Infomotions, Inc.The History of England From the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377) / Tout, T. F. (Thomas Frederick), 1855-1929

Author: Tout, T. F. (Thomas Frederick), 1855-1929
Title: The History of England From the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): edward; earl; king; henry; france; england
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Identifier: etext16679
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The History of England, by T.F. Tout

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Title: The History of England
       From the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)

Author: T.F. Tout

Editor: William Hunt and Reginald L. Poole

Release Date: September 10, 2005 [EBook #16679]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Lee Dawei, Anurag Garg, Turgut Dincer and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at



Professor of Mediaeval and Modern History
in the University of Manchester.


Seventy-six years have passed since Lingard completed his HISTORY OF
ENGLAND, which ends with the Revolution of 1688. During that period
historical study has made a great advance. Year after year the mass of
materials for a new History of England has increased; new lights have
been thrown on events and characters, and old errors have been
corrected. Many notable works have been written on various periods of
our history; some of them at such length as to appeal almost
exclusively to professed historical students. It is believed that the
time has come when the advance which has been made in the knowledge of
English history as a whole should be laid before the public in a single
work of fairly adequate size. Such a book should be founded on
independent thought and research, but should at the same time be
written with a full knowledge of the works of the best modern
historians and with a desire to take advantage of their teaching
wherever it appears sound.

The vast number of authorities, printed and in manuscript, on which a
History of England should be based, if it is to represent the existing
state of knowledge, renders co-operation almost necessary and certainly
advisable. The History, of which this volume is an instalment, is an
attempt to set forth in a readable form the results at present attained
by research. It will consist of twelve volumes by twelve different
writers, each of them chosen as being specialty capable of dealing with
the period which he undertakes, and the editors, while leaving to each
author as free a hand as possible, hope to insure a general similarity
in method of treatment, so that the twelve volumes may in their
contents, as well as in their outward appearance, form one History.

As its title imports, this History will primarily deal with politics,
with the History of England and, after the date of the union with
Scotland, Great Britain, as a state or body politic; but as the life of
a nation is complex, and its condition at any given time cannot be
understood without taking into account the various forces acting upon
it, notices of religious matters and of intellectual, social, and
economic progress will also find place in these volumes. The footnotes
will, so far as is possible, be confined to references to authorities,
and references will not be appended to statements which appear to be
matters of common knowledge and do not call for support. Each volume
will have an Appendix giving some account of the chief authorities,
original and secondary, which the author has used. This account will be
compiled with a view of helping students rather than of making long
lists of books without any notes as to their contents or value. That
the History will have faults both of its own and such as will always in
some measure attend co-operative work, must be expected, but no pains
have been spared to make it, so far as may be, not wholly unworthy of
the greatness of its subject.

Each volume, while forming part of a complete History, will also in
itself be a separate and complete book, will be sold separately, and
will have its own index, and two or more maps.

Vol. I. to 1066. By Thomas Hodgkin, D.C.L., Litt.D., Fellow of
University College, London; Fellow of the British Academy.

Vol. II. 1066 to 1216. By George Burton Adams, M.A., Professor of
History in Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

Vol. III. 1216 to 1377. By T.F. Tout, M.A., Professor of Medieval and
Modern History in the Victoria University of Manchester; formerly
Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford.

Vol. IV. 1377 to 1485. By C. Oman, M.A., Fellow of All Souls' College,
and Deputy Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford.

Vol. V. 1485 to 1547. By H.A.L. Fisher, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of New
College, Oxford.

Vol. VI. 1547 to 1603. By A.F. Pollard, M.A., Professor of
Constitutional History in University College, London.

Vol. VII. 1603 to 1660. By F.C. Montague, M.A., Professor of History in
University College, London; formerly Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.

Vol. VIII. 1660 to 1702. By Richard Lodge, M.A., Professor of History
in the University of Edinburgh; formerly Fellow of Brasenose College,

Vol. IX. 1702 to 1760. By I.S. Leadam, M.A., formerly Fellow of
Brasenose College, Oxford.

Vol. X. 1760 to 1801. By the Rev. William Hunt, M.A., D. Litt, Trinity
College, Oxford.

Vol. XI. 1801 to 1837. By the Hon. George C. Brodrick, D.C.L., late
Warden of Merton College, Oxford, and J K. Fotheringham, M.A., Magdalen
College, Oxford, Lecturer in Classics at King's College, London.

Vol. XII. 1837 to 1901. By Sidney J Low, M.A., Balliol College, Oxford,
formerly Lecturer on History at King's College, London.

The Political History of England







  19 Oct., 1216. Death of King John
                 Position of parties
                 The Church on the king's side
         28 Oct. Coronation of Henry III
         11 Nov. Great council at Bristol
         12 Nov. The first charter of Henry III
        1216-17. Progress of the war
           1217. Rising of Wilkin of the Weald
                 Louis' visit to France
       22 April. Return of Louis from France
                 Sieges of Dover, Farnham, and Mount Sorrel
         20 May. The fair of Lincoln
         23 Aug. The sea-fight off Sandwich
        11 Sept. Treaty of Lambeth
          6 Nov. Reissue of the great charter
                 Restoration of order by William Marshal
   14 May, 1219. Death of William Marshal
                 His character and career



           1219. Pandulf the real successor of William Marshal
     July, 1221. Langton procures Pandulf's recall
                 Ascendency of Hubert de Burgh
Jan.-Feb., 1221. The rebellion of Albemarle
     July, 1222. The sedition of Constantine FitzAthulf
        1221-24. Marriage alliances
        1219-23. War in Wales
    April, 1223. Henry III. declared by the pope competent to govern
     June, 1224. Revolt of Falkes de Breaute
 20 June-14 Aug. Siege of Bedford
                 Fall of Falkes
                 Papal and royal taxation
    April, 1227. End of the minority
                 Relations with France during the minority
                 The Lusignans and the Poitevin barons
           1224. Louis VIII.'s conquest of Poitou
           1225. Expedition of Richard of Cornwall and William
                     Longsword to Gascony
     Nov., 1226. Accession of Louis IX. in France
        1229-30. Henry III.'s campaign in Brittany and Poitou
21-30 July, 1230. Siege of Mirambeau
           1228. The Kerry campaign
    2 May, 1230. Death of William of Braose
           1231. Henry III.'s second Welsh campaign
            Aug. Death of Archbishop Richard le Grand
                 Gregory IX. and Henry III.
           1232. Riots of Robert Twenge
        29 July. Fall of Hubert de Burgh
           1231. Death of William Marshal the Younger
           1232. Death of Randolph of Blundeville, Earl of Chester



        1232-34. Rule of Peter des Roches
     Aug., 1233. Revolt of Richard Marshal
         23 Nov. Fight near Monmouth
           1234. Richard Marshal in Ireland
        1 April. Defeat and death of the Earl Marshal near Kildare
        2 April. Edmund Rich consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury
        9 April. Fall of Peter des Roches
                 Beginning of Henry III.'s personal government
                 Character of Henry III.
                 The alien invasions
  14 Jan., 1236. Henry's marriage to Eleanor of Provence
                 The Savoyards in England
                 Revival of Poitevin influence
           1239. Simon of Montfort Earl of Leicester
           1237. The legation of Cardinal Otto
           1239. Quarrel of Gregory IX. and Frederick II.
           1235. Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln
  16 Nov., 1240. Death of Edmund Rich in exile
                 Henry III. and Frederick II.
                 Attempted reconquest of Poitou
May-Sept., 1242. The campaign of Taillebourg
           1243. Truce with France
                 The Lusignans in England
                 The baronial opposition
                 Grosseteste's opposition to Henry III., and Innocent IV.
           1243. Relations with Scotland and Wales
           1240. Death of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth
           1246. Death of David ap Llewelyn



        1248-58. Characteristics of the history of these ten years
                 Decay of Henry's power in Gascony
        1248-52. Simon de Montfort, seneschal of Gascony
     Aug., 1253. Henry III. in Gascony
           1254. Marriage and establishment of Edward the king's son
                 Edward's position in Gascony
                 Edward's position in Cheshire
           1254. Llewelyn ap Griffith sole Prince of North Wales
                 Edward in the four cantreds and in West Wales
           1257. Welsh campaign of Henry and Edward
                 Revival of the baronial opposition
           1255. Candidature of Edmund, the king's son, for Sicily
           1257. Richard of Cornwall elected and crowned King of the Romans
                 Leicester as leader of the opposition
                 Progress in the age of Henry III
                 The cosmopolitan and the national ideals
                 French influence
                 The coming of the friars
           1221. Gilbert of Freynet and the first Dominicans in England
           1224. Arrival of Agnellus of Pisa and the first Franciscans
                 in England
                 Other mendicant orders in England
                 The influence of the friars
                 The universities
                 Prominent English schoolmen
                 Paris and Oxford
                 The mendicants at Oxford
                 Roger Bacon and Duns Scotus
                 Academic influence in public life
                 Beginnings of colleges
                 Intellectual characteristics of thirteenth century
                 Literature in Latin and French
                 Literature in English
                 Gothic architecture
                 The towns and trade



  2 April, 1258. Parliament at London
        11 June. The Mad Parliament
                 The Provisions of Oxford
        22 June. Flight of the Lusignans
                 Appointment of the Fifteen
                 Working of the new Constitution
   4 Dec., 1259. Treaty of Paris
                 Its unpopularity in England and France
           1259. Dissensions among the baronial leaders
           1259. Provisions of Westminster
           1261. Henry III.'s repudiation of the Provisions
           1263. Reconstitution of parties
                 The changed policy of the marchers
                 Outbreak of civil war
                 The appeal to Louis IX
  23 Jan., 1264. Mise of Amiens
                 Renewal of the struggle
        4 April. Sack of Northampton
                 The campaign in Kent and Sussex
        14 May.  Battle of Lewes
                 Personal triumph of Montfort



         15 May. Mise of Lewes
         15 Dec. Provisions of Worcester
Jan.-Mar., 1265. The Parliament of 1265
                 Split up of the baronial party
                 Quarrel of Leicester and Gloucester
         28 May. Edward's escape
        22 June. Treaty of Pipton
                 Small results of the alliance of Llewelyn and the barons
                 The campaign in the Severn valley
         4 Aug.  Battle of Evesham
                 The royalist restoration
         1266.   The revolt of the Disinherited
         15 May. Battle of Chesterfield
         31 Oct. The _Dictum de Kenilworth_
     Michaelmas. The Ely rebellion
    April, 1267. Gloucester's support of the Disinherited
         July.   End of the rebellion
        25 Sept. Treaty of Shrewsbury
        1267.    Statute of Marlborough
        1270-72. Edward's Crusade
        16 Nov., 1272. Death of Henry III



                 Character of Edward I.
        1272-74. Rule of the regency
                 Edward's doings in Italy and France
                 Edward's relations with Philip III.
        1273-74. Wars of Bearn and Limoges
                 Edward I. and Gregory X.
 May-July, 1274. Council of Lyons
                 Relations of Edward I. and Rudolf of Hapsburg
   23 May, 1279. Treaty of Amiens
           1281. League of Macon
           1282. Sicilian vespers
           1285. Deaths of Philip III., Charles of Anjou, Peter of
                     Aragon, and Martin IV.
                 Bishop Burnell
           1275. Statute of Westminster, the first
           1278. Statute of Gloucester
                 Hundred Rolls and _placita de quo warranto_
                 Archbishops Kilwardby and Peckham
           1279. Statute of Mortmain
           1285. _Circumspecte agatis_
           1285. Statute of Westminster, the second (De _Donis_)
           1285. Statute of Winchester



                 Execution of the Treaty of Shrewsbury
                 Llewelyn's refusal of homage
           1277. Edward's first Welsh campaign
           1277. Treaty of Aberconway
                 Edward's attempts to introduce English law into the
                     ceded districts
           1282. The Welsh revolt
           1282. Edward's second Welsh campaign
                 Llewelyn's escape to the Upper Wye
         11 Dec. Battle of Orewyn Bridge
           1283. Parliaments and financial expedients
                 Subjection of Gwynedd completed
          3 Oct. Parliament of Shrewsbury and execution of David
                 The Edwardian castles
 Mid-Lent, 1284. Statute of Wales
                 Effect of the conquest upon the march
                 Peckham and the ecclesiastical settlement of _Wales_
           1287. Revolt of Rhys ap Meredith



                 Edward I. at the height of his fame
April, 1286-Aug 1289, Edward's long visit to France
           1289. The Sicilian arbitration
           1287. Treaty of Oloron
           1288. Treaty of Canfranc
           1291. Treaty of Tarascon
                 Maladministration during Edward's absence
                 Judicial and official scandals
           1289. Special commission for the trial of offenders
           1290. Statute of Westminster, the third (_Quia emptores_)
                 The feud between Gloucester and Hereford
           1291. The courts at Ystradvellte and Abergavenny
                 Humiliation of the marcher earls
           1290. Expulsion of the Jews
                 The rise of the Italian bankers
        1272-86. Early relations of Edward to Scotland
           1286. Death of Alexander III. of Scotland
        1286-89. Regency in the name of the Maid of Norway
           1289. Treaty of Salisbury
           1290. Treaty of Brigham
                 Death of the Maid of Norway
                 The claimants to the Scottish throne
      May, 1291. Parliament of Norham. Edward recognised as overlord
                 of Scotland
        1291-92. The great suit for Scotland
  17 Nov., 1292. John Balliol declared King of Scots
                 Edward's conduct in relation to Scotland
           1290. Death of Eleanor of Castile
                 Transition to the later years of the reign
                 Edward's later ministers



                 Commercial rivalry of English and French seamen
   15 May, 1293. Battle off Saint-Mahe
           1294. Edmund of Lancaster's failure to procure a settlement
                     with Philip IV.
                 The French occupation of Gascony
     June, 1294. War with France
                 Preparations for a French campaign
           1294. Revolts of Madog, Maelgwn, and Morgan
                 Edward's danger at Aberconway
  22 Jan., 1293. Battle of Maes Madog
           July. Welsh revolts suppressed
           1295. Failure of the Gascon campaign
                 Failure of attempted coalition against France
                 Organisation of the English navy
                 Treason of Sir Thomas Turberville
                 The naval attack on England
                 Rupture between Edward and the Scots
         5 July. Alliance between the French and Scots
            Nov. The "Model Parliament"
         1296.   Gascon expedition and death of Edmund of Lancaster
                 Edward's invasion of Scotland
       27 April. Battle of Dunbar
        10 July. Submission of John Balliol
                 Conquest and administration of Scotland
                 The Ragman Roll
    Sept., 1294. Consecration of Archbishop Winchelsea
  29 Feb., 1296. Boniface VIII. issues _Clericis laicos_.
                 Conflict of Edward and Winchelsea
  24 Feb., 1297. Parliament at Salisbury
                 Conflict of Edward with the earls
           July. Break up of the clerical opposition
                 Increasing moderation of baronial opposition
        24 Aug.  Edward's departure for Flanders
            May. Revolt of the Scots under William Wallace.
        11 Sept. Battle of Stirling Bridge.
         12 Oct. Confirmation of the charters with new clauses.



           1297. Edward's unsuccessful campaign in Flanders
  31 Jan., 1298. Truce of Tournai, and end of the French war
           July. Edward's invasion of Scotland
        22 July. Battle of Falkirk
                 Slowness of Edward's progress towards the conquest
                     of Scotland
  19 June, 1299. Treaty of Montreuil
         9 Sept. Marriage of Edward and Margaret of France
     Mar., 1300. _Articuli super cartas_
       July-Aug. Carlaverock campaign
20 Jan.-14 Feb., 1301. Parliament of Lincoln
                 The barons' letter to the pope
                 Edward of Carnarvon, Prince of Wales
           1302. Philip IV.'s troubles with the Flemings and Boniface VIII
   20 May, 1303. Peace of Paris between Edward and Philip
                 Increasing strength of Edward's position
                 The decay of the earldoms
                 Additions to the royal demesne
           1303. Conquest of Scotland seriously undertaken
  24 July, 1304. Capture of Stirling
     Aug., 1305. Execution of Wallace and completion of the conquest
                 The settlement of the government of Scotland
           1305. Disgrace of Winchelsea and Bek
                 Edward I. and Clement V.
           1307. Statute of Carlisle
           1305. Ordinance of Trailbaston
  10 Jan., 1306. Murder of Comyn
                 Rising of Robert Bruce
         25 Mar. Bruce crowned King of Scots
                 Preparations for a fresh conquest of Scotland
  7 July, 1307.  Death of Edward I.



                 Character of Edward II.
          1307.  Peter Gaveston Earl of Cornwall
  25 Jan., 1308. Marriage of Edward with Isabella of France
         25 Feb. Coronation of Edward II.
                 Power and unpopularity of Gaveston
          8 May. Gaveston exiled
      July 1309. Return of Gaveston condoned by Parliament at Stamford
           1310. Renewal of the opposition of the barons to Gaveston
         16 Mar. Appointment of the lords ordainers
           Sept. Abortive campaign against the Scots
                 Character and policy of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster
           1311. The ordinances
Nov., 1311, Jan., 1312. Gaveston's second exile and return
                 The earls at war against Edward and Gaveston
                 Gaveston's surrender at Scarborough
  19 June, 1312. Murder of Gaveston
                 Consequent break up of the baronial party
     Oct., 1313. Edward and Lancaster reconciled
           May.  Death of Archbishop Winchelsea
           1312. Fall of the Templars
                 Walter Reynolds Archbishop of Canterbury
                 Complaints of papal abuses
                 Progress of Bruce's power in Scotland
           1314. The siege of Stirling
                 An army collected for its relief
        24 June, Battle of Bannockburn
                 The results of the battle



                 Failure of the rule of Thomas of Lancaster
           1315. Revolts of Llewelyn Bren
           1315. Rising of Adam Banaster.
           1316. The Bristol disturbances.
           1315. Edward Bruce's attack on the English in Ireland.
           1317. Roger Mortimer in Ireland.
           1318. Death of Edward Bruce at Dundalk.
                 Lancaster's failure and the break up of his party.
                 Pembroke and the middle party.
          9 Aug. Treaty of Leek and the supremacy of the middle party.
        1314-18. Progress of Robert Bruce.
           1319. Renewed attack on Scotland.
                 Battle of Myton.
                 Rise of the Despensers.
           1317. The partition of the Gloucester inheritance.
           1320. War between the husbands of the Gloucester heiresses
                     in South Wales.
     June, 1321. Conferences at Pontefract and Sherburn.
           July. The exile of the Despensers.
                 Break up of the opposition after their victory.
23-31 Oct., 1321. The siege of Leeds Castle.
Jan.-Feb., 1322. Edward's successful campaign in the march.
         11 Feb. Recall of the Despensers.
                 The king's march against the northern barons.
         16 Mar. Battle of Boroughbridge.
         22 Mar. Execution of Lancaster.
          2 May. Parliament at York and repeal of the ordinances.
                 The triumph of the Despensers.



            Aug. Renewed attack on the Scots.
            Oct. Edward II.'s narrow escape at Byland.
     Mar., 1323. Treason and execution of Andrew Harclay.
                 Incapacity of the Despensers as administrators.
                 Their quarrels with the old nobles.
           1324. Their breach with Queen Isabella.
                 Their chief helpers: Walter Stapledon and Ralph Baldock.
                 Reaction against the Despensers.
        1303-14. Relations of England and France.
        1314-22. Edward's dealings with Louis X. and Philip V.
           1322. Accession of Charles IV.
           1324. Affair of Saint-Sardos.
                 Renewal of war. Sequestration of Gascony. Charles
                     of Valois' conquest of the Agenais and La Reole.
                 Isabella's mission to Paris.
                 Edward of Aquitaine's homage to Charles IV.
           1325. Treachery of Charles IV. and second sequestration of
           1326. Relations of Mortimer and Isabella
                 The Hainault marriage
        23 Sept. Landing of Isabella and Mortimer
                 Riots in London: murder of Stapledon
         26 Oct. Execution of the elder Despenser
         16 Nov. Capture of Edward and the younger Despenser
                 Triumph of the revolution
   7 Jan., 1327. Parliament's recognition of Edward of Aquitaine as king
         20 Jan. Edward II.'s resignation of the crown
         24 Jan. Proclamation of Edward III.
 22 Sept., 1328. Murder of Edward II.
        1327-30. Rule of Isabella and Mortimer
           1327. Abortive Scottish campaign
    April, 1328. Treaty of Northampton; "the shameful peace"
                 Character and ambition of Mortimer
            Oct. Mortimer Earl of the March of Wales
                 Henry of Lancaster's opposition to him
     Mar., 1330. Execution of the Earl of Kent
            Oct. Parliament at Nottingham
         19 Oct. Arrest of Mortimer
         29 Nov. His execution
        1330-58. Later life of Isabella



                 Character and policy of Edward III.
        1330-40. The rule of the Stratfords
           1337. The new earldoms
                 Scotland during the minority of David Bruce
                 Edward Balliol and the Disinherited
   6 Aug., 1332. The Disinherited in Scotland
                 Battle of Dupplin Moor
  6 Aug.-16 Dec. Edward Balliol's brief reign and expulsion
                 Treaty of Roxburgh
           1333. Attempt to procure his restoration
                 Siege of Berwick
        19 July. Battle of Halidon Hill
                 Edward Balliol restored
  12 June, 1334. Treaty of Newcastle, ceding to Edward south-eastern
                 Failure of Edward Balliol
        1334-36. Edward III.'s Scottish campaigns
           1341. Return of David Bruce from France
        1327-37. Relations of England and France
  31 Mar., 1327. Treaty of Paris
                 Edward's lands in Gascony after the treaty of Paris
           1328. Accession of Philip of Valois in France
                 Protests of the English regency
           1328. The legal and political aspects of the succession
                 Edward III.'s claim to France
   6 June, 1329. Edward's homage to Philip VI.
    8 May, 1330. Convention of the Wood of Vincennes
   9 Mar., 1331. Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye
          April. Interview of Pont-Sainte-Maxence
                 Crusading projects of John XXII.
           1336. Abandonment of the crusade by Benedict XII
                 Strained relations between England and France
           1337. Mission of the Cardinals Peter and Bertrand
                 Edward and Robert of Artois
                 The _Vow_ of the Heron
                 Preparations for war
                 Breach with Flanders and stoppage of export of wool
                 Alliance with William I. and II. of Hainault
                 Edward's other Netherlandish allies
           1337. Breach between France and England
            Nov. Sir Walter Manny at Cadzand
                 Fruitless negotiations and further hostilities
     July, 1338. Edward III.'s departure for Flanders
         5 Sept. Interview of Edward and the Emperor Louis of
                 Bavaria at Coblenz
                 The Anglo-imperial alliance
                 Further fruitless negotiations
                 Renewal of Edward's claim to the French crown
                 The responsibility for the war



           1339. Edward's invasion of France
            Oct. Campaign of the Thierache
         23 Oct. The failure at Buironfosse
                 Alliance between Edward and the Flemish cities
                 James van Artevelde
     Jan., 1340. Edward III. at Ghent
                 His proclamation as King of France
         20 Feb. His return to England
        22 June. His re-embarkation for Flanders
                 Parallel naval development of England and France
                 The Norman navy and the projected invasion of
        24 June. Battle of Sluys
                 Ineffective campaigns in Artois and the Tournaisis
        25 Sept. Truce of Esplechin
         30 Nov. Edward's return to London
                 The ministers displaced and a special commission
                     appointed to try them
         30 Nov. Controversy between Edward and Archbishop Stratford.
 23 April, 1341. Parliament at London supporting Stratford and forcing
                 Edward to choose ministers after consulting it.
          1 Oct. Edward's repudiation of his concessions.
    April, 1343. Repeal of the statutes of 1341.
                 John of Montfort and Charles of Blois claim the
                     duchy of Brittany.
                 War of the Breton succession.
     June, 1342. The siege of Hennebont raised.
           1343. Battle of Morlaix.
  19 Jan., 1343. Edward III. in Brittany.
                 Truce of Malestroit.
                 Edward's financial and political troubles.
                 End of the Flemish alliance.
     June, 1345. Henry of Derby in Gascony.
         21 Oct. Battle of Auberoche.
           1346. Siege of Aiguillon and raid in Poitou.
                 Preparations for Edward III.'s campaign.
       July-Aug. The march through Normandy.
        26 July. Capture of Caen.
            Aug. The march up the Seine valley.
                 The retreat northwards.
                 The passage of the Somme at the _Blanche taque_.
         26 Aug. Battle of Crecy.
         17 Oct. Battle of Neville's Cross.
         4 Sept. Siege of Calais.
   3 Aug., 1347. Capture of Calais.
        20 June. Battle of La Roche Derien.
        28 Sept. Truce of Calais.



        1347-48. Prosperity of England after the truce.
        1348-50. The Black Death and its results.
           1351. Statute of labourers.
                 Social and economic unrest.
                 Religious unrest.
                 The Flagellants.
                 The anti-clerical movement.
           1351. First statute of provisors.
           1353. First statute of _praemunire_.
                 Richard Fitzralph and the attack on the mendicants.
           1354. Ordinance Of the Staple.
           1352. Statute of treasons.
           1349. Foundation of the Order of the Garter.
                 Dagworth's administration of Brittany.
                 Hugh Calveley and Robert Knowles.
  27 Mar., 1351. Battle of the Thirty.
           1352. Battle of Mauron
                 Fighting round Calais
           1352. Capture of Guines
  29 Aug., 1350. Battle of the Spaniards-on-the-sea
  6 April, 1354. Preliminaries of peace signed at Guines
           1355. Failure of the negotiations and renewal of the war
                 Failure of John of Gaunt in Normandy
      Sept.-Nov. Black Prince's raid in Languedoc
           1356. Operations of John of Gaunt in Normandy in alliance
                     with Charles of Navarre and Geoffrey of Harcourt
   9 Aug.-2 Oct. Black Prince's raid northwards to the Loire
        19 Sept. Battle of Poitiers.
  23 Mar., 1357. Truce of Bordeaux
            Oct. Treaty of Berwick
        1357-71. The last years of David II.
           1371. Accession of Robert II. in Scotland
           1358. Preliminaries of peace signed between Edward III.
                     and John
                 State of France after Poitiers
  24 Mar., 1359. Treaty of London
                 The rejection of the treaty by the French
Nov., 1359-April, 1360. Edward III.'s invasion of Northern France
                     Champagne and Burgundy
  11 Jan., 1360. Treaty of Guillon
        7 April. Siege of Paris
          8 May. Treaty of Bretigni
         24 Oct. Treaty of Calais



                 Difficulties in carrying out the treaty of Calais
                 Guerilla warfare: exploits of Calveley, Pipe, and
   16 May, 1364. Battle of Cocherel
        29 Sept. Battle of Auray
           1365. Treaty of Guerande
                 Exploits of the free companies: John Hawkwood
           1361. The charters of renunciation not exchanged
           1364. Death of King John: accession of Charles V.
           1366. Expulsion of Peter the Cruel from Castile by Du
                     Guesclin and the free companies
     Feb., 1367. The Black Prince's expedition to Spain
        3 April. Battle of Najera
                 The Black Prince's rule in Aquitaine
                 His difficulties with the great nobles
     Jan., 1368. The hearth tax imposed
     Jan., 1369. Renewal of the war.
                 Changed military and political conditions.
                 Relations of England and Flanders.
           1371. Battle in Bourgneuf Bay.
                 Successes of the French.
    Sept., 1370. Sack of the _cite_ of Limoges.
           1371. The Black Prince's return to England with shattered
           1370. Futile expeditions of Lancaster and Knowles.
                 Treason of Sir John Minsterworth.
                 Battle of Pontvallain.
        1370-72. Exploits of Sir Owen of Wales.
  23 June, 1370. Defeat of Pembroke at La Rochelle.
            Aug. Defeat of Thomas Percy at Soubise.
           1372. Edward III.'s last military expedition.
                 Expulsion of the English from Poitou and Brittany.
July-Dec., 1373. John of Gaunt's march from Calais to Bordeaux.
           1374. Ruin of the English power in France.
  27 June, 1375. Truce of Bruges.



                 Glories of the years succeeding the treaty of Calais.
        1361-69. John Froissart in England.
                 His picture of the life of court and people.
                 The national spirit in English literature.
                 Gower and Minot.
                 Geoffrey Chaucer.
                 The standard English language.
                 Lowland Scottish.
                 The national spirit in art.
                 "Flowing decorated" and "perpendicular" architecture.
                 Contrast between England and Scotland.
                 The national spirit in popular English literature.
                 William Langland.
                 His picture of the condition of the poor.
                 The national spirit and the universities.
                 Early career of John Wycliffe.
                 Spread of cultivation among the laity.
                 The national spirit in English law.
                 The national spirit in commerce.
                 Edward III.'s family settlement.
                 Marriage of the Black Prince and Joan of Kent.
                 Marriages of Lionel of Antwerp with Elizabeth de
                     Burgh and Violante Visconti.
                 Lionel in Ireland.
                 Statute of Kilkenny.
        1361-69. Philippa of Clarence's marriage with the Earl of
                 John of Gaunt and the Duchy of Lancaster.
                 Continuation of ancient rivalries between houses now
                     represented by branches of the royal family.
                 The great prelates of the end of Edward III.'s reign.
     Feb., 1371. Parliament: clerical ministers superseded by laymen.
                 Clerical and anti-clerical, constitutional and court
                 Edward III.'s dotage.
                 Alice Perrers.
                 Struggle of parties at court.
                 Increasing bitterness of the opposition to the courtiers.
April-July, 1376. The "Good Parliament".
                 Fall of the courtiers.
         8 June. Death of the Black Prince.
                 John of Gaunt restored to power.
     Jan., 1377. Packed parliament, and the reaction against the Good
                 Persistence of the clerical opposition.
                 The attack on John Wycliffe.
         10 Feb. Wycliffe before Bishop Courtenay.
                 John of Gaunt's substantial triumph.
        21 June. Death of Edward III.
                 Characteristics of his age.




Comparative value of records and chronicles.
Record sources for the period.
Chancery Records:--
  Patent Rolls
  Close Rolls
  Rolls of Parliament
  Charter Rolls
  Inquests Post-Mortem
  Fine Rolls
  Gascon Rolls
  Hundred Rolls
Exchequer Records
Plea Rolls and records of the common law courts
Records of local courts
Scotch and Irish records
Ecclesiastical records
  Bishops' registers
  Monastic Cartularies
  Papal records
Chroniclers of the period.
St. Alban's Abbey as a school of history.
Matthew Paris.
Later St. Alban's chroniclers.
Other chroniclers of Henry III.
Other monastic annals.
Chroniclers of Edward I.
Civic chronicles.
Chroniclers of Edward II.
Chroniclers of Edward III.
Scottish and Welsh chronicles.
French chronicles illustrating English history.
The three redactions of Froissart.
Other French chroniclers of the Hundred Years' War.
Legal literature.
Literary aids to history.
Modern works on the period.
Note on authorities for battle of Poitiers.


(At the End of the Volume)
1. Map of Wales and the March at the end of the XIIIth century.
2. Map of Southern Scotland and Northern England in the XIIIth and
   XIVth centuries.
3. Map of France in the XIIIth and XIVth centuries.



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

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

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

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

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

    [1] There is some conflict of evidence on this point, and Dr.
    Stubbs, following Wendover, iv., 2, makes Peter of Winchester
    crown Henry. But the official account in _Faedera, i._, 145, is
    confirmed by _Ann. Tewkesbury_, p. 62; _Histoire de G. le
    Marechal_, lines 15329-32; _Hist. des ducs de Normandie, et des
    rois d'Angleterre_, p. 181, and _Ann. Winchester_, p. 83.
    Wykes, p. 60, and _Ann. Dunstable_, p. 48, which confirm
    Wendover, are suspect by reason of other errors.

On November 2 a great council met at Bristol. Only four earls appeared,
and one of these, William of Fors, Earl of Albemarle, was a recent
convert. But the presence of eleven bishops showed that the Church had
espoused the cause of the little king, and a throng of western and
marcher magnates made a sufficient representation of the lay baronage.
The chief business was to provide for the government during the
minority. Gualo withstood the temptation to adopt the method by which
Innocent III. had ruled Sicily in the name of Frederick II. The king's
mother was too unpopular and incompetent to anticipate the part played
by Blanche of Castile during the minority of St. Louis. After the
precedents set by the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, the barons took the
matter into their own hands. Their work of selection was not an easy
one. Randolph of Chester was by far the most powerful of the royalist
lords, but his turbulence and purely personal policy, not less than his
excessive possessions and inordinate palatine jurisdictions, made him
unsuitable for the regency. Yet had he raised any sort of claim, it
would have been hardly possible to resist his pretensions.[1] Luckily,
Randolph stood aside, and his withdrawal gave the aged earl marshal the
position for which his nomination as justiciar at Gloucester had
already marked him out. The title of regent was as yet unknown, either
in England or France, but the style, "ruler of king and kingdom," which
the barons gave to the marshal, meant something more than the ordinary
position of a justiciar. William's friends had some difficulty in
persuading him to accept the office. He was over seventy years of age,
and felt it would be too great a burden. Induced at last by the legate
to undertake the charge, from that moment he shrank from none of its
responsibilities. The personal care of the king was comprised within
the marshal's duties, but he delegated that branch of his work to Peter
des Roches.[2] These two, with Gualo, controlled the whole policy of the
new reign. Next to them came Hubert de Burgh, John's justiciar, whom
the marshal very soon restored to that office. But Hubert at once went
back to the defence of Dover, and for some time took little part in
general politics.

    [1] The fears and hopes of the marshal's friends are well
    depicted in _Histoire de Guillaume le Marechal_, lines

    [2] The panegyrist of the marshal emphasises strongly the fact
    that Peter's charge was a delegation, _ibid._, lines

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

    [1] Stubbs, _Const. Hist._, ii., 21.

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

    [1] _Histoire des ducs de Normandie_, etc., p. 181.

    [2] Tait, _Medieval Manchester and the Beginnings of
    Lancashire_, p. 180.

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

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

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

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

    [2] _Histoire des ducs de Normandie_, etc., p. 183.

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

    [1] On Nichola de Camville or de la Hay see M. Petit-Dutaillis
    in _Melanges Julien Havet_, pp. 369-80.

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

    [1] _Histoire des ducs de Normandie, etc._, p. 188; cf.
    _English Hist. Review_, xviii. (1903), 263-64.

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

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

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

    [1] For a discussion of the battle, see _English Hist. Review_,
    xviii. (1903), 240-65.

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

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

    [1] This successful attempt of the English fleet to manoeuvre
    for the weather gage, that is to secure a position to the
    windward of their opponents, is the first recorded instance of
    what became the favourite tactics of British admirals. For the
    legend of Eustace see _Witasse le Moine_, ed. Foerster (1891).

The battle of St. Bartholomew's Day, like that of Lincoln a triumph of
skill over numbers, proved decisive for the fortunes of Louis. The
English won absolute control of the narrow seas, and cut off from Louis
all hope of fighting his way back to France. As soon as he heard of the
defeat of Eustace, he reopened negotiations with the marshal. On the
29th there was a meeting between Louis and the Earl at the gates of
London. The regent had to check the ardour of his own partisans, and it
was only after anxious days of deliberation that the party of
moderation prevailed. On September 5 a formal conference was held on an
island of the Thames near Kingston. On the 11th a definitive treaty was
signed at the archbishop's house at Lambeth.

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

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

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

    [1] Grosseteste, _Epistolae_, p. 339.

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

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

At Candlemas, 1219, the aged regent was smitten with a mortal illness.
His followers bore him up the Thames from London to his manor of
Caversham, where his last hours were disturbed by the intrigues of
Peter of Winchester for his succession, and the importunity of selfish
clerks, clamouring for grants to their churches. He died on May 14,
clad in the habit of the Knights of the Temple, in whose new church in
London his body was buried, and where his effigy may still be seen. The
landless younger son of a poor baron, he had supported himself in his
youth by the spoils of the knights he had vanquished in the
tournaments, where his successes gained him fame as the model of
chivalry. The favour of Henry, the "young king," gave him political
importance, and his marriage with Strongbow's daughter made him a
mighty man in England, Ireland, Wales, and Normandy. Strenuous and
upright, simple and dignified, the young soldier of fortune bore easily
the weight of office and honour which accrued to him before the death
of his first patron. Limited as was his outlook, he gave himself
entirely to his master-principle of loyally to the feudal lord whom he
had sworn to obey. This simple conception enabled him to subordinate
his interests as a marcher potentate to his duty to the English
monarchy. It guided him in his difficult work of serving with unbending
constancy a tyrant like John. It shone most clearly when in his old age
he saved John's son from the consequences of his father's misdeeds. A
happy accident has led to the discovery in our own days of the long
poem, drawn up in commemoration of his career[1] at the
instigation of his son. This important work has enabled us to enter
into the marshal's character and spirit in much the same way as
Joinville's _History of St. Louis_ has made us familiar with the
motives and attributes of the great French king. They are the two men
of the thirteenth century whom we know most intimately. It is well that
the two characters thus portrayed at length represent to us so much of
what is best in the chivalry, loyalty, statecraft, and piety of the
Middle Ages.

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



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

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

    [1]: H.R. Luard, _On the Relations between England and Rome
    during the Earlier Portion of the Reign of Henry III._ (1877),
    illustrates papal influence at this period.

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

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

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

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

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

    [1] _Royal Letters_, i., 244-46.

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

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

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

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

    [1] The names of his _familia_ taken with him are in _Patent
    Rolls of Henry III._, 1216-1227, pp. 461-62.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [1] The names of his _familia_ taken with him are in _Patent
    Rolls of Henry III._, 1216-1227, pp. 461-62.

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

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

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

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

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

    [1] E. Berger, _Bibl. Ecole des Chartes_, 1893, _pp. 35-36_,
    shows that Mirambeau, not Mirebeau, was besieged by Henry; see
    also his _Blanche de Castille_ (1895).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [1] "Ich can rymes of Robyn Hode, and of Randolf erl of
    Chestre," _Vision of Piers Plowman_, i., 167; ii., 94.



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 Breaute at the Roman court, was, like Segrave, a mere

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 Breaute, 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 Guines, 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

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 Provencals 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 siecle, et Pierre d'Aigueblanche, eveque
    d'Hereford_ (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 francais, 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_,

    [2] For Peter see Wurstemberger, _Peter II., Graf von Savoyen_

With the Provencals 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

    [1] See the graphic letter of a citizen of La Rochelle to
    Blanche, published by M. Delisle in _Bibliotheque de l'Ecole
    des Chartes_, serie 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

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 Bemont, _La campagne de Poitou, 1242-3_, in _Annales
    du Midi_, v., 389-314 (1893). For the Lusignans see Boissonade,
    _Quomodo comites Engolismenses erga reges Angliae et Franciae
    se gesserint_, 1152-1328 (1893).

A minor result of Louis' triumph was the well-deserved ruin of Hugh of
Lusignan and Isabella of Angouleme. 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.



The ten years from 1248 to 1258 saw the continuance of the
misgovernment, discontent, and futile opposition which have already
been sufficiently illustrated. The history of those years must be
sought not so much in the relations of the king and his English
subjects as in Gascony, in Wales, in the crusading revival, and in the
culmination of the struggle of papacy and empire. In each of these
fields the course of events reacted sharply upon the domestic affairs
of England, until at last the failures of Henry's foreign policy gave
unity and determination to the party of opposition whose first
organised success, in 1258, ushered in the Barons' War.

The relations between England and France remained anomalous. Formal
peace was impossible, since France would yield nothing, and the English
king still claimed Normandy and Aquitaine. Yet neither Henry nor Louis
had any wish for war. They had married sisters: they were personally
friendly, and were both lovers of peace. In such circumstances it was
not hard to arrange truces from time to time, so that from 1243 to the
end of the reign there were no open hostilities. In 1248 the friendly
feeling of the two courts was particularly strong. Louis was on the eve
of departure for the crusade and many English nobles had taken the
cross. Henry, who was himself contemplating a crusade, was of no mind
to avail himself of his kinsman's absence to disturb his realm.

The French could afford to pass over Henry's neglect to do homage, for
Gascony seemed likely to emancipate itself from the yoke of its English
dukes without any prompting from Paris. After the failure of 1243, a
limited amount of territory between the Dordogne and the Pyrenees alone
acknowledged Henry. This narrower Gascony was a thoroughly feudalised
land: the absentee dukes had little authority, domain, or revenue: and
the chief lordships were held by magnates, whose relations to their
overlord were almost formal, and by municipalities almost as free as
the cities of Flanders or the empire. The disastrous campaign of
Taiilebourg lessened the prestige of the duke, and Henry quitted
Gascony without so much as attempting to settle its affairs. In the
following years weak seneschals, with insufficient powers and quickly
succeeding each other, were unable to grapple with ever-increasing
troubles. The feudal lords dominated the countryside, pillaged traders,
waged internal war and defied the authority of the duke. In the
autonomous towns factions had arisen as fierce as those of the cities
of Italy. Bordeaux was torn asunder by the feuds of the Rosteins and
Colons. Bayonne was the scene of a struggle between a few privileged
families, which sought to monopolise municipal office, and a popular
opposition based upon the seafaring class. The neighbouring princes
cast greedy eyes on a land so rich, divided, and helpless. Theobald
IV., the poet, Count of Champagne and King of Navarre, coveted the
valley of the Adour. Gaston, Viscount of Bearn, the cousin of Queen
Eleanor, plundered and destroyed the town of Dax. Ferdinand the Saint
of Castile and James I. of Aragon severally claimed all Gascony. Behind
all these loomed the agents of the King of France. Either Gascony must
fall away altogether, or stronger measures must be taken to preserve

In this extremity Henry made Simon of Montfort seneschal or governor of
Gascony, with exceptionally full powers and an assured duration of
office for seven years. Simon had taken the crusader's vow, but was
persuaded by the king to abandon his intention of following Louis to
Egypt. He at once threw himself into his rude task with an energy that
showed him to be a true son of the Albigensian crusader. In the first
three months he traversed the duchy from end to end; rallied the royal
partisans; defeated rebels; kept external foes in check, and
administered the law without concern for the privileges of the great.
In 1249 he crushed the Rostein faction at Bordeaux. The same fate was
meted out to their partisans in the country districts. Order was
restored, but the seneschal utterly disregarded impartiality or
justice. He sought to rule Gascony by terrorism and by backing up one
faction against the other. It was the same with minor cities, like
Bazas and Bayonne, and with the tyrants of the countryside. The
Viscount of Fronsac saw his castle razed and his estates seized. Gaston
of Bearn, tricked by the seneschal out of the succession of Bigorre,
was captured, sent to England, and only allowed to return to his home,
humiliated and powerless to work further evil. The lesser barons had to
acknowledge Simon their master. On the death of Raymond of Toulouse in
1249, his son-in-law and successor, Alfonse of Poitiers, had all he
could do to secure his inheritance, and was too closely bound by the
pacific policy of his brother to give Simon much trouble. The truce
with France was easily renewed by reason of St. Louis' absence on a
crusade. The differences between Gascony and Theobald of Navarre were
mitigated in 1248 at a personal interview between Leicester and the

Gascony for the moment was so quiet that the rebellious hordes called
the _Pastoureaux_, who had desolated the royal domain, withdrew from
Bordeaux in terror of Simon's threats. But the expense of maintaining
order pressed heavily on the seneschal's resources, and his master
showed little disposition to assist him. Moreover Gascony could not
long keep quiet. There were threats of fresh insurrections, and the
whole land was burning with indignation against its governor.
Complaints from the Gascon estates soon flowed with great abundance
into Westminster. For the moment Henry paid little attention to them.
His son Edward was ten years of age, and he was thinking of providing
him with an appanage, sufficient to support a separate household and so
placed as to train the young prince in the duties of statecraft. Before
November, 1249, he granted to Edward all Gascony, along with the
profits of the government of Ireland, which were set aside to put
Gascony in a good state of defence. Simon's strong hand was now more
than ever necessary to keep the boy's unruly subjects under control.
The King therefore continued Simon as seneschal of Gascony, though
henceforth the earl acted as Edward's minister. "Complete happily,"
Henry wrote to the seneschal, "all our affairs in Gascony and you shall
receive from us and our heirs a recompense worthy of your services."
For the moment Leicester's triumph seemed complete, but the Gascons,
who had hoped that Edward's establishment meant the removal of their
masterful governor, were bitterly disappointed at the continuance of
his rule. Profiting by Simon's momentary absence in England, they once
more rose in revolt. Henry wavered for the moment. "Bravely," declared
he to his brother-in-law, "hast thou fought for me, and I will not deny
thee help. But complaints pour in against thee. They say that thou hast
thrown into prison, and condemned to death, folk who have been summoned
to thy court under pledge of thy good faith." In the end Simon was sent
back to Gascony, and by May, 1251, the rebels were subdued.

Next year Gaston of Bearn stirred up another revolt, and, while Simon
was in England, deputies from the Aquitanian cities crossed the sea and
laid new complaints before Henry. A stormy scene ensued between the
king and his brother-in-law. Threatened with the loss of his office,
Simon insisted that he had been appointed for seven years, and that he
could not be removed without his own consent. Henry answered that he
would keep no compacts with traitors. "That word is a lie," cried
Simon; "were you not my king it would be an ill hour for you when you
dared to utter it." The sympathy of the magnates saved Leicester from
the king's wrath, and before long he returned to Gascony, still
seneschal, but with authority impaired by the want of his sovereign's
confidence. Though the king henceforth sided with the rebels, Simon
remained strong enough to make headway against the lord of Bearn.
Before long, however, Leicester unwillingly agreed to vacate his office
on receiving from Henry a sum of money. In September, 1252, he laid
down the seneschalship and retired into France. While shabbily treated
by the king, he had certainly shown an utter absence of tact or
scruple. But the tumults of Gascony raged with more violence than ever
now that his strong hand was withdrawn. Those who had professed to rise
against the seneschal remained in arms against the king. Once more the
neighbouring princes cast greedy eyes on the defenceless duchy. In
particular, Alfonso the Wise, King of Castile, who succeeded his father
Ferdinand in 1252, renewed his father's claims to Gascony.

The only way to save the duchy was for Henry to go there in person.
Long delays ensued before the royal visit took place, and it was not
until August, 1253, that Bordeaux saw her hereditary duke sail up the
Gironde to her quays. The Gascon capital remained faithful, but within
a few miles of her walls the rebels were everywhere triumphant. It
required a long siege to reduce Benauge to submission, and months
elapsed before the towns and castles of the lower Garonne and Dordogne
opened their gates. Even then La Reole, whither all the worst enemies
of Montfort had fled, held out obstinately. Despairing of military
success, Henry fell back upon diplomacy. The strength of the Gascon
revolt did not lie in the power of the rebels themselves but in the
support of the neighbouring princes and the French crown. By renewing
the truce with the representatives of Louis, Henry protected himself
from the danger of French intervention, and at the same time he cut off
a more direct source of support to the rebels by negotiating treaties
with such magnates as the lord of Albret, the Counts of Comminges and
Armagnac, and the Viscount of Bearn. His master-stroke was the
conclusion, in April, 1254, of a peace with Alfonso of Castile, whereby
the Spanish king abandoned his Gascon allies and renounced his claims
on the duchy. In return it was agreed that the lord Edward should marry
Alfonso's half-sister, Eleanor, heiress of the county of Ponthieu
through her mother, Joan, whom Henry had once sought for his queen. As
Edward's appanage included Aquitaine, Alfonso, in renouncing his
personal claims, might seem to be but transferring them to his sister.

In May, 1254, Queen Eleanor joined Henry at Bordeaux. With her went her
two sons, Edward and Edmund, her uncle, Archbishop Boniface, and a great
crowd of magnates. In August Edward went with his mother to Alfonso's
court at Burgos, where he was welcomed with all honour and dubbed to
knighthood by the King of Castile, and in October he and Eleanor were
married at the Cistercian monastery of Las Huelgas. His appanage
included all Ireland, the earldom of Chester, the king's lands in Wales,
the Channel Islands, the whole of Gascony, and whatsoever rights his
father still had over the lands taken from him and King John by the
Kings of France. Thus he became the ruler of all the outlying
dependencies of the English crown, and the representative of all the
claims on the Aquitanian inheritance of Eleanor and the Norman
inheritance of William the Conqueror. The caustic St. Alban's chronicler
declared that Henry left to himself such scanty possessions that he
became a "mutilated kinglet".[1] But Henry was too jealous of power
utterly to renounce so large a share of his dominions. His grants to his
son were for purposes of revenue and support, and the government of
these regions was still strictly under the royal control. Yet from this
moment writs ran in Edward's name, and under his father's direction the
young prince was free to buy his experience as he would. Soon after his
son's return with his bride, Henry III. quitted Gascony, making his way
home through France, where he visited his mother's tomb at Fontevraud
and made atonement at Pontigny before the shrine of Archbishop Edmund.
Of more importance was his visit to King Louis, recently returned from
his Egyptian captivity. The cordial relations established by personal
intercourse between the two kings prepared the way for peace two years

    [1] Matthew Paris, _Chron. Maj._, v., 450.

Edward remained in Gascony about a year after his father. He checked
with a stern hand the disorders of his duchy, strove to make peace
between the Rosteins and Colons, and failing to do so, took in 1261 the
decisive step of putting an end to the tumultuous municipal
independence of the Gascon capital by depriving the jurats of the right
of choosing their mayor.[1] Thenceforth Bordeaux was ruled by a
mayor nominated by the duke or his lieutenant. Edward's rule in Gascony
has its importance as the first experiment in government by the boy of
fifteen who was later to become so great a king. Returning to London in
November, 1255, he still forwarded the interests of his Gascon
subjects, and an attempt to protect the Bordeaux wine-merchants from
the exactions of the royal officers aroused the jealousy of Henry, who
declared that the days of Henry II. had come again, when the king's
sons rose in revolt against their father. Despite this characteristic
wail, Edward gained his point. Yet his efforts to secure the well-being
of Gascony had not produced much result. The hold of the English duke
on Aquitaine was as precarious under Edward as it had been in the days
of Henry's direct rule.

    [1] See Bemont, _Roles Gascons_, i., supplement, pp.

The affairs of Wales and Cheshire involved Edward in responsibilities
even more pressing than those of Gascony. On the death of John the Scot
without heirs in 1237, the palatinate of Randolph of Blundeville became
a royal escheat. Its grant to Edward made him the natural head of the
marcher barons. The Cheshire earldom became the more important since
the Welsh power had been driven beyond the Conway. Since the death of
David ap Llewelyn in 1246, divisions in the reigning house of Gwynedd
had continued to weaken the Welsh. Llewelyn and Owen the Red, the two
elder sons of the Griffith ap Llewelyn who had perished in attempting
to escape from the Tower, took upon themselves the government of
Gwynedd, dividing the land, by the advice of the "good men," into two
equal halves. The English seneschal at Carmarthen took advantage of
their weakness to seize the outlying dependencies of Gwynedd south of
the Dovey. War ensued, for the brothers resisted this aggression. But
in April, 1247, they were forced to do homage at Woodstock for Gwynedd
and Snowdon. Henry retained not only Cardigan and Carmarthen, but the
debatable lands between the eastern boundary of Cheshire and the river
Clwyd, the four cantreds of the middle country or Perveddwlad, so long
the scene of the fiercest warfare between the Celt and the Saxon. Thus
the work of Llewelyn ap Iorwerth was completely undone, and his
grandsons were confined to Snowdon and Anglesey, the ancient cradles of
their house.

It suited English policy that even, the barren lands of Snowdon should
be divided. As time went on, other sons of Griffith ap Llewelyn began
to clamour for a share of their grandfather's inheritance. Owen, the
weaker of the two princes, made common cause with them, and David,
another brother, succeeded in obtaining his portion of the common
stock. Llewelyn showed himself so much the most resourceful and
energetic of the brethren that, when open war broke out between them in
1254, he easily obtained the victory. Owen was taken prisoner, and
David was deprived of his lands. Llewelyn, thus sole ruler of Gwynedd,
at once aspired to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather. He
overran Merioneth, and frightened the native chieftains beyond the
Dovey into the English camp. His ambitions were, however, rudely
checked by the grant of Cheshire and the English lands in Wales to

Besides the border palatinate, Edward's Welsh lands included the four
cantreds of Perveddwlad, and the districts of Cardigan and Carmarthen.
Young as he was, he had competent advisers, and, while he was still in
Aquitaine, designs were formed of setting up the English shire system
in his Welsh lands, so as to supersede the traditional Celtic methods
of government by feudal and monarchical centralisation. Efforts were
made to subject the four cantreds to the shire courts at Chester; and
Geoffrey of Langley, Edward's agent in the south, set up shire-moots at
Cardigan and Carmarthen, from which originated the first beginnings of
those counties. The bitterest indignation animated Edward's Welsh
tenants, whether on the Clwyd or on the Teivi and Towy. They rose in
revolt against the alien innovators, and called upon Llewelyn to
champion their grievances. Llewelyn saw the chance of extending his
tribal power into a national principality over all Wales by posing as
the upholder of the Welsh people. He overran the four cantreds in a
week, finding no resistance save before the two castles of Deganwy and
Diserth. He conquered Cardigan with equal ease, and prudently granted
out his acquisition to the local chieftain Meredith ap Owen. Nor were
Edward's lands alone exposed to his assaults. In central Wales Roger
Mortimer was stripped of his marches on the upper Wye, and Griffith ap
Gwenwynwyn, the lord of upper Powys, driven from the regions of the
upper Severn. In the spring of 1257 the lord of Gwynedd appeared in
regions untraversed by the men of Snowdon since the days of his
grandfather. He devastated the lands of the marchers on the Bristol
Channel and slew Edward's deputy in battle. "In those days," says
Matthew Paris, "the Welsh saw that their lives were at stake, so that
those of the north joined together in indissoluble alliance with those
of the south. Such a union had never before been, since north and south
had always been opposed." The lord of Snowdon assumed the title of
Prince of Wales.

Edward was forced to defend his inheritance. Henry III. paid little
heed to his misfortunes, and answered his appeal for help by saying:
"What have I to do with the matter? I have given you the land; you must
defend it with your own resources. I have plenty of other business to
do." Nevertheless, Henry accompanied his son on a Welsh campaign in
August, 1257. The English army got no further than Deganwy, and
therefore did not really invade Llewelyn's dominions at all. After
waiting idly on the banks of the Conway for some weeks, it retired
home, leaving the open country to be ruled by Llewelyn as he would, and
having done nothing but revictual the castles of the four cantreds.
Next year a truce was made, which left Llewelyn in possession of the
disputed districts. Troubles at home were calling off both father and
son from the Welsh war, and thus Llewelyn secured his virtual triumph.
Though fear of the progress of the lord of Gwynedd filled every marcher
with alarm, yet the dread of the power of Edward was even more nearly
present before them. The marcher lords deliberately stood aside, and
the result was inevitable disaster. Edward found that the territories
handed over to him by his father had to be conquered before they could
be administered, and Henry III.'s methods of government made it a
hopeless business to find either the men or the money for the task.

England still resounded with complaints of misgovernment, and demands
for the execution of the charters. Before going to Bordeaux in 1253,
Henry obtained from the reluctant parliament a considerable subsidy,
and pledged himself as "a man, a Christian, a knight, and a crowned and
anointed king," to uphold the charters. During his absence a
parliament, summoned by the regents, Queen Eleanor and Richard of
Cornwall, for January, 1254, showed such unwillingness to grant a
supply that a fresh assembly was convened in April, to which knights of
the shire, for the first time since the reign of John, and
representatives of the diocesan clergy, for the first occasion on
record, were summoned, as well as the baronial and clerical grandees.
Nothing came of the meeting save fresh complaints. The Earl of
Leicester became the spokesman of the opposition. Hurrying back from
France he warned the parliament not to fall into the "mouse-traps" laid
for them by the king. In default of English money, enough to meet the
king's necessities was extorted from the Jews, recently handed over to
the custody of Richard of Cornwall. After his return from France at the
end of 1254, Henry's renewed requests for money gave coherence to the
opposition. Between 1254 and 1258 the king's exactions, and an
effective organisation for withstanding them, developed on parallel
lines. To the old sources of discontent were added grievances
proceeding from enterprises of so costly a nature that they at last
brought about a crisis.

The foremost grievance against the king was still his co-operation with
the papacy in spoiling the Church of England. Though the death of the
excommunicated Frederick II. in 1250 was a great gain for Innocent IV.,
the contest of the papacy against the Hohenstaufen raged as fiercely as
ever. Both in Germany and in Italy Innocent had to carry on his
struggle against Conrad, Frederick's son. After Conrad's death, in
1254, there was still Frederick's strenuous bastard, Manfred, to be
reckoned with in Naples and Sicily. Innocent IV. died in 1254, but his
successor, Alexander IV., continued his policy. A papalist King of
Naples was wanted to withstand Manfred, and also a papalist successor
to the pope's phantom King of the Romans, William of Holland, who died
in 1256.

Candidates to both crowns were sought for in England. Since 1250
Innocent IV. had been sounding Richard, Earl of Cornwall, as to his
willingness to accept Sicily. The honourable scruple against hostility
to his kinsman, which Richard shared with the king, prevented him from
setting up his claims against Conrad. But the deaths both of Conrad and
of Frederick II.'s son by Isabella of England weakened the ties between
the English royal house and the Hohenstaufen, and Henry was tempted by
Innocent's offer of the Sicilian throne for his younger son, Edmund, a
boy of nine, along with a proposal to release him from his vow of
crusade to Syria, if he would prosecute on his son's behalf a crusading
campaign against the enemies of the Church in Naples. Innocent died
before the negotiations were completed, but Alexander IV. renewed the
offer, and in April, 1255, Peter of Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford,
accepted the preferred kingdom in Edmund's name. Sicily was to be held
by a tribute of money and service, as a fief of the holy see, and was
never to be united with the empire. Henry was to do homage to the pope
on his son's behalf, to go to Italy in person or send thither a
competent force, and to reimburse the pope for the large sums expended
by him in the prosecution of the war. In return the English and
Scottish proceeds of the crusading tenth, imposed on the clergy at
Lyons, were to be paid to Henry. On October 18, 1255, a cardinal
invested Edmund with a ring that symbolised his appointment. Henry
stood before the altar and swore by St. Edward that he would himself go
to Apulia, as soon as he could safely pass through France.

The treaty remained a dead letter. Henry found it quite impossible to
raise either the men or the money promised, and abandoned any idea of
visiting Sicily in person. Meanwhile Naples and Sicily were united in
support of Manfred, and discomfited the feeble forces of the papal
legates who acted against him in Edmund's name. At last the Archbishop
of Messina came from the pope with an urgent request for payment of the
promised sums. It was in vain that Henry led forth his son, clothed in
Apulian dress, before the Lenten parliament of 1257, and begged the
magnates to enable him to redeem his bond. When they heard the king's
speech "the ears of all men tingled". Nothing could be got save from
the clergy, so that Henry was quite unable to meet his obligations. He
besought Alexander to give him time, to make terms with Manfred, to
release Edmund from his debts on condition of ceding a large part of
Apulia to the Church,--to do anything in short save insist upon the
original contract. The pope deferred the payment, but the respite did
Henry no good. Edmund's Sicilian monarchy vanished into nothing, when,
early in 1258, Manfred was crowned king at Palermo. Before the end of
the year, Alexander cancelled the grant of Sicily to Edmund. Yet his
demands for the discharge of Henry's obligations had contributed not a
little towards focussing the gathering discontent.[1]

    [1] For Edmund's Sicilian claims, see W.E. Rhodes' article on
    _Edmund, Earl of Lancaster_, in the _English Historical
    Review_, x. (1895), 20-27.

While Henry was seeking the Sicilian crown for his son, his brother
Richard was elected to the German throne. Since William of Holland's
death in January, 1256, the German magnates, divided between the
Hohenstaufen and the papalist parties, had hesitated for nearly a year
as to the choice of his successor. As neither party was able to secure
the election of its own partisan, a compromise was mooted. At last the
name of Richard of Cornwall was brought definitely forward. He was of
high rank and unblemished reputation; a friend of the pope yet a kinsman
of the Hohenstaufen; he was moderate and conciliatory; he had enough
money to bribe the electors handsomely, and he was never likely to be so
deeply rooted in Germany as to stand in the way of the princes of the
empire. The Archbishop of Cologne became his paid partisan, and the
Count Palatine of the Rhine accepted his candidature on conditions. The
French party set up as his rival Alfonso X. of Castile, who, despite his
newly formed English alliance, was quite willing to stand against
Richard. At last, in January, 1257, the votes of three electors,
Cologne, Mainz, and the Palatine, were cast for Richard, who also
obtained the support of Ottocar, King of Bohemia. However, in April,
Trier, Saxony, and Brandenburg voted for Alfonso. The double election of
two foreigners perpetuated the Great Interregnum for some sixteen years.
Alfonso's title was only an empty show, but Richard took his appointment
seriously. He made his way to Germany, and was crowned King of the
Romans on May 17, 1257, at Aachen. He remained in the country nearly
eighteen months, and succeeded in establishing his authority in the
Rhineland, though beyond that region he never so much as showed his
face.[1] The elevation of his brother to the highest dignity in
Christendom was some consolation to Henry for the Sicilian failure.

