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The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
The Rule Of Hubert De Burgh
by Tout, T.F. (M.A.)


William Marshal had recognized that the regency must end with him. "There is no land," he declared, "where the people are so divided as they are in England. Were I to hand over the king to one noble, the others would be jealous. For this reason I have determined to entrust him to God and the pope. No one can blame me for this, for, if the land is not defended by the pope, I know no one who can protect it." The fortunate absence of Randolph of Chester on crusade made it easy to carry out this plan. Accordingly the king of twelve years was supposed to be capable of acting for himself. But the ultimate authority resided with the new legate Pandulf, who, without any formal designation, was the real successor of the marshal. This arrangement naturally left great power to Peter des Roches, who continued to have the custody of the king's person, and to Hubert the justiciar, who henceforth acted as Pandulf's deputy. Next to them came the Archbishop of Canterbury. Langton's share in the struggle for the charters was so conspicuous, that we do not always remember that it was as a scholar and a theologian that he acquired his chief reputation among his contemporaries. On his return from exile he found such engrossing occupation in the business of his see, that he took little part in politics for several years. His self-effacement strengthened the position of the legate.

Pandulf was no stranger to England. As subdeacon of the Roman Church he received John's submission in 1213, and stood by his side during nearly all his later troubles. He had been rewarded by his election to the bishopric of Norwich, but was recalled to Rome before his consecration, and only came back to England in the higher capacity of legate on December 3, 1218, after the recall of Gualo. He had been the cause of Langton's suspension, and there was probably no love lost between him and the archbishop. It was in order to avoid troublesome questions of jurisdiction that Pandulf, at the pope's suggestion, continued to postpone his consecration as bishop, since that act would have subordinated him to the Archbishop of Canterbury. But neither he nor Langton was disposed to push matters to extremities. Just as Peter des Roches balanced Hubert de Burgh, so the archbishop acted as a makeweight to the legate. When power was thus nicely equipoised, there was a natural tendency to avoid conflicting issues. In these circumstances the truce between parties, which had marked the regency, continued for the first years after Earl William's death. In all doubtful points the will of the legate seems to have prevailed. Pandulf's correspondence shows him interfering in every matter of state. He associated himself with the justiciar in the appointment of royal officials; he invoked the papal authority to put down "adulterine castles," and to prevent any baron having more than one royal stronghold in his custody; he prolonged the truce with France, and strove to pacify the Prince of North Wales; he procured the resumption of the royal domain, and rebuked Bishop Peter and the justiciar for remissness in dealing with Jewish usurers; he filled up bishoprics at his own discretion. Nor did he neglect his own interests; his kinsfolk found preferment in his English diocese, and he appropriated certain livings for the payment of his debts, "so far as could be done without offence". But in higher matters he pursued a wise policy. In recognising that the great interest of the Church was peace, he truly expressed the policy of the mild Honorius. For more than two years he kept Englishmen from flying at each other's throats. If they paid for peace by the continuance of foreign rule, it was better to be governed by Pandulf than pillaged by Falkes. The principal events of these years were due to papal initiative.1 Honorius looked askance on the maimed rites of the Gloucester coronation, and ordered a new hallowing to take place at the accustomed place and with the accustomed ceremonies. This supplementary rite was celebrated at Westminster on Whitsunday, May 17, 1220. Though Pandulf was present, he discreetly permitted the Archbishop of Canterbury to crown Henry with the diadem of St. Edward. "This coronation," says the Canon of Barnwell, "was celebrated with such good order and such splendour that the oldest magnates who were present declared that they had seen none of the king's predecessors crowned with so much goodwill and tranquillity." Nor was this the only great ecclesiastical function of the year. On July 7 Langton celebrated at Canterbury the translation of the relics of St. Thomas to a magnificent shrine at the back of the high altar. Again the legate gave precedence to the archbishop, and the presence of the young king, of the Archbishop of Reims, and the Primate of Hungary, gave distinction to the solemnity. It was a grand time for English saints. When Damietta was taken from the Mohammedans, the crusaders dedicated two of its churches to St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Edmund the King. A new saint was added to the calendar, who, if not an Englishman, had done good work for the country of his adoption. In 1220 Honorius III. canonised Hugh of Avalon, the Carthusian Bishop of Lincoln, on the report of a commission presided over by Langton himself.

1 H.R. Luard, On the Relations between England and Rome during the Earlier Portion of the Reign of Henry III. (1877), illustrates papal influence at this period.
No real unity of principle underlay the external tranquillity. As time went on Peter des Roches bitterly resented the growing preponderance of Hubert de Burgh. Not all the self-restraint of the legate could commend him to Langton, whose obstinate insistence upon his metropolitical authority forced Pandulf to procure bulls from Rome specifically releasing him from the jurisdiction of the primate. In these circumstances it was natural for Bishop Peter and the legate to join together against the justiciar and the archbishop. Finding that the legate was too strong for him, Langton betook himself to Rome, and remained there nearly a year. Before he went home he persuaded Honorius to promise not to confer the same benefice twice by papal provision, and to send no further legate to England during his lifetime. Pandulf was at once recalled, and left England in July, 1221, a month before his rival's return. He was compensated for the slight put upon him by receiving his long-deferred consecration to Norwich at the hands of the pope. There is small reason for believing that he was exceptionally greedy or unpopular. But his withdrawal removed an influence which had done its work for good, and was becoming a national danger. Langton henceforth could act as the real head of the English Church. In 1222, he held an important provincial council at Oseney abbey, near Oxford, where he issued constitutions, famous as the first provincial canons still recognised as binding in our ecclesiastical courts. He began once more to concern himself with affairs of state, and Hubert found him a sure ally. Bishop Peter, disgusted with his declining influence, welcomed his appointment as archbishop of the crusading Church at Damietta. He took the cross, and left England with Falkes de Bréauté as his companion. Learning that the crescent had driven the cross out of his new see, he contented himself with making the pilgrimage to Compostella, and soon found his way back to England, where he sought for opportunities to regain power.

