in Wat Tyler’s
insurrection. They had, indeed, certain grievances of their own,
on which they were always petitioning, such as the encroachments
of the King’s purveyors, and the too great authority, sometimes
misused, of the sheriffs. But apart from these particular wrongs,
they may be regarded as siding as a whole with the Barons.

[Sidenote: Opposition to the church.]

In their hatred to the Church they made common cause with all
classes. The peculiar position which the submission of John had
given the Popes in England was the primary cause of this dislike.
Annates, or first-fruits, had been early demanded, but the great
grievance, as we have seen, was Provisors. Against this assumption
of authority, which forestalled the rights of the patrons, there
was the strongest feeling. The exactions of the Pope had been
strongly spoken of in the Statute of Carlisle in the end of
Edward’s I.’s reign. Edward II., like other weak princes, had
yielded to this assumption. But in Edward III.’s reign, a series of
enactments were passed, each one stronger than the last, against
the interference of the Papacy. In 1343 the Statute of Carlisle had
been read, and it was enacted that no more Papal instruments should
be allowed in England. In 1344, the penalty of exile was pronounced
against all provisors. By a Statute of the 25th year of Edward
III.’s reign, it was ordained that “kings and all other lords
were to present unto benefices, of their own or their ancestor’s
foundation, and not the Pope of Rome.” If the Pope interfered
the matter was to come into the King’s hands, and penalties were
enacted. In the 38th year of his reign these enactments were all
confirmed and strengthened by the Statute of Provisors, by which
the introduction of Papal Bulls and Briefs was forbidden. The
strife, as we have seen, was continued in Richard II.’s reign,
and finally completed in the 16th year of that King, by a statute
declaring the freedom of the crown of England, which was in earthly
subjection to no realm, and pronouncing the penalties of the
Præmunire against all who should purchase or procure any Bulls from
the Court of Rome; any who were guilty of this should be put out of
the King’s peace, and forfeit all their property. In Edward III.’s
reign, also, the annual tribute, or census, as it was called, of
a thousand marks was left unpaid. At the end of Edward I.’s reign
17,000 marks had become due. Edward II. paid this, and continued
throughout his reign to discharge the debt. Edward III. was again
strong enough to refuse the payment, and in 1366, Urban V. demanded
the arrears of thirty-three years. The King laid the matter before
his Parliament, and an instrument was drawn up in the name of the
King, Lords, and Commons, declaring that John had acted without the
advice of his realm, and that any demand for the money would be
resisted to the utmost. It was not again claimed. But it was not
against the Roman Church only that the popular feeling had been
aroused. The Church itself had become unpopular. The wealth and
idleness of the older monastic orders, the spiritual encroachments
and licentious lives of the new mendicant orders, had excited
popular anger. The charges against them are humorously summed
up in the Song of the Order of Fair-ease, a description of an
imaginary order, to which each existing class of monks subscribes
a characteristic or two. The monks of Beverley give the habit
of deep drinking, in which they are joined by the Black Monks;
the Hospitallers dress well and amble fairly on grey palfreys;
the Secular Canons are the willing servants of the ladies; the
Grey Monks are given to licentiousness; while the Friars Minor,
whose order is founded on poverty, will never lodge with a poor
man so long as there are richer men to be found. In the same way
the constant interference of the consistory courts was the cause
of popular complaint. “Yet there sit somnours, six or seven,
misjudging all men alike, and reach forth their roll: herdsmen hate
them, and every man’s servant, for every parish they put in pain.”

[Sidenote: Wicliffe.]

To crown all, the doctrine itself of the Church had begun to be
questioned. In 1360, the name of Wicliffe first becomes prominent.
His first attack was upon the mendicant orders, who had contrived
to get into their hands much of the education of the country. From
this time onwards he continually waged war against the abuses of
the Church. The clergy, he urged, should be poor, in imitation
of Christ. This doctrine he carried out by the establishment
of an order of poor priests. With regard to the Sacrament, he
appealed to common sense; and while not yet ready to attack the
doctrine of Transubstantiation, upheld that the elements taken
were really bread and wine. But his great work was neither his
assault on the wealth of the clergy, nor his attack on their
doctrine, but the translation of the Bible into English, which
was, in fact, an appeal to private judgment in opposition to
ecclesiastical authority. His influence was very widespread. His
poor priests worked largely among the lower orders, and his view
of the necessity of poverty for the clergy was so in harmony with
the feelings of the day, that it met with ready acceptance. As has
been mentioned, the Church was too strong for him. He was obliged,
when the support of John of Gaunt failed him, to make some sort
of recantation, and retire to his living of Lutterworth. But his
disciples are said to have numbered a third of the population of
England, and when, as was inevitable, social and political views
were added to their religious doctrines, they became an object of
dread, not only to the Church, but also to the Government.

[Sidenote: The lower classes.]

It is perhaps in the lower commons that social change is most
obvious. The great insurrection of Wat Tyler is a sign of something
more than mere temporary discontent. Agricultural villeinage was
disappearing, and giving birth to a new class almost peculiar
to England, the free but landless labourer. The existence of
this class first comes prominently into notice in the Statute of
Labourers. In the terrible pestilence of the Black Death which
had ravaged England, a third, perhaps a half, of the population
had been carried off. Labour became scarce. The labourers took
the opportunity of making what we should now call a strike for
higher wages. Such a demand, however consonant with economical
principles, was quite repugnant to the feelings of that age, when
prices were a constant matter of legal enactment. The Statute of
Labourers, stating in its preamble that servants, taking advantage
of the necessities of their masters, would not serve except for
excessive wages, enacted that every able-bodied man should be
bound to serve any one who required him at the old wages under
pain of imprisonment; and that every master giving more than the
old wages should forfeit thrice the sum he had offered. Such an
ordinance could not be kept; but strenuous efforts were made to
insist upon it, and again and again in some form or other it was
re-enacted. But whether successful or not, it shows the existence
of labour for wages, and of a rising knowledge on the part of the
labourers of the value of their work. Several causes combined to
create this labouring class. The early form of agricultural society
may be roughly described as a village of serfs lying round the
manor-house of their lord. Each serf had his share in the common
fields of the village, and was bound to join in the cultivation of
his lord’s domain or manor farm. For the simple farming at that
time prevalent this forced labour was sufficient; and the lord
valued his serfs more for military purposes than as agricultural
labourers. As subinfeudation and alienation went on, the holders of
small properties were obliged to work their land to better profit.
The alienations also were chiefly made from the lord’s domain, but
it was not usual to part with serfs. Consequently, their number
increased, while the domain land diminished; there were more hands
than the lord could employ, and the tenant working for profit could
therefore find labour among the surplus serfs who would work for
wages. A change in the character of war took place at the same
time. The insular condition of England made the feudal arrangement
with its limited term of service inconvenient; in the highest
ranks, therefore, military service was changed to scutage or money
payment, and a large number of dependants became less desirable
than money; proprietors were willing to work their farms with fewer
servants and to receive money rent instead of service. There were
thus at work the two principles which broke down villein labour;
labour paid by wages, and land held for money rent. The change in
war had another effect. Armies were raised by contract with some
great lord. The payment was beyond the ordinary agricultural wages.
The earl himself received a mark a day, the common foot-soldier,
3d. or 4d., and the archer, 6d.[80] Anxious to fulfil his contract,
the leader would not be careful to inquire whether he was enlisting
serfs or not. On his return from a war, the well-paid soldier would
be unwilling to fall back into a state of serfdom. He swelled the
ranks of wage-paid labour. Again, the residence of a year and a day
uninterrupted within the limits of a borough gave freedom. Serfs,
seeing the advantage of money payments, fled thither and became
free. Again, the Church, in whose eyes all men were equal, would
not refuse to admit them within its ranks; a serf could thus become
a priest or monk, and withdraw himself from his lord’s power. On
the same principle, the Church constantly urged the manumission
of serfs. To all these causes was now added the disarrangement of
labour consequent on the Black Death. With a general demand for
labour all superfluous hands would find easy employment, perhaps
at a considerable distance from their old homes. With a sufficient
supply himself, the lord would not waste time or money to redeem
them. We thus see how there may have been a vast number of free
labourers in England. The Statute of Labourers, destroying their
freedom of bargain, attempted, though with but partial success, to
force these free labourers back into a semi-servile condition. But
they had now joined the ranks of freemen, such as the small farmers
of Kent, and the unincorporated artisans of towns. The spirit of
equality fostered by the teaching of the mendicant friars, who had
reached England in Henry III.’s reign, and who took up their abode
among the poor city populations, was still further increased by the
teaching of Wicliffe and his poor priests.

      “When Adam delved and Eve span,
      Who was then the gentleman?”

a doggerel couplet frequent in the mouths of the insurgents of
1382, shows how the lessons of the Bible made public by Wicliffe’s
translation could be turned in the same direction. The feeling that
it was the plebeian archer, and not the lordly man-at-arms, who
had won the great victories in France, and the success with which,
during the last half century, the smaller trade corporations had
in the cities forced themselves into an equality with the great
ones, all led to the same democratic feeling. The lower freemen
made common cause with the villeins. They had all felt the heavy
pressure of the tax-gatherer. The popular songs of the day are full
of wretchedness. One, said to belong to the reign of Edward I. or
II., speaks thus--

“To seek silver for the King, I sold my seed, wherefore my land
lies fallow and learns to sleep. Since they fetched my fair cattle
in my fold, when I think of my old wealth I nearly weep; this
breeds many bold beggars. There wakes in the world consternation
and woe, as good is it to perish at once, as so to labour.”[81] The
democratic outbreak of Wat Tyler was the consequence.

[Sidenote: The nobility.]

While the two sections of the commons were thus rising in social
position, a change had also taken place in the character of the
nobility. It may be roughly characterized as the change from
feudalism to chivalry.[82] Many of the same causes which had
conduced to the freedom of the labourer had tended to loosen the
territorial system on which the ancient strength of the nobility
rested. Especially had the voluntary character of military service
dealt heavy blows at the practical side of feudalism. Soldiering
was no longer the necessary duty of every man; but the military
spirit remained, and to the bulk of the aristocracy fighting became
a pastime. The subordination of proprietors gave place to a sort
of system of freemasonry, to which all knights were admitted.
Knighthood made its holder any man’s equal for actual military
purposes. It was no longer the great noble, but the good soldier,
who was the commander. Manny, Chandos, Knowles, all of them simple
knights, were the generals to whom Edward III. trusted. As an
amusement war was decked with ostentatious ornament. This is the
period of showy tournaments, of armorial bearings, and of grotesque
vows, like that of the young knights who attended Edward with black
patches over their eyes. It is this chivalrous aspect of war which
explains the short-lived character of Edward’s expeditions. But it
had a more important effect. Importance in the country became a
more personal matter; partly from love of show, partly to produce
respect, great men began to surround themselves, not with feudal
followers, but with paid retainers. To these they granted liveries.
It was a point of honour among these retainers to stand by each
other and by their chief. Quite in the beginning of Richard II.’s
reign, the Commons petitioned against these liveries and the bands
of maintainers,[83] who upheld each other in illegal actions. Thus
great households, and by degrees factions, were formed, and things
were ready for the great outbreak of faction fighting, which ended
in the destruction of the old nobility in the Wars of the Roses.

[Sidenote: Literature.]

The feeling of national life, which is one of the characteristics
of the time, had shown itself in literature. Public transactions
were still carried on in French or Latin; but it will be remembered
that as early as the Provisions of Oxford it had been found
necessary to publish any important proclamation in English as well.
Up till that time the languages of the nobility and of the common
people had been distinct. From that time onwards they begin to
blend. This, as it happens, can be very well observed. Geoffrey of
Monmouth wrote a Latin Chronicle of England in 1130. Before the
end of the century it was versified by two writers; one wrote for
the nobles and the aristocracy, the other for the common people.
Master Wace, a native of Jersey, translated Geoffrey for Henry II.
into Norman-French. Layamon, who wrote about 1180, translated it
into a language which may be fairly called Anglo-Saxon, although
of a somewhat degraded type. We have here a perfect division of
the languages. But about the middle of the next century the same
work was translated by Robert of Gloucester. In his language there
is a much nearer approach to English, and a considerable number of
French words are easily to be traced. Some fifty years afterwards,
Robert Mannyng, or De Brunne, again rewrote the Chronicle; and
again the further introduction of French words is striking. We have
thus means of testing, as it were, at three different points, the
process of amalgamation that was going forward. The Court language
still continued to be French, but French not much like the language
of France, and it was ceasing to be thoroughly understood by the
bulk of the people. By the time that Chaucer wrote, he could laugh
at English-French. His Prioress spoke Cockney-French,

      “After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
      For Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe.”

And in recommending English writing, he says,--“Certes there ben
some that speke thyr poysy mater in Frensche, of whyche speche
the Frensche men have as good a fantasye as we have in hearing of
Frensche mennes Englyshe.” This indeed was to be expected. From
the Conquest the language of schools had been French; but in 1356,
John of Cornwall had begun a change in this habit, and taught Latin
translation by means of English, and not French. The consequence,
as described by Trevisa, was, their “avauntage is, that thei
lerneth her gramer in lasse tyme than children were wont to do;
desavauntage is, that now children of gramer scole kunneth no more
Frensch than her lifte heele.” Other signs also point to this
change. Latin had ceased to be the language of public documents in
the reign of Edward I. In 1362, in answer it appears to a petition
from the Commons, the opening address delivered in Parliament
was in English, and the Commons’ debates in English also. At the
same time it was ordered that English should be the language of
courts of law, because the French tongue was too much unknown.
But it was not till the reign of Richard III. that the statutes
and rolls of Parliament were written in English. It is probable
that Parliamentary business continued to be carried on in both
languages for some time longer. In 1381 English seems to have been
generally used. There were thus during this period extant three
languages for literary purposes--Latin, the language of learned men
and historians; French, an acquired Court language, in which most
of the legends of chivalry and lengthened rhyming chronicles were
produced; and the gradually rising English language, which, as the
popular tongue, was chiefly employed in songs and political satire.
The earliest form of English poetry was alliterative,--metrical,
but without rhyme, and depending for its effect upon a certain
number of words in each couplet beginning with the same letter. But
rhyme, and not only rhyme, but very easy and varied metres, were
introduced as early as the reign of Henry III. Not unfrequently
both principles were blended, and rhyme and alliteration occur
together. Latin was also employed, we must suppose by the clergy,
in satirical songs. All classical metres were then discarded, and
Latin was used as a rhyming language. There are some instances also
of verses, partly in one language, partly in the other. It may be
worth while to give an instance of two of these various metres.
Thus a verse of a song shortly after the battle of Lewes runs

      “Sire Simond de Mountfort hath swore bi ys chyn,
      Hevede he nou here the Erl of Waryn,
      Shulde he never more come to is yn,
      Ne with sheld, ne with spere, ne with other gyn
                    To help of Wyndesore.
          Richard, thah thou be ever trichard,
            Trichen shalt thou never more.”

This is rhyme, the rhythm is free, and there is a refrain. In
the following verse, from a satire on the consistory courts,
alliteration and rhyme go together:--

      “Ther sitteth somenours syexe other sevene
      Mysmotinde men alle by here evene,
        Ant recheth forth heore rolle;
      Hyrd-men hem hatieth, ant uch mones hyne,
      For everuch a parosshe heo polketh in pyne,
        Ant clastreth with heore colle.”

The next specimen, from a song on the venality of judges, shows how
Latin was adapted to modern versification:--

      “Sunt justitiarii,
      Quos favor et denarii
            alliciunt a jure;
      Hii sunt nam bene recolo
      Quod censum dant diabolo
            et serviunt hii pure.”

While in the next verse is shown the mixture of two languages; it
is drawn from a song against the King’s taxes:--

      “Une chose est countre foy, unde gens gravatur
      Que la meyté ne vient al roy, in regno quod levatur
      Pur ce qu’il n’ad tot l’enter, prout sibi datur,
      Le pueple doit le plus doner, et sic sincopatur.
        Nam quæ taxantur, regi non omnia dantur.”

These satirical poems are directed against nearly every class of
society, the monks, the judges, the taxers, the nobility, the
ladies, the logicians of the university, and even the doctors meet
with their share of abuse. The democratic spirit which is visible
in them found a more complete and worthy expression in the poem
known by the name of the Vision and Creed of Piers Ploughman. It
is supposed to be the work of a poet of the name of Langland. The
form is allegorical, a form which the great celebrity of the French
“Romance of the Rose” made permanent both in France and England for
many years. A pilgrim of quite the lowest rank sees in a vision
virtues and vices pass before him, and also representatives of
all the various classes of society. Each in turn is criticised;
none can lead him in the path of virtue, till Peter the Ploughman
appears, who, in a religious conversation, shows him the right way.
His character is one of typical perfection, and becomes confused
towards the end of the poem with that of Christ. The poem is
written in alliterative verse, and in English by no means so much
like our present English as some of the songs that preceded it.
But at length the time was come for the complete nationalization
of the language. French was in decay, the popular songs were in
rude English, and when the union of all classes in Parliament
had completed the real nationality, any further division of the
languages was impossible. The junction was effected by Chaucer. He
set himself intentionally to work to make a compound and national
tongue. He took for its basis the English; and on it he grafted,
sometimes in their own form, sometimes in an altered form, vast
numbers of French words. It is a curious instance of an intentional
formation of a language. Many words he admitted apparently upon
trial, and they have been rejected. Others have been somewhat
changed in form, but in his works we have a language which a
very little trouble will enable any Englishman to read, and the
grammar and structure of which, with few exceptions, is like our
own English. The great work for which he employed this language,
the “Canterbury Tales,” was well fitted to establish it. While
the prologue describes every class of English society, each drawn
with an incomparable delicacy and humour, the tales which form the
bulk of the work are of every description. Love romances for the
knights; coarse or farcical incidents for the commonalty; sober
religious prose for the serious. Compared with this poem, there
is nothing for more than a century worthy of mention. Gower, who
wrote at the same time with Chaucer, and in the three languages,
is wholly deficient in humour, and heavy and prosaic to the last
degree. His followers in the next century, Lydgate and Occleve,
were poets by profession and not by inspiration, always ready to
turn out a poem upon demand. Chaucer was not only the founder of
the English language, but, before the appearance of Spenser, the
only great poet whom England produced.



                        Born 1366 = 1. Mary of Bohun.
                                  | = 2. Joan of Navarre.
    |      |      |          |        |                  |
  Henry V. |    John, Duke   |    Blanche = Duke         |
           |    of Bedford.  |              of Bavaria.  |
           |                 |                           |
       Thomas, Duke       Humphrey,                 Philippa = King of
       of Clarence.       Duke of                              Denmark.

                            CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._      |  _France._   |   _Germany._      | _Spain (Castile)._
                     |              |                   |
  Robert III., 1390. | Charles VI., | Wenceslaus, 1378. | Henry III., 1390.
  James I., 1405.    |     1380.    | Robert, 1400      | John II., 1406.
                     |              | Sigismund,  1410. |

  POPES.--Boniface IX., 1389.  Innocent VII., 1404.  Gregory XII., 1406.
  Alexander V., 1409.  John XXII., 1410.

   _Archbishop._   |              _Chancellors._
  Thomas Arundel,  | John Searle, 1399.        Thomas Arundel, 1407.
        1397.      | Edmund Stafford, 1401.    Sir Thomas Beaufort, 1409.
                   | Cardinal Beaufort, 1403.  Thomas Arundel, 1412.
                   | Thomas Longley, 1405.

[Sidenote: Henry’s position in English history. 1399.]

The reign of Richard II., with its strange and rapid revolutions,
had been the beginning of that great faction fight which was
concluded a century afterwards by the accession of Henry VII. After
pursuing during that reign a policy of inconsistent, and even
treacherous, self-seeking, the Duke of Lancaster now came forward
as the champion of order. The _coup d’état_ by which he put himself
on the throne is another of those instances which history has so
abundantly furnished, of the willing acceptance by a nation, after
a period of long discomfort, of any one who would bring it rest.
There are thus two points of view from which to regard his reign.
It is the reign of a usurper bent upon establishing a dynasty, the
reign of a conservative who bases his position on the maintenance
of the existing state of society, and therefore for a time checks
the natural progress of the nation. The necessity which a usurper
feels for popularity will explain the improved constitutional
position of the Commons during the earlier years of his reign;
his position as a reactionary that attachment to the Church which
produced the famous statute, “De Hæretico comburendo.”