    [1] See for Richard's career, Koch's _Richard von Cornwallis_,
    1209-1257, and the article on _Richard, King of the Romans_, in
    the _Dictionary of National Biography_.

The nation was disgusted to see maladministration grow worse and worse;
the nobles were indignant at the ever-increasing sway of the
foreigners; and several years of bad harvests, high prices, rain,
flood, and murrain sharpened the chronic misery of the poor. The
withdrawal of Earl Richard to his new kingdom deprived the king and
nation of an honourable if timid counsellor, though a more capable
leader was at last provided in the disgraced governor of Gascony. Simon
still deeply resented the king's ingratitude for his services, and had
become enough of an Englishman to sympathise with the national
feelings. Since his dismissal in 1253 he had held somewhat aloof from
politics. He knew so well that his interests centred in England that he
declined the offer of the French regency on the death of Blanche of
Castile. He prosecuted his rights over Bigorre with characteristic
pertinacity, and lawsuits about his wife's jointure from her first
husband exacerbated his relations with Henry. It cannot, however, be
said that the two were as yet fiercely hostile. Simon went to Henry's
help in Gascony in 1254, served on various missions and was nominated
on others from which he withdrew. His chosen occupations during these
years of self-effacement were religious rather than political; his
dearest comrades were clerks rather than barons.

Among Montfort's closer intimates, Bishop Grosseteste was removed by
death in 1253. But others of like stamp still remained, such as Adam
Marsh, the Franciscan mystic, whose election to the see of Ely was
quashed by the malevolence of the court; Eudes Rigaud, the famous
Archbishop of Rouen, and Walter of Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester, who
formed a connecting link between the aristocracy and the Church.
Despite the ineffectiveness of the clerical opposition to the papacy,
the spirit of independence expressed in Grosseteste's protests had not
yet deserted the churchmen. Clerks had felt the pinch of the papal
exactions, had been bled to the uttermost to support the Sicilian
candidature, and had seen aliens and non-residents usurping their
revenues and their functions. More timid and less cohesive than the
barons, they had quicker brains, more ideas, deeper grievances, and
better means of reaching the masses. If resentment of the Sicilian
candidature was the spark that fired the train, the clerical opposition
showed the barons the method of successful resistance. The rejection of
Henry's demands for money in the assemblies of 1257 started the
movement that spread to the baronage in the parliaments of 1258. In the
two memorable gatherings of that year the discontent, which had
smouldered for a generation, at last burst into flame. In the next
chapter we shall see in what fashion the fire kindled.

The futility of the political history of the weary middle period of the
reign suggests, to those who make the history of the state the
criterion of every aspect of the national fortunes, a corresponding
barrenness and lack of interest in other aspects of national life. Yet
a remedy for Henry's misrule was only found because the age of
political retrogression was in all other fields of action an epoch of
unexampled progress. The years during which the strong centralised
government of the Angevin kings was breaking down under Henry's weak
rule were years which, to the historian of civilisation, are among the
most fruitful in our annals. In vivid contrast to the tale of misrule,
the historian can turn to the revival of religious and intellectual
life, the growing delight in ideas and knowledge, the consummation of
the best period of art, and the spread of a nobler civilisation which
make the middle portion of the thirteenth century the flowering time of
English medieval life. It is part of this strange contrast that Henry,
the obstacle to all political progress, was himself a chief supporter
of the religious and intellectual movements which were so deeply
influencing the age.

Much has been said of the alien invasion, and of the strong national
opposition it excited. But insularity is not a good thing in itself,
and the natural English attitude to the foreigners tended to confound
good and bad alike in a general condemnation. Even the Savoyards were
by no means as evil as the English thought them, and Henry in welcoming
his kinsmen was not merely moved by selfish and unworthy motives; he
believed that he was showing his openness to ideas and his welcome to
all good things from whencesoever they came. There were, in fact, two
tendencies, antagonistic yet closely related, which were operative, not
only in England but all over western Europe, during this period.
Nations, becoming conscious and proud of their unity, dwelt, often
unreasonably, on the points wherein they differed from other peoples,
and strongly resented alien interference. At the same time the closer
relations between states, the result of improved government, better
communications, increased commercial and social intercourse, the
strengthening of common ideals, and the development of cosmopolitan
types of the knight, the scholar, and the priest, were deepening the
union of western Christendom on common lines. Neither the political nor
the military nor the ecclesiastical ideals of the early middle ages
were based upon nationality, but rather on that ecumenical community of
tradition which still made the rule of Rome, whether in Church or
State, a living reality. In the thirteenth century the papal tradition
was still at its height. The jurisdiction of the papal _curia_ implied
a universal Christian commonwealth. World-wide religious orders united
alien lands together by ties more spiritual than obedience to the papal
lawyers. The academic ideal was another and a fresh link that connected
the nations together. To the ancient reasons for union--symbolised by
the living Latin speech of all clerks, of all scholars, of all engaged
in serious affairs-were added the newer bonds of connexion involved in
the common knightly and social ideals, in the general spread of a
common art and a common vernacular language and literature.

As Latin expressed the one series of ties, so did French represent the
other. The France of St. Louis meant two things. It meant, of course,
the French state and the French nationality, but it meant a great deal
more than that. The influence of the French tongue and French ideals
was wider than the political influence of the French monarchy. French
was the common language of knighthood, of policy, of the literature
that entertained lords and ladies, of the lighter and less technical
sides of the cosmopolitan culture which had its more serious
embodiments in Latin. To the Englishman of the thirteenth century the
French state was the enemy; but the English baron denounced France in
the French tongue, and leant a ready ear to those aspects of life
which, cosmopolitan in reality, found their fullest exposition in
France and among French-speaking peoples. In the age which saw
hostility to Frenchmen become a passion, a Frenchman like Montfort
could become the champion of English patriotism, English scholars could
readily quit their native land to study at Paris, the French vernacular
literature was the common property of the two peoples, and French words
began to force their way into the stubborn vocabulary of the English
language, which for two centuries had almost entirely rejected these
alien elements. In dwelling, however briefly, on the new features which
were transforming English civilisation during this memorable period, we
shall constantly see how England gained by her ever-increasing
intercourse with the continent, by necessarily sharing in the new
movements which had extended from the continent to the island, no
longer, as in the eleventh century, to be described as a world apart.
Neither the coming of the friars, nor the development of university
life and academic schools of philosophy, theology, and natural science,
nor the triumph of gothic art, nor the spread of vernacular literature,
not even the scholarly study of English law nor the course of English
political development-not one of these movements could have been what
it was without the close interconnexion of the various parts of the
European commonwealth, which was becoming more homogeneous at the same
time that its units were acquiring for themselves sped characteristics
of their own.

In the early days of Henry III.'s reign, a modest alien invasion
anticipated the more noisy coming of the Poitevin or the Provencal. The
most remarkable development of the "religious" life that the later
middle age was to witness had just been worked out in Italy. St.
Francis of Assisi had taught the cult of absolute poverty, and his
example held up to his followers the ideal of the thorough and literal
imitation of Christ's life. Thus arose the early beginnings of the
Minorite or Franciscan rule. St. Dominic yielded to the fascination of
the Umbrian enthusiast, and inculcated on his Order of Preachers a
complete renunciation of worldly goods which made a society, originally
little more than a new type of canons regular, a mendicant order like
the Franciscans, bound to interpret the monastic vow of poverty with
such literalness as to include corporate as well as individual
renunciation of possessions, so that the order might not own lands or
goods, and no member of it could live otherwise than by labour or by
alms. In the second chapter of the Dominican order, at Whitsuntide,
1221, an organisation into provinces was carried out; and among the
eight provinces, each with its prior, then instituted, was the province
of England, where no preaching friar had hitherto set foot, and over it
Gilbert of Freynet was appointed prior. Then Dominic withdrew to
Bologna, where he died on August 6. Within a few days of the saint's
death, Friar Gilbert with thirteen companions made his way to England.
In the company of Peter des Roches the Dominican pioneers went to
Canterbury, where Archbishop Langton was then residing. At the
archbishop's request Gilbert preached in a Canterbury church, and
Langton was so much delighted by his teaching that henceforth he had a
special affection for the new order. From Canterbury the friars
journeyed to London and Oxford. Mindful of the work of their leaders at
Paris and Bologna, they built their first English chapel, house, and
schools in the university town. Soon these proved too small for them,
and they had to seek ampler quarters outside the walls. From these
beginnings the Dominicans spread over England.

The Franciscans quickly followed the Dominicans. On September 10, 1224,
there landed at Dover a little band of four clerks and five laymen,
sent by St. Francis himself to extend the new teaching into England. At
their head was the Italian, Agnellus of Pisa, a deacon, formerly warden
of the Parisian convent, who was appointed provincial minister in
England. His three clerical companions were all Englishmen, though the
five laymen were Italians or Frenchmen. Like the Dominican pioneers,
the Franciscan missionaries first went to Canterbury, where the favour
of Simon Langton, the archdeacon, did for them what the goodwill of his
brother Stephen had done for their precursors. Leaving some of their
number at Canterbury, four of the Franciscans went on to London, and
thence a little later two of them set out for Oxford. Alike at London
and at Oxford, they found a cordial welcome from the Dominicans, eating
in their refectories, and sleeping in their dormitories, until they
were able to erect modest quarters in both places. The brethren of the
new order excited unbounded enthusiasm. Necessity and choice combined
to compel them to interpret their vow of poverty as St. Francis would
have wished. They laboured with their own hands at the construction of
their humble churches. The friars at Oxford knew the pangs of debt and
hunger, rejected pillows as a vain luxury, and limited the use of boots
and shoes to the sick and infirm. The faithful saw the brethren singing
songs as they picked their way over the frozen mud or hard snow, blood
marking the track of their naked feet, without their being conscious of
it. The joyous radiance of Francis himself illuminated the lives of his
followers. "The friars," writes their chronicler, "were so full of fun
among themselves that a deaf mute could hardly refrain from laughter at
seeing them." With the same glad spirit they laboured for the salvation
of souls, the cure of sickness, and the relief of distress. The
emotional feeling of the age quickly responded to their zeal. Within a
few years other houses had arisen at Gloucester, at Nottingham, at
Stamford, at Worcester, at Northampton, at Cambridge, at Lincoln, at
Shrewsbury. In a generation there was hardly a town of importance in
England that had not its Franciscan convent, and over against it a
rival Dominican house.

The esteem felt for the followers of Francis and Dominic led to an
extraordinary extension of the mendicant type. New orders of friars
arose, preserving the essential attribute of absolute poverty, though
differing from each other and from the two prototypes in various
particulars. Some of these lesser orders found their way to England. In
the same year as Agnellus, there came to England the Trinitarian
friars, called also the Maturins, from the situation of their first
house in Paris, an order whose special function was the redemption of
captives. In 1240 returning crusaders brought back with them the first
Carmelite friars, for whom safer quarters had to be found than in their
original abodes in Syria. This society spread widely, and in 1287, to
the disgust of the older monks, it laid aside the party-coloured habit,
forced upon it in derision by the infidels, and adopted the white robe,
which gave them their popular name of White Friars. Hard upon these, in
1244, came also the Crutched Friars, so called from the red cross set
upon their backs or breasts; but these were never deeply rooted in
England. The multiplication of orders of friars became an abuse, so
that, at the Council of Lyons of 1245, Innocent IV abolished all save
four. Besides Dominicans and Franciscans the pope only continued the
Carmelites, and an order first seen in England a few years later, the
Austin friars or the hermits of the order of St. Augustine. These made
up the traditional four orders of friars of later history. Yet even the
decree of a council could not stay the growth of new mendicant types.
In 1257 the Friars of the Penance of Jesus Christ, popularly styled
Friars of the Sack, from their coarse sackcloth garb, settled down in
London, exempted by papal dispensation from the fate of suppression;
and even later than this King Richard's son, Edmund of Cornwall,
established a community of Bonhommes at Ashridge in Buckinghamshire.

The friars were not recluses, like the older orders, but active
preachers and teachers of the people. The parish clergy seldom held a
strong position in medieval life. The estimation in which the monastic
ideal was held limited their influence. They were, as a rule, not much
raised above the people among whom they laboured. If the parish priest
were a man of rank or education, he was too often a non-resident and a
pluralist, bestowing little personal attention on his parishioners. Nor
were the numerous parishes served by monks in much better plight. The
monastery took the tithes and somehow provided for the services; but the
efforts of Grosseteste to secure the establishment of permanent
stipendiary vicarages in his diocese exemplify the reluctance of the
religious to give their appropriations the benefit of permanent pastors,
paid on an adequate scale. It was an exceptional thing for the parish
clergymen to do more than discharge perfunctorily the routine duties of
their office, and preaching was almost unknown among them. The friars
threw themselves into pastoral work with such devotion as to compel the
reluctant admiration of their natural rivals, the monks. "At first,"
says Matthew Paris,[1] "the Preachers and the Minorites lived a life of
poverty and extreme sanctity. They busied themselves in preaching,
hearing confessions, the recital of divine service, in teaching and
study. They embraced voluntary poverty for God's sake, abandoning all
their worldly goods and not even reserving for themselves their food for
to-morrow." A special field of labour was in the crowded suburbs of the
larger towns, where so often they chose to erect their first convents.
The care of the sick and of lepers was their peculiar function. Their
sympathy and charity carried everything before them, and they remained
the chief teachers of the poor down to the Reformation. They ingratiated
themselves with the rich as much as with the poor. Henry III. and Edward
selected mendicants as their confessors. The strongest and holiest of
the bishops, Grosseteste, became their most active friend. Simon of
Montfort sought the advice and friendship of a friar like Adam Marsh.
The mere fact that Stephen Langton and Peter des Roches were their first
patrons in England shows how they appealed alike to the best and worst
clerical types of the time.

    [1] _Chron. Maj._, v., 194.

Men and women of all ranks, while still living in the world and
fulfilling their ordinary occupations, associated themselves to the
mendicant brotherhoods. Besides these _tertiaries_, as they were
called, still wider circles sought the friars' direction in all
spiritual matters and showed eagerness to be buried within their
sanctuaries. Nor did the friars limit themselves to pastoral care. They
won a unique place in the intellectual history of the time. They made
themselves the spokesmen of all the movements of the age. They were
eager to make peace, and Agnellus himself mediated between Henry III.
and the earl marshal. They were the strenuous preachers of the
crusades, whether against the infidel or against Frederick II. The
Franciscans taught a new and more methodical devotion to the Virgin
Mother. The friars upheld the highest papal claims, were constantly
selected as papal agents and tax-gatherers, and yet even this did not
deprive them of their influence over Englishmen. Their zeal for truth
often made them defenders of unpopular causes, and it was much to their
honour that they did not hesitate to incur the displeasure of the
Londoners by their anxiety to save innocent Jews accused of the murder
of Christian children. The parish clergy hated and envied them as
successful rivals, and bitterly resented the privilege which they
received from Alexander IV of hearing confessions throughout the world.
Not less strong was the hostility of the monastic orders which is often
expressed in Matthew Paris's free-spoken abuse of them. They were
accused of terrorising dying men out of their possessions, of laxity in
the confessional, of absolving their friends too easily, of overweening
ambition and restless meddlesomeness. They were violent against
heretics and enemies of the Church. They answered hate with hate. They
despised the seculars as drones and the monks as lazy and corrupt. The
dissensions between the various orders of friars, and particularly
between the sober and intellectual Dominicans and the radical and
mystic Franciscans, were soon as bitter as those between monks and
friars, or monks and seculars. But when all allowances have been made,
the good that they wrought far outbalanced the evil, and in England at
least, the mendicant orders exhibited a nobler conception of religion,
and of men's duly to their fellowmen than had as yet been set before
the people. If the main result of their influence was to strengthen
that cosmopolitan conception of Christendom of which the papacy was the
head and the friars the agents, their zeal for righteousness often led
them beyond their own rigid platform, and Englishmen honoured the
wandering friar as the champion of the nation's cause.

Like the religious orders, the universities were part of the world
system and only indirectly represented the struggling national life.
The ferment of the twelfth century revival crystallised groups of
masters or doctors into guilds called universities, with a strong class
tradition, rigid codes of rules, and intense corporate spirit. The
schools at Oxford, whose continuous history can be traced from the days
of Henry II., had acquired a considerable reputation by the time that
his grandson had ascended the throne. Oxford university, with an
autonomous constitution of its own since _1214_, was presided over by a
chancellor who, though in a sense the representative of the distant
diocesan at Lincoln, was even in the earliest times the head of the
scholars, and no mere delegate of the bishop. Five years earlier the
Oxford schools were sufficiently vigorous to provoke a secession, from
which the first faint beginnings of a university at Cambridge arose. A
generation later there were other secessions to Salisbury and
Northampton, but neither of these schools succeeded in maintaining
themselves. Cambridge itself had a somewhat languid existence
throughout the whole of the thirteenth century, and was scarcely
recognised as a _studium generale_ until the bull of John XXII. in 1318
made its future position secure. In early days the university owed
nothing to endowments, buildings, social prestige, or tradition. The
two essentials was the living voice of the graduate teacher and the
concourse of students desirous to be taught. Hence migrations were
common and stability only gradually established. When, late in Henry
III.'s reign, the chancellor, Walter of Merton, desired to set up a
permanent institution for the encouragement of poor students, he
hesitated whether to establish it at Oxford, or Cambridge, or in his
own Surrey village. Oxford, though patriots coupled it with Paris and
Bologna, only gradually rose into repute. But before the end of Henry
III.'s reign it had won an assured place among the great universities
of western Europe, though lagging far behind that of the supreme
schools of Paris.

The growing fame of the university of Oxford was a matter of national
importance. Down to the early years of the thirteenth century a young
English clerk who was anxious to study found his only career abroad,
and was too often cut off altogether from his mother country. Among the
last of this type were the Paris mathematician, John of Holywood or
Halifax, Robert Curzon, cardinal, legate, theologian, and crusader, and
Alexander of Hales. Stephen Langton, who did important work in revising
the text of the Vulgate, might well have been one of those lost to
England but for the wisdom of Innocent III who restored him, in the
fulness of his reputation and powers, to the service of the English
Church. Not many years younger than Langton was his successor Edmund of
Abingdon, but the difference was enough to make the younger primate a
student of the Oxford schools in early life. Though he left Oxford for
Paris, Edmund returned to an active career in England, when experience
convinced him of the vanity of scholastic success. Bishop Grosseteste,
another early Oxford teacher of eminence, probably studied at Paris,
for so late as 1240 he held up to the Oxford masters of theology the
example of their Paris brethren for their imitation. The double
allegiance of Edmund and Grosseteste was typical. A long catalogue of
eminent names adorned the annals of Oxford in the thirteenth century,
but the most distinguished of her earlier sons were drawn away from her
by the superior attractions of Paris. England furnished at least her
share of the great names of thirteenth century scholasticism, but of
very few of these could it be said that their main obligation was to
the English university. It was at Paris that the academic organisation
developed which Oxford adopted. At Paris the great intellectual
conflicts of the century were fought. There the ferment seethed round
that introduction of Aristotle's teaching from Moorish sources which
led to the outspoken pantheism of an Amaury of Bene. There also was the
reconciliation effected between the new teacher and the old faith which
made Aristotle the pillar of the new scholasticism that was to justify
by reason the ways of God to man. In Paris also was fought the contest
between the aggressive mendicant friars and the secular doctors whom
they wished to supplant in the divinity schools.

There is little evidence of even a pale reflection of these struggles
in contemporary Oxford. English scholars bore their full share in the
fight. It was the Englishman Curzon who condemned the heresies of
Amaury of Bene. Another Englishman, Alexander of Hales, issued in his
_Summa Theologiae_ the first effective reconciliation of Aristotelian
metaphysic with Christian doctrine which his Paris pupils, Thomas
Aquinas, the Italian, and Albert the Great, the German, were to work
out in detail in the next generation. Hales was the first secular
doctor in Europe who in 1222, in the full pride of his powers,
abandoned his position in the university to embrace the voluntary
poverty of the Franciscans and resume his teaching, not in the regular
schools but in a Minorite convent. And at the same time another English
doctor at Paris, John of St. Giles, notable as a physician as well as a
theologian, dramatically marked his conversion to the Dominican order
by assuming its habit in the midst of a sermon on the virtues of
poverty. All these famous Englishmen worked and taught at Paris, and it
was only a generation later that their successors could establish on
the Thames the traditions so long upheld on the banks of the Seine.

The establishment of the Dominicans and Franciscans at Oxford gave an
immense impetus to the activity of the university. The Franciscans
appointed as the first _lector_ of their Oxford convent the famous
secular teacher Grosseteste, who ever after held the Minorites in the
closest estimation. Grosseteste was the greatest scholar of his day,
knowing Greek and Hebrew as well as the accustomed studies of the
period. A clear and independent thinker, he was not, like so many of
his contemporaries, overborne by the weight of authority, but appealed
to observation and experience in terms which make him the precursor of
Roger Bacon. Grosseteste's successor as _lector_ was himself a
Minorite, Adam Marsh, whose reputation was so great that Grosseteste
was afraid to leave him when sick in a French town, lest the Paris
masters should persuade him to teach in their schools. Adam's loyalty
to his native university withstood any such temptation, and from that
time Oxford began to hold up its head against Paris. Even before this,
Grosseteste persuaded John of St. Giles to transfer his teaching from
Paris to Oxford, where he remained for the rest of his life.

The intense intellectual activity of the thirteenth century flowed in
more than one channel, and Englishmen took their full share both in
building up and in destroying. Two Englishmen of the next generation
mark in different ways the reaction against the moderate
Aristotelianism and orthodox rationalism which their countryman Hales
first brought into vogue. These were the Franciscan friars, Roger Bacon
and Duns Scotus. Bacon, though he studied at Paris as well as at
Oxford, is much more closely identified with England than with the
Continent. His sceptical, practical intellect led him to heap scorn on
Hales and his followers and to plunge into audacities of speculation
which cost him long seclusions in his convent and enforced abstinence
from writing and study. In his war against the Aristotelians, the
intrepid friar upheld recourse to experiment and observation as
superior to deference to authority, in language which stands in strange
contrast to the traditions of the thirteenth century. Grosseteste, who
also had preferred the teachings of experience to the appeal to the
sages of the past, was the only academic leader that escaped Bacon's
scathing censure. When his order kept him silent, Roger was bidden to
resume his pen by Pope Clement IV. A generation still later, Duns
Scotus, probably a Lowland Scot, who taught at Paris and died at
Cologne in 1308, emphasised, sharply enough, but in less drastic
fashion, the reaction against the teaching of Hales and Aquinas, by
accepting a dualism between reason and authority that broke away from
the Thomist tradition of the thirteenth century and prepared the way
for the scholastic decadence of the fourteenth. After France, England
took a leading part in all these movements; and even in France English
scholars had a large share in making that land the special home of the
_Studium_, as Italy was of the _Sacerdotium_ and Germany of the

This intellectual ferment had its results on practical life. Though the
university was cosmopolitan, the individual members of it were not the
less good citizens. A patriot like Grosseteste strove to his uttermost
to keep Englishmen for Oxford or to win them back from Paris. Oxford
clerks fought the battle of England against the legate Otto, and we
shall see them siding with Montfort. The eminently practical temper of
the academic class could not neglect the world of action for the
abstract pursuit of science. Eager as men were to know, to prove, and
to inquire, the age had little of the mystical temperament about it.
The studies which made for worldly success, such as civil and canon
law, attracted the thousands for whom philosophy or theology had little
attraction. Never before was there a career so fully opened to talent.
The academic teacher's fame took him from the lecture-room to the
court, from the university to the episcopal throne, and so it was that
the university influenced action almost as profoundly as it influenced
thought, and affected all classes of society alike. The struggles of
poor students like Edmund of Abingdon or Grosseteste must not make us
think that the universities of this period were exclusively frequented
by humble scholars. The academic career of a rich baron's son like
Thomas of Cantilupe, living in his own hired house at Paris with a
train of chaplains and tutors, receiving the visits of the French king,
and feeding poor scholars with the remnants from his table, is as
characteristic as the more common picture of the student begging his
way from one seat of learning to another, and suffering the severest
privations rather than desert his studies. Yet the function of the
_studium_ as promoting a healthy circulation between the various orders
of medieval society, must not be ignored.

Partly to help on the poor, partly to encourage men to devote
themselves to the pursuit of knowledge, endowments began to arise which
soon enhanced the splendour of universities though they lessened their
mobility and their freedom. The mendicant convents at Paris and Oxford
prepared the way for secular foundations, at first small and
insignificant, like that which, in the days of Henry III., John Balliol
established at Oxford for the maintenance of poor scholars, but soon
increasing in magnitude and distinction. The great college set up by
St. Louis' confessor at Paris for the endowment of scholars, desirous
of studying the unlucrative but vital subject of theology, was soon
imitated by the chancellor of Henry III. Side by side with Robert of
Sorbon's college of 1257, arose Walter of Merton's foundation of 1263,
and twenty years later Bishop Balsham's college of Peterhouse extended
the "rule of Merton" to Cambridge.

The academic movement was not all clear gain. The humanism, of the
twelfth century was crushed beneath the weight of the specialised
science and encyclopaedic learning of the thirteenth. We should seek in
vain among most theologians or the philosophers of our period for any
spark of literary art; and the tendency dominant in them affected for
evil all works written in Latin. Even the historians show a falling
away from the example of William of Malmesbury or of Roger of Hoveden.
The one English chronicler of the thirteenth century who is a
considerable man of letters, Matthew Paris, belongs to the early half
of it, before the academic tradition was fully established, and even
with him prolixity impairs the art without injuring the colour of his
work. The age of Edward I., the great time of triumphant scholasticism,
is recorded in chronicles so dreary that it is hard to make the dry
bones live. Walter of Hemingburgh, the most attractive historian of the
time, belongs to the next generation: and his excellencies are only
great in comparison with his fellows. Something of this decadence may
be attributed to the falling away of the elder monastic types, whose
higher life withered up from want of able recruits, for the secular and
mendicant careers offered opportunities so stimulating that few men of
purpose, or earnest spiritual character, cared to enter a Benedictine
or a Cistercian house of religion. Something more may be assigned to
the growing claims of the vulgar tongue on literary aspirants. But the
chief cause of the literary defects of thirteenth century writers must
be set down to the doctrine that the study of "arts"--of grammar,
rhetoric and the rest--was only worthy of schoolboys and novices, and
was only a preliminary to the specialised faculties which left little
room for artistic presentation. Science in short nearly killed

It was the same with the vulgar tongues as with Latin. French remained
the common language of the higher classes of English society, and the
history of French literature belongs to the history of the western
world rather than to that of England. The share taken in it by
English-born writers is less important than in the great age of romance
when the contact of Celt and Norman on British soil added the Arthurian
legend to the world's stock of poetic material. The practical motive,
which destroyed the art of so many Latin writers, impaired the literary
value of much written in the vernacular. We have technical works in
French and even in English, such as Walter of Henley's treatise on
_Husbandry_, composed in French for the guidance of stewards of manors,
and translated, it is said by Grosseteste, into English for the benefit
of a wider public. Grosseteste is also said to have drawn up in French
a handbook of rules for the management of a great estate, and he
certainly wrote French poetry. The legal literature, written in Latin
or French, and illustrated by such names as Bracton, Britton, and
"Fleta," shows that there was growing up a school of earnest students
of English law who, though anxious, like Bracton, to bring their
conclusions under the rules of Roman jurisprudence, began to treat
their science with an independence which secured for English custom the
opportunity of independent development. Of more literary interest than
such technicalities were the rhyming chronicles, handed on from the
previous age, of which one of the best, the recently discovered history
of the great William Marshal, has already been noticed. The spontaneity
of this poem proves that its language was still the natural speech of
the writer, and impels its French editor to claim for it a French
origin. As the century grew older there was no difficulty in deciding
whether French works were written by Englishmen or Frenchmen. The
Yorkshire French of Peter Langtoft's _Chronicle_, and the jargon of the
_Year Books_, attest how the political separation of the two lands, and
the preponderance in northern France of the dialect of Paris, placed
the insular French speech in strong contrast to the language of polite
society beyond the Channel. Yet barbarous as Anglo-French became, it
retained the freshness of a living tongue, and gained some ground at
the expense of Latin, notably in the law courts and in official

English was slowly making its way upwards. There was a public ready to
read vernacular books, and not at home with French. For their sake a
great literature of translations and adaptations was made, beginning
with Layamon's English version of Wace's _Brut_, which by the end of
the century made the cycle of French romance accessible to the English
reader. Many works of edification and devotion were written in English;
and Robert of Gloucester's rhyming history appealed to a larger public
than the Yorkshire French of Langtoft. It is significant of the trend
of events that the early fourteenth century saw Langtoft himself done
into English by Robert Mannyng, of Bourne. While as yet no continuous
works of high merit were written in English, there was no lack of
experiments, of novelties, and of adaptations. Much evidence of depth
of feeling, power of expression, and careful art lies hidden away in
half-forgotten anonymous lyrics, satires, and romances. The language in
which these works were written was steadily becoming more like our
modern English. The dialectical differences become less acute; the
inflections begin to drop away; the vocabulary gradually absorbs a
larger romance element, and the prosody drops from the forms of the
West Saxon period into measures and modes that reflect a living
connexion with the contemporary poetry of France. Thus, even in the
literature of a not too literary age, we find abundant tokens of that
strenuous national life which was manifesting itself in so many
different ways.

Art rather than literature reflected the deeper currents of the
thirteenth century. Architecture, the great art of the middle age, was
in its perfection. The inchoate gothic which the Cistercians brought
from Burgundy to the Yorkshire dales, and William of Sens transplanted
from his birthplace to Canterbury, was superseded by the more developed
art of St. Hugh's choir at Lincoln. In the next generation the new
style, imported from northern France, struck out ways of its own, less
soaring, less rigidly logical, yet of unequalled grace and
picturesqueness, such as we see in Salisbury cathedral, which
altogether dates from the reign of Henry III. Here also, as in
literature, foreign models stood side by side with native products.
Henry III.'s favourite foundation at Westminster reproduced on English
soil the towering loftiness, the vaulted roofs, the short choir, and
the ring of apsidal chapels, of the great French minsters. This was
even more emphatically the case with the decorations, the goldsmith's
and metal work, the sculpture, painting, and glass, which the best
artists of France set up in honour of the English king's favourite
saint. In these crafts English work would not as yet bear a comparison
with foreign, and even the glories of the statuary of the facade of
Wells cannot approach the sculptured porches of Amiens or Paris. As the
century advanced some of the fashions of the French builders, notably
as regards window tracery, were taken up in the early "Decorated" of
the reign of Edward I.; and here the claims of English to essential
equality with French building can perhaps be better substantiated than
in the infancy of the art. But all these comparisons are misleading.
The impulse to gothic art came to England from France, like the impulse
to many other things. Its working out was conducted on English local
lines, ever becoming more divergent from those of the prototype, though
not seldom stimulated by the constant intercourse of the two lands.

The new gothic art enriched the medieval town with a splendour of
buildings hitherto unknown, which symbolised the growth of material
prosperity as well as of a keener artistic appreciation. In the greater
towns the four orders of friars erected their large and plain churches,
designed as halls for preaching to great congregations. The development
of domestic architecture is even more significant than the growth of
ecclesiastical and military buildings. Stone houses were no longer the
rare luxuries of Jews or nobles. Never were the towns more prosperous
and more energetic. They were now winning for themselves both economic
and administrative independence. Magnates, such as Randolph of Chester,
followed the king's example by granting charters to the smaller towns.
Even the lesser boroughs became not merely the abodes of agriculturists
but the homes of organised trading communities. It was the time when
the merchant class first began to manifest itself in politics, and the
power of capital to make itself felt. Capital was almost monopolised by
Jews, Lombards, or Tuscans, and the fierce English hatred of the
foreigner found a fresh expression in the persecution of the Hebrew
money-lenders and in the increasing dislike felt for the alien bankers
and merchants who throve at Englishmen's expense. The fact that so much
of English trade with the continent was still in the hands of Germans,
Frenchmen, and Italians made this feeling the more intense. But there
were limits even to the ill-will towards aliens. The foreigner could
make himself at home in England, and the rapid naturalisation of a
Montfort in the higher walks of life is paralleled by the absorption
into the civic community of many a Gascon or German merchant, like that
Arnold Fitz Thedmar,[1] a Bremen trader's son, who became alderman
of London and probably chronicler of its history. Yet even the greatest
English towns did not become strong enough to cut themselves off from
the general life of the people. They were rather a new element in that
rich and purposeful nation that had so long been enduring the rule of
Henry of Winchester. The national energy spurned the feebleness of the
court, and the time was at hand when the nation, through its natural
leaders, was to overthrow the wretched system of misgovernment under
which it had suffered. Political retrogression was no longer to bar
national progress.

    [1] See for Arnold the _Chronica majorum et vicecomitum
    Londoniarum_ in _Liber de antiquis legibus_, and Riley's
    introduction to his translation of _Chronicles of the Mayors
    and Sheriffs of London_ (1863).



During the early months of 1258, the aliens ruled the king and realm,
added estate to estate, and defied all attempts to dislodge them. Papal
agents traversed the country, extorting money from prelates and
churches. The Welsh, in secret relations with the lords of the march,
threatened the borders, and made a confederacy with the Scots. The
French were hostile, and the barons disunited, without leaders, and
helpless. A wretched harvest made corn scarce and dear. A wild winter,
followed by a long late frost, cut off the lambs and destroyed the
farmers' hopes for the summer. A murrain of cattle followed, and the
poor were dying of hunger and pestilence. Henry III. was in almost as
bad a plight as his people. He had utterly failed to subdue Llewelyn. A
papal agent threatened him with excommunication and the resumption of
the grant of Sicily. He could not control his foreign kinsfolk, and the
rivalry of Savoyards and Poitevins added a new element of turmoil to
the distracted relations of the magnates. His son had been forced to
pawn his best estates to William of Valence, and the royal exchequer
was absolutely empty. Money must be had at all risks, and the only way
to get it was to assemble the magnates.

On April 2 the chief men of Church and State gathered together at
London. For more than a month the stormy debates went on. The king's
demands were contemptuously waved aside. His exceptional misdeeds, it
was declared, were to be met by exceptional measures. Hot words were
spoken, and William of Valence called Leicester a traitor. "No, no,
William," the earl replied, "I am not a traitor, nor the son of a
traitor; your father and mine were men of a different stamp," An
opposition party formed itself under the Earls of Gloucester,
Leicester, Hereford, and Norfolk. Even the Savoyards partially fell
away from the court, and a convocation of clergy at Merton, presided
over by Archbishop Boniface, drew up canons in the spirit of
Grosseteste. In parliament all that Henry could get was a promise to
adjourn the question of supply until a commission had drafted a
programme of reform. On May 2 Henry and his son Edward announced their
acceptance of this proposal; parliament was forthwith prorogued, and
the barons set to work to mature their scheme.

On June 11 the magnates once more assembled, this time at Oxford. A
summons to fight the Welsh gave them an excuse to appear attended with
their followers in arms. The royalist partisans nicknamed the gathering
the Mad Parliament, but its proceedings were singularly business-like.
A petition of twenty-nine articles was presented, in which the abuses
of the administration were laid bare in detail. A commission of
twenty-four was appointed who were to redress the grievances of the
nation, and to draw up a new scheme of government. According to the
compact Henry himself selected half this body. It was significant of
the falling away of the mass of the ruling families from the monarchy,
that six of Henry's twelve commissioners were churchmen, four were
aliens, three were his brothers, one his brother-in-law, one his
nephew, one his wife's uncle. The only earls that accepted his
nomination were the Poitevin adventurer, John du Plessis, Earl of
Warwick, and John of Warenne, who was pledged to a royalist policy by
his marriage to Henry's half-sister, Alice of Lusignan. The only
bishops were, the queen's uncle, Boniface of Canterbury, and Fulk
Basset of London, the richest and noblest born of English prelates,
who, though well meaning, was too weak in character for continued
opposition. Yet these two were the most independent names on Henry's
list. The rest included the three Lusignan brothers, Guy, William, and
Aymer, still eight years after his election only elect of Winchester;
Henry of Almaine, the young son of the King of the Romans; the
pluralist official John Mansel; the chancellor, Henry Wingham; the
Dominican friar John of Darlington, distinguished as a biblical critic,
the king's confessor and the pope's agent; and the Abbot of
Westminster, an old man pledged by long years of dependence to do the
will of the second founder of his house. In strong contrast to these
creatures of court favour were the twelve nominees of the barons. The
only ecclesiastic was Walter of Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester, and the
only alien was Earl Simon of Leicester. With him were three other
earls, Richard of Clare, Earl of Gloucester, Roger Bigod, earl marshal
and Earl of Norfolk, and Humphrey Bohun, Earl of Hereford. Those of
baronial rank were Roger Mortimer, the strongest of the marchers, Hugh
Bigod, the brother of the earl marshal, John FitzGeoffrey, Richard
Grey, William Bardolf, Peter Montfort, and Hugh Despenser.

The twenty-four drew up a plan of reform which left little to be
desired in thoroughness. The Provisions of Oxford, as the new
constitution was styled, were speedily laid before the barons and
adopted. By it a standing council of fifteen was established, with
whose advice and consent Henry was henceforth to exercise all his
authority. Even this council was not to be without supervision. Thrice
in the year another committee of twelve was to treat with the fifteen
on the common affairs of the realm. This rather narrow body was
created, we are told, to save the expense involved in too frequent
meetings of the magnates. A third aristocratic junto of twenty-four was
appointed to make grants of money to the crown. All aliens were to be
expelled from office and from the custody of royal castles. New
ministers, castellans, and escheators were appointed under stringent
conditions and under the safeguard of new oaths. The original
twenty-four were not yet discharged from office. They had still to draw
up schemes for the reform of the household of king and queen, and for
the amendment of the exchange of London. Moreover, "Be it remembered,"
ran one of the articles, "that the estate of Holy Church be amended by
the twenty-four elected to reform the realm, when they shall find time
and place".

For the first time in our history the king was forced to stand aside
from the discharge of his undoubted functions, and suffer them to be
exercised by a committee of magnates. The conception of limited
monarchy, which had been foreshadowed in the early struggles of Henry's
long reign, was triumphantly vindicated, and, after weary years of
waiting, the baronial victors demanded more than had ever been
suggested by the most free interpretation of the Great Charter. The
body that controlled the crown was, it is true, a narrow one. But
whatever was lost by its limitation, was more than gained by the
absolute freedom of the whole movement from any suspicion of the
separatist tendencies of the earlier feudalism. The barons tacitly
accepted the principle that England was a unity, and that it must be
ruled as a single whole. The triumph of the national movement of the
thirteenth century was assured when the most feudal class of the
community thus frankly abandoned the ancient baronial contention that
each baron should rule in isolation over his own estates, a tradition
which, when carried out for a brief period under Stephen, had set up
"as many kings or rather tyrants as lords of castles". The feudal
period was over: the national idea was triumphant. This victory becomes
specially significant when we remember how large a share the barons of
the Welsh march, the only purely feudal region in the country, took in
the movement against the King.

The unity of the national government being recognised, it was another
sign of the times that its control should be transferred from the
monarch to a committee of barons. At this point the rigid conceptions
of the triumphant oligarchy stood in the way of a wide national policy.
Since the reign of John the custom had arisen of consulting the
representatives of the shire-courts on matters of politics and finance.
In 1258 there is not the least trace of a suggestion that parliament
could ever include a more popular element than the barons and prelates.
On the contrary, the Provisions diminished the need even for those
periodical assemblies of the magnates which had been in existence since
the earliest dawn of our history. For all practical purposes small
baronial committees were to perform the work of magnates and people as
well as of the crown. Yet it must be recognised that the barons showed
self-control, as well as practical wisdom, in handing over functions
discharged by the baronage as a whole to the various committees of
their selection. The danger of general control by the magnates was that
a large assembly, more skilled in opposition than in constructive work,
was almost sure to become infected by faction. By strictly limiting and
defining who the new rulers of England were to be, the barons
approached a combination of aristocratic control with the stability and
continuity resulting from limited numbers and defined functions. It is
likely, however, that in bestowing such extensive powers on their
nominees, they were influenced by the well-grounded belief that the new
constitution could only be established by main force, and that, even
when abandoned by the king, the aliens would make a good fight before
they gave up all that they had so long held in England. The success of
the new scheme largely depended upon the immediate execution of the
ordinance for the expulsion of the foreigners.

The first step taken to carry out the Provisions was the appointment of
the new ministers. The barons insisted on the revival of the office of
justiciar, and a strenuous and capable chief minister was found in Hugh
Bigod. It was advisable to go cautiously, and some of the king's
ministers were allowed to continue in office. An appeal to force was
necessary before the new constitution could be set up in detail. The
Savoyards bought their safety by accepting it; but the Poitevins,
seeing that flight or resistance were the only alternatives before
them, were spirited enough to prefer the bolder course. They were
specially dangerous because Edward and his cousin, Henry of Almaine,
the son of the King of the Romans, were much under their influence. In
the Dominican convent at Oxford the baronial leaders formed a sworn
confederacy not to desist from their purpose until the foreigners had
been expelled. There were more hot words between Leicester and William,
the most capable of the Lusignans. The Poitevins soon found that they
could not maintain themselves in the face of the general hatred. On
June 22 they fled from Oxford in the company of their ally, Earl
Warenne. They rode straight for the coast, but failing to reach it,
occupied Winchester, where they sought to maintain themselves in
Aymer's castle of Wolvesey. The magnates of the parliament then turned
against them the arms they professed to have prepared against the
Welsh. Headed by the new justiciar, Hugh Bigod, they besieged Wolvesey.
Warenne abandoned the aliens, and they gladly accepted the terms
offered to them by their foes. They were allowed to retain their lands
and some of their ready money, on condition of withdrawing from the
realm and surrendering their castles. By the middle of July they had
crossed over to France. With them disappeared the whole of the
organised opposition to the new government. Edward, deprived of their
support, swore to observe the Provisions.

Immediately on the flight of the Lusignans the council of Fifteen was
chosen after a fashion which seemed to give the king's friends an equal
voice with the champions of the aristocracy. Four electors appointed
it, and of these two were the nominees of the baronial section, and two
of the royalist section of the original twenty-four. The result of
their work showed that there was only one party left after the Wolvesey
fiasco. While only three of the king's twelve had places on the
permanent council, no less that nine of the fifteen were chosen from
the baronial twelve. It was useless for Archbishop Boniface, John
Mansel, and the Earl of Warwick to stand up against the Bishop of
Worcester, the Earls of Leicester, Norfolk, Hereford, and Gloucester,
against John FitzGeoffrey, Peter Montfort, Richard Grey, and Roger
Mortimer. Moreover, of the three, John Mansel alone could still be
regarded as a royalist partisan. There were three of the fifteen chosen
from outside the twenty-four. Of these, Peter of Savoy, Earl of
Richmond, might, like his brother Boniface, be regarded as an alien,
though hatred of the Poitevins had by this time made Englishmen of the
Savoyards. The other two, the marcher-lord James of Audley and William
of Fors, Earl of Albemarle, were of baronial sympathies. It was the
same with the other councils.

Inquiry was made as to abuses. Gradually the royal officials were
replaced by men of popular leanings. The sheriffs were changed and were
strictly controlled, and four knights from each shire assembled in
October to present to the king the grievances of the people against the
out-going sheriffs. The custody of the castles was put into trusty and,
for the most part, into English hands. Finally the king was forced to
issue a proclamation, in which he commanded all true men "steadfastly
to hold and to defend the statutes that be made or are to be made by
our counsellors". This document was issued in English as well as in
French and Latin. A copy of the English version was sent to every
sheriff, with instructions to read it several times a year in the
county court, so that a knowledge of its contents might be attained by
every man. It is perhaps the first important proclamation issued in
English since the coming of the Normans. Early in 1259 Richard, King of
the Romans, set out to revisit England. He was met at Saint Omer by a
deputation of magnates, who told him that he could only be allowed to
land after taking an oath to observe the Provisions. Richard blustered,
but soon gave in his submission. His adhesion to the reforms marks the
last step in the revolution.

The new constitution worked without interruption until the end of 1259.
Throughout that period domestic affairs were uneventful, and the
efforts of the ministry were chiefly concerned in securing peace
abroad. In 1258 Wales had been in revolt, Scotland unfriendly, and
France threatening. A truce, ill observed, was made with Llewelyn, who
found it worth while to be cautious, seeing that his natural enemies,
but sometime associates, the marchers, had a preponderant share in the
government. The Scots were easier to satisfy, for there was at the time
no real hostility between either kings or peoples. The chief event of
this period is the conclusion of the first peace with France since the
wars of John and Philip Augustus. The protracted negotiations which
preceded it took the king and his chief councillors abroad, and that
made it easier to carry on the new domestic system without friction.

Since the friendly personal intercourse held between Henry and Louis
IX. in 1254, the relations between England and France had become less
cordial. The revival of the English power in Gascony, the
Anglo-Castilian alliance, and the election of Richard of Cornwall to
the German kingship irritated the French, to whom the persistent
English claim to Normandy and Anjou, and the repudiation of the
Aquitanian homage, were perpetual sources of annoyance. The French
championship of Alfonso against Richard achieved the double end of
checking English pretensions, and cooling the friendship between
England and Castile. St. Louis, however, was always ready to treat for
peace, while the revolution of 1258 made all parties in England anxious
to put a speedy end to the unsettled relations between the two realms.
Negotiations were begun as early as 1257, and made some progress; but
the decisive step was taken immediately after the prorogation of the
reforming parliament in the spring of 1258. During May a strangely
constituted embassy treated for peace at Paris, where Montfort and Hugh
Bigod worked side by side with two of the Lusignans and Peter of Savoy.
They concluded a provisional treaty in time for the negotiators to take
their part in the Mad Parliament. The unsettled state of affairs in
England, however, delayed the ratification of the treaty. Arrangements
had been made for its publication at Cambrai, but the fifteen dared not
allow Henry to escape from their tutelage, and Louis refused to treat
save with the king himself. There were difficulties as to the relation
of the pope and the King of the Romans to the treaty, while Earl
Simon's wife Eleanor and her children refused to waive their very
remote claims to a share in the Norman and Angevin inheritances, which
her brother was prepared to renounce. As ever, Montfort held to his
personal rights with the utmost tenacity, and the self-seeking
obstinacy of the chief negotiator of the treaty caused both bad blood
and delay. At last he was bought off by the promise of a money payment,
and the preliminary ratifications were exchanged in the summer of 1259.
On November 14 Henry left England for Paris for the formal conclusion
of the treaty. There were great festivities on the occasion of the
meeting of the two kings, but once more Montfort and his wife blocked
the way. Not until the very morning of the day fixed for the final
ceremony were they satisfied by Henry's promise to deposit on their
behalf a large sum in the hands of the French. Immediately afterwards
Henry did homage to Louis for Gascony.

The chief condition of the treaty of Paris was Henry's definitive
renunciation of all his claims on Normandy, Anjou, Maine, Touraine, and
Poitou, and his agreement to hold Gascony as a fief of the French
crown. In return for this, Louis not only recognised him as Duke of
Aquitaine, but added to his actual possessions there by ceding to him
all that he held, whether in fief or in demesne, in the three dioceses
of Limoges, Cahors, and Perigueux. Besides these immediate cessions,
the French king promised to hand over to Henry certain districts then
held by his brother, Alfonse of Poitiers, and his brother's wife Joan
of Toulouse, in the event of their dominions escheating to the crown by
their death without heirs. These regions included Agen and the Agenais,
Saintonge to the south of the Charente, and in addition the whole of
Quercy, if it could be proved by inquest that it had been given by
Richard I. to his sister Joan, grandmother of Joan of Poitiers, as her
marriage portion. Moreover the French king promised to pay to Henry the
sums necessary to maintain for two years five hundred knights to be
employed "for the service of God, or the Church, or the kingdom of

    [1] For the treaty and its execution see M. Gavrilovitch,
    _Etude sur le traite de Paris de 1259_ (1899).

The treaty was unpopular both in France and England. The French
strongly objected to the surrender of territory, and were but little
convinced of the advantage gained by making the English king once more
the vassal of France. English opinion was hostile to the abandonment of
large pretensions in return for so small an equivalent. On the French
side it is true that Louis sacrificed something to his sense of justice
and love of peace. But the territory he ceded was less in reality than
in appearance. The French king's demesnes in Quercy, Perigord, and
Limousin were not large, and the transference of the homage of the
chief vassals meant only a nominal change of overlordship, and was
further limited by a provision that certain "privileged fiefs" were
still to be retained under the direct suzerainty of the French crown.
As to the eventual cessions, Alfonse and his wife were still alive and
likely to live many years. Even the cession of Gascony was hampered by
a stipulation that the towns should take an "oath of security," by
which they pledged themselves to aid France against England in the
event of the English king breaking the provisions of the treaty.
Perhaps the most solid advantage Henry gained by the treaty was
financial, for he spent the sums granted to enable him to redeem his
crusading vow in preparing for war against his own subjects. It was,
however, an immense advantage for England to be able during the
critical years which followed to be free from French hostility. If,
therefore, the French complaints against the treaty were exaggerated,
the English dissatisfaction was unreasonable. The real difficulty for
the future lay in the fact that the possession of Gascony by the king
of a hostile nation was incompatible with the proper development of the
French monarchy. For fifty years, however, a chronic state of war had
not given Gascony to the French; and Louis IX. was, perhaps, politic as
well as scrupulous in abandoning the way of force and beginning a new
method of gradual absorption, that in the end gained the Gascon fief
for France more effectively than any conquest. The treaty of Paris was
not a final settlement. It left a score of questions still open, and
the problems of its gradual execution involved the two courts in
constant disputes down to the beginning of the Hundred Years' War. For
seventy years the whole history of the relations between the two
nations is but a commentary on the treaty of Paris.

During his visit to Paris Henry arranged a marriage between his
daughter Beatrice and John of Brittany, the son of the reigning duke.
In no hurry to get back to the tutelage of the fifteen, he prolonged
his stay on the continent till the end of April, 1260. Yet, abroad as
at home, he could not be said to act as a free man. It was not the king
so much as Simon of Montfort who was the real author of the French
treaty. Indeed, it is from the conclusion of the Peace of Paris that
Simon's preponderance becomes evident. He was at all stages the chief
negotiator of the peace and, save when his personal interests stood in
the way, he controlled every step of the proceedings. If in 1258 he was
but one of several leaders of the baronial party in England, he came
back from France in 1260 assured of supremacy. During his absence
abroad, events had taken place in England which called for his

After their triumph in 1258, the baronial leaders relaxed their efforts.
Contented with their position as arbiters of the national destinies,
they made little effort to carry out the reforms contemplated at Oxford.
The ranks of the victors were broken up by private dissensions. Before
leaving for France, Earl Simon violently quarrelled with Richard, Earl
of Gloucester. It was currently believed that Gloucester had grown
slack, and Simon rose in popular estimation as a thorough-going reformer
who had no mind to substitute the rule of a baronial oligarchy for the
tyranny of the king. His position was strengthened by his personal
qualities which made him the hero of the younger generation; and his
influence began to modify the policy of Edward the king's son, who,
since the flight of his Poitevin kinsmen, was gradually arriving at
broader views of national policy. Even before his father's journey to
France, Edward took up a line of his own. In the October parliament of
1259, he listened to a petition presented to the council by the younger
nobles[1] who complained that, though the king had performed all his
promises, the barons had not fulfilled any of theirs. Edward thereupon
stirred up the oligarchy to issue an instalment of the promised reforms
in the document known as the Provisions of Westminster. During Henry's
absence in France the situation became strained. The oligarchic party,
headed by Gloucester, was breaking away from Montfort; and Edward was
forming a liberal royalist party which was not far removed from
Montfort's principles. Profiting by these discords, the Lusignans
prepared to invade England. The papacy was about to declare against the
reformers. When the monks of Winchester elected an Englishman as their
bishop in the hope of getting rid of the queen's uncle, Alexander IV.
summoned Aymer to his court and consecrated him bishop with his own

    [1] "Communitas bacheleriae Angliae," _Burton Ann_., p. 471.
    _See on_ this, _Engl. Hist. Review_, xvii. (1902), 89-94.

Early in 1260, Montfort went back to England and made common cause with
Edward. Despite the king's order that no parliament should be held
during his absence abroad, Montfort insisted that the Easter parliament
should meet as usual at London. The discussions were hot. Montfort
demanded the expulsion of Peter of Savoy from the council, and Edward
and Gloucester almost came to blows. The Londoners closed their gates on
both parties, but the mediation of the King of the Romans prevented a
collision. Henry hurried home, convinced that Edward was conspiring
against him. The king threw himself into the city of London, and with
Gloucester's help collected an army. Meanwhile Montfort and Edward, with
their armed followers, were lodged at Clerkenwell, ready for war. Again
the situation became extremely critical, and again King Richard proved
the best peacemaker. Henry held out against his son for a fortnight, but
such estrangement was hard for him to endure. "Do not let my son appear
before me," he cried, "for if I see him, I shall not be able to refrain
from kissing him." A reconciliation was speedily effected, and nothing
remained of the short-lived alliance of Edward with Montfort save that
his feud with Gloucester continued until the earl's death.

The dissensions among the barons encouraged Henry to shake off the
tutelage of the fifteen. As soon as he was reconciled with his son, he
charged Leicester with treason.[1] "But, thanks _be_ to God, the earl
answered to all these points with such force that the king could do
nothing against him." Unable to break down his enemy by direct attack,
Henry followed one of the worst precedents of his father's reign by
beseeching Alexander IV. to relieve him of his oath to observe the
Provisions. On April 13, 1261, a bull was issued annulling the whole of
the legislation of 1258 and 1259, and freeing the king from his sworn

    [1] Bemont, _Simon de Montfort_, Appendix xxxvii., pp. 343-53.

William of Valence was already back in England, and restored to his old
dignities. His return was the easier because his brother, Aymer, the
most hated of the Poitevins, had died soon after his consecration to
Winchester. On June 14, 1261, the papal bull was read before the
assembled parliament at Winchester. There Henry removed the baronial
ministers and replaced them by his own friends. Chief among the
sufferers was Hugh Despenser, who had succeeded Hugh Bigod as
justiciar; and Bigod himself was expelled from the custody of Dover
Castle. In the summer Henry issued a proclamation, declaring that the
right of choosing his council and garrisoning his castles was among the
inalienable attributes of the crown. England was little inclined to
rebel, for the return of prosperity and good harvests made men more

The repudiation of the Provisions restored unity to the baronage. The
defections had been serious, and it was said that only five of the
twenty-four still adhered to the opposition. But the crisis forced
Leicester and Gloucester to forget their recent feuds, and co-operate
once more against the king. They saw that their salvation from Henry's
growing strength lay in appealing to a wider public than that which
they had hitherto addressed. Still posing as the heads of the
government established by the Provisions, they summoned three knights
from each shire to attend an assembly at St. Alban's. This appeal to
the landed gentry alarmed the king so much that he issued counter-writs
to the sheriffs ordering them to send the knights, not to the baronial
camp at St. Alban's, but to his own court at Windsor. Neither party was
as yet prepared for battle. The death of Alexander IV, soon after the
publication of his bull tied the hands of the king. At the same time
the renewed dissensions of Leicester and Gloucester paralysed the
baronage. Before long Simon withdrew to the continent, leaving
everything in Gloucester's hands. At last, on December 7, a treaty of
pacification was patched up, and the king announced that he was ready
to pardon those who accepted its conditions. But there was no
permanence in the settlement, and the king, the chief gainer by it, was
soon pressing the new pope, Urban IV., to confirm the bull of
Alexander. On February 25, 1262, Urban renewed Henry's absolution from
his oath in a bull which was at once promulgated in England. Montfort
then came back from abroad and rallied the baronial party. In January,
1263, Henry once more confirmed the Provisions, and peace seemed
restored. The death of Richard of Gloucester during 1262 increased
Montfort's power. His son, the young Earl Gilbert, was Simon's devoted
disciple, but he was still a minor and the custody of his lands was
handed over to the Earl of Hereford. Montfort's personal charm
succeeded in like fashion in winning over Henry of Almaine.

The events of 1263 are as bewildering and as indecisive as those of the
two previous years. Amidst the confusion of details and the violent
clashing of personal and territorial interests, a few main principles
can be discerned. First of all the royalist party was becoming
decidedly stronger, and fresh secessions of the barons constantly
strengthened its ranks. Conspicuous among these were the lords of the
march of Wales, who in 1258 had been almost as one man on the side of
the opposition, but who by the end of 1263 had with almost equal
unanimity rallied to the crown.[1] The causes of this change of
front are to be found partly in public and partly in personal reasons.
In 1258 Henry III., like Charles I. in 1640, had alienated every class
of his subjects, and was therefore entirely at the mercy of his
enemies. By 1263 his concessions had procured for him a following, so
that he now stood in the same position as Charles after his concessions
to the Long Parliament made it possible for him to begin the Civil War
in 1642. A new royalist party was growing up with a wider policy and
greater efficiency than the old coterie of courtiers and aliens. Of
this new party Edward was the soul. He had dissociated himself from
Earl Simon, but he carried into his father's camp something of Simon's
breadth of vision and force of will. He set to work to win over
individually the remnant that adhered to Leicester. What persuasion and
policy could not effect was accomplished by bribes and promises. Edward
won over the Earl of Hereford, whose importance was doubled by his
custody of the Gloucester lands, the ex-justiciar Roger Bigod, and
above all Roger Mortimer.

    [1] On this, and the whole marcher and Welsh aspect of the
    period, 1258-1267, see my essay on Wales and _the March during
    the Barons' Wars_ in _Owens College Historical Essays_, pp.
    76-136 (1902).

The change of policy of the marchers was partly at least brought about
by their constant difficulties with the Prince of Wales. During the
period immediately succeeding the Provisions of Oxford, Llewelyn ceased
to devastate the marches. A series of truces was arranged which, if
seldom well kept, at least avoided war on a grand scale. Within Wales
Llewelyn fully availed himself of the respite from English war.
Triumphant over the minor chiefs, he could reckon upon the support of
every Welsh tenant of a marcher lord, and at last grew strong enough to
disregard the truces and wage open war against the marchers. It was in
vain that Edward, the greatest of the marcher lords, persuaded David,
the Welsh prince's brother, to rise in revolt against him. Llewelyn
devastated the four cantreds to the gates of Chester, and at last,
after long sieges, forced the war-worn defenders of Deganwy and Diserth
to surrender the two strong castles through which alone Edward had
retained some hold over his Welsh lands. It was the same in the middle
march, where Llewelyn turned his arms against the Mortimers, and robbed
them of their castles. Even in the south the lord of Gwynedd carried
everything before him. "If the Welsh are not stopped," wrote a southern
marcher, "they will destroy all the lands of the king as far as the
Severn and the Wye, and they ask for nothing less than the whole of
Gwent." Up to this point the war had been a war of Welsh against
English, but Montfort sought compensation for his losses in England by
establishing relations with the Welsh. The alliance between Montfort
and their enemy had a large share in bringing about the secession of
the marchers. Their alliance with Edward neutralised the action of
Montfort, and once more enabled Henry to repudiate the Provisions.

In the summer of 1263, Edward and Montfort both raised armies.
Leicester made himself master of Hereford, Gloucester, and Bristol, and
when Edward threw himself into Windsor Castle, he occupied Isleworth,
hoping to cut his enemy off from London, where the king and queen had
taken refuge in the Tower. But the hostility of the Londoners made the
Tower an uneasy refuge for them. On one occasion, when the queen
attempted to make her way up the Thames in the hope of joining her son
at Windsor, the citizens assailed her barge so fiercely from London
Bridge that she was forced to return to the Tower. The foul insults
which the rabble poured upon his mother deeply incensed Edward and he
became a bitter foe of the city for the rest of his life. For the
moment the hostility of London was decisive against Henry. Once more
the king was forced to confirm the Provisions, agree to a fresh
banishment of the aliens, and restore Hugh Despenser to the
justiciarship. This was the last baronial triumph. In a few weeks
Edward again took up arms, and was joined by many of Montfort's
associates, including his cousin, Henry of Almaine. Even the Earl of
Gloucester was wavering. The barons feared the appeal to arms, and
entered into negotiations. Neither side was strong enough to obtain
mastery over the other, and a recourse to arbitration seemed the best
way out of an impossible situation. Accordingly, on December, 1263, the
two parties agreed to submit the question of the validity of the
Provisions to the judgment of Louis IX.

