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The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
The French And Scottish Wars And The Confirmation Of The Charters
by Tout, T.F. (M.A.)


Troubles arose between France and England soon after Edward had settled the Scottish succession. Neither Edward nor Philip the Fair sought a conflict. Edward was satisfied with his diplomatic successes, and Philip's designs upon Gascony were better pursued by chicane than by warfare. But questions arose of a different kind from the disputes as to feudal right, which had been hitherto the principal matters in debate between the two crowns.

There had long been keen commercial rivalry between the Cinque Ports and the traders of Normandy. The sailors of Bayonne and other Gascon harbours had associated themselves with the English against the Normans, and both sides loudly complained to their respective rulers of the piracies and homicides committed by their enemies. Edward and Philip did what they could to smooth over matters, but were alike unable to prevent their subjects flying at each other's throats. The story spread that a Norman ship was to be seen in the Channel with' English sailors and dogs hanging suspended from her yard-arms: "And so," says Hemingburgh, "they sailed over the sea, making no difference between a dog and an Englishman". Indignation at this outrage drove the English to act together in large organised squadrons. The French adopted the same tactics, and a collision soon ensued. On May 15, 1293, an Anglo-Gascon merchant fleet encountered a Norman fleet off Saint Mahe in Brittany. A pitched battle, probably prearranged, at once ensued. It ended in a complete victory for the less numerous English squadron, which immediately returned to Portsmouth, laden with booty.

Even after this, Edward strove to keep the peace, and endeavoured to exact compensation from his subjects. They answered with a highly coloured narrative of the dispute which threw the whole blame upon the Normans. Philip, changing his policy, took up his subjects' cause, and summoned Edward to answer in January, 1294, before the Parliament of Paris for the piracy exercised by his mariners, the misdeeds of his Gascon subjects, and the violent measures taken by his officers against any who appealed to the court of Paris. Edward sent his brother, Edmund, to reply for him. As Count of Champagne and the step-father of Philip's wife, Joan, Edmund seemed a peculiarly acceptable negotiator. After long debates, the personal intervention of the French queen, and Philip's step-mother, Mary of Brabant, resulted in an agreement being arranged. The overlord's grievances could not be denied, and it was urged that the formal surrender of part of Gascony might be made by way of recognising them. French garrisons were therefore to be admitted into six Gascon strongholds; twenty Gascon hostages were to be delivered over to Philip, while the seisin of the duchy was also to be transferred to the French king, who pledged himself not to change the officials nor to occupy the land in force. The whole business was in fact to be as formal as the delivery of the seisin of Scotland to Edward during the suit for the succession. Meanwhile, Edward and Philip were to arrange a meeting at Amiens to settle the conditions of a permanent peace, by which Edward was to take Philip's sister, Margaret, as his second wife, and the Gascon duchy was to be settled upon the offspring of the union. That Edward or Edmund should ever have contemplated such terms is a strong proof of their zeal for peace. It soon became clear that Edmund had been outrageously duped, and that the whole negotiation was a trick to secure for Philip the permanent possession of Gascony. The constable of France appeared on the Aquitanian frontier. The English seneschal surrendered the six castles and the seisin of the land. Gradually the French king began to take actual possession of the government. Moreover, after three months, the proceedings against Edward in the parliament of Paris were resumed; Edward was declared contumacious on the ground of his non-appearance, and sentence of forfeiture was passed.

Philip's treachery was thus manifest? and in great disgust Edmund withdrew from France. Edward was deeply indignant. In a parliament, held in June, 1294, which was attended by the King of Scots, war was resolved upon. The feudal tenants were summoned to assemble at Portsmouth on September 1; and Edward appealed for help to his Gascon subjects, beseeching their pardon for having negotiated the fatal treaty, and promising a speedy effort to restore them to his obedience. He sent them his nephew, John of Brittany, as his lieutenant and captain-general, under whom John of St. John was to act as seneschal of Gascony. Ambassadors were despatched to all neighbouring courts to build up a coalition against the French. Strenuous efforts were made to get together men and money, and the clergy were forced to make a grant of a half of their spiritual income. Edward overbore their opposition amidst a scene of excitement in which the Dean of St. Paul's fell dead at the king's feet. The shires were mulcted of a tenth and the boroughs of a sixth. And besides these constitutional exactions, the king laid violent hands on all the coined money deposited in the treasuries of the churches, and appropriated the wool of the merchants, which he only restored on the payment of a heavy pecuniary redemption. Meanwhile, about Michaelmas the lieutenant and the seneschal sailed with a fairly strong force. Further levies were summoned to assemble at Portsmouth at later dates. Besides the ordinary tenants of the crown, writs were sent to the chief magnates of Ireland and Scotland; and Wales and its march were called upon to furnish all the men that could be mustered. The Earls of Cornwall and Lincoln were appointed to the command, and Edward himself proposed to follow them to Gascony as soon as he could.

At the moment of the departure of John of Brittany a sudden insurrection in Wales frustrated Edward's plans. All Wales was ripe for revolt. In the principality the Cymry resented English rule, and the sulky marchers stood aloof in sullen discontent, while their native tenants, seeing in the recent humiliation of Gloucester and Hereford the degradation of all their lords, lost respect for such powerless masters. Both in the principality and in the marches, Edward's demand for compulsory service in Gascony was universally regarded as a new aggression. The intensity of the resistance to his demand can be measured by the general nature of the insurrection, and by the admirable way in which it was organised. As by a common signal all Wales rose at Michaelmas, 1294. One Madog, probably a bastard son of Llewelyn, son of Griffith, raised all Gwynedd, took possession of Carnarvon castle, and closely besieged the other royal strongholds. In west Wales a chieftain named Maelgwn was equally successful in Carmarthen and Cardigan. The marches were in arms equally with the principality. In the north, Lincoln's tenants in Rhos and Rhuvoniog besieged Denbigh, and threatened the king's fortresses in Flint. Maelgwn's sphere of operations included the earldom of Pembroke, while Brecon rose against Hereford, and Glamorgan against Gilbert of Gloucester. Morgan, the leader of the Glamorganshire rebels, loudly declared that he did not rebel against the king but against the Earl of Gloucester. With the beginning of winter the state of Wales was more critical than in the worst times of the winter of 1282.