[Sidenote: Reversal of the acts of the late King.]

[Sidenote: Tumultuous scene in the first Parliament.]

[Sidenote: The King’s insecure position for nine years. 1400.]

The arbitrary character of the government at the close of the
late King’s reign, and the acts of vengeance which had marked it,
were the evils which were most prominent at the moment. Henry’s
first step was of necessity the reversal of these acts, and the
restoration of the state of things which had existed in 1388. The
Parliament was therefore induced to declare all the acts of the
last Parliament null, while those nobles whose adhesion to the late
King had procured them fresh rank fell back to their old titles.
Thus, the Dukes of Albemarle, of Surrey, and of Exeter, appear
again as the Earls of Rutland, Kent, and Huntingdon, the Marquis of
Dorset as Earl of Somerset. The scene in the House of Lords in the
first Parliament marks the pitch to which passion had risen, and
the preparation already made for future civil war. Rutland, the son
of the Duke of York, was challenged by Lord Fitz-Walter, and when
Lord Morley, the friend of the new King, challenged Lord Salisbury,
no less than forty lords threw down their hoods as gages of battle
on one side or the other. This point is further illustrated by the
petition of the Commons, that all liveries except those of the King
should be forbidden. The nobles had been gathering paid retainers
around them, and getting themselves ready for the threatening
quarrel. Meanwhile, the King had been crowned, supported by his two
great partisans--whose names show the great influence of the North
in the late change of government--Percy, Earl of Northumberland,
now made Constable of England, and Neville, Earl of Westmoreland,
with the rank of Marshall. It by no means suited Henry to excite
remark as to his right. He therefore stepped as quietly as he
could into the position of his predecessor, and his son Henry
was declared Prince of Wales and heir-apparent, entirely without
mention of the young Earl of March, the real heir, who was then a
child in the custody of the King at Windsor. A grant of a tax on
wool and leather for three years closed the session, and enabled
Henry to take measures to secure his position; for it was not to be
supposed that the party which had lost its influence would calmly
acknowledge the new King. He was scarcely crowned when plots began
to be formed against him, nor was it till he had been nine years
upon the throne that the dangers which assaulted him both from
his own kingdom and from foreign countries were finally overcome.
It was during this period of weakness and uncertainty that he had
to rest principally upon the Commons, who supported him as the
champion of order against baronial disorder, but did not fail to
take advantage of his weakness.

[Sidenote: Insurrection of the late Lords Appellant.]

The first of these difficulties arose from those lords who had been
the appellants against Gloucester, and whose loss of rank has been
already mentioned. A week before Christmas, 1399, several others
of the depressed party met at Westminster, and there the Earls of
Huntingdon, Rutland, Kent, and Salisbury entered into a conspiracy
for the restoration of Richard. Their plan was to seize the King
at Windsor, but Rutland, a never-failing traitor, disclosed the
project to his cousin; the King hastily betook himself to London,
and the insurgent lords, finding that their plans were discovered,
fell back towards the West. The King was rapidly pursuing them;
but at Cirencester, the inhabitants, under their Mayor, surrounded
their lodgings, took them prisoners, and afterwards beheaded Kent
and Salisbury. Several escaped for the time, but the same fate at
length overtook Despenser at Bristol, and Huntingdon at Pleshy in
Essex. Subsequently, Sir Thomas Blunt and eighteen others were
executed at Oxford. Among them was a priest, Maudelin by name, who
had been chosen for his strong personal resemblance to represent
the late King in the insurrection. That the leaders of this
conspiracy should have all fallen victims to popular vengeance
sufficiently shows the feelings of the bulk of the nation with
regard to King Henry and his rival.

[Sidenote: Imprisonment and secret death of Richard.]

Meanwhile, Richard had been imprisoned in Pontefract Castle. In
February a report was spread that he was dead. On this the Privy
Council begged that, if still alive, he might be carefully secured.
The answer was given that he was already dead, and a corpse was
exhibited in London, the face of which, from the eyes to the chin,
was left uncovered, the rest of the body being carefully clothed.
This peculiar arrangement excited suspicions, which were probably
groundless, but were further supported by the complete mystery
which hung over the manner of the King’s death. Hunger and violence
were both alleged; while some asserted that the corpse exhibited
was not that of Richard, but of the priest Maudelin.[84]

[Sidenote: Hostile attitude of France and Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Useless and impolitic march into Scotland.]

His domestic enemies for the present silenced, Henry could look
abroad. He made advances towards friendship with France, but it
soon became plain that that kingdom was inclined to support the
cause of the late King, whose young widow, Isabella, was the
daughter of Charles VI. The title of King of England was refused
to Henry, Isabella and her dowry demanded, and hostility thus kept
continually alive. In Scotland, also, the same feeling showed
itself. The King, Robert III., was confined by weakness of body
and mind almost exclusively to the Isle of Bute; his brother, the
Duke of Albany, was the real ruler of the country. Henry, who had a
party in the country, and at whose court Dunbar, the Earl of March,
the chief enemy of the Douglas family, was resident, thought it
desirable to show his power. He therefore marched as far as Leith,
demanding homage from the Scotch King similar to that claimed by
his predecessors, but the Duke of Rothesay, heir-apparent, held
firm in the Castle of Edinburgh, and want of provisions speedily
obliged the English to beat a somewhat hasty retreat. As in the
case of France, this transaction with Scotland established a
constant hostility.

[Sidenote: Insurrection in Wales. Owen Glendower. 1400.]

In the other dependency of England affairs were still worse. Owen
Glendower, a Welsh gentleman of good family educated in England,
incensed at the rejection of a suit about a certain property
of Lord Grey of Ruthyn, had roused the national animosity, and
claimed for himself the title of Prince of Wales. For the present
Henry could do nothing effective against him. The war assumed a
national character; the Welsh were expelled from the towns in the
Marches. Edward I.’s statutes against the Welsh were re-enacted,
even including that which ordered the destruction of the bards.
The conduct of the war was placed nominally in the hands of Henry,
Prince of Wales, a lad of thirteen. But the whole of the following
year Glendower’s successes continued. Grey of Ruthyn and Edward
Mortimer, uncle of the imprisoned Prince, the Earl of March,
were taken prisoners, and an expedition undertaken by Henry in
person towards the close of the year was forced to retire from the
mountainous strongholds of the Welsh. The storms and snowdrifts
seemed to fight against them in that wild district, and gave rise
to the belief that Glendower was a magician.

[Sidenote: Quarrel with the Percies. 1402.]

[Sidenote: The pretended Richard.]

[Sidenote: Causes of the quarrel with Northumberland.]

Could these various enemies but find some powerful adherents in
England, it was plain that Henry’s position would be precarious. A
quarrel with those who had hitherto been his chief supporters, the
Percies of Northumberland, supplied this element of danger; while
a strange report, that the late King was still alive in Scotland,
gave a central point round which all Henry’s enemies might gather.
About Whitsuntide, in 1402, the rumour reached England that Richard
had escaped from Pontefract, and had made his appearance at the
house of the Lord of the Isles, by whom he was handed over to the
Court, and there kept so strictly that no man could get sight of
him. The existence of such a pretender was certain. It was in vain
that Henry attempted to suppress the rumour by executions; in
vain that he even proceeded to execute certain Franciscan monks
who had been engaged in spreading it. The secrecy which covered
Richard’s death, and which for some reason Henry could not break,
prevented any clear proof of the imposture. The false Richard is
believed to have been a man of weak intellect, called Thomas Ward
of Trumpington. The reason of the King’s quarrel with the Percies
is by no means clear, but various causes of discontent can be
shown. The Duke of Albany, after much fighting on the borders, had
made an expedition on a large scale against Carlisle. On its return
home, the army, heavily laden with booty, was met by the Percies,
and defeated at Homildon Hill. The defeat was complete; many Scotch
nobles fell into the hands of the English, among them Murdoch,
Earl of Fife, the son and heir of the Earl of Albany, and Douglas,
Earl of Angus. For such prisoners the Percies expected a large
ransom. Their anger and disappointment was great when the King took
Murdoch from them and claimed the ransom of the rest. A somewhat
similar affair took place in Wales. Of Glendower’s great prisoners,
Grey of Ruthyn was allowed to ransom himself, a privilege refused
to Mortimer; when the younger Percy, Hotspur, who had married
Mortimer’s sister, urged his claim, he met with a rebuff. The King
also owed the Percies large sums of money; £20,000 was due to
them, which the entanglement of the finances made it impossible
to pay. The general feeling that they had been badly rewarded for
the invaluable assistance they had afforded Henry, acting upon the
unusually hot temper of the younger Percy, drove them into a change
of policy.

[Sidenote: The Percies combine with Glendower.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Shrewsbury. July 23, 1403.]

[Sidenote: Submission of Northumberland. 1404.]

Before the end of the year 1402, they entered into negotiations
with Glendower; and Mortimer, instead of attempting to gain
his liberty, married the daughter of the insurgent chief, and
recognized him as Prince of Wales. The Percies at the same time
gained the assistance of their prisoner Douglas, and the conspiracy
was completed by the support given to Glendower by France. On
all sides the King’s difficulties seemed to increase. The Earl of
Worcester joined the Percies; Richard’s old followers crowded to
their standard, and an army, insidiously collected as though for
an attack on Scotland, rapidly marched on Shrewsbury to make a
junction with the Welsh. Thither Henry, with his son the Prince of
Wales, hastened, and the decisive battle of Shrewsbury was fought,
in which, after a keen struggle, Hotspur was killed, and most of
the other leaders, including Worcester and Douglas, captured.
Worcester and the other English leaders were beheaded; Douglas was
retained in prison. The King had still to destroy the insurrection
of the elder Percies in the North, where all the inhabitants of the
country had taken the crescent--the livery of Northumberland. The
royal army was, however, obviously too strong for opposition, and
the Earl made his submission, and met the King at York. The House
of Peers claimed as a right the trial of their fellow, and he was
found guilty, not of high treason, but only of misdemeanour, and
let off with a fine.

[Sidenote: Widespread conspiracy.]

[Sidenote: Flight of the young Earl of March. 1405.]

The great conspiracy was thus but half broken. Wales, Scotland,
France, and the English malcontents were still in communication.
From France, indeed, serious difficulties seemed to threaten. In
presence of the weakness of Charles VI., the King of that country,
the real power was disputed by his brother Louis of Orleans and
his uncle the Duke of Burgundy. Louis had at this time the upper
hand. He took in great dudgeon the events which had taken place in
England; and rumours were abroad, strengthened by the distribution
among the malcontents of Richard’s crest by the old Countess of
Oxford, the mother of De Vere, the late King’s favourite. These
rumours pointed to a great conspiracy, coupled with an invasion of
Essex by France, in favour of the spurious Richard in Scotland. For
a time the threat of invasion compelled the King to remain quiet;
but after the French fleet, which had attacked the Isle of Wight
and Plymouth, had been defeated at Portland, he was able to turn
his attention to the North, and again to compel Northumberland
to come to an explanation. But that explanation he found himself
obliged to accept. Almost at the same time a fresh alarm met him.
Lady Constance Spenser had contrived to withdraw the young Earl of
March from Windsor, and to fly with him. She was shortly captured,
and the young Prince brought back, but it was plain that the danger
was great.

[Sidenote: Renewed activity of Northumberland, Scrope and Mowbray.]

In April the King went against Wales. His absence in that
direction was at once taken advantage of by his northern enemies.
The difficulty with which he could secure supplies was one of
Henry’s main obstacles to success, and in the last Parliament the
opposition had been headed by Sir Thomas Bardolph. That gentleman
now appeared in close conjunction with Northumberland, assisting
him to garrison his fortresses. At the same time Mowbray, the son
of that Duke of Norfolk with whom Henry had quarrelled at the
time of his banishment, and Scrope, the Archbishop of York, the
brother of that Lord Scrope who had been Richard’s chancellor at
the beginning of his reign, and whom that King had been forced to
remove, joined the insurrection. The Earl of Westmoreland, who
remained constantly faithful to Henry, was sent against them while
Henry was engaged in Wales. Again, the royal army was too strong
for the insurgents. Scrope and Mowbray were induced to disband
their forces, and were then immediately apprehended. Gascoigne,
the chief justice, was called upon to try them and convict them
summarily. He was one of those constitutional lawyers who were
gradually rising in England, and he refused to do so, pointing
out that he should infringe the liberties both of the Church and
the House of Lords. Henry found in Sir William Fulthorpe a more
complacent judge. They were both beheaded, not without arousing, as
Gascoigne had foreseen, the anger of the Lords. Upon the capture of
his confederates, Northumberland fled with Bardolph to Scotland,
but being refused an interview with the impostor, and mistrusting
the honesty of Albany, he subsequently withdrew to Wales. It was
there alone that the war continued, nor was it finally suppressed
during the reign.

[Sidenote: Events which secured Henry’s triumph. 1406.]

[Sidenote: Capture of James of Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Murder of Orleans. 1407.]

[Sidenote: Final defeat and death of Northumberland.]

[Sidenote: Henry’s improved position.]

But, in the next two years, events occurred which at length
placed Henry in a position of security. The friends of the Scotch
King, fearing the ambition of Albany, which had already induced
him to take the life of the Duke of Rothesay, the heir-apparent,
determined to withdraw James, the King’s second son and
heir-apparent, from danger. He therefore took ship for France, but
on the way was captured by English cruisers, and brought a prisoner
to Henry, who grimly remarked that they might as well have sent him
direct to him, as he could have taught him French quite well. He
justified this boast; for though he kept the young Prince prisoner,
he gave him an education which, upon his subsequent release, well
fitted him for the throne he occupied. Henry had now in his hands
pledges of safety from all his enemies. The Earl of March was
still with him; Murdoch of Fife, Albany’s son, served as a hostage
for his father; while James served as security from all attacks
from the royalist party in Scotland. The following year (1407)
was still more fortunate. The overweening vanity of Orleans, his
licentiousness, which, it is said, did not even spare the young
Duchess of Burgundy, excited the anger of the Duke of Burgundy,
the King’s cousin, to such a degree, that he caused the Duke of
Orleans to be murdered in the streets of Paris. Henry’s chief
enemy in France was thus removed. With Burgundy, who had lately
inherited Flanders, and thus become the Prince of a trading nation
and the champion of the city populations, he had much in common;
and though he did not espouse his cause in any active manner, he
felt secure from any immediate danger. Without his French allies,
Owen Glendower was gradually driven back to the mountains of North
Wales, and in despair, Northumberland and Bardolph again appeared
in the North, took arms, and were defeated and killed at Bramham.
Thus safe on the side of France, with Scotland pledged to peace by
the captivity of its princes, the Percies finally defeated, and
Owen Glendower confined to the limits of the purely Celtic part of
Wales, Henry was at length triumphant.

[Sidenote: His enforced respect for the Commons.]

[Sidenote: Climax of their power. 1407.]

During the whole of these years of difficulty, the King had found
it necessary to keep the Commons in good temper. Although he
suffered from constant want of money, and in vain tried to induce
his frequent Parliaments to act liberally towards him, he seems
on no occasion to have employed illegal means for improving his
position. It had become an accepted axiom, that consent of all the
estates of the realm was necessary for the levying of taxes; and
the Commons had made their position so good, that, in the very year
of his final triumph, they ventured upon a quarrel with the Lords,
claiming for themselves the exclusive right of originating grants,
and insisting on the absence of the King while they were discussed.
More than that, they had attempted, though unsuccessfully, to
oblige the King to answer their petition of grievances before
they made their grant, and succeeded in establishing the custom
of appropriating their grants to special objects, and of paying
them into the hands of treasurers of their own appointment. But
their increase of power was chiefly visible in their interference
with the royal expenditure and administration. In the fifth
year of his reign, the King had been obliged to displace four
of his ministers at the request of the Commons, to declare his
intention of governing economically according to law, and to name
his Privy Council in Parliament. And in the eighth year of his
reign, when already he seemed upon the point of triumphing over
his enemies, he was compelled to grant his assent to a petition
of the Commons, which put as strict limitations upon his power as
any to which Richard, even at the time of his greatest depression,
had submitted. He had to name sixteen counsellors, by whose advice
solely he was to be guided. His ordinary revenue was to be wholly
appropriated to his household and the payment of his debts. No
officer of the household was to hold his place for life or for a
fixed term. The council was to determine nothing which the common
law was capable of determining; and the elections of knights were
regulated. At the head of this council was put the Prince of Wales.

[Sidenote: Explained by the King’s failing health.]

[Sidenote: Renewed vigour at end of reign.]

It is difficult to understand how the King should submit to this
arrangement, which virtually established a strictly limited
monarchy, just at the moment of his success. It is perhaps
explained by his failing health. A disease had attacked his face,
which changed into a form of leprosy, and during the remainder
of his life he was subject to attacks of epilepsy. It was not
unnatural that he should wish to withdraw somewhat from public
affairs. Under these circumstances, it is not quite clear how far
he is to be credited with the remaining events of his reign. But
the prudence and state-craft exhibited in them, which could hardly
have been expected from so young a man as Prince Henry, and the
more vigorous opposition which he subsequently made to the demands
of the Commons, would seem to show that he was still practically
ruler. This restoration of vigour is marked by his refusal, towards
the close of his reign, to grant any extension of the right of
liberty of speech, and by the humble tone adopted by the Parliament
in the thirteenth year of his reign, when he was entreated to
declare that he was not offended, and that he regarded them as his
loyal subjects.

[Sidenote: Henry’s foreign policy. Marriages.]

Having secured his position at home, though not, as has been
seen, without some sacrifices, the King’s attention was chiefly
directed towards securing the permanence of his dynasty by foreign
matrimonial alliances, and to obtaining a strong position abroad
by interfering in French politics. His two sisters were already
respectively Queens of Castile and Portugal. He had himself
married, in 1403, a Princess of Navarre. As a husband for his
eldest daughter he procured Louis, Count Palatine, the son and heir
of Rupert, King of the Romans; while his younger daughter married
Eric, who had consolidated a great Scandinavian monarchy in the

[Sidenote: Policy in France. 1410.]

[Sidenote: Success of his policy.]

In France he made his weight felt by alternately siding with one or
other of the great parties which divided that kingdom. His natural
connection would have been the Burgundians; and he first attached
himself so far to that party as to send a considerable army to
their assistance. A battle fought near St. Cloud (1411), in which
the Armagnacs (as the friends of Orleans were now called) were
worsted, for the time rendered the Duke of Burgundy the master of
France. Henry chose this opportunity to change sides, and entered
into an arrangement with the defeated princes, by which he was
secured the full possession of Guienne. He intended at the same
time to have led an army into France, and to have imitated the
career of Edward III. The national danger produced a temporary
friendship between the French parties, and Burgundy, at a meeting
held at Auxerre, succeeded in persuading the Armagnacs to annul
their arrangement with the English. Henry’s health prevented him
from leading the expedition, as he intended; but an army, under the
Duke of Clarence, his second son, laid waste Maine and Touraine,
and was only stopped by the payment of a large sum of money. After
this Clarence withdrew to complete the conquest of Guienne. Thus,
though unable to fulfil his ambitious project of invasion, Henry
had contrived to make his position abroad very different from what
it was at the beginning of his reign, when the French could refuse
him the royal title, and paralyze his home policy by a threat of

[Sidenote: His alliance with the Church.]

[Sidenote: Persecuting statute. 1401.]

[Sidenote: Views of the nation with regard to the Church.]