The king and his son at once crossed the channel to Amiens, where the
French king was to hear both sides. A fall from his horse prevented
Leicester attending the arbitration, and the barons were represented by
Peter Montfort, lord of Beaudesert castle in Warwickshire, and
representative of an ancient Anglo-Norman house that was not akin to
the family of Earl Simon. Louis did not waste time, and on January 23,
1264, issued his decision in a document called the "Mise of Amiens,"
which pronounced the Provisions invalid, largely on the ground of the
papal sentence. Henry was declared free to select his own wardens of
castles and ministers, and Louis expressly annulled "the statute that
the realm of England should henceforth be governed by native-born
Englishmen". "We ordain," he added, "that the king shall have full
power and free jurisdiction over his realm as in the days before the
Provisions." The only consolation to the barons was that Louis declared
that he did not intend to derogate from the ancient liberties of the
realm, as established by charter or custom, and that he urged a general
amnesty on both parties. In all essential points Louis decided in
favour of Henry. Though the justest of kings, he was after all a king,
and the limitation of the royal authority by a baronial committee
seemed to him to be against the fundamental idea of monarchy. The pious
son of the Church was biassed by the authority of two successive popes,
and he was not unmoved by the indignation of his wife, the sister of
Queen Eleanor. A few weeks later Urban IV. confirmed the award.

The Mise of Amiens was too one-sided to be accepted. The decision to
refer matters to St. Louis had been made hastily, and many enemies of
the king had taken no part in it. They, at least, were free to
repudiate the judgment and they included the Londoners, the Cinque
Ports, and nearly the whole of the lesser folk of England. The
Londoners set the example of rebellion. They elected a constable and a
marshal, and joining forces with Hugh Despenser, the baronial
justiciar, who still held the Tower, marched out to Isleworth, where
they burnt the manor of the King of the Romans. "And this," wrote the
London Chronicler, "was the beginning of trouble and the origin of the
deadly war by which so many thousand men perished." The Londoners did
not act alone. Leicester refused to be bound by the award, though
definitely pledged to obey it. It was, he maintained, as much perjury
to abandon the Provisions as to be false to the promise to accept the
Mise of Amiens. After a last attempt at negotiation at a parliament at
Oxford, he withdrew with his followers and prepared for resistance.
"Though all men quit me," he cried, "I will remain with my four sons
and fight for the good cause which I have sworn to defend--the honour
of Holy Church and the good of the realm." This was no mere boast. The
more his associates fell away, the more the Montfort family took the
lead. While Leicester organised resistance in the south, he sent his
elder sons, Simon and Henry, to head the revolt in the midlands and the

There was already war in the march of Wales when Henry Montfort crossed
the Severn and strove to make common cause with Llewelyn. But the Welsh
prince held aloof from him, and Edward himself soon made his way to the
march. At first all went well for young Montfort. Edward, unable to
capture Gloucester and its bridge, was forced to beg for a truce.
Before long he found himself strong enough to repudiate the armistice
and take possession of Gloucester. Master of the chief passage over the
lower Severn, Edward abandoned the western campaign and went with his
marchers to join his father at Oxford, where he at once stirred up the
king to activity. The masters of the university, who were strong
partisans of Montfort, were chased away from the town. Then the royal
army marched against Northampton, the headquarters of the younger
Simon, who was resting there, and, on April 4, the king and his son
burst upon the place. Their first assault was unsuccessful, but next
day the walls were scaled, the town captured, and many leading barons,
including young Simon, taken prisoner. The victors thereupon marched
northwards, devastated Montfort's Leicestershire estates, and thence
proceeded to Nottingham, which opened its gates in a panic.

Leicester himself had not been idle. While his sons were courting
disaster in the west and midlands, he threw himself into London, where
he was rapturously welcomed. The Londoners, however, became very
unruly, committed all sorts of excesses against the wealthy royalists,
and cruelly plundered and murdered the Jews. Montfort himself did not
disdain to share in the spoils of the Jewry, though he soon turned to
nobler work. He was anxious to open up communications with his allies
in the Cinque Ports. But Earl Warenne, in Rochester castle, blocked the
passage of the Dover road over the Medway. Accordingly Montfort marched
with a large following of Londoners to Rochester, captured the town,
and assaulted the castle with such energy that it was on the verge of
surrendering. The news of Warenne's peril reached Henry in the
midlands. In five days the royalists made their way from Nottingham to
Rochester, a distance of over 160 miles. On their approach Montfort
withdrew into London.

Flushed with their successes at Northampton and Rochester, the
royalists marched through Kent and Sussex, plundering and devastating
the lands of their enemies. Though masters of the open country, they
had to encounter the resistance of the Clare castles, and the solid
opposition of the Cinque Ports. Their presence on the south coast was
specially necessary, for Queen Eleanor, who had gone abroad, was
waiting, with an army of foreign mercenaries, on the Flemish coast, for
an opportunity of sailing to her husband's succour. The royal army was
hampered by want of provisions, and was only master of the ground on
which it was camped. As a first fruit of the alliance with Llewelyn,
Welsh soldiers lurked behind every hedge and hill, cut off stragglers,
intercepted convoys, and necessitated perpetual watchfulness. At last
the weary and hungry troops found secure quarters in Lewes, the centre
of the estates of Earl Warenne.

Montfort then marched southwards from the capital. Besides the baronial
retinues, a swarm of Londoners, eager for the fray, though unaccustomed
to military restraints, accompanied him. On May 13 he encamped at
Fletching, a village hidden among the dense oak woods of the Weald,
some nine miles north of Lewes. A last effort of diplomacy was
attempted by Bishop Cantilupe of Worcester who, despite papal censures,
still accompanied the baronial forces. But the royalists would not
listen to the mediation of so pronounced a partisan. Nothing therefore
was left but the appeal to the sword.

The royal army was the more numerous, and included the greater names.
Of the heroes of the struggle of 1258 the majority was in the king's
camp, including most of the lords of the Welsh march, and the hardly
less fierce barons of the north, whose grandfathers had wrested the
Great Charter from John. The returned Poitevins with their followers
mustered strongly, and the confidence of the royalists was so great
that they neglected all military preparations. The poverty of
Montfort's host in historic families attested the complete
disintegration of the party since 1263. Its strength lay in the young
enthusiasts, who were still dominated by the strong personality and
generous ideals of Leicester, such as the Earl of Gloucester, or
Humphrey Bohun of Brecon, whose father, the Earl of Hereford, was
fighting upon the king's side. Early on the morning of May 14 Montfort
arrayed his troops and marched southward in the direction of Lewes.
Dawn had hardly broken when the troops were massed on the summit of the
South Downs, overlooking Lewes from the north-west.

Lewes is situated on the right bank of a great curve of the river Ouse,
which almost encircles the town. To the south are the low-lying marshes
through which the river meanders towards the sea, while to the north,
east, and west are the bare slopes of the South Downs, through which
the river forces its way past the gap in which the town is situated. To
the north of the town lies the strong castle of the Warennes, wherein
Edward had taken up his quarters, while in the southern suburb the
Cluniac priory of St. Pancras, the chief foundation of the Warennes,
afforded lodgings for King Henry and the King of the Romans. When Simon
reached the summit of the downs, his movements were visible from the
walls. But the royal army was still sleeping and its sentinels kept
such bad watch that the earl was able to array his troops at his

From the summit of the hills two great spurs, separated by a waterless
valley, slope down towards the north and west sides of the town. The
more northerly led straight to the castle, and the more southerly to
the priory. Montfort's plan was to throw his main strength on the
attack on the priory, while deluding the enemy into the belief that his
chief object was to attack the castle. He was not yet fully recovered
from his fall from his horse, and it was known that he generally
travelled in a closed car or horse-litter. This vehicle he posted in a
conspicuous place on the northerly spur, and planted over it his
standard. In front of it were massed the London militia, mainly
infantry and the least effective element in his host. Meanwhile the
knights and men-at-arms were mustered on the southerly spur under the
personal direction of Montfort, who held himself in the rear with the
reserve, while the foremost files were commanded by the young Earl of
Gloucester, whom Simon solemnly dubbed to knighthood before the
assembled squadrons. Then the two divisions of the army advanced
towards Lewes, hoping to find their enemies still in their beds.

At the last moment the alarm was given, and before the barons
approached the town, the royalists, pouring out of castle, town, and
priory, hastily took up their position face to face to the enemy. All
turned out as Montfort had foreseen. Edward, emerging from the castle
with his cousin Henry of Almaine, his Poitevin uncles, and the warriors
of the march, observed the standard of Montfort on the hill, and
supposing that the earl was with his banner, dashed impetuously against
the left wing of Leicester's troops. He soon found himself engaged with
the Londoners, who broke and fled in confusion before his impetuous
charge. Eager to revenge on the flying citizens the insults they had
directed against his parents, he pursued the beaten militia for many a
mile, inflicting terrible damage upon them. On his way he captured
Simon's standard and horse-litter, and slew its occupants, though they
were three royalist members of the city aristocracy detained there for
sure keeping. When the king's son drew rein he was many miles from
Lewes, whither he returned, triumphant but exhausted.

The removal of Edward and the marchers from the field enabled Montfort
to profit by his sacrifice of the Londoners. The followers of the two
kings on the left of the royalist lines could not withstand the weight
of the squadrons of Leicester and Gloucester. The King of the Romans
was driven to take refuge in a mill, where he soon made an ignominious
surrender. Henry himself lost his horse under him and was forced to
yield himself prisoner to Gilbert of Gloucester. The mass of the army
was forced back on to the town and priory, which were occupied by the
victors. Scarcely was their victory assured when Edward and the
marchers came back from the pursuit of the Londoners. Thereupon the
battle was renewed in the streets of the town. It was, however, too
late for the weary followers of the king's son to reverse the fortunes
of the day. Some threw themselves into the castle, where the king's
standard still floated; Edward himself took sanctuary in the church of
the Franciscans; many strove to escape eastwards over the Ouse bridge
or by swimming over the river. The majority of the latter perished by
drowning or by the sword: but two compact bands of mail-clad horsemen
managed to cut their way through to safety. One of these, a force of
some two hundred, headed by Earl Warenne himself, and his
brothers-in-law, Guy of Lusignan and William of Valence, secured their
retreat to the spacious castle of Pevensey, of which Warenne was
constable, and from which the possibility of continuing their flight by
sea remained open. Of greater military consequence was the successful
escape of the lords of the Welsh march, whose followers were next day
the only section of the royalist army which was still a fighting force.
This was the only immediate limitation to the fulness of Montfort's
victory. After seven weary years, the judgment of battle secured the
triumph of the "good cause," which had so long been delayed by the
weakness of his confederates and the treachery of his enemies. Not the
barons of 1258, but Simon and his personal following _were_ the real
conquerors at Lewes.



On the day after the battle, Henry III. accepted the terms imposed upon
him by Montfort in a treaty called the "Mise of Lewes," by which he
promised to uphold the Great Charter, the Charter of the Forests, and
the Provisions of Oxford. A body of arbitrators was constituted, in
which the Bishop of London was the only Englishman, but which included
Montfort's friend, Archbishop Eudes Rigaud of Rouen; the new papal
legate, Guy Foulquois, cardinal-bishop of Sabina; and Peter the
chamberlain, Louis IX.'s most trusted counsellor, with the Duke of
Burgundy or Charles of Anjou, to act as umpire. These arbitrators were,
however, to be sworn to choose none save English councillors, and Henry
took oath to follow the advice of his native-born council in all
matters of state. An amnesty was secured to Leicester and Gloucester;
and Edward and Henry of Almaine surrendered as hostages for the good
behaviour of the marchers, who still remained under arms. By the
establishment of baronial partisans as governors of the castles,
ministers, sheriffs, and conservators of the peace, the administration
passed at once into the hands of the victorious party. Three weeks
later writs were issued for a parliament which included four knights
from every shire. In this assembly the final conditions of peace were
drawn up, and arrangements made for keeping Henry under control for the
rest of his life, and Edward after him, for a term of years to be
determined in due course. Leicester and Gloucester were associated with
Stephen Berkstead, the Bishop of Chichester, to form a body of three
electors. By these three a Council of Nine was appointed, three of whom
were to be in constant attendance at court; and without their advice
the king was to do nothing. Hugh Despenser was continued as justiciar,
while the chancery went to the Bishop of Worcester's nephew, Thomas of
Cantilupe, a Paris doctor of canon law, and chancellor of the
University of Oxford.

Once more a baronial committee put the royal authority into commission,
and ruled England through ministers of its own choice. While agreeing
in this essential feature, the settlement of 1264 did not merely
reproduce the constitution of 1258. It was simpler than its forerunner,
since there was no longer any need of the cumbrous temporary machinery
for the revision of the whole system of government, nor for the
numerous committees and commissions to which previously so many
functions had been assigned. The main tasks before the new rulers were
not constitution-making but administration and defence. Moreover, the
later constitution shows some recognition of the place due to the
knights of the shire and their constituents. It is less closely
oligarchical than the previous scheme. This may partly be due to the
continued divisions of the greater barons, but it is probably also in
large measure owing to the preponderance of Simon of Montfort. The
young Earl of Gloucester and the simple and saintly Bishop of
Chichester were but puppets in his hands. He was the real elector who
nominated the council, and thus controlled the government. Every act of
the new administration reflects the boldness and largeness of his

The pacification after Lewes was more apparent than real, and there
were many restless spirits that scorned to accept the settlement which
Henry had so meekly adopted. The marchers were in arms in the west, and
were specially formidable because they detained in their custody the
numerous prisoners captured at the sack of Northampton. The fugitives
from Lewes were holding their own behind the walls of Pevensey, though
Earl Warenne and other leaders had made their escape to France, where
they joined the army which Queen Eleanor had collected on the north
coast for the purpose of invading England and restoring her husband to
power. The papacy and the whole official forces of the Church were in
bitter hostility to the new system. The collapse of Henry's rule had
ruined the papal plans in Sicily, where Manfred easily maintained his
ground against so strong a successor of the unlucky Edmund as Charles
of Anjou. The papal legate, Guy Foulquois, was waiting at Boulogne for
admission into England, and, far from being conciliated by his
appointment as an arbitrator, was dexterously striving to make the
arbitration ineffective, by summoning the bishops adhering to Montfort
to appear before him, and sending them back with orders to
excommunicate Earl Simon and all his supporters. The only gleam of hope
was to be found in the unwillingness of the King of France to interfere
actively in the domestic disputes of England. The death of Urban IV.
for the moment brought relief, but, after a long vacancy, the new pope
proved to be none other than the legate Guy, who in February, 1265,
mounted the papal throne as Clement IV. It was to no purpose that
Walter of Cantilupe assembled the patriotic bishops and appealed to a
general council, or that radical friars like the author of the _Song of
Lewes_ formulated the popular policy in spirited verse. The greatest
forces of the time were steadily opposed to the revolutionary
government, and rare strength and boldness were necessary to make head
against them.

Before the end of 1264 the vigour of Earl Simon triumphed over some of
his immediate difficulties. In August he summoned the military forces
of the realm to meet the threatened invasion. Adverse storms, however,
dispersed Queen Eleanor's fleet, and her mercenaries, weary of the long
delays that had exhausted her resources, went home in disgust. This
left Simon free to betake himself to the west, and on December 15 he
forced the marcher lords to accept a pacification called the Provisions
of Worcester, by which they agreed to withdraw for a year and a day to
Ireland, leaving their families and estates in the hands of the ruling

On the day after the signature of the treaty, Henry, who accompanied
Simon to the west, issued from Worcester the writs for a parliament
that sat in London from January to March in 1265. From the
circumstances of the case this famous assembly could only be a meeting
of the supporters of the existing government. So scanty was its
following among the magnates that writs of summons were only issued to
five earls and eighteen barons, though the strong muster of bishops,
abbots, and priors showed that the papal anathema had done little to
shake the fidelity of the clergy to Montfort's cause. The special
feature of the gathering, however, was the summoning of two knights
from every shire, side by side with the barons of the faithful Cinque
Ports and two representatives from every city and borough, convened by
writs sent, not to the sheriff, after later custom, but to the cities
and boroughs directly. It was the presence of this strong popular
element which long caused this parliament to be regarded as the first
really representative assembly in our history, and gained for Earl
Simon the fame of being the creator of the House of Commons. Modern
research has shown that neither of these views can be substantiated. It
was no novelty for the crown to strengthen the baronial parliaments by
the representatives of the shire-moots, and there were earlier
precedents for the holding meetings of the spokesmen of the cities and
boroughs. What was new was the combination of these two types of
representatives in a single assembly, which was convoked, not merely
for a particular administrative purpose, but for a great political
object. The real novelty and originality of Earl Simon's action lay in
his giving a fresh proof of his disposition to fall back upon the
support of the ordinary citizen against the hostility or indifference
of the magnates, to whom the men of 1258 wished to limit all political
deliberation. This is in itself a sufficient indication of policy to
give Leicester an almost unique position among the statesmen to whom
the development of our representative institutions are due. But just as
his parliament was not in any sense our first representative assembly,
so it did not include in any complete sense a House of Commons at all.
We must still wait for a generation before the rival and disciple of
Montfort, Edward, the king's son, established the popular element in
our parliament on a permanent basis. Yet in the links which connect the
early baronial councils with the assemblies of the three estates of the
fourteenth century, not one is more important than Montfort's
parliament of January, 1265.

The chief business of parliament was to complete the settlement of the
country. Simon won a new triumph in making terms with the king's son.
Edward had witnessed the failure of his mother's attempts at invasion,
the futility of the legatine anathema, and the collapse of the marchers
at Worcester. He saw it was useless to hold out any longer, and
unwillingly bought his freedom at the high price that Simon exacted. He
transferred to his uncle the earldom of Chester, including all the
lands in Wales that might still be regarded as appertaining to it. This
measure put Simon in that strong position as regards Wales and the west
which Edward had enjoyed since the days of his marriage. It involved a
breach in the alliance between Edward and the marchers, and the
subjection of the most dangerous district of the kingdom to Simon's
personal authority. It was safe to set free the king's son, when his
territorial position and his political alliances were thus weakened.

At the moment of his apparent triumph, Montfort's authority began to
decline. It was something to have the commons on his side: but the
magnates were still the greatest power in England, and in pressing his
own policy to the uttermost, Simon had fatally alienated the few great
lords who still adhered to him. There was a fierce quarrel in
parliament between Leicester and the shifty Robert Ferrars, Earl of
Derby. For the moment Leicester prevailed, and Derby was stripped of
his lands and was thrown into prison. But his fate was a warning to
others, and the settlement between Montfort and Edward aroused the
suspicions of the Earl of Gloucester. Gilbert of Clare was now old
enough to think for himself, and his close personal devotion to
Montfort could not blind him to the antagonism of interests between
himself and his friend. He was gallant, strenuous, and high-minded, but
quarrelsome, proud, and unruly, and his strong character was balanced
by very ordinary ability. His outlook was limited, and his ideals were
those of his class; such a man could neither understand nor sympathise
with the broader vision and wider designs of Leicester. Moreover, with
all Simon's greatness, there was in him a fierce masterfulness and an
inordinate ambition which made co-operation with him excessively
difficult for all such as were not disposed to stand to him in the
relation of disciple to master. And behind the earl were his
self-seeking and turbulent sons, set upon building up a family interest
that stood directly in the way of the magnates' claim to control the
state. Thus personal rivalries and political antagonisms combined to
lead Earl Gilbert on in the same course that his father, Earl Richard,
had traversed. The closest ally of Leicester became his bitterest
rival. The victorious party split up in 1265, as it had split up in
1263. And the dissolution of the dominant faction once more gave Edward
a better chance of regaining the upper hand than was to be hoped for
from foreign mercenaries and from papal support.

Gloucester was the natural leader of the lords of the Welsh march. He
was not only the hereditary lord of Glamorgan, but had received the
custody of William of Valence's forfeited palatinate of Pembroke. He
had shown self-control in separating himself so long from the marcher
policy; and his growing suspicion of the Montforts threw him back into
his natural alliance with them. Even after the treaty of Worcester, the
marchers remained under arms. They had obtained from the weakness of
the government repeated prolongations of the period fixed for their
withdrawal into Ireland. It was soon rumoured that they were sure of a
refuge in Gloucester's Welsh estates, and Leicester, never afraid of
making enemies, bitterly reproached Earl Gilbert with receiving the
fugitives into his lands. Shortly after the breaking up of parliament,
Gloucester fled to the march, and a little later William of Valence and
Earl Warenne landed in Pembrokeshire with a small force of men-at-arms
and crossbowmen. There was no longer any hope of carrying out the
Provisions of Worcester, and once more Montfort was forced to proceed
to the west to put down rebellion.

By the end of April Montfort was at Gloucester, accompanied by the king
and Edward, who, despite his submission, remained virtually a prisoner.
Earl Gilbert was master of all South Wales, and closely watched his
rival's movements from the neighbouring Forest of Dean. It was with
difficulty that Earl Simon and his royal captives advanced from
Gloucester to Hereford, but Earl Gilbert preferred to negotiate rather
than to push matters to extremities. He went in person to Hereford and
renewed his homage to the king. Arbitrators were appointed to settle
the disputes between the two earls, and a proclamation was issued
declaring that the rumour of dissension between them was "vain, lying,
and fraudulently invented". For the next few days harmony seemed

Gloucester's submission lured Leicester into relaxing his precautions.
His enemies took advantage of his remissness to hatch an audacious plot
which soon enabled them to renew the struggle under more favourable
conditions. Since his nominal release, Edward had been allowed the
diversions of riding and hunting, and on May 28 he was suffered to go
out for a ride under negligent or corrupt guard. Once well away from
Hereford, the king's son fled from his lax custodians and joined Roger
Mortimer, who was waiting for him in a neighbouring wood. On the next
day he was safe behind the walls of Mortimer's castle of Wigmore, and,
the day after, met Earl Gilbert at Ludlow, where he promised to uphold
the charters and expel the foreigners. Valence and Warenne hurried from
Pembrokeshire and made common cause with Edward and Gilbert. Edward
then took the lead in the councils of the marchers, who, from that
moment, obtained a unity of purpose and policy that they had hitherto
lacked. He and his allies could claim to be the true champions of the
Charters and the Provisions of Oxford against the grasping foreigner
who strove to rule over king and barons alike.

Montfort's small force was cut off from its base by the rapidity of the
marchers' movements. It was in vain that all the supporters of the
existing government were summoned to the assistance of the hard-pressed
army at Hereford. Before the end of June, Edward completed the conquest
of the Severn valley by the capture of the town and castle of
Gloucester. A broad river and a strong army stood between Montfort and
succour from England. Leicester then turned to Llewelyn of Wales, who
took up his quarters at Pipton, near Hay. There, on June 22, a treaty
was signed between the Welsh prince and the English king by which Henry
was forced to make huge concessions to Llewelyn in order to secure his
alliance. Llewelyn was recognised as prince of all Wales. The
overlordship over all the barons of Wales was granted to him, and the
numerous conquests, which he had made at the expense of the marchers,
were ceded to him in full possession.

Thus Llewelyn, like his grandfather in the days of the Great Charter,
profited by the dissensions of the English to obtain the recognition of
his claims which had invariably been refused when England was united.
The Welsh prince gained a unique opportunity of making his weight felt
in general English politics, but with all his ability he hardly rose to
the occasion. Montfort had pressing need of his help. A few days after
the treaty of Pipton, Gloucester Castle opened its gates to Edward, and
the marchers advanced westwards to seek out Earl Simon at Hereford.
Leicester fled in alarm before their overwhelming forces. He was driven
from the Wye to the Usk, and, beaten in a sharp fight on Newport
bridge, found refuge only by retreating up the Usk valley, whence he
escaped northwards into the hilly region where Llewelyn ruled over the
lands once dominated by the Mortimers. Before long Montfort's English
followers grew weary of the hard conditions of mountain warfare. With
their heavy armour and barbed horses it was difficult for them to
emulate the tactics of the Welsh, and they revolted against the simple
diet of milk and meat that contented their Celtic allies. They could
not get on without bread, and, as bread was not to be found among the
hills, they forced their leader to return to the richer regions of the
east. Llewelyn did little to help them in their need, and did not
accompany them in their march back to the Severn valley, though a large
but disorderly force of Welsh infantry still remained with Simon as the
fruit of the alliance with their prince.

By the end of July, Simon was once more in the Severn valley, seeking
for a passage over the river. On August 2 he found a ford over the
stream some miles south of Worcester. There he crossed with all his
forces and encamped for the night at Kempsey, one of Bishop Cantilupe's
manors on the left bank. His skill as a general had extricated him from
a position of the utmost peril. All might yet be regained if he could
join forces with an army of relief which his son Simon had slowly
levied in the south and midlands. But his quarrel with Gloucester and
his alliance with the Welsh had done much to undermine Montfort's
popularity, and the younger Simon had no appreciation of the necessity
for decisive action. Summoned from the long siege of Pevensey by his
father's danger, he wasted time in plundering the lands of the
royalists, and only left London on July 8, whence he led his men by
slow stages to Kenilworth. On July 31 young Simon's troops took up
their quarters for the night in the open country round Kenilworth
castle. They had no notion that the enemy was at hand and troubled
neither to defend themselves nor to keep watch. Edward, warned by spies
of their approach, abandoned his close guard of the Severn fords, and
in the early morning of August 1 fell suddenly upon the sleeping host
and scattered it with little difficulty. The younger Simon and a few of
his followers took refuge in the castle. As a fighting force the army
of relief ceased to exist.

Leicester, knowing nothing of his son's disaster, made his way, on
August 3, from Kempsey to Evesham, where he rested for the night. Next
morning, after mass and breakfast, the army was about to continue its
march, when scouts descried troops advancing upon the town. At first it
was hoped that they were the followers of young Simon, but their near
approach revealed them to be the army of the marchers. With
extraordinary rapidity Edward led his troops back to Worcester as soon
as he had won the fight at Kenilworth. Learning there that Simon had
crossed the river in his absence, he at once turned back to meet him,
seeking to elude his vigilance by a long night march by circuitous
routes. The result was that for the second time he caught his enemy in
a trap.

Evesham, like Lewes, stands on a peninsula. It is situated on the right
bank of a wide curve of the Avon, and approachable only by crossing
over the river, or by way of the sort of isthmus between the two bends
of the Avon a little to the north of the town. Edward occupied this
isthmus with his best troops, and thus cut off all prospect of escape
by land. The other means of exit from the town was over the bridge
which connects it with its south-eastern suburb of Bengeworth, on the
left bank of the river. Edward, however, took the precaution to detach
Gloucester with a strong force to hold Bengeworth, and thus prevent
Simon's escape over the bridge. The weary and war-worn host of
Montfort, then, was out-generalled in such fashion that effective
resistance to a superior force, flushed by recent victory, was
impossible. Simon himself saw that his last hour was come; yet he could
not but admire the skilful plan which had so easily discomfited him.
"By the arm of St. James," he declared, "they come on cunningly. Yet
they have not taught themselves that order of battle; they have learnt
it from me. God have mercy upon our souls, for our bodies are theirs."

Edward and Gloucester both advanced simultaneously to the attack. A
storm broke at the moment of the encounter, and the battle was fought
in a darkness that obscured the brightness of an August day.
Leicester's Welsh infantry broke at once before the charge of the
mail-clad horsemen, and took refuge behind hedges and walls, where they
were hunted out and butchered after the main fight was over. But the
men-at-arms struggled valiantly against Edward's superior forces,
though they were soon borne down by sheer numbers. Simon fought like a
hero and met a soldier's death. With him were slain his son Henry, his
faithful comrade Peter Montfort, the baronial justiciar Hugh Despenser,
and many other men of mark. A large number of prisoners fell into the
victor's hands, and King Henry, who unwillingly followed Simon in all
his wanderings, was wounded in the shoulder by his son's followers, and
only escaped a worse fate by revealing his identity with the cry: "Slay
me not! I am Henry of Winchester, your King." The marchers gratified
their rage by massacring helpless fugitives, and by mutilating the
bodies of the slain. Earl Simon's head was sent as a present to the
wife of Roger Mortimer; and it was with difficulty that the mangled
corpse found its last rest in the church of Evesham Abbey. His memory
long lived in the hearts of his adopted countrymen, and especially
among monks and friars, who despite the ban of the Church, hailed him
as another St. Thomas, for he too had lain down his life for the cause
of justice and religion. Miracles were worked at his tomb; liturgies
composed in his honour, and an informal popular canonisation, which no
papal censures could prevent, kept his memory green. His faults were
forgotten in the pathos of his end. His work survived the field of
Evesham and the reaction which succeeded it. His victorious nephew
learnt well the lesson of his career, and the true successor of the
martyred earl was the future Edward I.

No thoughts of policy disturbed the fierce passion of revenge which
possessed the victorious marchers. On August 7 Henry issued a
proclamation announcing that he had resumed the personal exercise of
the royal power. The baronial ministers and sheriffs were replaced by
royalist partisans. The acts of the revolutionary government were
denounced as invalid. The faithful city of London was cruelly
humiliated for its zeal for Earl Simon. The exiles, headed by Queen
Eleanor and Archbishop Boniface, returned from their long sojourn
beyond sea. With them came to England a new legate, the Cardinal
Ottobon, specially sent from the papal court to punish the bishops and
clergy that had persisted in their adherence to the popular cause. Four
prelates were excommunicated and suspended from their functions,
including Berkstead of Chichester and Cantilupe of Worcester. But the
aged Bishop of Worcester was delivered from persecution by death;
"snatched away," as a kindly foe says, "lest he should see evil days".
His nephew, Thomas of Cantilupe, the baronial chancellor, fled to
Paris, where he forsook politics for the study of theology. The widowed
Countess of Leicester was not saved by her near kindred to the king
from lifelong banishment. At last a general sentence of forfeiture was
pronounced against all who had fought against Edward, either at
Kenilworth or Evesham. There was a greedy scramble for the spoils of
victory. The greatest of these, Montfort's forfeited earldom of
Leicester, went to Edmund, the king's younger son. Edward took back the
earldom of Chester and all his old possessions. Roger Mortimer was
rewarded by grants of land and franchises which raised the house of
Wigmore to a position only surpassed by that of the strongest of the

At first the Montfort party showed an inclination to accept the defeat
at Evesham as decisive. Even young Simon of Montfort, who still held
out at Kenilworth, considered it prudent to restore his prisoner, the
King of the Romans, to liberty. But the victors' resolve to deprive all
their beaten foes of their estates, drove the vanquished into fresh
risings. The first centre of the revolt of the disinherited was at
Kenilworth, but before long the younger Simon abandoned the castle to
join a numerous band which had found a more secure retreat in the isle
of Axholme, amidst the marshes of the lower Trent. There they held
their own until the winter, when they were persuaded by Edward to
accept terms. A little later, Simon again revolted and joined the
mariners of the Cinque Ports, whose towns still held out against the
king, save Dover, which Edward had captured after a siege. Under
Simon's leadership the Cinque Ports played the part of pirates on all
merchants going to and from England. At last in March, 1266, Edward
forced Winchelsea to open its gates to him. He next turned his arms
against a valiant freebooter, Adam Gordon, who lurked with his band of
outlaws in the dense beech woods of the Chilterns. With the capture of
Adam Gordon, after a hand-to-hand tussle with Edward in which the
king's son narrowly escaped with his life, the resistance in the south
was at an end.

As one centre of rebellion was pacified other disturbances arose. In
the spring of 1266, Robert Ferrars, Earl of Derby, newly released from
the prison into which Earl Simon had thrown him, raised a revolt in his
own county. On May 15, 1266, Derby was defeated by Henry of Almaine at
Chesterfield. His earldom was transferred to Edmund, the king's son,
already Montfort's successor as Earl of Leicester, and in 1267 also
Earl of Lancaster, a new earldom, deriving its name from the youngest
of the shires.[1] Reduced to the Staffordshire estate of
Chartley, the house of Ferrars fell back into the minor baronage.
Kenilworth was still unconquered. Its walls were impregnable except to
famine, and before his flight to Axholme young Simon had procured
provisions adequate for a long resistance. The garrison harried the
neighbourhood with such energy that the whole levies of the realm were
assembled to subdue it. After a fruitless assault, the royalists
settled down to a blockade which lasted from midsummer to Christmas.
The legate, Ottobon, appearing in the besiegers' camp to excommunicate
the defenders, they in derision dressed up their surgeon in the red
robes of a cardinal, in which disguise he answered Ottobon's curses by
a travesty of the censures of the Church.

    [1] For Edmund's estates and whole career, see W.E. Rhodes'
    _Edmund, Earl of Lancaster_, in _Engl. Hist. Review_, x.
    (1895), 19-40 and 209-37.

The blockade soon tried the patience of the barons. It was hard to keep
any medieval army long together, and the lords, anxious to go back to
their homes, complained of the harsh policy that compelled their long
attendance. The royalist host split up into two parties, led
respectively by Roger Mortimer and Earl Gilbert of Gloucester. The
cruel lord of Wigmore was the type of the extreme reaction. Intent only
on vengeance, booty, and ambition, Mortimer clamoured for violent
measures, and was eager to reject all compromises. Gloucester, on the
other hand, posed as the mediator, and urged the need of pacifying the
disinherited by mitigating the sentence of forfeiture which had driven
them into prolonged resistance. In the first flush of victory, Edward
had been altogether on Mortimer's side, but gradually statecraft and
humanity turned him from the reckless policy of the marcher. Edward's
adhesion to counsels of moderation changed the situation. While
Mortimer pressed the siege of Kenilworth, Edward and Gloucester met a
parliament at Northampton which agreed to uphold the policy of 1258 and
mitigate the hard lot of the disinherited. A document drawn up in the
camp at Kenilworth received the approval of parliament and was
published on October 31. The _Dictum de Kenilworth_, as it was called,
was largely taken up with assertions of the authority of the crown, and
denunciations of the memory of Earl Simon. More essential points were
the re-enactment of the Charters and the redress of some of the
grievances against which the Provisions of 1258 were directed. The
vital article, however, laid down that the stern sentence of forfeiture
against adherents of the fallen cause was to be remitted, and allowed
rebels to redeem their estates by paying a fine, which in most cases
was to be assessed at five years' value of their lands. Hard as were
these terms, they were milder than those which had previously been
offered to the insurgents. Yet the defenders of Kenilworth could not
bring themselves to accept them until December, when disease and famine
caused them to surrender. Despite their long-deferred submission, the
garrison was admitted to the terms of the _Dictum_.

Even then resistance was not yet over. A forlorn hope of the
disinherited, headed by John d'Eyville, established themselves about
Michaelmas in the isle of Ely, where they made themselves the terror of
all East Anglia, plundering towns so far apart as Norwich and
Cambridge, maltreating the Jews, and holding the rich citizens to
ransom. Early in 1267 the north-country baron, John of Vescy, rose in
Northumberland, and violently resumed possession of his forfeited
castle of Alnwick. While Henry tarried at Cambridge, Edward went north
and soon won over Vescy by the clemency which made the lord of Alnwick
henceforth one of his most devoted servants.

More formidable than the revolt of Eyville or Vescy was the ambiguous
attitude of Earl Gilbert of Gloucester. Roger Mortimer was once more
intriguing against him, and striving to upset the Kenilworth
compromise. After a violent scene between the two enemies in the
parliament at Bury, Gloucester withdrew to the march of Wales, where he
waged war against Mortimer. In April, 1267, he made his way with a
great following to London, professing that he wished to hold a
conference with the legate. It was a critical moment. Edward was still
in the north; Henry was wasting his time at Cambridge; the Londoners
welcomed Earl Gilbert as a champion of the good old cause; the legate
took refuge in the Tower, and the earl did not hesitate to lay siege to
the stronghold. Before long Gloucester was joined by Eyville and many
of the Ely fugitives. It seemed as if Gloucester was in as strong
position as Montfort had ever won, and that after two years of warfare
the verdict of Evesham was about to be reversed.

Edward marched south and joined forces with his father, who had moved
from Cambridge to Stratford, near London. Everything seemed to suggest
that the eastern suburbs of London would witness a fight as stubborn as
Lewes or Evesham. But Gloucester was not the man to press things to
extremities, and Edward though firm was conciliatory. He delivered
Ottobon from the hands of the rebels,[1] and then arranged a peace upon
terms which secured Gloucester's chief object of procuring better
conditions for the disinherited. Not only Earl Gilbert but Eyville and
his associates were admitted to the royal favour. A few desperadoes
still held out until July in the isle of Ely, and Edward devoted himself
to tracking them to their lairs. He built causeways of wattles over the
fens, which protected the disinherited in their last refuge. When he had
clearly shown his superiority, he offered the garrison of Ely the terms
of the _Dictum de Kenilworth_. With their acceptance of these conditions
the English struggle ended, in July, 1267, nearly two years after the
battle of Evesham.

    [1] _Engl. Hist. Review_, xvii. (1902), 522.

Llewelyn still remained under arms. He had profited by the two years of
strife to deal deadly blows against the marchers. He conquered the
Mid-Welsh lands which had been granted to Mortimer, and devastated
Edward's Cheshire earldom. When Gloucester grew discontented with the
course of events, the old friend of Montfort became the close ally of
the man who had ruined Montfort's cause. A Welsh chronicler treats
Gloucester's march to London as a movement which naturally followed the
alliance of Gloucester and Llewelyn. On Gloucester's submission,
Llewelyn was left to his own resources. Edward had it in his power to
avenge past injuries by turning all his forces against his old enemy.
But the country was weary of war, and Edward preferred to end the
struggle. The legate Ottobon urged both Edward and the Welsh prince to
make peace, and in September, 1267, Henry and his son went down to
Shrewsbury, accompanied by Ottobon, who received from the king full
powers to treat with Llewelyn, and a promise that Henry would accept any
terms that he thought fit to conclude. Llewelyn thereupon sent
ambassadors to Shrewsbury, and the negotiations went on so smoothly that
on September 25 a definite treaty of peace was signed. On Michaelmas day
Henry met Llewelyn at Montgomery, received his homage, and witnessed the
formal ratification of the treaty.

By the treaty of Shrewsbury Llewelyn was recognised as Prince of Wales,
and as overlord of all the Welsh magnates, save the representative of
the old line of the princes of South Wales. The four cantreds, Edward's
old patrimony, were ceded to him; and though he promised to surrender
many of his conquests, he was allowed to remain in possession of great
tracts of land in Mid and South Wales, in the heart of the marcher
region.[1] Substantially the Welsh prince was recognised as holding the
position which he claimed from Montfort in the days of the treaty of
Pipton. Alone of Montfort's friends, Llewelyn came out of an
unsuccessful struggle upon terms such as are seldom obtained even by
victory in the field. The triumph of the Welsh prince is the more
remarkable because Edward and his ally, Mortimer, were the chief
sufferers by the treaty. But Edward had learnt wisdom during his
apprenticeship. He recognised that the exhaustion of the country
demanded peace at any price, and he dreaded the possibility of the
alliance of Llewelyn and Earl Gilbert. But whatever Edward's motives
may have been in concluding the treaty, it left Llewelyn in so strong a
position that he was encouraged to those fresh aggressions which in the
next reign proved the ruin of his power. The Welsh wars of Edward I.
are the best elucidation of the importance of the treaty of Shrewsbury.
The Welsh principality, which Edward as king was to destroy, was as
much the creation of the Barons' War as the outcome of the fierce
Celtic enthusiasm which found its bravest champion in the son of

    [1] For the growth of Llewelyn's power see the maps of Wales in
    1247 and 1267 in Owens College _Historical Essays_, pp. 76 and

It was time to redeem the promises by which the moderate party had been
won over to the royalist cause. The statute of Marlborough of 1267
re-enacted in a more formal fashion the chief of the Provisions of
Westminster of 1259, and thus prevented the undoing of all the progress
attained during the years of struggle. Ottobon in 1268 held a famous
council at London, in which important canons were enacted with a view
to the reformation of the Church. A little later the Londoners received
back their forfeited charters and the disinherited were restored to
their estates. After these last measures of reparation, England sank
into a profound repose that lasted for the rest of the reign of Henry
III. A happy beginning of the years of peace was the dedication of the
new abbey of Westminster, and the translation of the body of St. Edward
to the new shrine, whose completion had long been the dearest object of
the old king's life.

At this time Louis IX. was meditating his second crusade, and in every
country in Europe the friars were preaching the duty of fighting the
infidel. Nowhere save in France did the Holy War win more powerful
recruits than in England. In 1268 Edward himself took the cross, [1] and
with him his brother Edmund of Lancaster, his cousin Henry of Almaine,
and many leading lords of both factions. Financial difficulties delayed
the departure of the crusaders, and it was not until 1270 that Edward
and Henry were able to start. On reaching Provence, they learnt that
Louis had turned his arms against Tunis, whither they followed him with
all speed. On Edward's arrival off Tunis, he found that Louis was dead
and that Philip III., the new French king, had concluded a truce with
the misbelievers. Profoundly mortified by this treason to Christendom,
Edward set forth with his little squadron to Acre, the chief town of
Palestine that still remained in Christian hands. Henry of Almaine
preferred to return home at once, but on his way through Italy was
murdered at Viterbo by the sons of Earl Simon of Montfort, a deed of
blood which revived the bitterest memories of the Barons' War. Edward
remained in Palestine until August, 1272, and threw all his wonted fire
and courage into the hopeless task of upholding the fast-decaying Latin
kingdom. At last alarming news of his father's health brought him back
to Europe.

    [1] For Edward's crusade see Riant's article in _Archives de
    l'Orient Latin_, i., 617-32 (1881).

On November 16, 1272, Henry III., then in his sixty-sixth year, died at
Westminster. His remains were laid at rest in the neighbouring abbey
church, hard by the shrine of St. Edward. With him died the last of his
generation. St. Louis' death in August, 1270, has already been recorded.
The death of Clement IV. in 1268 was followed by a three years' vacancy
in the papacy. This was scarcely over when Richard, King of the Romans,
prostrated by the tragedy of Viterbo, preceded his brother to the tomb.
Still earlier, Boniface of Canterbury had ended his tenure of the chair
of St. Augustine. The new reign begins with fresh actors and fresh
motives of action.



The Dominican chronicler, Nicholas Trivet, thus describes the
personality of Edward I.: "He was of elegant build and lofty stature,
exceeding the height of the ordinary man by a head and shoulders. His
abundant hair was yellow in childhood, black in manhood, and snowy white
in age. His brow was broad, and his features regular, save that his left
eyelid drooped somewhat, like that of his father, and hid part of the
pupil. He spoke with a stammer, which did not, however, detract from the
persuasiveness of his eloquence. His sinewy, muscular arms were those of
the consummate swordsman, and his long legs gave him a firm hold in the
saddle when riding the most spirited of steeds. His chief delight was in
war and tournaments, but he derived great pleasure from hawking and
hunting, and had a special joy in chasing down stags on a fleet horse
and slaying them with a sword instead of a hunting spear. His
disposition was magnanimous, but he was intolerant of injuries, and
reckless of dangers when seeking revenge, though easily won over by a
humble submission."[1] The defects of his youth are well brought out by
the radical friar who wrote the _Song of Lewes_. Even to the partisan of
Earl Simon, Edward was "a valiant lion, quick to attack the strongest,
and fearing the onslaught of none. But if a lion in pride and
fierceness, he was a panther in inconstancy and mutability, changing his
word and promise, cloaking himself by pleasant speech. When he is in a
strait he promises whatever you wish, but as soon as he has escaped he
forgets his promise. The treachery or falsehood, whereby he is advanced,
he calls prudence; the way whereby he arrives whither he will, crooked
though it be, he regards as straight; whatever he likes he says is
lawful, and he thinks he is released from the law, as though he were
greater than a king."[2]

    [1] _Annals_, pp. 181-82.

    [2] _Song_ of _Lewes_, pp. 14-15, ed. Kingsford.

Hot and impulsive in disposition, easily persuaded that his own cause
was right, and with a full share in the pride of caste, Edward
committed many deeds of violence in his youth, and never got over his
deeply rooted habit of keeping the letter of his promise while
violating its spirit. Yet he learnt to curb his impetuous temper, and
few medieval kings had a higher idea of justice or a more strict regard
to his plighted word. "Keep troth" was inscribed upon his tomb, and his
reign signally falsified the prediction of evil which the Lewes
song-writer ventured to utter. A true sympathy bound him closely to his
nobles and people. His unstained family life, his piety and religious
zeal, his devotion to friends and kinsfolk, his keen interest in the
best movements of his time, showed him a true son of Henry III. But his
strength of will and seriousness of purpose stand in strong contrast to
his father's weakness and levity. A hard-working, clear-headed,
practical, and sober temperament made him the most capable king of all
his line. He may have been wanting in originality or deep insight, yet
it is impossible to dispute the verdict that has declared him to be the
greatest of all the Plantagenets.

The broad lines of Edward's policy during the thirty-five years of his
kingship had already been laid down for him during his rude schooling.
The ineffectiveness of his father's government inspired him with a love
of strong rule, and this enabled him to grapple with the chronic
maladministration which made even a well-ordered medieval kingdom a
hot-bed of disorder. The age of Earl Simon had been fertile in new
ideals and principles of government. Edward held to the best of the
traditions of his youth, and his task was not one of creation so much
as of selection. His age was an age of definition. The series of great
laws, which he made during the earlier half of his reign, represented a
long effort to appropriate what was best in the age that had gone
before, and to combine it in orderly sequence. The same ideals mark the
constitutional policy of his later years. The materials for the future
constitution of England were already at his hand. It was a task well
within Edward's capacity to strengthen the authority of the crown by
associating the loyal nobles and clergy in the work of ruling the
state, and to build up a body politic in which every class of the
nation should have its part. Yet he never willingly surrendered the
most insignificant of his prerogatives, and if he took the people into
partnership with him, he did so with the firm belief that he would be a
more powerful king if his subjects loved and trusted him. Though
closely associated with his nobles by many ties of kinship and
affection, he was the uncompromising foe of feudal separatism, and
hotly resented even the constitutional control which the barons
regarded as their right. In the same way the unlimited franchises of
the lords of the Welsh march, the almost regal authority which the
treaty of Shrewsbury gave to the Prince of Wales, the rejection of his
claims as feudal overlord of Scotland, were abhorrent to his autocratic
disposition. True son of the Church though he was, he was the bitter
foe of ecclesiastical claims which, constantly encroaching beyond their
own sphere, denied kings the fulness of their authority.

Edward's policy was thoroughly comprehensive. He is not only the
"English Justinian" and the creator of our later constitution; he has
rightly been praised for his clear conception of the ideal of a united
Britain which brought him into collision with Welsh and Scots. His
foreign policy lay as near to his heart as the conquest of Wales or
Scotland, or the subjection of priests and nobles. He was eager to make
Gascony obey him, anxious to keep in check the French king, and to
establish a sort of European balance of power, of which England, as in
Wolsey's later dreams, was to be the tongue of the balance. Yet,
despite his severe schooling in self-control, he undertook more than he
could accomplish, and his failure was the more signal because he found
the utmost difficulty in discovering trustworthy subordinates.
Moreover, the limited resources of a medieval state, and the even more
limited control which a medieval ruler had over these resources, were
fatal obstacles in the way of too ambitious a policy. Edward had
inherited his father's load of debt, and could only accomplish great
things by further pledging his credit to foreign financiers, against
whom his subjects raised unending complaints. Yet, if his methods of
attaining his objects were sometimes mean and often violent, there was
a rare nobility about his general purpose.

Every precaution was taken to secure Edward's succession and the
establishment of the provisional administration which was to rule until
his return. Before leaving England in 1270, Edward had appointed as his
agents Walter Giffard, Archbishop of York, Roger Mortimer, and Robert
Burnell, his favourite clerk. The vacancy of the see of Canterbury
after Boniface's death placed Giffard in a position of peculiar
eminence. Appointed first lord of the council, he virtually became
regent; and he associated with himself in the administration of the
realm his two colleagues in the management of the new king's private
affairs. Early in 1273 a parliament of magnates and representatives of
shires and boroughs took oaths of allegiance to the king and continued
the authority of the three regents. By the double title of Edward's
personal delegation and the recognition of the estates, Giffard,
Mortimer, and Burnell ruled the country for the two years which were to
elapse before the sovereign's return. Their government was just,
economical, and peaceful. Even Gilbert of Gloucester remained quiet,
and, save for the refusal of the Prince of Wales to perform his feudal
obligations, the calm of the last years of the old reign continued. It
is evidence of constitutional progress that the administration was
carried on with so little friction in the absence of the monarch. Roger
Mortimer, the most formidable of the feudal baronage, was himself one
of the agents of this salutary change. The marcher chieftain put down
with promptitude an attempted revolt of north-country knights which
threatened public tranquillity.

Edward first heard of his father's death in Sicily, but the tidings of
the maintenance of peace rendered it unnecessary for him to hasten his
return, and he made his way slowly through Italy. In Sicily he was
entertained by his uncle, Charles of Anjou. Thence he went to Orvieto,
where the new pope, Gregory X., who, as archdeacon of Liege, had been
the comrade of his crusade, was then residing. From king and pope alike
Edward earnestly sought vengeance for the murder of Henry of Almaine.
Proceeding northwards, he was received with great pomp by the cities of
Lombardy, and made personal acquaintance with Savoy and its count,
Philip, his aged great-uncle. Crossing the Mont Cenis, he was welcomed
by bands of English magnates who had gone forth to meet him. He was
soon at the head of a little army, and in the true spirit of a hero of
romance halted to receive the challenge of the boastful Count of
Chalon. The tournament between the best knights of England and Burgundy
was fought out with such desperation that it became a serious battle.
At last Edward unhorsed the count in a personal encounter, which added
greatly to his fame. This "Little Battle of Chalon" was the last
victory of his irresponsible youth.

The serious business of kingcraft began when Edward met his cousin,
Philip III., at Paris. The news from England was still so good that
Edward resolved to remain in France with the twofold object of settling
his relations with the French monarchy and of receiving the homage and
regulating the affairs of Aquitaine. Despite the treaty of Paris of
1259, there were so many subjects of dispute between the English and
French kings that, beneath the warm protestations of affection between
the kinsmen, there was, as a French chronicler said, but a cat-and-dog
love between them.[1] The treaty had not been properly executed, and the
English had long complained that the French had not yielded up to
England their king's rights over the three bishoprics of Limoges,
Cahors, and Perigueux, which St. Louis had ceded. New complications
arose after the death of Alfonse of Poitiers in the course of the
Tunisian crusade. By the treaty of Paris the English king should then
have entered into possession of Saintonge south of the Charente, the
Agenais, and lower Quercy. But the ministers of Philip III. laid hands
upon the whole of Alfonse's inheritance and refused to surrender these
districts to the English. The welcome which Edward received from his
cousin at Paris could not blind him to the incompatibility of their
interests, nor to the impossibility of obtaining at the moment the
cession of the promised lands. He did not choose to tarry at Paris while
the diplomatists unravelled the tangled web of statecraft. Nor would he
tender an unconditional homage to the prince who withheld from him his
inheritance. Already a stickler for legal rights, even when used to his
own detriment, Edward was unable to deny his subjection to the overlord
of Aquitaine. He therefore performed homage, but he phrased his
submission in terms which left him free to urge his claims at a more
convenient season. "Lord king," he said to Philip, "I do you homage for
all the lands which I ought to hold of you." The vagueness of this
language suggested that, if Edward could not get Saintonge, he might
revive his claim to Normandy. The king appointed a commission to
continue the negotiations with the French court, and then betook himself
to Aquitaine.[2]

    [1] "Hic amor dici potest amor cati et canis," _Chron. Limov._,
    in _Recueil des Hist. de la France_, xxi., 784.

    [2] C.V. Langlois' _Le Regne de Philippe le Hardi_ (1887), and
    Gavrilovitch's _Le Traite de Paris_, give the best modern
    accounts of Edward's early dealings with the French crown.

It was nearly ten years since the presence of the monarch had
restrained the turbulence of the Gascon duchy. Edward had before him
the task of watching over its internal administration, and checking the
subtle policy whereby the agents of the French crown were gradually
undermining his authority. Two wars, the war of Bearn and the war of
Limoges, desolated Gascony from the Pyrenees to the Vienne. It was
Edward's first task to bring these troubles to an end. Age and
experience had not diminished the ardour which had so long made Gaston
of Bearn the focus of every trouble in the Pyrenean lands. He defied a
sentence of the ducal court of Saint Sever, and was already at war with
the seneschal, Luke of Tany, when Edward's appearance brought matters
to a crisis. During the autumn and winter of 1273-74, Edward hunted out
Gaston from his mountain strongholds, and at last the Bearnais,
despairing of open resistance, appealed to the French king. Philip
accepted the appeal, and ordered Edward to desist from molesting Gaston
during its hearing. The English king, anxious not to quarrel openly
with the French court, granted a truce. The suit of Gaston long
occupied the parliament of Paris, but the good-will of the French
lawyers could not palliate the wanton violence of the Viscount of
Bearn. The French, like the English, were sticklers for formal right,
and were unwilling to push matters to extremities. Edward had the
reward of his forbearance, for Philip advised Gaston to go to England
and make his submission. Gratified by his restoration to Bearn in 1279,
Gaston remained faithful for the next few years. Edward was less
successful in dealing with Limoges. There had been for many years a
struggle between the commune of the castle, or _bourg_, of Limoges and
Margaret the viscountess. It was to no purpose that the townsfolk had
invoked the treaty of Paris, whereby, as they maintained, the French
king transferred to the King of England his ancient jurisdiction over
them. They were answered by a decree of the parliament of Paris that
the homage of the commune of Limoges belonged not to the crown but to
the viscountess, and that therefore the treaty involved no change in
their allegiance. Edward threw himself with ardour on to the side of
the burgesses. Guy of Lusignan, still the agent of his brother abroad,
though prudently excluded from England, was sent to Limoges, where he
incited the commune to resist the viscountess. In May, 1274, Edward
himself took up his quarters in Limoges, and for a month ruled there as
sovereign. But the French court reiterated the decree which made the
commune the vassal of the viscountess. To persevere in upholding the
rebels meant an open breach with the French court in circumstances more
unfavourable than in the case of Gaston of Bearn. Once more Edward
refused to allow his ambition to prevail over his sense of legal
obligation. With rare self-restraint he renounced the fealty of
Limoges, and abandoned his would-be subjects to the wrath of the
viscountess. This was an act of loyalty to feudal duty worthy of St.
Louis. If Edward, on later occasions, pressed his own legal claims
against his vassals, he set in his own case a pattern of strict
obedience to his overlord.

While Edward was still abroad, his friend Gregory X. held from May to
July, 1274, the second general council at Lyons, wherein there was much
talk of a new crusade, and an effort was made, which came very near
temporary success, towards healing the schism of the Eastern and
Western Churches. At Gregory's request Edward put off his coronation,
lest the celebration might call away English prelates from Lyons. When
the council was over, he at last turned towards his kingdom. At Paris
he was met by the mayor of London, Henry le Waleis, and other leading
citizens, who set before him the grievous results of the long disputes
with Flanders, which had broken off the commercial relations between
the two countries, and had inflicted serious losses on English trade.
Edward strove to bring the Flemings to their senses by prohibiting the
export of wool from England to the weaving towns of Flanders. The looms
of Ghent and Bruges were stopped by reason of the withholding of the
raw material, and the distress of his subjects made Count Guy of
Flanders anxious to end so costly a quarrel. On July 28 Edward met Guy
at Montreuil and signed a treaty which re-established the old
friendship between lands which stood in constant economic need of each
other. There was no longer any occasion for further delay, and on
August 2 Edward and his queen crossed over to Dover. Received with open
arms by his subjects, he was crowned at Westminster on August 19 by the
new Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Kilwardby, philosopher,
theologian, and Dominican friar, whom Gregory X. had placed over the
church of Canterbury, despite the vigorous efforts which Edward made to
secure the primacy for Robert Burnell. He had been absent from England
for four years.

Edward's sojourn in France was fruitful of results which he was unable
to reap for the moment. Conscious of the inveterate hostility of the
French king, he strove to establish relations with foreign powers to
counterbalance the preponderance of his rival. When the death of
Richard of Cornwall reopened the question of the imperial succession,
Charles of Anjou had been anxious to obtain the prize for his nephew,
Philip III., on the specious pretext that the headship of Christendom
would enable the King of France to "collect chivalry from all the
world" and institute the crusade which both Gregory X. and Edward so
ardently desired. But the most zealous enthusiast for the holy war
could hardly be deceived by the false zeal with which the Angevin
cloaked his overweening ambition. It was a veritable triumph for
Edward, when Gregory X., though attracted for a moment by the prospect
of a strong emperor capable of landing a crusade, accepted the choice
of the German magnates who, in terror of France, elected as King of the
Romans the strenuous but not overmighty Swabian count, Rudolf of
Hapsburg. As Alfonso of Castile's pretensions were purely nominal, this
election ended the Great Interregnum by restoring the empire on a
narrower but more practical basis. Though Gregory strove to reconcile
the French to Rudolf's accession, common suspicion of France bound
Edward and the new King of the Romans in a common friendship.

Family disputes soon destroyed the unity of policy of the Capetian
house. Philip III., well meaning but weak, was drifting into complete
dependence on Charles of Anjou, whom Edward distrusted, alike as the
protector of the murderers of Henry of Almaine and as the supplanter of
his mother in the Provencal heritage. Margaret of Provence, the widow
of St. Louis, had a common grievance with Edward and his mother against
Charles of Anjou. She hated him the more inasmuch as he was depriving
her of all influence over her son, King Philip. It was easy in such
circumstances for the two widowed queens of France and England to form
grandiose schemes for ousting Charles from Provence. Rudolf lent
himself to their plans by investing Margaret with the county. Edward's
filial piety and political interests made him a willing partner in
these designs. In 1278 he betrothed his daughter Joan of Acre to
Hartmann, the son of the King of the Romans. The plan of Edward and
Rudolf was to revive in some fashion the kingdom of Arles[1] in favour
of the young couple. Though Rudolf was unfaithful to this policy, and
abandoned the proposed English marriage in favour of a match between
his daughter and the son of the King of Sicily, the two queens
persisted in their plans, and new combinations against Charles and
Philip for some years threatened the peace of Europe.

    [1] Fournier's _Le Royaume d'Arles et de Vienne_ (1891) gives
    the best modern account of Edward's relations to the Middle

It is unlikely that Edward hoped for serious results from schemes so
incoherent and backed with such slender resources. Besides his alliance
with the emperor, he strove to injure the French king by establishing
close relations with his brother-in-law, Alfonso of Castile, who since
1276 was at war with the French. Earlier than this, he made himself the
champion of Blanche of Artois, the widow of Henry III. of Navarre and
Champagne. He wished that Joan, their only child, should bring her
father's lands to one of his own sons, and, though disappointed in this
ambition, he managed to marry his younger brother, Edmund of Lancaster,
to Blanche. Though the French took possession of Navarre, whereby they
alike threatened Gascony and Castile, they suffered Blanche to rule in
Champagne in her daughter's name, and Edmund was associated with her in
the government of that county. The tenure of a great French fief by the
brother of the English king was a fresh security against the
aggressions of the kings of France and Sicily. It probably facilitated
the conclusion of the long negotiations as to the interpretation of the
treaty of Paris, and the partition of the inheritance of Alfonse of
Poitiers. Edward's position against France was further strengthened in
1279 by the death of his wife's mother, Joan of Castile, the widow of
Ferdinand the Saint and the stepmother of Alfonso the Wise, whereupon
he took possession of Ponthieu in Eleanor's name. Scarcely had he
established himself at Abbeville, the capital of the Picard county,
than the negotiations at Paris were so far ripened that Philip III.
went to Amiens, where Edward joined him. On May 23 both kings agreed to
accept the treaty of Amiens by which the more important of the
outstanding difficulties between the two nations were amicably
regulated. By it Philip recognised Eleanor as Countess of Ponthieu, and
handed over a portion of the inheritance of Alfonse of Poitiers to
Edward. Agen and the Agenais were ceded at once, and a commission was
appointed to investigate Edward's claims over lower Quercy. In return
for this Edward yielded up his illusory rights over the three
bishoprics of Limoges, Perigueux, and Cahors. It was a real triumph for
English diplomacy.