Relieved of the opposition of Bishop Peter, Hubert insisted on depriving barons of doubtful loyalty of the custody of royal castles, and found his chief opponent in William Earl of Albemarle. In dignity and possessions, Albemarle was not ill-qualified to be a feudal leader. The son of William de Fors, of Oléron, a Poitevin adventurer of the type of Falkes de Bréauté, he represented, through his mother, the line of the counts of Aumâle, who had since the Conquest ruled over Holderness from their castle at Skipsea. The family acquired the status of English earls under Stephen, retaining their foreign title, expressed in English in the form of Albemarle, being the first house of comital rank abroad to hold an earldom with a French name unassociated with any English shire. During the civil war Albemarle's tergiversations, which rivalled those of the Geoffrey de Mandeville of Stephen's time, had been rewarded by large grants from the victorious party. Since 1219 he suffered slight upon slight, and in 1220 was stripped of the custody of Rockingham Castle. Late in that year Hubert resolved to enforce an order, promulgated in 1217, which directed Albemarle to restore to his former subtenant Bytham Castle, in South Kesteven, of which he was overlord, and of which he had resumed possession on account of the treason of his vassal. The earl hurried away in indignation from the king's Christmas court, and in January, 1221, threw himself into Bytham, eager to hold it by force against the king. For a brief space he ruled over the country-side after the fashion of a baron of Stephen's time. He plundered the neighbouring towns and churches, and filled the dungeons of Castle Bytham with captives. On the pretext of attending a council at Westminster he marched southwards, but his real motive was disclosed when he suddenly attacked the castle of Fotheringhay. His men crossed the moat on the ice, and, burning down the great gate, easily overpowered the scanty garrison. "As if he were the only ruler of the kingdom," says the Canon of Barnwell, "he sent letters signed with his seal to the mayors of the cities of England, granting his peace to all merchants engaged in plying their trades, and allowing them free licence of going and coming through his castles." Nothing in the annals of the time puts more clearly this revival of the old feudal custom that each baron should lord it as king over his own estates.

Albemarle's power did not last long. He incurred the wrath of the Church, and both in Kesteven and in Northamptonshire set himself against the interests of Randolph of Chester. Before January was over Pandulf excommunicated him, and a great council granted a special scutage, "the scutage of Bytham," to equip an army to crush the rebel. Early in February a considerable force marched northwards against him. The Earl of Chester took part in the campaign, and both the legate and the king accompanied the army. Before the combined efforts of Church and State, Albemarle dared not hold his ground, and fled to Fountains, where he took sanctuary. His followers abandoned Fotheringhay, but stood a siege at Bytham. After six days this castle was captured on February 8. Even then secret sympathisers with Albemarle were able to exercise influence on his behalf, and Pandulf himself was willing to show mercy. The earl came out of sanctuary, and was pardoned on condition of taking the crusader's vow. No effort was made to insist on his going on crusade, and within a few months he was again in favour. "Thus," says Roger of Wendover, "the king set the worst of examples, and encouraged future rebellions." Randolph of Chester came out with the spoils of victory. He secured as the price of his ostentatious fidelity the custody of the Honour of Huntingdon, during the nonage of the earl, his nephew, John the Scot.

A tumult in the capital soon taught Hubert that he had other foes to fight against besides the feudal party. At a wrestling match, held on July 25, 1222, between the city and the suburbs, the citizens won an easy victory. The tenants of the Abbot of Westminster challenged the conquerors to a fresh contest on August 1 at Westminster. But the abbot's men were more anxious for revenge than good sport, and seeing that the Londoners were likely to win, they violently broke up the match. Suspecting no evil, the citizens had come without arms, and were very severely handled by their rivals. Driven back behind their walls, the Londoners clamoured for vengeance. Serlo the mercer, their mayor, a prudent and peace-loving man, urged them to seek compensation of the abbot. But the citizens preferred the advice of Constantine FitzAthulf, who insisted upon an immediate attack on the men of Westminster. Next day the abbey precincts were invaded, and much mischief was done. The alarm was the greater because Constantine was a man of high position, who had recently been a sheriff of London, and had once been a strenuous supporter of Louis of France. It was rumoured that his followers had raised the cry, "Montjoie! Saint Denis!" The quarrels of neighbouring cities were as dangerous to sound rule as the feuds of rival barons, and Hubert took instant measures to put down the sedition. With the aid of Falkes de Bréauté's mercenaries, order was restored, and Constantine was led before the justiciar. Early next day Falkes assembled his forces, and crossed the river to Southwark. He took with him Constantine and two of his supporters, and hanged all three, without form of trial, before the city knew anything about it. Then Falkes and his soldiers rushed through the streets, capturing, mutilating, and frightening away the citizens. Constantine's houses and property were seized by the king. The weak Serlo was deposed from the mayoralty, and the city taken into the king's hands. It was the last time that Hubert and Falkes worked together, and something of the violence of the condottiere captain sullied the justiciar's reputation. As the murderer of Constantine, Hubert was henceforth pursued with the undying hatred of the Londoners.

During the next two years parties became clearly defined. Hubert more and more controlled the royal policy, and strove to strengthen both his master and himself by marriage alliances. Powerful husbands were sought for the king's three sisters. On June 19, 1221, Joan, Henry's second sister, was married to the young Alexander of Scotland, at York. At the same time Hubert, a widower by Isabella of Gloucester's death, wedded Alexander's elder sister, Margaret, a match which compensated the justiciar for his loss of Isabella's lands. Four years later, Isabella, the King of Scot's younger sister, was united with Roger Bigod, the young Earl of Norfolk, a grandson of the great William Marshal, whose eldest son and successor, William Marshal the younger, was in 1224 married to the king's third sister, Eleanor. The policy of intermarriage between the royal family and the baronage was defended by the example of Philip Augustus in France, and on the ground of the danger to the royal interests if so strong a magnate as the earl marshal were enticed away from his allegiance by an alliance with a house unfriendly to Henry.1