From one point of view, as a usurper founding a new dynasty, he had
now been quite successful. As a preserver of society, he probably
regarded himself as not less so. Though the son of John of Gaunt,
the favourer of Wicliffe, and not averse in his youth to the
doctrines of that teacher, he had seen that Lollardism pointed,
not only to ecclesiastical, but to political changes. From the
beginning of the reign he had determined that the preservation of
the Church in all its privileges and possessions was the surest
means of checking the rising democracy. He had therefore been
always its staunch supporter. In pursuance of this policy, in the
second year of his reign, he had given his assent to a persecuting
statute, formed, it seems probable, on the petition of the clergy,
without the participation of the Commons. This statute, which is
known under the title of “De Hæretico comburendo,” forbade teaching
and preaching without the license of a bishop, to whom also was
given the right of condemning heretical books and writings, while
the State undertook to carry out the bishop’s sentence. Should any
person thus condemned continue in his heresy, he was to be regarded
as relapsed, and handed over to the civil arm, to be publicly
burned. The first victim of this statute was William Sautré, at
one time parish priest of Lynn, and involved in the treason of
Kent and Huntingdon. On his persisting in the errors with which he
was charged, the new law was carried into effect. The persecution
once begun did not cease without more victims, and produced the
effect, so common in cases of persecution, of driving the Lollards
into further extremes of fanaticism. The germ of socialism which
no doubt existed in the Lollard doctrine, and which showed itself
in the constant demand for the abolition of the wealth of the
clergy, alarmed the barons, and made them strong supporters of
orthodoxy. The Commons, on the other hand, although they appear
to have differed in feeling at different parts of the reign, were
on the whole willing enough, while supporting orthodoxy of faith,
to countenance the secularization of Church property. Indeed,
they went so far in this direction, that in the year 1410, in
answer to the reiterated request of the King for a settled yearly
subsidy for his life, they pointed out to him the advisability of
appropriating some of the ecclesiastical revenues, which would
be enough, they said, to supply him with 15 earls, 1500 knights,
and 6200 men-at-arms for military service. They begged also that
those condemned for heresy might be withdrawn from the bishop’s
jurisdiction, and tried by secular courts.[85]

[Sidenote: Henry’s jealousy of the Prince of Wales.]

[Sidenote: Henry’s death.]

The popularity of the Prince of Wales, his position as head of his
father’s Council, not unnaturally gave the King some uneasiness
in his last years. It seems not improbable that, having been once
put at the head of the Council, he virtually performed many of the
duties of the Government. Documents are extant in which he seems
to be regarded as the King’s representative. Moreover, the course
of events seems to show certain changes of policy which can be
explained in this way. It is evident from his after policy, that
he was much attached to the Burgundian party in France. We may
therefore credit him with the assistance sent to them, which proved
so useful to them at the Battle of St. Cloud, especially as the
force was commanded by his friend, Sir John Oldcastle. The sudden
change of foreign policy coincides in time with the King’s altered
tone in replying to the petitions of the Commons. These changes
may very probably mark a determination on the part of the King to
re-establish his authority, too much weakened by the position and
popularity of the Prince. The stories of the Prince’s wild life
in London are mentioned by writers who are almost contemporary,
yet do not seem to agree well with what is certainly known of his
industry in public business. They, as well as the strange travesty
of Oldcastle, a good soldier and stern religious enthusiast,
into Shakspeare’s jovial knight, Sir John Falstaff, are perhaps
based on the malicious view taken by the orthodox of Oldcastle’s
religious tendencies. It is well known that one of the charges
alleged against all enthusiastic religionists is immorality. Prince
Henry’s subsequent prosecution and punishment of Oldcastle would be
represented as the discharge of his old favourites. The aspiring
and dangerous character of the Prince, in the eyes of his father,
is represented by the story which describes him as having taken
the crown from his father’s bedside during one of his fits, and
placed it on his own head; and having answered to the remorseful
observations of the King as to the unjust manner in which he had
gained it, that he “was prepared to guard it against the world in
arms.” It is at all events certain that coolness existed between
father and son at the close of the reign. The French expedition was
intrusted, not to the Prince of Wales, but to the Duke of Clarence,
and for the last year and a half Prince Henry was removed from his
position as President of the Council. The disease which had so long
tormented Henry came to a fatal termination on the 20th of March



                          Born 1388 = Catherine of France.
                                Henry VI.

                             CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

    _Scotland._   |   _France._        |    _Germany._    |   _Spain._
                  |                    |                  |
  James I., 1405. | Charles VI., 1380. | Sigismund, 1410. | John II., 1406.

  POPES.--John XXII., 1410. Martin V., 1417.

    _Archbishops._         |    _Chancellors._
  Thomas Arundel, 1397.    |  Cardinal Beaufort, 1413.
  Henry Chicheley, 1414.   |  Thomas Longley, 1417.

[Sidenote: Fortunate opening of his reign. 1413.]

The position of Henry V. on coming to the throne contrasts sharply
with that of his predecessor. Henry IV., with disputed title,
and in the midst of excited passions of faction, in which he had
himself taken a prominent share, had to work out for himself the
establishment of his dynasty and the restoration of political
order. His son entered into the fruits of his labour. He had but
to continue his father’s policy. The dynasty seemed secure, the
apparatus of government was in good working order, and the new
King, already practised in the work of government, brought with him
that popularity which brilliant qualities, a handsome person, and
the vigour of youth, are sure to secure. The painstaking prudence
of the late King, overshadowed as it was by his ill-health and
gloomy character, was forgotten, and the hopes of the nation were
fixed upon the fortunate youth whose faults as yet had been but
those which are easily pardoned as the natural wildness incident to
his age.

[Sidenote: General amnesty and release of prisoners.]

The young King seemed to please himself with the idea that his
peaceful accession was to complete the healing of faction in the
country, and to begin a period of glory and happiness. He made
but few changes in the ministry of his father, but both Thomas
Arundel, the Archbishop, and Sir William Gascoigne were removed
from their offices. It is possible that they may have been the
advisers of the late King during that period when he was at enmity
with his son. Already, before his coronation, of their own free
will the nobles did him homage; and his Parliament granted him
without difficulty the tax on wool for four years. To complete the
general harmony, he published an amnesty, dismissed many political
prisoners, and the greater part of his Scottish captives, and
entered into negotiations for the liberty of the Scotch King.
He even went so far as to reinstate both the Earl of March, the
real claimant to the throne, and Henry Percy, son of Hotspur, his
father’s persistent enemy, in their property and position. The body
of Richard II. was removed from Langley, and honourably interred in
Westminster. The past was, as it were, to be forgotten, and Henry
would rule as the popular and accepted King of all parties.

[Sidenote: Signs of slumbering discontent.]

[Sidenote: The Lollards. 1414.]

In the midst of this show of security and peace there were,
however, visible signs that his father’s work was not yet
completed. The royal favour shown to the Church and to the orthodox
party during the last reign, and the persecution which had fallen
upon heresy, had not by any means destroyed the Lollards. The
same policy had still to be pursued. The religious, it might be
called the bigoted, tendency of the house of Lancaster was very
strong in the young King. He had been one of the chief petitioners
against heresy in 1406, and had shared in and superintended
some of the religious executions; especially is mentioned that
of John Badby, in 1410. The Prince had interrupted this man’s
execution, and attempted the conversion of the half-burnt
sufferer; finding him firm, however, he allowed the execution
to be completed. This tendency induced him to enter into close
alliance with the Church, and throughout his reign to adopt the
language of religious enthusiasm, pretending to regard himself
as the appointed instrument of God’s vengeance on the sins of
the French. He thus became the willing agent of the clergy in
completing their persecution of the sectarians, and listened
readily to the exaggerated reports for which the conduct of the
Lollards afforded some ground. The head of this party was now Sir
John Oldcastle, who sat as a Peer in right of his wife under the
title of Lord Cobham. His castle of Cowling, in Kent, afforded
shelter to their persecuted teachers, while his high character and
old friendship with the King made his influence important. The
Archbishop determined to attack this man, at first pretending that
he desired his conversion only. He placed in Henry’s hands an
heretical book which had been found in an illuminator’s shop, and
which belonged to Oldcastle. Henry tried first of all to argue with
Oldcastle (who, however, denied having read the book), but could
not convert him. The duties of friendship being now fulfilled, the
Church was allowed to take the matter in hand. The heretic appeared
several times before his judges, but firmly refused to depart from
his points, that the Pope was Antichrist, and that in the Lord’s
Supper, though the body of Christ might be present, yet the bread
was bread. This firmness produced the only possible result, and he
was condemned to be burnt; but in the interval allowed him before
the completion of his sentence, he managed to escape.[86]

The attack upon their chief roused the Lollards, and they are
said to have entered into a general conspiracy for surprising
and mastering the King and his brothers at Eltham, during the
festivities of Christmas. Henry had early news of a meeting which
was to be held on the 7th of January 1414, in St. Giles’ Fields.
It is quite unproved how far the intentions of the conspirators
really reached. Henry, with the Church behind him, was ready to
believe anything. He feared, perhaps, an insurrection similar
to Wat Tyler’s. Causing, therefore, the gates of the city to be
closed, he spread armed men round the place of meeting, and as the
Lollards approached, singly or in small bodies, they were seized.
The news that the King’s forces were abroad soon spread, and
prevented any great number from falling into his hands. A jury was
hastily summoned to declare that Oldcastle had treasonable plans,
and a price was set on his head. The same jury then proceeded to
try the thirty-nine prisoners, all of whom were either hanged or
burnt. This event was followed by a still stricter proscription of
heretical preachers and books. Chicheley, who succeeded Arundel as
Archbishop this year, followed in his predecessor’s steps, and a
statute was passed by which all judges and municipal authorities
were bidden to apprehend and try Lollards, while conviction of
heresy entailed confiscation of goods.

[Sidenote: Henry’s reasons for the impolitic French war.]

Henry prided himself on having won his first victory in the cause
of the Church; but his naturally ambitious character led him to
desire triumphs of another kind. It seems indeed as if a strange
combination of motives impelled him to take the false step which
gave the character to his reign, and plunged the country into a
lengthy and ultimately disastrous war with France. His father is
said to have urged him, with mistaken worldly wisdom, to withdraw
the minds of his subjects from dangerous topics by filling them
with thoughts of military glory. The Church, frightened by the
suggestions of confiscation in the last reign, urged him to pursue
the same course. The natural but mistaken admiration for military
glory induced him to listen readily to their advice, while the
wickedness and misery exhibited by the French nation at once
afforded him an admirable opportunity, and may have suggested to
his fanatical mind, that it was his duty to punish such vice, and
to reduce such turbulence into order. Experience proved, as it
often has proved, the mistake, nay, the wickedness, of averting
domestic dangers by the wanton pursuit of warlike success.
Meanwhile, at first, and during the whole of this King’s short
life, the step seemed perfectly successful. The reign, as a period
of English history, is almost devoid of interest. The attention of
the nation was centred in a French war.

[Sidenote: Expulsion of the Burgundians from Paris.]

[Sidenote: Attempt at national government.]

Since the Duke of Clarence had secured Guienne the state of France
had become only more deplorable. The Treaty of Auxerre produced
no real union between the factions. There was a certain show of
national action under the pressure of a threatened invasion from
England; the King and the Great Council of France sat in Paris;
the States General were summoned, and under the influence of the
University certain reforms introduced. But the death of Henry IV.
prevented for the time all danger of invasion; and the cause of
union being removed, the factions again separated. The Duke de
Guienne, the French King’s eldest son, and representative of the
crown during his father’s fits of madness, was devoted to the
wildest licentiousness, and disliked his gloomy father-in-law,
John of Burgundy. He began to intrigue for the restoration of the
Orleanist Princes. The ruffianly populace of Paris, headed by the
guild of butchers, and led by Caboche, a skinner, were devotedly
attached to the Burgundians. A fierce and murderous uproar arose;
but its violence was such, that the better class of citizens were
aroused, expelled the Cabochiens, who fled to the Duke of Burgundy,
and readmitted the Armagnacs, as the Orleanists were now called.
The counter-revolution was complete, the Armagnacs got possession
of the government, attacked the Burgundian Duke, and drove him
before them, till they were checked at Arras. A temporary truce was
then patched up; but the Duke of Guienne soon after contrived for
a moment to banish both parties from the capital, and to establish
a sort of national government.

[Sidenote: Henry’s double diplomacy and outrageous claims.]

It was at this time that Henry V. began to meddle in French
affairs. Already, during the retreat to Arras, Burgundy had opened
negotiations with him, and these, in his anger against the Duke
of Guienne, he now pressed still more warmly. Meanwhile, Henry
negotiated also with the central authority in Paris. By this double
negotiation, which included a plan for the marriage of Henry, on
the one hand, with Catherine of France, and on the other, with
Catherine of Burgundy, Henry made Burgundy neutral, while he
pressed claims on the unfortunate French monarch of so outrageous a
description, that he must have intended by securing their rejection
to give himself a plausible ground for war. His first demand was
nothing less than the cession of the whole French monarchy. When
this was refused, his ambassadors restricted their demand to all
the countries ceded to Edward III. by the Peace of Brétigny, as
well as Normandy, the coast of Picardy, Anjou, Maine and Touraine,
the suzerainty of Brittany and Flanders, 1,600,000 crowns, as
the residue of King John’s ransom, with the hand of the Princess
Catherine, and a dowry of 2,000,000 crowns. The Duke of Berri, the
King’s uncle, was at that time the chief member of the government.
He naturally refused Henry’s enormous demands, but offered all the
districts of Aquitaine to the south of the Charente, and 600,000
crowns as dowry for the Princess.

[Sidenote: His preparations.]

All this while, Henry continued his preparations, raised troops,
borrowed ships from Holland and Zeeland, and summoned in April a
great council of Peers.[87] He there declared his intention of
seeking his rights in France, appointed his brother John, Duke of
Bedford, Lieutenant of the kingdom, and fixed the conditions of
the contracts which he made with nobles for supplying him with
soldiers.[88] He arranged also the manner in which the spoil was
to be divided, and other details for the supply of the army. The
devotion of the Church was to supply him with the means of meeting
these vast expenses. Archbishop Chicheley and the Churchmen,
fearing, no doubt, the democratic tendencies of the Commons, were
willing to make some sacrifice. They agreed that no foreigners
should hold benefices, and thus allowed the King to use the incomes
of all the priories of the foreign orders of the kingdom to the
number of 122. The proceeds of this transaction, increased by
loans from foreigners, the pawning of his jewels, and the pledging
of the tax on wool, supplied him with finances. An embassy from
France, with still larger offers, including Limousin, and a dowry
of 800,000 crowns, produced no improvement in the relations between
the two countries.

[Sidenote: He lands in France. 1415.]

Before Charles VI. could reply to the despatch of his ambassador,
announcing the rejection of these terms, on the 3rd of August, the
English army, of about 6000 men-at-arms and 24,000 archers, was
already embarked. On the 14th of August it landed at the mouth of
the Seine, where Havre de Grace now is. No steps were taken to
prevent the disembarkation. The kingdom was in a state of fearful
misery and disorder. The conduct of the war was given to the
Armagnacs, Charles d’Albret was appointed constable; the Duke of
Burgundy therefore held aloof, and the English had, in fact, only
one half of the country against them.

[Sidenote: Conspiracy of Cambridge.]

An event had occurred before the English embarkation which, by
proving to the King that his position was not so secure as he
thought, may have made him still more determined in his present
course. He was engaged at Southampton preparing his expedition,
when a conspiracy was discovered, in which the King’s cousin
Richard, brother of the Duke of York, and lately created Earl of
Cambridge, and one of his most trusted counsellors, Henry Scrope
of Masham, were implicated. They were accused of an intention to
take Edmund, Earl of March, with them into Wales, to crown him
there, and declare him rightful King, if Richard were really dead.
They had also summoned from Scotland Thomas of Trumpington, the
false Richard. The Earl of Cambridge had married Ann of Mortimer,
the sister of the Earl of March. We have here the beginning of
that close union between the supporters of the legitimate line and
the House of York, which again appears in the Wars of the Roses.
Cambridge and Scrope were both executed.

[Sidenote: Capture of Harfleur.]

The first place to be attacked was Harfleur; it was bravely
defended by the garrison under the Sire d’Estouteville. The
inhabitants were told by the Court to take courage and trust to
the King, but no help was sent them, though 14,000 or 15,000 men
were within reach. On the 22nd of September they were compelled to
capitulate. The conquered town was treated as Calais had been; the
wealthier inhabitants were put to ransom, the goods seized, the
people given their choice of leaving the city or becoming English.
But this success had been hardly earned, the losses both by
sickness and in fighting had been great. A large number of invalids
had to be sent back to England. With little more than half his
army Henry could venture no further into France. He determined
to march along the coast to Calais. The strictest discipline was
maintained in the little band, and the King strove to foster in
it a religious and enthusiastic spirit; pillage was punished with
death; rations only were demanded from the inhabitants.

[Sidenote: Henry compelled to retire upon Calais.]

Henry had intended to cross the Somme at Blanchetaque, where Edward
III. had passed it. False information was brought him that the ford
was guarded. In reality, the feudal army was as yet only collecting
near Abbeville, around the standard of the Constable d’Albret, a
man but little fitted for his post. Had Henry passed at once he
might have reached Calais without a great battle; as it was, he was
compelled to follow the river upwards, and time was afforded to the
French to collect their forces, and seek their own destruction in
a pitched battle. Henry sought a ford across the river for a long
time in vain. He passed Amiens, and had got within a league of
Ham, in a very dangerous position among the strong fortresses of
Ham, St. Quentin and Péronne, when at length a ford was discovered
near Béthancourt. The Constable, who was at Péronne, might have
destroyed him in the passage. He let him pass unmolested. Following
feudal fashion, he sent to ask Henry to name a day and place for
the battle; but whatever external chivalry may have been visible in
Henry, his military character was that of a hard, practical, modern
soldier. He answered that there was no need to name day or place,
as he was always to be found in the open fields. For four days the
armies followed almost parallel lines of march, the French making
no use of their superiority in numbers to disturb the quiet advance
of the English, although they spread nightly among the villages for
shelter. At length the Constable, with singular want of prudence,
took up his position a little to the north of Hesdin and Cressy, on
a small confined plain, where his large army, of at least 50,000
fighting men, was jammed in between two woods. This force consisted
almost entirely of nobles and their feudal followers, who in their
foolish pride of class had rejected the assistance of the infantry
of the towns. The ground was arable land, and the soil deep and
heavy, so that the heavy armed French in their splendid harness
sank deep at every step, while the English, clad mostly in leather
jerkins, and many of them barefoot, moved with comparative ease.
The night, we are told, was passed in riot by the French; in sober
preparation or religious exercise by the English.

[Illustration: AGINCOURT.

_October 25. 1415._

  1. English Archers.
  2. English men at arms.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Agincourt. Oct. 25, 1415.]

The French drew themselves up in three massive lines or battles;
the two first dismounted and fought on foot, for which their heavy
armour but little fitted them; the third line retained their
horses, as did two small wings intended to crush the archers.
The state of the soil obliged them to adopt a defensive method
of fighting quite contrary to their habits. The English advanced
upon them--the archers in front, the heavy-armed infantry behind,
the mixed archers and infantry on the flanks. They are described
as having a miserable, ragged appearance after their weary march,
as contrasted with the splendour of the French. Henry rode among
them, cheering them with the memories of bygone victories. He had
previously ordered every archer to supply himself with a stake
sharpened at each end, which he was to plant before him, and
thus make a moveable palisade. At eleven o’clock, after a brief
and useless parley between the armies, Sir Thomas Erpingham, the
English Marshal of the Host, tossed up his baton with the cry
“Now strike,” and the battle began. The English advanced a few
steps, expecting a charge from the enemy, but the hostile ranks
remained immoveable; they were, in fact, planted knee-deep in the
mud, and afforded a fine aim for the English archers, who did not
spare them. At length, putting their heads down to avoid as much
as possible the fatal arrows, the first line came heavily on, and
the mounted wings began to close round the English; but the stakes
of the archers served them in good stead. Of the horses, a large
proportion tripped and fell in the rough ploughed land; not one
in ten of their riders, we are told, came hand to hand with the
archers. Unsupported and almost immoveable, the infantry broke.
The archers seeing their plight, issued from between their stakes,
threw down bow and arrow, seized their axes and maces, and fell
headlong upon them. “It seemed,” says the chronicler, “as though
they were hammering upon anvils.” The men-at-arms fell beneath the
furious charge, and were smothered by their own companions as they
fell over them. The same fate awaited the second line. The English
men-at-arms had come up to support the archers, and the battle was
fiercer, and for a time more equal. Certain of the French knights,
under the Duke of Alençon, swore to take the life of Henry, and
did their best to keep their oath. One of them cleft in two the
golden crown on the helmet worn by Henry, and Alençon killed his
cousin, the Duke of York, at his side. It was in vain; the English
steadily advanced; the defeat of the first line, the rush of the
fugitives, disordered and confused the cavalry, and they turned
and fled. The English were already masters of the field, when news
was brought that a fresh enemy was in their rear, and flames were
seen arising from the village of Maisoncelle behind them. Henry,
afraid of this new attack, and of a rally of the fugitives, gave
the terrible order that all the prisoners should be killed. When
his troops hesitated, he told off 200 archers to do the work; and
already very many had been killed in cold blood, when the discovery
that the alarm was a false one induced Henry to revoke his order.
Of the 10,000 Frenchmen who died 8000 were of noble blood; among
them were the Dukes of Alençon, Brabant, and Bar, the Constable
d’Albret, and all the chief officers of the army. The Dukes of
Orleans and Bourbon, the Counts of Vendôme and Richemont, and
Marshal Boucicaut, with 15,000 knights, remained prisoners. Besides
the Duke of York and the Earl of Oxford, the English had lost
1600 men. The King, with his triumphant army, at once proceeded
to Calais, and thence to England. He attributed his wonderful
success to Heaven, whose instrument he was in punishing the crimes
in France. “Never,” said he to the Duke of Orleans, “was greater
disorganization or licentiousness, or greater sins, or worse vices
than reign in France now. It is pitiful even to hear the story of
them, and a horror for the listeners. No wonder if God is enraged
at it.”