No lasting peace could arise from acts which emphasised the essential
incompatibility of French and English interests by enlarging the
territory of the English kings in France. The undercurrent of hostility
still continued; and the proposal of Pope Nicholas III. that Edward
should act as mediator between Philip III. and Alfonso of Castile led
to difficulties that deeply incensed Edward, and embroiled him once
more both with France and Spain. Under Angevin influence, both Philip
and Alfonso rejected Edward's mediation in favour of that of the Prince
of Salerno, Charles of Anjou's eldest son. Disgust at this
unfriendliness made Edward again support the plans of Margaret of
Provence against the Angevins. In 1281 Margaret's intrigues formed a
combination of feudal magnates called the League of Macon, with the
object of prosecuting her claims over Provence by force of arms. Edward
and his mother, Eleanor, his Savoyard kinsfolk, and Edmund of Lancaster
all entered into the league. But it was hopeless for a disorderly crowd
of lesser chieftains, with the nominal support of a distant prince like
Edward, to conquer Provence in the teeth of the hostility of the
strongest and the ablest princes of the age. The League of Macon came
to nothing, like so many other ambitious combinations of a time in
which men's capacity to form plans transcended their capacity to
execute them. Margaret herself soon despaired of the way of arms and
was bought off by a money compensation. The league mainly served to
keep alive the troubles that still separated England and France. In
1284 Philip gained a new success in winning the hand of Joan of
Champagne, Count Edmund's step-daughter, for his son, the future Philip
the Fair. When Joan attained her majority, Edmund lost the custody of
Champagne, which went to the King of France as the natural protector of
his son and his son's bride. With his brother's withdrawal from Provins
to Lancaster, Edward lost one of his means of influencing the course of
French politics.

A compensation for these failures was found in 1282 when the Sicilian
vespers rang the knell of the Angevin power in Sicily. When the
revolted islanders chose Peter, King of Aragon, as their sovereign,
Charles, seeking to divert him from Sicily by attacking him at home,
inspired his partisan, Pope Martin IV., to preach a crusade against
Aragon. It was in vain that Edward strove to mediate between the two

The only response made to his efforts was a fantastic proposal that
they should fight out their differences in a tournament at Bordeaux
with him as umpire, but Edward refused to have anything to do with the
pseudo-chivalrous venture. At last, in 1285, Philip III. lent himself
to his uncle's purpose so far as to lead a papalist crusade over the
Pyrenees. The movement was a failure. Philip lost his army and his life
in Aragon, and his son and successor, Philip IV., at once withdrew from
the undertaking. In the year of the crusade of Aragon, Charles of
Anjou, Peter of Aragon, and Martin IV. died. With them the struggles,
which had begun with the attack on Frederick II, reached their
culminating point. Their successors continued the quarrel with
diminished forces and less frantic zeal, and so gave Edward his best
chance to pose as the arbiter of Europe. Though Edward's continental
policy lay so near his heart that it can hardly be passed over, it was
fuller of vain schemes than of great results. Yet it was not altogether
fruitless, since twelve years of resolute and moderate action raised
England, which under Henry III. was of no account in European affairs,
to a position only second to that of France, and that under conditions
more nearly approaching the modern conception of a political balance
and a European state system than feudalism, imperialism, and papalism
had hitherto rendered possible.

In domestic policy, seven years of monotonous administration had in a
way prepared for vigorous reforms. Edward's return to England in 1274
was quickly followed by the dismissal of Walter of Merton, the
chancellor of the years of quiescence. He was succeeded by Robert
Burnell, who, though foiled in his quest of Canterbury, obtained an
adequate standing by his preferment to the bishopric of Bath and Wells.
For the eighteen years of life which still remained to him, Bishop
Burnell held the chancery and possessed the chief place in Edward's
counsels. The whole of this period was marked by a constant legislative
activity which ceased so soon after Burnell's death that it is tempting
to assign at least as large a part of the law-making of the reign to
the minister as to the sovereign. A consummate lawyer and diplomatist,
Burnell served Edward faithfully. Nor was his fidelity impaired either
by the laxity which debarred him from higher ecclesiastical preferment
or by his ambitious endeavours to raise the house of Shropshire squires
from which he sprang into a great territorial family. Edward gave him
his absolute confidence and was blind even to his defects.

The first general parliament of the reign to which the king summoned
the commons was held at Westminster in the spring of 1275. Its work was
the statute of Westminster the First, a comprehensive measure of many
articles which covered almost the whole field of legislation, and is
especially noteworthy for the care which its compilers took to uphold
sound administration and put down abuses. Not less important was the
provision of an adequate revenue for the debt-burdened king. The same
parliament made Edward a permanent grant of a custom on wool,
wool-fells, and leather, which remained henceforth a chief source of
the regular income of the crown. The later imposition of further duties
soon caused men to describe the customs of 1275 as the "Great and
Ancient Custom". It was significant of the economic condition of
England that the great custom was a tax on exports, not imports, and
that, with the exception of leather, it was a tax on raw materials.
Granted the more willingly since the main incidence of it was upon the
foreign merchants, who bought up English wool for the looms of Flanders
and Brabant, the custom proved a source of revenue which could easily
be manipulated, increased, and assigned in advance to the Italian
financiers, willing to lend money to a necessitous king. A new step in
our financial history was attained when this tax on trade steps into
the place so long held by the taxes on land, from which the Normans and
Angevins had derived their enormous revenue.

The statute of Westminster the First had a long series of fellows. Next
year came the statute of Rageman, which supplemented an earlier inquest
into abuses by instituting a special inquiry in cases of trespass. In
1277 the first Welsh war interrupted the current of legislation. The
break was compensated for in 1278 by the passing of the important
statute of Gloucester, the consummation of a policy which Edward had
adopted as soon as he set foot on English soil. The troubles of Edward's
youth had made clear to him the obstacles thrown in the path of orderly
government by the great territorial franchises. He had been forced to
modify his policy to gratify the lord of Glamorgan, and win over the
house of Mortimer by the erection of a new franchise that was a
palatinate in all but name. But such great "regalities" were, after all,
exceptional. Much more irritating to an orderly mind were the
innumerable petty immunities which made half the hundreds in England the
appendages of baronial estates, and such common privileges as "return of
writs," which prevented the sheriff's officers from executing his
mandates on numerous manors where the lords claimed that the execution
of writs must be entrusted to their bailiffs.[1] These widespread powers
in private hands were the more annoying to the king since they were
commonly exercised with no better warrant than long custom, and without
direct grant from him.

    [1] See on "return of writs" and a host of similar immunities,
    Pollock and Maitland's _History of English Law_, i., 558-82.

Bracton had already laid down the doctrine that no prescription can
avail against the rights of the crown, and it was a commonplace with the
lawyers of the age that nothing less than a clear grant by royal charter
could justify such delegation of the sovereign's powers into private
hands. Within a few months of his landing, Edward sent out commissioners
to inquire into the baronial immunities. The returns of these inquests,
which were carried out hundred by hundred, are embodied in the precious
documents called the Hundred Rolls. The study of these reports inspired
the procedure of the statute of Gloucester, by which royal officers were
empowered to traverse the land demanding by what warrant the lords of
franchises exercised their powers. The demand of the crown for
documentary proof of royal delegation would have destroyed more than
half the existing liberties. But aristocratic opinion deserted Edward
when he strove to carry out so violent a revolution. The irritation of
the whole baronage is well expressed in the story of how Earl Warenne,
unsheathing a rusty sword, declared to the commissioners: "Here is my
warrant. My ancestors won their lands with the sword. With my sword I
will defend them against all usurpers." Nor was this mere boasting. The
return of the king's officers tells us that Warenne would not say of
whom, or by what services, he held his Yorkshire stronghold of
Conisborough, and that his bailiffs refused them entrance into his
liberties and would not suffer his tenants to answer or appear before
them.[1] Edward found it prudent not to press his claims. He disturbed
few men in their franchises, and was content to have collected the mass
of evidence embodied in the _placita de quo warranto_, and thus to have
stopped the possibility of any further growth of the franchises. A few
years later he accepted the compromise that continuous possession since
the coronation of Richard I. was a sufficient answer to a writ of _quo
warranto_. In this lies the whole essence of Edward's policy in relation
to feudalism, a policy very similar to that of St. Louis. Every man is
to have his own, and the king is not to inquire too curiously what a
man's own was. But no extension of any private right was to be
tolerated. Thus feudalism as a principle of political jurisdiction
gradually withered away, because it was no longer suffered to take fresh
root. The later land legislation of Edward's reign pushed the idea still

    [1] _Kirkby's Quest for Yorkshire_, pp. 3, 227, 231, Surtees

In 1278 it had been the turn of the barons to suffer. Next came the
turn of the Church. Though Edward was a true son of the Church, he saw
as clearly as William the Conqueror and Henry II. the essential
incompatibility between the royal supremacy and the pretensions of the
extreme ecclesiastics. The limits of Church and State, the growth of
clerical wealth and immunities, and the relations of the world-power of
the pope to the local authority of the king, were problems which no
strong king could afford to neglect, and perhaps were incapable of
solution on medieval lines. Edward saw that the most practical way of
dealing with clerical claims was for him to stand in good personal
relations to the chief dispensers of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. With
a pope like Gregory X. it was easy for Edward to be on friendly terms;
but it was more difficult to feel any cordiality for the dogmatic
canonists or the furious Guelfic partisans who too often occupied the
chair of St. Peter. Yet Edward was shrewd enough to see that it was
worth while making sacrifices to keep on his side the power which,
alike under Innocent III. and Clement IV., had given valuable
assistance to his grandfather and father in their struggle against
domestic enemies. Moreover the enormous growth of the system of papal
provisions had given the papacy the preponderating authority in the
selection of the bishops of the English Church. It was only by yielding
to the popes, whenever it was possible, that Edward could secure the
nomination of his own candidates to the chief ecclesiastical posts in
his own realm.

In the earlier years of his reign Edward was luckier in his relations
to the popes than to his own archbishops. But he found that his power
at Rome broke down just where he wanted to exercise it most. He was
disgusted to find how little influence he had in the selection of the
Archbishops of Canterbury. Gregory X. sent to Canterbury the Dominican
Robert Kilwardby, the first mendicant to hold high place in the English
Church. Kilwardby was translated in 1278 to the cardinal bishopric of
Porto, a post of greater dignity but less emolument and power than the
English archbishopric. A cardinal bishop was bound to reside at Rome,
and the real motive for this doubtful promotion was the desire to
remove Kilwardby from England and to send a more active man in his
place. Edward's indiscreet devotion to Bishop Burnell led him again to
press his friend's claims, but, though he persuaded the monks of Christ
Church to elect him, Nicholas III. quashed the appointment, and
selected the Franciscan friar, John Peckham, as archbishop. Peckham, a
famous theologian and physicist, had been a distinguished professor at
Paris, Oxford, and Rome. He was high-minded, honourable and zealous, a
saint as well as a scholar, an enthusiast for Church reform and a
vigorous upholder of the extremest hierarchical pretensions. Fussy,
energetic, tactless, he was the true type of the academic ecclesiastic,
and alike in his personal qualities and his wonderful grasp of detail,
he may be compared to Archbishop Laud. Though received by Edward with a
rare magnanimity, Friar John allowed no personal considerations of
gratitude to interpose between him and his duty. Reaching England in
June, 1279, he presided, within six weeks of his landing, at a
provincial council at Reading. In this gathering canons were passed
against pluralities which frightened every benefice hunter among the
clerks of the royal household. Orders were also issued for the
periodical denunciation of ecclesiastical penalties against all
violators of the Great Charter in a fashion that suggested that the
king was an habitual offender against the fundamental laws of his

Edward wrathfully laid the usurpations of the new primate before
parliament, and forced Peckham to withdraw all the canons dealing with
secular matters, and particularly those which concerned the Great
Charter. The king set up the counter-claims of the State against the
pretensions of the Church, and the estates passed the statute of
Mortmain of 1279 as the layman's answer to the canons of Reading. Like
most of Edward's laws the statute of Mortmain was based on earlier
precedents. The wealth of the Church had long inspired statesmen with
alarm, and a true follower of St. Francis like Peckham was specially
convinced of the need of reducing the clergy to apostolic poverty. By
the new law all grants of land to ecclesiastical corporations were
expressly prohibited, under the penalty of the land being forfeited to
its supreme lord. The statute was not a mere political weapon of the
moment. It had a wider importance as a step in the development of
Edward's anti-feudal policy, and may be regarded as a counterpart of
the inquest into franchises, and as a means of protecting the State as
well as of disciplining the Church. A corporation never died, and never
paid reliefs or wardships. Its property never escheated for want of
heirs, and, as scutages were passing out of fashion, ecclesiastics were
less valuable to the king in times of war than lay lords. The recent
exigencies of the Welsh war had emphasised the need of strengthening
the military defences of the crown, and the new statute secured this by
preventing the further devolution of lands into the dead hand of the
Church. But all medieval laws were rather enunciations of an ideal than
measures which practical statesmen aimed at carrying out in detail. The
statute of Mortmain hardly stayed the creation of fresh monasteries and
colleges, or the further endowment of old ones. All that was necessary
for the pious founder was to obtain a royal dispensation from the
operation of the statute. There was little need to fear that the new
law would stand in the way of the power of the ecclesiastical estate.

A more distinct challenge to the Church was provoked by a further
aggression of Peckham in 1281. In that year the primate summoned a
council at Lambeth, wherein he sought to withdraw from the cognisance of
the civil courts all suits concerning patronage and the disposition of
the personal effects of ecclesiastics. To extend the jurisdiction of the
_forum ecclesiasticum_ was the surest way of exciting the hostility of
the common lawyers and the king. Once more Edward annulled the
proceedings of a council, and once more the submission of Peckham saved
the land from a conflict which might have assumed the proportions of
Becket's struggle against Henry II. Four years later Edward pressed his
advantage still further by the royal ordinance of 1285, called
_Circumspecte agatis_, which, though accepting the supremacy of the
Church courts within their own sphere, narrowly defined the limits of
their power in matters involving a temporal element. Again Peckham was
fain to acquiesce. His policy had not only irritated the king, but
alienated his fellow bishops. He visited his province with pertinacity
and minuteness, and he was the less able to stand up against the king as
he was engaged in violent quarrels with all his own suffragans. The
leader of the bishops in resisting his claims was Thomas of Cantilupe.
Restored to England by the liberal policy of Edward, Montfort's
chancellor after Lewes had been raised to the see of Hereford, where his
sanctity and devotion won him the universal love of his flock. Involved
in costly lawsuits with the litigious primate, Thomas was forced to
leave his diocese to plead his cause before the papal _curia_. He died
in Italy in 1282, and his relics, carried back by his followers to his
own cathedral, won the reputation of working miracles. A demand arose
for his canonisation, and Edward before his death had secured the
appointment of the papal commission, which, a few years later, added St.
Thomas of Hereford to the list of saints.[1] Thus the chancellor of
Montfort obtained the honour of sanctity through the action of the
victor of Evesham.

    [1] The _processus canonisationis_ of Cantilupe, printed in the
    Bollandist _Acta Sanctorum_, Oct. 1, 539-705, illustrates many
    aspects of this period.

The second Welsh war interrupted both the conflict between Edward and
the archbishop, and the course of domestic legislation. Yet even in the
midst of his campaigns Edward issued the statute of Acton Burnell of
1283, which provided a better way of recovering merchants' debts, and
the statute of Rhuddlan of 1284 for the regulation of the king's
exchequer. The king's full activity as a lawgiver was renewed after the
settlement of his conquest by the statute of Wales of 1284, and the
legislation of his early years culminated in the two great acts of
1285, the statute of Westminster the Second, and the statute of
Winchester. That year, which also witnessed the passing of the
_Circumspecte agatis_, stands out as the most fruitful in lawmaking in
the whole of Edward's reign.

The second statute of Westminster, passed in the spring parliament,
partook of the comprehensive character of the first statute of that
name. There were clauses by which, as the Canon of Oseney puts it,
"Edward revived the ancient laws which had slumbered through the
disturbance of the realm: some corrupted by abuse he restored to their
proper form: some less evident and apparent he declared: some new ones,
useful and honourable, he added". Among the more conspicuous
innovations of the second statute of Westminster was the famous clause
De _donis conditionalibus_, which forms a landmark in the law of real
property. It facilitated the creation of entailed estates by providing
that the rights of an heir of an estate, granted upon conditions, were
not to be barred on account of the alienation of such an estate by its
previous tenant. Thus arose those estates for life, which in later ages
became a special feature of the English land system, and which, by
restricting the control of the actual possessor of a property over his
land, did much to perpetuate the worst features of medieval
land-holding. It is a modern error to regard the legitimation of
estates in tail as a triumph of reactionary feudalism over the will of
Edward. Apart from the fact that there is not a tittle of contemporary
evidence to justify such a view, it is manifest that the interest of
the king was in this case exactly the same as that of each individual
lord of a manor. The greater prospect of reversion to the donor, and
the other features of the system of entails, which commended them to
the petty baron, were still more attractive to the king, the greatest
proprietor as well as the ultimate landlord of all the realm. Other
articles of the Westminster statute were only less important than the
clause _De donis_, notable among them being the institution of justices
of _nisi prius_, appointed to travel through the shires three times a
year to hear civil causes. This was part of the simplification and
concentration of judicial machinery, whereby Edward made tolerable the
circuit system which under Henry III. had been a prolific source of

While in the statute of Westminster Edward prepared for the future, the
companion statute of Winchester, the work of the autumn parliament,
revived the jurisdiction of the local courts; reformed the ancient
system of watch and ward, and brought the ancient system of popular
courts into harmony with the jurisdiction emanating from the crown,
which had gone so far towards superseding it. This measure marks the
culmination of Edward's activity as a lawgiver. During the five next
years there were no more important statutes.



The treaty of Shrewsbury of 1267 had not brought enduring peace to
Wales and the march. The pacification was in essentials a simple
recognition of accomplished facts, but, so far as it involved promises
of restitution and future good behaviour, its provisions were barely
carried out, even in the scanty measure in which any medieval treaty
was executed. Moreover, the treaty by no means covered the whole ground
of variance between the English and the Welsh. like the treaty of Paris
of 1259, it was as much the starting-point of new difficulties as the
solution of old ones. Many troublesome questions of detail had been
postponed for later settlement, and no serious effort was made to
grapple with them. Even during the life of the old king, there had been
war in the south between the Earl of Gloucester and Llewelyn. However,
the Welsh prince paid, with fair regularity, the instalments of the
indemnity to which he had been bound, and there was no disposition on
the part of the English authorities to question the basis of the
settlement. Even the marchers maintained an unwonted tranquillity. They
had lost so much during the recent war that they had no great desire to
take up arms again. Llewelyn himself was the chief obstacle to peace.
The brilliant success of his arms and diplomacy seems somewhat to have
turned his brain. Visions of a wider authority constantly floated
before him. His bards prophesied the expulsion of the Saxon, and he had
done such great deeds in the first twenty years of his reign, that a
man of more practical temperament might have been forgiven for
indulging in dreams of future success. Three obstacles stood in the way
of the development of his power. These were his vassalage to the
English crown, the hostility of the marcher barons, and the impatience
with which the minor Welsh chieftains submitted to his authority. For
five years he impatiently endured these restraints. He then took
advantage of the absence of the new king to rid himself of them.

Five days after the accession of Edward I., the lieutenants of the king
received the last payment of the indemnity which Llewelyn condescended
to make. Their demand that the Welsh prince should take an oath of
fealty to his new sovereign was answered by evasive delays. Arrears of
the indemnity accumulated, and the state of the march became more
disturbed. The regents showed moderation, though one of them, Roger
Mortimer, had himself been the greatest sufferer from the treaty of
Shrewsbury. In the south, Humphrey Bohun, grandson of the old Earl of
Hereford and earl himself in 1275 by his grandfather's death, was
engaged in private war with Llewelyn. In direct defiance of the terms
of 1267, Humphrey strove to maintain himself in the march of Brecon,
which had been definitely ceded to Llewelyn. It was to the credit of
the regents that they refused to countenance this glaring violation of
the treaty. Meanwhile Llewelyn busied himself with erecting a new
stronghold on the upper Severn, which was a menace alike to the royal
castle of Montgomery and to his own vassal, Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn, the
tributary lord of Powys. Yet the regents were content to remonstrate,
and to urge on all parties the need of strict adherence to the terms of
the treaty. The Earl of Warwick was appointed in the spring of 1274 as
head of a commission, empowered to do justice on all transgressions of
the peace, and Llewelyn was ordered to meet him at Montgomery Ford. But
Llewelyn was busy at home, where his brother David had joined hands
with Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn in a plot against him. Llewelyn easily
crushed the conspiracy; David, after a feeble attempt to maintain
himself in his own patrimony, took flight to England, and Griffith of
Powys, driven from his dominions, was also obliged to seek the
protection of Edward. Henceforth Llewelyn ruled directly over Powys as
well as Gwynedd. His success encouraged him to persevere in defying his

Rash as he was, Llewelyn recognised that he was not strong enough to
stand up single-handed against England. Former experience, however,
suggested that it was an easy matter to make a party with the barons
against the crown. But times had changed since the Great Charter and
the Barons' War; and a policy, which could obtain concessions from John
or Henry III., was powerless against a king who commanded the
allegiance of all his subjects. Yet there was enough friction between
the new king and his feudatories to make the attempt seem feasible, and
Llewelyn revived the Montfort tradition, by claiming the hand of
Eleanor, Earl Simon's daughter, which had been promised to him since
1265. The alarm created by this shows that Edward perceived the danger
that it might involve. But his policy of conciliation had now restored
to their estates the last of the "disinherited," and, since the murder
of Henry of Almaine, the name of Montfort was no longer one to conjure
with. The exiled sons of Earl Simon welcomed Llewelyn's advances, and,
in 1275, Eleanor was despatched from France to Wales under the escort
of her clerical brother Amaury. On their way, Eleanor and Amaury were
captured by English sailors. Edward detained the lady at the queen's
court, and gave some scandal to the stricter clergy by shutting up
Amaury in Corfe castle. He had foiled the Welsh prince's game, but he
had given him a new grievance.

During these transactions negotiations had been proceeding between the
English court and Llewelyn. In November, 1274, Edward went to
Shrewsbury in the hope of receiving the prince, but he was delayed by
illness, and Llewelyn made this an excuse for non-appearance. Next year
the king journeyed to Chester with the same object, but his mission was
equally fruitless. Summons after summons was despatched to the
recalcitrant vassal. Llewelyn heeded them no more than requests to pay
up the arrears which he owed the English crown. After two years of
hesitation Edward lost all patience. Irritated to the quick by
Llewelyn's offer to perform homage in a border town on conditions
altogether impossible of acceptance, the king summoned a council of
magnates for November 12, 1276, and laid the whole case before them. It
was agreed that the king should go against Llewelyn as a rebel and
disturber of the peace; and the feudal levies were summoned to meet at
Worcester on June 24, 1277. As a preliminary to the great effort,
Warwick was sent to Chester, Roger Mortimer to Montgomery, and Payne of
Chaworth to Carmarthen. All the available marcher forces and every
trooper of the royal household were despatched to enable them to
operate during the winter and spring. Their movements were brilliantly
successful. On the reappearance of its ancient lord, the middle march
threw off the yoke of Llewelyn and went back to its obedience to
Mortimer. Griffith ap Gwenwynwyn was restored to upper Powys; the sons
of Griffith of Bromfield cast off their allegiance to Llewelyn and were
received back as direct vassals of the king. A Tony was once more
ruling in Elvael, a Gifford in Llandovery, and a Bohun in Brecon. Rhys
ap Meredith yielded up Dynevor, and was content to be recognised as
lord of the humbler stronghold of Drysllwyn. Chaworth's bands conquered
all Cardiganshire. Thus the wider "principality" of Llewelyn was
shattered at the first assault, and when the decisive moment came,
Llewelyn was thrown back upon his hereditary clansmen of Gwynedd. Of
all the acquisitions of the treaty of Shrewsbury, the four cantreds
alone still held for their prince.[1]

    [1] On the whole subject of this chapter Mr. J.E. Morris's
    _Welsh Wars of Edward I._ throws a flood of new light,
    especially on the military history, the organisation of the
    Edwardian army, and the political condition of the march.

When the baronial levies mustered at Worcester, the work was already
half accomplished. Of the thousand lances that there assembled, small
forces were detached to help Mortimer in mid Wales and to reinforce the
marcher army in west Wales, which was now commanded by Edmund of
Lancaster, the king's brother. The mass of the troops followed Edward
to Chester, whence the main attack was to be made. Edward's plan of
operations was simplicity itself. He knew that the Welsh desired no
pitched battle, and he was indisposed to lose his soldiers in
unnecessary conflict. Swarms of workmen cleared a wide road through the
dense forests of the four cantreds. The route chosen was as near as
possible to the coast, where a strong fleet, mainly from the Cinque
Ports, kept up communications with the land forces. The advance was
cautious and slow, with long halts at Flint and at Rhuddlan, where
hastily erected forts secured the king's base and safe-guarded a
possible retreat. By the end of August the king was at Deganwy, and the
four cantreds were conquered. During all this time fresh forces were
hurried up. Some 15,000 infantry, largely drawn from southern and
central Wales, swelled the king's host.

Llewelyn was closely shut up in the Snowdon country. His position was
safe enough from a direct assault, and his only fear was want of
provisions. He trusted, however, that supplies would come in from
Anglesea, whose rich cornfields were yellowing for the harvest. But the
fleet of the Cinque Ports cut off communications between Anglesea and
the mainland, and ferried over a strong detachment of Edward's troops,
which occupied the island. English harvest-men gathered for Edward the
crops of Welsh corn, and left Llewelyn to face the beginnings of a
mountain-winter without the means of feeding his followers. By
September the real fight was over. Edward withdrew to Rhuddlan and
dismissed the greater part of his followers. Enough were left to block
the approaches to Snowdon, and Llewelyn, seeing no gain in further
delay, made his submission on November 9.

The treaty of Aberconway, which Edward dictated, reduced Llewelyn to
the position of a petty North Welsh chieftain, which he had held thirty
years before. He gave up the homage of the greater Welsh magnates, and
resigned all his former conquests. The four cantreds thus passed away
from his power, and even Anglesea was only allowed to him for life and
subject to a yearly tribute. He was compelled to do homage, and ordered
to pay a crushing indemnity, twice as much as the expenses of the war.
But Edward was in a generous mood. After Llewelyn's personal submission
at Rhuddlan, the king remitted the indemnity and the rent for Anglesea.
It was a boon to Llewelyn that the treacherous David received his
reward not' in Gwynedd itself but in Duffryn Clwyd and Rhuvoniog, two
of the four cantreds of the Perveddwlad. Llewelyn's humiliation was
completed by his enforced attendance at Edward's Christmas court at
Westminster. Next year, however, he received a further sign of royal
favour. He was allowed to marry Eleanor Montfort, and Edward himself
was present at their wedding. But on the morning of the ceremony,
Llewelyn was forced to make a promise not to entertain the king's
fugitives and outlaws.

The treaty of Aberconway left Edward free to revive in the rest of Wales
the policy which, when originally begun in 1254,[1] had, like a rising
flood, floated Llewelyn into his wider principality. The lords marchers
resumed their ancient limits. Princes like Griffith of Powys and Rhys of
Drysllwyn sank into a position which is indistinguishable from that of
their Anglo-Norman neighbours. David, in the vale of Clwyd had no better
prospects. The heirs of lower Powys were put under the guardianship of
Roger Mortimer's younger son, another Roger, who, on the death of his
wards by drowning, received possession of their lands, and henceforth,
as Roger Mortimer of Chirk, became a new marcher baron. Meanwhile Edward
busied himself with schemes for establishing settled government in the
conquered territories. To a man of his training and temperament, this
meant the establishment of English law and administration. He could see
no merits in the archaic Welsh customs which regarded all crimes as
capable of atonement by a money payment, treated a wrecked ship as the
lawful perquisite of the local proprietor, and hardly distinguished
legitimate from illegitimate children in determining the descent of
property. He convinced himself that the land laws of Wales were already
those of Anglo-Norman feudalism. He subjected the cantreds of Rhos and
Englefield to the Cheshire county court, and breathed a new life into
the decayed shire organisation of Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire.
Flint and Rhuddlan dominated the two former, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen
the latter. Round the king's castles grew up petty boroughs of English
traders, who would, it was believed, teach the Welsh to love commerce
and peaceful ways.

    [1] See page 76.

For five years all seemed to go well, though underneath the apparent
calm a storm was gradually gathering. The Welsh of the ceded districts
bitterly resented the imposition of a strange yoke and complained that
the king had broken his promise to respect their laws. "Are the Welsh
worse than Jews?" was their cry, "and yet the king allows the Jews to
follow their own laws in England." But Edward coldly answered that,
though it would be a breach of his coronation oath to maintain customs
of Howel the Good, which were contrary to the Decalogue, he was willing
to listen to specific complaints. It was, however, a very difficult
matter to persuade Edward's bailiffs and agents to carry out his
commands, and many acts of oppression were wrought for which there was
no redress. Nobles like David and Rhys found their franchises
threatened by the encroachments of the neighbouring shire-courts.
Lesser Welshmen were liable to be robbed and insulted by the workmen
who were building Edward's castles, or by the soldiers who were
garrisoning them. At last even the Welsh who had helped Edward to put
down Llewelyn saw that they had been preparing their own ruin, and
turned to their former enemy for the redress refused them at
Westminster. David himself made common cause with his brother, and the
spirit of resistance spread among the half-hearted Cymry of the south.
Edward's oppression did more than Llewelyn's triumphs to weld together
the Welsh clans into a single people. A rising was planned in the
strictest secrecy; and on the eve of Palm Sunday, March 21, 1282, David
swooped down on Hawarden, a weak castle in private hands, and captured
it. Llewelyn promptly crossed the Conway and turned his arms against
the royal strongholds of Flint and Rhuddlan, which withstood him,
though he devastated the countryside in every direction. Meanwhile
David hurried south and found the local lords in Cardigan and the vale
of Towy already in arms. With their help he captured the castles of the
upper Towy, but lower down the river Rhys remained staunch to the king,
whereupon David hurried over the hills to Cardiganshire and took
Aberystwyth. North and south were in full revolt.

Edward, taken unawares, prepared to reassert his authority. Certain
faithful barons were "affectionately requested" to serve the king for
pay, and a fairly large army was gathered together, though the
scattered character of the rebellion necessitated its acting in small
bands. Meanwhile the military tenants and the Cinque Ports were
summoned to join in an attack on Llewelyn on the lines of the campaign
of 1277. Edward's task was more difficult than on the previous
occasion. Though Rhuddlan, not Chester as in 1277, had become his
starting-point against Gwynedd, he dared not advance so long as David
threatened his left flank from Denbigh, and the rising in the south was
far more formidable than that of five years before. A considerable part
of the levies had to be despatched to the help of Earl Gilbert of
Gloucester, who was charged with the reconquest of the vale of Towy. On
June 17 as the earl's soldiers were returning, laden with plunder, to
their headquarters at Dynevor, they were suddenly attacked by the Welsh
at Llandilo, and were driven back on their base. Gloucester hastily
retreated to Carmarthen. He was superseded by William of Valence, whose
activity against the Welsh had been quickened by the loss of his son at
Llandilo. Llewelyn then came south, and pressed the English so hard
that for several weeks nothing of moment was accomplished.

The advance against Gwynedd was delayed until the late summer. Edward
still tarried at Rhuddlan, with a host constantly varying in numbers,
for his soldiers had long overpassed the period of feudal service.
Every effort was made to bring fresh troops to the field, and Luke de
Tany, seneschal of Gascony, came upon the scene with a small levy of
the chivalry of Aquitaine. To Tany was assigned the task of conquering
Anglesey, but it was not until September that he was able to occupy the
island. In the same month a strenuous effort was made to dislodge the
hostile Welsh in the vale of Clwyd; the Earl of Lincoln at last took
Denbigh from David; Reginald Grey, justice of Chester, captured Ruthin,
higher up the valley, and Earl Warenne seized Bromfield and Yale. Each
noble fought for his own hand, and Edward was forced to reward their
services by immediately granting to them their conquests, and thus
created a new marcher interest which, later on, stood in the way of an
effective settlement. But things were getting desperate, and it was
well for Edward that the security of his left flank at last enabled him
to advance to the Conway. Thereupon Llewelyn returned to Snowdon, where
he was joined by the homeless David. Meanwhile Tany, then master of
Anglesey, opened up communications with the coast of Arvon by a bridge
of boats over the Menai Straits. Winter was already at hand when
Llewelyn and his brother were at last shut up amidst the fastnesses of

Late in October Archbishop Peckham appeared on the scene. He had
excommunicated Llewelyn at the beginning of the war, but was still
anxious to negotiate a peace. Edward did his best to put him off, but
Peckham's importunity extorted from him a short truce, during which the
primate visited Snowdon, taking with him an offer of an ample estate in
England if the prince would surrender his patrimony. Llewelyn furnished
Peckham with long catalogues of grievances. He was quite willing to
gain time by discussing his wrongs.

Edward's army shared his irritation at Peckham's interference, and,
while the archbishop was still in Snowdon, a breach of the truce
destroyed any hopes of peace. On November 6 Tany led his troops over
the bridge of boats at low water and marched inland. But his operations
were ill-planned, and the Welsh came down from the hills and easily put
him to flight. Meanwhile the tide had risen and the flood cut off
access to the bridge over the Menai. In their panic the soldiers rushed
into the water rather than face the enemy. Many leading men were
drowned, including Tany himself, the author of the treachery. Flushed
with this success Llewelyn rejected Peckham's terms. In great disgust
the archbishop went back to England, bitterly denouncing the Welsh. But
defeat only strengthened the iron resolution of Edward. He issued fresh
summonses for men and money. Contrary to all precedent, he determined
to continue the campaign through the winter.

Llewelyn was probably ignorant of the perilous plight into which the
king had fallen. With the approach of bad weather he became afraid that
he would be starved out in Snowdon. Any risk was better than being
caught like a rat in a trap, and, fearing lest a cordon should be drawn
round the mountains, he made his way southwards, leaving David in
command. His enemy, Roger Mortimer, was just dead, and Mortimer's
eldest son Edmund, a youth brought up for the clerical profession, was
not likely to hold the middle marches with the same strong grasp as his
father. Thither accordingly Llewelyn made his way, hoping that on his
approach the tribesmen of the upper Wye, over whom he had ruled so
long, would abandon their English lord for their Cymric chieftain. A
force gathered round him, and he occupied a strong position on a hill
overlooking the river Yrvon, which flows into the right bank of the
Wye, just above Builth. The right bank of the Yrvon was held by the
English of Builth. But the only way over the stream was by Orewyn
bridge, which was held by a detachment of the Welsh. Their position
seemed so secure that, on December 11, Llewelyn left his troops to
confer with some of the local chieftains. The English were, however,
shown a ford over the river; a band crossed in safety, and, taking the
defenders of Orewyn bridge in the rear, opened up the passage over it
to their comrades. The English ascended the hill, their mail-clad
squadrons interlaced with archers, in order that the Welsh infantry
might be assailed by missiles before they were exposed to the shock of
a cavalry charge. In the absence of their leader, the Welsh were a
helpless mass of sheep, and were easily put to flight. Meanwhile
Llewelyn, hearing the din of battle, hurried back to direct his
followers. On the way he was slain by Stephen of Frankton, a Shropshire
veteran of the Barons' War, who fought under the banner of Roger
l'Estrange. The discovery of important papers on the body first told
the conquerors the rank of their victim.

Thus perished the able and strenuous chief, who had struggled so long
to win for himself in Wales a position similar to that occupied by the
King of Scots in the north. His death did not end, but it much
simplified, the struggle. The south and midland districts were entirely
subdued, and the interest of the war again shifted to the mountains of
Snowdon, where David strove to maintain himself as Prince of Wales. His
best chance lay in the exhaustion of his enemy, but Edward stuck grimly
to his task. His coffers were exhausted, and his army for the most part
went home. Yet Edward tarried at Rhuddlan for over six months, dividing
his energy between watching the Welsh and replenishing his treasure and
troops. His treasurer, John Kirkby, wandered from shire to shire
soliciting voluntary contributions. Then in January, 1283, an anomalous
parliament was summoned, consisting mainly of ecclesiastics, knights of
the shire, and burgesses, and meeting in two divisions, at York and at
Northampton, according as the members came from the northern or
southern ecclesiastical provinces. The grant of a thirtieth so little
satisfied the king that he laid violent hands on the crusading-tenth,
which was deposited in the Temple. Meanwhile the chivalry of Gascony
and Ponthieu were tempted by high wages to supply the void left by the
retirement of the English.

Early in 1283 a gallant force from beyond sea, among which figured the
Counts of Armagnac and Bigorre, reached Rhuddlan. After their arrival
the king took the offensive, crossed the Conway and transferred his
headquarters to the Cistercian abbey of Aberconway. Fearful once more
of being enclosed in the mountains, David sought a new hiding-place
among the heights of Cader Idris. He shifted his quarters to the castle
of Bere, hidden away in a remote valley sloping down from the mountain
to the sea. The unwearied Edward once more issued summonses for a fresh
campaign. David was at the extremity of his resources. Before the new
arrivals enabled Edward to move, William of Valence marched up from the
south, and in April forced Bere to surrender. David fled before the
siege began; but he was a fugitive without an army, and the campaign
was reduced to a weary tracking out of the last little bands that still
scorned to surrender. In June David was betrayed by men of his own
tongue, and Edward summoned for Michaelmas at Shrewsbury a parliament
whose chief business was the trial of David. On October 3 the last
Cymric Prince of Wales suffered the ignominious doom of a traitor, a
murderer, and a blasphemer. The magnates then adjourned to the
chancellor's neighbouring seat of Acton Burnell, where the rejoicings
incident to the king's visit to his friend's new mansion were combined
with passing the statute of Merchants.

Edward's love of thoroughness made him linger in Wales to settle the
government of the newly won lands. His first care was to hold Snowdon
with the ring of fortresses which, in their ruin, still bear abiding
witness to the solidity of the conqueror's work. Round each castle
arose a new town, created as artificially as were the _bastides_ of
Aquitaine, within whose walls English traders and settlers were tempted
by high privileges to take up their abodes, and whose strictly military
character was emphasised by the general provision that the constable of
the castle was to be _ex officio_ the mayor of the municipality. Chief
among these was Aberconway, whose strategic importance Edward
understood so fully that he forced the Cistercian monks to take up new
quarters at Maenan, higher up the valley, in order that there might be
room for the castle and town which were henceforth to guard the
entrance to Snowdon. Equally important was the future capital of
Gwynedd, Carnarvon, where on April 25, 1284, a son was born to Edward
and Eleanor, who seventeen years later was to become the first English
Prince of Wales. Elsewhere fortresses of Welsh origin were rebuilt and
enlarged to complete the stone circuit round the mountains. Such were
Criccieth, the key of Lleyn; Dolwyddelen, which dominated the upper
Conway; and Harlech and Bere, the two strongholds that curbed the
mountaineers of Merioneth. In the south the same policy was carried
out. Alike in Gwynedd and in the vale of Towy, both in his castle
building and in his town foundations, Edward was simply carrying on the
traditions of earlier ages, and applying to his new lands those
principles of government which, since the Norman Conquest, had become
the tradition of the marcher lords. Even in his architectural schemes
there was nothing novel in Edward's policy. Gilbert of Gloucester at
Caerphilly, and Payne of Chaworth at Kidwelly, had already worked out
the pattern of "concentric" defences that were to find their fullest
expression in the new castles of the principality. In each of these
strongholds an adequate garrison of highly trained and well-paid troops
kept the Welsh in check.

The civil government of the Edwardian conquests was provided for by the
statute of Wales, issued on Mid-Lent Sunday, 1284, at Rhuddlan,
Edward's usual headquarters. It declared that the land of Wales,
heretofore subject to the crown in feudal right, was entirely
transferred to the king's dominion. To the whole of the annexed
districts the English system of shire government was extended, though
such local customs as appealed to Edward's sense of justice were
suffered to be continued. Gwynedd and its appurtenances were divided
into the three shires of Anglesey, Carnarvon, and Merioneth, and were
collectively put under the justice of Snowdon, whose seat was to be at
Carnarvon, where courts of chancery and exchequer for north Wales were
set up. The shires of Cardigan and Carmarthen were re-organised so as
to include the southern districts which had been subject to Llewelyn,
or to the Welsh lords who had fallen with him. These were put under the
justice of west Wales, whose chancery and exchequer were established at
Carmarthen. It is significant that Edward prepared the way for making
these districts into shires by persuading his brother Edmund, to whom
they had been granted, to abandon his claims over them in return for
ample compensation elsewhere. Without this step the new shires would
only have been palatinates of the Glamorgan or Pembroke type, and the
creation of such franchises was directly contrary to Edward's policy.
It was different in the vale of Clwyd, where it would have been natural
for Edward to have extended the shire system to the four cantreds.
Military exigences had, however, already erected most of these lands
into new marcher lordships, and Edward was perforce content with the
union of some fragments of Rhos to the shire of Carnarvon, and with
joining together Englefield and some adjoining districts in the new
county of Flint. This arrangement secured the strongholds of Flint and
Rhuddlan for the king. But the district was too small to make it worth
while to set up a separate organisation for it, and Flintshire was put
under the justice and courts of Chester, so that it became a dependency
of the neighbouring palatinate.[1]

    [1] For the shires of Walessee my paper on _The Welsh Shires_
    in _Y Cymmrodor_, ix. (1888), 201-26.

The lordships of the march were not directly influenced by this
legislation. They continued to hold their position as franchises until
the reign of Henry VIII., and under Edward III. were declared by
statute to be no part of the principality but directly subject to the
English crown. Yet the removal of the pressure of a native principality
profoundly affected these districts. The policy of definition made its
mark even here. The liberties of each marcher were defined and
circumscribed, and, while scrupulously respected, were incapable of
further extension. The vague jurisdictions of the sheriffs of the
border shires were cleared up, and if this process involved some
limitation of the royal authority in districts like Clun and Oswestry,
which virtually ceased to be parts of Shropshire, there was a
compensating advantage in the increased clearness with which the border
line was drawn and the royal authority consolidated. Gradually the
marcher lordships passed by lapse into the royal hands, and even from
the beginning there were regions, such as Montgomery and Builth, which
knew no lord but the king. All this was, however, an indirect result of
the Edwardian conquest. Strictly speaking it was no conquest of all
Wales but merely of the principality, the ancient dominions of
Llewelyn, to which most of the crown lands in Wales were joined.

Ecclesiastical settlement followed the political reorganisation.
Peckham was as zealous as Edward in compelling the conquered to follow
the law-abiding traditions of the king's ancient inheritance. He
laboured strenuously for the rebuilding of churches, the preservation
and extension of ecclesiastical property, the education of the clergy,
and the extirpation of clerical matrimony and simony. Despite his
unsympathetic attitude, he did good work for the Welsh Church by his
manful resistance to all attempts of Edward and his subordinates to
encroach upon her liberties. He quaintly thought it would promote the
civilisation of Wales if the people were forced to "learn civility" by
living in towns and sending their children to school in England. His
assiduous visitation of the Welsh dioceses in 1284 did something to
kindle zeal, and win the Welsh clergy from the idleness wherein, he
believed, lay the root of all their shortcomings.

In the autumn of 1284 Edward went on an extended progress in Wales. He
passed through the four cantreds into Gwynedd, and thence worked his
way southwards through Cardigan and Carmarthen, ending his tour by
visits to the marcher lords of the south. He crossed over from
Glamorgan, where he had been entertained by Gilbert of Clare, to
Bristol, where he held his Christmas court. Wales was to see no more of
its new ruler for seven years. During that time the principality gave
Edward little trouble, though the marchers, as will be seen, were a
constant anxiety to him. In 1287, while Edward was in Gascony, the
regent, Edmund of Cornwall, was called upon to deal with a revolt of
Rhys, son of Meredith, the loyalist lord of the vale of Towy, who
resented the authority of the justice of Carmarthen over his patrimony.
His grievances were those of a marcher rather than those of a Welshman.
Yet his rising in 1287 was formidable enough to require the raising of
a great army for its suppression. The Welsh chieftain could not long
hold out against the odds brought against him, and the confiscation of
his lands swelled the district directly depending on the sheriff of
Carmarthen. The support of the countryside enabled Rhys to evade his
pursuers for nearly three years. At last he was captured, and with the
execution of the last of the lords of Dynevor, the triumph of Edward
became complete.



Edward I. had now attained the height of his fame. He had conquered
Llewelyn; he had reformed the administration; he had put himself as a
lawmaker in the same rank as St. Louis or Frederick II.; and he had
restored England to a leading position in the councils of Europe.
Moreover, he had won a character for justice and fairness which did him
even greater service, since the several deaths of prominent sovereigns
during 1285 left him almost alone of his generation among princes of a
lesser stature. Of the chief rulers of Europe in the early years of
Edward's reign, Rudolf of Hapsburg alone survived; and the King of the
Romans had little weight outside Germany many. Edward had outlived his
brother-in-law Alfonso of Castile, his cousin Philip the Bold, his
uncle Charles of Anjou, and Peter of Aragon. But the conflicts, in
which these kings had been engaged, were continued by their successors.
Above all, the contest for Sicily still raged. The successors of Martin
IV., though deprived of the active support of France, would not abandon
the claims of the captive Charles of Salerno; and James of Aragon,
Peter's second son, maintained himself in Sicily, despite papal
censures and despite the virtual desertion of his cause by his elder
brother, Alfonso III., the new king of Aragon. Each side was at a
standstill, though each side struggled on. The personal hatreds, which
made it impossible to reconcile the older generation, were dying out,
and the chief obstacle in the way of a settlement was the stubbornness
of the papacy. If any one could reconcile the quarrel, it was the King
of England; and to him Charles' sons and the nobles of his dominions
appealed to procure his release.

Edward was anxious to proffer his services as a peacemaker, dream of a
Europe, united for the liberation of the holy places, had not been
expelled from his mind by his schemes for the advancement of his
kingdom. If he could inspire his neighbour kings with something of his
spirit, the crusade might still be possible. Other matters also called
Edward's attention to the continent. He had to do homage to the new
French king; he had to press for the execution of the treaty of Amiens,
and his presence was again necessary in Gascony. His realm was in such
profound peace that he could safely leave it. Accordingly in May, 1286,
he took ship for France. With him went his wife Eleanor of Castile, his
chancellor Bishop Burnell, and a large number of his nobles. He
entrusted the regency to his cousin, Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, the son
and successor of Earl Richard; and England saw him no more until
August, 1289. Edward first made his way to Amiens, where he met the new
King of France, Philip the Fair. The two kings went together to Paris,
where Edward spent two months. There he performed homage for Gascony,
and made a new agreement as to the execution of the treaty of Amiens,
by which he renounced his claims over Quercy for a money payment, and
was put in possession of Saintonge, south of the Charente. The
settlement was the easier as for the moment neither king had his
supreme interest in Gascony. Edward's real business was to make peace
between Anjou and Aragon, and Philip IV. showed every desire to help
him. Before Edward left Paris, he had negotiated a truce between the
Kings of France and Aragon. Soon afterwards he went to Bordeaux. He
made Gascony his headquarters for three years, and strove with all his
might to convert the truce into a peace.

Grave obstacles arose, chief among which was the determination of the
papacy to make no terms with the King of Aragon so long as his brother
still reigned over Sicily. Honorius IV., in approving Edward's
preliminary action, and exhorting him to obtain the liberation of the
Prince of Salerno, carefully guarded himself against recognising the
schismatic Aragonese. Edward himself was no partisan of either side. He
was heartily anxious for peace and desirous to free his kinsman from
the rigours of his long imprisonment. His wish for a close alliance
between England and Aragon was unacceptable to the partisanship both of
Honorius IV. and his successor Nicholas IV. Papal coldness, however,
did not turn Edward from his course. In the summer of 1287 he met
Alfonso at Oloron in Bearn, where a treaty was drawn up by which the
Aragonese king agreed to release Charles of Salerno on condition that
he would either, within three years, procure from the pope the
recognition of James in Sicily, or return to captivity and forfeit
Provence. Besides this, an alliance between England and Aragon was to
be cemented by the marriage of one of Edward's daughters to Alfonso.
Delighted with the success of his undertaking, Edward, on his return to
Bordeaux, again took the cross and prepared to embark on the crusade.

Nicholas IV. interposed between Edward and his vows by denouncing the
treaty of Oloron.[1] Though well-meaning, he was not strong enough to
shake himself free from partisan traditions, and though honestly anxious
to bring about a crusade, he could not see that he made the holy war
impossible by interposing obstacles in the way of the one prince who
seriously intended to take the cross. While denouncing Edward's treaty,
Nicholas encouraged his crusading zeal by granting him a new
ecclesiastical tenth for six years, a tax made memorable by the fact
that it occasioned the stringent valuation of benefices, called the
taxation of Pope Nicholas, which was the standard clerical rate-book
until the reign of Henry VIII. Despite the pope, Edward still persevered
in his mediation, and in October, 1288, a new treaty for Charles'
liberation was signed at Canfranc, in Aragon, which only varied in
details from the agreement of 1287. Charles was released, but he
straightway made his way to Rome, where Nicholas absolved him from his
oath and crowned him King of Sicily. Edward was bitterly disappointed.
He tarried in the south until July, 1289, usefully employed in promoting
the prosperity of his duchy, crushing conspiracies, furthering the
commerce of Bordeaux, and founding new _bastides_. At last tidings of
disorder at home called him back to his kingdom before the purpose of
his continental sojourn had been accomplished. But he still pressed on
his thankless task, and in 1291 peace was made at Tarascon, between
Aragon and the Roman see, on the hard condition of Alfonso abandoning
his brother's cause. On Alfonso's death soon afterwards the war was
renewed, for James then united the Sicilian and Aragonese thrones and
would not yield up either. It was not until 1295 that Boniface VIII., a
stronger pope than Nicholas, ended the struggle on terms which left the
stubborn Aragonese masters of Sicily.

    [1] For his policy, see O. Schiff, _Studien zur Geschichte P.
    Nikolaus IV._ (1897).

Things had not gone well in England during Edward's absence. Edmund of
Cornwall had shown vigour in putting down the revolt of Rhys, but he
was not strong enough to control either the greater barons or the
officers of the crown. Grave troubles were already brewing in Scotland.
A fierce quarrel between the Earls of Gloucester and Hereford broke out
with regard to the boundaries of Glamorgan and Brecon, and the private
war between the two marchers proved more formidable to the peace of the
realm than the revolt of the Welsh prince. Even more disastrous to the
country was the scandalous conduct of the judges and royal officials,
who profited by the king's absence to pile up fortunes at the expense
of his subjects. The highest judges of the land forged charters,
condoned homicides, sold judgments, and practised extortion and
violence. A great cry arose for the king's return. In the Candlemas
parliament of 1289 Earl Gilbert of Gloucester met a request for a
general aid by urging that nothing should be granted until Englishmen
once more saw the king's face. Alarmed at this threat, Edward returned,
and landed at Dover on August 12, 1289.

The whole situation was changed by the king's arrival. Edward met the
innumerable complaints against his subordinates by dismissing nearly all
the judges from office, and appointing a special commission to
investigate the charges brought against royal officials of every rank.
Thomas Weyland, chief justice of the common pleas, anticipated inquiry
by taking sanctuary with the Franciscan friars of Bury St. Edmunds. A
knight and a married man, he had taken subdeacon's orders in early life
and sought to little purpose to be protected by his clergy. His refuge
was watched by the local sheriffs; finally, he was starved into
surrender, and suffered to abjure the realm.[1] He fled to France,
whence he never returned. For some years the commission investigated the
offences of the ministers of the crown. Though much that was irregular
was proved against them, many charges broke down under inquiry, and, as
time went on, the official class saw that their interest lay in
condoning rather than in punishing scandals. Some of the worst
offenders, such as the greedy and corrupt Adam of Stratton, were never
restored to office;[2] but Hengham, the chief justice of the King's
Bench, was soon reinstated. There were not enough good lawyers in
England to make it prudent for Edward to dispense with the services of
such a man. A rigorous maintenance of a high standard of official
morality meant getting rid of nearly all the king's ministers, and any
successors would have been inferior in experience and not superior in
honesty. Edward had to work with such material as he had, and on the
whole he made the best of it. Scandalous as were the proceedings of his
agents, their iniquities are but trifles as compared with the offences
of the counsellors of Philip the Fair.

    [1] For the _abjuratio regni_ see A. Reville in the _Revue
    Historique_, 1. (1892), 1-42.

    [2] For Adam of Stratton see Hall, _Red Book of the Exchequer_,
    iii., cccxv.-cccxxxi. Extracts from the Assize rolls recording
    the proceedings of the special commission will soon be
    published by the Royal Historical Society.

Fear of Edward drove nobles into obedience as well as ministers into
honesty. Gloucester desisted unwillingly from his attacks on Brecon,
and was constrained to divorce his wife and marry the king's daughter,
Joan of Acre. In becoming the king's son-in-law, he was forced to
surrender his estates to the crown, receiving them back entailed on the
heirs of the marriage or, in their default, on the heirs of Joan. Thus
the system of entails made possible by the statute _De donis_ was used
by Edward to strengthen his hold over the most powerful of his
feudatories and increase the prospect of his estates escheating to the
crown. Considered in this light, Gilbert's marriage with the king's
daughter seems less a reward of loyalty than a punishment for
lawlessness. In the same year as this marriage, Edward passed another
law directed against the baronage. This was the statute of Westminster
the Third, called from its opening words, _Quia emptores_. It enacted
that, when part of an estate was alienated by its lord, the grantee
should not be permitted to become the subtenant of the grantor, but
should stand to the ultimate lord of the fief in the same feudal
relation as the grantor himself. This prohibition of further
subinfeudation stopped the creation of new manors and prevented the
rivetting of new links in the feudal chain, which were the necessary
condition of its strength. Though passed at the request of the barons,
it was a measure much more helpful to the king than to his vassals. It
stood to the barons as the statute of Mortmain stood to the Church.

Edward was bent on showing that he was master, and his new son-in-law
and the Earl of Hereford became the victims of his policy. He forced the
reluctant Gloucester to admit that the pretensions of the lord of
Glamorgan to be the overlord of the bishop of LLandaff and the guardian
of the temporalities of the see during a vacancy were usurpations.
Seeing that his marcher prerogatives were thus rapidly becoming
undermined, Gloucester put the most cherished marcher right to the test
by renewing the private war with the Earl of Hereford which had
disturbed the realm during Edward's absence. The king issued peremptory
orders for the immediate cessation of hostilities. These mandates
Hereford obeyed, but Gloucester did not. Resolved that law not force was
henceforth to settle disputes in the march, Edward summoned a novel
court at Ystradvellte, in Brecon, wherein a jury from the neighbouring
shires and liberties was to decide the case between the two earls in the
presence of the chief marchers. Gloucester refused to appear, and the
marchers declined to take part in the trial, pleading that it was
against their liberties. The case was adjourned to give the
recalcitrants every chance, and after a preliminary report by the
judges, Edward resolved to hear the suit in person. In October, 1291, he
presided at Abergavenny over the court before which the earls were
arraigned. They were condemned to imprisonment and forfeiture. Content
with humbling their pride and annihilating their privileges, Edward
suffered them to redeem themselves from captivity by the payment of
heavy fines, and before long gave them back their lands. The king's
victory was so complete that neither of the earls could forgive it. In
1295, Gloucester died, without opportunity of revenge; but Hereford
lived on, brooding over his wrongs, and in later years signally avenged
the trial at Abergavenny. Meanwhile the conqueror of the principality
had shown unmistakably that the liberties of the march were an
anachronism, since the marchers had no longer the work of defending
English interests against the Welsh nation.[1]

    [1] Mr. J.E. Morris in chap. vi. of his _Welsh Wars of Edward
    I._ has admirably summarised this suit. See also G.T. Clark's
    _Land of Morgan_.

Another measure that followed Edward's home-coming was the expulsion of
the Jews. Despite constant odium and intermittent persecution, the
Jewish financiers who had settled in England after the Norman conquest
steadily improved their position down to the reign of Henry III. The
personal dependants of the crown, they were well able to afford to share
their gains from usury with their protectors. They lived in luxury,
built stone houses, set up an organisation of their own, and even
purchased lands. Henry III.'s financial embarrassments forced him to
rely upon them, and the alliance of the Jews and the crown stimulated
the religious bigotry of the popular party to ill-treat the Jews during
the Barons' War. Stories of Jews murdering Christian children were
eagerly believed; and the cult of St. Hugh of Lincoln and St. William of
Norwich,[1] two pretended victims of Hebrew cruelty, testified to the
hatred which Englishmen bore to the race.

    [1] See for this saint, Thomas of Monmouth, _Life and Miracles
    of St. William of Norwich_, ed. Jessopp and James (1896).

Under Edward I. the condition of the Jews became more precarious. The
king hated them alike on religious and economical grounds. He rigorously
insisted that they should wear a distinctive dress, and at last
altogether prohibited usury. Driven from their chief means of earning
their living, the Jews had recourse to clipping and sweating the coin.
Indiscriminate severities did little to abate these evils. Meanwhile
active missionary efforts were made to win over the Jews to the
Christian faith. They were compelled to listen to long sermons from
mendicant friars, and their obstinacy in adhering to their own creed was
denounced as a deliberate offence against the light. Peckham shut up
their synagogues, and Eleanor of Provence, who had entered a convent,
joined with the archbishop in urging her son to take severe measures
against them. There was a similar movement in France, and Edward, during
his long stay abroad, had expelled the Jews from Aquitaine. In 1290 he
applied the same policy to England, and their exile was so popular an
act that parliament made him a special grant as a thankoffering. But
though Edward thus drove the Jews to seek new homes beyond sea, he
allowed them to carry their property with them, and punished the
mariners who took advantage of the helplessness of their passengers to
rob and murder them. Though individual Jews were found from time to time
in England during the later middle ages, their official re-establishment
was only allowed in the seventeenth century.[1]

    [1] For the Jews see J. Jacobs, _Jews in Angevin England_;
    Tovey, _Anglia Judaica_; J.M. Rigg, _Select Pleas of the Jewish
    Exchequer_; and for their exile B.L. Abrahams, _Expulsion of
    the Jews from England in 1290_.

Two generations at least before their expulsion, the Jews had been
outrivalled in their financial operations by societies of Italian
bankers, whose admirable organisation and developed system of credit
enabled them to undertake banking operations of a magnitude quite beyond
the means of the Hebrews. First brought into England as papal agents for
remitting to Rome the spoils of the Church, they found means of evading
the canonical prohibitions of usury, and became the loanmongers of
prince and subject alike. To the crown the Italians were more useful
than the Jews had been. The value of the Jews to the monarch had been in
the special facilities enjoyed by him in taxing them. The utility of the
Italian societies was in their power of advancing sums of money that
enabled the king to embark on enterprises hitherto beyond the limited
resources of the medieval state. The Italians financed all Edward's
enterprises from the crusade of 1270 to his Welsh and Scottish
campaigns. From them Edward and his son borrowed at various times sums
amounting to almost half a million of the money of the time. In return
the Italians, chief among whom was the Florentine Society of the
Frescobaldi, obtained privileges which made them as deeply hated as ever
the Hebrews had been.[1]

    [1] See on this subject E.A. Bond's article in _Archaeologia_,
    vol. xxviii., pp. 207-326; W.E. Rhodes, _Italian Bankers in
    England under Edward I. and II._ in _Owens Coll. Historical
    Essays_, pp. 137-68; and R.J. Whitwell, _Italian Bankers and
    the English Crown_ in _Transactions of Royal Hist. Soc._, N.S.,
    xvii. (1903), pp. 175-234.

Among the troubles which had called Edward back from Gascony was the
condition of Scotland, where a long period of prosperity had ended with
the death of Edward's brother-in-law, Alexander III., in 1286. Alexander
III. attended his brother-in-law's coronation in 1274, and the
irritation excited by his limiting his homage to his English lordships
of Tynedale and Penrith did not cause any great amount of friction. But
the homage question was only postponed, and at Michaelmas, 1278,
Alexander was constrained to perform unconditionally this unwelcome act.
"I, Alexander King of Scotland," were his words, "become the liege man
of the lord Edward, King of England, against all men." But by carefully
refraining from specifying for what he became Edward's vassal, Alexander
still suggested that it was for his English lordships. Edward with equal
caution declared that he received the homage, "saving his right and
claim to the homage of Scotland when he may wish to speak concerning
it". Both parties were content with mutual protestations. Edward was so
friendly to Alexander that he allowed him to appoint Robert Bruce, Earl
of Carrick, his proxy in professing fealty, so as to minimise the king's
feeling of humiliation. The King of Scots went home loaded with
presents, and for the rest of his life his relations with Edward
remained cordial.