Edward postponed his attack on Philip in order to throw all his energies into the reduction of Wales. The levies assembled at Portsmouth for the Gascon expedition were hurried beyond the Severn. The king held another parliament and exacted a fresh supply. Criminals were offered pardon and good wages, if they would serve, first in Wales and then in Gascony. Before Christmas about a thousand men-at-arms were mustered at various border centres under the royal standards, while every marcher lord was busily engaged in putting down his own rebels. Before so great a force the Welsh could do but little, and the spring saw the extinction of the rebellion. But there was hard fighting both in the south and in the north. Edward himself undertook the reconquest of Gwynedd. He was at Conway before the end of the year, and in his haste he threw himself into the town while the mass of his army remained on the right bank of the river. High tides and winter floods made the crossing of the stream impossible, and for a short time the king was actually besieged by the rebels. Conway was unprepared for resistance and almost destitute of supplies. The garrison thought it a terrible hardship that they had to live on salt meat and bread, and to drink water mixed with honey. They were encouraged by Edward refusing to taste better fare than his troopers, and declining to partake of the one small measure of wine reserved for his use. William Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, conveyed his troops across the estuary and raised the siege. Yet the insurgents were still able to fight a pitched battle. About January 22, 1295, Warwick found the Welsh established in a strong position in a plain between two woods. They had fixed the butts of their lances into the ground, hoping thus to resist the shock of a cavalry charge. Improving on the tactics of Orewyn bridge, the earl stationed between his squadrons of knights, archers and crossbowmen, whose missiles inflicted such loss on the Welsh lines that the cavalry soon found it safe to charge. The Welsh were utterly broken, and never in a single day did they suffer such enormous losses. Even more important than its results in breaking the back of Madog's insurrection, this battle of Maes Madog—or Madog's field, as the Welsh called the place of their defeat—is of the highest importance in the development of infantry tactics. The order of the victorious force strikingly anticipates the great battles in Scotland and France of a later generation. In obscure fights, like Orewyn bridge and Maes Madog, the English learnt the famous battle array which was to overwhelm the Scots in the later years of Edward's reign and prepare the way for the triumphs of Crecy and Poitiers.

Madog still held out, and with the advent of spring, 1295, Edward began to hunt him from his lairs. Gwynedd was cleared of the enemy and Anglesey was reconquered. Carnarvon castle arose from its ruins in the stately form that we still know, while on the Anglesey side of the Menai the new stronghold of Beaumaris arose, to ensure the subjection of the granary of Gwynedd. In May Edward felt strong enough to undertake a progress in South Wales. After receiving the submissions of the rebels of Cardigan and Carmarthen, he won back for the lords of Brecon and Glamorgan the lands which, without his help, they had been unable to conquer. The Welsh chieftains were leniently treated. While Madog was imprisoned in the Tower, Morgan was at once set at liberty. By July Edward was able to leave Wales. Yet his triumph had taxed all his resources, and left him, overwhelmed with debt, to face the irritation of subjects unaccustomed to such demands upon their loyalty and patriotism. But nothing broke his dauntless spirit, and once more he busied himself in obtaining revenge on the false King of France.

It was inevitable that the Welsh war should have reduced to slender proportions the expedition of John of Brittany and John of St. John for the recovery of Gascony. After a tedious voyage the English expedition sailed up the Gironde late in October, 1294. Their forces, strong enough to capture Bourg and Blaye, were not sufficient to attack Bordeaux. Leaving the capital in the hands of its conquerors, the English sailed past Bordeaux to Rioms, where they disembarked. The small towns of the neighbourhood were taken and garrisoned, and the Gascon lords began to flock to the camp of their duke. Before long the army was large enough to be divided. John of Brittany remained at Rioms, while John of St. John marched overland to Bayonne. The French garrison was unable to overpower the enthusiasm of the Bayonnais for Edward, and the capture of the second town of Gascony was the greatest success attained by the invaders. With the spring of 1295, however, Charles of Valois, brother of the King of France, was sent to operate against John of Brittany. The English and Gascons found themselves unable to make head against him. There was ill-feeling between the two nations that made up the army, and also between the nobly-born knights and men-at-arms and the foot soldiers. The infantry mutinied, and John of Brittany fled by night down the river from Rioms, leaving many of his knights and all his horses and armour in the town. Next day Rioms opened its gates to Charles of Valois, who gained immense spoils and many distinguished prisoners. Save for the capture of Bayonne, the expedition had been a disastrous failure.