1 Royal Letters, i., 244-46.
The futility of marriage alliances in modifying policy was already made clear by the attitude of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, the husband of Henry's bastard sister Joan. This resourceful prince had already raised himself to a high position by a statecraft which lacked neither strength nor duplicity. Though fully conscious of his position as the champion of a proud nation, and, posing as the peer of the King of Scots, Llewelyn saw that it was his interest to continue the friendship with the baronial opposition which had profited him so greatly in the days of the French invasion. The pacification arranged in 1218 sat rightly upon him, and he plunged into a war with William Marshal the younger that desolated South Wales for several years. In 1219 Llewelyn devastated Pembrokeshire so cruelly that the marshal's losses were currently, though absurdly, reported to have exceeded the amount of the ransom of King Richard. There was much more fighting, but Llewelyn's progress was impeded by difficulties with his own son Griffith, and with the princes of South Wales, who bore impatiently the growing hold of the lord of Gwynedd upon the affections of southern Welshmen. There was war also in the middle march, where in 1220 a royal army was assembled against Llewelyn; but Pandulf negotiated a truce, and the only permanent result of this effort was the fortification of the castle and town at Montgomery, which had become royal demesne on the extinction of the ancient house of Bollers a few years earlier. But peace never lasted long west of the Severn, and in 1222 William Marshal drove Llewelyn out of Cardigan and Carmarthen. Again there were threats of war. Llewelyn was excommunicated, and his lands put under interdict. The marshal complained bitterly of the poor support which Henry gave him against the Welsh, but Hubert restored cordiality between him and the king. In these circumstances the policy of marrying Eleanor to the indignant marcher was a wise one. Llewelyn however could still look to the active friendship of Randolph of Chester. While the storm of war raged in South Wales, the march between Cheshire and Gwynedd enjoyed unwonted peace, and in 1223 a truce was patched up through Randolph's mediation.

Earl Randolph needed the Welsh alliance the more because he definitely threw in his lot with the enemies of Hubert de Burgh. In April, 1223, a bull of Honorius III. declared Henry competent to govern in his own name, a change which resulted in a further strengthening of Hubert's power. Towards the end of the year Randolph joined with William of Albemarle, the Bishop of Winchester and Falkes de Bréauté, in an attempt to overthrow the justiciar. The discontented barons took arms and laid their grievances before the king. They wished, they said, no ill to king or kingdom, but simply desired to remove the justiciar from his counsels. Hot words passed between the indignant Hubert and Peter des Roches, and the conference broke up in confusion. The barons still remained mutinous, and, while the king held his Christmas court at Northampton, they celebrated the feast at Leicester. At last Langton persuaded both parties to come to an agreement on the basis of king's friends and barons alike surrendering their castles and wardships. This was a substantial victory for the party of order, and during the next few months much was done to transfer the castles to loyal hands. Randolph himself surrendered Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth.

Comparative peace having been restored, and the judicial bench purged of feudal partisans, private persons ventured to complain of outrageous acts of "novel disseisin", or unlawful appropriation of men's lands. In the spring of 1224 the king's justices went throughout the country, hearing and deciding pleas of this sort. Sixteen acts of novel disseisin were proved against Falkes de Bréauté. Despite all the efforts of Langton and Hubert, that able adventurer, though stripped of some of his castles, fully maintained the position which he first acquired in the service of John. He was not the man to put up tamely with the piecemeal destruction of his power by legal process, and, backed up secretly by the feudal leaders, resolved to take the law into his own hands. One of the most active of the judges in hearing complaints against him was Henry of Braybrook. Falkes bade his brother, William de Bréauté fall upon the justice, who had been hearing suits at Dunstable, and take him prisoner. William faithfully fulfilled his brother's orders, and on June 17 the unlucky judge was safely shut up in a dungeon of Bedford Castle, of which William had the custody, as his brother's agent. So daring an outrage on the royal authority was worse than the action of William of Albemarle four years before. Hubert and the archbishop immediately took strong measures to enforce the sanctity of the law. While Langton excommunicated Falkes and his abettors, Hubert hastily turned against the traitor the forces which were assembling at Northampton with the object of reconquering Poitou. Braybrook was captured on Monday. On Thursday the royal troops besieged Bedford.

The siege lasted from June 20 to August 14. The "noble castle of Bedford" was new, large, and fortified with an inner and outer baily, and two strong towers. Falkes trusted that it would hold out for a year, and had amply provided it with provisions and munitions of war. In effect, though William de Bréauté and his followers showed a gallant spirit, it resisted the justiciar for barely two months. When called upon to surrender the garrison answered that they would only yield at their lord's orders, and that the more as they were not bound to the king by homage or fealty. Nothing was left but a fight to the death. The royalists made strenuous efforts. A new scutage, the "scutage of Bedford," was imposed on the realm. Meanwhile Falkes fled to his accomplice, the Earl of Chester, and afterwards took refuge with Llewelyn. But the adventurer found such cold comfort from the great men who had lured him to his ruin that he perforce made his way back to England, along with a motley band of followers, English and French, Scottish and Welsh.1 A hue and cry was raised after him, and, like William of Albemarle, he was forced to throw himself into sanctuary, while Randolph of Chester openly joined the besiegers of Bedford. In his refuge in a church at Coventry, Falkes was persuaded to surrender to the bishop of the diocese, who handed him over to Langton.

1 The names of his familia taken with him are in Patent Rolls of Henry III., 1216-1227, pp. 461-62.
During Falkes's wanderings his brother had been struggling valiantly against overwhelming odds. Petrariae and mangonels threw huge stones into the castle, and effected breaches in keep and curtain. Miners undermined the walls, while over-against the stronghold two lofty structures of wood were raised, from which the crossbowmen, who manned them, were able to command the whole of the interior. At last the castle was captured in four successive assaults. In the first the barbican was taken; in the next the outer baily was stormed; in the third the interior baily was won; and in the last the keep was split asunder. The garrison then allowed the women and captives, including the wife of Falkes and the unlucky Braybrook, to make their way to the enemies' lines. Next day the defenders themselves surrendered. The only mercy shown to these gallant men was that they were allowed to make their peace with the Church before their execution. Of the eighty prisoners, three Templars alone were spared.