The closing years of Alexander's reign were overshadowed by domestic
misfortunes and the prospects of difficulties about the succession. His
wife, Margaret of England, had died in 1275, and was followed to the
tomb by their two sons, Alexander and David. A delicate girl, Margaret,
then alone represented the direct line of the descendants of William the
Lion. Margaret was married, when still young, to Eric, King of Norway,
and died in 1283 in giving birth to her only child, a daughter named
Margaret. No children were born of Alexander's second marriage; and in
March, 1286, the king broke his neck, when riding by night along the
cliffs of the coast of Fife. Before his death, however, he persuaded the
magnates of Scotland to recognise his granddaughter as his successor.
The Maid of Norway, as Margaret was called, was proclaimed queen, and
the administration was put into the hands of six guardians, who from
1286 to 1289 carried on the government with fair success. As time went
on, the baronage got out of hand and a feud between the rival
south-western houses of Balliol and Bruce foreshadowed worse troubles.

William Eraser, Bishop of St. Andrews, the chief of the regents, visited
Edward in Gascony and urged the necessity of action. The best solution
of all problems was that the young Queen of Scots should be married to
Edward of Carnarvon, a boy a few months her junior. But both the Scots
nobles and the King of Norway were jealous and suspicious, and any
attempt to hurry forward such a proposal would have been fatal to its
accomplishment. However, negotiations were entered into between England,
Scotland, and Norway. In 1289 the guardians of Scotland agreed to
nominate representatives to treat on the matter. Edward took up his
quarters at Clarendon, while his agents, conspicuous among whom was
Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, negotiated with the envoys of Norway and
Scotland. On November 6 the three powers concluded the treaty of
Salisbury, by which they agreed that Margaret should be sent to England
or Scotland before All Saints' Day, 1290, "free and quit of all contract
of marriage or espousals". Edward promised that if Margaret came into
his custody he would, as soon as Scotland was tranquil, hand her over to
the Scots as "free and quit" as when she came to him; and the "good folk
of Scotland" engaged that, if they received their queen thus free, they
would not marry her "save with the ordinance, will, and counsel of
Edward and with the agreement of the King of Norway". In March, 1290, a
parliament of Scots magnates met at Brigham, near Kelso, and ratified
the treaty. Fresh negotiations were begun for the marriage of Edward of
Carnarvon and the Queen of Scots, resulting in the treaty of Brigham of
July 18, which Edward confirmed a month later at Northampton. By this
Edward agreed that, in the event of the marriage taking place, the laws
and customs of Scotland should be perpetually maintained. Should
Margaret die without issue, Scotland was to go to its natural heir, and
in any case was to remain "separate and divided from the realm of

The treaty of Brigham was as wise a scheme as could have been devised
for bringing about the unity of Britain. In the care taken to meet the
natural scruples of the smaller nation we are reminded of the treaty of
Union of 1707. But a nearer parallel is to be found in the conditions
under which the union between France and Brittany was gradually
accomplished after the marriage of Anne of Brittany. In both cases
alike, in France and in England, the stronger party was content with
securing the personal union of the two crowns, and strove to reconcile
the weaker party by providing safeguards against violent or over-rapid
amalgamation. It was left for the future to decide whether the habit of
co-operation, continued for generations, might not ultimately involve a
more organic union. Unluckily for this island, the policy which
ultimately made the stubborn Celts of Brittany content with union with
France, never had a chance of being carried out here. Edward made every
preparation for bringing over the Maid of Norway to her kingdom and her
husband, and neither the Scots nor the Norwegians grudged his leading
share in accomplishing their common wishes. But the child's health gave
way before the hardships of the journey. Before All Saints' day had come
round, she died in one of the Orkneys, where the ship which conveyed her
had put in.

The death of the queen threatened Scotland with revolution. The regents'
commission became of doubtful legality, and a swarm of claimants for the
vacant throne arose, whose resources, if not their rights, were
sufficiently evenly balanced to make civil strife inevitable. Since
southern Scotland had become a wholly feudal, largely Norman, and partly
English state, there had been no grave difficulties with regard to the
succession. Now that they arose, there was doubt as to the principles on
which claims to the throne should be settled. There was no legitimate
representative left of the stock of William the Lion. The male line of
his brother David, Earl of Huntingdon, had died out with John the Scot,
the last independent Earl of Chester. The nearest claimants to the
succession were therefore to be found in the descendants of David's
three daughters. But there was no certainty that any rights could be
transmitted through the female line. Moreover there was a doubt whether,
allowing that a woman could transmit the right to rule, the succession
should proceed according to primogeniture or in accordance with the
nearness of the claimant to the source of his claim. If the former view
were held then John of Balliol, lord of Barnard castle in Durham and of
Galloway in Scotland, had the best right as the grandson of Earl David's
eldest daughter. Yet less than a century before, the passing over of
Arthur of Brittany in favour of his uncle John, had recalled to men's
mind the ancient doctrine that a younger son is nearer to the parent
stock than a grandson sprung from his elder brother; and if the view,
then expressed in the _History of William the Marshal_,[1] was still to
hold good, Robert Bruce, lord of Skelton in Yorkshire, and of Annandale
in the northern kingdom, was the nearest in blood to David of Huntingdon
as the son of his second daughter. Beyond this there was the further
question of the divisibility of the kingdom. So fully was southern
Scotland feudalised that it seemed arguable that the monarchy, or at
least its demesne lands, might be divided among all the representatives
of the coheiresses, after the fashion in which the Huntingdon estates
had been allotted to all the representatives of Earl David. In that case
John of Hastings, lord of Abergavenny, put in a claim as the grandson of
Earl David's youngest daughter.

    [1] _Hist. de Guillaume le Marechal_, ii., _64_, II. 11899-902.

        Oil, sire, quer c'est raison
        Quer plus pres est sanz achaison
        Le filz de la terre son pere
        Que le nies: dreiz est qu'il i pere.

When so much was uncertain, every noble who boasted any connexion with
the royal house safeguarded his interests, or advertised his pedigree,
by enrolling himself among the claimants. Five or six of the competitors
had no better ground of right than descent from bastards of the royal
house, especially from the numerous illegitimate offspring of William
the Lion. The others went back to more remote ancestors. A foreign
prince, Florence, Count of Holland, demanded the succession as a
descendant of a sister of Earl David, declaring that David had forfeited
his rights by rebellion. John Comyn, lord of Badenoch, brought forward
his descent from Donaldbane, brother of Malcolm Canmore. One claim reads
like a fairy tale, with stories of an unknown king dying, leaving a son
to be murdered by a wicked uncle, and a daughter to escape to obscurity
in Ireland, where she married and transmitted her rights to her
children. There was no authority in Scotland strong enough to decide
these claims. Once more Robert Bruce raised the standard of disorder,
and the appeal of Bishop Fraser to Edward to undertake the settlement of
the question showed that the English king's mediation was the readiest
way of restoring order.

In 1291 Edward summoned the magnates of both realms, along with certain
popular representatives, to meet at Norham, Bishop Bek's border castle
on the Tweed. Trained civilians and canonists also attended, while
abbeys and churches contributed extracts from chronicles, carefully
compiled by royal order, with a view of illustrating the king's claims.
On May 10 Edward met the assembly in Norham parish church. Roger
Brabazon, the chief justice, declared in the French tongue that Edward
was prepared to do justice to the claimants as "superior and direct lord
of Scotland". Before, however, he could act, his master required that
his overlordship should be recognised by the Scots. It is likely that
this demand was not unexpected. Even in the treaty of Brigham Edward had
been careful not to withdraw his claim of superiority, and his action
with relation to Alexander III.'s homage was well known. But the
sensitiveness which their late king had shown in the face of Edward's
earlier claims was shared by the Scots lords, and shrinking from
recognising facts which they ought to have faced before they solicited
his intervention, they begged for delay and drew up remonstrances.
Edward granted them, a respite for three weeks, though he swore by St.
Edward that he would rather die than diminish the rights due to the
Confessor's crown. He had already summoned the northern levies, and was
prepared to enforce his claim by force. His uncompromising attitude put
the Scots in an awkward position. But they had gone to Norham to get his
help, and they were not prepared to run the risk of an English invasion
as well as civil war. Most of the claimants had as many interests in
England as in Scotland, and a breach with Edward would involve the
forfeiture of their southern lands as well as the loss of a possible
kingdom in the north. When the magnates reassembled, the competitors set
the example of acknowledging Edward as overlord. Fresh demands followed
their submission, and were at once conceded. Edward was to have seisin
of Scotland and its royal castles, though he pledged himself to return
both land and fortresses to him who should be chosen king.

Edward then undertook the examination of the suit. He delegated the
hearing of the claims to a commission, of whom the great majority,
eighty, were Scotsmen, nominated in equal numbers by Bruce and Balliol,
the two senior competitors, while the remaining twenty-four consisted of
Englishmen, and included many of Edward's wisest counsellors. In
deference to Scottish feeling, Edward ordered the court to meet on
Scottish territory, at Berwick, and appointed August 2 for the opening
day. Meanwhile the full consequences of the Scottish submission were
carried out. On Edward's taking seisin of Scotland, the regency came to
an end. The nomination of the provisional government resting with
Edward, he reappointed the former regents, and allowed the Scots barons
to elect their chancellor. But with the regents Edward associated a
northern baron, Brian Fitzalan of Bedale, and the Scottish bishop, who
was appointed chancellor, had to act jointly with one of Edward's
clerks. Edward then made a short progress, reaching as far as Stirling
and St. Andrews. He was back at Berwick for the meeting of the
commissioners on August 2.

The first session of the court was a brief one. The twelve competitors
put in their claims, and Bruce and Balliol supported theirs by argument.
However, on August 12, the trial was adjourned for nearly a year, until
June 2, 1292. On its resumption in Edward's presence, the more difficult
issues were carefully worked out. A new and fantastic claim, sent in by
Eric of Norway, as the nearest of kin to his daughter, did not delay
matters. The judges were instructed to settle in the first instance the
relative claims of Bruce and Balliol, and also to decide by what law
these should be determined. On October 14, they declared their first
judgment. They rejected Bruce's plea that the decision should follow the
"natural law by which kings rule," and accepted Balliol's contention
that they should follow the laws of England and Scotland. They further
laid down that the law of succession to the throne was that of other
earldoms and dignities. They pronounced in favour of primogeniture as
against proximity of blood.

These decisions practically settled the case, but a further adjournment
was resolved upon, and upon the reassembling of the court on November 6
the only question still open, that of whether the kingdom could be
divided, was taken up. John of Hastings came on the scene with the
contention that the monarchy should be divided among the representatives
of Earl David's daughters. Bruce had the effrontery to associate himself
with Hastings' demand. A short adjournment was arranged to settle this
issue, and on November 17 the final scene took place in the hall of
Berwick castle. Besides the commissioners, the king was there in full
parliament, and eleven claimants, who still persevered, were present or
represented by proxy. Nine of these were severally told that they would
obtain nothing by their petitions. Bruce was informed that his claim to
the whole was incompatible with his present claim for a third. It was
laid down that the kingdom of Scotland was indivisible, and that the
right of Balliol had been established.

The seal of the regency was broken: Edward handed over the seisin of
Scotland to John Balliol, who three days later took the oath of fealty
as King of Scots, promising that he would perform all the service due to
Edward from his kingdom, Balliol hurried to his kingdom, and was crowned
at Scone on St. Andrew's day. He then returned to England, and kept
Christmas with his overlord at Newcastle, where, on December 26, he did
homage to Edward in the castle hall. But within a few days a difficulty
arose. John resented Edward's retaining the jurisdiction over a law-suit
in which a Berwick merchant, a Scotsman, was a party. He was reassured
by Edward that he only did so, because the case had arisen during the
vacancy, when Edward was admittedly ruling Scotland. But Edward
significantly added a reservation of his right of hearing appeals, even
in England; and when the King of Scots went back to his realm, early in
January, he must have already foreseen that there was trouble to come.

Edward never lost sight of his own interests, and it is clear that he
took full advantage of the needs of the Scots to establish a close
supremacy over the northern kingdom. Making allowance for this sinister
element, his general policy in dealing with the great suit had been
singularly prudent and correct. He was anxious to ascertain the right
heir; he gave the Scots a preponderating voice in the tribunal; he
rejected the temptation which Bruce and Hastings dangled before him of
splitting up the realm into three parts, and he restored the land and
its castles as soon as the suit was settled. There is nothing to show
that up to this point his action had produced any resentment in
Scotland, and little evidence that there was any strong national feeling
involved. Scottish chroniclers, who wrote after the war of independence,
have given a colour to Edward's policy which contemporary evidence does
not justify. From the point of his generation, his action was just and
legal. He had, in fact, performed a signal service to Scotland in
vindicating its unity; and by maintaining the rigid doctrines of
Anglo-Norman jurisprudence, he rescued it from the vague philosophy
which Bruce called natural law, and the recrudescence of Celtic custom
that gave even bastards a hope of the succession. The real temptation
came when, after his triumph, Edward sought to extract from the
submission of the Scots consequences which had no warranty in custom,
and made Scottish resistance inevitable.

The expulsion of the Jews, the reform of the administration, the statute
_Quia emptores_, the treaty of Tarascon, the humiliation of Gloucester,
and the successful issue of the Scottish arbitration, mark the
culminating point in the reign of Edward I. The king had ruled twenty
years with almost uniform success, and his only serious disappointment
had been the failure of the crusade. The last hope of the Latin East
faded when, in 1291, Acre, so long the bulwark of the crusaders against
the Turks, opened its gates to the infidel. With the fall of Acre went
the last chance of the holy war. Before long the peace of Europe, which
Edward thought that he had established, was once more rudely disturbed.
Difficulties soon arose with Scotland, with France, with the Church, and
with the barons. These troubles bore the more severely on the king
because this period saw also the removal of nearly all of those in whom
he had placed special trust. The gracious Eleanor of Castile died in
1290, at Harby, in Nottinghamshire, near Lincoln,[1] and the devotion of
the king to the partner of his youth found a striking expression in the
sculptured crosses, which marked the successive resting-places of her
corpse on its last journey from Harby to Westminster Abbey. A few months
later Edward's mother, Eleanor of Castile, ended her long life in the
convent of Amesbury, in Wiltshire. The ministers of Edward's early reign
were also removed by death. Bishop Kirkby, the treasurer, died in 1290,
and Burnell, the chancellor, in 1292, soon after he had performed his
last public act in the declaration of the king's judgment as to the
Scottish succession. Archbishop Peckham died in the same year. New
domestic ties were formed, and fresh ministers were found, but the
ageing king became more and more lonely, as he was compelled to rely
upon a younger and a less faithful generation. Of his old comrades the
chief remaining was Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, while the removal of
Burnell brought forward to the first rank prelates whose position had
hitherto been somewhat obscured by his predominance. Prominent among
these were the brothers Thomas Bek, Bishop of St. David's, and Anthony
Bek, Bishop of Durham, members of a conspicuous Lincolnshire baronial
family. Both of these for a time strikingly combined devotion to the
royal service with loyalty to those clerical and aristocratic traditions
which, strictly interpreted, were almost incompatible with faithful
service to a secular monarch. Even more important henceforth was the
king's treasurer, Walter Langton, Bishop of Lichfield, the most trusted
minister of Edward's later life, a faithful but not too scrupulous
prelate of the ministerial type, who stood to the second half of the
reign in almost the same close relation as that in which Burnell stood
to the years which we have now traversed.

    [1] See for this W.H. Stevenson, _Death of Eleanor of Castile_,
    in _English Hist. Review_, iii. (1888), pp. 315-318.



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

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, _Memoire sur les Commencements de la
    Marine francaise sous Philippe le Bel_ (1880), and C. de la
    Ronciere, _Le Blocus continental de l'Angleterre sous Philippe
    le Bel_ in _Revue des Questions historiques_, lx. (1896),

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,

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

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 Caesar that which Caesar 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

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. Bemont, _Chartes des libertes 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.



The expedition of Edward to Flanders lost its best chance of success
through the events which retarded its despatch. While the English king
was wrangling with his barons, the French king was active. On the news
of the alliance of Count Guy with the English, Robert of Artois was
summoned from Gascony to the north. While Philip besieged Lille, and
finally took it, Robert of Artois gained a brilliant victory over the
Flemings at Furnes on August 20. Meanwhile John of Avesnes, Count of
Hainault, was closely co-operating with the French, and kept Edward's
son-in-law and ally, John, Duke of Brabant, from sending effective help
to the Flemings. Moreover, the Flemish townsmen, in their dislike of
their count, were largely on the side of the French. Edward's little
army could do nothing to redress a balance that already inclined so
heavily on the other side. The Flemings were disappointed at the scanty
numbers of the English men-at-arms, and stared with wonder and contempt
at the bare-legged Welsh archers and lancemen, with their uncouth garb,
strange habits of eating and fighting, and propensity to pillage and
disorder, though they recognised their hardihood and the effectiveness
of their missiles.[1] The same disorderly spirit that had marred the
Rioms campaign still prevailed among the English engaged on foreign
service. No sooner were the troops landed at Sluys on August 28, than
the mariners of the Cinque Ports renewed their old feud with the men of
Yarmouth, and many ships were destroyed and lives lost in this untimely
conflict. Edward advanced to Bruges, where he was joined by the Count of
Flanders, but the disloyalty of the townsmen and the approach of King
Philip forced the king and the earl to take shelter behind the stronger
walls of Ghent. Immediately on their retreat, Philip occupied Bruges and
Damme, thus cutting off the English from the direct road to the sea. The
Anglo-Flemish army was afraid to attack the powerful force of the French
king. But the French had learnt by experience a wholesome fear of the
English and Welsh archers, and did not venture to approach Ghent too
closely. The ridiculous result followed that the Kings of France and
England avoided every opportunity of fighting out their quarrel, and
lay, wasting time and money, idly watching each other's movements.

    [1] See for Flemish criticisms of the Welsh, L. van Velthem,
    _Spiegel Historiaal_, pp. 215-16, ed. Le Long, partly
    translated by Funck Brentano in his edition of _Annales
    Qandenses_, p. 7, a work giving full details of these

The only dignified way of putting an end to this impossible situation
lay in negotiation. Edward's faithful servant, William of Hotham, the
Dominican friar whom the pope had appointed Archbishop of Dublin, was
in the English camp. Hotham, who had enjoyed Philip's personal
friendship while teaching theology in the Paris schools, was an
acceptable mediator between the two kings. A short truce was signed at
Vyve-Saint-Bavon on the Lys on October 7. This allowed time for more
elaborate negotiations to be carried on at Courtrai and Tournai, and on
January 31, 1298, a truce, in which the allies of both kings were
included, was signed at Tournai, to last until January 6, 1300. It was
agreed to refer all questions in dispute to the arbitration of Boniface
VIII, "not as pope but as a private person, as Benedict Gaetano". Both
kings despatched their envoys to Rome, where with marvellous celerity
Boniface issued, on June 30, 1298, a preliminary award. It suggested
the possibility of a settlement on the basis of each belligerent
retaining the possessions which he had held at the beginning of the
struggle, and entering into an alliance strengthened by a double
marriage. Edward was to marry the French king's sister Margaret, while
Edward of Carnarvon was to be betrothed to Philip's infant daughter
Isabella. The latter match involved the repudiation of the betrothal of
Edward of Carnarvon with the daughter of the Count of Flanders. But all
through the award there was no mention of the allies of either party.
Boniface was too eager for peace to be over-scrupulous as to the
honourable obligations of the two kings who sought his mediation.

The English regency, which grappled so courageously with the baronial
opposition, showed an equal energy in protecting the northern counties
from the Scots. About the time of the confirmation of the charters,
Wallace crossed the border and spread desolation and ruin from Carlisle
to Hexham. Warenne and Henry Percy, who had attended the October
parliament at London, were soon back in the north. By December the
largest army which was ever assembled during Edward I.'s reign[1]
was collected together on the borders, and preparations were made for a
winter campaign after the fashion which had proved so effective in
Wales. But all that Warenne was able to accomplish was the relief of
Roxburgh. The quality of the troops was not equal to their quantity,
and all his misfortunes had not taught him wisdom. Early in Lent Edward
stopped active campaigning by announcing that no great operations were
to be attempted until his return. Thereupon Warenne sent the bulk of
the troops home, and remained at Berwick, awaiting the king's arrival.

    [1] Morris, _Welsh Wars of Edward I._, pp. 284-86.

Edward landed at Sandwich on March 14, 1298, and at once set about
preparing to avenge Stirling Bridge. He met his parliament on
Whitsunday, May 25, at York. The Scots barons were summoned to this
assembly, but as they neither attended nor sent proxies, their absence
was deemed to be proof of contumacy. A month later a large army was
concentrated at Roxburgh. The earls and barons with their retinues
mustered to the number of 1,100 horse, while 1,300 men-at-arms served
under the king's banners for pay. Though Gascony was still in Philip's
hands, the good relations that prevailed between England and France
allowed the presence in Edward's host of a magnificent troop of Gascon
lords, headed by the lord of Albret and the Captal de Buch, and
conspicuous for the splendour of their armour and the costliness and
beauty of their chargers. On this occasion Edward set little store on
infantry, and was content to accept the services of those who came of
their own free will. Yet even under these conditions some 12,000 foot
were assembled, more than 10,000 of whom came from Wales and its march.

The leaders of the opposition were present in Edward's host. On the eve
of the invasion, the impatient king was kept back by the declaration of
Hereford and Norfolk that they would not cross the frontier, until
definite assurances were given that the king would carry out the
confirmation of the charters which he had informally ratified on
foreign soil. Etiquette or pride prevented Edward himself satisfying
their demand, but the Bishop of Durham and three loyal earls pledged
themselves that the king would fulfil all his promises on his return.
Then the two earls suffered the expedition to proceed; and on July 6
the army left Roxburgh, proceeding by moderate marches to Kirkliston on
the Almond, where it encamped on the 15th. Here there was a few days'
delay, while Bishop Bek captured some of the East Lothian castles which
were threatening the English rear. Already there was a difficulty in
obtaining supplies from the devastated country-side, and northerly
winds prevented the provision ships from sailing from Berwick to the
Forth. The worst hardships fell upon the Welsh infantry, who began to
mutiny and talked of joining the Scots. Matters grew worse on the
arrival of a wine ship, for such ample rations of wine were distributed
to the Welsh that very many of them became drunk. So threatening was
the state of affairs that Edward thought of retreating to Edinburgh. On
July 21, however, the news was brought that Wallace and his followers
were assembled in great force at Falkirk, some seventeen miles to the
west. The prospect of battle at once restored the courage and
discipline of the army, and Edward ordered an advance. That night the
host bivouacked on the moors east of Linlithgow, "with shields for
pillows and armour for beds". During the night the king, who was
sleeping in the open field like the meanest trooper, received a kick
from his horse which broke two of his ribs. Yet the early morning of
July 22, the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, saw him riding at the head of
his troops through the streets of Linlithgow. At last the Scots lances
were descried on the slopes of a hill near Falkirk, and the English
rested while the bishop and king heard mass. Then the army, which had
eaten nothing since the preceding day, advanced to the battle.

Wallace had a large following of infantry, but a mere handful of
mounted men-at-arms. He ordered the latter to occupy the rear, and
grouped his pikemen, the flower of his army, into four great circles,
or "schiltrons," which, with the front ranks kneeling or sitting and
the rear ranks standing, presented to the enemy four living castles,
each with a bristling hedge of pikes, dense enough, it was hoped, to
break the fierce shock of a cavalry charge. The spaces between the four
schiltrons were occupied by the archers, the best of whom came from
Ettrick Forest. The front was further protected by a morass, and
perhaps also by a row of stout posts sunk into the ground and fastened
together by ropes.

Edward ordered the Welsh archers to prepare the way with their missiles
for the advance of the men-at-arms. But the Welsh refused to move, so
that Edward was forced to proceed by a direct cavalry charge. For this
purpose he divided his men-at-arms into four "battles". The first of
these was commanded by the Earl of Lincoln, with whom were the
constable and marshal, who at last had an opportunity of serving the
king in battle in the offices which belonged to them by hereditary
right. On approaching the morass this first line was thrown into some
confusion, and paused in its advance. Behind it the second battle,
under command of the Bishop of Durham, who, perhaps, knew the ground
better, wheeled to the east and took the Scots on their left flank. But
Bek's followers disobeyed his orders to wait until the rest of the army
came up, and they suffered heavy losses in attacking the left
schiltron. Before long, however, Lincoln found a way round the morass
westwards to the enemy's right, while the two rearmost battles, headed
by the king and Earl Warenne, also advanced to the front. The combat
thus became general. The Scots cavalry fled without striking a blow,
and some of the English thought that Wallace himself rode off the field
with them. The archers between the schiltrons were easily trampled
down, so that the only effective resistance came from the circles of
pikemen. The yeomanry of Scotland steadily held their own against the
fierce charges of the mail-clad knights, and it looked for a time as if
the day was theirs. But the despised infantry at last made their way to
the front and poured in showers of arrows that broke down the Scottish
ranks. Friend and foe were at such close quarters that the English who
had no bows threw stones against the Scottish circles. When the way was
thus prepared, the horsemen easily penetrated through the gaps made in
the circles, and before long the Scottish pikemen were a crowd of
panic-stricken fugitives. Edward's brilliant victory was won with
comparatively little loss.

It was years before the Scots again ventured to meet the English in the
open field. Yet the king's victory was not followed by any real conquest
even of southern Scotland. Edward advanced to Stirling, where he rested
until he had recovered from his accident, while detachments of his
troops penetrated as far as Perth and St. Andrews. Meanwhile the
south-west rose in revolt, under Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, whose
father had fought at Falkirk. Late in August, Edward made his way to Ayr
and occupied it, while Bruce fled before him. Provisions were still
scarce, and the army was weary of fighting. The Durham contingent
deserted in a body,[1] and the earls were so lukewarm that Edward was
fain to return by way of Carlisle, capturing Lochmaben, Bruce's
Annandale stronghold, on the way. On September 8 the king reached
Carlisle, where the constable and marshal declared that they had lost so
many men and horses that they could no longer continue the campaign.
Edward tried to stem the tide of desertion by promises of Scottish lands
to those who would remain with his banners. But the distribution of
these rewards proved only a fresh source of discontent. At last Edward
was forced to dismiss the greater part of his forces. He lingered in the
north until the end of the year, but there was no more real fighting;
with the beginning of 1299 he returned to the south, convinced that the
disloyalty of his barons had neutralised his triumphs in the field. The
few castles which still upheld the English cause in Scotland were soon
closely besieged.

    [1] Lapsley, _County Palatine of Durham_, p. 128.

During the whole of 1299 Edward was prevented by other work from
prosecuting the war against the Scots. Even the borderers were sick of
fighting, and Bishop Bek, who had hitherto afforded him an unswerving
support with all the forces of his palatinate, was forced to desist
from warlike operations by the refusal of his tenants to serve any
longer beyond the bounds of the lands of St. Cuthbert. While the men of
Durham abandoned the war, there was little reason to wonder at the
indifference of the south country as to the progress of the Scots. In
the Lenten parliament at London, the Earls of Hereford and Norfolk
pressed Edward once more to fulfil his promise to carry out the
confirmation of the charters. The king would not yield to their demand
yet dared not refuse it. In his perplexity he had recourse to evasions
which further embittered his relations with them. He promised that he
would give an answer the next day, but when the morrow came, he
secretly withdrew from the city. The angry barons followed him to his
retreat and reminded him of his broken promise. Edward coolly replied
that he left London because his health was suffering from the corrupt
air of the town, and bade the barons return, as his council had his
reply ready. The barons obeyed the king's orders, but their indignation
passed all bounds when they found that the king's promised confirmation
of the charters was vitiated by a new clause saving all the rights of
the crown, and that nothing was said as to the promised perambulation
of the forests. In bitter wrath the parliament broke up, and the
Londoners, who shared the anger of the barons, threatened a revolt.
After Easter these stormy scenes were repeated in a new parliament, and
Edward was at last forced to yield a grudging assent to all the demands
of the opposition, and even to appoint a commission for the
perambulation of the forests. By the time the summer was at hand, the
progress of the negotiations with France occupied Edward so fully that
he had abundant excuse for not precipitating a new rupture with his
barons, by insisting upon a fresh campaign against the Scots.

A papal legate presided over a congress of English and French
ambassadors at Montreuil-sur-mer, which belonged to Edward by right of
the late queen, Eleanor as Countess of Ponthieu. The outcome of these
deliberations was the treaty of Montreuil, concluded on June 19, 1299.
It was not the final pacification which had been hoped for. Edward
indeed abandoned his Flemish allies, but Philip would not relax his
hold upon Gascony, and without that a definitive peace was impossible.
The treaty of Montreuil was simply a marriage treaty. Edward was
forthwith to marry Margaret, and his son was to be betrothed to
Isabella of France. Neither the prolongation of the truce nor the
affairs of the Flemings were mentioned in it, while all that Philip did
for the Scots was to provide for the liberation of the deposed King
John from his English prison. As soon as the ratifications were
exchanged the king, who was then sixty years of age, and his youthful
bride were married on September 9 at Canterbury by Archbishop

Edward's willingness to marry the sister of the king who still kept him
out of Gascony can best be explained by his overmastering desire to
renew operations in Scotland. Shortly after his marriage, he again
busied himself with preparations for the long-delayed Scots campaign.
It was high time that he took action. The English garrisons were
surrendering one by one, and the Scottish magnates were deserting the
English cause. Their conversion to patriotic principles was made easier
by the decay of Wallace's power consequent on his defeat at Falkirk.
After stormy scenes with his aristocratic rivals, Wallace withdrew from
Scotland and went to the continent, where he implored the help of the
King of France. Philip proved true to his new brother-in-law, and put
Wallace in prison, only releasing him that he might go to Rome and
enlist the sympathy of Boniface VIII. Meanwhile the Scots chose a new
regency at the head of which was the younger John Comyn of Badenoch.
Under these changed conditions the Scottish earls rapidly rallied round
the national cause. Stirling, Edward's chief stronghold in central
Scotland, was so hardly pressed that the men-at-arms were forced to eat
their chargers. Yet when the English barons assembled about the
beginning of winter, in obedience to Edward's summons, they stubbornly
declared that they would not endure the hardships of a winter campaign
until the king had fulfilled his pledges as regards the charters. Thus
left to their own resources, the sorely tried garrison of Stirling
surrendered to the Scots.

In March, 1300, Edward met his parliament at Westminster. Despite the
straits to which he was reduced, he was still unwilling to make a
complete surrender. He avoided a formal re-issue of the charters by
giving his sanction to a long series of articles, drawn up apparently by
the barons. These articles provided for the better publication of the
charters, and the appointment in every shire of a commission to punish
all offences against them which were not already provided for by the
common law; together with numerous technical clauses "for the relief of
the grievances that the people have had by reason of the wars that have
been, and for the amendment of their estate, and that they may be more
ready in the king's service and more willing to aid him when he has need
of them ". This document was known as _Articuli super cartas_.[1] At the
same time the forest perambulation, which had long been ordered, was
directed to be proceeded with at once. For this reason a chronicler
calls this assembly "the parliament of the perambulation".[2] The
reconciliation between the king and his subjects was attested by a grant
of a twentieth.

    [1] It is published in Bemont's _Chartes_, pp. 99-108, with
    valuable comments; another draft analysed in _Hist. MSS.
    Comm._, 6th Report, i., p. 344.

    [2] Langtoft, ii, 320.

Edward's concessions once more enabled him to face the Scots, and the
summer saw a gallant army mustered at Carlisle, though some of the
earls, including Roger Bigod, still held aloof. A two months' campaign
was fought in south-western Scotland in July and August. But the
peasants drove their cattle to the hills, and rainy weather impeded the
king's movements. The chief exploit of the campaign was the capture of
Carlaverock castle, though even in the glowing verse of the herald, who
has commemorated the taking of this stronghold,[1] the military
insignificance of the achievement cannot be concealed. Edward returned
to the same district in October, but he effected so little that he was
glad to agree to a truce with the Scots, which Philip the Fair urged him
to accept. The armistice was to last until Whitsuntide, and Edward
immediately returned to England. He had not yet satisfied his subjects,
and was again forced to meet his estates.

    [1] _The Siege of Carlaverock_, ed. Nicolas (1828).

A full parliament assembled on January 20, 1301, at Lincoln. The
special business was to receive the report of the forest perambulation;
and the first anticipation of the later custom of continuing the same
parliament from one session to another can be discerned in the
direction to the sheriffs that they should return the same
representatives of the shires and boroughs as had attended the Lenten
parliament of 1300, and only hold fresh elections in the case of such
members as had died or become incapacitated. During the ten days that
the commons were in session stormy scenes occurred. Edward would only
promise to agree to the disafforestments recommended by the
perambulators, if the estates would assure him that he could do so,
without violating his coronation oath or disinheriting his crown. The
estates refused to undertake this grave responsibility, and a long
catalogue of their grievances was presented to Edward by Henry of
Keighley, knight of the shire for Lancashire, and one of the first
members of the third estate of whose individual action history has
preserved any trace. The commons demanded a fresh confirmation of the
charters; the punishment of the royal ministers who had infringed them,
or the _Articuli super cartas_ of the previous session, and the
completion of the proposed disafforestments. In addition, the prelates
declared that they could not assent to any tax being imposed upon the
clergy contrary to the papal prohibition. Among the ministers specially
signalled out for attack was the treasurer, Bishop Walter Langton, and
in this Edward discerned the influence of Winchelsea, for he was
Langton's personal enemy. The king's disgust at the primate's action
was the more complete since Bishop Bek now arrayed himself on the side
of the opposition. Edward showed his ill-will by consigning Henry of
Keighley to prison. But the coalition was too formidable to be
withstood. The king agreed to all the secular demands of the estates,
accepted the hated disafforestments and directed the re-issue of a
further confirmation of the charters, but refused his assent to the
demand of the prelates. A grant of a fifteenth was then made, and
Edward dismissed the popular representatives on January 30, retaining
the prelates and nobles for further business. On February 14, the last
confirmation of the charters concluded the long chapter of history,
which had begun at Runnymede.

Edward strove to separate his baronial and his clerical enemies, and
found an opportunity, which he was not slow to use, in the
uncompromising papalism of Winchelsea. Boniface VIII. had no sooner
settled the relations of England and France than he threw himself with
ardour into an attempt to establish peace between England and Scotland.
Scottish emissaries, including perhaps Wallace himself, gave Boniface
their version of the ancient relations of the two crowns. On June 27,
1299, the pope issued the letter _Scimus, fili_, in which he claimed
that Scotland specially belonged to the apostolic see, on the ground
that it was converted through the relics of St. Andrew. He denied all
feudal dependence of Scotland on Edward, and explained away the
submissions of 1291 as arising from such momentary fear as might fall
upon the most steadfast. If Edward persisted in his claims, he was to
submit them to the judgment of the Roman _curia_ within the next six
months. In 1300 Winchelsea, who fully accepted the new papal doctrine,
sought out Edward in the midst of the Carlaverock campaign and presented
him with Boniface's letter. Edward's hot temper fired up at the
archbishop's ill-timed intervention, and subsequent military failures
had not smoothed over the situation. His wrath reached its climax when
Winchelsea once more stirred up opposition in the Lincoln parliament,
and his refusal of a demand, which the primate had astutely added to the
commons' requests, showed that he was prepared for war to the knife.
Edward laid the papal letter before the earls and barons that still
tarried with him at Lincoln. His appeal to their patriotism was not
unsuccessful. A letter was drawn up, which was sealed, then and
subsequently, by more than a hundred secular magnates, in which Boniface
was roundly told that the King of England was in no wise bound to answer
in the pope's court as to his rights over the realm of Scotland or as to
any other temporal matter, and that the papal claim was unprecedented,
and prejudicial to Edward's sovereignly. A longer historical statement
was composed by the king's order in answer to Boniface. It is not
certain that the two documents ever reached the pope, but they had great
effect in influencing English opinion and in breaking down the alliance
between the baronage and the ecclesiastical party.[1] Winchelsea's
influence was fatally weakened, and the period of his overthrow was at

    [1] See, on the barons' letter, the _Ancestor_, for July and
    October, 1903, and Jan., 1904.

The triumph over Winchelsea made Edward's position stronger than it had
been during the first days of the Lincoln parliament. That assembly
ended amidst the festivities which attended the creation of Edward of
Carnarvon as Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, and Count of Ponthieu.
The new prince, already seventeen years of age, had made his first
campaign in the previous year. But all the pains that Edward took in
training his son in warfare and in politics bore little fruit, and
Edward of Carnarvon's introduction to active life was only to add
another trouble to the many that beset the king.

When the truce with Scotland expired, in the summer of 1301, Edward
again led an army over the border, in which the Prince of Wales
appeared, at the head of a large Welsh contingent. Little of military
importance happened. Edward remained in Scotland over the cold season,
and kept his Christmas court at Linlithgow. Men and horses perished
amidst the rigours of the northern winter, and, before the end of
January, 1302, the king was glad to accept a truce, suggested by Philip
of France, to last until the end of November. Immediately afterwards he
was called to the south by the negotiations for a permanent peace with
France, which still hung fire despite his marriage to the French king's
sister. The earlier stages of the negotiation were transacted at Rome,
but it was soon clear to Edward that no good would come to him from the
intervention of the _curia_. The fundamental difficulty still lay in the
refusal of Philip to relax his grasp on Gascony. Not even the
exaltation, consequent on the success of the famous jubilee of 1300,
blinded Boniface to the patent fact that he dared not order the
restitution of Gascony. "We cannot give you an award," declared the pope
to the English envoys in 1300. "If we pronounced in your favour, the
French would not abide by it, and could not be compelled, for they would
make light of any penalty." "What the French once lay hold of," he said
again, "they never let go, and to have to do with the French is to have
to do with the devil."[1] A year later Boniface could do no more than
appeal to the crusading zeal of Edward not to allow his claim on a patch
of French soil to stand between him and his vow. With such commonplaces
the papal mediation died away.

    [1] See the remarkable report of the Bishop of Winchester to
    Edward printed in _Engl. Hist. Review_, xvii. (1902), pp.

Two events in 1302 indirectly contributed towards the establishment of
a permanent peace. These were the successful revolt of Flanders from
French domination, and the renewed quarrel between Philip and Boniface.
On May 18, the Flemings, in the "matins of Bruges," cruelly avenged
themselves for the oppressions which they had endured from Philip's
officials, and on July 11 the revolted townsfolk won the battle of
Courtrai, in which their heavy armed infantry defeated the feudal
cavalry of France, a victory of the same kind as that Wallace had
vainly hoped to gain at Falkirk. Even before the Flemish rising, the
reassertion of high sacerdotal doctrine in the bull _Ausculta, fili_
had renewed the strife between Boniface and the French king. A few
months later the bull _Unam sanctam_ laid down with emphasis the
doctrine that those who denied that the temporal sword belongs to St.
Peter were heretics, unmindful of the teachings of Christ. Thus began
the famous difference that went on with ever-increasing fury until the
outrage at Anagni, on September 7, 1303, brought about the fall of
Boniface and the overthrow of the Hildebrandine papacy. Meanwhile
Philip was devoting his best energies to constant, and not altogether
vain, attempts to avenge the defeat of Courtrai, and re-establish his
hold on Flanders. With these two affairs on his hands, it was useless
for him to persevere in his attempt to hold Gascony.

In the earlier stages of his quarrel with Philip, Boniface built great
hopes on Edward's support, and strongly urged him to fight for holy
Church against the impious French king. But Edward had suffered too
much from Boniface to fall into so obvious a trap. His hold over his
own clergy was so firm that Winchelsea himself had no chance of taking
up the papal call to battle. Thus it was that _Unam sanctam_ produced
no such clerical revolt in England as _Clericis laicos_ had done. It
was Edward's policy to make use of Philip's necessities to win back
Gascony, and cut off all hope of French support from the Scottish
patriots. Philip himself was the more disposed to agree with his
brother-in-law's wishes, because about Christmas, 1302, Bordeaux threw
off the French yoke and called in the English. The best way to save
French dignity was by timely concession. Accordingly, on May 20, 1303,
the definitive treaty of Paris was sealed, by which the two kings were
pledged to "perpetual peace and friendship". Gascony was restored, and
Edward agreed that he, or his son, should perform liege homage for it.
With the discharge of this duty by the younger Edward at Amiens, in
1304, the last stage of the pacification was accomplished. For the rest
of the reign, England and France remained on cordial terms. Neither
Edward nor Philip had resources adequate to the accomplishment of great
schemes of foreign conquest. Though Edward got back Gascony, he owed
it, not to his own power, but to the embarrassment of his rival.

While completing his pacification with Philip the Fair, Edward was
busily engaged in establishing his power at home, at the expense of the
clerical and baronial opposition, which had stood for so many years in
the way of the conquest of Scotland. Since the parliament of Lincoln,
Winchelsea was no longer dangerous. He failed even to get Boniface on
his side in a scandalous attack which he instigated on Bishop Langton.
His constant efforts to enlarge his jurisdiction raised up enemies all
over his diocese and province, and the mob of his cathedral city broke
open his palace, while he was in residence there. His inability to
introduce into England even a pale reflection of the struggle of Philip
and the pope showed how clearly he had lost influence since the days of
_Clericis laicos_. A more recent convert to higher clerical pretensions
also failed. Bishop Bek of Durham lost all his power, and was deprived
of his temporalities by the king in 1302. Two years later the
insignificant Archbishop of York also incurred the royal displeasure,
and was punished in the same fashion. With Durham, Norhamshire, and
Hexhamshire all in the royal hands, the road into Scotland was
completely open.

The heavy hand of Edward fell upon earls as well as upon bishops. Even
in the early days of his reign when none, save Gilbert of Gloucester,
dared uplift the standard of opposition, Edward had not spared the
greatest barons in his efforts to eliminate the idea of tenure from
English political life. A subtle extension of his earlier policy began
to emphasise the dependence of the landed dignitaries on his pleasure.
The extinction of several important baronial houses made this the
easier, and Edward took care to retain escheats in his own hands, or at
least to entrust them only to persons of approved confidence. The old
leaders of opposition were dead or powerless. Ralph of Monthermer, the
simple north-country knight who had won the hand of Joan of Acre, ruled
over the Gloutester-Glamorgan inheritance on behalf of his wife and
Edward's little grandson, Gilbert of Clare. The Earl of Hereford died
in 1299, and in 1302 his son and successor, another Humphrey Bohun, was
bribed by a marriage with the king's daughter, Elizabeth, the widowed
Countess of Holland, to surrender his lands to the crown and receive
them back, like the Earl of Gloucester in 1290, entailed on the issue
of himself and his consort. In the same year the childless earl
marshal, Roger Bigod, conscious of his inability to continue any longer
his struggle against royal assumptions and at variance with his brother
and heir, made a similar surrender of his estates, which was the more
humiliating since the estate in tail, with which he was reinvested, was
bound to terminate with his life. In 1306, on the marshal's death, the
Bigod inheritance lapsed to the crown. Much earlier than that, in 1293,
Edward had extorted on her deathbed from the great heiress, Isabella of
Fors, Countess of Albemarle and Devon, the bequest of the Isle of Wight
and the adjacent castle of Christchurch. In 1300, on the death of the
king's childless cousin, Earl Edmund, the wealthy earldom of Cornwall
escheated to the crown. To Edward's contemporaries the acquisition of
the earldoms of Norfolk and Cornwall seemed worthy to be put alongside
the conquests of Wales and Scotland.[1]

    [1] See John of London, _Commendatio lamentabilis_ in _Chron.
    of Edw. I. and Edw. II._, ii., 8-9. See for the earldoms my
    _Earldoms under Edward I._ in _Transactions of the Royal
    Historical Society, new ser._, viii. (1894), 129-155.

Even more important as adding to Edward's resources than these direct
additions to the royal domains, was the increasing dependence of the
remaining earls upon the crown. His sons-in-law of Gloucester and
Hereford were entirely under his sway. In 1304 the aged Earl Warenne
had died, and in 1306 his grandson and successor was bound closely to
the royal policy by his marriage with Joan of Bar, Edward's
grand-daughter. In the same way Edward's young nephew, Thomas of
Lancaster, ruled over the three earldoms of Lancaster, Derby, and
Leicester, and by his marriage to the daughter and heiress of Henry
Lacy, was destined to add to his immense estates the additional
earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury. Edward of Carnarvon was learning the
art of government in Wales, Cheshire, and Ponthieu. The policy of
concentrating the higher baronial dignities in the royal family was no
novelty, but Edward carried it out more systematically and successfully
than any of his predecessors. He reaped the immediate advantages of his
dexterity in the extinction of baronial opposition and in the zeal of
the baronial levies against the Scots during the concluding years of
his reign. Yet the later history of the Middle Ages bears witness to
the grievous dangers to the wielder of the royal power which lurked
beneath a system so attractive in appearance.

The truce with the Scots ended in November, 1302, and Edward despatched
a strong force to the north under John Segrave. On February 24, 1303,
Segrave, attacked unexpectedly by the enemy at Roslin, near Edinburgh,
suffered a severe defeat. The conclusion of the treaty of Paris gave
Edward the opportunity for avenging the disaster. He summoned his
levies to assemble at Roxburgh for Whitsuntide and, a fortnight before
that time, appeared in person in Tweeddale. After seven weary years of
waiting and failure, he was at last in a position to wear down the
obstinate Scots by the same systematic and deliberate policy that had
won for him the principality of Wales. The invasion of Scotland was
henceforth to continue as long as the Scottish resistance. Adequate
resources were procured to enable the royal armies to hold the field,
and a politic negotiation with the foreign merchants resulted in a
_carta mercatoria_ by which additional customs were imposed upon
English exports. These imposts, known as the "new and small customs,"
as opposed to the "old and great customs" established in 1275, were not
sanctioned by parliamentary grant: but for the moment they provoked no
opposition. Thus Edward was equipped both with men and money for his
undertaking. At last the true conquest of Scotland began.

No attempt was made in the Lothians to stop Edward's advance, but the
Scots, under the regent, John Comyn of Badenoch, made a vigorous effort
to hold the line of the Forth against him. Their plan seemed to promise
well, for Stirling castle was still in Scottish hands. Edward crossed
the river by a ford, and all organised efforts to oppose him at once
ceased. Prudently leaving Stirling to itself for the present, he
hurried to Perth. After spending most of June and July at Perth, he led
his army northwards, nearly following the line of his advance in 1296,
through Perth, Brechin, and Aberdeen, to Banff and Elgin. The most
remote point reached was Kinloss, a few miles west of Elgin, in which
neighbourhood he spent much of September. Then he slowly retraced his
steps and took up his winter quarters at Dunfermline. In all this long
progress, the only energetic resistance which Edward encountered was at
Brechin. Flushed with his triumph, he ordered Stirling to be besieged,
and from April, 1304, directed the operations himself. The garrison
held out with the utmost gallantry, but at last a breach was effected
in the walls, and on July 24 the defenders laid down their arms. Long
before the Scots people despaired of withstanding the invader, the
nobles grew cold in the defence of their country. In February, 1304,
the regent and many of the earls made their submission. It was more
than suspected that this result was brought about by the threat of
Edward to divide their lands among his English followers. But on Comyn
and his friends showing a desire to yield, the king readily promised
them their lives and estates. Believing that his task was over, Edward
returned to England in August after an absence of nearly fifteen
months. He crossed the Humber early in December, kept his Christmas
court at Lincoln, and reached London late in February. As a sign of the
completion of the conquest, he ordered that the law courts, which since
1297 had been established at York, should resume their sessions in

A few heroes still upheld the independence of Scotland. Foremost among
them was Sir William Wallace, who, since his mission to France in 1298,
had disappeared from history. The submission of the barons to Edward
gave him another chance. He took a strenuous part in the struggle of
1303-4, and he was specially exempted from the easy pardons with which
Edward purchased the submission of the greater nobles. It was the
daring and skill of Wallace that prolonged the Scots' struggle until
the spring of 1305. But he was then once more an outlaw and a fugitive,
only formidable by his hold over the people, and by the possibility
that the smallest spark of resistance might at any time be blown into a
flame. At last he was captured through the zeal, or treachery, of a
Scot in Edward's service. In August, Wallace was despatched to London
to stand a public trial for treason, sedition, sacrilege, and murder.
He denied that he had ever become Edward's subject, but did not escape
conviction. With his execution, the last stage of Edward's triumph in
Scotland was accomplished. Though the full measure of Wallace's fame
belongs to a later age rather than his own, yet it was a sure instinct
that made the Scottish people celebrate him as the popular hero of
their struggle for independence. His courage, persistency, and daring
stands in marked contrast to the self-seeking opportunism of the great
nobles, who afterwards appropriated the results of his endeavours. Yet
we can hardly blame Edward for making an example of him, when he fell
into his power. Even if Wallace had successfully evaded the oath of
fealty to Edward, it is scarcely reasonable to expect that the king
would consider this technical plea as availing against his doctrine
that all Scots were necessarily his subjects since the submission of
1296. It was Wallace's glory that he fought his fight and paid the
penalty of it.

A full parliament of the three estates sat with the king at Westminster
from February 28 to March 21, 1305. The proceedings of this assembly are
known with a fulness exceeding that of the record of any of the other
parliaments of the reign.[1] Among the matters enumerated in the writs
as specially demanding attention was the "establishment of our realm of
Scotland". Three Scottish magnates, Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow,
Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and John Mowbray were particularly called
upon to give their advice as to how Scotland was to be represented in a
later parliament, in which the plans for its future government were to
be drawn up. They informed the king that two bishops, two abbots, two
barons, and two representatives of the commons, one from the south of
the Forth and the other from the north thereof, would be sufficient for
this purpose. This further "parliament" assembled on September 15, three
weeks after the execution of Wallace. It consisted simply of twenty
councillors of Edward, and the ten Scottish delegates. From the joint
deliberations of these thirty sprang the "ordinance made by the lord
king for the establishment of the land of Scotland".

    [1] See _Memoranda, de parliamento_ (1305), ed. F.W. Maitland
    (Rolls Series).

Following the general lines of the settlement of the principality of
Wales, the ordinance combined Edward's direct lordship over Scotland
with a legal and administrative system separate from that of England.
John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, the king's sister's son, was made
Edward's lieutenant and warden of Scotland, and under him were a
chancellor, a chamberlain, and a controller. Scotland was to be split
up for judicial purposes into districts corresponding to its racial and
political divisions. Four pairs of justices were appointed for each of
these regions, two for Lothian, two for Galloway and the south-west,
two for the lands "between Forth and the mountains," that is the
Lowland districts of the north-east, and two for the lands "beyond the
mountains," that is for the Highlands and islands. Sheriffs "natives
either of England or Scotland" were nominated for each of the shires,
and it was significant that the great majority of them were Scots and
that the hereditary sheriffdoms of the older system were still
continued. The "custom of the Scots and the Welsh," that is the Celtic
laws of the Highlanders and the Strathclyde Welsh, was "henceforth
prohibited and disused". John of Brittany was to "assemble the good
people of Scotland in a convenient place" where "the laws of King David
and the amendments by other kings" were to be rehearsed, and such of
these laws as are "plainly against God and reason" were to be reformed,
all doubtful matters being referred to the judgment of Edward. The
king's lieutenant was bidden to "remove such persons as might disturb
the peace" to the south of the Trent, but their deportation was to be
in "courteous fashion" and after taking the advice of the "good people
of Scotland". Care for the preservation of the peace, and for
administrative reform, is seen in the oath imposed upon officials and
in the pains taken to secure the custody of the castles. The Scots
parliament was to be retained, and recent precedents also suggested the
probability of Scottish representation in the parliament of England. If
Scotland were to be ruled by Edward at all, it would have been
difficult to devise a wiser scheme for its administration. Yet the
Scottish love of independence was not to be bartered away for better
government. Within six months the new constitution was overthrown, and
the chief part in its destruction was taken by the Scots by whose
advice Edward had drawn it up.

Edward at last felt himself in a position to take his long deferred
revenge on Winchelsea. The primate still kept aloof from the councils of
the king, and his spirit was as irreconcilable as ever. He gained his
last victory in the Lenten parliament of 1305, when he prevented the
promulgation of a statute, passed on the petition of the laity, but
agreed to by all the estates, which forbade taxes on ecclesiastical
property involving the exportation of money out of the country.[1] At
this moment the long vacancy of the papacy, which followed the
pontificate of Benedict XI., Boniface VIII.'s short-lived successor, had
not yet come to an end. Soon, however, Winchelsea's zeal on behalf of
papal taxation was to be ill requited. On June 5, 1305, Bertrand de
Goth, a Gascon nobleman who since 1299 had been archbishop of Bordeaux,
was elected to the papacy as Clement V., through the management of
Philip the Fair. A dependant of the King of France and a subject of the
King of England, the new pope showed a complaisance towards kings which
stood in strong contrast to the ultramontane austerity of his
predecessors. He refused to visit Italy, received the papal crown at
Lyons, and spent the first years of his pontificate in Poitou and
Gascony. Ultimately establishing himself at Avignon, he began that
seventy years of Babylonish captivity of the apostolic see which greatly
degraded the papacy. Though Clement's main concern was to fulfil the
exacting conditions which, as it was believed, Philip had imposed upon
him, he was almost as subservient to Edward as to the King of France.
His deference to his natural lord enabled Edward to renounce the most
irksome of the obligations which he had incurred to his subjects, to
punish Winchelsea, and to restrain Roman authority by laws which
anticipate the legislation of the age of Edward III.

    [1] _Memoranda de parliamento_, preface, p. li. The statement
    in the text is an inference suggested by Professor Maitland's
    account of the statute _De asportis religiosorum_. For the last
    struggle of Edward and Winchelsea, see Stubbs's preface to
    _Chron. of Edw. I. and Edw. II._, i., xcix.-cxiii.

At Clement V.'s coronation at Lyons, in November, England was
represented by Winchelsea's old enemy, Bishop Walter Langton, and by
the Earl of Lincoln. The first result of their work was the
promulgation, on December 29, of the bull _Regalis devotionis_, by
which the pope annulled the additions made to the charters in 1297 and
succeeding years, and dispensed Edward from the oath which he had taken
to observe them, on the ground that it was in conflict with his
coronation vows. Next year Edward took advantage of this bull to revoke
the disafforestments made by the parliament of Lincoln in 1301. It may
be a sign either of the moderation, or of the well-grounded fears of
the king, that he made no further use of the papal absolution. But,
like his father and grandfather, he used the papal authority to set
aside his plighted word, and his conduct in this respect suggests that
it was well for England that the renewal of the Scottish troubles
reduced for the rest of the reign the temptation, which the bull held
out to him, to play fast and loose with the liberties of his subjects.
The standards of contemporary morality were not, however, infringed by
Edward's action, dishonourable and undignified as it seems to us of
later times.

Winchelsea's turn was at last come. On February 12, 1306,
Clement suspended him from his office, and summoned him to appear
before the _curia_. On March 25 the archbishop humbled himself before
Edward and begged for his protection. But the king overwhelmed him with
reproaches and refused to show him any mercy. Within two months, the
primate took ship for France and made his way to the papal court, which
was then established at Bordeaux. He remained in exile, though in the
English king's dominions, for the rest of Edward's life. A less harsh
punishment was meted out to the Bishop of Durham, who then came back
from the court of Clement with the magnificent title of Patriarch of
Jerusalem. For a second time Edward laid violent hands upon the rich
temporalities of the see, and Bek, like Winchelsea, remained under a
cloud for the remainder of the reign.

Clement expected to be paid for yielding so much to the king. A papal
agent, William de Testa, was sent to England, and to him Edward gave
the administration of the temporalities of Canterbury. William's energy
in collecting first-fruits aroused a storm of opposition from the
clergy. The laity, disgusted to find that the king was negotiating for
the transference of a crusading tenth to himself, associated themselves
with their protest. Clement thereupon despatched the Cardinal Peter of
Spain to England, that he might attempt to arrange a general
pacification, and complete the marriage of the Prince of Wales to
Isabella of France, which had been agreed upon in 1303. Before the
cardinal's arrival, Edward's last parliament met in January, 1307, at
Carlisle. The renewed disturbances in Scotland necessitated a meeting
on the border, but the main transactions of the estates bore upon
matters ecclesiastical. The lords and commons joined in demanding from
the king a remedy against the oppressions of the apostolic see. A
spirited and strongly worded protest was addressed to the pope. Nor
were the estates contented with mere remonstrances. The statute of
Carlisle renewed the abortive measure of 1305 _De asportis
religiosorum_, by prohibiting tallages of religious houses being sent
out of the realm. Had the petition of the estates been drafted into a
statute, the parliament of Carlisle would have anticipated the statute
of _Praemunire_ and many other anti-papal enactments. But Peter of
Spain arrived, and Edward thought it injudicious to provoke a contest
with the papacy. Even the petition actually approved was left in
suspense to await further negotiations between the king and the
cardinal. Before any decision was come to, Edward died, and this
anti-Roman movement, like so many which had preceded it, resulted in
little more than brave words. When, two generations later, a more
resolute temper seized upon king and estates, they fell back upon the
petitions and proceedings of the parliament of Carlisle for precedents
for resisting the papal authority. With all its pitiful conclusion,
Edward's ecclesiastical policy at least marks a step in advance upon
the dependent attitude of Henry III.

In the period of peace after the conquest of Scotland, Edward busied
himself with strengthening the administration of his own kingdom and
with enforcing the laws against violence and outrage. Under the
strongest of medieval kings, the state of society was very disorderly,
and even a ruler like Edward had often to be contented with holding up
in his legislation an ideal of conduct which he was powerless to
enforce in detail. Complaints had long been made that the greater
nobles encroached upon poor men's inheritances, that gangs of marauders
ranged over the country, wreaking every sort of violence and outrage,
and that the law courts would give no redress to the sufferers from
such outrageous deeds, since judges and juries were alike terrorised by
overmighty offenders and dared not administer equal justice.
Accordingly in the Lenten parliament of 1305 was drawn up the ordinance
of Trailbaston, by which the king was empowered to issue writs of
inquiry, addressed to special justices in the various shires, and
authorising them to take vigorous action against these _trailbastons_,
or men with clubs, whose outrages had become so grievous. It was not so
much a new law as an administrative act; but it formed a precedent for
later times, and the energy of the justices of trailbaston effected a
real, if temporary, improvement in the condition of the country. So
important was the measure that a chronicler calls the year in which
this was enacted the "year of trailbaston".[1]

    [1] _Liber de antiquis legibus_, p. 250.

Never did Edward's prospects seem brighter than in the early days of
1306. Scotland was obedient; the French alliance was firmly cemented;
the pope was complacent; the Archbishop of Canterbury was in exile and
the Bishop of Durham in disgrace; the commons were grateful for the
better order secured by the commissions of trailbaston, and the king
had in the papal absolution a weapon in reserve, which he could always
use against a renewal of baronial opposition, though, for the moment,
neither nobles nor commons seemed likely to give trouble. Once more
there was some talk of Edward leading a crusade, and the French lawyer,
Peter Dubois, at this time dedicated to him the first draft of his
remarkable treatise on the recovery of the Holy Land.[1] Nor did the
project seem altogether impracticable. Though Edward was sixty-seven
years of age, he remained slim, vigorous and straight as a palm tree.
He could mount his horse and ride to the hunt or the field with the
activity of youth. His eyes were not dimmed with age and his teeth were
still firm in his jaws.[2] The worst trouble which immediately beset him,
was the undutiful conduct of the young Prince of Wales, who foolishly
quarrelled with Bishop Langton, and preferred to amuse himself with
unworthy favourites rather than submit himself to the severe training
in arms and affairs to which Edward had long striven to inure him. When
all thus seemed favourable, a sudden storm burst in Scotland which
plunged the old king into renewed troubles.

    [1] _De recuperatione terre sancte_, ed. C.V. Langlois (1891).

    [2] John of London, _Commendatio lamentabilis_, pp. 5-6.

In 1304 Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, became by his father's death the
head of his house. Though he had long adhered to the regency which had
governed Scotland in Balliol's name, he had now made terms with Edward,
and had taken a conspicuous part in bringing about the pacification of
Scotland under its new constitution. But the double policy, which had
involved him in the shifts and tergiversations of his earlier career,
still dominated the mind of the ambitious earl. At the moment of his
submission to Edward, he entered into an intimate alliance with Bishop
Lamberton of St. Andrews, the old partisan of Wallace. Lamberton was
then, like Bruce, on Edward's side, and as John of Brittany had not yet
personally taken up his new charge, the blind confidence of Edward
entrusted him with the foremost place among the commissioners who acted
as wardens of Scotland during the king's lieutenant's absence. Bruce,
still remembering his grandfather's claim on the throne, welcomed the
definitive setting aside of Balliol. While Edward believed that
Scotland was quietening down under its new constitution, Bruce was
secretly conspiring with the Scottish magnates, with a view to making
himself king. His chief difficulty was with the late regent, John Comyn
the Red, lord of Badenoch. The Bruces and the Comyns had long been at
variance, and the Red Comyn, who was the nephew of the deposed King
John, regarded himself as the representative of the Balliol claim to
the throne, and was not unmindful how his father had withdrawn his
pretensions in 1291 rather than divide the Balliol interest. Meanwhile
the antagonism of the two houses was the best safeguard for the
continuance of Edward's rule.

