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


With the dismissal of Hubert on July 29, 1232, Peter des Roches resumed his authority over Henry III. Mindful of past failures, the bishop's aim was to rule through dependants, so that he could pull the wires without making himself too prominent. His chief agents in pursuing this policy were Peter of Rivaux, Stephen Segrave, and Robert Passelewe. Of these, Peter of Rivaux was a Poitevin clerk, officially described as the bishop's nephew, but generally supposed to have been his son. Stephen Segrave, the son of a small Leicestershire landholder, was a lawyer who had held many judicial and administrative posts, including the regency during the king's absence abroad in 1230. He abandoned his original clerical profession, received knighthood, married nobly, and was the founder of a baronial house in the midlands. His only political principle was obedience to the powers that were in the ascendant. Passelewe, a clerk who had acted as the agent of Randolph of Chester and Falkes of Bréauté at the Roman court, was, like Segrave, a mere tool.

The Bishop of Winchester began to show his hand. Between June 26 and July 11, nineteen of the thirty-five sheriffdoms were bestowed on Peter of Rivaux for life. As Segrave was sheriff of five shires, and the bishop himself had acquired the shrievalty of Hampshire, this involved the transference of the administration of over two-thirds of the counties to the bishop's dependants. On the downfall of Hubert, Segrave became justiciar. He was not the equal of his predecessors either in personal weight or in social position, and did not aspire to act as chief minister. The appointment of a mere lawyer to the great Norman office of state marks the first stage in the decline, which before long degraded the justiciarship into a simple position of headship over the judges, the chief justiceship of the next generation. Hubert's offices and lands were divided among his supplanters. Peter of Rivaux became keeper of wards and escheats, castellan of many castles on the Welsh march, and the recipient of even more offices and wardships in Ireland than in England. The custody of the Gloucester earldom went to the Bishop of Winchester. The last steps of the ministerial revolution were completed at the king's Christmas court at Worcester. There Rivaux, who had yielded up before Michaelmas most of his shrievalties, was made treasurer, with Passelewe as his deputy. Of the old ministers only the chancellor, Ralph Neville, Bishop of Chichester, was suffered to remain in office. Finally the king's new advisers imported a large company of Poitevin and Breton mercenaries, hoping with their help to maintain their newly won position. The worst days of John seemed renewed.

The Poitevin gang called upon Hubert to render complete accounts for the whole period of his justiciarship. When he pleaded that King John had given him a charter of quittance, he was told that its force had ended with the death of the grantor. He was further required to answer for the wrongs which Twenge's bands had inflicted on the servants of the pope. He was accused of poisoning William Earl of Salisbury, William Marshal, Falkes de Bréauté, and Archbishop Richard. He had prevented the king from contracting a marriage with a daughter of the Duke of Austria; he had dissuaded the king from attempting to recover Normandy; he had first seduced and then married the daughter of the King of Scots; he had stolen from the treasury a talisman which made its possessor invincible in war and had traitorously given it to Llewelyn of Wales; he had induced Llewelyn to slay William de Braose; he had won the royal favour by magic and witchcraft, and finally he had murdered Constantine FitzAthulf.

Many of these accusations were so monstrous that they carried with them their own refutation. It was too often the custom in the middle ages to overwhelm an enemy with incredible charges for it to be fair to accuse the enemies of Hubert of any excessive malignity. The substantial innocence of Hubert is clear, for the only charges brought against him were either errors of judgment and policy, or incredible crimes. Nevertheless he was in such imminent danger that he took sanctuary with the canons of Merton in Surrey. Thereupon the king called upon the Londoners to march to Merton and bring their ancient foe, dead or alive, to the city. Randolph of Chester interposed between his fallen enemy and the royal vengeance. He persuaded Henry to countermand the march to Merton and to suffer the fallen justiciar to leave his refuge with some sort of safe conduct. But the king was irritated to hear that Hubert had journeyed into Essex. Again he was pursued, and once more he was forced to take sanctuary, this time in a chapel near Brentwood. From this he was dragged by some of the king's household and brought to London, where he was imprisoned in the Tower. The Bishop of London complained to the king of this violation of the rights of the Church, and Hubert was allowed to return to his chapel. However, the levies of Essex surrounded the precincts, and he was soon forced by hunger to surrender. He offered to submit himself to the king's will, and was for a second time confined in the Tower. On November 10, he was brought before a not unfriendly tribunal, in which the malice of the new justiciar was tempered by the baronial instincts of the Earls of Cornwall, Warenne, Pembroke, and Lincoln. He made no effort to defend himself, and submitted absolutely to the judgment of the king. It was finally agreed that he should be allowed to retain the lands which he had inherited from his father, and that all his chattels and the lands that he had acquired himself should be forfeited to the crown. Further, he was to be kept in prison in the castle of Devizes under the charge of the four earls who had tried him.

Peter des Roches was soon in difficulties. The earls who had saved Hubert began to oppose the whole administration. Their leader was Richard, Earl of Pembroke, the second son of the great regent, and since his brother's death head of the house of Marshal. Richard was bitterly prejudiced against the king and his courtiers by an attempt to refuse him his brother's earldom. A gallant warrior, handsome and eloquent, pious, upright, and well educated, Richard, the best of the marshal's sons, stood for the rest of his short life at the head of the opposition. He incited his friends to refuse to attend a council summoned to meet at Oxford, on June 24, 1233. The king would have sought to compel their presence, had not a Dominican friar, Robert Bacon, when preaching before the court, warned him that there would be no peace in England until Bishop Peter and his son were removed from his counsels. The friar's boldness convinced him that disaffection was widespread, and he promised the magnates at a later council at London that he would, with their advice, correct whatever he found there was need to reform. Meanwhile the Poitevins brought into England fresh swarms of hirelings from their own land, and Peter des Roches urged Henry to crush rebellion in the bud. As a warning to greater offenders, Gilbert Basset was deprived of a manor which he had held since the reign of King John, and an attempt was made to lay violent hands upon his brother-in-law, Richard Siward. The two barons resisted, whereupon all their estates were transferred to Peter of Rivaux. Yet Richard Marshal still continued to hope for peace, and, after the failure of earlier councils, set off to attend another assembly fixed for August 1, at Westminster. On his way he learnt from his sister Isabella, the wife of Richard of Cornwall, that Peter des Roches was laying a trap for him. In high indignation he took horse for his Welsh estates, and prepared for rebellion.