Edward failed even more signally in his efforts to defeat Philip by diplomacy. He had left no effort unspared to build up a great coalition against the French king. He "sent a great quantity of sterling money beyond the sea," and made alliances with all the princes and barons that he could find.1 At first it seemed that he had succeeded. Adolf of Nassau, the poor and dull, but strenuous and hard-fighting King of the Romans, concluded a treaty with England, and did not think it beneath the dignity of the lord of the world to take the pay of the English monarch. Many vassals of the empire, especially in the Netherlands, the Rhineland, and Burgundy followed Adolf's example. Edward strengthened his party further by marrying three of his daughters to the Duke of Brabant, the son of the Count of Holland, and the Count of Bar as the price of their adherence to the coalition. He made closer his ancient friendship with Guy of Dampierre, the old Count of Flanders, by betrothing Edward of Carnarvon to his daughter Philippine. At the same time he sought the friendship of the lords of the Pyrenees, such as the Count of Foix, and of the kings of the Spanish peninsula. But nothing came of the hopes thus excited, save fair promises and useless expenditure. Before long Philip of France was able to build up a French party in appearance as formidable-in reality as useless as Edward's attempted confederation. Edward's most important ally, Guy of Flanders, was forced to renounce his daughter's marriage to the heir of England and hand her over to Philip's custody. The time was not yet come for effective European coalitions; the real fighting had to be done by the parties directly interested in the quarrel.

1 See a contemporary notice printed by F. Funck-Brentano in Revue Historique, xxxix. (1889), pp. 329-30.
The command of the sea continued to be a vital question. The Norman sailors were eager to avenge their former defeats, and Philip saw that the best way to preserve his hold over Gascony was to be master of the Channel and the Bay of Biscay. Edward prepared to meet attack by establishing an organisation of the English navy which marks an epoch in the history of our admiralty. He divided the vessels told off to guard the sea into three classes, and set over each a separate admiral. John of Botecourt was made admiral of the Yarmouth and eastern fleet; William of Leyburn was set over the navy at Portsmouth; and the western and Irish squadron was put under a valiant knight of Irish origin. Meanwhile the French planned an invasion of England, and promised James of Aragon that, when England was conquered, its king should be considered his personal prize. Galleys were hired at Marseilles and Genoa for service in the Channel, and Sir Thomas Turberville, a Glamorganshire knight captured at Rioms, turned traitor and was restored to England in the hope that he might obtain the custody of some seaport and betray it to the enemy. Turberville strove in vain to induce Morgan to head another revolt in Glamorgan, and urged upon Philip the need of an alliance with the Scots. At last the invasion was attempted, and the French admiral, Matthew of Montmorenci, sacked and burnt the town of Dover. Luckily, however, Turberville's treason was discovered, and the Yarmouth fleet soon avenged the attack on Dover by burning Cherbourg. In the face of such resistance, Philip IV. abandoned his plan of invasion and tried to establish a sort of "continental blockade" of English ports in which a modern writer has seen an anticipation of the famous dream of Napoleon.1 Though nothing came of these grandiose schemes, yet the efforts made to organise invasion had their permanent importance as resulting in the beginnings of the French royal navy. As late as 1297 a Genoese was appointed admiral of France in the Channel, and strongly urged the invasion of England and its devastation by fire and flame. But the immediate result of Philip's efforts to cut off England from the continent was that his Flemish allies found in his policy a new reason for abandoning his service. On January 7, 1297, a fresh treaty of alliance between Edward and Guy, Count of Flanders, was concluded.

1 See for this Jourdain, Mémoire sur les Commencements de la Marine française sous Philippe le Bel (1880), and C. de la Roncière, Le Blocus continental de l'Angleterre sous Philippe le Bel in Revue des Questions historiques, lx. (1896), 401-41.
More effective than Philip's efforts to combine the Continent against the English were his endeavours to stir up opposition to Edward in Britain. The Welsh rising of 1294 had taken place independently of him, but it was not Philip's fault that Morgan did not once more excite Glamorgan to rebellion. A better opening for intrigue was found in Scotland. Ever since the accession of John Balliol, there had been appeals from the Scottish courts to those of Edward. Certain suits begun under the regency, which had acted in Edward's name from 1290 to 1292, gave the overlord an opportunity of inserting the thin end of the wedge; and it looked as if, after a few years, appeals from Edinburgh to London would be as common as appeals from Bordeaux to Paris. But whatever were the ancient relations of England and Scotland, it is clear that the custom of appeals to the English king had never previously been established. It was no wonder then that what seemed to Edward an inevitable result of King John's submission, appeared to the Scots an unwarrantable restriction of their independence.

The weakness and simplicity of King John left matters to take their course for a time, but the king, who was not strong enough to stand up against Edward, was not the man to resist the pressure of his own subjects. On his return from the London parliament of June, 1294, the Scots barons virtually deposed him. A committee was set up by parliament consisting of four bishops, four earls, and four barons which, though established professedly on the model of the twelve peers of France, had a nearer prototype in the fifteen appointed under the Provisions of Oxford. To this body the whole power of the Scottish monarchy was transferred, so that John became a mere puppet, unable to act without the consent of his twelve masters. Under this new government the relations of England and Scotland soon became critical. The Scots denied all right of appeal to the English courts, and expelled from their country the nobles whose possessions in England gave them a greater interest in the southern than in the northern kingdom. Among the dispossessed barons was Robert Bruce, son of the claimant, by marriage already Earl of Carrick, and now by his father's recent death lord of Annandale. In defiance of Edward's prohibition the Scots received French ships, and subjected English traders at Berwick to many outrages. At last, on July 5, 1295, an alliance was signed between Scotland and France, by which Edward Balliol, the eldest son of King John, was betrothed to Joan, the eldest daughter of Charles of Valois, the brother of the French king. On this, Edward demanded the surrender of three border castles, and on the refusal of the Scots, cited John to appear at Berwick on March 1, 1296. Thus, by a process similar to that which had embroiled Edward with his French overlord, the King of Scots also was forced to face the alternative of certain war or humiliating surrender.