Bruce was violent as well as able and ambitious. He invited Comyn to a
conference for January 10, 1306, in the Franciscan friary at Dumfries.
On that day the king's justices were holding the assizes in the castle,
and Brace and Comyn, with a few followers, met in the cloister of the
convent. Hot words were exchanged, and Bruce drew his sword and wounded
Comyn. The lord of Badenoch took refuge in the church, and some of
Bruce's friends followed him and slew him on the steps of the high
altar. This cruel murder involved a violent breach between Bruce and
the king. The earl took to the hills, declared himself the champion of
national independence, and renewed his claim to the crown. He was
joined by a great multitude of the people and by a certain number of
the magnates. Conspicuous among the latter was Bishop Wishart of
Glasgow, who broke his sixth oath of fealty, using the timber given him
by Edward for building the steeple of his cathedral in constructing
military engines to besiege the castles which were still held for the
English king. Before long Bishop Lamberton, the chief of the Edwardian
government, also went over. The support of the two bishops enabled
Bruce to be crowned on March 25 at Scone. All Scotland was soon in
revolt, and only the garrisons and a few magnates remained faithful to

News of the death of Comyn and the revolt of Bruce reached Edward,
while engaged in hunting in Dorset and Wiltshire. He at once called
upon Church and State to unite against the sacreligious murderer and
traitor. Clement V. excommunicated the Earl of Carrick, and deprived
Lamberton and Wishart of their bishoprics. The warlike zeal of the
English barons was stimulated by liberal grants of the forfeited
estates of Bruce and his partisans. Feeling the infirmities of age
coming upon him, Edward saw that his best chance of success was to
inspire his son with something of his spirit. The Prince of Wales
accordingly received a grant of Gascony, and on Whitsunday, May 22, was
dubbed knight at Westminster along with over two hundred other
aspirants to arms. A magnificent feast in Westminster Hall succeeded
the ceremony. Two swans, adorned with golden chains, were brought in,
and the old king set to all the revellers the example of vowing on the
swans to revenge the murder of Comyn. Edward swore that when he had
expiated this wrong to Holy Church, he would never more bear arms
against Christian man, but would immediately turn his steps towards the
Holy Land to redeem the Holy Sepulchre. The Prince of Wales' vow was
never to rest two nights in the same spot until he had reached Scotland
to assist his father in his purpose. Then all the young knights were
despatched northwards to overthrow the Scottish pretender.

A liberal grant from the estates facilitated the military preparations.
But since the beginning of the year, Edward's strength had rapidly
broken. He was no longer able to ride, and his movements were
consequently very tedious. His army gathered together with more than
the usual slowness, and Aymer of Valence, Earl of Pembroke, the king's
cousin, was sent forward as warden of Scotland to meet Bruce with such
forces as were ready. On June 26 Aymer fell upon Bruce at Methven, near
Perth, and inflicted a severe defeat upon him. The power of the
pretender died away as rapidly as it had arisen. The Bishops of St.
Andrews and Glasgow were made prisoners, and Bruce's brothers, wife,
and daughter fell into the enemy's hands. The brothers were promptly
beheaded, though one of them was an ecclesiastic, and the ladies were
confined in English nunneries. Bruce himself fled to Kintyre, and
thence to Rathlin island, off the coast of Antrim.

Edward went north in July, and, after a long stay in Northumberland,
took up his quarters early in October with the Austin canons of
Lanercost, near Carlisle. There he remained for above five months. In
January, 1307, the parliament, whose anti-clerical policy has already
been recounted, assembled at Carlisle, and remained in session until
March. With the spring, Brace crossed over from Ireland, and
re-appeared in his own lands in the south-west. In May he revenged the
rout of Methven by inflicting a bloody check on Aymer of Valence near
Ayr, and within three days gained another victory over Edward's
son-in-law, Earl Ralph of Gloucester. These blows only spurred on
Edward to increased efforts. The levies were summoned to meet at
Carlisle and, regardless of his infirmities, the old king resolved to
lead his troops in person. On July 3 he once more mounted his horse and
started for the border. But his constitution could not respond to the
demands made on it by his unbroken spirit. After a journey of two miles
he was forced to rest for the night. Next day he could only traverse a
similar distance, and his exertions so fatigued him that he was
compelled to remain at his lodgings all the following day. This repose
enabled him to make his way, on July 6, to Burgh-on-Sands, less than
seven miles from Carlisle, where he spent the night. On July 7, as he
was being raised in his bed by his attendants to take his morning meal,
he fell back in their arms and expired.



Edward of Carnarvon was over twenty-three years of age when he became
king. Tall, graceful, and handsome, with magnificent health and
exceptional bodily strength, the young king was, so far as externals
went, almost as fine a man as his father. Yet no one could have been
more absolutely destitute of all those qualities which constitute
Edward I.'s claims to greatness. An utter want of serious purpose
blasted his whole career. It was in vain that his father subjected him
to a careful training in statecraft and in military science. Though not
lacking in intelligence, the young prince from the first to the last
concerned himself with nothing but his own amusements. A confirmed
gambler and a deep drinker, Edward showed a special bent for unkingly
and frivolous diversions. Save in his devotion for the chase, his
tastes had nothing in common with the high-born youths with whom he was
educated. He showed himself a coward on the battlefield, and shirked
even the mimic warfare of the tournament. He repaid the contempt and
dislike of his own class by withdrawing himself from the society of the
nobles, and associating himself with buffoons, singers, play-actors,
coachmen, ditchers, watermen, sailors, and smiths. Of the befitting
comrades of his youth, the only one of the higher aristocracy with whom
he had any true intimacy was his nephew, Gilbert of Clare, while the
only member of his household for whom he showed real affection was the
Gascon knight, Peter of Gaveston.[1] Attributing his son's levity to
Gaveston's corrupting influence, the old king had banished the foreign
favourite early in 1307. But no change in his surroundings could stir
up the prince's frivolous nature to fulfil the duties of his station.
Edward's most kingly qualities were love of fine clothes and of
ceremonies. Passionately fond of rowing, driving, horse-breeding, and
the rearing of dogs, his ordinary occupations were those of the athlete
or the artisan. He was skilful with his hands, and an excellent
mechanic, proficient at the anvil and the forge, and proud of his skill
in digging ditches and thatching roofs. Interested in music, and
devoted to play-acting, he was badly educated, taking the coronation
oath in the French form provided for a king ignorant of Latin. Vain,
irritable, and easily moved to outbursts of childish wrath, he was
half-conscious of the weakness of his will, and was never without a
favourite, whose affection compensated him for his subjects' contempt.
The household of so careless a master was disorderly beyond the
ordinary measure of the time. While Edward irritated the nobles by his
neglect of their counsel, he vexed the commons by the exactions of his

    [1] That is Gabaston, dep. Basses Pyrenees, cant. Morlaas.

The task which lay before Edward might well have daunted a stronger
man. The old king had failed in the great purpose of his life. Scotland
was in full revolt and had found a man able to guide her destinies. The
crown was deeply in debt; the exchequer was bare of supplies, and the
revenues both of England and Gascony were farmed by greedy and
unpopular companies of Italian bankers, such as the Frescobaldi of
Florence, the king's chief creditors. The nobles, though restrained by
the will of the old king, still cherished the ideals of the age of the
Barons' War, and were convinced that the best way to rule England was
to entrust the machinery of the central government, which Edward I. had
elaborated with so much care, to the control of a narrow council of
earls and prelates. Winchelsea, though broken in health, looked forward
in his banishment to the renewal of the alliance of baronage and
clergy, and to the reassertion of hierarchical ideals. The papal
_curia_, already triumphant in the last days of the reign of the dead
king, was anticipating a return to the times of Henry III, when every
dignity of the English Church was at its mercy. The strenuous endeavour
which had marked the last reign gave place to the extreme of

Edward at once broke with the policy of his father. After receiving, at
Carlisle, the homage of the English magnates, he crossed the Solway to
Dumfries, where such Scottish barons as had not joined Robert Bruce
took oaths of fealty to him. He soon relinquished the personal conduct
of the war, and travelled slowly to Westminster on the pretext of
following his father's body to its last resting-place. He replaced his
father's ministers by dependants of his own. Bishop Walter Langton, the
chief minister of the last years of Edward I., was singled out for
special vengeance. He was stripped of his offices, robbed of his
treasure, and thrown into close confinement, without any regard to the
immunities of a churchman from secular jurisdiction. Langton's place as
treasurer was given to Walter Reynolds, an illiterate clerk, who had
won the chief place in Edward's household through his skill in
theatricals. Ralph Baldock, Bishop of London, was replaced in the
chancery by John Langton, Bishop of Chichester. The barons of the
exchequer, the justices of the high courts, and the other ministers of
the old king were removed in favour of more complacent successors.
Signal favour was shown to all who had fallen under Edward I.'s
displeasure. Bishop Bek, of Durham, was restored to his palatinate, and
the road to return opened to Winchelsea, though ill-health detained him
on the Continent for some time longer. Conspicuous among the returned
exiles was Peter of Gaveston, whom the king welcomed with the warmest
affection. He at once invested his "brother Peter" with the rich
earldom of Cornwall, which the old king, with the object of conferring
it on one of his sons by his second marriage, had kept in his hands
since Earl Edmund's death. A little later Edward married the favourite
to his niece, Margaret of Clare, the eldest sister of Earl Gilbert of
Gloucester. Of the tried comrades of Edward I. the only one who
remained in authority was Henry Lacy, Earl of Lincoln. The abandonment
of the Scottish campaign soon followed. It was no wonder that the Scots
lords, who had performed homage to Edward at Dumfries, began to turn to
Bruce. Already king of the Scottish commons, Robert was in a fair way
to become accepted by the whole people.

The readiness with which the barons acquiesced in Edward's reversal of
his father's policy shows that they had regarded the late king's action
with little favour. Lincoln, the wisest and most influential of the
earls, even found reasons for the grant of Cornwall to Gaveston, and
kept in check his son-in-law, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, who was the
most disposed to grumble at the elevation of the Gascon favourite.
Gilbert of Gloucester was but newly come to his earldom. He was
personally attached to the king, his old playmate and uncle, and was
not unfriendly to his Gascon brother-in-law. The recent concentration
of the great estates in the hands of a few individuals gave these three
earls a position of overwhelming importance both in the court and in
the country, and with their good-will Edward was safe. But the weakness
of the king and the rashness of the favourite soon caused murmurs to

Early in 1308 Edward crossed over to France, leaving Gaveston as
regent, and was married on January 25, at Boulogne, to Philip the
Fair's daughter Isabella, a child of twelve, to whom he had been
plighted since 1298. The marriage was attended by the French king and a
great gathering of the magnates of both countries. Opportunity was
taken of the meeting for Edward to perform homage for Aquitaine. After
the arrival of the royal couple in England, their coronation took place
on February 25. Time had been when the reign began with the king's
crowning; but Edward had taken up every royal function immediately on
his father's death, and set a precedent to later sovereigns by dating
his own accession from the day succeeding the decease of his
predecessor. The coronation ceremony, minutely recorded, provided
precedents for later ages. It was some recognition of the work of the
last generation that the coronation oath was somewhat more rigid and
involved a more definite recognition of the rights of the community
than on earlier occasions. Winchelsea was still abroad, and the
hallowing was performed by Henry Woodlock, Bishop of Winchester.

Discontent was already simmering. Not even Lincoln's weighty influence
could overcome the irritation of the earls at the elevation of the
Gascon knight into their circle. The very virtues of the vigorous
favourite turned to his discredit. At a tournament given by him, at his
own castle of Wallingford, to celebrate his marriage with the king's
niece, the new-made earl, with a party of valiant knights, challenged a
troop, which included the Earls of Hereford, Warenne, and Arundel, and
utterly discomfited his rivals.[1] The victory of the upstart over
magnates of such dignity was accounted for by treachery, and the
prohibition of a coronation tournament, probably a simple measure of
police, was ascribed to the unwillingness of Peter to give his opponents
a legitimate opportunity of vindicating their skill. There had been much
resentment at Gaveston's appointment as regent during the king's absence
in France. A further outburst of indignation followed when the Gascon,
magnificently arrayed and bedecked with jewels, bore the crown of St.
Edward in the coronation procession. The queen's uncles, who had
escorted her to her new home, left England disgusted that Edward's love
for Gaveston led him to neglect his bride, and the want of reserve shown
in the personal dealings of the king and his "idol" suggested the worst
interpretation of their relations, though this is against the weight of
evidence. Rumours spread that the favourite had laid hands on the vast
treasures which Bishop Walter Langton had deposited at the New Temple,
and had extorted from the king even larger sums, which he had sent to
his kinsfolk in Gascony by the agency of the Italian farmers of the

    [1] _Ann. Paulini_, p. 258, and Monk of Malmesbury, p. 156, are
    to be preferred to Trokelowe, p. 65.

Gaveston was a typical Gascon, vain, loquacious, and ostentatious,
proud of his own ready wit and possessed of a fatal talent for sharp
and bitter sayings. He seems to have been a brave and generous soldier.
There is little proof that he was specially vicious or incompetent,
and, had he been allowed time to establish himself, he might well have
been the parent of a noble house, as patriotic and as narrowly English
as the Valence lords of Pembroke had become in the second generation.
But his sudden elevation rather turned his head, and the dull but
dignified English earls were soon mortally offended by his airs of
superiority, and by his intervention between them and the sovereign.
"If," wrote the annalist of St. Paul's, London, "one of the earls or
magnates sought any special favour of the king, the king forthwith sent
him to Peter, and whatever Peter said or ordered at once took place,
and the king ratified it. Hence the whole people grew indignant that
there should be two kings in one kingdom, one the king in name, the
other the king in reality." Gaveston's vanity was touched by the sullen
hostility of the earls. He returned their suspicion by an openly
expressed contempt. He amused himself and the king by devising
nicknames for them. Thomas of Lancaster was the old pig or the
play-actor, Aymer of Pembroke was Joseph the Jew, Gilbert of Gloucester
was the cuckoo, and Guy of Warwick was the black dog of Arden. Such
jests were bitterly resented. "If he call me dog," said Warwick on
hearing of the insult, "I will take care to bite him." The barons
formed an association, bound by oath to drive Gaveston into exile and
deprive him of his earldom. All over the country there were secret
meetings and eager preparations for war. The outlook became still more
alarming when the Earl of Lincoln at last changed his policy. Convinced
of the unworthiness of Gaveston, he turned against him, and the whole
baronage followed his lead. Only Hugh Despenser and a few lawyers
adhered to the favourite. Gloucester did not like to take an active
part against his brother-in-law, but his stepfather, Monthermer, was
conspicuous among the enemies of the Gascon. Winchelsea, too, came to
England and threw his powerful influence on the side of the opposition.

In April, 1308, a parliament of nobles met and insisted upon the exile
of the favourite. The magnates took up a high line. "Homage and the
oath of allegiance," they declared, "are due to the crown rather than
to the person of the king. If the king behave unreasonably, his lieges
are bound to bring him back to the ways of righteousness." On May 18
letters patent were issued promising that Gaveston should be banished
before June 25. Gaveston, bending before the storm, surrendered his
earldom and prepared for departure, while Winchelsea and the bishops
declared him excommunicate if he tarried in England beyond the
appointed day. The king did his best to lighten his friend's
misfortune. Fresh grants of land and castles compensated for the loss
of Cornwall and gave him means for armed resistance. The grant of
Gascon counties, jurisdictions, cities and castles to the value of
3,000 marks a year provided him with a dignified refuge. The pope and
cardinals were besought to relieve him from the sentence hung over his
head by the archbishop. It is significant of Edward's early intention
to violate his promise, that in his letters to the curia he still
describes Gaveston as Earl of Cornwall. Peter was soon appointed the
king's lieutenant in Ireland. This time he was called Earl of Cornwall
in a document meant for English use. As midsummer approached, Edward
accompanied him to Bristol and bade him a sorrowful farewell. Attended
by a numerous and splendid household, Gaveston crossed over to Ireland
and took up the government of that country, where his energy and
liberality won him considerable popularity.

Edward was inconsolable at the loss of his friend. For the first time
in his reign he threw himself into politics with interest, and
intrigued with rare perseverance to bring about his recall. Meanwhile
the business of the state fell into deplorable confusion. No supplies
were raised; no laws were passed; no effort was made to stay the
progress of Robert Bruce. The magnates refused to help the king, and in
April, 1309, Edward was forced to meet a parliament of the three
estates at Westminster. There he received a much-needed supply, but the
barons and commons drew up a long schedule of grievances, in which they
complained of the abuses of purveyance, the weakness of the government,
the tyranny of the royal officials, and the delays in obtaining
justice. The estates refused point blank the king's request for the
recall of Gaveston and demanded an answer to their petitions in the
next parliament.

Edward saw in submission to the estates the only way of bringing back
his brother Peter from his gilded exile. He persuaded the pope to annul
the ecclesiastical censures with which Winchelsea had sought to prevent
Gaveston's return, and then recalled his friend on his own authority.
Gaveston at once quitted Ireland and was met at Chester by Edward.
Together they attended a parliament of magnates held in July at
Stamford. There Edward announced that he accepted the petitions of the
estates and issued a statute limiting purveyance. But the real work of
this assembly was the ratification of the recall of the favourite,
which was assured since Edward had won over some of the chief earls to
agree to it. Gloucester was easily moved to champion his
brother-in-law's cause. Lincoln reverted to his former friendship for
the Gascon, and managed both to overbear the hostility of Lancaster and
to induce Earl Warenne, "who had never shown a cheerful face to Peter
since the Wallingford tournament," to become his friend. Warwick, alone
of the earls, was irreconcilable. But Edward had gained his point. It
was even agreed that the returned exile should regain his earldom of

The annalists moralise on the instability of the magnates; and the
sudden revolution may perhaps be set down as much to their incapacity
as to the dexterity of the king. But Peter's second period of power was
even shorter than his first. He had learnt nothing from his
misfortunes, save perhaps increased contempt for his enemies. He was
more insolent, greedy, and bitter in speech than ever. Early in 1310
the barons were again preparing to renew their attacks. The second
storm burst in a parliament of magnates held at London in March, 1310.
The barons came to this parliament in military array, and Edward once
more found himself at their mercy. The conditions of 1258 exactly
repeated themselves. Once more an armed baronial parliament made itself
the mouthpiece of the national discontent against a weak king, an
incompetent administration, and foreign favourites. The magnates were
no longer contented with simply demanding the banishment of Gaveston.
They were ready with a constructive programme of reform, and they went
back to the policy of the Mad Parliament. As the king could not be
trusted, the royal power must once more be put into commission in the
hands of a committee of magnates. So stiff were the barons in their
adhesion to the precedents of 1258, that they made no pretence of
taking the commons into partnership with them. To them the work of
Edward I. had been done to no purpose. Baronial assemblies and full
parliaments of the estates were still equally competent to transact all
the business of the nation. It is vain to see in this ignoring of the
commons any aristocratic jealousy of the more popular element in the
constitution. There can be no doubt but that any full parliament would
have co-operated with the barons as heartily in 1310 as it had done in
1309. It was simply that popular co-operation was regarded as
unnecessary. As in 1258, the magnates claimed to speak for the whole

The barons drew up a statement of the "great perils and dangers" to
which England was exposed through the king's dependence on bad
counsellors. The franchises of Holy Church were threatened; the king
was reduced to live by extortion; Scotland was lost; and the crown was
"grievously dismembered" in England and Ireland. "Wherefore, sire," the
petition concludes, "your good folk pray you humbly that, for the
salvation of yourself and them and of the crown, you will assent that
these perils shall be avoided and redressed by ordinance of your
baronage." Edward at once surrendered at discretion, perhaps in the
vain hope of saving Gaveston. On March 16 he issued a charter, which
empowered the barons to elect certain persons to draw up ordinances to
reform the realm and the royal household. The powers of the committee
were to last until Michaelmas, 1311. A barren promise that the king's
concession should not be counted a precedent made Edward's submission
seem a little less abject. Four days later the ordainers were
appointed, the method of their election being based upon the precedents
of 1258.

Twenty-one lords ordainers represented in somewhat unequal proportions
the three great ranks of the magnates. At the head of the seven bishops
was Winchelsea, while both Bishop Baldock of London, the dismissed
chancellor, and his successor, John Langton of Chichester, were
included among the rest. All the eight earls attending the parliament
became ordainers. Side by side with moderate men, such as Gloucester,
Lincoln, and John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, were the extreme men
of the opposition, Lancaster, Pembroke, Warwick, Hereford, the king's
brother-in-law, and Edmund Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel. Warenne and the
insignificant Earl of Oxford do not seem to have been present in
parliament, and are therefore omitted. With these exceptions, and of
course that of the Earl of Cornwall, the whole of the earls were
arrayed against the king. The six barons, who completed the list of
nominees, were either colourless in their policy or dependent on the
earls and their episcopal allies. The ordainers set to work at once.
Two days after their appointment, they issued six preliminary
ordinances by which they resolved that the place of their sitting
should be London, that none of the ordainers should receive gifts from
the crown, that no royal grants should be valid without the consent of
the majority, that the customs should be paid directly into the
exchequer, that the foreign merchants who had lately farmed them should
be arrested, and that the Great Charter should be firmly kept. During
the next eighteen months they remained hard at work.

Gaveston, conscious of his impending doom, betook himself to the north
as early as February. As soon as he could escape, Edward hurried
northwards to join him. An expedition against the Scots was then
summoned for September. It was high time that something should be done.
During the three years that Edward had reigned, Robert Bruce had made
alarming progress. One after the other the Scottish magnates had joined
his cause, and a few despairing partisans and some scattered
ill-garrisoned, ill-equipped strongholds alone upheld the English cause
north of the Tweed. But even then Edward did not wage war in earnest.
His real motive for affecting zeal for martial enterprise was his
desire to escape from his taskmasters, and to keep Gaveston out of
harm's way. The earls gave him no encouragement. On the pretext that
their services were required in London at the meetings of the
ordainers, the great majority of the higher baronage took no personal
part in the expedition. Gloucester was the only ordainer who was
present, and the only other earls in the host were Warenne and Gaveston
himself. The chief strength of Edwards army was a swarm of
ill-disciplined Welsh and English infantry, more intent on plunder than
on victory. In September Edward advanced to Roxburgh and made his way
as far as Linlithgow. No enemy was to be found, for Bruce was not
strong enough to risk a pitched battle, even against Edward's army. He
hid himself in the mountains and moors, and contented himself with
cutting off foraging parties, destroying stragglers, and breaking down
the enemy's communications. Within two months Edward discreetly retired
to Berwick, and there passed many months at the border town.
Technically he was in Scotland; practically he might as well have been
in London for all the harm he was doing to Bruce. However, Gaveston
showed more martial zeal than his master. He led an expedition which
penetrated as far as Perth, and reduced the country between the Forth
and the Grampians to Edward's obedience. Gloucester also pacified the
forest of Ettrick. To these two all the little honour of the campaign

The Earl of Lincoln governed England as regent during the king's
absence. In February, 1311, he died, and Gloucester abandoned the
campaign to take up the regency. The death of the last of Edward I.'s
lay ministers was followed in March by that of another survivor of the
old generation, Bishop Bek of Durham. The old landmarks were quickly
passing away, and the forces that still made for moderation were
sensibly diminished. Gilbert of Gloucester, alone of the younger
generation, still aspired to the position of a mediator. The most
important result of Lincoln's death was the unmuzzling of his
son-in-law, Thomas of Lancaster. In his own right the lord of the three
earldoms of Lancaster, Leicester, and Derby, Thomas then received in
addition his father-in-law's two earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury. The
enormous estates and innumerable jurisdictions attached to these five
offices gave him a territorial position greater by far than that of any
other English lord. "I do not believe," writes the monk of Malmesbury,
"that any duke or count of the Roman empire could do as much with the
revenues of his estates as the Earl of Lancaster." Nor were Earl
Thomas' personal connexions less magnificent than his feudal dignities.
As a grandson of Henry III., he was the first cousin of the king.
Through his mother, Blanche of Artois, Queen of Navarre and Countess of
Champagne, he was the grandson of the valiant Robert of Artois, who had
fallen at Mansura, and the great-grandson of Louis VIII. of France. His
half-sister, Joan of Champagne, was the wife of Philip the Fair, so
that the French king was his brother-in-law as well as his cousin, and
Isabella, Edward's consort, was his niece. Unluckily, the personality
of the great earl was not equal to his pedigree or his estates. Proud,
hard to work with, jealous, and irascible, he was essentially the
leader of opposition, the grumbler, and the _frondeur_. When the time
came for a constructive policy, Thomas broke down almost as signally as
Edward himself. His ability was limited, his power of application
small, and his passions violent and ungovernable. Greedy, selfish,
domineering, and narrow, he had few scruples and no foresight, little
patriotism, and no breadth of view. At this moment he had to play a
part which was within his powers. The simple continuance of the
traditions of policy, which he inherited with his pedigree and his
estates; was all that was necessary. As the greatest of the English
earls, the head of a younger branch of the royal house, and the
inheritor of the estates and titles of Montfort and Ferrars, he was
trebly bound to act as leader of the baronial opposition, the champion
of the charters, the enemy of kings, courtiers, favourites, and
foreigners. He was steadfast in his prejudices and hatreds, and the
ordainers found in him a leader who could at least save them from the
reproach of inconstancy and the lack of fixed purpose shown at the
parliament of Stamford.

It was the first duty of Earl Thomas to perform homage and fealty for
his new earldoms of Lincoln and Salisbury. Attended by a hundred armed
knights, he rode towards the border. Edward was at Berwick, and Thomas
declined to proffer his homage outside the kingdom. On Edward refusing
to cross the Tweed, Thomas declared that he would take forcible
possession of his lands. Civil war was only avoided by Edward giving
way. The king met Thomas on English soil at Haggerston, four miles from
Berwick. There the earl performed homage, and exchanged the kiss of
peace with his king, but he would not even salute the upstart Earl of
Cornwall, who injudiciously accompanied Edward, and the king departed
deeply indignant at this want of courtesy. Returning to Berwick, Edward
lingered there until the completion of the work of the ordainers made
it necessary for him to face parliament. Leaving Gaveston protected by
the strong walls of Bamburgh, the king quitted the border at the end of
July, and met his parliament a month later in London. Though the
ordainers had been appointed by a baronial parliament, the three
estates were summoned to hear and ratify the results of their labours.
Thirty-five more ordinances, covering a very wide field, were then laid
before them. Disorderly and disproportioned, like most medieval
legislation, they ranged from trivial personal questions and the
details of administration to the broadest schemes for the future. Many
of them were simply efforts to get the recognised law enforced. There
were clauses forbidding alienation of domain, the abuses of purveyance,
the usurpations of the courts of the royal household, the enlargement
of the forests, and the employment of unlawful sources of revenue.
Under the last head, the new custom, which Edward I. had persuaded the
foreign merchants to pay, was specifically abolished. Provisions of
such a character show that the king had made no effort to observe
either the Great Charter or the laws of Edward I. Even the recent
statute of Stamford, and the six ordinances of the previous year, had
to be re-enacted. Similar restatements of sound principles were too
common in the fourteenth century to make the ordinances an epoch. The
vital clauses were those providing for the control of the king and for
penalties against his favourites.

Under the first of these heads, the ordainers worked out to the
uttermost consequences their favourite distinction between the crown
and the king. The crown was to be strengthened, but the king was to be
deprived of every shred of power. The great offices of state in
England, Ireland, and Gascony were to be filled up with the counsel and
consent of the barons, a provision which, if literally interpreted,
meant that the barons intended to govern Gascony as well as England.
The king was not to go to war, raise an army, or leave the kingdom
without the permission of parliament. He was to "live of his own,"
however scanty a living that might be. Special judges were to hear
complaints against royal ministers and bailiffs. Parliaments were to
meet once or twice a year. It was a complete programme of limited
monarchy. But there was no reference to the commons and clergy. We are
still in the atmosphere of the Provisions of Oxford, and there is no
Earl Simon to emphasise the fuller conception of national control.

To Edward and to the barons, the penal clauses were the very essence of
the ordinances. The twentieth ordinance declared that Peter of
Gaveston, "as a public enemy of the king and kingdom, be forthwith
exiled, for all time and without hope of return," from all dominions
subject to the English king. He was to leave England before All Saints'
day, and the port of Dover was to be his place of embarkation. Other
ordinances dealt with lesser offenders. Exile was once more to be the
doom of the Frescobaldi, and the other alien merchants who had acted as
Edward's financial agents; Gaveston's kinsfolk, followers and abettors
incurred their master's fate. All Gascons were to be sent to their own
country, their allegiance to the crown in no wise saving them from the
hatred meted out to all aliens. Neither high nor low were spared: Henry
de Beaumont, the grandson of an Eastern emperor, and his sister, the
lady Vesey, were to leave the realm; John Charlton, the pushing
Shropshire squire who was worming his way by court favour into the
estates of the degenerate descendants of the house of Gwenwynwyn, was,
with the other English partisans of the favourite, to be driven from
the royal service.

Edward made a last desperate attempt to save Gaveston. He would agree
to all the other ordinances, if he were still allowed to keep his
brother Peter in England and in possession of the earldom of Cornwall.
But the estates refused to yield the root of the whole matter.
Threatened with the prospect of a new battle of Lewes, if he remained
obdurate, Edward bowed to his destiny. The ordinances were published in
every shire, and new ministers, chosen with the approval of the
estates, deprived the king of the government of the country.

Early in November, Gaveston sailed to Flanders, but within a few weeks
Edward insisted upon his return. Rumours spread that Gaveston was in
England, hiding himself away in his former castles of Wallingford and
Tintagel, or in the king's castle of Windsor. The thin veil of mystery
was soon withdrawn. Early in 1312, Peter openly accompanied the king to
York, where, on January 18, Edward issued a proclamation to the effect
that Gaveston had been unlawfully exiled, that he was back in England
by the king's command, and prepared to answer to all charges against
him. A few weeks later, Edward restored him to his earldom and estates.
King and favourite still tarried in the north, preparing for the
inevitable struggle. It was believed that they intrigued with Robert
Bruce for a refuge in Scotland. Bruce, according to the story, declined
to have anything to do with them. "If the King of England will not keep
faith with his own subjects," he is reported to have said, "how then
will he keep faith with me?"

The ordainers looked upon Gaveston's return as a declaration of war.
Winchelsea pronounced him excommunicate, and five of the eight earls
who sat among the ordainers, bound themselves by oaths to maintain the
ordinances and pursue the favourite to the death. These were Thomas of
Lancaster, Aymer of Pembroke, Humphrey of Hereford, Edmund of Arundel,
and Guy of Warwick. Gilbert of Gloucester declined to take part in the
confederacy, but promised to accept whatever the five earls might
determine. Moreover, John, Earl Warenne, who had hitherto kept aloof
from the ordainers, at last threw in his lot with them, won over, it
was believed, by the eloquence of Archbishop Winchelsea. The ordainers
then divided England into large districts, appointing one of the
baronial leaders to the charge of each. Gloucester himself undertook
the government of the south-east, while Robert Clifford and Henry Percy
agreed to guard the march, to prevent Gaveston escaping to the Scots.
Pembroke and Warenne marched to the north to lay hands on the
favourite, and Lancaster himself followed them.

While the ordainers were acting, Edward and Gaveston were aimlessly
wandering about in the north. They failed to raise an army or to win
the people to their side, and on the approach of Lancaster, they fled
before him from York to Newcastle. The earl followed quickly. On the
afternoon of Ascension day, May 4, Lancaster, Clifford, and Percy
suddenly swooped down on Newcastle. The king and his friend escaped
with the utmost difficulty to Tynemouth, leaving their luggage, jewels,
horses, and other possessions to the victor. Next day they fled by sea
to Scarborough. The queen, left behind at Tynemouth, fell into her
uncle Lancaster's power.

The royal castle of Scarborough, whose Norman keep and spacious wards
occupy a rocky peninsula surrounded, except on the town side, by the
North Sea, had lately been transferred from the custody of Henry Percy,
one of the confederate barons, to that of Gaveston. There was no fitter
place wherein the favourite could stand at bay against his pursuers.
Accordingly Edward left Gaveston, after a tender parting, and betook
himself to York. Lancaster thereupon occupied a position midway between
Scarborough and Knaresborough, while Pembroke, Warenne, and Henry Percy
laid siege to Scarborough. Gaveston soon found that he was unable to
resist them. His troops, scarcely adequate to man the extensive walls,
were too many for the scanty store of provisions which the castle
contained. After less than a fortnight's siege, he persuaded the two
earls and Percy to allow him easy terms of surrender. The three
baronial leaders pledged themselves on the Gospels to protect Gaveston
from all manner of evil until August 1. During the interval parliament
was to decide as to what was to be his future fate. If the terms agreed
upon by parliament were unsatisfactory to him, he was to return to
Scarborough, which was still to be garrisoned by his followers, with
leave to purchase supplies.

Pembroke undertook the personal custody of the prisoner, and escorted
him by slow stages from Scarborough to the south, where he was to be
retained in honourable custody at his own castle of Wallingford. Three
weeks after the surrender, the convoy reached Deddington, a small town
in Oxfordshire, a few miles south of Banbury. There Gaveston was lodged
in the house of the vicar of the parish, and told to take a few days'
rest after the fatigues of the journey. Pembroke himself did not remain
at Deddington, but went on to Bampton in the Bush, where his countess
then was. Thereupon on June 10, at sunrise, the Earl of Warwick, the
most rancorous of Peter's enemies, occupied Deddington with a strong
force. Bursting into the bedchamber of his victim, Earl Guy exclaimed
in a loud voice: "Arise, traitor, thou art taken". Peter was at once
led with every mark of indignity to Warwick castle. Thus the black dog
of Arden showed that he could bite.

Warwick was not personally pledged to Gaveston's safety, though, as one
of the confederates, he was clearly bound by their acts. His seizure of
Peter was only warrantable by the, fear that Pembroke, with his
royalist leanings, was likely to play the extreme party false; but in
any case Warwick was as much obliged as Pembroke to observe the terms
of the capitulation. Neither Warwick nor his allies took this view of
the matter. They rejoiced at the good fortune which had remedied the
disastrous capitulation of Scarborough, and resolved to put an end to
the favourite without delay. Lancaster was then at Kenilworth;
Hereford, Arundel, and other magnates were also present, and all agreed
in praising Warwick's energy. On Monday morning, June 19, the three
earls rode the few miles from Kenilworth to Warwick, and Earl Guy
handed over Peter to them. They then escorted their captive to a place
called Blacklow hill, about two miles out of Warwick on the Kenilworth
road, but situated in Lancaster's lands. The crowd following the
cavalcade was moved to tears when Peter, kneeling to Lancaster, cried
in vain for mercy from the "gentle earl". On reaching Blacklow hill,
the three earls withdrew, though remaining near enough to see what was
going on. Then two Welshmen in Lancaster's service laid hands upon the
victim. One drove his sword through his body, the other cut off his
head. The corpse remained where it had fallen, but the head was brought
to the earls as a sign that the deed was done. After this the earls
rode back to Kenilworth. Guy of Warwick remained all the time in his
castle. He had already taken his share in the cruel act of treachery.
It was, however, important that Lancaster should take the
responsibility for the deed. Four cobblers of Warwick piously bore the
headless corpse within their town. But the grim earl sent it back,
because it was not found on his fee. At last some Oxford Dominicans
took charge of the body and deposited it temporarily in their convent,
not daring to inter it in holy ground, as Gaveston had died

The ostentatious violence of the confederate earls broke up their
party. Aymer of Pembroke, indignant at their breach of faith, regarded
the whole transaction as a stain on his honour. He besought
Gloucester's intervention, but was only told that he should be more
cautious in his future negotiations. He harangued the clerks and
burgesses of Oxford, but university and town agreed that the matter was
no business of theirs. Then in disgust he betook himself to the king,
whom he found still surrounded with the Beaumonts, Mauleys, and other
friends of Gaveston, against whom the ordinances had decreed
banishment. Warenne, whose honour was only less impeached than
Pembroke's, also deserted the ordainers for the court. Edward bitterly
deplored the death of his friend. He gladly welcomed the deserters, and
prepared to wreak vengeance on the ordainers.

Edward plucked up courage to return to London, where in July he
addressed the citizens, and persuaded them to maintain the peace of the
city against the barons. He next visited Dover, and there he
strengthened the fortifications of the castle, took oaths of fealty
from the Cinque Ports, and negotiated with the King of France. Thence
he returned to London, hoping that the precautions he had taken would
secure his position in the parliament which he had summoned to meet at
Westminster. But the four earls still held the field, and answered the
summons to parliament by occupying Ware with a strong military force. A
thousand men-at-arms were drawn by Lancaster from his five earldoms,
while the Welsh from Brecon, who followed the Earl of Hereford, and the
vigorous foresters of Arden, who mustered under the banner of Warwick,
made a formidable show. Yet at the last moment neither side was eager
to begin hostilities. The four earls' violence damaged their cause, and
many who had no love of Gaveston, or desire to avenge him, inclined to
the king's party. Gilbert of Gloucester busied himself with mediating
between the two sides. At this juncture two papal envoys, sent to end
the interminable outstanding disputes with France, arrived in England,
along with Louis, Count of Evreux, the queen's uncle. Edward availed
himself of the presence of French jurists in the count's train to
obtain legal opinion that the ordinances were invalid, as against
natural equity and civil law. These technicalities did little service
to the king's cause, and better work was done when Louis and the papal
envoys joined with Gloucester in mediating between the opposing forces.
At length moderate counsels prevailed. Edward could only resist the
four earls through the support of his new allies, and Pembroke and
Warenne were as little anxious to fight as Gloucester himself. They
were quite willing to make terms which seemed to the king treason to
his friend's memory.

The negotiations were still proceeding when, on November 13, 1312, the
birth of a son to Edward and Isabella revived the almost dormant
feeling of loyalty to the sovereign. The king ceased to brood over the
loss of his brother Peter, and became more willing to accept the
inevitable. He gave some pleasure to his subjects by refusing the
suggestion of the queen's uncle that the child should be called Louis,
and christened him Edward after his own father. At last, on December
22, terms of peace were agreed upon. The earls and barons concerned in
Gaveston's death were to appear before the king in Westminster Hall,
and humbly beg his pardon and good-will. In return for this the king
agreed to remit all rancour caused by the death of the favourite.
Lancaster and Warwick, who took no personal part in the negotiations,
sent in a long list of objections to the details of the treaty. Nearly
a year elapsed before the earls personally acknowledged their fault.
During that interval there was no improvement in the position of
affairs. Parliament granted no money; and Edward only met his daily
expenses by loans, contracted from every quarter, and by keeping tight
hands on the confiscated estates of the Templars. Both the king and the
leading earls made every excuse to escape attending the ineffective
parliaments of that miserable time. Two short visits to France gave
Edward a pretext for avoiding his subjects. There were some hasty
musterings of armed men on pretence of tournaments. But the king was
still formidable enough to make it desirable for the barons to carry
out the treaty. Finally, in October, 1313, Lancaster, Hereford, and
Warwick made their public submission in Westminster Hall. Pardons were
at once issued to them and to over four hundred minor offenders. Feasts
of reconciliation were held, and it seemed as if the old feuds were at
last ended. Gaveston's corpse was removed from Oxford to Langley, in
Hertfordshire, and buried in the church of a new convent of Dominicans
set up by Edward to pray for the favourite's soul.

Just before the end of the disputes Archbishop Winchelsea died in May,
1313. He left behind him the reputation of a saint and a hero, and a
movement was undertaken for his canonisation. With all his faults, he
was the greatest churchman of his time, and the most steadfast and
unselfish of ecclesiastical statesmen. Despite his palsy, he had shown
wonderful activity since his return. The brain and soul of the
ordainers, he equally made it his business to uphold extreme
hierarchical privilege. Bitterly as he hated Walter Langton, he was
indignant that a bishop should be imprisoned and despoiled by the lay
power, and took up his cause with such energy that he effected his
liberation, only to find that Langton made peace with the king and
turned his back on the ordainers. The after-swell of the storms,
excited by the petition of Lincoln and the statute of Carlisle, still
continued troublous during Winchelsea's later years. The pope
complained of the violated privileges of the Church and of the
accumulated arrears of King John's tribute; and Winchelsea was anxious
to promote the papal cause. But the barons in Edward's early
parliaments still used the bold language of the magnates of 1301, and
the letter of 1309, drawn up by the parliament of Stamford, is no
unworthy pendant of the Lincoln letter. As time went on, the disorders
of the government and the weakness of the king surrendered everything
to the pope. It was soon as it had been in the days of Henry III., when
pope and king combined to despoil the English Church.

The suppression of the order of the Temple shows how absolutely England
was forced to follow in the wake of the papacy and the King of France.
There was no spontaneous movement against the society as in France;
there was not even the fierce malice and insatiable greed which could
find their only satisfaction in the ruin of the brethren; and there is
not much evidence that the Templars were unpopular. The whole attack
was the result of commands given from without. It was at the repeated
request of Philip of France and Clement V. that Edward reluctantly
ordered the apprehension of all the Templars within England, Scotland,
and Ireland on January 8, 1308. Their property was taken into the
king's hands, and their persons were confined in the royal prisons
under the custody of the sheriffs. For their trial, Clement appointed a
mixed commission including Winchelsea, Archbishop Greenfield of York,
several English bishops, one French bishop, and certain papal
inquisitors specially assigned for the purpose, the chief of whom were
the Abbot of Lagny and Sicard de Lavaur, Canon of Narbonne, who came to
England in 1309. At last the victims were collected at London and York,
where the trials were to be conducted for the southern and northern
provinces. There was much hesitation among the English bishops. The
foes of the Templars lamented the prelates' lack of zeal and their
scruples in collecting evidence, and suggested that the torture, which
had so freely been used in France, would soon extract confessions. But
the northern bishops declared that torture was unknown in England, and
asked, if it were to be adopted, whether it was to be applied by clerks
or laymen, and whether torturers should be imported from beyond sea. In
the end, torture was used, but not to any great extent.

A great mass of depositions, mostly vague and worthless, or derived
from the suspicious confessions of apostates and weaklings, was
gathered together, and in 1311 laid before provincial councils, but
neither province came to any fixed decision. "Inasmuch," says
Hemingburgh, "as the Templars were not found altogether guilty or
altogether innocent, they referred the dubious matter to the pope."
They sent the evidence they had collected to swell the mass of
testimony from all Christendom, which was laid before the council of
Vienne. When the pope suppressed the order in April, 1312, and
transferred its lands to the Knights of St. John, the papal decrees
were quietly carried out in England. One or two Templars died in
prison, but none were executed; and the majority were dismissed with
pensions or secluded in monasteries. Edward and his nobles took good
care to make a large profit out of the transaction. The resources of
the Temple alone kept the king from destitution during the period
between the death of Gaveston and his reconciliation with the earls.
Many barons laid violent hands on estates belonging to the order, and
long held on to them despite papal expostulation. The Hospitallers
found that the lands of their rivals came to them so slowly, and
encumbered with so many charges, that their new property became
burdensome rather than helpful to their society. Thus it was that they
never made any use of the New Temple in London, and, before long, let
it out to the common-lawyers. In the fall of the Templars, the pope and
the Church set the first great example of the suppression of a
religious order to kings, who before long bettered the precedent given
them. The sordid story is mainly important to our history as an example
of the completeness of the influence of the papal autocracy, and of the
submissiveness of clergy and laity to its behests. It was a lurid
commentary on the practical working of the ecclesiastical system that
the business of condemning an innocent order first brought into England
the papal inquisitor and the use of torture. Yet the whole process was
but so pale a reflection of the horrors wrought in France that the
conclusion arises that England owed more to the weakness of Edward II
than France to the strength of Philip IV.

Winchelsea's death removed a real check on Edward, especially as the
king was on such good terms with the papacy that he had little
difficulty in obtaining a successor amenable to his will. Undeterred by
Clement's bull reserving to himself the appointment, the monks of
Christ Church at once proceeded to elect Thomas of Cobham, a theologian
and a canonist of distinction, a man of high birth, great sanctity, and
unblemished character, and in every way worthy of the primacy. But his
merits did not weigh for a moment with Clement against the wishes of
the king. He rejected Cobham and conferred the primacy on Edwards
favourite, Walter Reynolds, who had already obtained the bishopric of
Worcester through the king's influence. A good deal of money, it was
believed, found its way to the coffers of the _curia_; and the
indignation of the English Church found voice in the impassioned
protests of the chroniclers. "Lady Money rules everything in the pope's
court," lamented the monk of Malmesbury. "For eight years Pope Clement
has ruled the Universal Church: but what good he has done escapes
memory. England, alone of all countries, feels the burden of papal
domination. Out of the fulness of his power, the pope presumes to do
many things, and neither prince nor people dare contradict him. He
reserves all the fat benefices for himself, and excommunicates all who
resist him: his legates come and spoil the land: those armed with his
bulls come and demand prebends. He has given all the deaneries to
foreigners, and cut down the number of resident canons. Why does the
pope exercise greater power over the clergy than the emperor over the
laity? Lord Jesus! either take away the pope from our midst or lessen
the power which he presumes to have over the people." Such lamentations
bore no fruit, and the simoniacal nomination of Reynolds was but the
first of a series of appointments which robbed the episcopate of
dignity and moral worth.

While Church and State in England were thus distressed, the cause of
Robert Bruce was making steady progress in Scotland. It is some measure
of the difficulties against which Bruce had to contend that, after six
years, he was still by no means master of all that land. But least of
all among the causes which retarded his advance can be placed the armed
forces of England. During six years Edward II.'s one personal
expedition had been a complete failure. A more formidable obstacle in
Bruce's way was the stubborn resistance offered to him by the valour
and skill of the small but highly trained garrisons which the wisdom of
Edward I. had established in the fortresses of southern and central
Scotland. Each castle took a long time to subdue, and demanded
engineering resources and a persistency of effort, which were difficult
to obtain from a popular army. The garrisons co-operated with the
Scottish nobles who still adhered to Edward through jealousy of the
upstart Bruces and love of feudal independence, rather than by reason
of any sympathy with the English cause. Additional obstacles to
Robert's progress were the hostility of the Church, to which he was
still the excommunicated murderer of Comyn; the captivity of so many
Scottish prelates and barons in England; the efforts of the pope and
the King of France to bring about suspensions of hostilities, and the
grievous famines which desolated Scotland no less than southern
Britain. But during these years the King of Scots gradually overcame
these difficulties. His hardest fighting in the field was with rival
Scots rather than with the English intruders. In 1308 he defeated the
Comyns of Buchan, and established himself on the ruins of that house in
the north-east. In the same year his brother, Edward Bruce, conquered
Galloway, where the Balliol tradition long prevented the domination of
the rival family.

Secure from retaliation so long as domestic troubles lasted, the Scots
devastated the northern counties of England, whose inhabitants were
forced to purchase relief from further attacks by paying large sums of
money to the invaders. Formal truces were more than once made, but they
were ill observed, and each violation of an armistice involved some
loss to Edward and some gain to Robert. Meanwhile the garrisons were
carefully isolated, and one by one signalled out for attack. In 1312
Berwick itself was only saved from surprise by the opportune barking of
a dog. In January, 1313, Perth was captured by assault. Next day Robert
slew the leading native burgesses who had adhered to the English, while
he permitted the English inhabitants to return freely to their own
country. The whole town was destroyed, since walled towns, like
castles, had given the English their chief hold upon the country.

Such was the state of Scotland when the reconciliation between Edward
and the earls restored England to the appearance of unity. As if
conscious that no time was to be lost in strengthening his position,
Bruce redoubled his efforts to make himself master of the fortresses
which still remained in the enemy's hands. Regardless of the rigour of
the season, he set actively to work in the early weeks of 1314, and
remarkable success attended his efforts. In February, the border
stronghold of Roxburgh was taken by a night attack. "And all that fair
castle, like the other castles which he had acquired, they pulled down
to the ground, lest the English should afterwards by holding the castle
bear rule over the land."[1] In March, Edinburgh castle was secured by
some Scots who climbed up the precipitous northern face of the castle
rock, overpowered the garrison, and opened the gates to their comrades
outside. Flushed with this great success, Bruce began the siege of
Stirling, the only important English garrison then held by the English
in the heart of Scotland. He pressed the besieged so hard that they
agreed to surrender to the enemy, if they were not relieved before
Midsummer day, the feast of St. John the Baptist. While Robert was
watching Stirling, his brother Edward devastated the country round
Carlisle, lording it for three days at the bishop's castle of Rose, and
levying heavy blackmail on the men of Cumberland.

    [1] _Lanercost Chronicle_, p. 223.

If Stirling were lost, all Scotland would be at Bruce's mercy. Even
Edward was stirred by the disgrace involved in the utter abandonment of
his father's conquest; and from March onwards he began to make spasmodic
efforts to collect men and ships to enable him to advance to the relief
of the beleaguered garrison. At first it seemed sufficient to raise the
feudal levies and a small infantry force from the northern shires, but
as time went on the necessity of meeting the Scottish pikemen by
corresponding levies of foot soldiers became evident, and over 20,000
infantry were summoned from the northern counties and Wales.[1] But the
notice given was far too short, and June was well advanced before
anything was ready.

    [1] For the numbers at Bannockburn, see _Foedera_, ii., 248,
    and Round, _Commune_ of London, pp. 289-301.

Even the Scottish peril could not quicken the sluggish patriotism of
the ordainers. Four earls, Lancaster, Warenne, Warwick, and Arundel,
answered Edward's summons by reminding him that the ordinances
prescribed that war should only be undertaken with the approval of
parliament, and by declining to follow him to a campaign undertaken on
his own responsibility. They would send quotas, but begged to be
excused from personal attendance. Yet even without them, a gallant
array slowly gathered together at Berwick, and one at least of the
opposition earls, Humphrey of Hereford, was there, with Gilbert of
Gloucester and Aymer of Pembroke and 2,000 men-at-arms. An enormous
baggage train enabled the knights and barons to appear in the field in
great magnificence, though it destroyed the mobility of the force. "The
multitude of waggons," wrote the monk of Malmesbury, "if they had been
extended in a single line would have occupied the space of twenty
leagues." The splendour and number of the army inspired the king and
his friends with the utmost confidence. Though the host started from
Berwick less than a week before the appointed day, the king moved, says
the Malmesbury monk, not as if he were about to lead an army to battle,
but rather as if he were going on a pilgrimage to Compostella. "There
was but short delay for sleep, and a shorter delay for taking food.
Hence horses, horsemen, and infantry were worn out with fatigue and
hunger." There was no order or method in the proceedings of the host.
The presence of the king meant that there was no effective general, and
Hereford and Gloucester quarrelled for the second place.

It was not until Sunday, June 23, that Edward at last took up his
quarters a few miles south of Stirling, with a worn-out and dispirited
army. Yet, if Stirling were to be saved, immediate action was
necessary. Gloucester and Hereford made a vigorous but unsuccessful
effort to penetrate at once into the castle, and Bruce came down just
in time to throw himself between them and the walls. Henry Bohun, who
had forced his way forward at the head of a force of Welsh infantry,
was slain, and his troops dispersed. Gloucester was unhorsed, and
thereupon the English retreated to their camp. Fearing an attack under
cover of darkness, they had little sleep that night, and many of the
watchers consoled themselves with revelry and drunkenness. When St.
John's day dawned, they were too weary to fight effectively. Bruce
advanced from the woods and stationed his troops on the low ridge
bounding the northern slope of the little brook, called the
Bannockburn, which runs about two miles south of Stirling on its course
towards the Forth. Of the three divisions, or battles, into which the
Scots were divided, two stood on the same front, side by side, while
King Robert commanded the rear battle, which was to serve as a reserve.
He marshalled his forces much in the same way that Wallace had adopted
at Falkirk. There was the same close array of infantry, protected by a
wall of shields and a thick hedge of pikes. Each man wore light but
adequate armour, and, besides the pike, bore an axe at his side for
work at close quarters. Pits were dug before the Scots lines, and
covered over with hurdles so light that they would not bear the weight
of a mail-clad warrior and his horse. Save for a small cavalry force
kept in reserve in the rear, the men-at-arms were ordered to dismount
and take their place in the dense array, lest, like their comrades at
Falkirk, they should ride off in alarm when they saw the preponderance
of the enemy's horse. The Scots were less numerous than the English,
but they were an army and not a mob; their commander was a man of rare
military insight, and their tactics were those which, twelve years
before, had defeated the chivalry of France at Courtrai.

The English had feared that the Scots would not fight a pitched battle,
and were astonished to see them at daybreak prepared to receive an
attack. Their contempt for their enemy made them eager to accept the
challenge, but Gloucester, who, though only twenty-three, had more of
the soldier's eye than most of the magnates, urged Edward to postpone
the encounter for a day, that the army might recover from its fatigue,
and the clergy advised delay out of respect to St. John the Baptist.
Unmoved by prudence or piety, Edward denounced his nephew as a coward,
and ordered an immediate advance.

The English, forgetting the lessons of the Welsh wars, sent on the
archers in front of the cavalry. Bruce, seeing that their missiles were
playing havoc on his dense ranks, directed his small cavalry force to
charge the archers on their left flank. The unsupported bowmen at once
fell back in confusion, leaving the cavalry to do its work. Meanwhile
the English men-at-arms were advancing in three "battles," the first of
which then came into action. Many of the English fell into the pits
prepared for them, and the Scottish shields and pikes broke the attack
of those who evaded these obstacles. Gloucester fought with rare
gallantry, but was badly seconded by his followers. At last his horse
was slain under him, and he was knocked down and killed. The troop
which he led fled panic-stricken from the field. The Scots then
advanced with such vigour that the English never recovered from the
disorder into which their first disaster had thrown them. While these
things were going on, the second and third English "battles" had been
making feeble efforts to take their part in the fight. But the first
line cut them off from direct access to the foe, and the archers of the
second battle did more harm to their friends than to their enemies by
shooting wildly, straight in front of them. There was no single
directing force, nor, after Gloucester's fall, even one conspicuous
leader who would set an example of blind valour. Hundreds of English
knights, who had not drawn their swords, were soon fleeing in terror
before the enemy. Edward, who had taken up his station in the rear
battle, rode off the field and never dismounted until he reached
Dunbar, whence he fled by sea to Berwick.

Abandoned by their leaders, the English retreated as best they could.
Many of their best knights lay dead on the field, and more were drowned
in the Forth or Bannock, or swallowed up in the bogs, than were slain
in the fight. The Scots, whose losses were slight, showed a prudent
tendency to capture rather than slay the knights and barons, in order
that they might hold them up to ransom, and though many desisted from
the pursuit to plunder the baggage train, those who followed the
English fugitives reaped an abundant harvest of captives. Hereford was
chased into Bothwell castle, which was still held for the English. But
next day the Scottish official who commanded there for Edward opened
the gates to Bruce, and the earl became a prisoner. Pembroke escaped
with difficulty on foot, along with a contingent of Welsh infantry. The
mighty English army had ceased to exist; and with the surrender of
Stirling, next day, Bruce's career attained its culminating point. His
long years of trial were at last over, and the clever adventurer could
henceforth enjoy in security the crown which he had so gallantly won.

The military results of Bannockburn were of extreme importance. The
ablest of contemporary annalists aptly compared Bruce's victory to the
battle of Courtrai. An even nearer analogy was the fight at Morgarten
where, within two years, the pikemen of the Forest Cantons were to
scatter the chivalry of the Hapsburgers as effectively as the Flemings
won the day at Courtrai or the Scots at Bannockburn. The English had
forgotten the military lessons of Edward I., as completely as they had
forgotten his political lessons, and their reliance on the obsolete and
unsupported cavalry charge was their undoing. Bruce, on the other hand,
had improved upon the teaching of Wallace and Edward I. His use of his
men-at-arms on foot anticipates the English tactics of the Hundred
Years' War. The presence of these heavily armed troopers in his ranks
gave him a strength in defence, and an impetuosity in attack, which
made it a simple matter to break up the undisciplined squadrons opposed
to him. Bannockburn rang the death-knell of the tactics which since
Hastings had been regarded as the perfection of military art. The
political lessons of the victory were of not less importance. It is
almost too much to say that Bannockburn won for Scotland its
independence, for Scottish independence had already been vindicated.
But the easy victory brought home to men's minds the full measure of
the Scottish triumph. It was already clear that so long as Edward
lived, England would never make the continued effort which, as Edward
I.'s wars both in Wales and Scotland had shown, could alone
systematically conquer a nation. Bruce's difficulties were not so much
with the English as with the Scots. It was no small task to unite the
English of the Lothians, the Welsh of the south-west, the Norsemen of
the extreme north, and the Celts of the hills into a single Scottish
nation. He had against him the separatist local feeling which Scottish
history and ethnology made inevitable, and it took time for him to
obtain that prestige, which should hedge a king, and raise him above
the crowd of feudal earls and clan chieftains, who thought themselves
as good as the sometime Earl of Carrick. Such dignity and distinction
Bannockburn supplied, and such measure of national unity and strong
monarchical authority as Scotland ever enjoyed, came from the triumph
of him who became, even more than Wallace, the hero of the new nation.
For the next few years the Scots took the aggressive. They induced the
French kings to renew the alliance which Philip IV. had made with them
in the early years of the contest. They obtained papal recognition for
their king and the withdrawal of the ban of the Church on Comyn's
murderer; they plundered northern England from end to end, and broke
down Anglo-Norman rule in Ireland; they plotted for the resurrection of
the Welsh principality; and, worse than all, they made common cause
with the baronial opposition. Hence it followed that the political
results of the victory were as important to England as they were to
Scotland itself. The troubled history of the next eight years reveals
in detail the effects of Bannockburn on England. Edward's defeat threw
him into the power of the ordainers. The ordainers, when called upon to
govern, showed themselves as incapable as ever Edward or his favourites
had been. The results were misrule, aristocratic faction, popular
distress, and mob violence. Ineffective as are the first seven years of
the reign of Edward of Carnarvon, the eight years which followed
Bruce's victory plunged England deeper into the pit of degradation,
from which neither the king nor the king's foes were strong, wise, or
honest enough to release her.



Bannockburn was almost welcomed by the ordainers, for it afforded new
opportunities of humiliating the defeated king. While Edward tarried at
Berwick, Lancaster was in his castle of Pontefract with a force far
larger than his cousin's. Loudly declaring that the true cause of the
disaster was Edward's neglect to carry out the ordinances, he announced
his intention of immediately enforcing their observance. At a
parliament at York, in September, Edward delivered himself altogether
into Thomas's hands, ordering the immediate execution of the
ordinances, and replacing his ministers and sheriffs by nominees of the
ordainers. The only boon that he obtained was that the earls postponed
the removal from court of Hugh Despenser and Henry Beaumont, the two
faithful friends who had guarded him in his flight from Bannockburn.
Despenser, however, thought it prudent to avoid his enemies by going
into hiding. Edward's submission did not help him against the Scots.
The earls resolved that the question of an expedition was to be
postponed until the next parliament, on the ground that it was
imprudent to take action until Hereford and the other captives had been
released. It was a sorry excuse, for King Robert and his brother were
devastating the northern counties with fire and sword, and it gave new
ground to the suspicion of an understanding between the Scottish king
and the ordainers. But the victor of Bannockburn showed surprising
moderation. He suffered the bodies of Gloucester and the slain barons
to be buried among their ancestors, and released Gloucester's
father-in-law, Monthermer, without ransom, declaring that the thing in
the world which he most desired was to live in peace with the English.
He welcomed an exchange of prisoners, by which his wife, Elizabeth de
Burgh, his sister, his daughter, and the Bishop of Glasgow were
restored to Scotland. The release of Hereford soon added to the king's

In January, 1315, Edward's humiliation was completed at a London
parliament. Hugh Despenser and Walter Langton were removed from the
council. The "superfluous members" of the royal household, denounced as
"excessively burdensome to the king and the land," were dismissed, and
drastic ordinances were drawn up for the regulation of the diminished
following still allowed to the king. Edward was put on an allowance of
L10 a day, and the administration of his revenues taken out of his
hands. The grant made was accompanied by the condition that its
spending should be entirely in the hands of the barons, and the estates
arranged after their own fashion for the new Scottish campaign. When
summer came, Lancaster insisted on taking the command himself, and thus
gave a new grievance to Pembroke, who had already been appointed
general. Lancaster was henceforth the indispensable man. When
parliament met at Lincoln, in January, 1316, the few magnates who
attended would transact no business until his arrival. On his tardy
appearance in the last days of the session, it was resolved "that the
lord king should do nothing grave or arduous without the advice of the
council, and that the Earl of Lancaster should hold the chief place in
the council". It was only after some hesitation that the earl accepted
this position. Once more the king was forced to confirm the ordinances.
Liberal grants were made by the estates, and every rural township was
called upon to furnish and pay a foot soldier to fight the Scots.