Falkes threw himself upon the king's mercy, appealing to his former services to Henry and his father. He surrendered to the King the large sums of money which he had deposited with his bankers, the Templars of London, and ordered his castellans in Plympton and the other west-country castles of his wife to open their gates to the royal officers. In return for these concessions he was released from excommunication. His life was spared, but his property was confiscated, and he was ordered to abjure the realm. Even his wife deserted him, protesting that she had been forced to marry him against her will. On October 26 he received letters of safe conduct to go beyond sea. As he left England, he protested that he had been instigated by the English magnates in all that he had done. On landing at Fécamp he was detained by his old enemy Louis, then, by his father's death, King of France. But Louis VIII. was the last man to bear old grudges against the Norman adventurer, especially as Falkes's rising had enabled him to capture the chief towns of Poitou.

Even in his exile Falkes was still able to do mischief. He obtained his release from Louis' prison about Easter, 1225, on the pretence of going on crusade. He then made his way to Rome where he strove to excite the sympathy of Honorius III., by presenting an artful memorial, which throws a flood of light upon his character, motives, and hopes. Honorius earnestly pleaded for his restitution, but Hubert and Langton stood firm against him. They urged that the pope had been misinformed, and declined to recall the exile. Honorius sent his chaplain Otto to England, but the nuncio found it impossible to modify the policy of the advisers of the king. Falkes went back from Italy to Troyes, where he waited for a year in the hope that his sentence would be reversed. At last Otto gave up his cause in despair, and devoted himself to the more profitable work of exacting money from the English clergy. Falkes died in 1226. With him disappears from our history the lawless spirit which had troubled the land since the war between John and his barons. The foreign adventurers, of whom he was the chief, either went back in disgust to their native lands, or, like Peter de Mauley, became loyal subjects and the progenitors of a harmless stock of English barons. The ten years of storm and stress were over. The administration was once more in English hands, and Hubert enjoyed a few years of well-earned power.

New difficulties at once arose. The defeat of the feudalists and their Welsh allies involved heavy special taxation, and the king's honour required that an effort should be made both to wrest Poitou from Louis VIII., and to strengthen the English hold over Gascony. Besides national obligations, clergy and laity alike were still called upon to contribute towards the cost of crusading enterprises, and in 1226 the papal nuncio, Otto, demanded that a large proportion of the revenues of the English clergy should be contributed to the papal coffers. To the Englishman of that age all extraordinary taxation was a grievance quite irrespective of its necessity. The double incidence of the royal and papal demands was met by protests which showed some tendency towards the splitting up of the victorious side into parties. It was still easy for all to unite against Otto, and the papal agent was forced to go home empty handed, for councils both of clergy and barons agreed to reject his demands. Whatever other nations might offer to the pope, argued the magnates, the realms of England and Ireland at least had a right to be freed from such impositions by reason of the tribute which John had agreed to pay to Innocent III. The demand of the king's ministers for a fifteenth to prosecute the war with France was reluctantly conceded, but only on the condition of a fresh confirmation of the charters in a form intended to bring home to the king his personal obligation to observe them. Hubert de Burgh, however, was no enthusiast for the charters. His standpoint was that of the officials of the age of Henry II. To him the re-establishment of order meant the restoration of the prerogative. There he parted company with the archbishop, who was an eager upholder of the charters, for which he was so largely responsible. The struggle against the foreigner was to be succeeded by a struggle for the charters.

In January, 1227, a council met at Oxford. The king, then nearly twenty years old, declared that he would govern the country himself, and renounced the tutelage of the Bishop of Winchester. Henry gave himself over completely to the justiciar, whom he rewarded for his faithful service by making him Earl of Kent. In deep disgust Bishop Peter left the court to carry out his long-deferred crusading vows. For four years he was absent in Palestine, where his military talents had ample scope as one of the leaders of Frederick II.'s army, while his diplomatic skill sought, with less result, to preserve some sort of relations between the excommunicated emperor and the new pope, Gregory IX., who in this same year succeeded Honorius. In April Gregory renewed the bull of 1223 in which his predecessor recognised Henry's competence to govern.

Thus ended the first minority since the Conquest. The successful restoration of law and order when the king was a child, showed that a strong king was not absolutely necessary for good government. From the exercise of royal authority by ministers without the personal intervention of the monarch arose the ideas of limited monarchy, the responsibility of the official, and the constitutional rights of the baronial council to appoint ministers and control the administration. We also discern, almost for the first time, the action of an inner ministerial council which was ultimately to develop into the consilium ordinarium of a later age.

No sudden changes attended the royal majority. Those who had persuaded Henry to dismiss Bishop Peter had no policy beyond getting rid of a hated rival. The new Earl of Kent continued to hold office as justiciar for five years, and his ascendency is even more marked in the years 1227 to 1232 than it had been between 1224 and 1227. Hubert still found the task of ruling England by no means easy. With the mitigation of home troubles foreign affairs assumed greater importance, and England's difficulties with France, the efforts to establish cordial relations with the empire, the ever-increasing aggressions of Llewelyn of Wales, and the chronic troubles of Ireland, involved the country in large expenses with little compensating advantage. Not less uneasy were the results of the growing encroachments of the papacy and the increasing inability of the English clergy to face them. Papal taxation, added to the burden of national taxation, induced discontent that found a ready scapegoat in the justiciar. The old and the new baronial opposition combined to denounce Hubert as the true cause of all evils. The increasing personal influence of the young king complicated the situation. In his efforts to deal with all these problems Hubert became involved in the storm of obloquy which finally brought about his fall.

At the accession of Henry III., the truce for five years concluded between his father and Philip Augustus on September 18, 1214, had still three years to run. The expedition of Louis to England might well seem to have broken it, but the prudent disavowal by Philip II. of his son's sacrilegious enterprise made it a point of policy for the French King to regard it as still in force, and neither John nor the earl marshal had a mind to face the enmity of the father as well as the invasion of the son. Accordingly the truce ran out its full time, and in 1220 Honorius III., ever zealous for peace between Christian sovereigns, procured its prolongation for four years. Before this had expired, the accession of Louis VIII. in 1223 raised the old enemy of King Henry to the throne of France. Louis still coveted the English throne, and desired to complete the conquest of Henry's French dominions in France. His accession soon involved England in a new struggle, luckily delayed until the worst of the disorders at home had been overcome.