To Edward a breach with Scotland was unwelcome. In 1294 the Welsh had prevented him using all his power against France, and in 1295 the Scots troubles further postponed his prospects of revenge. But no suggestion of compromise or delay came from him. On his return to London early in August, 1295, he busied himself with preparing to resist the enemies that were gathering around him on every side. It was the moment of the raid on Dover, and the French question was still the more pressing. In a parliament of magnates at London, Edmund of Lancaster told the story of his Paris embassy with such effect that two cardinal-legates, whom the new pope, Boniface VIII., had sent in the hope of making peace, were put off politely, on the ground that Edward could make no treaty without the consent of his ally, the King of the Romans. Edmund was appointed commander of a new expedition to Gascony, though his weak health delayed his departure. Meanwhile Edward called upon every class of his subjects to co-operate with him in his defence of the national honour. He was statesman enough to see that he could only cope with the situation, if England as a whole rallied round him. His best answer to the Scots and the French was the convention of the "model parliament" of November, 1295.

The deep political purpose with which this parliament was assembled is reflected even in the formal language of the writs. "Inasmuch as a most righteous law of the emperors," wrote Edward, "ordains that what touches all should be approved by all, so it evidently appears that common dangers should be met by remedies agreed upon in common. You know well how the King of France has cheated me out of Gascony, and how he still wickedly retains it. But now he has beset my realm with a great fleet and a great multitude of warriors, and proposes, if his power equal his unrighteous design, to blot out the English tongue from the face of the earth." To avert this peril, Edward summoned not only a full and representative gathering of magnates, but also two knights from every shire and two burgesses from every borough. Moreover, the lower clergy were also required to take part in the assembly, the archdeacons and deans in person, the clergy of every cathedral church by one proctor, the beneficed clerks of each diocese by two proctors. Thus the assembly became so systematic a representation of the three estates' that after ages have regarded it as the type upon which subsequent popular parliaments were to be modelled. This gathering marks the end of the parliamentary experiments of the earlier part of the reign. It met on November 27, and each estate, deliberating separately, contributed its quota to the national defence. The barons and knights offered an eleventh, and the boroughs a seventh. It was a bitter disappointment to Edward that the clergy could not be induced to make a larger grant than a tenth. Enough, however, was obtained to equip the two armies which, in the spring of 1296, were to operate against the French and the Scots.

The Gascon expedition was the first to start. Early in March, 1296, Edmund of Lancaster, accompanied by the Earl of Lincoln, landed at Bourg and Blaye. John of St. John was still maintaining himself in that district as well as at Bayonne. On the appearance of the reinforcements the Gascon lords began to flock to the English camp, and a large force was at once able to take the field. On March 28 an attempt was made to capture Bordeaux by a sudden assault. On its failure Edmund, who did not possess the equipment necessary for a formal siege, sailed up the river to Saint-Macaire and occupied the town. But the castle held out gallantly, and after a three weeks' siege Edmund retired to his original position on the lower Gironde. Even there he found difficulty in holding his own, and before long shifted his quarters to Bayonne. He had exhausted his resources, and found that his army could not be kept together without pay. "Thereupon," writes Hemingburgh, "his face fell and he sickened about Whitsuntide. So with want of money came want of breath too, and after a few days he went the way of all flesh." Lincoln, his successor, managed still to stand his ground against Robert of Artois. At last Artois made a successful night attack upon the English, captured St. John, and destroyed all his war-train and baggage. The darkness of the night and the shelter of the neighbouring woods alone saved the English army from total destruction. "After this," boasted William of Nangis, "no Englishman or Gascon dared to go out to battle against the Count of Artois and the French." At Easter, 1297, a truce was concluded which left nearly all Gascony in French hands.

Soon after the departure of his brother for Gascony, Edward went to war against the Scots, regarding the non-appearance of King John on March 1 at Berwick as a declaration of hostility. The lord of Wark offered to betray his castle to the Scots, and Edward's successful effort to save it first brought him to the Tweed. Meanwhile the men of Annandale under their new lord, the Earl of Buchan, engaged in a raid on Carlisle, but failed to capture the city, and speedily returned home. On March 28, the day on which his brother attacked Bordeaux, Edward crossed the Tweed at Coldstream, and marched down its left bank towards Berwick. On March 30 Berwick was captured. The townsmen fought badly, and the heroes of the resistance were thirty Flemish merchants, who held their factory, called the Red Hall, until the building was fired, and the defenders perished in the flames. The garrison of the castle, commanded by Sir William Douglas, laid down their arms at once.

Edward spent a month in Berwick, strengthening the fortifications of the town, and preparing for an invasion of Scotland. Early in April, King John renounced his homage and, immediately afterwards, the Scots lords who had attacked Carlisle devastated Tynedale and Redesdale, penetrating as far as Hexham. Edward's command of the sea made it impossible for the raiders to cut off his communications with his base, and they quickly returned to their own land, where they threw themselves into Dunbar. Though the lord of Dunbar, Patrick, Earl of March, was serving with the English king, his countess, who was at Dunbar, invited them into the fortress. Dunbar blocked the road into Scotland, and Edward sent forward Earl Warenne with a portion of the army in the hope of recapturing the position. Warenne laid siege to Dunbar, but on the third day, April 27, the main Scots army came to its relief. Leaving some of the young nobles to continue the siege, Warenne drew up his army in battle array. The Scots thought that the English were preparing for flight, and rushed upon them with loud cries and blowing of horns. Discovering too late that the enemy was ready for battle, they fell back in confusion as far as Selkirk Forest. Next day Edward came up from Berwick and received the surrender of Dunbar. Henceforth his advance was but a military promenade.