[Sidenote: The French Government falls into the hands of the

The destruction of princes and feudal nobles at Agincourt seems to
have annihilated the Armagnac party. The hatred of the Dauphin for
the Duke of Burgundy prevented the unity which such an event might
have produced. He summoned Bernard of Armagnac from the south of
France, where he then was, and gave himself completely into his
hands, making him Constable, Governor-General of the finances, and
Captain of all the fortresses of France.

The party of the Constable, which had once been that of most of the
princes of the royal blood, consisted now of adventurers, pledged
to continue a civil war, to which they owed their importance.
The real governors of France and Paris were the Gascon noble
D’Armagnac and the Breton Tannegui Duchâtel. Their tyranny was of
the bitterest description; their hired men-at-arms did all the
harm an undisciplined soldiery can do; the people were taxed, in
the midst of bitter famine, to the last farthing; their bloody
tyranny induced them to forbid bathing in the Seine, lest the
bathers should find there the corpses of their victims. The sole
virtue of the party was that they continued the war with England,
while Burgundy renewed his treaty with that nation. The Constable’s
efforts were not successful. An attempt to regain Harfleur was
defeated by the Duke of Bedford. But Henry for the present
was content to stand on the defensive. The Parliament, in its
enthusiasm at his great success, had granted him large subsidies,
and the tax on wool for life; and he was spending his time in
recruiting the strength of his army, and in giving a magnificent
reception to Sigismund, King of the Romans.

[Sidenote: Visit of Sigismund. His position in Europe. 1416.]

[Sidenote: His close union with Henry.]

That Prince had succeeded in re-establishing the obsolete supremacy
of the head of the Roman Empire. This he had done by the activity
and success with which he collected a general council of the Church
at Constance. His object at the council was to heal the great
schism, which since 1378 had divided the Church. On the death
of Gregory XI., who had brought back the Papacy to Rome, after
its seventy years’ servitude to the French at Avignon, a double
election took place, and the world was divided between Urbanists,
who owned Urban VI., the Roman Pontiff, and the Clementines, who
acknowledged Clement VII. of Avignon. Each Pope had his successors,
and an attempted compromise at Pisa in 1409 had produced a third
Pope. The three claimants to the honour were now Gregory XII. at
Rome, Benedict XIII. at Avignon, John XXIII. at Pisa. The new
council declared itself superior to all Popes, and proceeded to
secure the dismissal or resignation of these three prelates. It
also undertook to suppress the Wicliffite heresy, which had spread
to Bohemia. Its efforts in this direction led to the condemnation
and burning of John Huss and Jerome of Prague. The negotiations
with Pope Benedict, who was acknowledged in Spain, were intrusted
to Sigismund, who thus not unreasonably thought himself the arbiter
of Europe, and determined to add to his ecclesiastical successes
the healing of the war between France and England. For this purpose
he passed through Paris, but met with indifferent success, and
then betook himself to England. With Henry, as suppresser of
heresy and champion of the Church, he had much in common, and
he soon laid aside his position of arbiter to become an English
partisan.[89] One incident of his visit is interesting, as marking
both his position and the determined independence of the English.
While in Paris he was present at a trial, and one party to the
dispute seemed on the point of losing his case because he was
not of knightly rank. Sigismund immediately knighted him. This
interference was not pleasant to the French, and gave rise to the
idea that the Emperor was claiming universal supremacy. On his
approach to England, therefore, one of the King’s brothers and
some other lords rode out into the water by the side of the ship,
and there made him solemnly assert that he came as a friend, and
claimed no jurisdiction in England.

[Sidenote: Failure of Sigismund’s mediation.]

[Sidenote: Armagnac attacks Queen Isabella. 1417.]

[Sidenote: She allies herself with Burgundy.]

[Sidenote: Henry’s second invasion.]

Sigismund’s efforts at procuring peace had been thwarted in Paris
by the determination of D’Armagnac, whose position had become
apparently more assured than ever. One after the other, Charles
VI.’s two elder sons died, and his third son, Charles, who had
been brought up by the Armagnac party, was now Dauphin. Besides
the Constable, there was no one but his mother who had influence
over him. That influence Bernard was determined to destroy. The
avaricious character and licentiousness of the Queen afforded easy
opportunity. He drove her into privacy at Tours, and seized her
money. Henceforward she hated the Dauphin heartily, and was ready
to do anything to injure him. Thus, when Burgundy approached Paris
with an army, he was suddenly summoned to rescue the Queen from
her captivity, and France became still more distinctly divided
into the party of the Dauphin and the party of the Queen. Still
further to complete the separation, and to give a shadow of
legitimacy to their action, the Queen and Burgundy established a
counter-Parliament at Amiens, and a rival Great Council of France.
The civil war went on increasing in atrocity, and D’Armagnac was
too hard pressed to interfere with Henry, who, on August 14th,
landed at Honfleur for his second invasion, and proceeded to
master Normandy. With Flanders, Artois and Picardy on the one hand
rendered neutral by the friendship of Burgundy, and Brittany on
the other under a truce with him, he could act at his ease. Caen,
Bayeux, L’Aigle, were captured one after the other, and the next
year, with four divisions spreading from Artois to Brittany, he
pushed southward, conquering all the strong towns as he went. He
was not a merciful conqueror. He exacted to the full the rights of
war. Most of the towns were treated as Harfleur had been, but in
nearly every case a certain number of the citizens were beheaded
under the title of rebels.

[Sidenote: The Parisians, anxious for peace, admit the Burgundians.]

It was impossible for the French parties, savage as they were,
to look on calmly at the English successes; a great attempt at
reconciliation was made, but again the obstinacy of the Constable
brought it to nothing. The idea of the cessation of the civil war
had filled the Parisians with hope. The failure of that hope was
more than they could bear. The keys of the gates were secured,
and L’Ile-Adam, who commanded one of the garrisons which the
Burgundians had pushed close to Paris, was admitted within the
walls. The people rose in thousands upon their hated tyrants.
Tannegui Duchâtel succeeded in saving the young Dauphin, and
retired with him to Melun. Meanwhile, the prisons were crowded with
captive Armagnacs, and a few days afterwards the passions of the
extreme Burgundian partisans broke loose. The Cabochiens, who had
lived as exiles in Burgundy, and returned with the Duke, again made
their appearance. A fearful massacre took place at all the prisons;
among the number slain was the Constable himself. From this time
onward, the Armagnacs were spoken of as the Dauphinois; their
leading spirit was Duchâtel, who followed closely in the footsteps
of the late D’Armagnac. He would hear of no peace with Burgundy.

[Sidenote: Fall of Rouen. Jan. 15, 1419.]

Yet that peace was terribly wanted, for Henry had now laid siege
to Rouen, the capital of Normandy. The defence was in the highest
degree gallant. Promises were given by Burgundy that help should be
sent, but none came. At length a part of the garrison determined to
cut their way through. When a portion of them had already crossed
the bridge, it broke with the remainder, and the attempt had to
be given up. Men charged Guy Bouteiller, the governor, and not
unreasonably, with treacherously sawing the supports. At length
all hope, unless succour arrived, was gone. Every eatable thing
had been devoured. Hundreds of useless mouths had been driven
without the walls, and not being allowed to pass the English lines,
lay starving in the ditches. The extent of charity the garrison
could afford to show, was to draw the new-born babes up the walls
in baskets, to have them baptized, and then return them to their
mothers to starve. Driven to extremities, the garrison sent
deputies demanding assistance from the King, and threatening if
it did not come to become his fiercest enemies. They were bidden
to wait till the fourth day after Christmas. In spite of their
miserable plight, they resolved to wait the fortnight that was
left. On that day there arrived, not assistance, but a message
from the Duke of Burgundy to make what terms they could with the
King of England. They asked what those terms would be. He bade
them surrender at discretion. But they knew his character too well
to trust to his mercy, and resolved to fire the town and make
their way out as they could. This threat brought Henry to reason,
and for a ransom of 300,000 crowns he gave them the same sort of
terms as he usually did. Seven men were excepted from pardon; of
these all but one were ransomed. That one, Alain Blanchart, the
King, ever unable to appreciate bravery in an enemy, caused to be

[Sidenote: Negotiation for peace.]

[Sidenote: Attempted reconciliation of the French parties.]

[Sidenote: Murder of Burgundy.]

At length it seemed as though the French factions had come to
an understanding; the cry of the whole nation was too strong to
resist. A truce was made between the parties for three months, and
the Duke of Burgundy, with the Queen and the King, who had been in
their custody since the recapture of Paris, met Henry at Meulan,
and attempted to come to terms. But Henry still demanded more than
it was possible to grant. Burgundy therefore withdrew in anger, and
at Pouilli-le-Fort held a personal meeting with the Dauphin, and
apparently came to terms with him. The show of friendship was only
hollow. Shortly after, at the instigation of Duchâtel, a second
meeting was demanded at Montereau sur Yonne. It was nothing but an
ambush. The meeting was to be held on the bridge, and barricades
were to keep back all but ten partisans of either side; but no
sooner was the Duke with two followers within the barrier than
Tannegui Duchâtel shut the door on that side, while from the other
end the Dauphinois crowded in. The Duke was there murdered, and of
his following one man alone escaped.

[Sidenote: Young Burgundy joins England. Treaty of Troyes, 1420.]

The effect of this murder was instantaneous. The son of Jean
sans peur, Philip, Count of Charolais, at once put himself at
the head of his party, and forgetting everything but revenge,
opened negotiations with the English. On October 17th, the
plenipotentiaries met at Arras, and the preliminaries of the treaty
were drawn up; by which Henry was to marry Catherine of France,
and to be recognised as heir after the death of the reigning king.
Meanwhile he was to have the administration of the country. All the
exchange asked was, that he would make no peace with the Dauphin,
and join in carrying on war with that Prince. These preliminaries
were to be ratified by the King, the Queen, and States General.
The King’s imbecility prevented any opposition from him, and the
Queen was only too glad of an opportunity of disinheriting her
son; she calculated that at least her daughter Catherine, whom she
loved dearly, would enjoy the crown. An unexpected consequence
followed this treaty, which was completed at Troyes. This was the
resurrection of the party of the Dauphin, which henceforward became
the national party. Henry was at once called upon to give vigorous
assistance, and found occupation for all his army at the siege of
Melun, which was defended with extreme courage. But in December
he found an opportunity of making a triumphal entry into Paris,
where his stern and haughty manner, and “his words which cut like
razors,” won him but little favour; and thence he passed to England
to meet a magnificent reception with his wife.

[Sidenote: English defeat at Beaugé.]

[Sidenote: Henry hurries to Paris.]

He there heard bad news. One of the signs of the renewed activity
of his enemies had been a treaty with Castile, and the employment
of the Castilian fleet. Already, in the preceding year, the Spanish
fleet had defeated the English, and then proceeding to Scotland,
had returned with a reinforcement of some 4000 men under the
Earl of Buchan and Lord Stewart of Darnley. Strengthened with
these troops, the Dauphin’s party had attacked the English in the
west. Clarence, the King’s brother, who had been left in charge
of the kingdom, advanced to meet them. The armies encountered at
Beaugé in Anjou, and there, forgetting the national tactics, and
neglecting the use of the archers, they suffered a complete defeat,
in which the King’s brother was killed. It was the first reverse
the English arms had met with, and Henry well understood the moral
effect it might have. He hastened at once to France, and leaving
alone for the present the disaffection which was showing itself
in Picardy, went direct to Paris to re-establish his prestige.
Thence he marched to the attack of Meaux, whence an Armagnac
garrison was pillaging the country to the very gates of Paris. It
was under the command of the Bastard of Vaurus, a savage soldier,
who delighted to hang his prisoners by dozens on the branches of a
large elm outside his town. The bravery of his defence equalled his
barbarity. It was not without the greatest efforts that the town
and castle, called the Marché, were reduced.

[Sidenote: While re-establishing his affairs he dies. 1422.]

[Sidenote: Death of Charles VI.]

Meanwhile the war had broken out again in Burgundy, and Henry was
summoned to the support of his allies at the siege of Cosne. He
would not send help, he said, but would come at the head of his
whole army. The boast was a vain one. His army, indeed, set out
under the command of the Duke of Bedford and the Earl of Warwick,
but the King’s health, which had been failing for the last two
years, quite broke down, and the generals were hastily recalled
to be present at the deathbed of their sovereign, who died on the
31st of August 1422. Conscious of his approaching end, he had
made dispositions to meet it; he had laid special stress on the
continuation of the treaty with Burgundy; had begged Bedford never
to make peace under less advantageous terms than the entire cession
of Normandy; had intrusted the regency of France to the same
brother should the Duke of Burgundy decline it; put England into
the hands of Gloucester; and intrusted the education of his infant
son to Warwick. He then died amid all those signs of religious
enthusiasm which had marked his life, declaring that he had
intended to lead a crusade to Jerusalem, and covering all remorse,
which his cruel war might well have excited, by the thought that he
had acted with the approbation of those most holy men the English
bishops. Stern, haughty, an unpitying soldier, he had yet by his
exhibition of firm justice and love of order gained the admiration
and respect, if not the love, of his new subjects; and Englishmen
forgot his reactionary policy, and misjudged the want of wisdom in
his foreign undertakings, amid the enthusiasm his successful career
excited. Very shortly after his conqueror, the old King Charles
VI. also died, and his son Charles became the representative of
the French monarchy. He caused himself to be at once crowned at
Poitiers; but the English failed to recognise his title, and spoke
of him as the Dauphin.



                   Born 1421 = Margaret of Anjou, 1445.
                           Edward. Died.

                        CONTEMPORARY PRINCES

    _Scotland._    |   _France._   |   _Germany._      |   _Spain._
                   |               |                   |
  James I., 1406.  | Charles VI.,  | Sigismund, 1410.  | John II., 1406.
  James II., 1436. |    1380.      | Albert II., 1438. | Henry IV., 1454.
                   | Charles VII., | Frederick III.,   |
                   |    1423.      |     1440.         |

  POPES.--Martin V., 1417. Eugenius IV., 1431. Nicolas V., 1447.
  Calixtus III., 1455. Pius II., 1458.

             _Archbishops._      |     _Chancellors._
          Henry Chicheley, 1414. | Thomas Longley, 1417.
          John Stafford, 1443.   | Cardinal Beaufort, 1424.
          John Kemp, 1452.       | Cardinal Kemp, 1426.
          Thomas Bouchier, 1454. | John Stafford, 1432.
                                 | Cardinal Kemp, 1450.
                                 | Earl of Salisbury, 1454.
                                 | Cardinal Bouchier, 1455.
                                 | William Waynflete, 1456.
                                 | George Neville, 1460.
                                 | Sir John Fortescue, 1461.

[Sidenote: Arrangements of the kingdom. 1422.]

By the fiction of the English constitution, England was now
governed by a child of nine months old. The late King had
thoughtfully arranged for the government by the nomination of
Gloucester to the regency in England, Bedford to the regency in
France; but experience of former regencies, and the constant
adherence to constitutional forms which marked the English
nobility, led the Privy Council to make different arrangements. It
was determined, in fact, that the Council should be virtually the
governing body. This was in accordance with several precedents;
even as late as the reign of Henry IV., a council named in
Parliament had, during the last years of that monarch’s life,
governed England. When the hero, whose popularity and ability had
for a time carried all men with him, was dead, it was natural that
the kingdom should fall back into the same system of government.
In the first Parliament therefore, by the advice of the Council,
Bedford was made Regent of both France and England, while to
Gloucester was given the title of Defender or Protector of the
kingdom, which amounted to little more than the position of
President of the Council, by whose advice he was bound to act, and
of which the members were nominated in Parliament. After this, the
grant of the wool tax and of tonnage and poundage, for two years,
closed the session.

[Sidenote: Position of parties in France.]

[Sidenote: Bedford’s marriage. 1423.]

All interests were still centred in France. To all appearance,
both in geographical position and in the talents of their leader,
the advantage lay with the English. Bedford shared all the better
qualities of his elder brother; as able, both as a general and
a statesman, he was of a gentler and a finer character; on the
other hand, the Dauphin Charles was a man without vigour, sunk in
sensual pleasure, and still under the influence of unprincipled
adventurers. His possessions, too, were much restricted. He found
himself confined to the centre and south-east of France. It was
only from south of the Loire to Languedoc that his power was
unquestioned. Either England or its great ally Burgundy possessed
or dominated all other parts of France; while Savoy and Brittany,
at the extreme and opposite corners, were professedly neutral.
The strength of this position, such as it was, lay in its central
situation. The immense extent of country the English held required
resources beyond the power of that country single-handed to
produce; by alliance with Burgundy alone was it possible. But
misgovernment and party feeling prevented any great exhibition
of strength on the part of France. She had to rely chiefly on
mercenaries, and the war was merely kept alive. In 1423, Bedford
succeeded in forming anew a close alliance with Burgundy, in which
Brittany also joined. It was cemented by a double marriage; on the
one hand, Bedford married Anne, Philip’s sister, while Arthur of
Richemont, the brother of the Duke of Brittany, married her elder
sister Margaret.

[Sidenote: Release of the Scotch King.]

[Sidenote: It is useless.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Verneuil. 1424.]

[Sidenote: Consequent strength of the English in France.]

The treaty was scarcely finished when Bedford had to move southward
to relieve Crévant on the Yonne, closely besieged by the Scotch and
French. The expedition was very successful. A simultaneous attack
from the city and the relieving army destroyed the besiegers; 1200
knights, chiefly Scotch, were said to have been left on the field.
But fresh recruits were continually coming to the French, some
from Italy, some from Scotland; notably 5,000 men under Archibald
Douglas, who was raised to the Duchy of Touraine; while Stewart of
Darnley, their former leader, received the lordships of Aubigné
and of Dreux. Bedford attempted to cut off this source of help
by arranging for the release of the Scottish King, who had now
been twenty-four years a captive in England. In September 1423,
his freedom was arranged, on the payment of £40,000 for his past
expenses, and upon a promise on his part that he would keep peace
with England, and marry an English lady. He was told to choose his
own wife, as English ladies were not in the habit of proposing
for husbands, and married Joan Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of
Somerset, granddaughter of John of Gaunt. He did his best, though
not always successfully, to keep his promise of peace. But this
step on the part of Bedford did not stop the Scotch in France.
They pushed on even to the borders of Normandy, and captured
Ivry. Bedford addressed himself to the recovery of that fortress.
18,000 troops, Scotch, French, and Italians, led by the Duke of
Alençon and Earl of Buchan, now Constable of France, marched to
relieve it. This they were unable to do, but revenged themselves
by the capture of the neighbouring town of Verneuil. Thither the
Regent pursued them, and there he brought them to action. It was
the old story over again. The French had not yet learnt wisdom by
experience; and again the mass of heavy-armed foot, with cavalry
on the flanks, was shattered by the English archers from behind
their impenetrable wall of pointed stakes. The Scotch auxiliaries
were nearly destroyed; and among the 5000 dead were the Earls of
Douglas, Buchan and Aumale. The victory was likened in Parliament
to the Battle of Agincourt. Its effects were almost as complete.
For the time the French had to withdraw completely behind the Loire.