Peace was impossible because Louis, like Philip, regarded the forfeiture of John as absolute, and as involving the right to deny to Henry III. a legitimate title to any of his lands beyond sea. Henry, on the other hand, was still styled Duke of Normandy, Count of Anjou, Count of Poitou, and Duke of Aquitaine. Claiming all that his father had held, he refused homage to Philip or Louis for such French lands as he actually possessed. For the first time since the Conquest, an English king ruled over extensive French territories without any feudal subjection to the King of France. However, Henry's French lands, though still considerable, were but a shadow of those once ruled by his father. Philip had conquered all Normandy, save the Channel Islands, and also the whole of Anjou and Touraine. For a time he also gained possession of Poitou, but before his death nearly the whole of that region had slipped from his grasp. Poitiers, alone of its great towns, remained in French hands. For the rest, both the barons and cities of Poitou acknowledged the over-lordship of their English count. Too much importance must not be ascribed to this revival of the English power. Henry claimed very little domain in Poitou, which practically was divided between the feudal nobles and the great communes. So long as they maintained a virtual freedom, they were indifferent as to their overlord. If they easily transferred their allegiance from Philip to Henry, it was because the weakness of absentee counts was less to be dreaded than the strength of a monarch near at hand. Meanwhile the barons carried on their feuds one against the other, and all alike joined in oppressing the townsmen.

During Henry's minority the crown was not strong enough to deal with the unruly Foitevins. Seneschals quickly succeeded each other; the barons expected the office to be filled by one of their own order, and the towns, jealous of hostile neighbours, demanded the appointment of an Englishman. At last, in 1221, Savary de Mauléon, one of King John's mercenaries, a poet, and a crusader against infidels and Albigenses, was made seneschal. His English estates ensured some measure of fidelity, and his energy and experience were guarantees of his competence, though, as a younger member of the great house of Thouars, he belonged by birth to the inner circle of the Poitevin nobility, whose treachery, levity, and self-seeking were proverbial. The powerful Viscounts of Thouars were constantly kept in check by their traditional enemies the Counts of La Marche, whose representative, Hugh of Lusignan, was by far the strongest of the local barons. His cousin, and sometime betrothed, Isabella, Countess of Angoulême, the widow of King John, had left England to resume the administration of her dominions. Early in 1220 she married Hugh, justifying herself to her son on the ground that it would be dangerous to his interests if the Count of La Marche should contract an alliance with the French party. But this was mere excuse. The union of La Marche and Angoulême largely increased Count Hugh's power, and he showed perfect impartiality in pursuing his own interests by holding a balance between his stepson and the King of France. Against him neither Savary nor the Poitevin communes could contend with success. The anarchy of Poitou was an irresistible temptation to Louis VII. "Know you," he wrote to the men of Limoges, "that John, king of England, was deprived by the unanimous judgment of his peers of all the lands which he held of our father Philip. We have now received in inheritance all our father's rights, and require you to perform the service that you owe us." While the English government weakly negotiated for the prolongation of the truce, and for the pope's intervention, Louis concluded treaties with the Poitevin barons, and made ready an army to conquer his inheritance. Foremost among his local partisans appeared Henry's stepfather.

The French army met at Tours on June 24, 1224, and marched through Thouars to La Rochelle, the strongest of the Poitevin towns, and the most devoted to England. On the way Louis forced Savary de Mauléon to yield up Niort, and to promise to defend no other place than La Rochelle, before which city he sat down on July 15. At first Savary resisted vigorously. The siege of Bedford, however, prevented the despatch of effective help from England, and Savary was perhaps already secretly won over by Louis. Be this as it may, the town surrendered on August 3, and with it went all Aquitaine north of the Dordogne. Savary took service with the conqueror, and was made warden of La Rochelle and of the adjacent coasts, while Lusignan received the reward of his treachery in a grant of the Isle of Oléron. When Louis returned to the north, the Count of La Marche undertook the conquest of Gascony. He soon made himself master of St. Emilion, and of the whole of Périgord. The surrender of La Réole opened up the passage of the Garonne, and the capture of Bazas gave the French a foothold to the south of that river. Only the people of Bordeaux showed any spirit in resisting Hugh. But their resistance proved sufficient, and he withdrew baffled before their walls.

The easiness of Louis' conquests showed their instability. "I am sure," wrote one of Henry's officers, "that you can easily recover all that you have lost, if you send speedy succour to these regions." After the capture of Bedford, Hubert undertook the recovery of Poitou and the defence of Gascony. Henry's younger brother Richard, a youth of sixteen, was appointed Earl of Cornwall and Count of Poitou, dubbed knight by his brother, and put in nominal command of the expedition despatched to Gascony in March, 1225. His experienced uncle, William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, and Philip of Aubigny, were sent with him as his chief counsellors. Received with open arms by Bordeaux, he boasted on May 2 that he had conquered all Gascony, save La Réole, and had received the allegiance of every Gascon noble, except Elie Rudel, the lord of Bergerac. The siege of La Réole, the only serious military operation of the campaign, occupied Richard all the summer and autumn, and it was not until November 13 that the burgesses opened their gates. As soon as the French had retired, the lord of Bergerac, "after the fashion of the Poitevins," renounced Louis and professed himself the liegeman of Earl Richard. Then the worst trouble was that Savary de Mauléon's ships commanded the Bay of Biscay, and rendered communication between Bordeaux and England very difficult.1 Once more the men of the Cinque Ports came to the king's aid, and there was severe fighting at sea, involving much plunder of merchant vessels and dislocation of trade.