Edward turned back from Dunbar to receive the submission of the Steward of Scotland at Roxburgh, and to welcome a large force of Welsh infantry, whose arrival enabled him to dismiss the English foot, fatigued with the slight effort of a month's easy campaigning. Thence he made his way to Edinburgh, which yielded after an eight days' siege. Stirling castle, the next barrier to his progress, was abandoned by its garrison, and there Edward was reinforced by some Irish contingents. He then advanced to Perth, keeping St. John's feast on June 24 in St. John's own town. On July 10 Balliol surrendered to the Bishop of Durham at Brechin, acknowledging that he had forfeited his throne by his rebellion. Edward continued his triumphal progress, preceded at every stage by Bishop Bek at the head of the warriors of the palatinate of St. Cuthbert. He made his way through Montrose up the east coast to Aberdeen, and thence up the Don and over the hills to Banff and Elgin, the farthest limit of his advance. He returned by a different route, bringing back with him from Scone the stone on which the Scots kings had been wont to sit at their coronation. This he presented as a trophy of victory to the monks of Westminster, where it was set up as a chair for the priest celebrating mass at the altar over against the shrine of St. Edward, though soon used as the coronation seat of English kings.

In less than five months Edward had conquered a kingdom. On August 22 he was back at Berwick, whither he had summoned a parliament of the nobles and prelates of both kingdoms, in order that the work of organising the future government of Scotland might be completed. Meanwhile a crowd of Scots of every class flocked to the victor's court and took oaths of fealty to him. Their names, along with those of the persons who made similar recognitions of his sovereignly during his Scottish progress, were recorded with notarial precision in one of those formal documents with which Edward delighted to mark the stages in the accomplishment of his task. This record, popularly styled the Ragman Roll, containing the names of about two thousand freeholders and men of substance in Scotland, is of extreme value to the Scottish genealogist and antiquary.1 The last entries are dated August 28, the day on which Edward met his parliament at Berwick. The administration of Scotland was provided for. John, Earl Warenne, became the king's lieutenant, Hugh Cressingham, treasurer, and William Ormesby, justiciar. When the land was subdued Edward showed a strong desire to treat the people well. The only precaution taken by him against the renewal of disturbances was an order that the former King of Scots, John Comyn of Buchan, John Comyn of Badenoch, and other magnates of the patriotic party were to dwell in England, south of the Trent, until the conclusion of the war with France. As soon as his business was accomplished at Berwick, Edward turned his steps southwards. At last he seemed free to lead a great army against Philip the Fair; and, in order to prepare for the French expedition, he summoned another parliament to meet at Bury St. Edmunds on the morrow of All Souls' day, November 3. At Bury the barons, knights, and burgesses made liberal offerings for the war. But a new difficulty arose in the absolute refusal of the clergy to vote any supplies. Once more the cup of hope was dashed from Edward's lips, and he found himself forced to enter into another weary conflict, this time with his English liegemen.

1 It is printed by the Bannatyne Club, and summarised in Cal. Doc. Scot., ii., 193-214.
So long as Peckham had lived, there had always been a danger of a conflict between Church and State. Friar John had ended his restless career in 1292, and Edward showed natural anxiety to secure as his successor a prelate more amenable to the secular authority and more national in his sentiments. The papacy remained vacant after the death of Nicholas IV. in 1292, so that there was no danger of Rome taking the appointment into its own hands, and the happy accident, which had given the monks of Christchurch a statesmanlike prior in Henry of Eastry, minimised the chances of a futile conflict between the king and the canonical electors. Eastry took care that the archbishop-elect should be a person acceptable to the sovereign. Robert Winchelsea, the new primate, was an Englishman and a secular clerk, who had taught with distinction at Paris and Oxford, but had received no higher ecclesiastical promotion than the archdeaconry of Essex and a canonry of St. Paul's, and was mainly conspicuous for the sanctity of his life, his ability as a preacher, and his zeal for making the cathedral of London a centre of theological instruction. The vacancy in, the papacy forced upon the archbishop-elect a wearisome delay of eighteen months in Italy; but at last in September, 1294, he received consecration and the pallium from the newly elected hermit-pope, Celestine V. Winchelsea on his return strove to show that a secular archbishop could be as austere in life, and as zealous for the rights of Holy Church, as his mendicant predecessors. His desire to walk in the steps of Peckham soon brought him into conflict with the king, and in this conflict he showed an appreciation of the political situation, and a power of interpreting English opinion, which made him the most formidable of Edward's domestic opponents. He gained his first victory in the parliament of 1295 by preventing the clergy from making a larger grant than a tenth. But this triumph sank into insignificance as compared with the refusal of all aid by the parliament of Bury.

A change in the papacy immensely strengthened Winchelsea's position against Edward. In December, 1294, Celestine, overpowered with the burden of an office too heavy for his strength, made his great renunciation and sought to resume his hermit life. The Cardinal Benedict Gaetano was at once elected his successor and took the style of Boniface VIII. The son of a noble house of the neighbourhood of Anagni, a canonist, a politician, and a zealot, the new pope had made personal acquaintance with Edward and England from having attended Cardinal Ottobon on his English legation, and was eager to appease discord between Christian princes in order to forward the crusade. He hated war the more because it was largely waged with the money drawn from the clergy, and was indignant that the custom of taxing the Church, which was begun under the guise of crusading tenths, had become so frequent that both Philip and Edward applied it in order to raise revenue from ecclesiastics for frankly secular warfare. Within a few weeks of his accession he despatched two cardinals to mediate peace between the Kings of France and England, and was disgusted at the long delays with which both kings had sought to frustrate his intervention. On February 29, 1296, Boniface issued his famous bull Clericis laicos, in which he declared it unlawful for any lay authority to exact supplies from the clergy without the express authority of the apostolic see. Princes imposing, and clerics submitting to such exactions were declared ipso facto excommunicate.