The king summoned the military tenants to appear with horses and arms at Gloucester on the 14th. There Richard Marshal was declared a traitor and an invasion of his estates was ordered. But the king had not sufficient resources to carry out his threats, and October saw the barons once more wrangling with Henry at Westminster, and claiming that the marshal should be tried by his peers. Peter of Winchester declared that there were no peers in England as there were in France, and that in consequence the king had power to condemn any disloyal subject through his justices. This daringly unconstitutional doctrine provoked a renewed outcry. The bishops joined the secular magnates, and threatened their colleague with excommunication. A formidable civil war broke out. Siward and Basset harried the lands of the Poitevins, while the marshal made a close alliance with Llewelyn of Wales. The king still had formidable forces on his side. Richard of Cornwall was persuaded by Bishop Peter to take up arms for his brother, and the two new earls, John the Scot of Chester, and John de Lacy of Lincoln, joined the royal forces. Hubert de Burgh took advantage of the increasing confusion to escape from Devizes castle to a church in the town. Dragged back with violence to his prison, he was again, as at Brentwood, restored to sanctuary through the exertions of the bishop of the diocese. There he remained, closely watched by his foes, until October 30, when Siward and Basset drove away the guard, and took him off with them to the marshal's castle of Chepstow.

The tide of war flowed to the southern march of Wales. Llewelyn and Richard Marshal devastated Glamorgan, which, as a part of the Gloucester inheritance, was under the custody of the Bishop of Winchester. They took nearly all its castles, including that of Cardiff. Thence they subdued Usk, Abergavenny, and other neighbouring strongholds, while an independent army, including the marshal's Pembrokeshire vassals and the men of the princes of South Wales, wasted months in a vain attack on Carmarthen. The king's vassals were again summoned to Gloucester, whence Henry led them early in November towards Chepstow, the centre of the marshal's estates in Gwent. Earl Richard devastated his lands so effectively that the king could not support his army on them, and was compelled to move up the Wye valley towards the castles of Monmouth, Skenfrith, Whitecastle, and Grosmont, the strong quadrilateral of Upper Gwent which still remained in the hands of the king's friends. Marching to the most remote of these, Grosmont, on the upper Monnow, Henry spent several days in the castle, while his army lay around under canvas. On the night of November 11, the sleeping soldiers were suddenly set upon by the barons and their Welsh allies; they fled unarmed to the castle, or scattered in confusion. The assailants seized their horses, harness, arms and provisions, but refrained from slaying or capturing them. The royal forces never rallied. Many gladly went home, giving as their excuse that they were unable to fight since they had lost their equipment. Henry and his ministers withdrew to Gloucester. More convinced than ever of the treachery of Englishmen, the king entrusted the defence of the border castles to mercenaries from Poitou.

The fighting centred round Monmouth, which Richard approached on the 25th with a small company. A sudden sortie almost overwhelmed the little band. The marshal held his own heroically against twelve, until at last Baldwin of Guînes, the warden of the castle, took him prisoner. Thereupon Baldwin fell to the ground, his armour pierced by a lucky bolt from a crossbow. His followers, smitten with panic, abandoned the marshal, and bore their leader home. By that time, however, the bulk of the marshal's forces had come upon the scene. A general engagement followed, in which the Anglo-Welsh army drove the enemy back into Monmouth and took possession of the castle. This set the marshal free to march northwards and join Llewelyn in a vigorous attack upon Shrewsbury. In January, 1234, they burnt that town and retired to their own lands loaded with booty. Meanwhile Siward devastated the estates of the Poitevins and of Richard of Cornwall. Afraid to be cut off from his retreat to England the king abandoned Gloucester, where he had kept his melancholy Christmas court, and found a surer refuge in Bishop Peter's cathedral city. Thereupon Gloucestershire suffered the fate of Shropshire. "It was a wretched sight for travellers in that region to see on the highways innumerable dead bodies lying naked and unburied, to be devoured by birds of prey, and so polluting the air that they infected healthy men with mortal sickness."1

1 Wendover, iv., 291.
The king swore that he would never make peace with the marshal, unless he threw himself on the royal mercy as a confessed traitor with a rope round his neck. Having, however, exhausted all his military resources, he cunningly strove to entice Richard from Wales to Ireland. The two Peters wrote to Maurice Fitzgerald, then justiciar of Ireland, and to the chief foes of the marshal, urging them to fall upon his Irish estates and capture the traitor, dead or alive. Many of the most powerful nobles of Ireland lent themselves to the conspiracy. The Lacys of Meath, his old enemies, joined with Fitzgerald, Geoffrey Marsh, and Richard de Burgh, the greatest of the Norman lords of Connaught, and the nephew of Hubert, in carrying out the plot. The confederates fell suddenly upon the marshal's estates and devastated them with fire and sword. On hearing of this attack Richard immediately left Wales, and, accompanied by only fifteen knights, took ship for Ireland. On his arrival Geoffrey Marsh, the meanest of the conspirators, received him with every profession of cordiality, and urged him to attack his enemies without delay. Geoffrey was an old man; he had long held the great post of justiciar of Ireland; and he was himself the liegeman of the marshal. Richard therefore implicitly trusted him, and forthwith took the field.

The first warlike operations of Earl Richard were successful. After a short siege he obtained possession of Limerick, and his enemies were fain to demand a truce. Richard proposed a conference to be held on April 1, 1234, on the Curragh of Kildare. The conference proved abortive, for Geoffrey Marsh cunningly persuaded the marshal to refuse any offer of terms which the magnates would accept, and Richard found that he had been duped into taking up a position that he was not strong enough to maintain. Marsh withdrew from his side, on the ground that he could not fight against Lacy, whose sister he had married. The marshal foresaw the worst. "I know," he declared, "that this day I am delivered over to death, but it is better to die honourably for the cause of justice than to flee from the field and become a reproach to knighthood."