The commander of the army and the chief counsellor of the king,
Lancaster, was in a stronger position than any subject since the days of
Simon of Montfort. He could afford to despise aristocratic jealousy and
royal malignity. To the commons he was the good earl, who was standing
up for the rights of the people. He was the darling of the clergy, who
looked upon him as the pillar of orthodoxy, the disciple of Winchelsea,
and the upholder of the rights of Holy Church. The warlike and energetic
barons of the north were his sworn followers, and, apart from his hold
upon public opinion, he could always fall back on the resources of his
five earldoms. But events were soon to show that the successful leader
of opposition was absolutely incapable of carrying out a constructive
policy. He had no ideals, no principles, no feeling of the importance of
administrative efficiency, no sense of responsibility, no power of
controlling his followers. He never understood that his business was no
longer to oppose but to act. The clear-headed monk of Malmesbury paints
the disastrous results of his inaction: "Whatsoever pleased the king,
the earl's servants strove to overthrow; and whatever pleased the earl,
was declared by the king's servants to be treasonable; and so, at the
suggestion of the evil one, the households of earl and king put
themselves in the way and would not allow their masters, by whom the
land should have been defended, to be of one accord". Even the implied
understanding with the King of Scots was not abandoned by the man on
whom the responsibility rested of defeating him. When Bruce devastated
the north of England he still spared the lands of the king's "chief
counsellor," as of old he had spared the lands of the opposition leader.
When, in 1316, Lancaster mustered his forces at Newcastle against the
Scots, Edward repaid him for his inaction in 1314 by declining to
accompany him over the border. "Thereupon," wrote the border
annalist,[1] "the earl at once went back; for neither trusted the
other." Edward, who forgot and forgave nothing, secretly negotiated with
the pope for absolution from his oath to the ordinances. He gradually
built up a court party, and soon restored Hugh Despenser to his position
in the household. As might be expected in such circumstances no
effective resistance was made to the Scots.

    [1] _Lanercost Chronicle_, p. 233.

It was a time of severe distress in England. In 1315 a rainy summer
ruined the harvest. Great floods swept away the hay from the fields,
and drowned the sheep and cattle. In 1316 famine raged, especially in
the north. For a hundred years, we are told, such scarcity of corn had
not been known. A bushel of wheat was sold at London for forty pence,
and the Northumbrians were driven to feed on dogs, horses, and other
unwonted food. Pestilence followed in the train of famine. It was in
vain that parliament passed laws, limiting the repasts of the barons'
households to two courses of meat, and fixing the price of the chief
sorts of victuals. The only result was that dealers refused to bring
their produce to market. Then the legislation, passed in a panic, was
repealed in a panic. "It is better," said a chronicler, "to buy things
at a high rate than not to be able to buy them at all."

Private wars raged from end to end of south Britain. On the upper
Severn, Griffith of Welshpool, the younger son of Griffith ap
Gwenwynwyn, laid regular siege to Powys castle, the stronghold of John
Charlton, his niece's husband and his rival for the lordship of upper
Powys. As Charlton was a courtier, Griffith attached himself to the
ordainers. After Bannockburn, the captivity of Hereford, the lord of
Brecon, and the death without heirs of Gloucester, the lord of
Glamorgan, removed the strongest restraints on the men of south Wales.
The royal warden of Glamorgan, Payne of Turberville, displaced
Gloucester's old officers. One of the sufferers was Llewelyn Bren, "a
great and powerful Welshman in those parts," who had held high office
under Earl Gilbert. In 1315 Llewelyn, after seeking justice in vain at
the king's court, rose in revolt against Turberville. He gathered the
Welshmen on the hills, burst upon Caerphilly, while the constable was
holding a court outside the castle, took the outer ward by surprise and
burnt it to ashes. There was fear lest this revolt should be the
starting-point of a general Welsh rising. Llewelyn's hill strongholds
threatened Brecon on the north and the vale of Glamorgan on the south;
and Hereford, then released from his Scottish captivity, was entrusted
with the suppression of the revolt. Before long all the lords of the
march joined Hereford in stamping out the movement. Among them were the
two Roger Mortimers, the Montagues and the Giffords, and Henry of
Lancaster, Earl Thomas's brother, and lord in his own right of Monmouth
and Kidwelly. Overwhelmed by such mighty opponents, Llewelyn
surrendered to Hereford, hoping thus to save his followers.

Lancaster himself suffered from the spirit of anarchy that was abroad.
His own Lancashire vassals rose against his authority, under Adam
Banaster, a former member of his household. Adam belonged to an
important Lancashire family, which had long stood in close relations to
Wales, and had committed a homicide for which he despaired of pardon.
He now posed as the champion of the king against the earl, believing
that anything that caused trouble to Thomas would give no small delight
at court. Lancaster showed more energy in upholding his own rights than
in maintaining the honour of England. He raised such an overwhelming
force that Banaster, unable to hold the field against him, shut himself
up in his house. His refuge was stormed and his head brought to Earl
Thomas as a trophy of victory. While Banaster was raiding Lancashire
and Llewelyn south Wales, the Scots were devastating the country as far
south as Furness, and Edward Bruce, King Robert's brother, was
conquering Ireland. There was little wonder that Edward Bruce hoped to
cross over to Wales when he had done his work in Ireland, or that the
Welsh, buoyed up, as in the last generation, by the prophesies of
Merlin, believed that the time was come when they would expel the
Saxons, and win back the empire of Britain.

Of much longer duration than the wars of Llewelyn Bren and Adam
Banaster, were the formidable disturbances which raged for many years
at Bristol. Fourteen Bristol magnates had long a preponderating
influence in the government of the town. The commons bitterly resented
their superiority and declared that every burgess should enjoy equal
rights. A royal inquiry was ordered, but the judges, bribed, as was
believed, by the fourteen, gave a decision which was unacceptable to
the commons. Lord Badlesmere, warden of the castle, sided with the
oligarchs, and thus the whole authority of the state was brought to
bear against the popular party. But it was an easy matter to resist the
government of Edward II. The commons took arms and a riot broke out in
court. Twenty men were killed in the disturbances, and the judges fled
for their lives. Eighty burgesses were proved by inquest at Gloucester
to have been the ringleaders. As they refused to appear to answer the
charges, they were outlawed. Indignation at Bristol then rose to such a
height that the fourteen fled in their turn, and for more than two
years Bristol succeeded in holding out against the royal mandate. At
last, in 1316, the town was regularly besieged by the Earl of Pembroke.
The castle was not within the burgesses' power, and its _petrariae_,
breaking down the walls and houses of the borough, compelled the
townsmen to surrender. A few of the chief rebels were punished, but a
pardon was issued to the mass of the burgesses.

More dangerous than any of these troubles was the attack made by Edward
Bruce on the English power in Ireland. That power had been on the wane
during the last two generations. Edward I. had formed schemes for the
better administration of the country, but little had come of them. The
English government in Dublin gradually lost such control as it had
possessed over the remoter parts of the island. The shire organisation,
set up in an earlier generation, became little more than nominal. The
constitutional movement of the thirteenth century extended to the
island, and the Irish parliament, then growing up out of the old
council, reflected in a blurred fashion the organisation of the English
parliament of the three estates. But royal lieutenants and councils,
shires and sheriffs, parliaments and justices had only the most
superficial influence on Irish life. Real authority was divided between
the Norman lords of the plain and the Celtic chieftains of the hills.
Each feudal lord hated his fellows, and bitter as were the feuds of
Fitzgeralds and Burghs, they were mild as compared with the rancorous
hereditary factions which divided the native septs from each other.
These divisions alone made it possible for the king's officers to keep
up some semblance of royal rule. If they were seldom obeyed, the
divisions in the enemies' camps prevented any chance of their being
overthrown. Thus the Irish went on living a rude, turbulent life of
perpetual purposeless war and bloodshed. Ireland was a wilder, larger,
more remote Welsh march, and the resemblance was heightened by the fact
that many of the Anglo-Norman principalities were in the hands of great
English or marcher families, and that the Irish foot-soldier played
only a less important part than the Welsh archer and pikeman among the
light-armed soldiers of the English crown.

The easiest way to keep up a show of English government was to form an
alliance between the crown and some of the baronial houses. Richard de
Burgh, Earl of Ulster, the most powerful of the feudal lords of
Ireland, was the only one who at that period bore the title of earl. He
had long been interested in general English affairs, and his kinswomen
had intermarried into great British houses. One of his daughters
married Robert Bruce when he was Earl of Carrick, and another was more
recently wedded to Earl Gilbert of Gloucester. Despite the Bruce
connexion, the Earl of Ulster was still trusted by the English party,
and the king gave him the command of an Irish army which he had
intended to send against Scotland in 1314. Richard was too busy
fighting the Ulster clans of O'Donnell and O'Neil, and too jealous of
the Fitzgeralds, his feudal rivals, to throw his heart into the
hopeless task of gathering together the two nations and many clans of
Ireland into a single host. The death of Earl Gilbert at Bannockburn
broke his nearest tie with England, and the release of Elizabeth Bruce
in exchange for Hereford gave his daughter the actual enjoyment of the
throne of Scotland. His natural instincts as an Irishman and as a baron
were to restrain the power of his overlord. When the news of Bruce's
victory produced a great stir among the Irish clans, he stood aside and
let events take their course.

Though the Gael of the Scottish Highlands played little part at
Bannockburn, the Irish rejoiced at the Scots' success as that of their
kinsmen. "The Kings of the Scots," said the Irish Celts, "derive their
origin from our land. They speak our tongue and have our laws and
customs." However little true this was in fact, it was a good excuse
for some of the Irish clans to offer the throne of Ireland to the King
of Scots. Robert rejected the proposal for himself, but was willing to
give his able and adventurous brother Edward the chance of winning
another crown for his house. Edward, "who thought that Scotland was too
little for his brother and himself," cheerfully fell in with the
scheme. On May 25, 1315, he landed near Carrickfergus and received a
rapturous welcome from the O'Neils, the greatest of the septs of the
north-east. Before long all Celtic Ulster flocked to his banners, and
Edmund Butler, then justice of Ireland, strove with little success to
make head against the Scottish invasion. The completeness of Bruce's
union with the native Irish gave him his best chance of attaining his
object. Up to this point the attitude of the Earl of Ulster had been
most undecided. He at last threw in his lot with the justiciar. When
parties began to shape themselves it was clear that "all the Irish of
Ireland" were in league with Bruce. The danger was that "a great part
of the great lords and lesser English folk" also joined the invader.
Conspicuous among these were the Lacys of Meath.

Edward Bruce showed energy and vigour. He made his way southwards, and
in September won a victory over the forces of the Earl of Ulster and
the justiciar at Dundalk, then in the south of Ulster. After this he
pushed into Meath and Leinster and was joined by the O'Tooles and the
other clans of the Wicklow mountains, while the adhesion of Phelim
O'Connor, King of Connaught, brought the whole of the Celtic west into
his alliance. The barons, however, took the alarm. During the winter
Butler contracted friendship with many of the Norman colonists. From
that time the struggle assumed the character of a war between Celtic
Ireland and feudal Ireland, the native clansmen and the Anglo-Norman
settlers. Thus, though Bruce and his wild allies found it easy to make
themselves masters of the open country, all the castles and towns were
closed to them and could only be won by long-continued efforts. Before
long, Butler drove them to the hills. Ere the winter was over, Edward
found it prudent to retire to Ulster.

During 1316 the struggle raged unceasingly. Bruce was crowned King of
Ireland, the O'Neil, it was said, having abdicated his rights in his
favour. But the summer saw the utter defeat of the O'Connors by the
justiciar at the bloody battle of Athenry, where King Phelim and the
noblest of his sept perished. A little later the King of Scots came to
the help of his brother. With his aid, Edward was able to reduce
Carrickfergus, which had hitherto defied his efforts. Then the brothers
led their forces from one end of Ireland to the other. Dublin prepared
for a siege by burning its suburbs and devastating the country around.
But though the two Bruces penetrated as far as Limerick, they did not
capture a single castle or a walled town. They lost so many men during
their winter campaign, that they were forced in the spring to retire to
Ulster. The hopeless disunion of both parties in Ireland seemed likely
to prolong the struggle indefinitely. The men of Dublin and the Earl of
Ulster were at feud with each other, and the citizens captured the earl
and shut him up in Dublin castle. However little the earl could be
trusted, this was a step likely to throw all Ulster into the arms of
the Bruces. But a stronger justice of Ireland then superseded Edmund
Butler. Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, the mightiest baron of the Welsh
march, and a man of real ability, rare energy, extreme ruthlessness,
and savage cruelty, crossed over from Haverfordwest early in 1317 at
the head of a large force of marcher knights and men-at-arms, versed
from their youth up in the traditions of Celtic warfare. Mortimer set
himself to work to break up the ill-assorted coalition that supported
Bruce. He released the Earl of Ulster from his Dublin prison; he
procured the banishment of the heads of the house of Lacy; he won over
some of the Irish septs to his side; he stimulated the civil war which
had devastated Connaught since the fall of the O'Connors. Edward Bruce
was once more confined to Ulster, where he still struggled on bravely.
In the autumn of 1318 he led a foray southwards, and met his fate in a
skirmish near Dundalk on October 14, when his force was scattered in
confusion by John of Bermingham, one of the neighbouring lords. The
four quarters of the luckless King of Ireland were exposed in the four
chief towns of the island as a trophy of victory, and Bermingham was
rewarded by the new earldom of Louth.

Edward Bruce's enterprise ended with his death, and Ireland rapidly
settled down into its normal condition of impotent turbulence. Though
at first sight the invader utterly failed, yet he pricked the bubble of
the English power in Ireland. His gallant attempt at winning the throne
is the critical event in a long period of Irish history. From the days
of Henry III to the days of Edward Bruce, the lordship of the English
kings in Ireland was to some extent a reality. From 1315 to the reign
of Henry VIII, the English dominion was little more than a name as
regards the greater part of Ireland.

No one attained success, in the years after Bannockburn,--neither
Banaster, nor Llewelyn Bren, nor the Bristol commons nor Edward Bruce
and his Irish allies. Before long, the incompetence of Lancaster became
as manifest as the incompetence of Edward II. Lancaster's failure led
to the dissolution of the baronial opposition into fiercely opposing
factions. Personal and territorial jealousies slowly undermined a unity
which had always been more apparent than real. The Earl of Pembroke had
never forgiven the treachery of Deddington. Though Warwick was dead,
Pembroke still pursued Lancaster with unrelenting hatred. No partisan
of prerogative, and an enemy of Edward's personal following, Earl Aymer
separated himself from his old associates and strove to form a middle
party between the faction of the king and the faction of Lancaster.
Warerine, coarse, turbulent, and vicious, at once violent and crafty,
still acted with him. The lord of Conisborough had long grudged the
master of Pontefract and Sandal his great position in Yorkshire. The
natural rivalries of neighbouring potentates were further emphasised by
personal animosity of the deadliest kind. Lancaster had long been at
variance with his wife, Alice Lacy. On May 9, 1317, the Countess of
Lancaster ran away from him, with the active help of Warenne and by the
secret contrivance of the king. Private war at once broke out between
the two earls. Lancaster was too strong for his enemy. Before winter
had begun, Conisborough and Warenne's other Yorkshire castles fell into
his hands. Lancaster's partisans even laid hold of the king's castle of
Knaresborough, while other Lancastrian bands occupied Alton castle in
Staffordshire. Intermittent hostilities continued until the summer of
1318. Twice Edward himself went to the north, and on one occasion
appeared in force outside Pontefract. But the more moderate of the
baronage managed to prevent open hostilities between the king and the
earl. Lancaster was, as ever, fighting for his own hand. His
self-seeking narrowness gave Pembroke the chance of winning for his
middle party a preponderating authority.

Pembroke found more trustworthy allies than Warenne in Bartholomew,
Lord Badlesmere, the sometime instigator of the Bristol troubles, and a
bitter opponent of Lancaster, and in Roger of Amory, the husband of one
of the three co-heiresses who now divided the Gloucester inheritance.
Edward, who had profited by the divisions of his enemies to revive the
court party, formed a coalition between his friends and the followers
of Pembroke. All lovers of order, of moderation, and of the supremacy
of the law necessarily made common cause with them. Thus it followed
that the same machinery, which Lancaster a few years earlier had turned
against the king, was now turned against him. An additional motive to
bring peaceable Englishmen into line was found in the capture of
Berwick by Bruce in April, 1318. After this negotiations for peace
began. The king and Lancaster treated as two independent princes.
Lancaster was no longer supported by any prominent earl, and even his
clerical friends were falling from him. Ordainers as jealous as
Arundel, royalists as fierce as Mortimer, served along with trimmers
like Pembroke and Badlesmere, in acting as mediators. Lancaster could
no more resist than Edward could in 1312. On August 9 he accepted at
Leek, in Staffordshire, the conditions drawn up for him.

The treaty of Leek marks the triumph of the middle party and the
removal of Lancaster from the first place in the royal council. A
pardon was granted to him and his followers, but Thomas gained little
else by the compact. Pembroke and his friends showed themselves as
jealous of Edward as ever the ordainers had been. The ordinances were
once more confirmed, and a new council of seventeen was nominated,
including eight bishops, four earls, four barons, and one banneret. The
earls were Pembroke, Arundel, Richmond, and Hereford. Of these the
Breton Earl of Richmond was the most friendly to the king, but it was
significant to find so truculent a politician as Hereford making common
cause with Pembroke. The most important of the four barons was Roger
Mortimer of Wigmore. Lancaster though not paramount was still powerful,
but his habit of absenting himself from parliaments made it useless to
offer him a place in the council, and he was represented by a single
banneret, nominated by him. Of these councillors two bishops, one earl,
one baron, and Lancaster's nominee were to be in constant attendance.
They were virtually to control Edward's policy, and to see that he
consulted parliament in all matters that required its assent. A few
days after the treaty Edward and Lancaster met at Hathern, near
Loughborough, and exchanged the kiss of peace. Roger of Amory and other
magnates of the middle party reconciled themselves to Lancaster, and he
condescendingly restored them to his favour. But he would not deign to
admit Hugh Despenser to his presence, and declared that he was still
free to carry on his quarrel against Warenne. In October, a parliament
at York confirmed the treaty of Leek, adding new members to the council
and appointing another commission to reform the king's household. From
that time until 1321, Pembroke and his friends controlled the English
state, though often checked both by the king and even more by
Lancaster, who still stood ostentatiously aloof from parliaments and
campaigns. These years, though neither glorious nor prosperous, were
the most peaceable and uneventful of the whole of Edward II.'s reign.
They are noteworthy for the only serious attempt made to check the
progress of the Scots after Bannockburn. From 1318 to 1320 king and
court were almost continually in the north. York became the regular
meeting-place of parliaments for even a longer period.

Since 1314, the Scots had mercilessly devastated the whole north of
England. The population made little attempt at resistance, and sought
to buy them off by large payments of money. The Scots took the cash and
soon came again for more. They wandered at will over the open country,
and only the castles and walled towns afforded protection against them.
Their forays extended as far south as Lancashire and Yorkshire, and, so
early as 1315, Carlisle and Berwick were regularly besieged by them. It
was to no purpose that in 1317 the pope issued a bull insisting upon a
truce. The English welcomed an armistice on any terms, but the Scots'
interest was in the continuance of the war, and they paid no attention
to the papal proposal. The result was a renewal of Bruce's
excommunication, and the placing of all Scotland under interdict. Yet
no papal censures checked Robert's career or lessened his hold over
Scotland. Next year he showed greater activity than ever. In April,
1318, he captured the town of Berwick by treachery. Peter of Spalding,
one of the English burgesses who formed the town guard, was bribed to
allow a band of Scots to seize that section of the town wall of which
he was guardian. Then the intruders captured the gates and admitted
their comrades. Thus the last Scottish town to be held by the English
went back to its natural rulers. The English burgesses were expelled,
though Bruce showed wonderful moderation, and few of his enemies were
slain. Berwick castle held out for a time, until lack of victuals
caused its surrender. In May the Scots marched through Northumberland
and Durham into Yorkshire, burnt Northallerton and Boroughbridge, and
exacted a thousand marks from Ripon, as the price of respecting the
church of St. Wilfred. They then spent three days at Knaresborough, and
made their way home through Craven.

Such successes show clearly enough that the treaty of Leek was not
signed a moment too soon. It was, however, too late for any great
effort against the Scots in 1318. A strenuous endeavour was made to
levy a formidable expedition for 1319. In strict accordance with the
ordinances, the parliament, which met at York in May of that year,
agreed that there should be a muster at Berwick for July 22, and
granted a liberal subsidy. An insolent offer of peace, coupled with a
promise of freedom of life and limb to Bruce, should he resign his
crown, provoked from the Scots king the reply that Scotland was his
kingdom both by hereditary right and the law of arms, and that he was
indifferent whether he had peace with the English king or not. On July
22, the feast of St. Mary Magdalen and the anniversary of Falkirk
fight, the barons assembled at Newcastle. Thomas of Lancaster was there
with his brother Henry. Warenne, newly reconciled with Lancaster by a
large surrender of lands, also attended, as did Pembroke, Arundel,
Hereford, and the husbands of the three Gloucester co-heiresses. There
was a braver show of earls than even in 1314. An offer of lands, when
Scotland was conquered, attracted a large number of volunteer infantry,
while the cupidity of the seamen was appealed to by a promise of ample
plunder. In August the host and fleet moved northwards, and closely
beset Berwick.

The Scots were too astute to offer battle. While the English were
employed at Berwick, Sir James Douglas led their main force into the
heart of Yorkshire. Douglas hoped to capture Queen Isabella, who was
staying near York. A spy betrayed this design to the English, and
Isabella was hurried off by water to Nottingham, while Douglas pressed
on into the heart of Yorkshire. The Yorkshiremen had to defend their
own shire while their best soldiers were with the king at Berwick. A
hastily gathered assembly of improvised warriors flocked into York.
Archbishop Melton put himself at their head, and the clergy, both
secular and religious, formed a considerable element in the host. Then
they marched out against the Scots, and found them at Myton in
Swaledale. The Scots despised the disorderly mob of squires and
farmers, priests and canons, monks and friars. "These are not
warriors," they cried, "but huntsmen. They will do nought against us."
Concealing their movements by kindling great fires of hay, they bore
down upon the Yorkshiremen and put them to flight with much loss. The
fight was called "the white battle of Myton" on account of the large
number of white-robed monks who took part in it The archbishop escaped
with the utmost difficulty. Many fugitives were drowned in the Swale,
and not one would have escaped had not night stopped the Scots'
pursuit. The victors then pushed as far south as Pontefract. On the
news of the battle, the besiegers of Berwick were dismayed. There was
talk of dividing the army, and sending one part to drive Douglas out of
Yorkshire while the other continued the siege. But the magnates, in no
mood to run risks, insisted on an immediate return to England. Before
Edward had reached Yorkshire, Douglas had made his way home over
Stainmoor and Gilsland. Thereupon the king sent back his troops, each
man to his own house. The magnificent army had accomplished nothing at
all. So inglorious a termination of the campaign naturally gave rise to
suspicions of treason. A story was spread abroad that Lancaster had
received L4,000 from the King of Scots and had consequently done his
best to help his ally. The rumour was so seriously believed that the
earl offered to purge himself by ordeal of hot iron. In despair Edward
made a two years' truce with the Scots. It was the best way of avoiding
another Bannockburn.

Troublous times soon began again. Since Edward surrendered himself to
the guidance of Pembroke and Badlesmere, he had enjoyed comparative
repose and dignity. It was only when a great enterprise, like the Scots
campaign, was attempted that the evil results of anarchy and the
still-abiding influence of Lancaster made themselves felt. But Edward
bore no love to Pembroke and his associates, and was quietly feeling
his way towards the re-establishment of the court party. His chief
helpers in this work were the two Despensers, father and son, both
named Hugh. The elder Despenser, then nearly sixty years of age, had
grown grey in the service of Edward I. A baron of competent estate, he
inherited from his father, the justiciar who fell at Evesham, an
hereditary bias towards the constitutional tradition, but he looked to
the monarch or to the popular estates, rather than to the baronage, as
the best embodiment of his ideals. Ambitious and not over-scrupulous,
he saw more advantage to himself in playing the game of the king than
in joining a swarm of quarrelsome opposition lords. From the beginning
of the reign he had identified himself with Gaveston and the courtiers,
and had incurred the special wrath of Lancaster and the ordainers.
Excluded from court, forced into hiding, excepted from several
pacifications as he had been, Despenser never long absented himself
from the court. His ambition was kindled by the circumstance that his
eldest son had become the most intimate personal friend of the king.
Brought up as a boy in the household of Edward when Prince of Wales,
the ties of old comradeship gradually drew the younger Hugh into
Gaveston's old position as the chief favourite. Neither a foreigner nor
an adventurer, Despenser had the good sense to avoid the worst errors
of his predecessor. As chamberlain, he was in constant attendance on
the king; and having married Edward's niece Eleanor, the eldest of the
Gloucester co-heiresses, he sought to establish himself among the
higher aristocracy. Royal grants and offices rained upon father and
son. The household officers were changed at their caprice. The only
safe way to the king's favour was by purchasing their good-will. Their
good fortune stirred up fierce animosities, and the barons showed that
they could hate a renegade as bitterly as a foreign adventurer.

The Despensers' ambition to attain high rank was the more natural from
the havoc which death had played among the earls. "Time was," said the
monk of Malmesbury, "when fifteen earls and more followed the king to
war; but now only five or six gave him their assistance." The five
earldoms of Thomas of Lancaster meant the extinction of as many ancient
houses. The earldoms of Chester, Cornwall, and Norfolk had long been in
the king's hands. If the comital rank was not to be extinguished
altogether, it had to be recruited with fresh blood. And who were so
fit to fill up the vacant places as these well-born favourites?

A little had been done under Edward II to remedy the desolation of the
earldoms. The revival of the earldom of Cornwall in favour of Gaveston
had not been a happy experiment. But the king's elder half-brother,
Thomas of Brotherton, invested with the estates and dignities of the
Bigods, was made earl marshal and Earl of Norfolk. In 1321 the earldom
of Kent, extinct since the fall of Hubert de Burgh, was revived in
favour of Edmund of Woodstock, the younger half-brother of the king.
The titular Scottish earldoms of some English barons, such as the
Umfraville earls of Angus, kept up the name, if not the state of earls,
and we have seen the reward of the victor of Dundalk in the creation of
a new earldom of Louth in Ireland. But there were certain hereditary
dignities whose suspension seemed unnatural. Conspicuous among these
was the Gloucester earldom which, from the days of the valiant son of
Henry I. to the death of the last male Clare at Bannockburn, had played
a unique part in English history.

Both the Despensers desired to be earls, and the younger Hugh wished
that the Gloucester earldom should be revived in his favour. Assured of
the good-will of the king, both had to contend against the jealousy of
the baronage and the exclusiveness of the existing earls. The younger
Hugh had also to reckon with his two brothers-in-law, with whom he had
divided the Clare estates. These were Hugh of Audley, who had married
Margaret the widow of Gaveston, and Roger of Amory, the husband of
Elizabeth, the youngest of the Clare sisters. There had been difficulty
enough in effecting the partition of the Gloucester inheritance among
the three co-heiresses. In 1317 the division was made, and Despenser had
become lord of Glamorgan, which politically and strategically was most
important of all the Gloucester lands.[1] Yet even then, Despenser was
not satisfied with his position. His rival Audley had been allotted
Newport and Netherwent, while Amory had been assigned the castle of Usk
and estates higher up the Usk valley. Annoyed that he should be a lesser
personage in south Wales than Earl Gilbert had been, Despenser began to
intrigue against his wife's brothers-in-law. Each of the co-heirs had
already become deadly rivals. Their hostility was the more keen since
the three had already taken different sides in English politics.
Despenser was the soul of the court faction; Amory was the ally of
Pembroke and Badlesmere, the men of the middle party; and Audley was an
uncompromising adherent of Thomas of Lancaster. There was every chance
that each one of the three would have competent backing. To each the
triumph of his friends meant the prospect of his becoming Earl of

    [1] See for this, W.H. Stevenson, _A Letter of the Younger
    Despenser in 1321_ in _Engl. Hist. Rev._, xii. (1897), 755-61.

Despenser, abler and more restless than the others, and confident in
the royal favour, was the first to take the aggressive. He wished to
base his future greatness upon a compact marcher principality in south
Wales, and to that end not only laid his hands upon the outlying
possessions of the Clares but coveted the lands of all his weaker
neighbours. He took advantage of a family arrangement for the
succession to Gower, to strike the first blow. The English-speaking
peninsula of Gower, with the castle of Swansea, was still held by a
junior branch of the decaying house of Braose, whose main marcher
lordships had been divided a century earlier between the Bohuns and the
Mortimers. Its spendthrift ruler, William of Braose, was the last male
of his race. He strove to make what profit he could for himself out of
his succession, and had for some time been treating with Humphrey of
Hereford. Gower was immediately to the south-west of Hereford's
lordship of Brecon. Its acquisition would extend the Bohun lands to the
sea, and make Earl Humphrey the greatest lord in south Wales. At the
last moment, however, Braose broke off with him and sought to sell
Gower to John of Mowbray, the husband of his daughter and heiress. When
Braose died in 1320, Mowbray took possession of Gower in accordance
with the "custom of the march". The royal assent had not been asked,
either for licence to alienate, or for permission to enter upon the
estate. Despenser coveted Gower for himself. He had already got
Newport, had he Swansea also he would rule the south coast from the
Lloughor to the Usk. Accordingly, he declared that the custom of the
march trenched upon the royal prerogative, and managed that Gower
should be seized by the king's officers, as a first step towards
getting it for himself.

Despenser's action provoked extreme indignation among all the marcher
lords. They denounced the apostate from the cause of his class for
upsetting the balance of power in the march, and declared that in
treating a lordship beyond the Wye like a landed estate in England,
Hugh had, like Edward I., "despised the laws and customs of the march".
It was easy to form a coalition of all the marcher lords against him.
The leaders of it were Humphrey of Hereford, Roger Mortimer of Chirk,
justice of Wales, and his nephew, Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, the head
of the house, who had overthrown Edward Bruce's monarchy of Ireland. As
Braose co-heirs their position was unassailable. But every other baron
had his grievance. John of Mowbray resented the loss of Gower; Henry of
Lancaster feared for Monmouth and Kidwelly; Audley wished to win back
Newport, and Amory, Usk. Behind the confederates was Thomas of
Lancaster himself, eager to regain his lost position of leadership. The
league at once began to wage war against Despenser in south Wales, and
approached the court with a demand that he should be banished as a

Edward made his way to Gloucester in March, 1321, and strove to protect
Despenser and to calm the wild spirits of the marchers. But private war
had already broken out after the marcher fashion, and the king retired
without effecting his purpose. Left to themselves the marcher allies
easily overran the Despenser lands, inherited or usurped. Neither
Cardiff nor Caerphilly held out long against them: the Welsh
husbandmen, like the English knights and barons of Glamorgan, were
hostile to the Despensers. The king could do nothing to help his
friends. In May, Lancaster formed a league of northern barons in the
chapter-house of the priory at Pontefract. In June, another northern
gathering was held in the Norman nave of the parish church of
Sherburn-in-Elmet, a few miles to the north of Pontefract. This was
attended by the Archbishop of York and two of his suffragans, and a
great number of clergy, secular and regular, as well as by many barons
and knights. It was in fact an informal parliament of the Lancastrian
party. A long list of complaints were drawn up which, under fair words,
demanded the removal of bad ministers, and among them the chamberlain.
The clerical members of the conference met separately at the rectory,
where they showed more circumspection, but an equally partisan bias.[1]

    [1] Bp. Stubbs works all this out, _Chron. Ed. I. and II_.,
    ii., pref., lxxxvi.-xc.

The conferences at Pontefract and Sherburn showed that Lancaster and
the northerners were in full sympathy with the men of the west. The
middle party again made common cause with the followers of Lancaster.
Amory's interests were sufficiently involved to make him an eager enemy
of Despenser, and Badlesmere was almost as keen. Though Pembroke still
professed to mediate, it was generally believed that he was delighted
to get rid of the Despensers. Even Warenne took sides against them,
though the discredited earl was fast becoming of no account. Such being
the drift of opinion, the fate of the favourites was settled when the
estates assembled in London in July. Edward had delayed a meeting of
parliament as long as he could, and was helpless in its hands. Great
pains were taken this time to prevent the repetition of the
informalities which had attended the attack on Gaveston. There was an
unprecedented gathering of magnates, who came to the parliament with a
large armed following, encamped like an army in all the villages to the
north of the city. The commons were fully represented, and the clerical
estate was expressly summoned. Articles were at once drawn up against
the Despensers. They had aspired to royal power; had turned the heart
of the king from his subjects; had excited civil war, and had taught
that obedience was due to the crown rather than to the king. This last
charge came strangely from those who had urged that doctrine as a
pretext for withdrawing support from Gaveston. It is a good
illustration of the tendency of the Despensers to cloak their personal
ambitions with loud-sounding constitutional phrases.

The peers pronounced sentence of banishment and forfeiture against both
the elder and the younger Hugh. They were not to be recalled save by
consent of the peers in parliament assembled. The easy revolution was
completed by the issuing of pardons to nearly five hundred members of
the triumphant coalition. The elder Despenser at once withdrew to the
continent. The younger Hugh found friends among the mariners of the
Cinque Ports. These at first protected him in England, and then put at
his disposal a little fleet of vessels with which, when driven from the
land, he took to piracy in the narrow seas.

The fall of the Despensers was brought about very much after the same
fashion as the first exile of Gaveston. Like Gaveston, they speedily
returned, and in circumstances which suggest an even closer parallel
with the events that led to the recall of the Gascon. The triumphant
coalition in each case fell to pieces as soon as it had done its
immediate work. Once more the loss of his friend and comrade stirred up
Edward to an energy and perseverance such as he never displayed on
other occasions. But the second triumph of the king assumed a more
complete character than his earlier snatched victory. Accident favoured
Edward's design of bringing back his favourites, and throwing off once
more the baronial thraldom. On October 13, 1321, Queen Isabella, on her
way to Canterbury, claimed hospitality at Leeds castle, situated
between Maidstone and the archiepiscopal city. The castle belonged to
Badlesmere, whose wife was then residing there, with his kinsman,
Bartholomew Burghersh, and a competent garrison. Lady Badlesmere
refused to admit the queen, declaring that, without her lord's orders,
she could not venture to entertain any one. Bitterly indignant at the
insult, the queen took up her quarters in the neighbouring priory and
attempted to force an entrance. The castle, however, was not to be
taken by the hasty attack of a small company. Six of Isabella's
followers were slain, and the attempt was abandoned. Isabella called
upon her husband to avenge her; and the king at once resolved to
capture Leeds castle at any cost, and prepared to undertake the
enterprise in person. He offered high wages to all crossbowmen,
archers, knights, and squires who would follow him to Leeds, and
summoned the levies of horse and foot from the towns and shires of the
south-east. His trust in the loyalty of his subjects met with an
unexpectedly favourable response. In a few days a large army gathered
round the king under the walls of Leeds. Among the many magnates who
appeared among the royal following were six earls: Pembroke,
Badlesmere's own associate; the king's two brothers, Norfolk and Kent;
Warenne, Richmond, and Arundel, who as Despenser's kinsman felt himself
bound to fight on his side. On October 23 the castle was closely
besieged by this overwhelming force, and on October 31 was forced to
surrender. Burghersh was shut up in the Tower and Lady Badlesmere in
Dover castle. Thirteen of the garrison, "stout men and valiant," were
hanged by the angry king.

During the siege of Leeds, the magnates of the march, headed by
Hereford and Roger Mortimer, collected a force at Kingston-on-Thames,
where they were joined by Badlesmere. But they dared not advance
towards the relief of the Kentish castle, and, after a fortnight they
dispersed to their own homes. Lancaster hated Badlesmere so bitterly
that he made no move against the king, and sullenly bided his time in
the north. His inaction paralysed the barons as effectively as in
earlier days it had hindered the plans of the king. Flushed with his
victory, Edward gradually unfolded his designs. His tool, Archbishop
Reynolds, summoned a convocation of the southern province for December
1 at St. Paul's, and obtained from the assembled clergy the opinion
that the proceedings against the Despensers were invalid. On January 1,
1322, Reynolds solemnly declared this sentence in St. Paul's. Edward
did not wait for the archbishop. Attended by many of the warriors who
had fought at Leeds, he marched to the west, occupying on his journey
the lands and castles of his enemies. He kept his Christmas court at
Cirencester, and thence advanced towards the Severn. As the inaction of
Lancaster kept the northern barons quiet, Edward's sole task was to
wreak his revenge on the marcher lords. They were unprepared for
resistance, and waited in vain for Lancaster to come to their help.
Without a leader, they made feeble and ill-devised efforts to oppose
the king's advance. Their command of the few bridges over the Severn
prevented the king from crossing the river, and leading his troops
directly into the march. Foiled at Gloucester, Worcester, and
Bridgnorth, Edward made his way up the stream to Shrewsbury. The two
Mortimers, who held the town and the passage of the river, could have
stopped him if they had chosen. But they feared to undertake strong
measures while Lancaster's action remained uncertain. They suffered
Edward to cross the stream and surrendered to him. The collapse of the
fiercest of the marcher lords frightened the rest into surrender.
Edward wandered back through the middle and southern marches, occupying
without resistance the main strongholds of his enemies. At Hereford, he
sharply rebuked the bishop for upholding the barons against their
natural lord. At Berkeley, he received from Maurice of Berkeley the
keys of the stately fortress which was so soon to be the place of his
last humiliation. Early in February, he was back at Gloucester, where,
on February 11, he recalled the Despensers.

Humphrey of Hereford, Roger of Amory, and a few other marchers managed
to escape the king's pursuit, and rode northwards to join Thomas of
Lancaster. Thomas had long been ready at Pontefract with his followers
in arms. But he let the time for effective action slip, and was only
goaded into doing anything when the fugitives from the march impressed
him with the critical state of affairs. The quarrel of king and barons
was not the only trouble besetting England. The two years' truce with
Scotland had expired, and Robert Bruce was once more devastating the
northern counties. But neither Edward nor Lancaster cared anything for
this. Andrew Harclay, the governor of Carlisle, strongly urged the king
to defend his subjects from the Scots rather than make war against
them. Edward answered that rebels must be put down before foreign
enemies could be encountered, and pressed northwards with his
victorious troops.

Lancaster was then besieging Tickhill, a royal castle in southern
Yorkshire. After wasting three weeks before its walls, he led his force
south to Burton-on-Trent, which he occupied on March 10. Edward soon
approached the Trent on his northward march. The barons thereupon lost
courage, and, abandoning the defence of the passage over the river, fled
northwards to Pontefract, the centre of Lancaster's power in Yorkshire.
Edward advanced against them, taking on his road Lancaster's castle of
Tutbury, where Roger of Amory was captured, mortally wounded. The
Lancastrians were panic-stricken. They fled from Pontefract as they had
fled from Burton, retreating northwards, probably simply to avoid the
king, possibly to join hands with Robert Bruce. On March 16 the
fugitives reached Boroughbridge, on the south bank of the Ure, where a
long narrow bridge, hardly wide enough for horsemen in martial array,
crossed the stream. The north bank of the river, and the approaches to
the bridge, were held in force by the levies of Cumberland and
Westmoreland which Barclay had summoned at the king's request, in order
to prevent a junction between the Lancastrians and the Scots. Barclay
was a brave and capable commander and had well learnt the lessons of
Scottish warfare.[1] He dismounted all his knights and men-at-arms, and
arranged them on the northern side of the river, along with some of his
pikemen. The rest of the pikemen he ordered to form a "schiltron" after
the Scottish fashion, so that their close formation might resist the
cavalry of which the Lancastrian force consisted. He bade his archers
shoot swiftly and continually at the enemy.

    [1] For the tactics of Boroughbridge see _Engl. Hist. Review_,
    xix. (1904), 711-13.

Seeing this disposition of the hostile force, the Lancastrian army
divided. One band, under Hereford and Roger Clifford, dismounted and
made for the bridge, which was defended by the schiltron of pikemen.
The rest of the men-at-arms remained on horseback and followed
Lancaster, to a ford near the bridge, whence, by crossing the water,
they could take the schiltron in flank. Neither movement succeeded.
Hereford and Clifford advanced, each with one attendant, to the bridge.
No sooner had the earl entered upon the wooden structure than he was
slain by a Welsh spearman, who had hidden himself under it, and aimed a
blow at Humphrey through the planking. Clifford was severely wounded,
and escaped with difficulty. Discouraged by the loss of their leaders,
the rest of the troops made only a feeble effort to force the passage.
The same evil fortune attended the division that followed Lancaster.
The archers of Harclay obeyed his orders so well that the Lancastrian
cavalry scarcely dared enter the water. Lancaster lost his nerve, and
besought Harclay for a truce until the next morning. His request was
granted, but during the night all the followers of Hereford dispersed,
thinking that there was no need for them to remain after the death of
their lord. Lancaster's own troops were likewise thinned by desertions.
The sheriff of York came up early in the morning with an armed force
from the south, joined Harclay, and cut off the last hope of retreat.
Further resistance being useless, Lancaster, Audley, Clifford, Mowbray,
and the other leaders surrendered in a body.

Edward was then at Pontefract in the chief castle of his deadliest
enemy. Thither the prisoners of Boroughbridge were sent for their
trial, and there they were hastily condemned by a body of seven earls
and numerous barons, presided over by the king himself. Lancaster, not
allowed to say a word in his defence, was at once sentenced to death as
a rebel and a traitor. In consideration of his exalted rank, the
grosser penalties of treason were commuted, as in the case of Gaveston,
to simple decapitation. On the morning of March 22 Thomas was led out
of his castle, clad in the garb of a penitent and mounted on a sorry
steed. He was conducted to a little hill outside the walls. The crowd
mocked at his sufferings and in scorn called him "King Arthur". In two
or three blows of the axe, his head was struck off from his body. Nor
was he the only victim. Audley, spared his life by reason of his
marriage to the king's niece, was, like the two Mortimers, consigned to
prison. Clifford and Mowbray were hanged at York, and Badlesmere at
Canterbury. In all, more than twenty knights and barons paid the
penalty of death.

It is hard to waste much pity on Lancaster. He was the victim of his
own fierce passions and, still more, of his own utter incompetence. His
attitude all through the crisis had been inept in the extreme, and the
poor fight that he made for his life at Boroughbridge was a fitting
conclusion to a feeble career. But with all his faults he remained
popular to the end, especially with the clergy and commons. He was
hailed as a martyr to freedom and sound government. Pilgrimages were
made to the scene of his death, and miracles were wrought with his
relics. A chapel arose on the little hill dedicated to his worship, and
a loud cry arose for his canonisation. The abuse made by his enemies of
their victory only strengthened his reputation among the people. The
tragedy of his fall appealed to the rude sympathies of the
north-countrymen, and the merit of the cause atoned in their minds for
the weakness of the man.

A parliament met at York on May 2, where the triumph of the king
received its consummation. The Despensers had more advanced
constitutional ideas than Lancaster, and pains were taken that this
parliament should completely represent the three estates. It was a
novel feature that twelve representatives of the commons of north Wales
and twelve of the commons of south Wales attended, on this occasion, to
speak on behalf of the region where the troubles had first begun. With
the full approval of the estates, the ordinances were solemnly revoked,
as infringing the rights of the crown. The important principle was laid
down that "matters which are to be established for the estate of the
king and for the estate of the realm shall be treated, accorded, and
established in parliament by the king and by the council of the
prelates, earls, and barons, and the commonalty of the realm". Thus,
while the repeal of the ordinances seemed based upon their infringement
of the royal prerogative, it was at least implied that they were also
invalid because they were the work of a council of barons only, and not
of a full parliament of the estates. This declaration of the necessity
of popular co-operation in valid legislation is the most important
constitutional advance of the reign of Edward II. It is a significant
comment on the limitations of the baronial opposition that the
ordinances should be the last great English law in the passing of which
the commons were not consulted, and that a royalist triumph should be
the occasion of the declaration of a vital principle.

The king's friends then received their rewards. Harclay was made Earl
of Carlisle and the elder Despenser became Earl of Winchester. Fear of
the marcher lords, even in their prison, withheld from the younger Hugh
the title, though hardly the authority, of Earl of Gloucester. In other
ways also the Despensers were anxious to prevent their victory
suggesting too much of a reaction. Before parliament separated, it
adopted a new series of ordinances confirming the Great Charter and
re-enacting in more constitutional fashion some portions of the laws of
1312, which aimed at protecting the subject and strengthening the
administration. Grants of men and money were made to fight the Scots,
and once more the new customs were allowed to swell the royal revenue.
Thus the revolution was completed. Edward, Gaveston, Lancaster, and
Pembroke had each in their turn been tried and found wanting. Thanks to
the jealousies of the barons, his own spasmodic energy, and the
acuteness of the Despensers, Edward was still to have another chance,
under the guidance of his new friends. We shall see how the restored
rule of the Despensers was blighted by the same incompetence and
selfishness which had ruined their predecessors in power. The triumph
of the Despensers proved but the first act in the tragic fall of Edward



During the deliberations of the parliament of York, the truce with
Bruce expired, and forthwith came the news that the Scots had once more
crossed the border. On this occasion Bruce raided the country from
Carlisle to Preston, burning every open town on his way, though sparing
most of the religious houses. At Cartmel, Lancaster, and Preston,
favoured monastic buildings alone stood entire amidst the desolation
wrought by the Scots. No effective opposition was offered to them, and
after a three weeks' foray, they recrossed the Solway.

As in 1314 and 1318, the restoration of order was followed by an
attempt to put down Bruce. In August, 1322, Edward assembled his forces
at Newcastle and invaded Scotland. Berwick was unsuccessfully besieged
and the Lothians laid waste. The Scots still had the prudence to
withdraw beyond the Forth, and avoid battle in the open field. By the
beginning of September, pestilence and famine had done their work on
the invaders. Unable to find support in the desolate fields of Lothian,
the, English returned to their own land, having accomplished nothing.
The Scots followed on their tracks, but with such secrecy that they
penetrated into the heart of Yorkshire before Edward was aware of their
presence. In October they suddenly swooped down on the king, when he
was staying at Byland abbey. Some troops which accompanied him were
encamped on a hill between Byland and Rievaux. They were attacked by
the Scots and defeated; their leader, John of Brittany, was taken
prisoner, and Edward only avoided capture by a precipitate flight from
Byland to Bridlington. All Yorkshire was reduced to abject terror, and
Edward's hosts, the canons of Bridlington, removed with all their
valuables to Lincolnshire, and sent one of their number to Bruce at
Malton to purchase immunity for their estates. After a month the Scots
went home, leaving famine, pestilence, and misery in their train. The
Despensers thus proved themselves not less incompetent to defend
England than Thomas of Lancaster.

As the state afforded no protection, each private person had to make
the best terms he could for himself. Even the king's favourite, Louis
of Beaumont, the illiterate Bishop of Durham, entered into negotiations
with the Scots, while the Archbishop of York issued formal permission
to religious houses of his diocese to treat with the excommunicated
followers of Bruce. Not only timid ecclesiastics, but well-tried
soldiers found in private dealings with the Scots the only remedy for
their troubles. After the Byland surprise, Harclay, the new Earl of
Carlisle, the victor of Boroughbridge, and the warden of the marches,
dismissed his troops, sought out Bruce at Lochmaben, and made an
arrangement with him, by which it was resolved that a committee of six
English and six Scottish magnates should be empowered to conclude peace
between the two countries on the basis of recognising him as King of
Scots. There was great alarm at court when Harclay's treason was known.
A Cumberland baron, Anthony Lucy, was instructed to apprehend the
culprit, and forcing his way into Carlisle castle by a stratagem,
captured the earl with little difficulty. In March, 1323, Harclay
suffered the terrible doom of treason. He justified his action to the
last, declaring that his only motive was a desire to procure peace, and
convincing many of the north-countrymen of the innocence of his
motives. To such a pass had England been reduced that those who
honestly desired that the farmers of 'Cumberland should once more till
their fields in peace, saw no other means of gaining their end than by
communication with the enemies of their country.

The disgrace of Byland and the tragedy of Carlisle showed that it was
idle to pretend to fight the Scots any longer. Negotiations for peace
were entered upon; Pembroke and the younger Despenser being the chief
English commissioners. Peace was found impossible, as English pride
still refused to recognise the royal title of King Robert, but a
thirteen years' truce was arranged without any difficulty. This treaty
of 1323 practically concluded the Scottish war of independence. Bruce
then easily obtained papal recognition of his title, though English
ill-will long stood in the way of the remission of his sentence of
excommunication. His martial career, however, was past, and he could
devote his declining years to the consolidation of his kingdom and the
restoration of its material prosperity. He reorganised the national
army, built up a new nobility by distributing among his faithful
followers the estates of the obstinate friends of England, and first
called upon the royal burghs of Scotland to send representatives to the
Scottish parliament. He had made Scotland a nation, and nobly redeemed
the tergiversation and violence of his earlier career.

Among Harclay's motives for treating with the Scots had been his
distrust of the Despensers. As generals against the Scots and as
administrators of England, they manifested an equal incapacity. Their
greed and insolence revived the old enmities, and they proved strangely
lacking in resolution to grapple with emergencies. Nevertheless they
ruled over England for nearly five years in comparative peace. This
period, unmarked by striking events, is, however, evidence of the
exhaustion of the country rather than of the capacity of the Earl of
Winchester and the lord of Glamorgan. The details of the history bear
witness to the relaxation of the reins of government, the prevalence of
riot and petty rebellion, the sordid personal struggles for place and
power, the weakness which could neither collect the taxes, enforce
obedience to the law, nor even save from humiliation the most trusted
agents of the government.

The Despensers' continuance in power rested more on the absence of
rivals than on their own capacity. The strongest of the royalist earls,
Aymer of Pembroke, died in 1324. As he left no issue, his earldom
swelled the alarmingly long roll of lapsed dignities. None of the few
remaining earls could step into his place, nor give Edward the wise
counsel which the creator of the middle party had always provided.
Warenne was brutal, profligate, unstable, and distrusted; Arundel had
no great influence; Richmond was a foreigner, and of little personal
weight, and the successors of Humphrey of Hereford and Guy of Warwick
were minors, suspected by reason of their fathers' treasons. The only
new earl was Henry of Lancaster, who in 1324 obtained a partial
restitution of his brother's estates and the title of Earl of
Leicester. Prudent, moderate, and high-minded, Henry stood in strong
contrast to his more famous brother. But the tragedy of Pontefract and
his unsatisfied claim on the Lancaster earldom stood between Henry and
the government, and the imprudence of the Despensers soon utterly
estranged him from the king, though he was the last man to indulge in
indiscriminate opposition, and Edward dared not push his powerful
cousin to extremities. In these circumstances, the king had no wise or
strong advisers whose influence might counteract the Despensers. His
loneliness and isolation made him increasingly dependent upon the

The older nobles were already alienated, when the Despensers provoked a
quarrel with the queen. Isabella was a woman of strong character and
violent passions, with the lack of morals and scruples which might have
been expected from a girlhood passed amidst the domestic scandals of
her father's household. She resented her want of influence over her
husband, and hated the Despensers because of their superior power with
him. The favourites met her hostility by an open declaration of
warfare. In 1324 the king deprived her of her separate estate, drove
her favourite servants from court, and put her on an allowance of a
pound a day. The wife of the younger Hugh, her husband's niece, was
deputed to watch her, and she could not even write a letter without the
Lady Despenser's knowledge. Isabella bitterly chafed under her
humiliation. She was, she declared, treated like a maidservant and made
the hireling of the Despensers. Finding, however, that nothing was to
be gained by complaints, she prudently dissembled her wrath and waited
patiently for revenge.

The Despensers' chief helpers were among the clergy. Conspicuous among
them were Walter Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter, the treasurer, and Robert
Baldock, the chancellor. The records of Stapledon's magnificence
survive in the nave of his cathedral church, and in Exeter College,
Oxford; but the great builder and pious founder was a worldly, greedy,
and corrupt public minister. So unpopular was he that, in 1325, it was
thought wise to remove him from office. Thereupon another building
prelate, William Melton, Archbishop of York, whose piety and charity
long intercourse with courtiers had not extinguished, abandoned his
northern flock for London and the treasury. But the best of officials
could do little to help the unthrifty king. Edward was so poorly
respected that he could not even obtain a bishopric for his chancellor.
On two occasions the envoys sent to Avignon, to urge Baldock's claims
on vacant sees, secured for themselves the mitre destined for the
minister. In this way John Stratford became Bishop of Winchester and
William Ayermine, Bishop of Norwich. Edward had not even the spirit to
show manifest disfavour to these self-seeking prelates, but his
inaction was so clearly the result of weakness that it involved no
gratitude, and the two bishops secretly hated the ruling clique, as
likely to do them an evil turn if it dared. Nor were the older prelates
better contented or more loyal. The primate Reynolds was deeply
irritated by Melton's appointment as treasurer. Burghersh, the Bishop
of Lincoln, was a nephew of Badlesmere, and anxious to avenge his
uncle. Adam Orleton, Bishop of Hereford, was a dependant of the
Mortimers, who took his surname from one of their Herefordshire manors.
Forgiven for his share in the revolt of 1322, he cleverly contrived in
1324 the escape of his patron, Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, from the
Tower. The marcher made his way to France, but his ally felt the full
force of the king's wrath. He was deprived of his temporalities, and,
when the Church spread her aegis over him, the court procured the
verdict of a Herefordshire jury against him. Thus the impolicy of the
crown combined the selfish worldling with the zealot for the Church in
a common opposition. Like Isabella, Orleton bided his time, and Edward
feared to complete his disgrace.

In such ways the king and the Despensers proclaimed their incapacity to
the world. The Scottish truce, the wrongs of Henry of Lancaster, the
humiliation of the queen, the alienation of the old nobles, the fears
of greedy prelates,--each of these was remembered against them.
Gradually every order of the community became disgusted. The feeble
efforts of Edward to conciliate the Londoners met with little response.
Weak rule and the insecurity of life and property turned away the heart
of the commons from the king. It was no wonder that men went on
pilgrimage to the little hill outside Pontefract, where Earl Thomas had
met his doom, or that rumours spread that the king was a changeling and
no true son of the great Edward. But though the power of the king and
the Despensers was thoroughly undermined, the absence of leaders and
the general want of public spirit still delayed the day of reckoning.
At last, the threatening outlook beyond the Channel indirectly
precipitated the crisis.

The relations of France and England remained uneasy, despite the
marriage of two English kings in succession to ladies of the Capetian
house. The union of Edward I. and Margaret of France had not done much
to help the settlement of the disputed points in the interpretation of
the treaty of Paris of 1303, and the match between Edward II and his
stepmother's niece had been equally ineffective. The restoration of
Gascony in 1303 had never been completed, and in the very year of the
treaty a decree of the parliament of Paris had withdrawn the homage of
the county of Bigorre from the English duke. Within the ceded
districts, the conflict of the jurisdictions of king and duke became
increasingly accentuated. Having failed to hold Gascony by force of
arms, Philip the Fair aspired to conquer it by the old process of
stealthily undermining the traditional authority of the duke. Appeals
to Paris became more and more numerous. The agents of the king wandered
at will through Edward's Gascon possessions, and punished all loyalty
to the lawful duke by dragging the culprits before their master's
courts. The ineptitude which characterised all Edward's subordinates
was particularly conspicuous among his Gascon seneschals and their
subordinates. While the English king's servants drifted on from day to
day, timid, without policy, and without direction, the agents of
France, well trained, energetic, and determined, knew their own minds
and gradually brought about the end which they had clearly set before
themselves. In vain did bitter complaints arise of the aggressions of
the officers of Philip. It was to no purpose that conferences were
held, protocols drawn up, and much time and ink wasted in discussing
trivialities. Neither Edward nor Philip wished to push matters to
extremities. To the former the policy of drift was always congenial.
The latter was content to wait until the pear was ripe. It seemed that
in a few more years Gascony would become as thoroughly subject to the
French crown as Champagne or Normandy.

Philip the Fair died in 1314, and was followed in rapid succession by
his three sons. The first of these, Louis X., had, like Edward II., to
contend against an aristocratic reaction, and died in 1316, before he
could even receive the homage of his brother-in-law. A king of more
energy than Edward might have profited by the difficult situation which
followed Louis' death. For a time there was neither pope, nor emperor,
nor King of France. But Philip V. mounted the French throne when his
brother's widow had given birth to a daughter, and continued the policy
of his predecessors with regard to Gascony. Again the disputes between
Norman and Gascon sailors threatened, as in 1293, to bring about a
rupture. The ever-increasing aggressions of the suzerain culminated in
summoning Edward's own seneschal of Saintonge to appear before the
French king's court. Edward neglected to do homage, alleging his
preoccupation in the Scottish war and similar excuses. But the
threatened danger soon passed away, for again the interests and fears
of both parties postponed the conflict. In avoiding any alliance with
the Scots, the French king showed a self-restraint for which Edward
could not but be grateful. In 1320 Edward performed in person his
long-delayed homage at Amiens, though his grievances against his
brother-in-law still remained unredressed. In 1322 the death of Philip
V. renewed the troublesome homage question in a more acute form.[1]

    [1] For the relations of Edward II. and Philip V. see Lehugeur,
    _Hist. de Philippe le Long_, pp. 240-66 (1897).

The obligation of performing homage to a rival prince weighed with
increasing severity on the English kings at each rapid change of
occupants of the throne of France. The same pretexts were again brought
forward, as sufficient reasons for postponing or evading the unpleasant
duly. But before the question was settled a new source of trouble arose
in the affair of Saint-Sardos, which soon plunged the two countries into
open war. The lord of Montpezat, a vassal of the Duke of Gascony, built
a _bastide_ at Saint-Sardos upon a site which he declared was held by
himself of the duke, but which the French officials claimed as belonging
to Charles IV. The dispute was taken before the parliament of Paris,
which decided that the new town belonged to the King of France.
Thereupon a royal force promptly took possession of it. Irritated at
this high-handed action, the lord of Montpezat invoked the aid of
Edward's seneschal of Gascony, who attacked and destroyed the _bastide_
and massacred the French garrison.[1] The answer of Charles the Fair to
this aggression was decisive. Gascony was pronounced sequestrated and
Charles of Valois, the veteran uncle of the king, was ordered to enforce
the sentence at the head of an imposing army.

    [1] See for this affair Brequigny, _Memoire sur les differends
    entre la France et l'Angleterre sous Charles le Bel, in Mem. de
    l'Acad. des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres_, xli. (1780), pp.
    641-92. M. Deprez is about to publish a Chancery Roll of Edward
    II. which includes all the official acts relating to it.

Thus, in the summer of 1324 England and France were once more at war.
But while England remonstrated and negotiated, France acted. Norman
corsairs swept the Channel and pillaged the English coasts. Ponthieu
yielded without resistance. Early in August, Charles of Valois entered
the Agenais, and on the 15th Agen opened its gates. The victorious
French soon appeared before La Reole, where alone they encountered real
resistance. Edmund, Earl of Kent, who had made vain attempts to procure
peace at Paris, had been sent in July to act as lieutenant of
Aquitaine. He had not sufficient force at his command to venture to
meet the Count of Valois in the open field, and threw himself into La
Reole. The rocky height, crowned with a triple wall, and looking down
on the vineyards and cornfields of the Garonne, defied for weeks the
skill of the eminent Lorrainer engineers who directed Charles of
Valois' siege train. But when Charles announced to Edmund that he would
carry the town by assault, if not surrendered within four days, the
timid earl signed a truce from September to Easter, and was allowed to
withdraw to Bordeaux. A mere fringe of coast-land still remained
faithful to the English duke, when Charles of Valois went back to
Paris, having victoriously terminated his long and chequered career.
Before the end of 1325 he died.[1]

    [1] Petit, _Charles de Valois_, pp. 207-15 (1900), gives the
    fullest modern account of these transactions.

