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The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
The Regency Of William Marshal
by Tout, T.F. (M.A.)


When John died, on October 19, 1216, the issue of the war between him and the barons was still doubtful. The arrival of Louis of France, eldest son of King Philip Augustus, had enabled the barons to win back much of the ground lost after John's early triumphs had forced them to call in the foreigner. Beyond the Humber the sturdy north-country barons, who had wrested the Great Charter from John, remained true to their principles, and had also the support of Alexander II., King of Scots. The magnates of the eastern counties were as staunch as the northerners, and the rich and populous southern shires were for the most part in agreement with them. In the west, the barons had the aid of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, the great Prince of North Wales. While ten earls fought for Louis, the royal cause was only upheld by six. The towns were mainly with the rebels, notably London and the Cinque Ports, and cities so distant as Winchester and Lincoln, Worcester and Carlisle. Yet the baronial cause excited little general sympathy. The mass of the population stood aloof, and was impartially maltreated by the rival armies.

John's son Henry had at his back the chief military resources of the country; the two strongest of the earls, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and Randolph of Blundeville, Earl of Chester; the fierce lords of the Welsh March, the Mortimers, the Cantilupes, the Cliffords, the Braoses, and the Lacys; and the barons of the West Midlands, headed by Henry of Neufbourg, Earl of Warwick, and William of Ferrars, Earl of Derby. This powerful phalanx gave to the royalists a stronger hold in the west than their opponents had in any one part of the much wider territory within their sphere of influence. There was no baronial counterpart to the successful raiding of the north and east, which John had carried through in the last months of his life. A baronial centre, like Worcester, could not hold its own long in the west. Moreover, John had not entirely forfeited his hereditary advantages. The administrative families, whose chief representative was the justiciar Hubert de Burgh, held to their tradition of unswerving loyalty, and joined with the followers of the old king, of whom William Marshal was the chief survivor. All over England the royal castles were in safe hands, and so long as they remained unsubdued, no part of Louis' dominions was secure. The crown had used to the full its rights over minors and vacant fiefs. The subjection of the south-west was assured by the marriage of the mercenary leader, Falkes de Bréauté, to the mother of the infant Earl of Devon, and by the grant of Cornwall to the bastard of the last of the Dunstanville earls. Though Isabella, Countess of Gloucester, John's repudiated wife, was as zealous as her new husband, the Earl of Essex, against John's son, Falkes kept a tight hand over Glamorgan, on which the military power of the house of Gloucester largely depended. Randolph of Chester was custodian of the earldoms of Leicester and Richmond, of which the nominal earls, Simon de Montfort and Peter Mauclerc, were far away, the one ruling Toulouse, and the other Brittany. The band of foreign adventurers, the mainstay of John's power, was still unbroken. Ruffians though these hirelings were, they had experience, skill, and courage, and were the only professional soldiers in the country.

The vital fact of the situation was that the immense moral and spiritual forces of the Church remained on the side of the king. Innocent III. had died some months before John, but his successor, Honorius III., continued to uphold his policy. The papal legate, the Cardinal Gualo, was the soul of the royalist cause. Louis and his adherents had been excommunicated, and not a single English bishop dared to join openly the foes of Holy Church. The most that the clerical partisans of the barons could do was to disregard the interdict and continue their ministrations to the excommunicated host. The strongest English prelate, Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, was at Rome in disgrace. Walter Grey, Archbishop of York, and Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln, were also abroad, while the Bishop of London, William of Sainte-Mère-Eglise, was incapacitated by illness. Several important sees, including Durham and Ely, were vacant. The ablest resident bishop, Peter des Roches of Winchester, was an accomplice in John's misgovernment.

The chief obstacle in the way of the royalists had been the character of John, and the little Henry of Winchester could have had no share in the crimes of his father. But the dead king had lately shown such rare energy that there was a danger lest the accession of a boy of nine might not weaken the cause of monarchy. The barons were largely out of hand. The war was assuming the character of the civil war of Stephen's days, and John's mercenaries were aspiring to play the part of feudal potentates. It was significant that so many of John's principal supporters were possessors of extensive franchises, like the lords of the Welsh March, who might well desire to extend these feudal immunities to their English estates. The triumph of the crown through such help might easily have resolved the united England of Henry II. into a series of lordships under a nominal king.