The forsworn Irish knights slunk away to neighbouring places of sanctuary or went over to the enemy. When the final struggle came, later on the same April 1, Richard had few followers save the faithful fifteen knights who had crossed over with him from Wales. The little band, outnumbered by more than nine to one, struggled desperately to the end. At last the marshal, unhorsed and severely wounded, fell into the hands of his enemies. They bore him, more dead than alive, to his own castle of Kilkenny, which had just been seized by the justiciar. After a few days Richard's tough constitution began to get the better of his wounds. Then his enemies, showing him the royal warranty for their acts, induced him to admit them into his castles. An ignorant or treacherous surgeon, called in by the justiciar, cauterised his wounds so severely that his sufferings became intense. He died of fever on the 16th, and was buried, as he himself had willed, in the Franciscan church at Kilkenny. No one rejoiced at the death of the hero save the traitors who had lured him to his doom and the Poitevins who had suborned them. Their victim, the weak king, mourned for his friend as David had lamented Saul and Jonathan.1 The treachery of his enemies brought them little profit. While Richard Marshal lay on his deathbed, a new Archbishop of Canterbury drove the Poitevins from office.

1 Dunstable Ann., p. 137.
In the heyday of the Poitevins' power the Church sounded a feeble but clear note of alarm. The pope expostulated with Henry for his treatment of Hubert de Burgh, and Agnellus of Pisa, the first English provincial of the newly arrived Franciscan order, strove to reconcile Richard Marshal with his sovereign in the course of the South-Welsh campaign. More drastic action was necessary if vague remonstrance was to be translated into fruitful action. The three years' vacancy of the see of Canterbury, after the death of Richard le Grand, paralysed the action of the Church. After the pope's rejection of the first choice of the convent of Christ Church, the chancellor, Ralph Neville, the monks elected their own prior, and him also Gregory refused as too old and incompetent. Their third election fell upon John Blunt, a theologian high in the favour of Peter des Roches, who sent him to Rome, well provided with ready money, to secure his confirmation. Simon Langton, again restored to England, and archdeacon of Canterbury, persuaded the pope to veto Blunt's appointment on the ground of his having held two benefices without a dispensation. His rejection was the first check received by the Poitevin faction. It was promptly followed by a more crushing blow. Weary of the long delay, Gregory persuaded the Christ Church monks then present at Rome to elect Edmund Rich, treasurer of Salisbury. Edmund, a scholar who had taught theology and arts with great distinction at Paris and Oxford, was still more famous for his mystical devotion, for his asceticism and holiness of life. He was however an old man, inexperienced in affairs, and, with all his gracious gifts, somewhat wanting in the tenacity and vigour which leadership involved. Yet in sending so eminent a saint to Canterbury, Rome conferred on England a service second only to that which she had rendered when she secured the archbishopric for Stephen Langton.

Before his consecration as archbishop on April 2, 1234, Edmund had already joined with his suffragans on February 2 in upholding the good fame of the marshal and in warning the king of the disastrous results of preferring the counsels of the Poitevins to those of his natural-born subjects. A week after his consecration Edmund succeeded in carrying out a radical change in the administration. On April 9 he declared that unless Henry drove away the Poitevins, he would forthwith pronounce him excommunicate. Yielding at once, Henry sent the Bishop of Winchester back to his diocese, and deprived Peter of Rivaux of all his offices. The followers of the two Peters shared their fate, and Henry, despatching Edmund to Wales to make peace with Llewelyn and the marshal, hurried to Gloucester in order to meet the archbishop on his return. His good resolutions were further strengthened by the news of Earl Richard's death. On arriving at Gloucester he held a council in which the ruin of the Poitevins was completed. A truce, negotiated by the archbishop with Llewelyn, was ratified. The partisans of the marshal were pardoned, even Richard Siward being forgiven his long career of plunder. Gilbert Marshal, the next brother of the childless Earl Richard, was invested with his earldom and office, and Henry himself dubbed him a knight. Hubert de Burgh was included in the comprehensive pardon. Indignant that his name and seal should have been used to cover his ex-ministers' treachery to Earl Richard, Henry overwhelmed them with reproaches, and strove by his violence against them to purge himself from complicity in their acts. The Poitevins lurked in sanctuary, fearing for the worst. Segrave forgot his knighthood, resumed the tonsure, and took refuge in a church in Leicester. The king's worst indignation was reserved for Peter of Rivaux. Peter protested that his orders entitled him to immunity from arrest, but it was found that he wore a mail shirt under his clerical garments, and, without a word of reproach from the archbishop, he was immured in a lay prison on the pretext that no true clerk wore armour. Of the old ministers Ralph Neville alone remained in office.

With Bishop Peter's fall disappeared the last of the influences that had prevailed during the minority. The king, who felt his dignity impaired by the Poitevin domination, resolved that henceforward he would submit to no master. He soon framed a plan of government that thoroughly satisfied his jealous and exacting nature. Henceforth no magnates, either of Church or State, should stand between him and his subjects. He would be his own chief minister, holding in his own hands all the strings of policy, and acting through subordinates whose sole duly was to carry out their master's orders. Under such a system the justiciarship practically ceased to exist. The treasurership was held for short periods by royal clerks of no personal distinction. Even the chancellorship became overshadowed. Henry quarrelled with Ralph Neville in 1238, and withdrew from him the custody of the great seal, though he allowed him to retain the name and emoluments of chancellor. On Neville's death the office fell into abeyance for nearly twenty years, during which time the great seal was entrusted to seven successive keepers. Like his grandfather, Henry wished to rule in person with the help of faithful but unobtrusive subordinates. This system, which was essentially that of the French monarchy, presupposed for success the constant personal supervision of an industrious and strong-willed king. Henry III was never a strenuous worker, and his character failed in the robustness and self-reliance necessary for personal rule. The magnates, who regarded themselves as the king's natural-born counsellors, were bitterly incensed, and hated the royal clerks as fiercely as they had disliked the ministers of his minority. Opposed by the barons, distrusted by the people, liable to be thrown over by their master at each fresh change of his caprice, the royal subordinates showed more eagerness in prosecuting their own private fortunes than in consulting the interests of the State. Thus the nominal government of Henry proved extremely ineffective. Huge taxes were raised, but little good came from them. The magnates held sullenly aloof; the people grumbled; the Church lamented the evil days. Yet for five and twenty years the wretched system went on, not so much by reason of its own strength as because there was no one vigorous enough to overthrow it.

