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The History of England From the Norman Conquest to the Death of John
Conquest And Rebellion
by Adams, George Burton


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Footnotes

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

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