The situation was saved by the wisdom and moderation of the papal legate, and the loyalty of William Marshal, who forgot his interests as Earl of Pembroke in his devotion to the house of Anjou. From the moment of John's death at Newark, the cardinal and the marshal took the lead. They met at Worcester, where the tyrant was buried, and at once made preparations for the coronation of Henry of Winchester. The ceremony took place at St. Peter's Abbey, Gloucester, on October 28, from which day the new reign was reckoned as beginning. The marshal, who had forty-three years before dubbed the "young king" Henry a knight, then for a second time admitted a young king Henry to the order of chivalry. When the king had recited the coronation oath and performed homage to the pope, Gualo anointed him and placed on his head the plain gold circlet that perforce did duly for a crown.1 Next day Henry's supporters performed homage, and before November 1 the marshal was made justiciar.

1 There is some conflict of evidence on this point, and Dr. Stubbs, following Wendover, iv., 2, makes Peter of Winchester crown Henry. But the official account in Fædera, i., 145, is confirmed by Ann. Tewkesbury, p. 62; Histoire de G. le Maréchal, lines 15329-32; Hist. des ducs de Normandie, et des rois d'Angleterre, p. 181, and Ann. Winchester, p. 83. Wykes, p. 60, and Ann. Dunstable, p. 48, which confirm Wendover, are suspect by reason of other errors.
On November 2 a great council met at Bristol. Only four earls appeared, and one of these, William of Fors, Earl of Albemarle, was a recent convert. But the presence of eleven bishops showed that the Church had espoused the cause of the little king, and a throng of western and marcher magnates made a sufficient representation of the lay baronage. The chief business was to provide for the government during the minority. Gualo withstood the temptation to adopt the method by which Innocent III. had ruled Sicily in the name of Frederick II. The king's mother was too unpopular and incompetent to anticipate the part played by Blanche of Castile during the minority of St. Louis. After the precedents set by the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, the barons took the matter into their own hands. Their work of selection was not an easy one. Randolph of Chester was by far the most powerful of the royalist lords, but his turbulence and purely personal policy, not less than his excessive possessions and inordinate palatine jurisdictions, made him unsuitable for the regency. Yet had he raised any sort of claim, it would have been hardly possible to resist his pretensions.1 Luckily, Randolph stood aside, and his withdrawal gave the aged earl marshal the position for which his nomination as justiciar at Gloucester had already marked him out. The title of regent was as yet unknown, either in England or France, but the style, "ruler of king and kingdom," which the barons gave to the marshal, meant something more than the ordinary position of a justiciar. William's friends had some difficulty in persuading him to accept the office. He was over seventy years of age, and felt it would be too great a burden. Induced at last by the legate to undertake the charge, from that moment he shrank from none of its responsibilities. The personal care of the king was comprised within the marshal's duties, but he delegated that branch of his work to Peter des Roches.2 These two, with Gualo, controlled the whole policy of the new reign. Next to them came Hubert de Burgh, John's justiciar, whomthe marshal very soon restored to that office. But Hubert at once went back to the defence of Dover, and for some time took little part in general politics.
1 The fears and hopes of the marshal's friends are well depicted in Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal, lines 15500-15708.

2 The panegyrist of the marshal emphasises strongly the fact that Peter's charge was a delegation, ibid., lines 17993-18018.
On November 12, the legate and the regent issued at Bristol a confirmation of the Great Charter. Some of the most important articles accepted by John in 1215 were omitted, including the "constitutional clauses" requiring the consent of the council of barons for extraordinary taxation. Other provisions, which tied the hands of the government, were postponed for further consideration in more settled times. But with all its mutilations the Bristol charter of 1216 marked a more important moment than even the charter of Runnymede. The condemnation of Innocent III. would in all probability have prevented the temporary concession of John from becoming permanent. Love of country and love of liberty were doubtless growing forces, but they were still in their infancy, while the papal authority was something ultimate against which few Christians dared appeal. Thus the adoption by the free will of the papal legate, and the deliberate choice of the marshal of the policy of the Great Charter, converted, as has well been said, "a treaty won at the point of the sword into a manifesto of peace and sound government".1 This wise change of policy cut away the ground from under the feet of the English supporters of Louis. The friends of the young Henry could appeal to his innocence, to his sacred unction, and to his recognition by Holy Church. They offered a programme of limited monarchy, of the redress of grievances, of vested rights preserved, and of adhesion to the good old traditions that all Englishmen respected. From that moment the Charter became a new starting-point in our history.