[Sidenote: It is disturbed by Gloucester’s marriage.]

[Sidenote: First blow to Burgundian alliance. 1424.]

It was the unbridled folly of Gloucester which disturbed the
favourable position which Bedford had secured. The Countess
Jacqueline of Hainault and Holland had married John of Brabant,
and had fled from her husband. She had taken refuge in England,
and just before the death of Henry V., Gloucester, during the life
of her former husband, had taken her for his wife. The Duke of
Burgundy was the cousin and close ally of John of Brabant, and had
hoped to bring all the Netherlands under his power by his kinsman’s
marriage with Jacqueline. Gloucester would hear of no compromise,
but, in 1424, appeared with 5000 English troops in Calais, and
took possession of Hainault. Philip of Burgundy at once wavered
in his friendship for England, drew closer his connection with
Brabant, and even procured a truce with the Dauphin. Preparations
for a duel, to which he had challenged Burgundy, called Gloucester
home. The immediate effect of his departure was the occupation of
Hainault by John of Brabant. Jacqueline herself was taken prisoner,
but managing to escape in man’s clothes, she reached her other
dominions in Holland, and thence proceeded to begin a war with
Burgundy. Her English lover could send her but little help, and
at last, after her husband’s death in 1428, she surrendered to
Philip, and declared him her heir. Gloucester’s infidelity broke
off relations between them, and eventually, in 1436, the whole of
the Netherlands came into the power of Burgundy. It has been said
that, without the friendship of Burgundy, the English resources
were insufficient to retain France. This was the first shock that
friendship received.

[Sidenote: Rivalry of Beaufort and Gloucester.]

[Sidenote: Gloucester’s marriage with Eleanor Cobham.]

This outbreak of Gloucester’s was but one instance of his
intemperate and ambitious character. At home, he had already
involved the government in difficulties, by his constant rivalry
with Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, second son of John of
Gaunt by Catherine Swinford. This Prince had already been engaged
in all the prominent affairs of the last reign. But though a man
of vast wealth and large ambition, his aspirations in England
were rather for his family than for himself; and in the financial
difficulties which began to beset England his money was freely
advanced without interest to Government. In 1424, he had been made
Chancellor, for the express purpose of counterbalancing the power
of his nephew Gloucester, and in pursuance of this object, he had,
during Gloucester’s absence in Hainault, garrisoned the Tower,
from which Gloucester on his return found himself excluded. This
produced an open quarrel and an appeal to arms, only repressed
by the intervention of the Prince of Portugal, at that time in
England. There was one man only who could decide this quarrel,
and that was the Duke of Bedford, who on coming to England would
at once become the constitutional Regent. He found it therefore
necessary to leave France, where he was much wanted, and to return
to England. He contrived to bring about a reconciliation, at a
Parliament held at Leicester. The Bishop of Winchester, from
patriotic motives, resigned his chancellorship, and got leave to
absent himself from England to go on a pilgrimage. At the same
time, the Parliament defined as before the power of Gloucester,
establishing the practical supremacy of the Council. This
definition Bedford accepted. Eventually, though much against his
will, Gloucester was induced to do so also; but his real view was
expressed in the words attributed to him, “Lat my brother governe
as hym lust, whiles he is in this lande, for after his going overe
to Fraunce, I wol governe as me semethe goode.” It was plain that
the views of Bedford and Gloucester as to the government of England
were very different. Nor had Bedford long left England to return
to France when his brother gave rise to a fresh scandal. He had
already forgotten Jacqueline, and even while getting supplies from
the Commons, with whom he was very popular, for the purpose of
upholding her cause, had married his former mistress Eleanor Cobham.

[Sidenote: Bedford again secures Burgundy,]

[Sidenote: and attacks Orleans.]

[Sidenote: Battle of the Herrings.]

On his return to France, the Duke of Bedford found that his
brother’s conduct had increased his difficulties. Richemont, the
brother of the Duke of Brittany, had been won to the French side,
and received the rank of Constable, vacant by the death of Buchan,
and was now using all his influence to induce his brother-in-law
Burgundy to follow his example. Bedford’s presence for the moment
improved the position of the English. He contrived to renew an
alliance with both Burgundy and Brittany, and was thus secured
upon either side of Normandy. Encouraged by this success, the
English generals were eager to press forward beyond the Loire,
which had hitherto been the limit of their conquests. It seems
probable that Bedford, with a clearer view of the difficulties
of his position, would have been well content to have carried
out the wishes of his brother Henry by securing Normandy. He,
however, yielded to the pressure brought to bear upon him, and in
October, the siege of Orleans, situated on the northernmost angle
of the river Loire, and from its position holding command of that
river, was undertaken. The town itself stands upon the northern
bank, but is connected with a southern suburb, the Portereau, by
a bridge, terminating in a strong castle called Les Tournelles.
The siege was intrusted to Salisbury,[90] who began the attack
upon the southern side. He established his troops in a fortified
camp in the ruins of a monastery of Augustinians, and before long
succeeded in capturing Les Tournelles, and breaking the bridge.
He was unfortunately killed, while examining the country from
that fortress, with a view to further investment of the town. The
command devolved upon the Earl of Suffolk, who succeeded before the
close of the year in erecting a string of thirteen strongholds,
called bastides, round the Northern city. But the weather and want
of resources compelled him to put these too far apart, and the
intercourse of the defenders with an army of relief under the Count
of Clermont at Blois was not broken off. Early in the following
year, this army hoped to raise the siege by falling on a large
body of provisions coming to the besiegers from Paris under Sir
John Fastolf. The attack was made at Rouvray, but Fastolf had made
careful preparations. The waggons were arranged in a square, and,
with the stakes of the archers, formed a fortification on which
the disorderly attack of the French made but little impression.
Broken in the assault, they fell an easy prey to the English, as
they advanced beyond their lines. The skirmish is known by the name
of the Battle of the Herrings. This victory, which deprived the
besieged of hope of external succour, seemed to render the capture
of the city certain.

[Sidenote: Danger of Orleans.]

Already at the French King’s court at Chinon there was talk of
a hasty withdrawal to Dauphiné, Spain, or even Scotland; when
suddenly there arose one of those strange effects of enthusiasm
which sometimes set all calculation at defiance.

[Sidenote: Joan of Arc.]

[Sidenote: Causes of her success.]

[Sidenote: The siege is raised. May 8.]

In Domrémi, a village belonging to the duchy of Bar, the
inhabitants of which, though in the midst of Lorraine, a province
under Burgundian influence, were of patriotic views, lived a
village maiden called Joan of Arc. The period was one of great
mental excitement; as in other times of wide prevailing misery,
prophecies and mystical preachings were current. Joan of Arc’s
mind was particularly susceptible to such influences, and from
the time she was thirteen years old, she had fancied that she
heard voices, and had even seen forms, sometimes of the Archangel
Michael, sometimes of St. Catherine and St. Margaret, who called
her to the assistance of the Dauphin. She persuaded herself that
she was destined to fulfil an old prophecy which said that the
kingdom, destroyed by a woman--meaning, as she thought, Queen
Isabella,--should be saved by a maiden of Lorraine. The burning
of Domrémi in the summer of 1428 by a troop of Burgundians at
length gave a practical form to her imaginations, and early in the
following year she succeeded in persuading Robert of Baudricourt
to send her, armed and accompanied by a herald, to Chinon. She
there, as it is said by the wonderful knowledge she displayed,
convinced the court of the truth of her mission. At all events, it
was thought wise to take advantage of the infectious enthusiasm she
displayed, and in April she was intrusted with an army of 6000 or
7000 men, which was to march up the river from Blois to the relief
of Orleans. When she appeared upon the scene of war, she supplied
exactly that element of success which the French required.
Already long and bitter experience had taught them the art of war.
They were commanded no longer by favourites of the Court, but by
professional soldiers, such as Dunois, the Bastard of Orleans, La
Hire and Saintrailles; and the cause of their weakness was the
deep-rooted immorality both of public and private life, which
the disastrous party struggles of the last reign had produced.
A national instead of a party cry, strict morality enforced
by a Heaven-sent virgin, and the enthusiasm of religion, were
well calculated to remove this cause of weakness. It is to this
combination of experience with enthusiasm that the success of the
French henceforward must be traced. Aided by the skill of Dunois,
Joan succeeded in entering Orleans by water, while her army the day
after marched in unopposed upon the northern side. After various
attacks upon the Bastides, she at length, on the 6th and 7th of
May, attacked the lines upon the south of the river. The camp in
the Augustinian monastery was captured, and after a fierce assault
the Tower of the Tournelles fell into the hands of the French,
Gladsdale, the commander on the left bank, being killed. The effect
of her uniform success, and the superstitious dread she inspired,
is shown by the fact that three such generals as Suffolk, Talbot
and Fastolf, who commanded on the northern side of the river, took
no steps to assist their distressed comrades, and on the following
day raised the siege.

[Illustration: ORLEANS


[Sidenote: March to Rheims to crown the Dauphin,]

[Sidenote: and unsuccessful attack on Paris.]

The release of Orleans was quickly followed up. The English were
hotly pressed. In June, Jargeau on the Loire was taken, and
Suffolk with it; while on the 18th of the same month, Talbot and
Fastolf suffered a thorough defeat at Pataye, while attempting to
save other fortresses lower down the river. Joan of Arc had set
herself two great duties to perform--the relief of Orleans, and the
coronation of the Dauphin at Rheims. To this second duty she now
addressed herself. Her difficulties arose chiefly from the folly
of the Dauphin, who was under the influence of his favourite, La
Tremouille, a strong Armagnac, whose object it was to prevent his
master from entering upon an independent course of action. These
difficulties were at length overcome. At the head of a small army,
Charles and the Maid of Orleans marched successfully into the
heart of their enemy’s country, securing either by force or by
negotiation the strong cities on the way. At Rheims the coronation
was completed, and thence the French generals directed their march
on Paris at the persuasion of Joan. But there, while Joan had
been overcoming the reluctance of the French Prince, Bedford had
assembled an army of sufficient strength to resist them. He had
summoned to his aid the Bishop of Winchester, who had returned
from his pilgrimage to Rome with instructions to collect troops
to assist the Emperor Sigismund against the heretic Hussites of
Bohemia. With this little army he now joined his nephew; and
Bedford, alarmed by the rapid defection of great towns such as
Blois, Beauvais and Compiègne, determined, if possible, to destroy
the superstitious confidence of the French by a successful battle.
In this he was disappointed, for, after an indecisive skirmish
near Senlis, he was compelled to fall back to cover Paris. For the
present, however, this formed the limit of the French successes. A
fruitless attack on the city, in which the Maid was wounded, caused
timid counsels to prevail, and the army withdrew behind the Loire.

[Sidenote: Capture of Joan of Arc. 1430.]

[Sidenote: Coronation of King Henry.]

[Sidenote: Joan’s death. 1431.]

The winter was employed by Bedford in continued efforts to retain
the friendship of the Duke of Burgundy; and the united armies of
Burgundy and England were attempting to regain Compiègne, when in
March Joan of Arc again took the field. She succeeded in passing
through the two armies, and in entering the city, but was surprised
during a sally and taken prisoner. Her capture gave the English
hopes that they might still retain their conquests, as the sluggish
and vacillating character of the French King was well known.
Bedford set to work to do all he could to regain the prestige
he had lost the preceding year. Shortly after the coronation of
Rheims, he had caused King Henry to be crowned at Westminster,
and with his brother Gloucester had retired from his official
situation. He now determined to have the coronation repeated in
France. Henry was brought over for that purpose, but it was found
impossible to crown him at Rheims, now completely in the hands of
the French. Bedford had to content himself with a coronation at
Paris. Meanwhile the unfortunate prisoner had been given up to be
tried as a sorceress. She was found guilty, and handed over to
the secular arm: for a moment she was induced to confess herself
guilty, abjuring the truth of her Divine calling; her resumption
of arms in the prison was regarded as a relapse into heresy: she
was therefore burnt at Rouen. The strangely superstitious character
of the age, and the devout belief which existed in sorcery, cannot
excuse what was, in fact, an act of base revenge.

[Sidenote: Increasing difficulties of the English. 1432.]

[Sidenote: Conduct of Gloucester.]

[Sidenote: Bedford re-marries. Second blow to the Burgundian

[Sidenote: Formation of peace and war parties.]

[Sidenote: Great peace congress at Arras. 1435.]

From this time onwards the fortunes of England declined.
Difficulties accumulated on all sides. The long war had caused
such a drain on the finances, that the payment of the troops had
already been lowered, and a dangerous mutiny had broken out at
Calais. At the same time, Gloucester’s meddlesome and overbearing
character perpetually kept the Government at home in disturbance.
In 1428, an attack was made on the Bishop of Winchester. He had
returned from Rome a Cardinal, and with the rank of Papal Legate
for the purpose of collecting troops against the Hussites. His
authority thus clashed with that of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
who was _ex officio_ Legate when no one else was specially
appointed to that office. Displeased at being superseded, Chicheley
joined with Gloucester, and suggested that Winchester, by becoming
Legate without royal permission, had incurred the penalties of
præmunire. Winchester was therefore excluded from the Council,
and from the Chapter of the Garter, of which he was the Prelate,
held in 1429. His place in the Council was restored to him in
gratitude for his conduct in the following year, when he lent
troops to Bedford after the relief of Orleans. Nevertheless,
during his absence in 1431, he was asked to resign his bishopric,
as being the officer of a foreign power, and Gloucester brought
formal charges against him, and caused the writ of præmunire to be
actually prepared. The execution of the writ was postponed till
the King’s return, when Beaufort was allowed to clear himself,
and a declaration vouching for his loyalty given him under the
Great Seal. While thus attacking the Cardinal, Gloucester had been
attempting to increase his popularity, already very great, by
assuming the position of champion of the Church, and persecutor
of heresy. In 1430, a man calling himself Jack Sharpe had been
put to death at Oxford, and a clergyman of Essex had also been
burnt. But there was evidently still existing a strong undercurrent
of Lollardism; for the people came in crowds to the place of
execution, and made offerings as though the victim of persecution
had been a saint. But even worse for Bedford than these troubles
at home was the loss of his wife, who died in November 1432,
childless, thus breaking the strongest link which had hitherto
bound England and Burgundy together. This misfortune was made
worse by one of the few acts of indiscretion which can be alleged
against Bedford. He married Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of
Saint-Pol, of the House of Luxembourg, a marriage in itself politic
enough, but which, contracted as it was without the permission of
Burgundy, the lady’s feudal superior, caused a quarrel between
the two Dukes. This was the second heavy blow which the alliance
between England and Burgundy had received. Yet this alliance was
absolutely necessary for the successful carrying on of the war. It
began to be a question whether peace of some sort was not becoming
necessary. Bedford even in the year 1431 received leave from the
English Parliament to treat. Abroad the feeling in favour of peace
was still stronger. Pope Eugenius IV. had set seriously to work to
put an end to the warfare. The Emperor Sigismund, with Frederick
of Austria and Louis of Orange, alarmed at the rising power of
the Burgundian House, had made offers of assistance to the French
King. The Bretons, headed by the Count of Richemont, were anxious
to renew their natural alliance with France. Burgundy himself, in
1432, had gone so far as to make an armistice with the French; the
presence at the French Court of La Tremouille, one of the murderers
of the Duke’s father and the constant supporter of the war, seemed
the only obstacle to reconciliation: if that reconciliation were
made Bedford must of necessity make peace. Other difficulties
were leading him in the same direction. The finances were in
the greatest disorder; the garrison of Calais mutinied for pay.
Bedford therefore, in 1433, returned to England to see what could
be done. He made Lord Ralph Cromwell his treasurer, and intrusted
him with the duty of examining and making a statement as to the
condition of the finances. It became apparent that the yearly
outgoing exceeded the income by £25,000. Bedford at once insisted
on economy, and patriotically gave up a considerable portion of
his own salaries. But the discovery of his failing resources, the
necessity for his presence in England, where Lords and Commons
united in intreating him to remain, the increase of the power of
France, and the constant danger of reconciliation between Charles
and Burgundy, induced him to be quite ready to make arrangements
for a peace on honourable terms which should include the possession
of Normandy. Such views did not suit Gloucester. He put himself
prominently forward as the head of the war party, producing a great
but impracticable plan for pressing the war with vigour. Bedford’s
residence in England was short. During his absence all went wrong;
St. Denis was lost, and the Earl of Arundel taken prisoner. He was
forced to return to France, and to leave the parties in England
(now clearly defined as peace and war parties) to carry on their
quarrels. But the general feeling for the necessity of peace,
and for the release from their long imprisonment of the captives
taken at Agincourt, gained ground abroad. So much was this the
case, that Burgundy found means to assemble on the 14th of July
what may be fairly called a European congress, at Arras, to
settle if possible the peace of Europe. Thither came ambassadors
from the Council of Bâle, (at that time sitting,) the Legate
of the Pope, and ministers from the Emperor, Castile, Aragon,
Navarre, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, Poland, Denmark, the Parisian
University, and the great commercial towns of the Hansa and of
Flanders. Archbishop John of York at first represented England.
The Duke of Bourbon, who had already entered into agreement with
Burgundy, represented France. Even on their first appearance, the
English ambassadors were displeased with the precedence given to
the French. The rival demands were these:--France wished either
for a peace with Burgundy, and the continuation of the war with
England, or if there was a cessation of that war, that the peace
should be unconditional, with the restoration of all prisoners
and all conquests, the three Norman bishoprics alone being left
to the English, and those only as fiefs of the French crown; the
English demanded the retention of their present possessions and
an armistice. The pretensions of the two nations were evidently
incompatible; even Cardinal Beaufort, who had joined the congress,
was afraid of the war party at home, and on the 6th of September
the English embassy withdrew.

[Sidenote: Bedford’s death. Consequent defection of Burgundy.]

[Sidenote: Obstinacy of the war party.]

At this inopportune moment an event happened which settled
the wavering mind of Burgundy, and induced him to make a full
reconciliation with the French. This event was the death of the
Duke of Bedford. There was no one to fill the place of that great
man. It had been his personal influence more than anything else
which had kept Burgundy true to England. On his death the Duke
at once declared himself ready to receive the terms which France
offered. These were humiliating enough. Charles apologized for the
death of Duke John, declared that he held the act in abhorrence,
that he had been brought to consent to it by the advice of wicked
ministers, and would henceforward exclude all Armagnacs from
his council. At the same time he granted to Burgundy, Macon and
Auxerre, together with the basin of the Somme, or Ponthieu. At
first, news of this treaty served only to arouse the warlike
feeling of the English. The appearance of the Burgundian envoy
in London was the signal for violent riots. It was determined to
prosecute the war with vigour. A great loan was raised throughout
the country, and the prosecution intrusted to the young Duke of
York. It was not to be expected that this young prince, however
great his ability, could do what Bedford had been unable to
accomplish. United with Burgundy, England had scarcely held its
position in France. Against France and Burgundy united, it was

[Sidenote: Continued ill success. 1437.]

Already before York’s arrival a great piece of Normandy, and even
Harfleur, had been lost. In April the French King, with Burgundy,
advanced on Paris, and was admitted by the townspeople. The war
party grew only more obstinate. Gloucester revived his absurd
claims upon Flanders in right of Jacqueline, and assumed the title
of Count of Flanders. York and Talbot succeeded in driving back
the Burgundians from Calais; but this was almost the only English
success. In July 1437, York was recalled, and Beauchamp, Earl of
Warwick,[91] appointed in his place. But it was too late for any
one to check the advance of the French. That country was indeed
exhausted and miserable to the last degree; but England was in
little better plight. For several years the plague had been raging,
and an unusually bad harvest added to the horrors of disease. Bread
there was none, the people were reduced to live on pulse.

[Sidenote: Danger from Scotland.]

[Sidenote: James’s death.]