The author of all this mischief was a man of some noble and many attractive qualities. Save when an occasional outburst of temper showed him a true son of John, Henry was the kindest, mildest, most amiable of men. He was the first king since William the Conqueror in whose private life the austerest critics could find nothing blameworthy. His piety stands high, even when estimated by the standards of the thirteenth century. He was well educated and had a touch of the artist's temperament, loving fair churches, beautiful sculpture, delicate goldsmith's work, and richly illuminated books. He had a horror of violence, and never wept more bitter tears than when he learned how treacherously his name had been used to lure Richard Marshal to his doom. But he was extraordinarily deficient in stability of purpose. For the moment it was easy to influence him either for good or evil, but even the ablest of his counsellors found it impossible to retain any hold over him for long. One day he lavished all his affection on Hubert de Burgh; the next he played into the hands of his enemies. In the same way he got rid of Peter des Roches, the preceptor of his infancy, the guide of his early manhood. Jealous, self-assertive, restless, and timid, he failed in just those qualities that his subjects expected to find in a king. Born and brought up in England, and never leaving it save for short and infrequent visits to the continent, he was proud of his English ancestors and devoted to English saints, more especially to royal saints such as Edward the Confessor and Edmund of East Anglia. Yet he showed less sympathy with English ways than many of his foreign-born predecessors. Educated under alien influences, delighting in the art, the refinement, the devotion, and the absolutist principles of foreigners, he seldom trusted a man of English birth. Too weak to act for himself, too suspicious to trust his natural counsellors, he found the friendship and advice for which he yearned in foreign favourites and kinsmen. Thus it was that the hopes excited by the fall of the Poitevins were disappointed. The alien invasion, checked for a few years, was renewed in a more dangerous shape.

During the ten years after the collapse of Peter des Roches, swarms of foreigners came to England, and spoiled the land with the king's entire good-will. Henry's marriage brought many Provençals and Savoyards to England. The renewed troubles between pope and emperor led to a renewal of Roman interference in a more exacting form. The continued intercourse with foreign states resulted in fresh opportunities of alien influence. A new attempt on Poitou brought as its only result the importation of the king's Poitevin kinsmen. The continued close relationship between the English and the French baronage involved the frequent claim of English estates and titles by men of alien birth. Even such beneficial movements as the establishment of the mendicant orders in England, and the cosmopolitan outlook of the increasingly important academic class contributed to the spread of outlandish ideas. As wave after wave of foreigners swept over England, Englishmen involved them in a common condemnation. And all saw in the weakness of the king the very source of their power.

The first great influx of foreigners followed directly from Henry's marriage. For several years active negotiations had been going on to secure him a suitable bride. There had also at various times been talk of his selecting a wife from Brittany, Austria, Bohemia, or Scotland, and in the spring of 1235 a serious negotiation for his marriage with Joan, daughter and heiress of the Count of Ponthieu, only broke down through the opposition of the French court. Henry then sought the hand of Eleanor, a girl twelve years old, and the second of the four daughters of Raymond Berengar IV., Count of Provence, and his wife Beatrice, sister of Amadeus III., Count of Savoy. The marriage contract was signed in October. Before that time Eleanor had left Provence under the escort of her mother's brother, William, bishop-elect of Valence. On her way she spent a long period with her elder sister Margaret, who had been married to Louis IX. of France in 1234. On January 14, 1236, she was married to Henry at Canterbury by Archbishop Edmund, and crowned at Westminster on the following Sunday.

The new queen's kinsfolk quickly acquired an almost unbounded ascendency over her weak husband. With the exception of the reigning Count Amadeus of Savoy, her eight maternal uncles were somewhat scantily provided for. The prudence of the French government prevented them from obtaining any advantage for themselves at the court of their niece the Queen of France, and they gladly welcomed the opportunity of establishing themselves at the expense of their English nephew. Self-seeking and not over-scrupulous, able, energetic, and with the vigour and resource of high-born soldiers of fortune, several of them play honourable parts in the history of their own land, and are by no means deserving of the complete condemnation meted out to them by the English annalists.1 The bishop-elect of Valence was an able and accomplished warrior. He stayed on in England after accomplishing his mission, and with him remained his clerk, the younger son of a house of Alpine barons, Peter of Aigueblanche, whose cunning and dexterity were as attractive to Henry as the more martial qualities of his master. Weary of standing alone, the king eagerly welcomed a trustworthy adviser who was outside the entanglements of English parties, and made Bishop William his chief counsellor. It was believed that he was associated with eleven others in a secret inner circle of royal advisers, whose advice Henry pledged himself by oath to follow. Honours and estates soon began to fall thickly on William and his friends. He made himself the mouthpiece of Henry's foreign policy. When he temporarily left England, he led a force sent by the king to help Frederick II. in his war against the cities of northern Italy. His influence with Henry did much to secure for his brother, Thomas of Savoy, the hand of the elderly countess Joan of Flanders. With Thomas as the successor of Ferdinand of Portugal, the rich Flemish county, bound to England by so many political and economic ties, seemed in safe hands, and preserved from French influence. In 1238 Thomas visited England, and received a warm welcome and rich presents from the king.

1 For Eleanor's countrymen see Mugnier, Les Savoyards en Angleterre au XIIIe siècle, et Pierre d'Aigueblanche, évêque d'Héreford (1890).
Despite the establishment of the Savoyards, the Poitevin influence began to revive. Peter des Roches, who had occupied himself after his fall by fighting for Gregory IX. against the revolted Romans, returned to England in broken health in 1236, and was reconciled to the king. Peter of Rivaux was restored to favour, and made keeper of the royal wardrobe. Segrave and Passelewe again became justices and ministers. England was now the hunting-ground of any well-born Frenchmen anxious for a wider career than they could obtain at home.1 Among the foreigners attracted to England to prosecute legal claims or to seek the royal bounty came Simon of Montfort, the second son of the famous conqueror of the Albigenses. Amice, the mother of the elder Simon, was the sister and heiress of Robert of Beaumont, the last of his line to hold the earldom of Leicester. After Amice's death her son used the title and claimed the estates of that earldom. But these pretensions were but nominal, and since 1215 Randolph of Chester had administered the Leicester lands as if his complete property. However, Amaury of Montfort, the Count of Toulouse's eldest son, ceded to his portionless younger brother his claims to the Beaumont inheritance, and in 1230 Simon went to England to push his fortunes. Young, brilliant, ambitious and attractive, he not only easily won the favour of the king, but commended himself so well to Earl Randolph that in 1231 the aged earl was induced to relax his grasp on the Leicester estates. In 1239 the last formalities of investiture were accomplished. Amaury renounced his claims, and after that Simon became Earl of Leicester and steward of England. A year before that he had secured the great marriage that he had long been seeking. In January, 1238, he was wedded to the king's own sister, Eleanor, the childless widow of the younger William Marshal. Simon was for the moment high in the affection of his brother-in-law. To the English he was simply another of the foreign favourites who turned the king's heart against his born subjects.