1 The names of his familia taken with him are in Patent Rolls of Henry III., 1216-1227, pp. 461-62.
The English sought to supplement their military successes by diplomacy. Richard of Cornwall made an alliance with the counts of Auvergne, and the home administration negotiated with all possible enemies of the French King. A proposal to affiance Henry's sister, Isabella, to Henry, King of the Romans, the infant son of Frederick II., led to no results, for the Archbishop of Cologne, the chief upholder of the scheme in Germany, was murdered, and the young king found a bride in Austria. Yet the project counteracted the negotiations set on foot by Louis to secure Frederick II. for his own side, and induced the Emperor to take up a position of neutrality. An impostor appeared in Flanders who gave out that he was the old Count Baldwin, sometime Latin Emperor of the East, who had died in prison in Bulgaria twenty years before. Baldwin's daughter, Joan, appealed to Louis for support against the false Baldwin, whereupon Henry recognised his claims and sought his alliance. Nothing but the capture and execution of the impostor prevented Henry from effecting a powerful diversion in Flanders. Peter Mauclerc, Count of Brittany, was won over by an offer of restitution to his earldom of Richmond, and by a promise that Henry would marry his daughter Iolande. Intrigues were entered into with the discontented Norman nobles, and the pope was importuned to save Henry from French assaults at the same moment that the king made a treaty of alliance with his first cousin, the heretical Raymond VII. of Toulouse. Honorius gave his ward little save sympathy and good advice. His special wish was to induce Louis to lead a French expedition into Languedoc against the Albigensian heretics. As soon as Louis resolved on this, the pope sought to prevent Henry from entering into unholy alliance with Raymond. It was the crusade of 1226, not the good-will of the Pope or the fine-drawn English negotiations, which gave Gascony a short respite. Louis VIII. died on November 8 in the course of his expedition, and the Capetian monarchy became less dangerous during the troubles of a minority, in which his widow, Blanche, strove as regent to uphold the throne of their little son, Louis IX.

The first months of Louis IX.'s reign showed how unstable was any edifice built upon the support of the treacherous lords of Poitou. Within six weeks of Louis VIII.'s death, Hugh of Lusignan, the viscount of Thouars, Savary de Mauléon, and many other Poitevin barons, concluded treaties with Richard of Cornwall, by which in return for lavish concessions they went back to the English obedience. In the spring of 1227, however, the appearance of a French army south of the Loire caused these same lords to make fresh treaties with Blanche. Peter of Brittany also became friendly with the French regent, and gave up his daughter's English marriage. With allies so shifty, further dealings seemed hopeless. Before Easter, Richard patched up a truce and went home in disgust. The Capetians lost Poitou, but Henry failed to take advantage of his rival's weakness, and the real masters of the situation were the local barons. Fifteen more years were to elapse before the definitive French conquest of Poitou.

During the next three years the good understanding between the Bretons, the Poitevins, and the regent Blanche came to an end, and the progress of the feudal reaction against the rule of the young King of France once more excited hopes of improving Henry's position in south-western France. Henry III. was eager to win back his inheritance, though Hubert de Burgh had little faith in Poitevin promises, and, conscious of his king's weakness, managed to prolong the truce, until July 22, 1229. Three months before that, Blanche succeeded in forcing the unfortunate Raymond VII. to accept the humiliating treaty of Meaux, which assured the succession to his dominions to her second son Alfonse, who was to marry his daughter and heiress, Joan. The barons of the north and west were not yet defeated, and once more appealed to Henry to come to their aid. Accordingly, the English king summoned his vassals to Portsmouth on October 15 for a French campaign. When Henry went down to Portsmouth he found that there were not enough ships to convey his troops over sea. Thereupon he passionately denounced the justiciar as an "old traitor," and accused him of being bribed by the French queen. Nothing but the intervention of Randolph of Chester, Hubert's persistent enemy, put an end to the undignified scene.

Count Peter of Brittany, who arrived at Portsmouth on the 9th, did homage to Henry as King of France, and received the earldom of Richmond and the title of Duke of Brittany which he had long coveted, but which the French government refused to recognise. He persuaded Henry to postpone the expedition until the following spring. When that time came Henry appointed Ralph Neville, the chancellor, and Stephen Segrave, a rising judge, as wardens of England, and on May 1, 1230, set sail from Portsmouth. It was the first time since 1213 that an English king had crossed the seas at the head of an army, and every effort was made to equip a sufficient force. Hubert the justiciar, Randolph of Chester, William the marshal, and most of the great barons personally shared in the expedition, and the ports of the Channel, the North Sea, and the Bay of Biscay were ransacked to provide adequate shipping. Many Norman vessels served as transports, apparently of their owners' free-will.

On May 3 Henry landed at St. Malo, and thence proceeded to Dinan, the meeting-place assigned for his army, the greater part of which landed at Port Blanc, a little north of Tréguier. Peter Mauclerc joined him, and a plan of operations was discussed. The moment was favourable, for a great number of the French magnates were engaged in war against Theobald, the poet-count of Champagne, and the French army, which was assembled at Angers, represented but a fraction of the military strength of the land. Fulk Paynel, a Norman baron who wished to revive the independence of the duchy, urged Henry to invade Normandy. Hubert successfully withstood this rash proposal, and also Fulk's fatal suggestion that Henry should divide his army and send two hundred knights for the invasion of Normandy. Before long the English marched through Brittany to Nantes, where they wasted six weeks. At last, on the advice of Hubert, they journeyed south into Poitou. The innate Poitevin instability had again brought round the Lusignans, the house of Thouars, and their kind to the French side, and Henry found that his own mother did her best to obstruct his progress. He was too strong to make open resistance safe, and his long progress from Nantes to Bordeaux was only once checked by the need to fight his way. This opposition came from the little town and castle of Mirambeau, situated in Upper Saintonge, rather more than half-way between Saintes and Blaye.1 From July 21 to 30 Mirambeau stoutly held out, but Henry's army was reinforced by the chivalry of Gascony, and by a siege-train borrowed from Bordeaux and the loyal lords of the Garonne. Against such appliances of warfare Mirambeau could not long resist. On its capitulation Henry pushed on to Bordeaux.