Moreover, the English forces were divided by the threatening
aspect of affairs in Scotland. The young King had done his best to
keep his promise of peace, but found it impossible to break off
the long-standing connection with France. In 1428, his daughter
Margaret had been betrothed to Charles VII.’s son, Louis of Anjou.
This had excited the fears of the English, and in the following
year, the Bishop of Winchester, under the plea of collecting
help for his proposed crusade against the Hussites, had visited
Edinburgh. A marriage treaty had even been proposed between the
two countries, but it came to nothing, and a vigorous diplomatic
struggle was still being carried on between the rival parties of
France and England, when, in 1434, the folly of Sir Robert Ogle,
who led a raid into the Scotch Lowlands, turned the scale in favour
of the French. The marriage between Margaret and Louis of Anjou
was at once carried out, and, in 1436, an army, with King James at
its head, attacked Roxburgh. Fortunately for England, the Scotch
King, bred at the Court of Henry V., and eager to introduce into
his own kingdom the orderly constitution he had known in England,
had excited the anger of his nobles. News of a conspiracy reached
him, and he withdrew from his invasion only to fall a victim to
that conspiracy in the following year. Weakened by these domestic
confusions, Scotland was content to enter into a truce for ten

[Sidenote: Peace party procure the liberation of Orleans. 1440.]

Neither the suffering of the people, nor the danger from Scotland,
nor the constant want of success abroad, had any influence on
the passionate obstinacy of Gloucester. Meetings with regard to
peace were in vain held at Paris, the English refused to recede
from their demands. At length, however, Cardinal Beaufort and the
peace party so far prevailed, that, after the fall of Meaux, they
procured the liberation of the Duke of Orleans, hoping to find
in him an efficient mediator. As a protest against the measure,
while the Duke was taking the oaths required of him before his
liberation, Gloucester, refusing to be present, betook himself to
his barge and remained upon the river. The measure did not produce
the desired effect. The Duke of Warwick had died in May 1439.
Somerset, who had succeeded him, retook Harfleur, but, in the two
following years, not only did the French successes increase in
Normandy, even Guienne was in its turn assaulted. All efforts to
save it were in vain, and it became quite evident that the policy
of peace was the only one which could extricate England with honour
from its disastrous situation.

[Sidenote: Peace becomes necessary. Rise of Suffolk.]

[Sidenote: Marriage of Henry with Margaret of Anjou.]

[Sidenote: Pre-eminence of Suffolk.]

The death of Bedford had left Cardinal Beaufort at the head of
the party who desired a reasonable peace. But Beaufort was old,
and the influence of Gloucester, as first Prince of the blood and
the leader of the popular party, kept him much aloof from public
business. In his place there arose a new minister, De la Pole,
Earl of Suffolk. This man, a descendant of a wealthy merchant in
the reign of Edward III., and grandson of the favourite of Richard
II., was fully engaged upon the side of the Lancastrian dynasty.
He had been taken prisoner after the siege of Orleans, and had in
France formed connections which pointed him out as a fitting person
to manage negotiations with that country. It was determined, if
possible, to make the marriage of the young King with a French
Princess the basis of a peace. The Princess fixed on was Margaret,
the daughter of Réné, Duke of Bar, representative of the Angevin
house, the titular King of Sicily and of Jerusalem.[92] Suffolk
undertook to manage the delicate negotiation, although conscious,
it would seem, of the obloquy he would probably meet with. He
succeeded in obtaining an armistice to extend from June 1444 till
April 1446, and the marriage treaty was completed; but so far from
receiving a dower with his wife, as might have been expected, (but
which her father, who had surrendered his duchy to the Duke of
Burgundy, was quite unable to give,) it was arranged that Henry
should surrender to the French, as the price of their consent, all
that was left to the English of Anjou and Maine, where the war was
still being carried on. In carrying out this arrangement, Suffolk
had the consent of the Privy Council, but it is probable that
they did not contemplate so complete a cession of English rights.
His successful return secured him the title of Marquis, and the
friendship of the young Queen (whose masculine mind soon got entire
command of her husband’s will), and enabled him to hold a position
of complete superiority in the English councils.

[Sidenote: Gloucester’s death.]

Alliance with the French, on the somewhat disgraceful terms on
which it had been contracted, not unnaturally raised the anger of
Gloucester and his party. The rivalry grew hot between him and
Suffolk. There were probably private causes of trouble between
them, but at all events, in 1447, the Parliament was held at Bury
St. Edmunds, and Gloucester was summoned thither. He went with a
considerable following, but does not seem to have suspected danger,
although he found the town fortified, and the guards everywhere
doubled. He was suddenly apprehended on the charge of high treason,
and before any trial was granted him, the public were told that he
was dead. A death so opportune for his enemies naturally excited
suspicion, and the most sinister rumours of foul play were spread
among the people. It is impossible not to join in these suspicions;
at the same time it is fair to notice that at a late examination
his physician had declared his constitution radically unsound, and
that some contemporary writers mention his death as having arisen
from natural causes.

[Sidenote: York takes his place.]

His death left room for Richard Duke of York’s appearance upon the
stage of politics. The son of Anne, sister of the Earl of March,
and of that Duke of Cambridge who was put to death for his share in
the conspiracy immediately preceding Henry V.’s first expedition
to France, he stepped naturally into the place of leader of the
Plantagenet Princes. Ever since that family ascended the throne,
those branches of it which had not been actually reigning had
been for the most part in opposition. Till their accession, the
Lancastrians had been the leaders of this party; their place was
now taken first by Gloucester, then by York. It will be seen in the
sequel that those same families which had formed the discontented
party in the reign of Richard II., and in opposition to the
Lancastrians, now sided chiefly with York. He had been already
employed in public affairs, had been twice governor of Normandy,
and in that capacity had quarrelled with the Duke of Somerset, who
had been joined with him in command. To rid himself of so important
an enemy, Suffolk, the leading statesman of the ruling party, had
got him appointed in 1446 to the government of Ireland. This was a
post of considerable difficulty; for under the management of the
Earls of Ormond, one of the old Anglo-Irish settlers, that country
had fallen into great disorder.[93]

[Sidenote: Absolute ministry of Suffolk.]

[Sidenote: His unpopularity.]

After Gloucester’s death Suffolk had become unquestioned chief
Minister, for Cardinal Beaufort had not long survived his nephew.
He took upon himself all the unpopularity which the Lancastrian
dynasty had latterly earned. It is plain that among the people
there was deep-seated discontent. The persecution of the Lollards
had never relented. Frequent executions are recorded for heresy.
The support the Lancastrians had constantly given to the Church
had even produced several outbreaks. In 1438, and again in 1443,
there had been uproars in several parts of England, directed
against the Catholic ecclesiastical foundations. Nor was this
unnatural. Amidst the misery and desolation caused by repeated
plagues and famines, and the expenditure both of men and money
incident upon a foreign war, the Church alone, represented by the
wealthy Cardinal Beaufort, had retained its prosperity; while,
to crown all, national honour had been deeply wounded by want of
success in France. To this inherited unpopularity, Suffolk added
that which arose from the late dishonourable marriage treaty with
France. Instead of attempting to lessen the feeling against him,
he followed the common course of upstart ministers. The Princes
and great nobles found themselves excluded from the Council.
His ministers were chiefly bishops, especially Ascough, Bishop
of Salisbury, and De Moleyns, Bishop of Chichester, and men of
little eminence, as Lord Say. His government in fact resembled
that of Bernard of Armagnac in France, and took that particularly
objectionable form, the superiority of the lesser nobles.

[Sidenote: Renewal of the war.]

His foreign policy, too, was eminently unsuccessful. At the close
of the truce, in 1446, he had not secured any permanent peace; and
early in 1448, an ill-judged outbreak of some English auxiliaries,
who captured the town of Fougères, again plunged England into war.
John, Duke of Somerset, perhaps in despair at his ill success,
had killed himself. His brother Edmund succeeded to his title and
position in France. His opposition to the French, who attacked
him in great force, was entirely unavailing, and before the year
was over Rouen and a large part of Normandy had been regained by
the French. In May an armament under Sir Thomas Kyriel had been
defeated near Formigny; in July Caen surrendered; and in August
the last remnants of the English army returned to England from
Cherbourg. In the following year a last effort was made to retain
some position in Guienne with equally bad success.

[Sidenote: Fall of Rouen. 1449.]

[Sidenote: Popular outbreak against Suffolk.]

[Sidenote: Murder of Suffolk.]

The loss of Rouen, in 1449, brought the anger of the people to its
highest point. In an uproar they put to death De Moleyns, Bishop
of Chichester, at Portsmouth; and at length the House of Commons,
led by Tresham their speaker, insisted upon the apprehension of
Suffolk, who had now become a Duke, upon a charge of treason. On
the 7th of February eight charges were brought against him of a
somewhat indefinite character, especially charging him with a wish
to marry his son John to Margaret Beaufort, thus aiming at the
kingdom, and with gross mismanagement and treachery in France.
These were followed by sixteen more specific charges, in which
it was asserted that he had appropriated and misused the royal
revenues, interfered with the course of justice, and treated
treacherously with the French. On the 13th he appeared before the
King in the House of Peers. He denied most of the charges, and
excused himself on others on the ground that he had acted with
the approbation of the Privy Council. He however, declining the
privilege of his peerage and trial by the House of Lords, threw
himself entirely upon the King’s mercy; and Henry, hoping to get
over the difficulty without giving up his friend, without a trial
banished him for five years. This was a manifest breach of the
Constitution, and served only to increase the general discontent.
The Duke escaped privately to his own estates, and took sea at
Ipswich, but was met by an English squadron, taken on board the
largest ship, the “Nicholas of the Tower,” and after a sham trial
by the seamen, obliged to enter a little boat. He was there
beheaded, with a sort of parody of the usual forms of execution.
It is pretty evident that behind the popular anger there was the
influence of the Duke of York and other noblemen at work.

[Sidenote: Jack Cade.]

At the next Parliament, which was held at Leicester, many of
the nobles appeared in arms. At the same time the news of the
defeat of Kyriel at Formigny arrived; and at once the men of
Kent, who were probably in close alliance with the seamen who had
executed Suffolk, rose. Their leader was Jack Cade. He led the
insurgents under strict discipline towards London, assuming the
name of Mortimer, and we cannot but believe with the knowledge
of the Duke of York. Two papers were sent in to the Government;
one called the Complaints, the other the Demands, of the Commons
of Kent. In these were summed up the causes of the unpopularity
of Suffolk; and the restoration of Richard of York to favour was
demanded. Unable to hold their advanced position, the insurgents
fell back to Sevenoaks, but there they were successful against a
hasty attack by Sir Humphrey Stafford.[94] The King retired from
London, and so far yielded as to order the apprehension of Lord
Say, one of the obnoxious councillors. Cade then advanced, took
possession of Southwark, and appeared in London, under the title of
the Captain of Kent, and in the arms of Stafford. The burghers of
London, full of sympathy for the demands of the Kentish men, and
pleased with the strict discipline preserved, sided at first with
the insurgents. At a formal trial presided over by the Lord Mayor,
Say, who had fallen into the hands of the people, was condemned
and immediately executed. Meanwhile, almost at the same time,
Ascough, the obnoxious Bishop of Salisbury, was put to death by his
own followers at Eddington. Thus all the obnoxious ministers had
been got rid of. London was now in the hands of the populace. The
temptation was too strong for them, and some plundering took place.
On this the Londoners took fright, and, when the insurgents retired
for the night to Southwark, broke down and defended the bridge.
Cade, unable to regain London, fell back, and after his followers,
deceived by a promise of general pardon, had chiefly dispersed, was
pursued and put to death near Lewes by Iden the sheriff.

[Sidenote: Continued discontent.]

[Sidenote: York’s appearance in arms. 1452.]

The disaffection was by no means quieted. Complaints were bitter,
that by repeated prorogations of Parliament supplies were obtained
without any redress of grievances, and that the bishops and
clergy sided with the oppressors. While public feeling was in
this irritable condition, York, suddenly leaving his government
of Ireland without leave, appeared on the Welsh border with 4000
of his vassals. In this threatening manner, and accompanied by
the Duke of Norfolk, the Earls of Devonshire and Salisbury, the
whole clan of the Nevilles, and the Lords Cromwell[95] and Cobham,
he appeared at Westminster. Meanwhile, Somerset, the acknowledged
head of the rival party, returned from France, and received the
office of Constable. The parties were assuming form, and a crisis
was evidently at hand. York made a formal demand for the dismissal
of Somerset and the punishment of the Duchess of Suffolk. As yet,
however, the Government was strong enough to refuse these demands,
and during the whole of the year 1451, without any public acts, the
quarrel was becoming more embittered. In Devonshire Lord Bonville
was at open war with the Earl of Devonshire. In the North, Percy,
Lord Egremont, was fighting with the Earl of Salisbury. And in the
winter, the Welsh vassals of York were gathered round the castle of
Ludlow. Hitherto York and his partisans had persistently declared
themselves the faithful servants of the Crown, interested only in
the removal of the King’s bad ministers. None the less, in the
beginning of the year 1452, Somerset and the King marched into
the West, where York had been collecting his vassals, while York,
moving in the opposite direction, passed the royal troops, and
appeared in Kent, where he felt sure of support.

[Sidenote: He is duped into submission.]

This summoned the King back towards London; he took up his position
at Blackheath, and there received the demands of York, to which
he consented, promising to imprison Somerset, and to form a new
council. Trusting to this promise, York disbanded his army, and
went to have an interview with the King. He there discovered, to
his dismay, that he had been deceived. His rival was in the tent,
and evidently still in favour. Hot words were exchanged, but
ultimately York was compelled to renew his oath of loyalty, and
the Somerset party for the instant triumphed. The next Parliament
was strongly in their favour; the speaker, Thomas Thorpe, a strong
partisan of the Lancastrians. The King’s half-brothers, the sons
of Owen Tudor, (Edmund, Earl of Richmond, and Jasper, Earl of
Pembroke,) were brought prominently forward as members of the
royal house, and Cardinal Kemp, now Archbishop of Canterbury and
Chancellor, declared that the Government would enforce peace by
arms if necessary.

[Sidenote: Imbecility of the King. Prince of Wales born. 1454.]

[Sidenote: York’s first Protectorate.]

This triumph was of short duration. News arrived of the failure
of the new expedition for the rescue of Guienne, and of the
death of Talbot, Lord Shrewsbury, its leader, at Castillon. And
worse than that, the King, who had all his life suffered both
from bodily and intellectual weakness, fell into a condition of
hopeless imbecility. Under these circumstances, the birth of a
Prince called Edward, which might have added to the strength of
the Lancastrian party, was but a source of weakness. York, as heir
presumptive to the throne of a sickly monarch, might have been
contented to wait; the birth of a new heir apparent urged him to
do what he had to do quickly. The opportunity, too, now offered
itself; during the imbecility of the King, some regent was wanted;
there was no excuse for passing over York. An instant change of
government was the consequence. Somerset was apprehended. Even
the Parliament chosen under the Lancastrian influence could not
refuse, after it had obtained proof of Henry’s folly, to appoint
Richard. The amount of authority given him seems to have been
exactly that which Gloucester had enjoyed. He was President of the
Council, and chief executive officer. His office was terminable
at the royal will. Though thus limited, his power was sufficient
to enable him to change the constitution of the Council, to carry
through a breach of Parliamentary privilege by imprisoning for a
debt Thorpe the speaker, and on the death of Cardinal Kemp, to
appoint his brother-in-law Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, to
the chancellorship.

[Sidenote: Recovery of the King. 1454.]

[Sidenote: York again appears In arms.]

[Sidenote: First battle of St. Albans. May 22, 1455.]

But the supremacy of York disappeared as suddenly as it had
arisen. At the end of 1454, on Christmas Day, the King recovered
his senses. Everything was immediately reversed. Somerset was
taken from the Tower and declared innocent. York’s officers were
displaced. True to the policy of his house, Henry restored the
chancellorship to the Church by the appointment of Thomas Bouchier,
Archbishop of Canterbury. But York had now determined upon an
appeal to arms. Urged by fear of Somerset, and by dislike to the
secondary position which the Prince’s birth had given him, and in
company with the Nevilles, Lord Salisbury, and his son the Earl of
Warwick, he advanced towards London, to forestall the action of
the Parliament summoned to meet at Leicester, which he expected
to be hostile to him. At the same time the royal troops were
marching northward. The two forces consequently met. From Royston,
York wrote a letter still declaring his loyalty, and stating his
conditions. It was unanswered, and on the 21st of May the armies
met at St. Albans. The King had with him the Dukes of Somerset and
Buckingham, the Earls of Northumberland, Pembroke, Devonshire,
Stafford, Dorset, Wiltshire, Clifford, and Sudely. The battle was
fought in the town, and the victory, chiefly owing to Warwick, fell
to the Duke of York. Somerset, Northumberland, and Clifford fell.
Most of the other leaders were wounded, and the King himself was
suffering from an arrow wound when York and the Nevilles came to
him, knelt before him, begged his favour, and carried him with them
in apparent harmony to London.

[Sidenote: Character of the two parties.]

On examining the chief names which occur as those of the leaders
on either side in this the first battle of the Wars of the Roses,
it will be seen that it was the Nevilles and Norfolk chiefly
on whom York relied; his own relations, the Percies, and other
gentlemen of the North, which constituted the strength of Henry’s
party. There seem to have been three principles of division at
work--family, geographical position, political views; and with
regard to family, it would seem that the quarrel was one of very
long standing, dating back as far as the reign of Richard II. It
has been already pointed out that there was constantly some branch
or other of the Plantagenet party in opposition to the reigning
branch, which took for its cry reform of government and the good
cause of England. In Richard II.’s reign Gloucester had represented
this party. If we take the names of the Lords Appellant in the
year 1387, we find them to be Gloucester and Derby, Plantagenets;
Warwick, a Beauchamp; Nottingham, a Mowbray; and Arundel. Now, of
these, the second, Derby, became afterwards King as Henry IV.,
and the opposition which he had at one time helped to direct was
turned against himself and his family. The families of Mowbray
and of Arundel had coalesced in the Duke of Norfolk. The heiress
of the Beauchamps had married the Earl of Salisbury’s son Richard
Neville, who with his wife had inherited the title of Warwick. The
addition therefore to the party was that of the important family
of the Nevilles, which had been consistently faithful to Henry IV.
But this family had now become allied by marriage with the Duke
of York himself (who had married Cecily Neville), with the Duke
of Norfolk, and as we have seen with the family of Beauchamp. In
addition to this, the fact that the rival house of the Percies had
since the restoration of the son of Hotspur been firm supporters of
the Lancastrian dynasty, would have been enough to put the Nevilles
on the opposite side. The two families had ever been rivals for
the chief influence in the North of England; and even now Lord
Egremont, a Percy, was at open war with the Earl of Salisbury in
the neighbourhood of York. Of the leaders appearing on the side
of Henry, Northumberland was a Percy, and therefore enemy of the
Nevilles; Somerset was a Beaufort, and of the Lancastrian house;
Pembroke and Richmond were the King’s half-brothers; Clifford
was one of the great lords of the North, and an opponent of the
Nevilles; Wiltshire was James Butler of Ormond, of that family
whose misgovernment York had been sent to cure. Of Buckingham and
the Staffords, whose mother was a Plantagenet, it may be supposed
that in the family quarrel they preferred the reigning house.

This seems to lead to the conclusion that in the main the war
was a fight of faction, a tissue of hereditary family rivalries
resting upon merely personal grounds. But beyond these there were
geographical and political reasons which had their influence on
the bulk of the nation. The demand for reform of government, the
support given to the national prejudice in favour of continued war,
and the opposition to the strong Church views of the Government,
had rendered the party of York distinctly the popular one. The
North of England was always more subject than the South to baronial
influence. It was in the South therefore, in Kent, and in the
trading cities, that the strength of the Yorkist party chiefly
lay. To this of course must be added the very large estates held
by York himself, as the heir of the Mortimers in the West; and
the vast property of the various branches of the Nevilles. On the
other hand, the Lancastrian party was that of the lower nobility,
and of the Church, and found its strength in the baronial North.
Politically, to speak broadly, it was the party of the Conservative
gentry and the High Church, pitted against the party of reform of
Church and State headed by a few great nobles; geographically, it
was the North withstanding the attacks of the South.