1 This is well illustrated by Philip de Beaumanoir's well-known romance, Jean de Dammartin et Blonde d'Oxford (ed. by Suchier, Soc. des anciens Textes français, and by Le Roux de Lincy, Camden Soc.).
In 1238 Peter des Roches died. With all his faults the Poitevin was an excellent administrator at Winchester,1 and left his estates in such a prosperous condition that Henry coveted the succession for the bishop-elect of Valence, though William already had the prospect of the prince-bishopric of liege. But the monks of St. Swithun's refused to obey the royal order, and Henry sought to obtain his object from the pope. Gregory gave William both Liege and Winchester, but in 1239 death ended his restless plans. William's death left more room for his kinsfolk and followers. His clerk, Peter of Aigueblanche, returned to the land of promise, and in 1240 secured his consecration as Bishop of Hereford. William's brother, Peter of Savoy, lord of Romont and Faucigny, was invited to England in the same year. In 1241 he was invested with the earldom of Richmond, which a final breach with Peter of Brittany had left in the king's hands. Peter, the ablest member of his house, thus became its chief representative in England.2

1 See H. Hall, Pipe Roll of the Bishop of Winchester, 1207-8.

2 For Peter see Wurstemberger, Peter II., Graf von Savoyen (1856).
With the Provençals and Savoyards came a fresh swarm of Romans. In 1237 the first papal legates a latere since the recall of Pandulf landed in England. The deputy of Gregory IX. was the cardinal-deacon Otto, who in 1226 had already discharged the humbler office of nuncio in England. It was believed that the legate was sent at the special request of Henry III., and despite the remonstrances of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Those most unfriendly to the legate were won over by his irreproachable conduct. He rejected nearly all gifts. He was unwearied in preaching peace; travelled to the north to settle outstanding differences between Henry and the King of Scots, and thence hurried to the west to prolong the truce with Llewelyn. His zeal for the reformation of abuses made the canons of the national council, held under his presidency at St. Paul's on November 18, 1237, an epoch in the history of our ecclesiastical jurisprudence.

Despite his efforts the legate remained unpopular. The pluralists and nepotists, who feared his severity, joined with the foes of all taxation and the enemies of all foreigners in denouncing the legate. To avoid the danger of poison, he thought it prudent to make his own brother his master cook. During the council of London it was necessary to escort him from his lodgings and back again with a military force. In the council itself the claim of high-born clerks to receive benefices in plurality found a spokesman in so respectable a prelate as Walter of Cantilupe, the son of a marcher baron, whom Otto had just enthroned in his cathedral at Worcester, and the legate, "fearing for his skin," was suspected of mitigating the severity of his principles to win over the less greedy of the friends of vested interests. His Roman followers knew and cared little about English susceptibilities, and feeling was so strong against them that any mischance might excite an explosion. Such an accident occurred on St. George's day, April 23, 1238, when the legate was staying with the Austin Canons of Oseney, near Oxford, while the king was six miles off at Abingdon. Some of the masters of the university went to Oseney to pay their respects to the cardinal, and were rudely repulsed by the Italian porter. Irritated at this discourtesy, they returned with a host of clerks, who forced their way into the abbey. Amongst them was a poor Irish chaplain, who made his way to the kitchen to beg for food. The chief cook, the legate's brother, threw a pot of scalding broth into the Irishman's face. A clerk from the march of Wales shot the cook dead with an arrow. A fierce struggle followed, in the midst of which Otto, hastily donning the garb of his hosts, took refuge in the tower of their church, where he was besieged by the infuriated clerks, until the king sent soldiers from Abingdon to release him. Otto thereupon laid Oxford under an interdict, suspended all lectures, and put thirty masters into prison. English opinion, voiced by the diocesan, Grosseteste, held that the cardinal's servants had provoked the riot, and found little to blame in the violence of the clerks.

In 1239 Gregory IX. began his final conflict with Frederick II., and demanded the support of all Europe. As before, from 1227 to 1230, the pressure of the papal necessity was at once felt in England. The legate had to raise supplies at all costs. Crusaders were allowed to renounce their vows for ready money. Every visitation or conference became an excuse for procurations and fees. Presents were no longer rejected, but rather greedily solicited. On the pretence that it was necessary to reform the Scottish Church, "which does not recognise the Roman Church as its sole mother and metropolitan," Otto excited the indignation of Alexander II. by attempts to extend his jurisdiction to Scotland, hitherto unvisited by legates. In England his claims soon grew beyond all bearing. At last he demanded a fifth of all clerical goods to enable the pope to finance the anti-imperial crusade. Even this was more endurable than the order received from Rome that 300 clerks of Roman families should be "provided" to benefices in England in order that Gregory might obtain the support of their relatives against Frederick. Both as feudal suzerain and as spiritual despot, the pope lorded it over England as fully as his uncle Innocent III.

Weakness, piety, and self-interest combined to make Henry III. acquiesce in the legate's exactions. "I neither wish nor dare," said he, "to oppose the lord pope in anything." The union of king and legate was irresistible. The lay opposition was slow and feeble. Gilbert Marshal, though showing no lack of spirit, was not the man to play the part which his brother Richard had filled so effectively. Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who constituted himself the spokesman of the magnates, made a special grievance of the marriage of Simon of Montfort with his sister Eleanor. England, he said, was like a vineyard with a broken hedge, so that all that went by could steal the grapes. He took arms, and subscribed the first of the long series of plans of constitutional reform that the reign was to witness, according to which the king was to be guided by a chosen body of counsellors. But at the crisis of the movement he held back, having accomplished nothing.