1 Stubbs, Const. Hist., ii., 21.
In strange contrast to this programme of reform, the aliens, who had opposed the charter of Runnymede, were among the lords by whose counsel and consent the charter of Bristol was issued. In its weakness the new government sought to stimulate the zeal both of the foreign mercenaries and of the loyal barons by grants and privileges which seriously entrenched upon the royal authority. Falkes de Bréauté was confirmed in the custody of a compact group of six midland shires, besides the earldom of Devon, and the "county of the Isle of Wight,"1 which he guarded in the interests of his wife and stepson. Savary de Mauléon, who in despair of his old master's success had crossed over to Poitou before John's death, was made warden of the castle of Bristol. Randolph of Chester was consoled for the loss of the regency by the renewal of John's recent grant of the Honour of Lancaster which was by this time definitely recognised as a shire.2

1 Histoire des ducs de Normandie, etc., p. 181.

2 Tait, Medieval Manchester and the Beginnings of Lancashire, p. 180.
The war assumed the character of a crusade. The royalist troops wore white crosses on their garments, and were assured by the clergy of certain salvation. The cruel and purposeless ravaging of the enemy's country, which had occupied John's last months of life, became rare, though partisans, such as Falkes de Bréauté, still outvied the French in plundering monasteries and churches. The real struggle became a war of castles. Louis endeavoured to complete his conquest of the south-east by the capture of the royal strongholds, which still limited his power to the open country. At first the French prince had some successes. In November he increased his hold on the Home counties by capturing the Tower of London, by forcing Hertford to surrender, and by pressing the siege of Berkhampsted. As Christmas approached the royalists proposed a truce. Louis agreed on the condition that Berkhampsted should be surrendered, and early in 1217 both parties held councils, the royalists at Oxford and the barons at Cambridge. There was vague talk of peace, but the war was renewed, and Louis captured Hedingham and Orford in Essex, and besieged the castles of Colchester and Norwich. Then another truce until April 26 was concluded, on the condition that the royalists should surrender these two strongholds.

Both sides had need to pause. Louis, at the limit of his resources, was anxious to obtain men and money from France. He was not getting on well with his new subjects. The eastern counties grumbled at his taxes. Dissensions arose between the English and French elements in his host. The English lords resented the grants and appointments he gave to his countrymen. The French nobles professed to despise the English as traitors. When Hertford was taken, Robert FitzWalter demanded that its custody should be restored to him. Louis roughly told him that Englishmen, who had betrayed their natural lord, were not to be entrusted with such charges. It was to little purpose that he promised Robert that every man should have his rights when the war was over. The prospects of ending the war grew more remote every day. The royalists took advantage of the discouragement of their opponents. The regent was lavish in promises. There should be no inquiry into bygones, and all who submitted to the young king should be guaranteed all their existing rights. The result was that a steady stream of converts began to flow from the camp of Louis to the camp of the marshal. For the first time signs of a national movement against Louis began to be manifest. It became clear that his rule meant foreign conquest.

Louis wished to return to France, but despite the truce he could only win his way to the coast by fighting. The Cinque Ports were changing their allegiance. A popular revolt had broken out in the Weald, where a warlike squire, William of Cassingham,1 soon became a terror to the French under his nickname of Wilkin of the Weald. As Louis traversed the disaffected districts, Wilkin fell upon him near Lewes, and took prisoners two nephews of the Count of Nevers. On his further march to Winchelsea, the men of the Weald broke down the bridges behind him, while on his approach the men of Winchelsea destroyed their mills, and took to their ships as avowed partisans of King Henry. The French prince entered the empty town, and had great difficulty in keeping his army alive. "Wheat found they there," says a chronicler; "in great plenty, but they knew not how to grind it. Long time were they in such a plight that they had to crush by hand the corn of which they made their bread. They could catch no fish. Great store of nuts found they in the town; these were their finest food."2 Louis was in fact besieged by the insurgents, and was only released by a force of knights riding down from London to help him. These troops dared not travel by the direct road through the Weald, and made their way to Romney through Canterbury. Rye was strongly held against them and the ships of the Cinque Ports dominated the sea, so that Louis was still cut off from his friends at Romney. A relieving fleet was despatched from Boulogne, but stress of weather kept it for a fortnight at Dover, while Louis was starving at Winchelsea. At last the French ships appeared off Winchelsea. Thereupon the English withdrew, and Louis finding the way open to France returned home.