Boniface's contention had been urged by his predecessors, and it is improbable that he sought to do more than assert the ancient law of the Church and save the clergy all over the Latin world from exactions which were fast becoming intolerable. His object was quite general, though a pointed reference to the extortions of Edward in 1294 showed that he had the case of England before his mind. He had no wish to throw down the gauntlet to the princes of Christendom, or to quarrel with Edward and Philip, between whom he was still conducting negotiations. It was his misfortune that he was constantly forced to face fresh conditions which rendered it almost possible to apply the ancient doctrines. Strong national kings, like Edward and Philip, had already shown impatience with such traditions of the Church as limited their temporal authority. The pope's untimely restatement of the theories of the twelfth century at once involved him in his first fierce difference with Philip the Fair, and put him into a position in which he could only win peace by explaining away the doctrine of Clericis laicos. While on the continent the conflict of Church and State took the form of a dispute between the French king and the papacy, in England it assumed the shape of a struggle between Edward and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In November, 1296, at Bury, Winchelsea admitted the justice of the French war, but pleaded the pope's decretal as an absolute bar to any grant from the clerical estate. No decision was arrived at, and the problem was discussed again in the convocation of Canterbury in January, 1297. "We have two lords over us," declared the archbishop to his clergy, "the king and the pope; and, although we owe obedience to both of these, we owe greater obedience to our spiritual than to our temporal lord." All that they could do was to entreat the pope's permission to allow them to pay Cæsar that which Cæsar by himself had no right to demand. Edward burst into a fury on hearing of this new pretext for delay. He declared that the clergy must pay a fifth, under penalty of his withdrawing his protection from a body which strove to stand outside the commonwealth. The clergy remained firm, and separated without making any grant. Thereupon, on January 30, the chief justice, John of Metingham, sitting in Westminster Hall, pronounced the clergy to be outlays. "Henceforth," he declared, "there shall be no justice meted out to a clerk in the court of the lord king, however atrocious be the injury from which he may have suffered. But sentence against a clerk shall be given at the instance of all who have a complaint against him." Winchelsea retaliated by publishing the sentence of excommunication against violators of the papal bull. Two days later the king ordered the sheriffs to take possession of the lay fees held by clerks in the province of Canterbury. A few ecclesiastics, who privately made an offering of a fifth, were alone exempted from this command.

Edward's conflict with the Church was followed within a month by a dispute of almost equal gravity with a section of the barons. He summoned a baronial parliament to assemble on February 24 at Salisbury, and went down in person to explain his plan of campaign. One force was to help his new ally, Guy of Flanders, while another was to act in Gascony. Edward himself was to accompany the army to Flanders. He requested some of the earls, including Norfolk and Hereford, to fight for him in Gascony. The deaths of Edmund of Lancaster, Gilbert of Gloucester, and William of Pembroke had robbed the baronage of its natural leaders. Earl Warenne was fully engaged in the north, and Lincoln was devoted to the king's side. The removal of other possible spokesmen made Norfolk and Hereford the champions of the party of opposition. For years the friends of aristocratic authority had been smarting under the growing influence of the crown. The time was ripe for a revival of the baronial opposition which a generation earlier had won the Provisions of Oxford. Moreover both the earls had personal slights to avenge. Hereford bitterly resented the punishment meted out to him for waging private war against Earl Gilbert in the march. Norfolk was angry because, during the last Welsh campaign, Edward had suspended him from the exercise of the marshalship. The form of Edward's request at Salisbury gave them a technical advantage which they were not slow to seize. Ignoring the broader issues which lay between them and the king, they took their stand on their traditional rights as constable and marshal to attend the king in person. "Freely," declared the earl marshal, "will I go with thee, O king, and march before thee in the first line of thy army, as my hereditary duty requires." Edward answered: "Thou shalt go without me along with the rest to Gascony". The marshal replied: "I am not bound to go save with thee, nor will I go". Edward flew into a passion: "By God, sir earl, thou shalt either go or hang". Norfolk replied with equal spirit: "By that same oath, sir king, I will neither go nor hang". The parliament broke up in disorder. Before long a force of 1,500 men-at-arms gathered together under the leadership of the constable and marshal.

During these stormy times Edward had been straining every nerve to equip an adequate army for foreign service. Once more he laid violent hands upon the wool and hides of the merchants, while a huge male—tolt, varying from forty shillings a sack for raw wool to sixty-six shillings and eightpence a sack for carded wool, was exacted for such wool as the king's officers suffered to remain in the owner's possession. Moreover, vast stores of wheat, barley, and oats, salt pork and salt beef were requisitioned all over the land. Men said that the king's tyranny could no longer be borne, and that the rights decreed to all Englishmen by the Great Charter were in imminent danger. The movement, which had begun as a defence of feudal right, became a popular revolt in favour of national liberty. The commons joined the barons and clergy in the general opposition to the headstrong king.