1 E. Berger, Bibl. Ecole des Chartes, 1893, pp. 35-36, shows that Mirambeau, not Mirebeau, was besieged by Henry; see also his Blanche de Castille (1895).
Useless as the march through Poitou had been, it was then repeated in the reverse way. With scarcely a week's rest, Henry left the Gascon capital on August 10, and on September 15 ended his inglorious campaign at Nantes. Although he was unable to assert himself against the faithless Poitevins, the barons of the province were equally impotent to make head against him. On reaching Brittany, Hubert once more stopped further military efforts. After a few days' rest at Nantes, Henry made his way by slow stages through the heart of Brittany. It was said that his army had no better occupation than teaching the local nobles to drink deep after the English fashion. The King had wasted all his treasure, and the poorer knights were compelled to sell or pawn their horses and arms to support themselves. The farce ended when the King sailed from St. Pol de Leon, and late in October landed at Portsmouth. He left a portion of his followers in Brittany, under the Earls of Chester and Pembroke. Randolph himself, as a former husband of Constance of Brittany, had claims to certain dower lands which appertained to Count Peter's mother-in-law. He was put in possession of St. James de Beuvron, and thence he raided Normandy and Anjou. By this time the coalition against the count of Champagne had broken down, and Blanche was again triumphant. It was useless to continue a struggle so expensive and disastrous, and on July 4, 1231, a truce for three years was concluded between France, Brittany, and England. Peter des Roches, then returning through France from his crusade, took an active part in negotiating the treaty. Just as the king was disposed to make the justiciar the scapegoat of his failure, Hubert's old enemy appeared once more upon the scene. The responsibility for blundering must be divided among the English magnates, and not ascribed solely to their monarch. If Hubert saved Henry from reckless adventures, he certainly deserves a large share of the blame for the Poitevin fiasco.

The grave situation at home showed the folly of this untimely revival of an active foreign policy. The same years that saw the collapse of Henry's hopes in Normandy and Poitou, witnessed troubles both in Ireland and in Wales. In both these regions the house of the Marshals was a menace to the neighbouring chieftains, and Hugh de Lacy, Earl of Ulster, and Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, made common cause against it and vigorously attacked their rivals both in Leinster and in South Wales. Nor was this the only disturbance. The summons of the Norman chieftains of Ireland to Poitou gave the king of Connaught a chance of attacking the justiciar of Ireland, Geoffrey Marsh, who ultimately drove the Irish back with severe loss. Llewelyn was again as active and hostile as ever. Irritated by the growing strength of the new royal castle of Montgomery, he laid siege to it in 1228. Hubert de Burgh, then castellan of Montgomery, could only save his castle by summoning the levies of the kingdom. At their head Hubert went in person to hold the field against Llewelyn, taking the king with him. The Welsh withdrew as usual before a regular army, and Hubert and the king, late in September, marched a few miles westwards of Montgomery to the vale of Kerry, where they erected a castle. But Llewelyn soon made the English position in Kerry untenable. Many of the English lords were secretly in league with him, and the army suffered severely from lack of food. In the fighting that ensued the Welsh got the better of the English, taking prisoner William de Braose, the heir of Builth, and one of the greatest of the marcher lords. At last king and justiciar were glad to agree to demolish the new castle on receiving from Llewelyn the expenses involved in the task. The dismantled ruin was called "Hubert's folly". "And then," boasts the Welsh chronicler, "the king returned to England with shame."

In 1230 Llewelyn inflicted another slight upon his overlord. William de Braose long remained the Welsh prince's captive, and only purchased his liberty by agreeing to wed his daughter to Llewelyn's son, and surrendering Builth as her marriage portion. The captive had employed his leisure in winning the love of Llewelyn's wife, Joan, Henry's half-sister. At Easter, Llewelyn took a drastic revenge on the adulterer. He seized William in his own castle at Builth, and on May 2 hanged him on a tree in open day in the presence of 900 witnesses. Finding that neither the king nor the marchers moved a finger to avenge the outrage done to sister and comrade, Llewelyn took the aggressive in regions which had hitherto been comparatively exempt from his assaults. In 1231 he laid his heavy hand on all South Wales, burning down churches full of women, as the English believed, and signalling out for special attack the marshal's lands in Gwent and Pembroke. Once more the king penetrated with his barons into Mid Wales, while the pope and archbishop excommunicated Llewelyn and put his lands under interdict. Yet neither temporal nor spiritual arms were of avail against the Welshman. Henry's only exploit in this, his second Welsh campaign, was to rebuild Maud's Castle in stone. He withdrew, and in December agreed to conclude a three years' truce, and procure Llewelyn's absolution. Hubert once more bore the blame of his master's failure.

On July 9, 1228, Stephen Langton died. Despite their differences as to the execution of the charters, his removal lost the justiciar a much-needed friend. Affairs were made worse by the unteachable folly of the monks of Christ Church. Regardless of the severe warning which they had received in the storms that preceded the establishment of Langton's authority, the chapter forthwith proceeded to the election of their brother monk, Walter of Eynsham. The archbishop-elect was an ignorant old monk of weak health and doubtful antecedents, and Gregory IX. wisely refused to confirm the election. On the recommendation of the king and the bishops, Gregory himself appointed as archbishop Richard, chancellor of Lincoln, an eloquent and learned secular priest of handsome person, whose nickname of "le Grand" was due to his tall stature. The first Archbishop of Canterbury since the Conquest directly nominated by the pope—for even in Langton's case there was a form of election—Richard le Grand at once began to quarrel with the justiciar, demanding that he should surrender the custody of Tunbridge castle on the ground of some ancient claim of the see of Canterbury. Failing to obtain redress in England, Richard betook himself to Rome in the spring of 1231. There he regaled the pope's ears with the offences of Hubert, and of the worldly bishops who were his tools. In August, Richard's death in Italy left the Church of Canterbury for three years without a pastor.