1 Mr. G.J. Turner has identified Cassingham with the modern Kensham, between Rolvenden and Sandhurst, in Kent.

2 Histoire des ducs de Normandie, etc., p. 183.
A crowd of waverers changed sides. At their head were William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, the bastard great-uncle of the little king, and William, the young marshal, the eldest son of the Earl of Pembroke. The regent wandered from town to town in Sussex, receiving the submission of the peasantry, and venturing to approach as near London as Dorking. The victorious Wilkin was made Warden of the Seven Hundreds of the Weald. The greatest of the magnates of Sussex and Surrey, William, Earl Warenne, followed the example of his tenantry, and made his peace with the king. The royalists fell upon the few castles held by the barons. While one corps captured Odiham, Farnham, Chichester, and other southern strongholds, Falkes de Bréauté overran the Isle of Ely, and Randolph of Chester besieged the Leicestershire fortress of Mount Sorrel. Enguerrand de Coucy, whom Louis had left in command, remained helpless in London. His boldest act was to send a force to Lincoln, which occupied the town, but failed to take the castle. This stronghold, under its hereditary warden, the valiant old lady, Nichola de Camville,1 had already twice withstood a siege.

1 On Nichola de Camville or de la Hay see M. Petit-Dutaillis in Mélanges Julien Havet, pp. 369-80.
Louis found no great encouragement in France, for Philip Augustus, too prudent to offend the Church, gave but grudging support to his excommunicated son. When, on the eve of the expiration of the truce, Louis returned to England, his reinforcements comprised only 120 knights. Among them, however, were the Count of Brittany, Peter Mauclerc, anxious to press in person his rights to the earldom of Richmond, the Counts of Perche and Guînes, and many lords of Picardy, Artois and Ponthieu. Conscious that everything depended on the speedy capture of the royal castles, Louis introduced for the first time into England the trébuchet, a recently invented machine that cast great missiles by means of heavy counterpoises. "Great was the talk about this, for at that time few of them had been seen in France."1 On April 22, Louis reached Dover, where the castle was still feebly beset by the French. On his nearing the shore, Wilkin of the Weald and Oliver, a bastard of King John's, burnt the huts of the French engaged in watching the castle. Afraid to land in their presence, Louis disembarked at Sandwich. Next day he went by land to Dover, but discouraged by tidings of his losses, he gladly concluded a short truce with Hubert de Burgh. He abandoned the siege of Dover, and hurried off towards Winchester, where the two castles were being severely pressed by the royalists. But his progress was impeded by his siege train, and Farnham castle blocked his way.

1 Histoire des ducs de Normandie, etc., p. 188; cf. English Hist. Review, xviii. (1903), 263-64.
Saer de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, joined Louis outside the walls of Farnham. Saer's motive was to persuade Louis to hasten to the relief of his castle of Mount Sorrel. The French prince was not in a position to resist pressure from a powerful supporter. He divided his army, and while the Earl of Winchester, along with the Count of Perche and Robert FitzWalter, made their way to Leicestershire, he completed his journey to Winchester, threw a fresh force into the castles, and, leaving the Count of Nevers in charge, hurried to London. There he learnt that Hubert de Burgh at Dover had broken the truce, and he at once set off to renew the siege of the stronghold which had so continually baulked his plans. But little good came of his efforts, and the much-talked-of trébuchet proving powerless to effect a breach, Louis had to resign himself to a weary blockade. While he was besieging Dover, Saer de Quincy had relieved Mount Sorrel, whence he marched to the help of Gilbert of Ghent, the only English baron whom Louis ventured to raise to comital rank as Earl of Lincoln. Gilbert was still striving to capture Lincoln Castle, but Nichola de Camville had resisted him from February to May. With the help of the army from Mount Sorrel, the castle and its châtelaine were soon reduced to great straits.