There was more vigour in the ecclesiastical opposition. Robert Grosseteste,1 a Suffolk man of humble birth, had already won for himself a position of unique distinction at Oxford and Paris. A teacher of rare force, a scholar of unexampled range, a thinker of daring originality, and a writer who had touched upon almost every known subject, he was at the height of his fame when, in 1235, his appointment as Bishop of Lincoln gave the fullest opportunities for the employment of his great gifts in the public service. He was convinced that the preoccupation of the clergy in worldly employment and the constant aggressions of the civil upon the ecclesiastical courts lay at the root of the evils of the time. His conviction brought him into conflict with the king rather than the legate, though for the moment his absorption in the cares of his diocese distracted his attention from general questions. The bishops generally had become so hostile that Otto shrank from meeting them in another council, and strove to get money by negotiating individually with the leading churchmen. The old foe of papal usurpations, Robert Twenge, renewed his agitation on behalf of the rights of patrons, and the clergy of Berkshire drew up a remonstrance against Otto's extortions.

1 For Grosseteste, see F.S. Stevenson, Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln (1899).
Archbishop Edmund saw the need of opposing both legate and king; but he was hampered by his ecclesiastical and political principles, and still more, perhaps, by the magnitude of the rude task thrown upon him. He had set before himself the ideal of St. Thomas, not only in the asceticism of his private life, but in his zeal for his see and the Church. But few men were more unlike the strong-willed and bellicose martyr of Canterbury than the gentle and yielding saint of Abingdon. A plentiful crop of quarrels, however, soon showed that Edmund had, in one respect, copied only too faithfully the example of his predecessor. He was engaged in a controversy of some acerbity with the Archbishop of York, and he was involved in a long wrangle with the monks of his cathedral, which took him to Rome soon after the legate's arrival. He got little satisfaction there, and found a whole sea of troubles to overwhelm him on his return. At last came the demand of the fifth from Otto. Edmund joined in the opposition of his brethren to this exaction, but his attitude was complicated by his other difficulties. Leaning in his weakness on the pope, he found that Gregory was a taskmaster rather than a director. At last he paid his fifth, but, broken in health and spirits, he was of no mind to withstand the demands of the Roman clerks for benefices. If he could not be another St. Thomas defending the liberties of the Church, he could at least withdraw like his prototype from the strife, and find a refuge in a foreign house of religion. Seeking out St. Thomas's old haunt at Pontigny, he threw himself with ardour into the austere Cistercian life. On the advice of his physicians, he soon sought a healthier abode with the canons of Soisy, in Brie, at whose house he died on November 16, 1240. His body was buried at Pontigny in the still abiding minster which had witnessed the devotions of Becket and Langton, and miracles were soon wrought at his tomb. Within eight years of his death he was declared a saint; and Henry, who had thwarted him in life, and even opposed his canonisation, was among the first of the pilgrims who worshipped at his shrine. It needed a tougher spirit and a stronger character than Edmund's to grapple with the thorny problems of his age.

The retirement of the archbishop enabled Otto to carry through his business, and withdraw from England on January 7, 1241. On August 21 Gregory IX. died, with his arch-enemy at the gates of Rome and all his plans for the time frustrated. High-minded, able and devout, he wagered the whole fortunes of the papacy on the result of his secular struggle with the emperor. In Italy as in England, the spiritual hegemony of the Roman see and the spiritual influence of the western Church were compromised by his exaltation of ecclesiastical politics over religion.

The monks of Christ Church won court favour by electing as archbishop, Boniface of Savoy, Bishop-elect of Belley, one of the queen's uncles. There was no real resistance to the appointment, though a prolonged vacancy in the papacy made it impossible for him to receive formal confirmation until 1243, and it was not until 1244 that he condescended to visit his new province. Meanwhile his kinsmen were carrying everything before them. Richard of Cornwall lost his first wife, Isabella, daughter of William Marshal, in 1240, an event which broke almost the last link that bound him to the baronial opposition. He withdrew himself from the troubles of English politics by going on crusade, and with him went his former enemy, Simon of Leicester. Richard was back in England early in 1242, and on November 23, 1243, his marriage with Sanchia of Provence, the younger sister of the queens of France and England, completed his conversion to the court party.

Henry III.'s cosmopolitan instincts led him to take as much part in foreign politics as his resources allowed. In 1235 he married his sister Isabella to Frederick II., and henceforth manifested a strong interest in the affairs of his imperial brother-in-law. His relations with France were still uneasy, and he hoped to find in Frederick's support a counterpoise to the steady pressure of French hostility. All England watched with interest the progress of the emperor's arms. Peter of Savoy led an English contingent to fight for Frederick against the Milanese, and Matthew Paris, the greatest of the English chroniclers, narrates the campaign of Corte Nuova with a detail exceeding that which he allows to the military enterprises of his own king. Frederick constantly corresponded with both the king and Richard of Cornwall, and it was nothing but solicitude for the safely of the heir to the throne that led the English magnates to reject the emperor's request that Richard should receive a high command under him. Even Frederick's breach with the pope in 1239 did not destroy his friendship with Henry. The situation became extremely complicated, since Innocent IV. derived large financial support for his crusade from the unwilling English clergy, while Henry still professed to be Frederick's friend. The king allowed Otto to proclaim Frederick's excommunication in England, and then urged the legate to quit the country because the emperor strongly protested against the presence of an avowed enemy at his brother-in-law's court. Neither pope nor emperor could rely upon the support of so half-hearted a prince. Renewed trouble with France explains in some measure the anxiety of Henry to remain in good relations with the emperor despite Frederick's quarrel with the pope.