[Sidenote: York’s second brief Protectorate. 1456.]

[Sidenote: With the Nevilles he retires from Court.]

[Sidenote: Hollow reconciliation of parties. 1458.]

One effect of the battle of St. Albans was, that the King again
sank into lethargy. Again, for a brief space, was the power of York
irresistible; he was appointed by the Lords to his old position
of Protector. He was still careful not to speak of his claim to
the crown, and accepted the Protectorate only as the gift of both
Houses of Parliament. Again, however, the King suddenly recovered.
In February, York was removed from his protectorate, and the Queen
and Somerset were again ruling. The following year, a great meeting
of the Council was held at Coventry, where York and his friends
were again compelled to renew their fealty. But the loss of life
at St. Albans had rendered the party feud much more violent, and
York was induced to believe that the Queen had aims against his
life. He and his friends at once separated; York to his western
castle of Wigmore, Salisbury to Middleham in Yorkshire, Warwick to
Calais, of which town he was the governor. Whatever influence the
King had seems to have been directed to produce reconciliation. For
this purpose he induced, in January, the rival chiefs to meet in
London. The peace of the town was intrusted to the citizens, and a
solemn reconciliation brought about, based upon money payments to
be made by the Yorkists to the sufferers at St. Albans. Meanwhile,
Warwick, a lawless and independent person, was living as a sort of
authorized pirate at Calais. He attacked a fleet of ships, as he
believed Spanish; they afterwards proved to be Hanseatic vessels.
He was consequently summoned to Court to explain his conduct. There
a quarrel arose between his servants and those of the King, and at
once the ephemeral reconciliation was destroyed.

[Sidenote: Renewed hostilities. Battle of Blore Heath. Sept. 23,

[Sidenote: Flight of the Yorkists from Ludlow.]

[Sidenote: Lancastrian Parliament at Coventry.]

[Sidenote: Fresh attack of the Yorkists. Battle of Northampton.
July 10, 1460.]

Both parties prepared again for war. The Court having been told
that Salisbury was going to Kenilworth to concert measures with
Duke Richard, Lord Audley was sent with an armed force to intercept
him. The consequence was the battle of Blore Heath on the confines
of Shropshire, in which Salisbury was completely victorious. A
general meeting of the three great Yorkist nobles took place at
Ludlow, where Warwick brought his veterans from Calais, under
Sir Andrew Trollope. Again the old proclamation against evil
governors was issued; but for some unexplained reason Trollope
suddenly deserted, and, deprived of their most trustworthy troops,
the leaders thought it wise to fly. York took refuge in Ireland,
with his son Edmund of Rutland, while his eldest son, Edward
of March, with Warwick, found security in Calais. Their flight
caused something like a revolution, so complete was the triumph
of the Lancastrians. The Parliament was assembled at Coventry,
probably with much illegal violence, and bills of attainder were
passed against the Yorkist leaders. But Warwick was determined
upon further action. Having command of the sea, he contrived an
interview with Richard in Ireland, and accompanied by his father
and the young Earl of March, he landed in Kent, where he was
rapidly joined by the people, and appeared at the head of 30,000
men in London. Having captured the capital, with the exception
of the Tower, which Lord Scales held, they advanced northwards.
The two armies met in the neighbourhood of Northampton. The
Lancastrians were strongly intrenched, but the intrenchment
once broken through, a terrible slaughter ensued. Buckingham,
Shrewsbury, Beaumont, and Egremont were slain. The wretched King
was found deserted in his tent. Again the scene after St. Albans
was repeated, and York, returning from Ireland, was once more
master of affairs.

[Sidenote: Yorkist Parliament in London.]

[Sidenote: York at last advances claims to the throne.]

[Sidenote: The Lords agree on a compromise.]

On the 7th of October a Parliament was held in London. All the acts
of the Parliament of Coventry were annulled, on the ground that its
members had been illegally elected, and in some instances that they
had not been elected at all. And then first did York, who appears
to have thought that all less decided measures had been tried in
vain, bring forward a distinct claim to the throne. This claim he
sent in writing to the House of Lords, with whom alone it was said
the decision could lie, pointing out, what was undeniable, that his
hereditary claim was better than that of Henry VI. The majority of
the Lords were at heart Lancastrian. They had, moreover, again and
again sworn fealty to the reigning house; and to their common sense
as proprietors it seemed ridiculous that an undisturbed possession
of more than fifty years, defended by numerous Acts of Parliament,
should be set aside by mere hereditary claim. With the Yorkists
triumphant, they were naturally disinclined to give any answer, but
it was in vain they applied to the judges or to the crown lawyers.
The judges declared the question beyond their cognizance, and the
crown lawyers argued that it was therefore much more beyond theirs.
Thrown back upon themselves, the Lords devised a compromise by
which they could save their consciences with regard to the oath
of fealty, and yet give effect to the hereditary claim, which was
urged by such awkwardly strong supporters. They agreed that the
King should hold the crown for life, that it should then pass to
Richard and his heirs, that Richard should meanwhile be created
Prince of Wales and heir presumptive, and be the practical ruler
of the Kingdom. That in spite of his victorious position he should
have been able only to secure this compromise, seems to prove the
close equality of the parties, and perhaps, taken in connection
with his previous action, the moderation of Richard.

[Sidenote: York is defeated and killed at Wakefield. Dec. 30, 1460.]

[Sidenote: The young Duke of York wins the Battle of Mortimer’s
Cross. Feb. 2, 1461.]

[Sidenote: The Queen, advancing to London, wins the second battle
of St. Albans. Feb. 17.]

[Sidenote: Sudden rising of the home counties.]

[Sidenote: Triumphant entry of Edward.]

The Queen had no intention of submitting to this verdict. Trusting
to the power of the North, which was constantly true to her,
and collecting round her all the great chiefs of her party, she
moved to York. Richard at once determined to hasten against her.
Salisbury accompanied him; Edward, his eldest son, was ordered to
collect troops; Warwick was charged with the care of the King.
With extreme rashness, York met vastly superior forces in the
neighbourhood of Wakefield. Unexpectedly attacked, his little army
was completely destroyed. He was himself taken prisoner, dragged
with every sign of indignity before the Queen, mockingly crowned
with a wreath of grass, and then beheaded. His second son, Rutland,
but seventeen years of age, was killed in cold blood as he fled,
and Salisbury, who was also captured, was beheaded at the demand
of the people. March was collecting troops in the West when he
heard of his father’s death, and hastening northwards, he suddenly
turned upon a small pursuing force under Pembroke and Wiltshire,
and completely defeated them at Mortimer’s Cross. The Queen’s
army meanwhile pushed southward. The wild northerners seemed to
fancy they were marching through a foreign country. The fiercest
destruction and plundering marked the course of their march. To
meet them, Norfolk and Warwick had come from London to St. Albans,
and there a second battle was fought, this time with the complete
defeat of the Yorkists. The King again fell into the hands of
the Queen. This battle, as all the others during these wars, was
marked by extraordinary destruction among the chiefs, and followed
by vindictive executions. Had the Queen pushed direct to London
the Yorkist party might have been destroyed. But she could not
hold her wild troops in hand. Their devastations excited the anger
of the people. All round London the populace rose, determined to
avoid the government which promised to be so cruel. The young Earl
of March, whom Warwick had joined with the remnant of his troops,
took advantage of this feeling, and advanced triumphantly to the
capital. At a meeting in Clerkenwell, the Chancellor, the Bishop
of Exeter, explained the claims of the House of York. The question
“Shall Edward be your King?” was received with general cries of
approbation. The news was brought to the young prince in Baynard’s
Castle, and the next day he ascended the throne in Westminster
Hall, explained with his own lips his hereditary claims, and then
proceeded to the Abbey where his coronation was performed.



                          Born 1441 = Elizabeth Woodville.
    |            |        |         |                          |
  Edward V.  Richard,  George.  Elizabeth = Henry VII.    Six other
             Duke of                                      daughters.

                               CONTEMPORARY PRINCES

     _Scotland._    |   _France._      |   _Germany._    |   _Spain._
                    |                  |                 |
  James III., 1460. | Louis XI., 1461. | Frederick III., | Henry IV., 1454.
                    |                  |     1440.       | Ferdinand V.,
                    |                  |                 |      1474.

  POPES.--Pius II., 1458.  Paul II., 1464.  Sixtus IV., 1471.

             _Archbishops._      |    _Chancellors._
          Thomas Bouchier, 1454. |  George Neville, 1461.
                                 |  Robert Stillington, 1467.
                                 |  Laurence Booth, 1473.
                                 |  Rotherham, 1475.

[Sidenote: Edward secures the crown. 1461.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Towton. Mar. 29.]

[Sidenote: Yorkist Parliament.]

Though in after years much addicted to sensual pleasure, Edward
IV. never lost his practical energy; he was not a man to leave
unimproved his present triumphant position. He at once despatched
the Duke of Norfolk to the East of England to collect an army,
and with the Earl of Warwick himself hastened northward, with an
army composed chiefly of Welshmen from his own possessions, and
of men of Kent, the great supporters of his house. In Yorkshire
he met his enemy. The passage of the river Aire was disputed at
Ferry Bridge; the Yorkists, under Lord Falconbridge (a Neville),
falling upon the rear of Clifford and his Lancastrians, stopped
his passage, and killed that leader. On the 28th of March the
armies were in presence, some eight miles from York. The battle
was to be a decisive one. No quarter was to be expected on either
side. The numbers engaged--of the Lancastrians, 60,000, of the
Yorkists 48,000--were much larger than in most of the battles of
these wars. For once the nation felt some interest in the quarrel.
The change of the wind blew the snow continually in the eyes of
the Lancastrians, and when the battle had raged through a great
part of the night and till noon of the following day, the Yorkists
had secured a complete victory. Again, the greatest names of the
nobility are mentioned among the slain. Northumberland fell in
the battle, Devonshire and Wiltshire were beheaded after it, and
many reports speak of from 28,000 to 33,000 men left dead upon the
field.[96] Henry and his Queen, with Somerset and Exeter, fled
into Scotland, and purchased such assistance as that country could
give in the midst of its own intestine commotions by a promise
of Berwick and Carlisle. Edward now felt safe on his throne, and
returned to London, where the joy was great. There, in November,
he met his first Parliament, by whom the three last monarchs were
declared usurpers, and the acts of their reigns annihilated, with
the exception of such judicial decisions as would if repealed have
thrown the country into confusion. All the great leaders of the
Lancastrian party were attainted, and their property confiscated.
The session closed with a personal address of thanks from the King
to the Commons, an unusual occurrence, and marking the political
position of the House of York.

[Sidenote: With French help Margaret keeps up the war. 1462.]

[Sidenote: Hedgeley Moor. Hexham. April 1464.]

Meanwhile, Margaret had been seeking assistance from her own
country, France; but Louis, busy in his own affairs and content
with the enforced neutrality of England, only gave her a small sum
of money, and allowed Peter de Brezé, Seneschal of Normandy, to
enlist troops for her. With these forces she succeeded in capturing
the three northern fortresses of Bamborough, Dunstanburgh and
Alnwick. But before the end of the year, the two first of these
were recovered, and Edward was so strong, that even Somerset and
Percy deserted to his side. Again, the next year, the Queen with De
Brezé attempted in vain to relieve Alnwick. Her fleet was wrecked,
and with difficulty she made her way back to Scotland. But, though
beaten, her cause was still alive. In various parts of the country,
disturbances showed themselves. The clergy missed the favour they
had received from the Lancastrians; and, in the beginning of the
following year, the Percies and Somerset had gone back to their own
party, and renewed attempts were made upon the North of England.
But Warwick’s brother Montague, at Hedgeley Moor, and again at
Hexham, destroyed their forces, and both Percy and Somerset met
their death. This was the second Duke of Somerset who had died
in these wars. He was succeeded by his brother Edmund. A greater
prize was the King, who, after hiding for some time, was captured,
in 1465, in Yorkshire, and brought with all signs of indignity to
London. He was there, however, properly taken care of in the Tower.

[Sidenote: Edward’s popular government.]

[Sidenote: Apparent security of his throne.]

Supported by his Commons, who granted him the wool tax and tonnage
and poundage for life, King Edward seemed firmly seated on the
throne. He was essentially a popular king. He sat and judged on
his own King’s Bench, talked familiarly with the people, and
allowed the Commons to pass popular measures of finance, without
regard to their want of wisdom. A revocation of grants from the
Crown was made, but with exceptions which rendered it nugatory;
the importation of foreign corn or foreign merchandise was
forbidden. The arrangement of the staple, by which wool and cloth
could be sold only at Calais, and for bullion or ready money, was
re-established; and still further to uphold the current theory
of the day, and to keep gold and silver in the country, strict
sumptuary laws were passed. Abroad, too, all seemed peaceful.
The Pope had acknowledged the new King. France was too busy to
interfere. With the rest of Europe treaties of amity were set on
foot; and even with Scotland a long truce was made.

[Sidenote: Destroyed by his marriage, 1466,]

[Sidenote: and rise of the Woodvilles.]

But the King had a weakness of character which destroyed his fine
position. He was a slave to his passions; and now, regardless
of all prudence, though various royal matches were suggested,
especially one with Bona of Savoy, the sister of the French Queen,
he was carried away by his admiration for Elizabeth Woodville,
the daughter of Jacquetta, the Duchess Dowager of Bedford, and
Richard Woodville, Lord Rivers, and the widow of Sir John Grey, a
strong Lancastrian partisan. On the 29th of September, in spite
of the opposition which he could not but have expected, the King
was publicly married in the chapel at Reading. Had not the King
recognised the weakness of the nobility, caused by the slaughters
of the late wars, he would scarcely have ventured on a marriage
so much beneath him. As it was, the few great nobles who remained
were deeply hurt, and Edward found himself obliged to make the
best of his plebeian marriage. An unusually ostentatious and
solemn coronation was held, and an air of aristocracy given to
the ceremony by the presence of his wife’s relative, John of
Luxembourg. His other measures for the same purpose were not so
well judged. The marriage might have been pardoned had it not
brought with it the elevation of the whole of the Queen’s family,
whom the King thought it necessary to raise in social rank. Her
father was made an Earl, and given in succession the offices of
Constable and Treasurer, and this at the expense of the nobles who
were then holding those places. Her brother Anthony, a man of great
accomplishments, was given the daughter, inheritance, and titles
of Lord Scales. Another brother, John, at the age of twenty, was
married, it is to be presumed, chiefly for interested reasons, to
the old Duchess of Norfolk, who was nearly eighty. Her five sisters
found husbands among the noblest of the Yorkist party.[97]

[Sidenote: Power of the Nevilles.]

[Sidenote: Their French policy. Burgundian policy of Edward. 1467.]

The displeasure of the Nevilles did not, however, at first
show itself, and Warwick stood godfather to the young Princess
Elizabeth. Their position indeed was still one of enormous
influence; George, the youngest brother, was Chancellor and
Archbishop of York; to his third brother, John of Montague, had
been given the property and title of the Percies, and he was now
Earl of Northumberland; and Warwick, Warden of the Western Marches
of Scotland, and in the receipt of public income said to amount to
80,000 crowns, was the most popular man in the country. He lived
with an ostentatious splendour, which threw all his rivals into the
background.[98] Nevertheless the marriage, and the formation of the
new nobility consequent on it, began to divide England into new
parties; on the one side, such as were left of the old nobility;
on the other, the new. It was plain that the Nevilles, pledged
though they were to the Yorkist side, would sooner or later side
with their order against the King and his new friends. A still
more important cause of quarrel existed in the difference between
their foreign policy and that of the King. The House of Burgundy
and Louis XI. of France were constant rivals; and while Warwick and
the Nevilles inclined towards a French alliance, thus deserting
the old policy of the Yorkists, Edward, seeing the advantages he
would reap in a mercantile point of view, lent a willing ear to
the advances of Charles, known afterwards as Charles the Bold of
Burgundy, who was now demanding his sister Margaret as his wife. As
a contingent advantage he knew that he would find in the Burgundian
Prince a ready acknowledgment of his title to the crown of France,
which he still had some thought of making good. On the return of
Warwick from a friendly embassy to France, he found an alliance
with Burgundy already concluded. The Count de la Roche, the natural
brother of Charles, had appeared in England on the pretext of
fighting a chivalrous duel with Anthony, Lord Scales; and had
apparently arranged the marriage between Charles and Margaret
which was consummated early in the following year. It would seem
that this had been done contrary to the will of the Nevilles;
for just before the arrival of De la Roche, at the opening of
Parliament, Warwick was absent, and the King had suddenly deprived
the Archbishop of York of his chancellorship, which he had given to
the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

[Sidenote: Defection of the Nevilles.]

[Sidenote: Popular risings inspired by them. 1469.]

With these causes of quarrel, Warwick and the Nevilles fell back
into their old position of opposition to the Crown; and more
completely to reproduce the often-repeated state of English
politics, succeeded in securing a Plantagenet Prince as their
nominal leader. The Duke of Clarence, Edward’s brother, was
induced, in spite of the King’s prohibition, to go to Calais, and
there marry Isabella, Warwick’s daughter. This ominous union soon
produced fruits. The lower orders--those orders that are below the
burgher class--cared but little for the name of the ruler; it was
much the same to them whether Lancastrian or Yorkist was on the
throne, their interests were confined to evils which pressed upon
themselves. They were therefore ready instruments in the hands
of the opposition. And upon a quarrel upon some Church dues, the
men of the northern counties rose under a popular leader, Robert
Hilyard, commonly called Robin of Redesdale. The insurgents soon
found nobler leaders. Lords Latimer and Fitz-Hugh, relations of
Warwick, and Sir John Coniers appeared at their head, and with
60,000 men marched southward, declaring that Warwick alone could
save the country, complaining that the money wrung from the people
was squandered upon the Queen’s relatives, and demanding the
dismissal of the new counsellors, such as Herbert, Stafford, and
Audley. At the same time, Warwick and his brothers promised the
men of Kent that they would appear at their head to make demands
similar to those of the northern insurgents. Herbert, who had just
beaten Jasper Tudor with the last remnant of the Lancastrians in
Wales, and received his title of Earl of Pembroke, and Humphrey
Stafford, who had been made Earl of Devonshire, advanced against
the rebels; but quarrelling between themselves, they were defeated,
and Pembroke beheaded, while shortly after, Rivers and Sir John
Woodville, the Queen’s father and brother, were captured and
met the same fate. It was sufficiently plain that Warwick had
instigated this rebellion. The destruction of his chief enemies
made his power for the time paramount. He even kept Edward for
a short period prisoner in his castle of Middleham. But his
disapprobation of the Government had not yet gone so far as to make
him wish for a return of the Lancastrians. And when that party
again raised its standard in the North, he felt himself unable to
cope with it without the King’s assistance, and therefore released
him. A complete pardon was granted to the Nevilles, and apparent
harmony again reigned.

[Sidenote: Clarence’s weakness drives the Nevilles to the

[Sidenote: Wells’ rebellion. 1470.]

[Sidenote: Flight of Warwick.]

But it must have been obvious to all parties that it was but a
temporary truce.[99] Had Clarence been a man of more ability,
Warwick would probably have put him on the throne. Failing him,
it began to be plain to the Earl that it was only by connection
with the Lancastrian party that he could hope finally to triumph
over his enemies the new nobility. A new insurrection broke out in
Lincoln, against the oppressions of the royal tax-gatherers. The
insurgents, finding themselves no better off under the new dynasty
than they had been before, declared for King Henry. At their head
was young Sir Robert Wells. The King, not yet aware of Warwick’s
designs, under promise of pardon drew Lord Wells (Sir Robert’s
father) and Sir Thomas Dymock from the sanctuary, and kept them
as hostages, and intrusted Warwick and Clarence with the duty
of collecting troops to repress the insurgents. They collected
troops, indeed, but did not suppress the insurgents; and the King
discovered that they were acting in union with Sir Robert Wells. He
at once put Dymock and Wells to death, routed the insurgents near
Empingham in Rutland, at a battle known by the name of “Lose Coat
Field,” and turned his arms against Clarence and Warwick, who had
been seeking assistance in vain from his brother-in-law Stanley in
Lancashire. They did not await his coming, but rapidly fled through
Devonshire to France. Sir Robert Wells, anxious to revenge his
father, had driven matters on too hastily for the success of the
conspiracy. Warwick had always been anxious for a French alliance,
and was therefore well received by Louis, who felt that there was
now but little chance of peace with England except by restoration
of the Lancastrians. He therefore contrived to bring the Earl and
Margaret together; and the old enemies, finding that they had in
common their hatred to the new nobility and their views of foreign
politics, agreed to forget their old differences, and made a treaty
by which Ann Neville was to marry the Prince of Wales, upon whom
the throne was settled. Failing him it was to pass to Clarence.
This treaty, which put Clarence’s claims in the background, did
not please him; and, utterly without principle, he at once opened
negotiations with his brother, although he did not as yet openly
join him.