The marshal saw that the time was come to take the offensive, and resolved to raise the siege. Having no field army, he stripped his castles of their garrisons, and gave rendezvous to his barons at Newark. There the royalists rested three days, and received the blessing of Gualo and the bishops. They then set out towards Lincoln, commanded by the regent in person, the Earl of Chester, and the Bishop of Winchester, whom the legate appointed as his representative. The strong water defences of the rebel city on the south made it unadvisable for them to take the direct route towards it. Their army descended the Trent to Torksey, where it rested the night of May 19. Early next day, the eve of Trinity Sunday, it marched in four "battles" to relieve Lincoln Castle.

There were more than 600 knights besieging the castle and holding the town, and the relieving army only numbered 400 knights and 300 cross-bowmen. But the barons dared not risk a combat that might have involved them in the fate of Stephen in 1141. They retreated within the city and allowed the marshal to open up communications with the castle. The marshal's plan of battle was arranged by Peter des Roches, who was more at home in the field than in the church. The cross-bowmen under Falkes de Bréauté were thrown into the castle, and joined with the garrison in making a sally from its east gate into the streets of the town. While the barons were thus distracted, the marshal burst through the badly defended north gate. The barons taken in front and flank fought desperately, but with no success. Falkes' cross-bowmen shot down their horses, and the dismounted knights soon failed to hold their own in the open ground about the cathedral. The Count of Perche was slain by a sword-thrust through the eyehole of his helmet. The royalists chased the barons down the steep lanes which connect the upper with the lower town. When they reached level ground the baronial troops rallied, and once more strove to reascend the hill. But the town was assailed on every side, and its land defences yielded with little difficulty. The Earl of Chester poured his vassals through one of the eastern gates, and took the barons in flank. Once more they broke, and this time they rallied not again, but fled through the Wigford suburb seeking any means of escape. Some obstruction in the Bar-gate, the southern exit from the city, retarded their flight, and many of the leaders were captured. The remnant fled to London, thinking that "every bush was full of marshals," and suffering severely from the hostility of the peasantry. Only three persons were slain in the battle, but there was a cruel massacre of the defenceless citizens after its close. So vast was the booty won by the victors that in scorn they called the fight the Fair of Lincoln!1

1 For a discussion of the battle, see English Hist. Review, xviii. (1903), 240-65.
Louis' prospects were still not desperate. The victorious army scattered, each man to his own house, so that the marshal was in no position to press matters to extremities. But there was a great rush to make terms with the victor, and Louis thought it prudent to abandon the hopeless siege of Dover, and take refuge with his partisans, the Londoners. Meanwhile the marshal hovered round London, hoping eventually to shut up the enemy in the capital. On June 12, the Archbishop of Tyre and three Cistercian abbots, who had come to England to preach the Crusade, persuaded both parties to accept provisional articles of peace. Louis stipulated for a complete amnesty to all his partisans; but the legate declined to grant pardon to the rebellious clerks who had refused to obey the interdict, conspicuous among whom was the firebrand Simon Langton, brother of the archbishop. Finding no compromise possible, Louis broke off the negotiations rather than abandon his friends. Gualo urged a siege of London, but the marshal saw that his resources were not adequate for such a step. Again many of his followers went home, and the court abode first at Oxford and afterwards at Gloucester. It seemed as if the war might go on for ever.

Blanche of Castile, Louis' wife, redoubled her efforts on his behalf. In response to her entreaties a hundred knights and several hundred men-at-arms took ship for England. Among the knights was the famous William des Barres, one of the heroes of Bouvines, and Theobald, Count of Blois. Eustace the Monk, a renegade clerk turned pirate, and a hero of later romance, took command of the fleet. On the eve of St. Bartholomew, August 23, Eustace sailed from Calais towards the mouth of the Thames. Kent had become royalist; the marshal and Hubert de Burgh held Sandwich, so that the long voyage up the Thames was the only way of taking succour to Louis. Next day the old earl remained on shore, but sent out Hubert with the fleet. The English let the French pass by, and then, manoeuvring for the weather gage, tacked and assailed them from behind.1 The fight raged round the great ship of Eustace, on which the chief French knights were embarked. Laden with stores, horses, and a ponderous trébuchet, it was too low in the water to manoeuvre or escape. Hubert easily laid his own vessel alongside it. The English, who were better used to fighting at sea than the French, threw powdered lime into the faces of the enemy, swept the decks with their crossbow bolts and then boarded the ship, which was taken after a fierce fight. The crowd of cargo boats could offer little resistance as they beat up against the wind in their retreat to Calais; the ships containing the soldiers were more fortunate in escaping. Eustace was beheaded, and his head paraded on a pole through the streets of Canterbury.