The position of the French monarchy was far stronger than it had been when Henry first intervened in continental politics. Blanche of Castile had broken the back of the feudal coalition, and even Peter Mauclerc had made his peace with the monarchy at the price of his English earldom. Louis IX. attained his majority in 1235, and his first care was to strengthen his power in his newly won dominions. If Poitou were still in the hands of the Count of La Marche and the Viscount of Thouars, the royal seneschals of Beaucaire and Carcassonne after 1229 ruled over a large part of the old dominions of Raymond of Toulouse. In 1237 the treaty of Meaux was further carried out by the marriage of Raymond's daughter and heiress, Joan, to Alfonse, the brother of the French king. In 1241 Alfonse came of age, and Louis at once invested him with Poitou and Auvergne. The lords of Poitou saw that the same process which had destroyed the feudal liberties of Normandy now endangered their disorderly independence. Hugh of Lusignan and his wife had been present at Alfonse's investiture, and the widow of King John had gone away highly indignant at the slights put upon her dignity.1 She bitterly reproached her husband with the ignominy involved in his submission. Easily moved to new treasons, Hugh became the soul of a league of Poitevin barons formed at Parthenay, which received the adhesion of Henry's seneschal of Gascony, Rostand de Sollers, and even of Alfonse's father-in-law, the depressed Raymond of Toulouse. At Christmas Hugh openly showed his hand. He renounced his homage to Alfonse, declared his adhesion to his step-son, Richard of Cornwall, the titular count of Poitou, and ostentatiously withdrew from the court with his wife. The rest of the winter was taken up with preparations for the forthcoming struggle.

1 See the graphic letter of a citizen of La Rochelle to Blanche, published by M. Delisle in Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, série ii., iv., 513-55 (1856).
Untaught by experience, Henry III. listened to the appeals of his mother and her husband. Richard of Cornwall, who came back from his crusade in January, 1242, was persuaded that he had another chance of realising his vain title of Count of Poitou. But the king had neither men nor money and the parliament of February 2 refused to grant him sums adequate for his need, so that, despairing of dealing with his barons in a body, Henry followed the legate's example of winning men over individually. He made a strong protest against the King of France's breach of the existing truce, and his step-father assured him that Poitou and Gascony would provide him with sufficient soldiers if he brought over enough money to pay them. Thereupon, leaving the Archbishop of York as regent, Henry took ship on May 9 at Portsmouth and landed on May 13 at Royan at the mouth of the Gironde. He was accompanied by Richard of Cornwall, seven earls, and 300 knights.

Meanwhile Louis IX. marshalled a vast host at Chinon, which from April to July overran the patrimony of the house of Lusignan, and forced many of the confederate barons to submit. Peter of Savoy and John Mansel, Henry's favourite clerk, then made seneschal of Gascony, assembled the Aquitanian levies, while Peter of Aigueblanche, the Savoyard Bishop of Hereford, went to Provence to negotiate the union between Earl Richard and Sanchia, and, if possible, to add Raymond Berengar to the coalition against the husband of his eldest daughter. Henry hoped to win tactical advantages by provoking Louis to break the truce, and mendaciously protested his surprise at being forced into an unexpected conflict with his brother-in-law. Towards the end of July, Louis, who had conquered all Poitou, advanced to the Charente, and occupied Taillebourg. If the Charente were once crossed, Saintonge would assuredly follow the destinies of Poitou; and the Anglo-Gascon army advanced from Saintes to dispute the passage of the river. On July 21 the two armies were in presence of each other, separated only by the Charente. Besides the stone bridge at Taillebourg, the French had erected a temporary wooden structure higher up the stream, and had collected a large number of boats to facilitate their passage. Seeing with dismay the oriflamme waving over the sea of tents which, "like a great and populous city," covered the right bank, the soldiers of Henry retreated precipitately to Saintes. There was imminent danger of their retreat being cut off, but Richard of Cornwall went to the French camp, and obtained an armistice of a few hours, which gave his brother time to reach the town.

Next day Louis advanced at his ease to the capital of Saintonge. The Anglo-Gascons went out to meet him, and, despite their inferior numbers, fought bravely amidst the vineyards and hollow lanes to the west of the city. But the English king was the first to flee, and victory soon attended the arms of the French. Immediately after the battle, the lords of Poitou abandoned Richard for Alfonse. Henry fled from Saintes to Pons, from Pons to Barbezieux, and thence sought a more secure refuge at Blaye, leaving his tent, the ornaments of his chapel, and the beer provided for his English soldiers as booty for the enemy. The outbreak of an epidemic in the French army alone prevented a siege of Bordeaux, by necessitating the return of St. Louis to the healthier north. Henry lingered at Bordeaux until September, when he returned to England.1 Meanwhile the French dictated peace to the remaining allies of Henry. On the death of Raymond of Toulouse, in 1249, Alfonse quietly succeeded to his dominions. The next twenty years saw the gradual extension of the French administrative system to Poitou, Auvergne, and the Toulousain. English Gascony was reduced to little more than the districts round Bordeaux and Bayonne. Even a show of hostility was no longer useful, and on April 7, 1243, a five years' truce between Henry and Louis was signed at Bordeaux. The marriage of Beatrice of Provence, the youngest of the daughters of Raymond Berengar, to Charles of Anjou, Louis' younger brother, removed Provence from the sphere of English influence. On his father-in-law's death in 1245, Charles of Anjou succeeded to his dominions to the prejudice of his two English brothers-in-law, and became the founder of a Capetian line of counts of Provence, which brought the great fief of the empire under the same northern French influences which Alfonse of Poitiers was diffusing over the lost inheritances of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the house of Saint-Gilles.

1 The only good modern account of this expedition is that by M. Charles Bémont, La campagne de Poitou, 1242-3, in Annales du Midi, v., 389-314 (1893). For the Lusignans see Boissonade, Quomodo comites Engolismenses erga reges Angliæ et Franciæ se gesserint, 1152-1328 (1893).
A minor result of Louis' triumph was the well-deserved ruin of Hugh of Lusignan and Isabella of Angoulême. The proud spirit of Isabella did not long tolerate her humiliation. She retired to Fontevraud and died there in 1246. Hugh X. followed her to the tomb in 1248. Their eldest son, Hugh XI., succeeded him, but the rest of their numerous family turned for support to the inexhaustible charity of the King of England. Thus in 1247 a Poitevin invasion of the king's half-brothers and sisters recalled to his much-tried subjects the Savoyard invasion of ten years earlier. In that single year three of the king's brothers and one of his sisters accepted his invitation to make a home in England. Of these, Guy, lord of Cognac, became proprietor of many estates. William, called from the Cistercian abbey in which he was born William of Valence, secured, with the hand of Joan of Munchensi, a claim to the great inheritance that was soon to be scattered by the extinction of the male line of the house of Marshal. Aymer of Valence, a very unclerical churchman, obtained in 1250 his election as bishop of Winchester, though his youth and the hostility of his chapter delayed his consecration for ten years. Alice their sister found a husband of high rank in the young John of Warenne, Earl of Warenne or Surrey, while a daughter of Hugh XI. married Robert of Ferrars, Earl of Ferrars or Derby. Others of their kindred flocked to the land of promise. Any Poitevin was welcome, even if not a member of the house of Lusignan. Thus the noble adventurer John du Plessis, came over to England, married the heiress of the Neufbourg Earls of Warwick, and in 1247 was created Earl of Warwick. The alien invasion took a newer and more grievous shape.