While Gregory IX. did more to help Henry against Louis than Honorius III., the inflexible character and lofty hierarchical ideals of this nephew of Innocent III. made his hand heavier on the English Church than that of his predecessor. Above all, Gregory's expenses in pursuing his quarrel with Frederick II. made the wealth of the English Church a sore temptation to him. With his imposition of a tax of one-tenth on all clerical property to defray the expenses of the crusade against the emperor, papal taxation in England takes a newer and severer phase. The rigour with which Master Stephen, the pope's collector, extorted the tax was bitterly resented. Not less loud was the complaint against the increasing numbers of foreign ecclesiastics forced into English benefices by papal authority, and without regard for the rights of the lawful patrons and electors. A league of aggrieved tax-payers and patrons was formed against the Roman agents. At Eastertide, 1232, bands of men, headed by a knight named Robert Twenge, who took the nickname of William Wither, despoiled the Romans of their gains, and distributed the proceeds to the poor. These doings were the more formidable from their excellent organisation, and the strong sympathy everywhere extended to them. Hubert, who hated foreign interference, did nothing to stop Twenge and his followers. His inaction further precipitated his ruin. Archbishop Richard had already poisoned the pope's mind against him, and his suspected connivance with the anti-Roman movement completed his disfavour. Bitter letters of complaint arrived in England denouncing the outrages inflicted on the friends of the apostolic see. It is hard to dissociate the pope's feeling in this matter from his rejection of the nomination of the king's chancellor, Ralph Neville, Bishop of Chichester, to the see of Canterbury, as an illiterate politician.

The dislike of the taxes made necessary by the Welsh and French wars, such as the "scutage of Poitou" and the "scutage of Kerry," swelled the outcry against the justiciar. So far back as 1227 advantage had been taken of Henry's majority to exact large sums of money for the confirmation of all charters sealed during his nonage. The barons made it a grievance that his brother Richard was ill-provided for, and a rising in 1227 extorted a further provision for him from what was regarded as the niggardliness of the justiciar. Nor did Hubert, with all his rugged honesty, neglect his own interests. He secured for himself lucrative wardships, such as the custody for the second time of the great Gloucester earldom, and of several castles, including the not very profitable charge of Montgomery, and the important governorship of Dover. On the very eve of his downfall he was made justice of Ireland. His brother was bishop of Ely, and other kinsmen were promoted to high posts. He was satisfied that he spent all that he got in the King's service, in promoting the interests of the kingdom, but his enemies regarded him as unduly tenacious of wealth and office. All classes alike grew disgusted with the justiciar. The restoration of the malign influence of Peter of Winchester completed his ruin. The king greedily listened to the complaints of his old guardian against the minister who overshadowed the royal power. At last, on July 29, 1232, Henry plucked up courage to dismiss him.

With Hubert's fall ends the second period of Henry's reign. William Marshal expelled the armed foreigner. Hubert restored the administration to English hands. Matthew Paris puts into the mouth of a poor smith who refused to fasten fetters on the fallen minister words which, though probably never spoken, describe with sufficient accuracy Hubert's place in history: "Is he not that most faithful Hubert who so often saved England from the devastation of the foreigners and restored England to England?" Hubert was, as has been well said, perhaps the first minister since the Conquest who made patriotism a principle of policy, though it is easy in the light of later developments to read into his doings more than he really intended. But whatever his motives, the results of his action were clear. He drove away the mercenaries, humbled the feudal lords, and set limits to the pope's interference. He renewed respect for law and obedience to the law courts. Even in the worst days of anarchy the administrative system did not break down, and the records of royal orders and judicial judgments remain almost as full in the midst of the civil war as in the more peaceful days of Hubert's rule. But it was easy enough to issue proclamations and writs. The difficulty was to get them obeyed, and the work of Hubert was to ensure that the orders of king and ministers should really be respected by his subjects. He made many mistakes. He must share the blame of the failure of the Kerry campaign, and he was largely responsible for the sorry collapse of the invasion of Poitou. He neither understood nor sympathised with Stephen Langton's zeal for the charters. A straightforward, limited, honourable man, he strove to carry out his rather old-fashioned conception of duty in the teeth of a thousand obstacles. He never had a free hand, and he never enjoyed the hearty support of any one section of his countrymen. Hated by the barons whom he kept away from power, he alienated the Londoners by his high-handed violence, and the tax-payers by his heavy exactions. The pope disliked him, the aliens plotted against him, and the king, for whom he sacrificed so much, gave him but grudging support. But the reaction which followed his retirement made many, who had rejoiced in his humiliation, bitterly regret it.

Three notable enemies of Hubert went off the stage of history within a few months of his fall. The death of Richard le Grand has already been recorded. William Marshal, the brother-in-law of the king, the gallant and successful soldier, the worthy successor of his great father, came home from Brittany early in 1231. His last act was to marry his sister, Isabella, to Richard of Cornwall. Within ten days of the wedding his body was laid beside his father in the Temple Church at London. In October, 1232, died Randolph of Blundeville, the last representative of the male stock of the old line of the Earls of Chester, and long the foremost champion of the feudal aristocracy against Hubert. The contest between them had been fought with such chivalry that the last public act of the old earl was to protect the fallen justiciar from the violence of his foes. For more than fifty years Randolph had ruled like a king over his palatine earldom; had, like his master, his struggles with his own vassals, and had perforce to grant to his own barons and boroughs liberties which he strove to wrest from his overlord for himself and his fellow nobles. He was not a great statesman, and hardly even a successful warrior. Yet his popular personal qualities, his energy, his long duration of power, and his enormous possessions, give him a place in history. His memory, living on long in the minds of the people, inspired a series of ballads which vied in popularity with the cycle of Robin Hood,1 though, unfortunately, they have not come down to us. His estates were divided among his four sisters. His nephew, John the Scot, Earl of Huntingdon, received a re-grant of the Chester earldom; his Lancashire lands had already gone to his brother-in-law, William of Ferrars, Earl of Derby; other portions of his territories went to his sister, the Countess of Arundel, and the Lincoln earldom, passing through another sister, Hawise of Quincy, to her son-in-law, John of Lacy, constable of Chester, raised the chief vassal of the palatinate to comital rank. None of these heirs of a divided inheritance were true successors to Randolph. With him died the last of the great Norman houses, tenacious beyond its fellows, and surpassing in its two centuries of unbroken male descent the usual duration of the medieval baronial family. Its collapse made easier the alien invasion which threatened to undo Hubert's work.

1 "Ich can rymes of Robyn Hode, and of Randolf erl of Chestre," Vision of Piers Plowman, i., 167; ii., 94.


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