[Sidenote: Warwick returns and re-crowns Henry.]

In spite of all the warnings which he received from Burgundy,
Edward remained in a condition of false security, even allowing
Montague to retain his offices in England. He was absent from
London in the North, when the Queen, Warwick and Clarence landed
in Devonshire, issued a proclamation calling on the nation to
arm, and soon found themselves surrounded by a sufficient army.
So far did Edward carry his want of suspicion, that Montague, who
at once declared for the Red Rose, as nearly as possible captured
him at dinner in the neighbourhood of Doncaster; he had just time
to escape, and fled (not without danger from a Hanseatic fleet) to
Flanders. Warwick and his friends proceeded to London, drew the
old King from the Tower, and re-crowned him with all ceremony.
A Parliament assembled on the 26th of November. All the Acts of
Edward’s reign were annulled, and a general change took place in
property and offices. It marks the effect of the fusion of parties,
that this revolution, unlike most of the events of this war, was
almost bloodless. Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, who had rendered
himself hateful by his severity as Constable, was almost the only

[Sidenote: Edward gets help from Burgundy. 1471.]

[Sidenote: Clarence joins him.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Barnet. April 14.]

Though on many grounds (personal hatred to Warwick, sympathy with
Edward’s enmity to France, and mercantile and family reasons)
the Duke of Burgundy would have been naturally attached to the
House of York, this friendship was of new growth, and could not
make him forget his long connection with the House of Lancaster.
It was therefore with much difficulty that Edward got from him
a small pecuniary assistance. With such as it was, however, he
collected about 2000 men, and took, what at first sight appears,
the foolhardy step of landing at Ravenspur in Yorkshire. But
he knew that he had friends in his enemy’s camp. At first,
declaring, in imitation of Henry IV., that he only came to
claim his rights as Duke of York, he passed unmolested through
Yorkshire, where Montague was. Even Warwick, who lay in the
midland counties, watched his progress unmoved. He had received
letters from Clarence, begging him not to stir till he joined him
with reinforcements. But when Clarence took the field, it was not
Warwick, but Edward to whom he went. Strong enough now again to
assume the name of King of England, Edward marched to London, where
the Archbishop of York had tried in vain to raise enthusiasm for
the Lancastrian King. Too late, Warwick found that he had been
deceived, and he also marched towards London. Edward met him with
inferior forces in the neighbourhood of Barnet, and there a battle
was fought, in which Warwick was entirely defeated, and himself
and his brother Montague killed. Probably the great bulk of the
people cared but little who was their ruler. York’s army was very
small--less than 10,000 men. A series of accidents gave him the
victory. The indifference of the nation, weary of the squabble,
explains the rapid success of these revolutions.

[Sidenote: Margaret lands.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Tewkesbury. May 4.]

Meanwhile, the day before the battle, Queen Margaret had landed at
Weymouth. For the moment, the true Lancastrians were almost glad
when they heard that they were rid of their new Yorkist ally. The
Queen’s generals intended to march through Wales, there make a
junction with Jasper Tudor, who was collecting forces, and thence
move to their strongholds in the North. Edward divined their plan,
and pushed rapidly across England, to secure if possible Gloucester
and the valley of the Severn. The armies encountered at Tewkesbury,
where the Queen had taken a strong position among the abbey
buildings and the neighbouring enclosures. Again the superior skill
of Edward secured the victory to his much inferior forces. The few
remaining Lancastrian nobles, the Prince of Wales, Devonshire,
Lord John Beaufort, and others, fell upon the field. The Duke of
Somerset, the fourth and last of the Beauforts, was executed after
it. Margaret and some others were taken prisoners.

[Sidenote: Edward’s triumphant return. Murder of Henry VI.]

There was one other danger, and then the Lancastrian party
seemed destroyed for ever. The Bastard of Falconbridge suddenly
appeared with a considerable fleet before London. The gallant
defence of the citizens, and the arrival of assistance from the
King, thwarted this last effort, and Edward returned in triumph,
having proved the stability of the house of York. His arrival was
immediately followed by the secret murder of King Henry, one of
those dark deeds which has been attributed without much ground
to Edward’s brother, Richard of Gloucester. A bloody court of
justice held in Canterbury, for the punishment of the Kentish men,
closed this revolution of eleven weeks. On the subsequent death
of Holland, Earl of Exeter, whose body was found upon the sea in
the Straits of Dover, there were but two important members of
the Lancastrian party left. These were Oxford, and Jasper Tudor,
Earl of Pembroke, who made good their escape to Brittany, whence
Jasper’s nephew subsequently returned to England in that expedition
which terminated in Bosworth field. The clergy and the lesser
nobles, seeing further contest useless, made their peace with the
reigning house, and received pardons, and after Parliament had
re-established the Yorkist dynasty, the wars of the Roses seemed to
be at an end, and England at peace.

[Sidenote: Clarence’s quarrel with Richard. 1476.]

[Sidenote: With Edward. 1477.]

[Sidenote: His trial.]

[Sidenote: His death. 1478.]

But the house of York was now to feel that ineradicable evil
which beset the Plantagenets. The princes of the family could not
agree. Clarence had already occupied the position of chief of the
opposition. He had already joined in the struggle between the old
and new nobility as the partisan of the former party. Richard,
a man of far greater ability, and of a reflective turn of mind,
was in his heart inclined in the same direction. For the present,
however, he saw his advantage in remaining the true and very
efficient assistant of his brother Edward, by whom he had been
intrusted with the government of the North. Clarence, incapable
of being a great party leader, showed his disposition in lesser
matters, and quarrelled with both his brothers. He had himself
married Warwick’s eldest daughter, Isabella, and was anxious to
appropriate all the great Warwick possessions. When Richard,
therefore, determined upon marrying Anne, the younger sister, he
hid the young lady, who is said to have been discovered by her
lover in the dress of a servant-maid, and when he was unable to
prevent the marriage, refused to divide the inheritance. A fierce
quarrel was the consequence, and it required the intervention of
Parliament to secure an equitable division of the property. Thus
embroiled with one brother, the Duke of Clarence speedily fell out
with the other. On the death of his wife in 1476, he turned his
thoughts to a second marriage with Mary of Burgundy, who became, on
the death of Charles the Bold at Nancy in 1477, the heiress of his
vast dominions. Edward prevented the marriage. In the first place,
he would have much disliked to see his brother, on whom he had not
the smallest reliance, powerful in Burgundy, and again, the Queen,
and the Queen’s party of the new nobility, were anxious that
Mary should be married to the Earl of Rivers. The breach between
the brothers was complete, and Edward, who never knew pity, only
watched for an opportunity to rid himself of Clarence. The occasion
chosen was trivial enough, but very characteristic of that age.
A gentleman of Clarence’s household, called Burdett, had uttered
some angry words against the King. He was shortly after tried
for necromancy, and as in the course of the inquiry it appeared
that, among other acts of magic, he had cast the King’s horoscope,
he was condemned to death. With this verdict Clarence violently
interfered. Edward was now able to charge him with interfering
with the course of justice. He was impeached and tried before the
House of Lords. The King in person was his accuser, and after a hot
personal quarrel, in which the King charged him with all sorts of
ungrateful acts of treason, he was condemned to death in 1478. A
petition of the Commons, always at the command of Edward, removed
the King’s last scruple, and Clarence disappeared privately at the
Tower, drowned it is said in a butt of Malmsey wine.

[Sidenote: Edward joins Burgundy against France. 1475.]

[Sidenote: Failure of his expedition.]

[Sidenote: Treaty of Pecquigni. Sept. 13.]

These quarrels had occupied several years, but meanwhile matters
of more national interest had also engaged Edward’s attention.
Charles the Bold was full of vast plans for increasing his
possessions, and with the Duke of Brittany alone of the peers of
France, resisted the centralizing policy of Louis XI. He found no
great difficulty in enlisting Edward in a coalition against that
King. As early as 1472, the war had been spoken of as probable.
It did not actually take place till 1475, after a treaty had been
made by which Lorraine, Bar, and other districts lying between
Burgundy and Flanders were to be given to the Duke, while Edward
was content to stipulate for the acknowledgment of his title as
King of France, and a formal coronation at Rheims. The war, begun
on such feeble conditions, had a disgraceful conclusion. Money, of
which Edward was very fond, was scraped together, chiefly by the
personal application of the King for loans known as benevolences,
and a considerable army landed in France. But Edward did not
meet with the reception he had expected. Charles, whose mind was
incapable of carrying out the vast schemes that it planned, was
engaged in war in other parts of his dominions, and brought no
help to his ally. The gates of Péronne were shut against him. St.
Quentin, which Charles had told him would be given up to him by
the Constable of St. Pol, opened fire upon his troops. Provisions
were scantily supplied, and Louis, who well knew the character
of his invader, saw his opportunity. At a private interview with
the herald who brought the declaration of war, he bribed him, and
won from him the hint that he might apply successfully either to
Stanley or to Howard, counsellors high in Edward’s favour. He took
the hint, found those Lords ready recipients of his bribes, threw
Amiens open, and supplied the English army lavishly with food; and
shortly persuaded Edward to arrange terms at a personal interview
at Pecquigni. He was thoroughly afraid of the English soldiers,
but rated them very low as diplomatists, and, as his manner was
when he had great objects in view, was lavish with his money. A
yearly pension, the expenses of the war, 50,000 crowns as a ransom
for Margaret, and handsome bribes judiciously given to the chief
members of the King’s Council, secured the withdrawal of the
English army. At the same time it was arranged that the Dauphin
should marry the Princess Elizabeth. It mattered little to him,
having now the English King in his pay, that the English to cover
their disgrace spoke of the money payments as tribute, and that
Edward continued to bear the title of the King of France. Nothing
can give a better view of the despicable character of that new
nobility on which Edward rested, than the readiness with which they
accepted the French King’s bribes.

[Sidenote: Ambitious projects of marriage for his daughters.]

The chief objects of Edward’s life were, to collect money to be
spent in magnificent debauchery, and to secure the position of his
house by great marriages for his daughters. He had thus arranged
for the marriage of Elizabeth, his eldest, with the Dauphin of
France; Mary was to have been married to the King of Denmark;
Cicely to the eldest son of James III. of Scotland; Katherine to
the son of the King of Castile; and Anne was destined for the son
of Maximilian of Austria, who by his marriage with Mary of Burgundy
had become the possessor of that duchy. None of these marriages
took effect. The events connected with some of them fill up the
remainder of the reign.

[Sidenote: Affairs in Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Edward supports Albany. 1482.]

[Sidenote: England obtains Berwick.]

James III. of Scotland was a man much like Edward, a product of
the renaissance at that time making its way in England. Addicted
to art in all its forms, he had surrounded himself with artists,
and ennobled members of the lower orders, and had estranged all the
old nobility. At the head of the discontented party was the King’s
brother, the Duke of Albany. Although James had already received
some of the dowry of the English Princess, in consequence probably
of some French intrigues, he seemed inclined to withdraw from the
engagement. Therefore, when Albany, a fugitive from Scotland,
sought his protection, Edward determined to support him and his
party, and, finally, made a treaty with him at Fotheringay, in
which he spoke of him as King Alexander. He obtained from him a
promise of homage, and of the cession of Berwick and some other
districts. Albany also engaged to marry the Princess Cicely, who
was to be transferred to him, although previously engaged to the
son of the Scotch King. An invasion of Scotland under Richard of
Gloucester, and a conspiracy which broke out at the Bridge of
Lauder, where James’s favourite, Cochrane, was hanged, seemed for
a moment to raise Albany to the summit of his ambition. But the
Scotch had no intention of changing the succession to the throne,
or suffering their kingdom to be in any way dependent on England.
They restored Albany his property, but also returned the dowry of
Cicely, and intimated that the match was entirely broken off. The
advantage that the English gained from the whole affair was the
much disputed town of Berwick.

The arrangements for the marriage between Elizabeth and the Dauphin
were equally unsuccessful. Although that Princess had assumed the
name of the Dauphiness, Louis was in no hurry to complete the
marriage, and had indeed directed his views elsewhere. In 1477,
Mary of Burgundy had married Maximilian the Archduke of Austria;
and now Edward engaged to join him against France upon condition
of receiving from him the same pension as Louis had paid him
since Pecquigni. But, as usual, Louis’ diplomacy got the better
of Edward’s. Mary of Burgundy died in 1482, and the French King
contrived to make a treaty with Maximilian, by which the Dauphin,
deserting Elizabeth, engaged himself to Margaret, the heiress of
Burgundy. Edward was vowing vengeance at this trick, and speaking
of a new invasion of France, when he died on the 9th of April, worn
out probably by his self-indulgence.

[Sidenote: Edward’s death. His character. 1483.]

His personal beauty, his success in war, the familiarity of his
manners, his splendid household, and the share which he allowed
himself to take in the commercial enterprise of the day, endeared
Edward to the burgher class, and rendered him on the whole a
popular monarch. But beneath this splendid exterior there existed
a pitiless cruelty, a selfishness which sought its gratification
in unbounded license, and which was ready to crush relentlessly
any, however nearly related to himself, who crossed his path.
The mixture of sensuality, love of the new state of society,
mingled with political selfishness and cruelty, remind us rather
of the character of an Italian tyrant than of an English king. The
character of the monarchy which he established was also different
from that which had hitherto been seen in England. It has been
usual to name the reign of Henry VII. as that in which this change
began. It is true that that Prince and his successors completed
it; but already there are visible all the elements of that
peculiar despotic government resting upon popular favour, which
is the characteristic of the Tudor rule. In all respects Edward
is the popular King. The old nobility had for the most part been
destroyed. As around the Buonapartes of modern time, a new nobility
of relatives or personal friends of the King had begun to be called
into existence. The balance of the Constitution had been changed
by the removal of the Baronage, the great check on the royal
power, which now stood, as it were, face to face with the Commons,
who were as yet unfitted to make head against it. The practice
of tampering with the elections had ruined the independence of
Parliament. The Church, no longer in sympathy with the nation,
sought to secure their wealth by devotion to the Crown. The King
thus found no class sufficiently strong to check his prerogative.
For a time, therefore, the constitutional advance of the preceding
century was lost, and the government of England was practically
despotism. At the same time, as the disturbances caused by the
Wars of the Roses were not yet wholly over, and a short period of
rapid revolutions intervenes before the final establishment of the
constitutional change now begun, it is more convenient to adopt the
old division, and to place the epoch of the new monarchy at the
Battle of Bosworth.





                      Born, 1450 = Anne of Warwick.
                              Edward. Died 1484.

                            CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

   _Scotland._ |   _France._    |   _Germany._    |    _Spain._
               |                |                 |
  James III.,  | Charles VIII., | Frederick III., | Ferdinand, } 1479.
    1460.      |      1483.     |     1440.       | Isabella,  }

  POPES.--Sixtus IV., 1471. Innocent VIII., 1484.

               _Archbishop._       |     _Chancellor._
            Thomas Bouchier, 1454. |  John Russell, 1483.

[Sidenote: Edward’s reign a revolution.]

[Sidenote: State of parties.]

Edward V. was between twelve and thirteen when he came to the
throne. His reign, which lasted from the 9th of April to the 26th
of June, was entirely occupied by a short and not very intelligible
revolution, which terminated in the accession of his uncle, Richard
of Gloucester. On the death of Edward IV., the state of parties
was rather complicated. In the period of success which followed
his restoration in 1471, he had collected round him counsellors
from all parties, although chiefly inclined to the new nobility.
His friends were thus divided into three sections--the Queen and
her family, the most prominent members of which were Anthony, Lord
Rivers; Grey, Earl of Dorset; his brother Sir Richard Grey, and
Lord Lisle, who seem to have worked in unison with the Chancellor,
Cardinal Rotheram, Archbishop of York, and Morton, Bishop of Ely:
there were, secondly, the new nobility, of whom Hastings and
Stanley were the representatives: and, thirdly, a certain number
of the older nobles led by Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, and Sir
John Howard. The two latter sections were full of jealousy of
the Queen’s party, in which feeling Richard joined. But his real
connection was with Buckingham and the old nobles. His first
step was, by a union of the other two parties, to overthrow the
influence of the Queen. This he immediately proceeded to do.

[Sidenote: Richard first overthrows Queen’s party.]

As the young King was being brought to London for his coronation,
under the care of Rivers and Grey, to whom his education had been
intrusted, and under whose charge he had lived at Ludlow, Richard
and Buckingham, with 900 men, appeared upon their line of march at
Northampton. Rivers and Grey, conscious of the advantage which the
appearance of the King in London would give them, were unwilling
to come to an open quarrel, and sent Edward forward to Stony
Stratford, while they went to pay their respects to Gloucester,
who had taken the oath of allegiance, and hitherto put on all
the appearance of loyalty. The two Lords were taken prisoners at
Northampton, and Richard and Buckingham suddenly advancing to
Stratford, by the rapidity of their movements dispersed 2000 men
who accompanied Edward, and took possession of him. The news spread
dismay in London. The Queen, her son Richard and her daughters,
with Lord Lisle and the other Grey, took sanctuary at Westminster;
while Hastings calmed men’s minds by assuring them of Richard’s
loyalty, that he had only withdrawn the King from the pernicious
influence of his relations, and that he would speedily appear with
him to crown him. Upon Richard’s appearance, therefore, everything
at first went on in the regular order.

[Sidenote: Is made Protector.]

According to precedent, Richard was appointed Protector or
President of the Council. With the exception of the removal of
Rotheram, and the appointment of Russell, Bishop of Lincoln, in
his place, no important changes were made, and the Parliament was
summoned, and the coronation appointed for midsummer.

[Sidenote: Quarrels with the new nobles.]

[Sidenote: Hastings’ death and fall of his party.]

Having thus vanquished one party, Richard determined to get rid
of his other rivals also, and to rest exclusively upon Buckingham
and the old nobles. The coronation was settled for the 22nd of
June, when suddenly Richard despatched a messenger, Sir Richard
Ratcliffe, to the North, where he was much beloved, bidding the
people hasten to his aid, as the Queen was aiming at the life of
himself and Buckingham. There is no proof of any such conspiracy.
But the quarrel between the two sections of the Council is marked
by the fact that they met apart, Hastings and his followers at St.
Paul’s, Richard, Buckingham, and their friends, at Crosby Place.
They were however all joined on the 13th of June in the Tower, when
Richard suddenly appeared with angry and suspicious countenance,
charged the Queen and Jane Shore, the King’s mistress, who now
lived with Hastings, with aiming at his life by sorcery, in proof
of which he exhibited one of his arms, which was smaller than the
other, and included Hastings in the charge. At a given signal armed
men entered the chamber, and Hastings, Stanley, and the Bishops of
York and Ely, were apprehended. Hastings was beheaded without trial
on the spot.

[Sidenote: Richard, with Buckingham’s help, secures the crown.]

This _coup d’état_ was immediately followed up. The people were
summoned to the Tower, where Buckingham and Richard appeared
in rusty armour, as though in their extreme necessity they had
taken it from the armoury. Jane Shore was compelled to do penance
through the streets of London. The Queen was persuaded by the
Archbishop of Canterbury to surrender the young Prince Richard.
And news arrived that, both in the North and in Wales, the people
had risen for Richard. At the same time Grey and Rivers, hitherto
kept prisoners in Northampton, were beheaded. It only remained for
Richard to find some pretext for assuming the crown. He felt the
necessity of forestalling the coronation, which would probably have
withdrawn from him the protectorate, and have brought a commission
of regency into power. On the very day that the coronation was to
have been held, Dr. Shaw, brother of the Mayor of Londo