1 This successful attempt of the English fleet to manoeuvre for the weather gage, that is to secure a position to the windward of their opponents, is the first recorded instance of what became the favourite tactics of British admirals. For the legend of Eustace see Witasse le Moine, ed. Förster (1891).
The battle of St. Bartholomew's Day, like that of Lincoln a triumph of skill over numbers, proved decisive for the fortunes of Louis. The English won absolute control of the narrow seas, and cut off from Louis all hope of fighting his way back to France. As soon as he heard of the defeat of Eustace, he reopened negotiations with the marshal. On the 29th there was a meeting between Louis and the Earl at the gates of London. The regent had to check the ardour of his own partisans, and it was only after anxious days of deliberation that the party of moderation prevailed. On September 5 a formal conference was held on an island of the Thames near Kingston. On the 11th a definitive treaty was signed at the archbishop's house at Lambeth.

The Treaty of Lambeth repeated with little alteration the terms rejected by Louis three months before. The French prince surrendered his castles, released his partisans from their oaths to him, and exhorted all his allies, including the King of Scots and the Prince of Gwynedd, to lay down their arms. In return Henry promised that no layman should lose his inheritance by reason of his adherence to Louis, and that the baronial prisoners should be released without further payment of ransom. London, despite its pertinacity in rebellion, was to retain its ancient franchises. The marshal bound himself personally to pay Louis 10,000 marks, nominally as expenses, really as a bribe to accept these terms. A few days later Louis and his French barons appeared before the legate, barefoot and in the white garb of penitents, and were reconciled to the Church. They were then escorted to Dover, whence they took ship for France. Only on the rebellious clergy did Gualo's wrath fall. The canons of St. Paul's were turned out in a body; ringleaders like Simon Langton were driven into exile, and agents of the legate traversed the country punishing clerks who had disregarded the interdict. But Honorius was more merciful than Gualo, and within a year even Simon received his pardon. The laymen of both camps forgot their differences, when Randolph of Chester and William of Ferrars fought in the crusade of Damietta, side by side with Saer of Winchester and Robert FitzWalter. The reconciliation of parties was further shown in the marriage of Hubert de Burgh to John's divorced wife, Isabella of Gloucester, a widow by the death of the Earl of Essex, and still the foremost English heiress. On November 6 the pacification was completed by the reissue of the Great Charter in what was substantially its final form. The forest clauses of the earlier issues were published in a much enlarged shape as a separate Forest Charter, which laid down the great principle that no man was to lose life or limb for hindering the king's hunting.

It is tempting to regard the defeat of Louis as a triumph of English patriotism. But it is an anachronism to read the ideals of later ages into the doings of the men of the early thirteenth century. So far as there was national feeling in England, it was arrayed against Henry. To the last the most fervently English of the barons were steadfast on the French prince's side, and the triumph of the little king had largely been procured by John's foreigners. To contemporary eyes the rebels were factious assertors of class privileges and feudal immunities. Their revolt against their natural lord brought them into conflict with the sentiment of feudal duty which was still so strong in faithful minds. And against them was a stronger force than feudal loyally. From this religious standpoint the Canon of Barnwell best sums up the situation: "It was a miracle that the heir of France, who had won so large a part of the kingdom, was constrained to abandon the realm without hope of recovering it. It was because the hand of God was not with him. He came to England in spite of the prohibition of the Holy Roman Church, and he remained there regardless of its anathema."

The young king never forgot that he owed his throne to the pope and his legate. "When we were bereft of our father in tender years," he declared long afterwards, "when our subjects were turned against us, it was our mother, the Holy Roman Church, that brought back our realm under our power, anointed us king, crowned us, and placed us on the throne."1 The papacy, which had secured a new hold over England by its alliance with John, made its position permanent by its zeal for the rights of his son. By identifying the monarchy with the charters, it skilfully retraced the false step which it had taken. Under the ægis of the Roman see the national spirit grew, and the next generation was to see the temper fostered by Gualo in its turn grow impatient of the papal supremacy. It was Gualo, then, who secured the confirmation of the charters. Even Louis unconsciously worked in that direction, for, had he not gained so strong a hold on the country, there would have been no reason to adopt a policy of conciliation. We must not read the history of this generation in the light of modern times, or even with the eyes of Matthew Paris.