Edward saw that he must divide his enemies if he wished to effect his purpose. The clergy were the easiest to deal with. Boniface VIII. was already yielding in his struggle against Philip the Fair. In the bull, Romana mater of February 2, 1297, he had authorised voluntary contributions of the French clergy in the case of pressing necessity, without previous recourse to the permission of the apostolic see. The same attitude had already been taken up by the royalist clergy in England, who redeemed their outlawry by offering to the king the fifth of their revenues. In March Edward made things easier for the recalcitrants by suspending the edict confiscating the lay fees of the Church. Even Winchelsea saw the wisdom of abandoning his too heroic attitude. In a convocation, held on March 24, he practically applied the doctrine of Romana mater to the English situation. "Let each man," he declared, "save his own soul and follow his own conscience. But my conscience does not allow me to offer money for the king's protection or on any other pretext." In the event nearly all the clergy bought off the king's wrath by the voluntary payment of a fifth. Winchelsea was obdurate. His estates remained for five months in the king's hands, and he was forced, like another St. Francis, to depend on the charity of the faithful. But even Winchelsea did not hold out indefinitely. On July 14 he was publicly reconciled with the king outside Westminster Hall, and a few days later his goods were restored. On July 31 Boniface entirely receded from the doctrine of Cleritis laicos in the bull Etsi de statu. Before this could be known in England, Winchelsea told his clergy that the king had agreed to confirm the Great Charter, if they would but make a grant to carry on the French war. A little later Edward of his own authority exacted a third from all clerical revenues. This persistence in his highhanded policy made any real reconciliation between Edward and Winchelsea impossible. The king never forgave the archbishop, whose action demonstrated to all England the divided allegiance of his clergy between their two masters. Winchelsea still retained his profound distrust of the king, who had set at naught the liberties of Church and realm.

The baronial opposition was broken up by devices not dissimilar to those which neutralised the antagonism of the clergy. By strenuous efforts Edward obtained a fair sum of money for his expenses. He let it be understood that, if he took his subjects' wool, the talleys given in exchange would be redeemed when better times had arrived, and he scrupulously paid for the corn and meat that his officers had requisitioned. Meanwhile he summoned all possible fighting men from England, Wales, and Ireland to meet at London on July 7. The prospect of subjects of the crown being forced, whatsoever their feudal obligations might be, to wage war beyond sea, threatened to provoke a fresh crisis. But after many long altercations, Edward announced that neither the feudal tenants nor the twenty-pound freeholders had any legal obligation to go with him to Flanders, and offered pay to all who were willing to hearken to his "affectionate request" for their services. Under these conditions a considerable force of stipendiaries was levied without much difficulty.

Hereford and Norfolk abandoned active in favour of passive hostility. They refused to serve as constable and marshal, and Edward appointed barons of less dignity and greater loyalty to act in their place. While all England was busy with the equipment of troops and the provision of supplies, they sullenly held aloof. At last, when all was ready, Edward issued an appeal to his subjects, protesting the purity of his motives, and emphasising the inexorable necessity under which he was forced to play the tyrant in the interests of the whole realm. By the beginning of August such barons as were willing to go to Flanders began to assemble in arms at London. The young Edward of Carnarvon was appointed regent during his father's absence, and among the councillors who were to act in his name was the Archbishop of Canterbury. At last the king set off to embark at Winchelsea. While there, the earls presented to him a belated list of grievances. He refused to deal with their demand for the confirmation of the charters. "My full council," he declared to the envoys of the earls, "is not with me, and without it I cannot reply to your requests. Tell those who have sent you that, if they will come with me to Flanders, they will please me greatly. If they will not come, I trust they will do no harm to me, or at any rate to my kingdom." On August 24 he took ship for Flanders, and a few days later he and his troops safely landed at Sluys, whence they made their way to Ghent. Nearly a thousand men-at-arms and a great force of infantry, largely Welsh and Irish, swelled the expedition to considerable proportions. After all his troubles, Edward found that the loyalty of his subjects enabled him to carry out the ideal which he had formulated two years before. King and nation were to meet common dangers by action undertaken in common.

Everything else was ruthlessly sacrificed in order that the king might take an army to Flanders. The Gascon expedition was quietly dropped. But the gravest difficulty arose not from Gascony but Scotland. Edward's choice of agents to carry out his Scottish policy had been singularly unhappy. Warenne, the governor, was a dull and lethargic nobleman more than sixty-six years of age. He complained of the bad climate of Scotland, and passed most of his time on his Yorkshire estates. In his absence Cressingham, the treasurer, and Ormesby, the justiciar, became the real representatives of the English power. Cressingham was a pompous ecclesiastic, who appropriated to his own uses the money set aside for the fortification of Berwick, and was odious to the Scots for his rapacity and incompetence. Ormesby was a pedantic lawyer, rigid in carrying out the king's orders but stiff and unsympathetic in dealing with the Scots. Under such rulers Scotland was neither subdued nor conciliated. No real effort was made to track to their hiding-places in the hills the numerous outlaws, who had abandoned their estates rather than take an oath of fealty to Edward. When the English governors took action, they were cruel and indiscriminating; and often too were lax and careless. Matters soon became serious. William Wallace of Elderslie slew an English official in Clydesdale, and threw in his lot with the outlaws. He was joined by Sir William Douglas, the former defender of Berwick. By May, 1297, Scotland was in full revolt. In the north, Andrew of Moray headed a rising in Strathspey. In central Scotland the justiciar barely escaped capture, while holding his court at Scone. The south-west, the home both of Wallace and Douglas, proved the most dangerous district. There the barons, imitating Bohun and Bigod, based their opposition to Edward on his claim upon their compulsory service in the French wars. Before long the son of the lord of Annandale, Robert Bruce, now called Earl of Carrick, Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, and other magnates were in arms, and in close association with Douglas and Wallace.

Edward made light of this rebellion. Resolved to go to Flanders at all costs, he contented himself with calling upon the levies of the shires north of the Trent to protect his interests in Scotland. Early in July, Henry Percy, Warenne's grandson, rode through south-western Scotland, at the head of the Cumberland musters, and on July 7, the local insurgent leaders, with the exception of Wallace, made their submission to him at Irvine. Moreover, Edward released the two Comyns from their veiled imprisonment, and sent them back to Scotland to help in suppressing the insurrection. Henry Percy boasted that the Scots south of the Forth had been reduced to subjection. But a few days later Wallace was found to be strongly established in Ettrick forest and was threatening Roxburgh. At last Edward stirred up Warenne to return to his government. The king took the precaution of leaving some of his best warriors in England in case their services were needed against the recalcitrant barons or the Scots. Then, as has been said, on August 24 he crossed over to Flanders.