The expenses of the war were still to be paid; and in 1244 Henry assembled a council, declaring that, as he had gone to Gascony on the advice of his barons, they were bound to make him a liberal grant towards freeing him from the debts which he had incurred beyond sea. Prelates, earls, and barons each deliberated apart, and a joint committee, composed of four members of each order, drew up an uncompromising reply. The king had not observed the charters; previous grants had been misapplied, and the abeyance of the great offices of state made justice difficult and good administration impossible. The committee insisted that a justiciar, a chancellor, and a treasurer should forthwith be appointed. This was the last thing that the jealous king desired. Helpless against a united council, he strove to break up the solidarity between its lay and clerical elements by laying a papal order before the prelates to furnish him an adequate subsidy. The leader of the bishops was now Grosseteste, who from this time until his death in 1253 was the pillar of the opposition. "We must not," he declared, "be divided from the common counsel, for it is written that if we be divided we shall all die forthwith." At last a committee of twelve magnates was appointed to draw up a plan of reform. The unanimity of all orders was shown by the co-operation on this body of prelates such as Boniface of Savoy with patriots of the stamp of Grosseteste and Walter of Cantilupe, while among the secular lords, Richard of Cornwall and 'Simon of Leicester worked together with baronial leaders like Norfolk and Richard of Montfichet, a survivor of the twenty-five executors of Magna Carta. The obstinacy of the king may well have driven the estates into drawing up the remarkable paper constitution preserved for us by Matthew Paris.1 By it the execution of the charters and the supervision of the administration were to be entrusted to four councillors, chosen from among the magnates, and irremovable except with their consent. It is unlikely that the scheme was ever carried out; but its conception shows an advance in the claims of the opposition, and anticipates the policy of restraining an incompetent ruler by a committee responsible to the estates, which, for the next two centuries, was the popular specific for royal maladministration. For the moment neither side gained a decided victory. Though the barons persisted in their refusal of an extraordinary grant, they agreed to pay an aid to marry the king's eldest daughter to the son of Frederick II.

1 Chron. Maj., iv., 366-68.
Further demands arose from the quarrel between Innocent IV.' and the emperor. A new papal envoy, Master Martin, came to England to extort from the clergy money to enable Innocent to carry on his war against Frederick. The lords told Martin that if he did not quit the realm forthwith he would be torn in pieces. In terror he prayed for a safe conduct. "May the devil give you a safe conduct to hell," was the only reply that the angry Henry vouchsafed. Even his complaisance was exhausted by Master Martin.

On July 26, 1245, a few weeks before Martin's expulsion, Innocent IV. opened a general council at Lyons, in which Frederick was deposed from the imperial dignity. Grosseteste, the chief English prelate to attend the gathering, was drawn in conflicting directions by his zeal for pope against emperor and by his dislike of curialist exactions. This attitude of the bishop is reflected in the remonstrance, in the name of the English people, laid before Innocent, declaring the faithfulness of England to the Holy See and the wrongs with which her fidelity had been requited. The increasing demands for money, the intrusion of aliens into English cures, and Martin's exactions were set forth at length. Innocent refused to entertain the petition, forced all the bishops at Lyons to join in the deprivation of the emperor, and required every English bishop to seal with his own seal the document by which John had pledged the nation to a yearly tribute. No one could venture to stand up against the successor of St. Peter, and so, despite futile remonstrance, Innocent still had it all his own way. In 1250 Grosseteste again met Innocent face to face at Lyons, and urged him to "put to flight the evils and purge the abominations" which the Roman see had done so much to foster. But this outspoken declaration was equally without result. Bold as were Grosseteste's words, he fully accepted the curialist theory which regarded the pope as the universal bishop, the divinely appointed source of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction. He could therefore do no more than protest. If the pope chose to disregard him, there was nothing to be done but wait patiently for better times. The plague of foreign ecclesiastics was still to torment the English Church for many a year.

The king's difficulties were increased by fresh troubles in Scotland and Wales. The friendship between Henry and his brother-in-law, Alexander II., was weakened by the death of the Queen of Scots and by Alexander's marriage to a French lady in 1239. At last, in 1244, relations were so threatening that the English levies were mustered for a campaign at Newcastle. However, on the mediation of Richard of Cornwall, Alexander bound himself not to make alliances with England's enemies, and the trouble passed away. In Wales the difficulties were more complicated. Llewelyn ap Iorwerth died in 1240, full of years and honour. In the last years of his reign broken health and the revolts of his eldest son Griffith made the old chieftain anxious for peace with England, as the best way of securing the succession to all his dominions of David, his son by Joan of Anjou. Henry III., anxious that David as his nephew should inherit the principality, granted a temporary cessation of hostilities. After Llewelyn's death David was accepted as Prince of Snowdon, and made his way to Gloucester, where he performed homage, and was dubbed knight by his uncle. Next year, however, hostilities broke out, and Henry, disgusted with his nephew, made a treaty with the wife of Griffith, Griffith himself being David's prisoner. In 1241 Henry led an expedition from Chester into North Wales, and forced David to submit. He surrendered Griffith to his uncle's safe keeping and promised to yield his principality to Henry if he died without a son. Three years later Griffith broke his neck in an attempt to escape from the Tower. The death of his rival emboldened David to take up a stronger line against his uncle. A fresh Welsh expedition was necessary for the summer of 1245, in which the English advanced to the Conway, but were speedily forced to retire. David held his own until his death, without issue, in March, 1246, threw open the question of the Welsh succession.

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