1 Grosseteste, Epistolæ, p. 339.
The marshal had before him a task essentially similar to that which Henry II had undertaken after the anarchy of Stephen's reign. It was with the utmost difficulty that the sum promised to Louis could be extracted from the war-stricken and famished tillers of the soil. The exchequer was so empty that the Christmas court of the young king was celebrated at the expense of Falkes de Bréauté. Those who had fought for the king clamoured for grants and rewards, and it was necessary to humour them. For example, Randolph of Blundeville, with the earldom of Lincoln added to his Cheshire palatinate and his Lancashire Honour, had acquired a position nearly as strong as that of the Randolph of the reign of Stephen. "Adulterine castles" had grown up in such numbers that the new issue of the Charter insisted upon their destruction. Even the lawful castles were held by unauthorised custodians, who refused to yield them up to the king's officers. Though Alexander, King of Scots, purchased his reconciliation with Rome by abandoning Carlisle and performing homage to Henry, the Welsh remained recalcitrant. One chieftain, Morgan of Caerleon, waged war against the marshal in Gwent, and was dislodged with difficulty. During the war Llewelyn ap Iorwerth conquered Cardigan and Carmarthen from the marchers, and it was only after receiving assurances that he might retain these districts so long as the king's minority lasted that he condescended to do homage at Worcester in March, 1218.

In the following May Stephen Langton came back from exile and threw the weight of his judgment on the regent's side. Gradually the worst difficulties were surmounted. The administrative machinery once more became effective. A new seal was cast for the king, whose documents had hitherto been stamped with the seal of the regent. Order was so far restored that Gualo returned to Italy. He was a man of high character and noble aims, caring little for personal advancement, and curbing his hot zeal against "schismatics" in his desire to restore peace to England. His memory is still commemorated in his great church of St. Andrew, at Vercelli, erected, it may be, with the proceeds of his English benefices, and still preserving the manuscript of legends of its patron saint, which its founder had sent thither from his exile.

At Candlemas, 1219, the aged regent was smitten with a mortal illness. His followers bore him up the Thames from London to his manor of Caversham, where his last hours were disturbed by the intrigues of Peter of Winchester for his succession, and the importunity of selfish clerks, clamouring for grants to their churches. He died on May 14, clad in the habit of the Knights of the Temple, in whose new church in London his body was buried, and where his effigy may still be seen. The landless younger son of a poor baron, he had supported himself in his youth by the spoils of the knights he had vanquished in the tournaments, where his successes gained him fame as the model of chivalry. The favour of Henry, the "young king," gave him political importance, and his marriage with Strongbow's daughter made him a mighty man in England, Ireland, Wales, and Normandy. Strenuous and upright, simple and dignified, the young soldier of fortune bore easily the weight of office and honour which accrued to him before the death of his first patron. Limited as was his outlook, he gave himself entirely to his master-principle of loyally to the feudal lord whom he had sworn to obey. This simple conception enabled him to subordinate his interests as a marcher potentate to his duty to the English monarchy. It guided him in his difficult work of serving with unbending constancy a tyrant like John. It shone most clearly when in his old age he saved John's son from the consequences of his father's misdeeds. A happy accident has led to the discovery in our own days of the long poem, drawn up in commemoration of his career1 at the instigation of his son. This important work has enabled us to enter into the marshal's character and spirit in much the same way as Joinville's History of St. Louis has made us familiar with the motives and attributes of the great French king. They are the two men of the thirteenth century whom we know most intimately. It is well that the two characters thus portrayed at length represent to us so much of what is best in the chivalry, loyalty, statecraft, and piety of the Middle Ages.

1 Histoire de Guillaume le Maréchal, published by P. Meyer for the Soc. de l'histoire de France. Petit-Dutaillis, Étude sur Louis VIII. (1894), and G.J. Turner, Minority of Henry III., part i, in Transactions of the Royal Hist. Soc., new ser., viii. (1904), 245-95, are the best modern commentaries on the history of the marshal's regency.


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