The constable and marshal were still in arms, and Winchelsea, who, in spite of his reconciliation with Edward, was in close communication with them, declined to take an active part on the council of regency. Two days before Edward took ship, Hereford and Norfolk appeared in arms at the exchequer at Westminster, and forbade the officials to continue the collection of supplies, until the Great Charter and the Charter of the Forest had been confirmed. They strove to win the support of the Londoners, who had long had a grievance against Edward for depriving them of their right to elect their own mayor, and for subjecting the city to the arbitrary rule of a warden nominated by the crown. They forbade their followers to commit acts of violence, but they made it clear that there could be no peace until the charters were confirmed.

In August, Warenne grappled with the Scottish rising, but his own incompetence, and the half-heartedness of the Scottish magnates, on whom he relied, made his task very difficult. Wallace retreated beyond the Forth, and Warenne reached Stirling on September 10 in pursuit of him. He learnt that Wallace was holding the wooded heights, immediately to the north of Stirling bridge on the left bank of the Forth, not far from the abbey of Cambuskenneth. The Steward of Scotland, who, after the collapse of the revolt in the south-west, served under Warenne, offered his mediation. But no good result came from his action, and the English suspected treachery. Wallace took up a bold attitude, scorning either compromise or retreat. He had only a small following of cavalry, but his infantry was numerous and enthusiastic. The English resolved to attack him on September 11. The Forth at Stirling was crossed by a long wooden bridge, so narrow that only two horsemen could pass abreast. It was madness to send an army over the river by such a means in the face of a watchful enemy. But not only was the English plan of battle foolish it was also carried out weakly. Warenne overslept himself, and his subordinates wasted the early morning in useless discussions and altercations. When at last he woke up, he rejected the advice of a Scottish knight to send part of his cavalry over the river by a ford which thirty horsemen could traverse abreast, and ordered all his troops to cross by the bridge.

Wallace, seeing that the enemy had delivered themselves into his hands, remained in the woods until a fair proportion of the English men-at-arms had made their way over the stream. He then suddenly swooped down upon the bridge, cutting off the retreat of those who had traversed it, and blocking all possibility of reinforcement. After a short fight the English to the north of the Forth were cut down almost to a man. The English on the Stirling side, seeing the fate of their comrades, fled in terror, and their Scots allies went over to their country men. Among the slain was the greedy Cressingham, whose skin the Scots tanned into leather. Warenne did not draw rein until he reached Berwick, and in one day all Scotland was lost. The castles of Roxburgh and Berwick alone upheld the English flag. Wallace and Moray governed all Scotland as "generals of the army of King John". Within a few weeks of their victory, they raided the three northern counties of England.

Wallace had freed Scotland, but his wonderful success taught the contending factions in England the plain duty of union against the common enemy. A new parliament of the three estates was summoned for September 30. The opposition leaders came armed, and declared that there could be no supply of men or money until their demand for the confirmation of the charters was granted. No longer content with simple confirmation, they drew up, in the form of a statute, a petition requiring that no tallage or aid should henceforth be taken without the assent of the estates. This was the so-called statutum de tallagio non concedendo which seventeenth-century parliaments and judges erroneously accepted as a statute. The helpless regency substantially accepted their demands, and, on October 12, issued a confirmation of the charters, to which fresh clauses were added, providing, with less generality than in the baronial request, that no male-tolts, or such manner of aids as had recently been extorted, should be imposed in the future without the common consent of all the realm, but making no reference to tallage.1 Liberal supplies were then voted by all the three estates, and Winchelsea, who all through these proceedings acted as the brain of the baronage, exerted himself to explain away the last of the clerical difficulties raised by the Clericis laicos.

1 The Latin, Articuli inserti in magna carta, given by Hemingburgh, ii., 152, is quoted as a statute in the Petition of Right of 1628, under the title De tallagio non concedendo. The view of its relation to the French Confirmatio cartavum is that taken by M. Bémont, Chartes des libertés anglaises, especially pp. xliii., xliv. and 87. It is based on Bartholomew Cotton's nearly contemporary statement (Hist. Angl., p. 337).
On November 5 the king ratified, at Ghent, the action of his son's advisers. Thus the constitutional struggle was ended by the complete triumph of the baronial opposition. And the victory was the more signal, because it was gained not over a weak king, careless of his rights, but over the strongest of the Plantagenets, greedy to retain every scrap of authority. It is with good reason that the Confirmation of the Charters of 1297 is reckoned as one of the great turning points in the history of our constitution. Its provisions sum up the whole national advance which had been made since Gualo and William the marshal first identified the English monarchy with the principles wrested from John at Runnymede. In the years that immediately followed, it might well seem that the act of 1297, like the submission of John, was only a temporary expedient of a dexterous statecraft which consented with the lips but not with the heart. But in later times, when the details of the struggle were forgotten and the noise of the battle over, the event stood out in its full significance. Edward had been willing to take the people into partnership with him when he thought that they would be passive partners, anxious to do his pleasure. He was taught that the leaders of the people were henceforth to have their share with the crown in determining national policy. Common dangers were still to be met by measures deliberated in common, but the initiative was no longer exclusively reserved to the monarch. The sordid pedantry of the baronial leaders and the high-souled determination of the king compel our sympathy for Edward rather than his enemies. But all that made English history what it is, was involved in the issue, and the future of English freedom was assured when the obstinacy of the constable and marshal prevailed over the resolution of the great king.

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