The truce involved a renewal of the negotiations. Bishop Stratford and
William Ayermine, the astute chancery clerk, were commissioned in
November, 1324, to treat with the French, but made little progress in
their delicate task. At this stage Isabella, inspired probably by Adam
Orleton, came forward with a proposal. She besought her husband to
allow her to visit her brother, the French king, and use her influence
with him to procure peace and the restitution of Gascony. With the
strange infatuation which marked all the acts of Edward and his
favourites, Isabella's proposal was adopted, and in March, 1325, the
queen crossed the Channel and made her way to her brother's court. The
summer was consumed in negotiating a treaty, by which Edward's French
fiefs were to be restored to him in their integrity, as soon as he had
performed homage to the new king. Meanwhile the English garrison of
Gascony was to withdraw to Bayonne, leaving the rest of the duchy in
the hands of a French seneschal. Edward agreed to these terms, and put
Gascony into Charles's hands. He was still unwilling to compromise his
dignity by performing homage, while the Despensers were mortally afraid
of his going to France, lest it should remove him from their influence.
Isabella then made a second suggestion. She persuaded her brother to
excuse the personal homage of her husband, if Edward would invest his
young son, Edward, with Gascony and Ponthieu, and send him in his stead
to tender his feudal duly. This also was agreed to by the English king,
and in September the young prince, then about thirteen years old, was
appointed Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Ponthieu, and despatched to
join his mother at Paris, where he performed homage to his uncle.

It was expected that Gascony and Ponthieu would then be restored, and
that the queen and her son would return to England. But Charles IV.
perpetrated a clever piece of trickery which showed how far off a real
settlement still was. He "restored" to Edward those parts of Gascony
which had been peacefully surrendered to him in the summer, and
announced that he should keep the Agenais and La Reole, as belonging to
France by right of Charles of Valois' recent conquest. Bitterly
mortified at this treachery, Edward took upon himself the title of
"governor and administrator of his firstborn, Edward, Duke of
Aquitaine, and of his estates". By this technical subtlety, he thought
himself entitled to resume the control of the ceded districts and
resist the attack which was bound to follow hard upon the new breach.
Once more Charles IV. pronounced the sequestration of the duchy, and
despite Edward's efforts, his power crumbled away before the peaceful
advent of the French troops, charged with the execution of their
master's edict.

Long before the last Gascon castles had opened their gates to Charles's
officers, new developments at Paris made the question of Aquitaine a
subordinate matter. Despite the breach of the negotiations, Isabella
and her son still tarried at the French court. In answer to Edward's
requests for their return, she sent back excuse after excuse, till his
patience was fairly exhausted. At last, on December 1, 1325, Edward
peremptorily ordered his wife to return home, and warned her not to
consort with certain English traitors in the French court. The Duke of
Aquitaine was similarly exhorted to return, with his mother if he
could, but if not, without her. The reference to English traitors shows
that Edward was aware that Isabella had already formed that close
relation with the exiled lord of Wigmore which soon ripened into an
adulterous connexion. Inspired by Roger Mortimer, Isabella declared
that she was in peril of her life from the malice of the Despensers,
and would never go back to her husband as long as the favourites
retained power. A band of the exiles of 1322 gathered round her and her
paramour, and sought to bring about their restoration as champions of
the loudly expressed grievances of the queen, and the rights of her
young son. The king's ambassadors at Paris, Stratford and Ayermine,
recently made Bishop of Norwich by a papal provision which ignored the
election of Robert Baldock the chancellor, united themselves with the
queen and the fugitive marcher. With them, too, was associated Edmund
of Kent, who was allowed by the treaty to return from Gascony through
France. Bishop Stapledon, who had accompanied the queen to France, was
so alarmed at the turn events were taking, that he fled in disguise to
reveal his suspicions to the king. Thus England, already exposed to a
danger of a French war, was threatened with the forcible overthrow of
the Despensers and the reinstatement of Isabella by armed invaders.

By the spring of 1326 the scandalous relations of Isabella and Mortimer
were notorious all over England and France. Charles IV. grew disgusted
at his sister's doings, and gave no countenance to her schemes.
Isabella accordingly withdrew from Paris with her son and her paramour,
and made her way to the Netherlands. There she found refuge in the
county of Hainault, whose lord, William II, of Avesnes, was won over to
support her by a contract to marry the Duke of Aquitaine to his
daughter Philippa. A large advance from Philippa's marriage portion was
employed in hiring a troop of knights and squires of Hainault and
Holland. John of Hainault, brother of the count, took joint command of
this band with Roger Mortimer. The ports of Holland and Zealand, both
of which counties were united with Hainault under William II.'s rule,
offered ample facilities for their embarkation.

On September 23, 1326, the queen and her followers took ship at
Dordrecht in Holland. Next day the fleet cast anchor in the port of
Orwell, and that same day the expedition was landed and marched to
Walton, where it spent the first night on English soil. The gentry of
Suffolk and Essex flocked to the standard of the queen, who declared
that she had come to avenge the wrongs of Earl Thomas of Lancaster and
to drive the Despensers from power. Thomas of Brotherton, the earl
marshal, made common cause with the invaders, and Henry, Earl of
Leicester, hastened to associate himself with the champions of his
martyred brother. A great force of native Englishmen swelled the
queen's host, and reduced to insignificance the little band of
Hainaulters and Hollanders. There was no resistance. Isabella marched
to Bury St. Edmunds, "as if on a pilgrimage," and thence to Cambridge,
where she tarried several days with the canons of Barnwell. From
Cambridge she moved on to Baldock, where she despoiled the chancellor's
manors and took his brother captive. At Dunstable, her next halt, she
was on a great highway, within thirty-three miles of London.

On hearing of his wife's landing, Edward threw himself on the
compassion of the Londoners, but met with so cold a reception that
early in October he withdrew to Gloucester. Besides the chancellor and
the two Despensers, the only magnates of mark who remained faithful to
him were the brothers-in-law, Edmund, Earl of Arundel, and Earl
Warenne. On Edward's retreat from London, Bishop Stratford made his way
to the capital, where he joined with Archbishop Reynolds in a hollow
pretence of mediation. The Londoners gladly welcomed the queen's
messengers and soon rose in revolt in her favour. They plundered and
burnt the house of the Bishop of Exeter, who fled in alarm to St.
Paul's. Seized at the very door of the church, Stapledon was brutally
murdered by the mob in Cheapside, where his naked body lay exposed all
day. Immediately after this, Reynolds fled in terror to his Kentish
estates, where he waited to see which was the stronger side. The king's
younger son, John of Eltham, a boy of nine, who had been left behind by
his father in the Tower, was proclaimed warden of the capital.

On hearing of Edward's flight to the west, Isabella went after him in
pursuit. On the day of Stapledon's murder, she had advanced as far as
Wallingford, where, posing as the continuer of the policy of the lords
ordainers, she issued a proclamation denouncing the Despensers. Thence
she made her way to Oxford, where Bishop Orleton, who had already
joined her, preached a seditious sermon before the university and the
leaders of the revolt. Taking as his text, "My head, my head," he
demonstrated that the sick head of the state could not be restored by
all the remedies of Hippocrates, and would therefore have to be cut
off. This was the first intimation that the insurgents would not be
content with the fall of the Despensers. From Oxford, Isabella and
Mortimer hurried to Gloucester, whence Edward had already fled to the
younger Despenser's palatinate of Glamorgan. From Gloucester, they
passed on through Berkeley to Bristol, where the elder Despenser, the
Earl of Winchester, was in command. The feeling of the burgesses of the
second town in England was so strongly adverse that the earl was unable
to defend either the borough or the castle. In despair he opened the
gates on October 26 to the queen, and was immediately consigned,
without trial or inquiry, to the death of a traitor. After proclaiming
the Duke of Aquitaine as warden of the realm during his father's
absence, the queen's army marched on Hereford, where Isabella remained,
while the Earl of Leicester, accompanied by a Welsh clerk, named Rhys
ap Howel, was sent, with part of the army to hunt out the king.

After his flight from Gloucester, Edward had wandered through the Welsh
march to Chepstow, whence he took ship, hoping to make sail to Lundy,
which Despenser had latterly acquired, and perhaps ultimately to
Ireland. But contrary winds kept him in the narrows of the Bristol
Channel, and on October 27 he landed again at Cardiff. A few days later
he was at Caerphilly, but afraid to entrust himself to the protection
of the mightiest of marcher castles, he moved restlessly from place to
place in Glamorgan and Gower, imploring the help of the tenants of the
Despensers, and issuing vain summonses and commissions that no one
obeyed. Discovered by the local knowledge of Rhys ap Howel, or betrayed
by those whom the Welshman's gold had corrupted, Edward was captured on
November 16 in Neath abbey. With him Baldock and the younger Despenser
were also taken. On November 20 the favourite was put to death at
Hereford, while Baldock, saved from immediate execution by his clerkly
privilege, was consigned to the cruel custody of Orleton, only to
perish a few months later of ill-treatment. To Hereford also was
brought Edmund of Arundel, captured in Shropshire, and condemned to
suffer the fate of the Despensers. The king was entrusted to the
custody of Henry of Leicester, who conveyed him to his castle of
Kenilworth, where the unfortunate monarch passed the winter, "treated
not otherwise than a captive king ought to be treated".

It only remained to complete the revolution by making provision for the
future government of England. With this object a parliament was
summoned, at first by the Duke of Aquitaine in his father's name, and
afterwards more regularly by writs issued under the great seal. It met
on January 7, 1327, at Westminster, and, after the York precedent of
1322, contained representatives of Wales as well as of the three
estates of England. Orleton, the spokesman of Mortimer, asked the
estates whether they would have Edward II. or his son as their ruler.
The London mob loudly declared for the Duke of Aquitaine, and none of
the members of parliament ventured to raise a voice in favour of the
unhappy king, save four prelates of whom the most important was the
steadfast Archbishop Melton. The southern primate, deserting his old
master, declared that the voice of the people was the voice of God.
Stratford drew up six articles, in which he set forth that Edward of
Carnarvon was incompetent to govern, led by evil counsellors, a
despiser of the wholesome advice of the "great and wise men of the
realm," neglectful of business, and addicted to unprofitable pleasures;
that by his lack of good government he had lost Scotland, Ireland, and
Gascony; that he had injured Holy Church, and had done to death or
driven into exile many great men; that he had broken his coronation
oath, and that it was hopeless to expect amendment from him.

Even the agents of Mortimer shrunk from the odium of decreeing Edward's
deposition, and the more prudent course was preferred of inducing the
king to resign his power into his son's hands. An effort to persuade
the captive monarch to abdicate before his estates, was defeated by his
resolute refusal. Thereupon a committee of bishops, barons, and judges
was sent to Kenilworth to receive his renunciation in the name of
parliament. On January 20, Edward, clothed in black, admitted the
delegates to his presence. Utterly unmanned by misfortune, the king
fell in a deep swoon at the feet of his enemies. Leicester and
Stratford raised him from the ground, and, on his recovery, Orleton
exhorted him to resign his throne to his son, lest the estates,
irritated by his contumacy, should choose as their king some one who
was not of the royal line. Edward replied that he was sorry that his
people were tired of his rule, but that being so, he was prepared to
yield to their wishes, and make way for the Duke of Aquitaine. On this,
Sir William Trussell, as proctor of the three estates, formally
renounced their homage and fealty, and Sir Thomas Blount, steward of
the household, broke his staff of office, and announced that the royal
establishment was disbanded. Thus the calamitous reign of Edward of
Carnarvon came to a wretched end. His utter inefficiency as a king
makes it impossible to lament his fate. Yet few revolutions have ever
been conducted with more manifest self-seeking than that which hurled
Edward from power. The angry spite of the adulterous queen, the fierce
vengeance and greed of Roger Mortimer, the craft and cruelty of
Orleton, the time-serving cowardice of Reynolds, the stupidity of Kent
and Norfolk, the party spirit of Stratford and Ayermine, can inspire
nothing but disgust. Among the foes of Edward, Henry of Leicester alone
behaved as an honourable gentleman, anxious to vindicate a policy, but
careful to subordinate his private wrongs to public objects. Though his
name and wrongs were ostentatiously put forward by the dominant
faction, it is clear from the beginning that he was only a tool in its
hands, and that the reversal of the sentence of Earl Thomas was but the
pretext by which the schemers and traitors sought to capture the
government for their own selfish ends.

The resignation of the king was promptly reported to parliament. On
January 24 the Duke of Aquitaine was proclaimed Edward III., and from
the next day his regnal years were reckoned as beginning. Henry of
Leicester dubbed him knight, and on January 20 he was crowned in
Westminster Abbey. A few days later the young king met his parliament.
A standing council was appointed to carry on the administration during
his nonage. Of this body the Earl of Leicester acted as chief, though
most of his colleagues were partisans of Mortimer and the queen.
Orleton, who was made treasurer, continued to pull the wires as the
confidential agent of Isabella and Mortimer. A show of devotion to the
good old cause was thought politic, and therefore the sentences of 1322
were revoked, so that Earl Henry, restored to all his brother's
estates, was henceforth styled Earl of Lancaster. The commons went
beyond this in petitioning for the canonisation of Earl Thomas and
Archbishop Winchelsea. The revolution was consummated by a new
confirmation of the charters.

Even in the first flush of victory, Isabella and Mortimer were too
insecure and too bitter to allow Edward of Carnarvon to remain quietly
in prison under the custody of the Earl of Lancaster. As long as he was
alive, he might always become the possible instrument of their
degradation. At Orleton's instigation the deposed king was transferred
in April from his cousin's care to that of two knights, Thomas Gurney
and John Maltravers. He was promptly removed from Kenilworth and
hurried by night from castle to castle until, after some sojourn at
Corfe, he was at last immured at Berkeley. Every indignity was put upon
him, and the systematic course of ill-treatment, to which he was
subjected, was clearly intended to bring about his speedy death. But
the robust constitution of the athlete rose superior to the
persecutions of his torturers, and to save further trouble he was
barbarously murdered in his bed on the night of September 21. Piercing
shrieks from the interior of the castle told the peasantry that some
dire deed was being perpetrated within its gloomy walls. Next day it
was announced that the lord Edward had died a natural death, and his
corpse was exposed to the public view that suspicion might be averted.
He was buried with the state that became a crowned king in the
Benedictine Abbey Church of St. Peter, Gloucester. A few years later
the piety or remorse of Edward III. erected over his father's remains
the magnificent tomb which still challenges our admiration by the
delicacy of its tabernacle work and the artistic beauty of the
sculptured effigy of the murdered monarch.

The tragedy of Edward's end soon caused his misdeeds to be forgotten,
and ere long the countryside flocked on pilgrimage to his tomb, as to
the shrine of a saint. By a curious irony the burial place of Edward of
Carnarvon rivalled in popularity the chapel on the hill at Pontefract
where Thomas of Lancaster had perished by Edward's orders. Like his
cousin, Edward became a popular, though not a canonised, saint. From
the offerings made at his tomb the monks of Gloucester were in time
supplied with the funds that enabled them to recast their romanesque
choir in the newer "perpendicular" fashion of architecture, and
embellish their church with all the rich additions which contrast so
strangely with the grim impressiveness of the stately Norman nave.
There was only one impediment to the people's worship of the dead king.
The secrecy which enveloped his end led to rumours that he was still
alive, and the prevalence of these reports soon proved almost as great
a source of embarrassment to his supplanters, as his living presence
had been in the first months of their unhallowed power.

It was not easy for Isabella and Mortimer to restore the waning
fortunes of England at home and abroad. We shall see that it was only
by an almost complete surrender that they procured peace with France
and a partial restoration of Gascony. In Scotland they were even less
fortunate. Robert Bruce, though broken in health and spirits, took up
an aggressive attitude, and it was found necessary to summon the feudal
levies to meet on the border in the summer of 1327 in order to repel
his attack. While the troops were mustering at York, a fierce fight
broke out in the streets, between the Hainault mercenaries, under John
of Hainault, and the citizens. So threatening was the outlook that it
was thought wise to send the Hainaulters back home. From this accident
it happened that the young king went forth to his first campaign,
attended only by his native-born subjects. The Scots began operations
by breaking the truce and overrunning the borders. The campaign
directed against them was as futile as any of the last reign, and the
English, though three times more numerous than the enemy, dared not
provoke battle. This inglorious failure may well have convinced
Mortimer that the best chance of maintaining his power was to make
peace at any price. Early in 1328, the negotiations for a treaty were
concluded at York. During their progress, Edward, who was at York to
meet his parliament, was married to Philippa of Hainault.

The Scots treaty was confirmed in April by a parliament that met at
Northampton. All claim to feudal superiority over Scotland was
withdrawn; Robert Bruce was recognised as King of Scots, and his young
son David was married to Joan of the Tower, Edward III.'s infant
sister. This surrender provoked the liveliest indignation, and men
called the treaty of Northampton the "shameful peace," and ascribed it
to the treachery or timorousness of the queen and her paramour. But it
is hard to see what other solution of the Scottish problem was
practicable. For many years Bruce had been _de facto_ King of Scots,
and any longer hesitation to withhold the recognition which he coveted
would have been sure to involve the north of England in the same
desolation as that which he had inflicted before the truce of 1322. But
the founder of Scottish independence was drawing near to the end of his
career. His health had long been undermined by a terrible disease which
the chroniclers thought to be leprosy. He died in 1329, and on his
death-bed he bethought him of how he, who had shed so much Christian
blood, had never been able to fulfil his vow of crusade. Accordingly he
entreated James Douglas, his faithful companion-in-arms, to go on
crusade against the Moors of Granada, taking with him the heart of his
dead master. Douglas fulfilled the request, and perished in Spain,
whither he had carried the heart of the Scottish liberator. With the
accession of the little David Bruce, new troubles began for Scotland,
though danger from England was for the moment averted by the English
marriage and the treaty of Northampton.

The ill-will produced by the "shameful peace" spread far and wide the
profound dislike for Mortimer which pity for the fate of Edward had
first aroused in the breasts of Englishmen. The greedy marcher was at
no pains to make himself popular. Holding no great office of state, he
strove to rule through his creatures Orleton, the treasurer, and the
hardly less subservient chancellor, Bishop Hotham of Ely, or through
lay partisans such as Sir Oliver Ingham and Sir Simon Bereford. But his
best chance of remaining in power was through the besotted infatuation
of the queen-mother, whose relations with him were not concealed from
the public eye by any elaborate parade of secrecy. He still posed as
the inheritor of the tradition of the lords ordainers, and never failed
to put as much of the responsibility of his rule as he could on Henry
of Lancaster and the old baronial leaders. But with all his force and
energy, he was too narrowly selfish and grasping to take much trouble
to frame an elaborate policy. As an administrator he was as incompetent
as either Thomas of Lancaster or the Despensers.

Mortimer's chief care was to add office to office, and estate to
estate, in order that he might establish his house as supreme over all
Wales and its march. Besides his own enormous inheritance, he ruled
over Ludlow and Meath in the right of his wife, Joan of Joinville, the
heiress of the Lacys. He had inherited Chirk and the other lands of his
uncle, the sometime justice of Wales, who had died in Edward II.'s
prison; and he procured for himself a grant of his uncle's old office
for life, so that, while as justice of Wales he lorded it over the
principality, as head of the Mortimers he could dominate the whole
march. To complete his ascendency in the march became his great
ambition. He obtained the custody of Glamorgan, the stronghold of his
sometime rival, Hugh Despenser the younger. To this were added Oswestry
and Clun, the Fitzalan march in western Shropshire, forfeited to the
crown by the faithfulness with which Edmund Fitzalan, the late Earl of
Arundel, had laid down his life for Edward II. Minor grants of lands,
offices, wardships, and pensions were constantly lavished upon him by
the complacency of his mistress. In Ireland he received complete
palatine franchises over Trim, Meath, and Louth, along with the custody
of the estates of the infant Earl of Kildare, the chief of the Leinster
Geraldines. He extended his connexions by marrying his seven daughters
to the heads of great families, and where possible to men of marcher
houses. He soon numbered among his sons-in-law the representatives of
the Charltons of Powys, the Hastingses of Abergavenny, now the chief
heirs of Aymer of Pembroke, the Audleys of the Shropshire march, the
Beauchamps of Warwick, the Berkeleys, the Grandisons, and the Braoses.
Anxious to extend his dignity as well as his power, he procured his
nomination as Earl of the March of Wales, "a title," says a chronicler,
"hitherto unheard of in England". As earl of the march and justice of
the principality, he ruled the lands west of the Severn with little
less than regal sway. His banquets, his tournaments, his pious
foundations even, dazzled all men by their splendour.

Mortimer was created Earl of March in the parliament held in October,
1328, at Salisbury, where John of Eltham was made Earl of Cornwall and
James, Butler of Ireland, Earl of Ormonde. His assumption of this new
title at last roused the sluggish indignation of Earl Henry of
Lancaster, who felt that his own marcher interests were compromised,
and bitterly resented the vain use made of his name, while he was
carefully kept without any control of policy. He refused to attend the
Salisbury parliament, though he and his partisans mustered in arms in
the neighbourhood of that city. Civil war seemed imminent, and
Mortimer's Welshmen devastated Lancaster's earldom of Leicester, but
Archbishop Meopham (who had lately succeeded Reynolds in the primacy)
managed to patch up peace. Not long afterwards Lancaster was smitten
with blindness, and was thenceforth unable to take an active part in
public affairs. Mortimer again triumphed for the moment, and, with
cruel malice, excepted Lancaster's confidential agents from the pardon
which he was forced to extend to the earl. His success over Lancaster
was materially facilitated by the weakness of Edmund, Earl of Kent,
who, after joining with Earl Henry in his refusal to attend the
Salisbury parliament, deserted him at the moment of the capture of
Leicester by the Earl of March. But his treachery did not save him from
Mortimer's revenge. In conjunction with the queen, Mortimer plotted to
lure on Earl Edmund to ruin. Their agents persuaded him that Edward II.
was still alive and imprisoned in Corfe castle, and urged him to
restore his brother to liberty. The earl rose to the bait, and agreed
to be party to an insurrection which was to restore Edward of Carnarvon
to freedom, if not to his throne. When Kent was involved in the meshes,
he was suddenly arrested in the Winchester parliament of March, 1330,
and accused of treason. Convicted by his own speeches and letters, he
was adjudged to death by the lords, and on March 19 beheaded outside
the walls of the city.

The fall of Kent convinced Lancaster that his fate would not be long
delayed, and that his best chance of saving himself and his cause lay
in stirring up the king to energetic action against the Earl of March.
The death of his uncle irritated Edward, who at seventeen was old
enough to feel the degrading nature of his thraldom, and was eager to
govern the kingdom of which he was the nominal head. In June, 1330, the
birth of a son, the future Black Prince, to Edward and Philippa seems
to have impressed on the young monarch that he had come to man's
estate. Lancaster accordingly found him eager to shake off the yoke of
his mother's paramour. The opportunity came in October, 1330, when the
magnates assembled at Nottingham to hold a parliament there. Isabella
and Mortimer took up their abode in the castle, where Edward also
resided. Suspicions were abroad, and the castle was closely guarded by
Mortimer's Welsh followers. Sir William Montague, a close friend of
Edward's, was chosen to strike the blow, and lay outside with a band of
troops. Some rumour of the plot seems to have leaked out, and on
October 19 Mortimer angrily denounced Montague as a traitor, and
accused the king of complicity with his designs. But Montague was safe
outside the castle, and, when evening fell, all that Mortimer could do
was to lock the gates and watch the walls. William Eland, constable of
the castle, had been induced to join the conspiracy, and had revealed
to Montague a secret entrance into the stronghold. On that very night,
Montague and his men-at-arms effected an entrance through an
underground passage into the castle-yard, where Edward joined them.
They then made their way up to Mortimer's chamber, which as usual was
next to that of the queen. Two knights, who guarded the door, were
struck down, and the armed band burst into the room. After a desperate
scuffle, the Earl of March was secured. Hearing the noise, the queen
rushed into the room, and though Edward still waited without, cried,
with seeming consciousness of his share in the matter, "Fair son, have
pity on the gentle Mortimer". Her entreaties were unavailing, and the
fallen favourite was hurried, under strict custody, to London.

Edward then issued a proclamation announcing that he had taken the
government of England into his own hands. Parliament, prorogued to
Westminster, met on November 26, and its chief business was the trial
of Mortimer before the lords. He was charged with accroaching to
himself the royal power, stirring up dissension between Edward II and
the queen, teaching Edward III. to regard the Earl of Lancaster as his
enemy, deluding Edmund of Kent into believing that his brother was
alive and with procuring his execution, accepting bribes from the Scots
for concluding the disgraceful peace, and with perpetrating grievous
cruelties in Ireland. The lords, imitating the evil precedents set
during Mortimer's time of power, condemned him without trial or chance
of answer to the accusations made against him. On November 29 the
fallen earl was paraded through London from his prison in the Tower to
Tyburn Elms, and was there hanged on the common gallows. His vast
estates were forfeited to the crown. His accomplice, Sir Simon
Bereford, suffered the same fate; but Sir Oliver Ingham, another of his
associates, was pardoned. Edward discreetly drew a veil over his
mother's shame. Mortimer's notorious relations with her were not
enumerated in the accusations brought against him, and Isabella, though
removed from power and stripped of some of her recent acquisitions, was
allowed to live in honourable retirement on her dower manors.
Scrupulously visited by her dutiful son, she wandered freely from house
to house, as she felt disposed. She died in 1358 at her castle of
Hertford, in the habit of the Poor Clares--a sister order of the
Franciscans. The later tradition that she was kept in confinement at
Castle Rising has only this slender foundation in fact that Castle
Rising was one of her favourite places of abode. With her withdrawal
from public life Edward III.'s real reign begins.



Edward III. had just entered upon his nineteenth year when he became
king in fact as well as in name. In person he was not unworthy of his
father and grandfather. Less strikingly tall than they, he was nobly
built and finely proportioned. In full manhood, long hair, a thick
moustache and a flowing beard adorned his regular and handsome
countenance. His graciousness and affability were universally praised.
His face shone, we are told, like the face of a god, so that to see him
or to dream of him was certain to conjure up joyous images.[1] He
delighted in the pomp of his office, wore magnificent garments, and
played his kingly part with the same majesty and dignity as his
grandfather. Despite the troubles of his youth, he was well educated.
Richard of Bury is said to have been his tutor, and the early lessons of
the author or instigator of the _Philobiblon_ were never entirely lost
by the prince who took Chaucer and Froissart into his service. More
conspicuous was his love of art, his taste for sumptuous buildings and
their magnificent embellishment, which left memorials in the stately
castle of Windsor and its rich chapel of St. George, in St. Stephen's
chapel at Westminster, and the Eastminster for Cistercian nuns hard by
Tower hill. A fluent and eloquent speaker in French and English, Edward
was also conversant with Latin, and perhaps Low-Dutch. Yet no king was
less given to study or seclusion. Possessed, perhaps, of no exceptional
measure of intellectual capacity, and not even endowed to any large
extent with firmness of character, he won a great place in history by
the extraordinary activity of his temperament and the vigour and energy
with which he threw himself into whatever work he set his hand to do. He
was a consummate master of knightly exercises, delighting in
tournaments, and especially in those which were marked by some touch of
quaintness or fancy. He had the hereditary passion of his house for the
chase. In his youthful campaigns in Scotland and in his maturer
expeditions in France, he was accompanied by a little army of falconers
and huntsmen, by packs of hounds, and many hawks trained with the utmost
care. He honoured with his special friendship an Abbot of Leicester,
famed throughout England as the most dexterous of hare-coursers.[2]

    [1] _Continuation of Murimuth_ (Engl. Hist. Soc.), pp. 225-27,
    which gives the best contemporary description of Edward's

    [2] Knighton, ii., 127.

Edward's abounding energy was even more gladly devoted to war than to
the chase. He was an admirable exponent of those chivalric ideals which
are glorified in the courtly pages of Froissart. Not content with the
easy victories which fall in the tiltyard to the crowned king, Edward
was anxious to show that his triumphs belonged to the knight and not to
the monarch, and more than once jousted victoriously in disguise. The
same spirit led him to challenge Philip of France to decide their
quarrel by single combat, and to win a personal triumph when masking as
a knight attached to the service of Sir Walter Manny. He was liberal to
the verge of prodigality, good-tempered, easy of access, and, save when
moved by deep gusts of fierce anger, kindly and compassionate. His easy
good nature endeared him both to foreigners and to every class of his
own subjects. Not only did he enter fully into the free-masonry which
regarded the knights of all Christian nations as equal members of a
sworn brotherhood of arms, but he extended his favours to the London
vintner's son who earned his bread in his service, and entertained the
wives of the leading London citizens, side by side with the noble
ladies in whose honour he gave the most quaint and magnificent of his
banquets. Pious after a somewhat formal fashion, he was unwearied in
going on pilgrimage and lavish in his religious foundations. Though no
prince was more careful to protect the state from the encroachments of
churchmen, his orthodoxy and devoutness kept him in good repute with
the austerest champions of the Church. He could choose fit agents to
carry out his policy, and his campaigns were a marvellous training
ground for gallant and capable warriors.

Edward seldom lost sight of the material and economic interests of his
subjects. He was the friend of merchants, the father of English
commerce, the patron of the infant woollen manufactures, and a zealous
champion of the maritime greatness of his island realm, which boasted
that he was "king of the sea". Though his financial exigencies often
led him to sell excessive privileges to alien traders, this policy did
little harm to his subjects, for few of them were ready as yet to
embark in foreign commerce. A true patriot, who declared that his land
of England was "nearer to his heart, more delightful, noble, and
profitable than all other lands," he succeeded in making Englishmen
conscious of their national life as they had never been before; and he
won for his fatherland a foremost place among the kingdoms of the
world. His network of diplomatic alliances was dexterously fashioned,
and enabled him to supplement the resources of his own subjects.

The breadth of Edward's ambitions hindered their complete
accomplishment. Like Edward I., he undertook more than he could carry
through, and, though his panegyrists praise his patience in adversity no
less than his moderation in prosperity, his merely animal courage and
vigour broke down under the weight of misfortune. Thus the glorious
king, who in his youth vied with his grandfather, seemed in his old age
to have nearly approached the fate of his wretched father. In early life
he won the love of his subjects. It was only in the first years of his
reign that the violence and greed of his disorderly household, which
inherited the evil traditions of the previous generation, bore so
heavily upon the people that Englishmen fled at his approach in dread of
the purveyors, who confiscated every man's goods for the royal use.[1]
The somewhat shallow opportunism which abandoned, with little attempt at
resistance, every royal right that stood in the way of his receiving the
full support of his parliament, at least had the merit of keeping Edward
in general touch with his estates. The wanton breaches of good faith, by
which he sometimes strove to win back what he had lightly conceded, were
regarded as efforts to save the sovereign's dignity, rather than as
insidious attempts to restore the prerogative. Unjust as was the very
basis of his French pretensions, they were backed up by a show of legal
claim that satisfied the conscience of king and subject, and to
contemporaries Edward seemed a king regardful of his honour and mindful
of his plighted word. If his generosity verged on extravagance, and his
affectation of popular manners and graciousness on unreality, Englishmen
of the fourteenth century were no severe critics of a crowned king. It
was only when in his later years Edward laid aside the soldier's life,
and abandoned himself to the frivolous distractions and degrading
amours[2] which provoked the censure even of his admirers, that the
self-indulgent traits inherited from his unhappy father stood revealed.

    [1] The _Speculum regis Edwardi_ (ed. Moisant) was written
    before 1333, and the attribution of its composition to
    Archbishop Islip and the inferences drawn in Stubbs' _Const.
    Hist._, ii., 394, are therefore unwarranted; see Professor
    Tait's note in _Engl. Hist. Review_, xvi. (1901), 110-15.

    [2] _Chron. Anglia_, 1328-1388, p. 401.

Edward was before all things a soldier. He was not only the consummate
knight, the mirror of chivalry, but a capable tactician with a
general's eye that took in the essential points of the situation at a
glance. His restless energy ensured the rapidity of movement and
alertness of action which won him many a triumph over less mobile and
less highly trained antagonists; while they inspired his followers with
faith in their cause and with the courage which succeeds against
desperate odds. Yet the victor of Crecy cannot be numbered among the
consummate generals of history. His campaigns were ill-planned; and he
lacked the self-restraint and sense of proportion which would have
prevented him from aiming at objects beyond his reach. The same want of
relation between ends and means, the same want of definite policy and
clear ideals, marred his statecraft. Yet contemporaries, conscious of
his faults, magnified Edward as the brilliant and successful king who
had won for himself an assured place among the greatest monarchs of
history, "Never," says Froissart, "had there been such a king since the
days of Arthur King of Great Britain."[1] Even to his own age his
senile degradation pointed the moral of the triumphs of his manhood.
The modern historian, who sees, beneath the superficial splendour of
the days of Edward III., the misery and degradation that underlay the
wreck of the dying Middle Ages, is in no danger of appraising too
highly the merits of this showy and ambitious monarch. Perhaps in our
own days the reaction has gone too far, and we have been taught to
undervalue the splendid energy and robustness of temperament which
commanded the admiration of all Europe, and personified the strenuous
ideals of the young English nation.

    [1] Froissart (ed. Luce), viii., 231; _cf_. Canon of
    Bridlington, p. 95.

The internal history of the first few years of Edward's reign was
uneventful. John Stratford became chancellor after Mortimer's fall, and
remained for ten years the guiding spirit of the administration.
Translated on Meopham's death in 1333 to Canterbury, he continued, as
primate, to take a leading part in politics. His chief helper was his
brother Robert, rewarded in 1337 by the see of Chichester. The brothers
were capable but not brilliant politicians. The worst disorders of the
times of anarchy were put down, and parliaments readily granted
sufficient money to meet the king's necessities. After a few years, the
strife of parties was so far hushed that Burghersh was suffered to
return to office, and it looks as if the balance between the
Lancastrian party, upheld by the Stratfords, and the old middle party
of Pembroke and Badlesmere, with which Burghersh had hereditary
connexions, was maintained, as it had been during the least unhappy
period of the preceding reign. The country was growing rich and
prosperous. The annalists tell us of little save tournaments and
mummings, and the setting up of seven new earldoms to remedy the gaps
which death and forfeiture had made in the higher circle of the
baronage. The earldom of Devon was revived for the house of Courtenay;
that of Salisbury in favour of the trusty William Montague, and an
Audley, son of Despenser's rival, was raised to the earldom of
Gloucester. William Bohun, a younger son of the Humphrey slain at
Boroughbridge, became Earl of Northampton, an Ufford, Earl of Suffolk,
a Clinton Earl of Huntingdon, a Hastings Earl of Pembroke, and Henry of
Grosmont, the Earl of Lancaster's first born, Earl of Derby. A new rank
was added to the English peerage when the king's little son, Earl of
Chester in 1333, was made Duke of Cornwall in 1337. The old feuds
seemed dead and with them the old disorder. But Edward was ambitious of
military glory, and it was natural that he should seek to reverse the
degrading part which he had been forced to play in relation to Scotland
and France. His hands being tied by treaties, it was not easy for him
to make the first move. Before long, however, circumstances arose which
gave him a chance of taking up a line of his own with regard to
Scotland. From that time Scottish affairs mainly absorbed his attention
until the outbreak of troubles with France.

The establishment of Robert Bruce on the Scottish throne had been
attended by a considerable disturbance of the territorial balance in
the northern kingdom. Many Scottish magnates, deprived of their lands
and driven into exile, had abodes in England, and all might well look
for the favour of the king in whose service they had been ruined. The
treaty of Northampton made no provision for their restoration, and
Edward showed himself disposed to uphold it. Their estates were in the
hands of their supplanters, the nobles who had gathered round the
throne of the Bruces. Thus it was that the exiles were cut off from all
hope of return, and saw their only possibility of restitution in the
break-up of the friendship of Edward and David. In like case were the
English magnates who still entertained hopes of making effective the
grants of Scottish estates which they had received from Edward I. and
Edward II. For both classes alike every fresh year of peace between the
realms decreased their chances of obtaining their desires. They failed
to persuade Edward to go to war with his brother-in-law and repudiate
formally the obligations imposed upon him by his mother and her
paramour. But the minority of King David had unloosed the spirits of
disorder in Scotland. Though the vigorous and capable regent, Sir
Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, showed himself competent to stem the
tide of aristocratic reaction which swelled round the throne of his
infant cousin, he was one of the old generation of heroes that had
aided King Robert to gain his throne. Were he to die, or become
incapable of acting, there was no one who could supply his place. The
Disinherited--thus they styled themselves--were encouraged both by the
apathy of Edward III. and the weakness of Scotland to make a bold
stroke on their own behalf.

At the head of the disinherited was Edward Balliol, the son of the
deposed King John. Brought up in England, first under the care of his
cousin, Earl Warenne, and afterwards in the household of the
half-brothers of Edward II., Edward Balliol, who succeeded in 1315 to
the French estates on which his father spent his latter years, divided
his time between England and France. The forfeiture of his father still
kept him out of Barnard Castle and the other Balliol lands in England.
Young and warlike, poor and ambitious, with few lands and great
pretensions, he never formally abandoned either the lordship of
Galloway or the throne of Scotland. In 1330 he received permission to
take up his quarters in England during pleasure. He soon associated
himself with his fellow-exiles in a bold attempt to win back their
patrimony. Chief among his followers were three titular Scottish earls,
closely related by intermarriage, each of whom was also a baron of high
rank in England. Of these the French-born Henry of Beaumont, kinsman of
Eleanor of Castile, and brother of Bishop Louis of Durham, was the
oldest and most experienced. As the husband of a sister of the last of
the Comyn Earls of Buchan, he posed as the heir of the greatest of the
Scottish houses which had paid the penalty of its opposition to King
Robert, and was summoned to the English parliament as Earl of Buchan.
Beaumont's great-nephew, the young Gilbert of Umfraville, lord of
Redesdale, was a grandson of another Comyn heiress, and his ancestors
had inherited in the middle of the thirteenth century the ancient
Scottish earldom of Angus, though they also had incurred forfeiture for
their adhesion to the English policy. David of Strathbolgie, Earl of
Athol, had a better right to be called a Scot than Umfraville or
Beaumont. But his father abandoned Bruce, and was driven into England,
where he held the Kentish barony of Chilham, and sat in the English
parliament under his Scottish title. The younger Athol was son-in-law
to the titular Earl of Moray, and all three kinsmen were bound by
common interests to embrace the policy of Edward Balliol. Many lesser
men associated themselves with the three earls and the claimant to a
throne. Nearly every nobleman of the Scottish border made himself a
party to a scheme of adventure which had its best parallels in the
Norman invasions of Wales and Ireland.

The object of the disinherited was to raise an army and prosecute their
Scottish claims by force. Edward III. gave them no open countenance,
and took up an ostentatiously correct attitude. He solemnly forbade all
breach of the peace, and prevented the adventurers from adopting the
easy course of marching from England to an open attack on Scotland. No
obstacles, however, were imposed to hinder their raising a small but
efficient army of 500 men-at-arms and 1,000 archers. Mercenaries, both
English and foreign, were hired to supplement their scanty numbers, and
among those who took service with them was a young gentleman of
Hainault, Walter Manny, whose father had a few years before perished in
the service of Edward II. in Gascony, and who had first come to England
in the service of his countrywoman, Queen Philippa. Ships were
collected in the Humber, and on the last day of July, 1332, the
disinherited and their followers sailed from Ravenspur on a destination
which was officially supposed to be unknown. A week later, on August 6,
they landed at Kinghorn in Fife.

Scotland was singularly unready to meet invasion. The regent Moray had
died a few weeks earlier, and his successor, Donald, Earl of Mar,
incompetent to carry on his vigorous policy, had perhaps already been
intriguing with the adventurers. The only resistance to Balliol's
landing, made by the Earl of Fife, was altogether unsuccessful. The
little army established itself easily in the enemies' territory, and,
after two days' rest at Dunfermline, advanced over the Ochils towards
Perth. The regent had by that time gathered together an imposing army.
As the invaders approached Strathearn on their way northwards, they
found Mar encamped on Dupplin Moor, on the left bank of the Earn, and
holding in force the only bridge available for crossing the river.
There was some parleying between the two hosts. "We are sons of
magnates of this land," declared the disinherited to Mar. "We are come
hither with the lord Edward of Balliol, the right heir of the realm, to
demand the lands which belong to us by hereditary right." Mar returned
a warlike answer to their words, and both armies made preparation for

The disinherited, though few in number, were well trained in warfare,
and from the beginning showed capacity to out-general the unwieldy host
and feeble leader opposed to them. At sunset, some of their forces
crossed the Earn by a ford which the Scots had neglected to guard, and
falling upon an outlying portion of the enemies' camp, where the
infantry were quartered, slaughtered the surprised Scots at their
leisure. Luckily for Mar, the whole of his knights and men-at-arms were
far away, uselessly watching the bridge, over which they had expected
the disinherited to force a passage. Thus saved from the night
ambuscade, the kernel of the Scottish army prepared next morning,
August 12, to attack the disinherited. Puffed up by the memory of
Bannockburn and the consciousness of superior numbers, they marched to
battle as if certain of victory. All fought on foot, and the
men-at-arms were drawn up in a dense central mass, supported at each
side by wings. The disinherited were sufficiently schooled in northern
warfare to adopt the same tactics. Save for a few score of horsemen in
reserve, their heavily armed troops, leaving their horses in the rear,
formed a compact column after the Scottish fashion. But archers were
distributed in open order on the right and left flanks, with both
extremities pushed forward, so that they formed the horns of a
half-moon. Then the Scots advanced to the charge, and both sides joined
in battle. The irresistible weight of the Scottish main phalanx forced
back the little column of the disinherited, and for a moment it looked
as if the battle were won. Meanwhile the archers on the flanks poured a
galling shower on the collateral Scottish columns. The unvisored
helmets of the Scots made them an easy prey to the storm of missiles,
and they were driven back on to the main body. By this time the
disinherited had rallied from the first shock; and still the deadly
hail of arrows descended from right and left, until the whole of the
Scottish army was thrown into panic-stricken disorder. Escape was
impossible for the foremost ranks by reason of the closeness of their
formation. At last, the rear files sought safely in flight, and were
closely pursued by the victors, mounted on their fresh horses. A huge
mass of slain, piled up upon each other, marked the place of combat. As
at Bannockburn, the small disciplined host prevailed, but discipline
was now with the English and numbers only with the Scots.[1]

    [1] The significance of the battle of Dupplin was first pointed
    out by Mr. J.E. Morris in _Engl. Hist. Review_, xii. (1897),

The victory of Dupplin Moor was for the moment decisive. Balliol
occupied Perth, and received the submission of many of the Scottish
magnates, among them being that Earl of Fife who first opposed his
landing. A few weeks later, on September 24, Balliol was crowned King
of Scots at Scone by the Bishop of Dunkeld. It was a soldier's
coronation, and the magnates sat at the coronation feast in full
armour, save their helmets. The disinherited then received the lands
for which they had striven; and thereupon quitted the new king, either
to secure their estates or to revisit their property in England. But
the Scots, of no mind to receive a king from the foreigner, chose a new
regent in Sir Andrew Moray, son of the companion of Wallace; and
prepared to maintain King David. On December 16, Balliol was surprised
at Annan by a hostile force under the young Earl of Moray, son of the
late regent, and by Sir Archibald Douglas. His followers were cut off,
his brother was slain, and he himself had the utmost difficulty in
effecting his escape to England. He had only reigned four months.

During Balliol's brief triumph, Edward III. had declared himself in his
favour. Debarred by the treaty of Northampton from questioning the
independence of King David, he was able to make what terms he liked
with David's supplanter. In November a treaty was drawn up at Roxburgh,
by which Balliol recognised the overlordship of Edward, and promised
him the town, castle, and shire of Berwick. In return for these
concessions, Edward III. acknowledged his namesake as lawful King of
Scots. When, a few weeks later, his new vassal appeared as a fugitive
on English soil, Edward had no longer any scruples in openly supporting
him in an attempt to win back his throne. In the spring of 1333,
Balliol and the disinherited once more crossed the frontier in
sufficient force to undertake the siege of Berwick. The border
stronghold held out manfully, but the Scots failed in an attempt to
divert the attention of the English by an invasion of Cumberland. After
Easter, Edward III. went in person to Berwick, and devoted the whole
resources of England to ensuring its reduction. The siege lasted on
until July, when the garrison, at the last gasp, offered to surrender,
unless the town were relieved within fifteen days. The Scots made a
great effort to save Berwick from capture, and the English king was
forced to fight a pitched battle, before he could secure its

On July 19 Edward, leaving a sufficient portion of his army to maintain
the blockade of Berwick, took up a position with the remainder on
Halidon Hill, a short distance to the west of the town. The lessons of
Bannockburn, Boroughbridge, and Dupplin were not forgotten, and the
English host was arranged much after the fashion which had procured the
first victory of the disinherited. Knights and men-at-arms sent their
horses to the rear and, from the king downwards, all, save a small
reserve of horse, prepared to fight on foot. Edward divided his forces
into three lines or "battles," each of which consisted of a central
column of dismounted heavily armed troops, flanked by a right and a
left wing of archers in open order, John of Eltham and the titular Earl
of Buchan commanded the right battle, the king the centre, and Edward
Balliol the left. The Scots still employed the traditional tactics
which had failed so signally at Dupplin. Sir Archibald Douglas led his
followers up the slopes of the hill in three dense columns. But a
pitiless rain of arrows spread havoc among their ranks, and there were
no answering volleys to disturb their foes. The battle was won for the
English almost before the two lines had joined in close combat. It was
only on Edward's right that the Scots were strong enough to push home
their attack. On the centre and left, the English easily drove the
enemy in panic flight down the slopes which they had ascended so
confidently. The pursuit was long and bloody; few were taken prisoners,
but many were slain or driven into the sea. Seven Scottish earls were
believed by the English to have fallen, while the victors lost one
knight, one squire, and a few infantry soldiers. Thus, for a second
time the tactics, which had served the Scots so well in the defensive
fight of Bannockburn, failed in offence to secure victory for them. The
experience of this day completed the evolution of the new English
battle array of men-at-arms fighting on foot and supported by wings of
archers, which was soon to excite the wonder of Europe, when its
possibilities were demonstrated on continental fields.

Next day Berwick opened its gates, and was handed over to the English,
according to the treaty of Roxburgh, to be for the rest of its history
an English frontier town. Edward Balliol again conquered Scotland as
easily as he had done on the former occasion, and far more effectually.
It was no longer possible for the few remaining champions of the house
of Bruce to safeguard the person of the little king and queen. David
and Joan were accordingly sent off to France, where they were to grow
up as good friends of King Philip. But Balliol had so clearly regained
his throne through English help that he was no longer an independent
agent. No sooner was his conquest assured than he was forced not only
to confirm the surrender of Berwick, but to yield up the whole of
south-eastern Scotland as the price of the English assistance. The
depth of his humiliation was sounded when, in the treaty of Newcastle,
June 12, 1334, Edward, King of Scots, granted Edward, King of England,
lands worth two thousand pounds a year in the marches of Scotland, and
in part payment thereof yielded up to him, besides Berwick and its
shire, the castle, town, and county of Roxburgh, the forests of
Jedburgh Selkirk, and Ettrick, the town and county of Selkirk, and the
towns, castles, and counties of Peebles, Dumfries, and Edinburgh. Of
these Dumfries then included the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, while the
shire of Edinburgh took in the constabularies, the modern shires, of
Haddington and Linlithgow. Thus the whole of Lothian, the whole of the
central upland region, and Balliol's own inheritance of Galloway east
of the Cree were directly transferred to the English crown, and were
divided into sheriffdoms, and officered after the English fashion. On
June 18 Balliol personally performed homage for so much of Scotland as
Edward chose to leave him. The wrongs of the disinherited had been the
means of re-opening the whole Scottish question, and Edward III. seemed
assured of a position as supreme as that which had once been held by
Edward I.

It was always easier in the Middle Ages to conquer a country than to
keep it. And the experience of forty years might well have convinced
Englishmen that no land was more difficult to hold than the stubborn
and impenetrable northern kingdom, with its strenuous population, ever
willing to cry a truce between local feuds when there was an
opportunity of uniting against the southerners. Edward overshot his
mark in grasping too eagerly the fairest portions of Balliol's realm.
He needed for his policy a Scottish king, strong enough to maintain
himself against his subjects, and loyal enough to remain true to the
English connexion. Any faint chance of Balliol occupying such a
position was completely destroyed by his studied humiliation.
Henceforward the King of Scots, who had fought so well at Dupplin and
Halidon, was but a pawn in Edward's game. Hated by the Scots as the
betrayer of his country, distrusted by the English who henceforth spied
his actions and commanded his armies in his name, the gallant victor of
Dupplin lost faith in himself and in his cause. After all, he was his
father's son, and in no wise capable of bearing adversity and indignity
with equanimity. His helplessness soon proved the worst obstacle in the
way of the success of Edward's plans. Even with the aid of a large
Scottish party, Edward I. had failed to bring about the subjection of
Scotland. It was clearly impossible for his grandson to succeed in the
same task when all Scotland was united against him, and braced to
action by a series of glorious memories.

Difficulties arose almost from the first. Not only had Balliol to
contend against the implacable hostility of the Scottish patriots; the
disinherited split up into rival factions after their triumph, and
their divisions played the game of the partisans of the Bruces. The
Earls of Athol and Buchan quarrelled with Balliol. Buchan, besieged by
the partisans of David Bruce in a remote castle, was forced to
surrender and quit Scotland for good. Athol was distinguished by the
violence and suddenness of his tergiversations. After deserting Balliol
for the patriots, he once more declared for the two Edwards, and
persuaded many of the Scottish magnates to submit themselves to them.
So long as the English king remained in Scotland, Athol was safe. On
Edward's retirement to his kingdom in November, 1335, the nationalist
leaders took the earl prisoner and put him to death. The war dragged on
from year to year, with startling vicissitudes of fortune, but at no
time was Balliol really established on the Scottish throne, and at no
time did Edward III. really govern all the ceded districts.

Scottish business detained the English king and court mainly in the
north. Edward was in Scotland for most of the winter of 1334-5, keeping
his Christmas court at Roxburgh. In the summer of 1335 he led an army
into Scotland and penetrated as far as Perth. Again in 1336, he marched
from Perth along the east coast, as far as Elgin and Inverness. The
Scots refused to give him battle, and their tactics of evasion and
guerilla warfare soon exhausted his resources and demoralised his
armies. This was Edward's last personal intervention in the business.
He had long been irritated by the persistent interference of the French
king in Scottish affairs, and his anger was not lessened by his hard
plight forcing him, on more than one occasion, to grant short truces to
the Scottish insurgents at Philip's intervention. His relations with
France were becoming so strained that he preferred to spend 1337 in the
south and entrust Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, with the conduct
of the fruitless campaign of that year. Early in 1338, Edward made his
way once more to Berwick, but his intention of invading Scotland was
suddenly abandoned on the news of a threatened French expedition to
England recalling him to the south. This was the decisive moment of the
long struggle. Henceforth the English king could only devote a small
share of his resources to an undertaking which he had not been able to
compass when his whole energies were absorbed in it. The patriots, who
had always dominated the open country, now attacked the castles and
fortified towns, which were the bulwarks of the Edwardian power. Within
three years all the more important of these fell into their hands. In
1339 Edward Balliol's capital of Perth was beset by Robert, the Steward
of Scotland, who had recently undertaken the regency for his uncle
David. On the approach of danger, Balliol was ordered to England, and
Sir Thomas Ughtred, an English knight and one of the disinherited of
1332, was entrusted with the command. By August he had been forced to
surrender, and Stirling soon afterwards opened its gates to the gallant
and energetic steward. In 1341 Edinburgh castle was captured by a
clever stratagem, and a few weeks later David and Joan returned from
France. The king, then seventeen years old, henceforth undertook the
personal administration of his kingdom. Once more there was a King of
Scots whom the Scottish people themselves desired. The first military
enterprise of Edward's reign ended in complete failure.

During the years of Edward Balliol's attempt on Scotland, it was the
obvious interest of the English king to maintain such relations with
France as to prevent the tightening of the traditional bond between the
French and the Scottish courts. There were plenty of outstanding points
of difference between England and France, but neither country was
anxious for war, and the result of this mutual forbearance enabled
Edward III. to deal with the Scots at his leisure. A survey of the
relations of the two realms during the first ten years of Edward III.'s
reign will show how, despite the reluctance of either party to force
matters to a crisis, the Kings of France and England gradually drifted
into the hostility which, from 1337 onwards, paralysed the progress of
the English cause in Scotland.

At the moment of the fall of Edward II., England and France were still
nominally engaged in the war which had followed the second seizure of
Guienne by Charles IV. The difficulties experienced by Isabella and
Mortimer in establishing their power made them as willing to give way
to the French as to the Scots. Accordingly, on March 31, 1327, a treaty
of peace was signed at Paris. By this treaty Edward only gained the
restoration of certain of his Gascon vassals to the estates of which
they had been deprived through their loyalty to the English connexion.
He pledged himself to pay a large war indemnity, and accepted a partial
restitution of his Gascon lands. Like so many of the treaties since
1259, it was a truce rather than a peace. Many details still remained
for settlement, and it was pretty clear that the French, having the
whip hand, would drive Gascony towards the goal of gradual absorption
which had been so clearly marked out by Philip the Fair.

Charles IV. restored to Edward such parts of Gascony as he chose to
surrender. He retained in his hands Agen and the Agenais, and Bazas and
the Bazadais, on the ground that Charles of Valois had won them by
right of conquest in 1324. This policy reduced Edward's duchy to two
portions of territory, very unequal in size and separated from each
other by the lands conquered by the French king's uncle. The larger
section of the English king's lands extended along the coast from the
mouth of the Charente to the mouth of the Bidassoa. It included Saintes
with Saintonge south of the Charente, Bordeaux and the Bordelais, Dax
and the diocese of Dax, and Bayonne and its territory. But in no place
did the boundaries go very far inland. Along the Dordogne, Libourne and
Saint-Emilion were the easternmost English towns. Up the Garonne, the
French were in possession of Langon, while, in the valley of the Adour,
Saint-Sever, perched on its upland rock, was the landward outpost of
the diminished Gascon duchy. In the east of the Agenais the two
_chatellenies_ of Penne and Puymirol formed a little _enclave_ of ducal
territory which extended from the Lot to the Garonne. But this second
fragment of the ancient duchy was of no military and little commercial
value, being commanded on all sides by the possessions of the French
king. Moreover, the fiefs dependent on the Gascon duchy had fallen away
with the attenuation of the duke's domain. In particular the viscounty
of Bearn, now held by the Count of Foix, repudiated all allegiance to
its English overlord. Even a thoroughly Gascon seigneur, such as the
lord of Albret, was wavering in his fidelity to his duke. It was no
longer safe for Gascons to risk the hostility of the king of the

Within a year of the treaty of Paris, the death of Charles IV. further
complicated Anglo-French relations. Like his brothers, Louis X. and
Philip V., Charles the Fair left no male issue; but the pregnancy of
his queen prevented the settlement of the succession being completed
immediately after his decease. The barons of France, however, had no
serious doubts as to their policy. The inadmissibility of a female
ruler had already been determined at the accession of both Philip V.
and Charles IV., and it was clear that the nearest male heir was
Philip, Count of Valois, who had recently succeeded to the great
appanage left vacant by the death in 1325 of his father, Charles of
Valois, the inveterate enemy of the English. As the next representative
of the male line, the French at once recognised Philip of Valois as
regent. When his cousin's widow gave birth to a daughter, the regent
was proclaimed as King Philip VI. without either delay or hesitation.
Thus the house of Valois occupied the throne of France in the place of
the direct Capetian line in which son had succeeded father since the
days of Hugh Capet.

Even Isabella and Mortimer protested against the succession of Philip
of Valois. Admitted that the exclusion of women from the monarchy was
already established by two precedents, could it not be plausibly argued
that a woman, incapable herself of reigning, might form "the bridge and
plank"[1] (as a contemporary put it) by which her sons might step into
the rights of their ancestors? Strange as such a conception seems to
our ideas, it was not unfamiliar to the jurists of that day. It was in
this fashion that the Capetian house claimed its boasted descent and
continuity from the race of Charlemagne. Such a principle was actually
the law in some parts of France, and it was a matter of every-day
occurrence in the Parisis to transmit male fiefs to the sons of
heiresses, themselves incapable of succession. Edward, as the son of
Charles IV.'s sister, was nearer of kin to his uncle than Philip, the
son of Charles's uncle. Surely a man's nephew had a better right to his
succession than his first cousin could ever claim? From the purely
juridical point of view, the claim put forward by Isabella on her son's
behalf was not only plausible but strong.

    [1] Viollet, _Hist. des Institutions politiques et
    administratives de la France_, ii., 74, from a MS. source. See
    also Viollet, _Comment les Femmes ont ete exclues en France de
    la Succession a la Couronne_, in _Mem. de l'Acad. des
    Inscriptions_, xxxiv., pt. ii. (1893).

Happily for France, the magnates of the realm dealt with the succession
question as statesmen and not as lawyers. A later age imagined that the
French barons brought forward a text of the law of the Salian Pranks, as
a complete answer to Edward's claim from the juridical point of view.
But the famous Salic law was a figment, forged by the next generation of
lawyers who were eager to give a complete refutation of the elaborate
legal pleadings of the partisans of the English claim. No authentic
Salic law dealt with the question of the succession to the throne,[1]
and the bold step of transferring a doctrine of private inheritance to
the domain of public law was one of the characteristic feats of the
medieval jurist, anxious to heap up at any risk a mass of arguments that
might overwhelm his antagonists' case. The barons of 1328 rose superior
to legal subtleties. To them the question at issue was the preservation
of the national identity of their country. The vital thing for them was
to secure the throne of France, both at the moment and at future times,
for a Frenchman. Any admission, however guarded, of the right of women
to transmit claims to their sons opened out a vista of the foreign
offspring of French princesses, married abroad, ruling France as
strangers, and it might be as enemies. They chose Philip of Valois
because he was a Frenchman born and bred, and because he had no
interests or possessions outside the French realm. They could not endure
the idea of being ruled by the English king. He was not only a stranger,
but the hereditary enemy. The Capetian monarchy must at all costs be
kept French.

    [1] Viollet, _op. cit._, pp. 55-57; _cf_. Desprez, _Les
    Preliminaires de la Giurre de Cent Am_, p. 32.

Isabella did what she could on her son's behalf. She excited the
_noblesse_ of Aquitaine to support Edward's claim; but the lords of the
south paid no heed to her exhortations. She was more successful with the
Flemings, then in revolt against their Count, Louis of Nevers. Twelve
notables of Bruges, headed by the burgomaster, William de Deken, visited
England and offered to recognise Edward as King of France if he would
support the Flemish democracy against their feudal lord.[1] But Philip
VI.'s first act was to unite with the Count of Flanders, and the fatal
day of Cassel laid low the fortunes of Bruges and restored the fugitive
Louis to power. Isabella was forced to resign herself to simple

    [1] See Pirenne, _La premiere Tentative pour reconnaitre
    Edouard I. comme Roi de France in Ann. de la Soc. d'Hist. de
    Gand_, 1902.

The inevitable demand from Philip VI. for Edward's homage for Guienne
and Ponthieu soon brought the English government face to face with
realities. The request for his vassal's submission, conveyed to England
by Peter Roger, Abbot of Fecamp, the future Clement VI., was even more
unwelcome than such demands commonly were. At first Isabella used brave
words: "My son, who is the son of a king, will never do homage to the
son of a count".[1] But a threat of a third seizure of Gascony soon
brought the queen to her senses. Further insistence on the part of
Philip was met with polite apologies for delay. At last, in May, 1329,
the young king crossed the Channel, and on June 6 performed homage to
Philip in the choir of the cathedral of Amiens. But even at the last
moment there were explanations and reservations on both sides. Philip
made it clear that he acknowledged no claim of his vassal to any
territories, beyond those which he actually possessed. Edward's
advisers protested that they abandoned no pretension to the whole by
performing homage for a part. Moreover, the act of homage was couched
in such ambiguous phrases that it remained doubtful whether Edward had
performed "liege homage," as the King of France demanded, or only
"simple homage," such as seemed to him less offensive to the dignity of
a crowned king. Thus, though the cousins parted amicably and discussed
proposals of a marriage treaty between the English and French houses,
the homage at Amiens settled nothing.

    [1] _Grandes Chroniques de France_, v., 323 (ed. P. Paris).

The diplomatists still had plenty of work before them. The French
statesmen insisted on the necessity of the ceremony at Amiens being
interpreted as liege homage, involving the obligation of defending the
overlord "against all those who can live or die". The English
politicians complained of the "injustice and unreason of the King of
France, who seeks the disinheritance of their master in Aquitaine". It
was only by limiting the demands of both parties to points of detail,
that a compromise was arrived at in the convention of the Wood of
Vincennes on May 8, 1330. Further negotiations were still necessary;
and at the moment when everything was trembling in the balance, the
sudden occupation of Saintes by the Count of Alencon, brother of Philip
VI., brought matters within a measurable distance of war. But Edward,
then at the beginning of his real reign, had no mind for fighting. A
more satisfactory convention, drawn up on March 9, 1331, at
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, was ratified by Edward at Eltham on March 30,
when he recognised that he owed liege homage, and not merely simple
homage, to the King of France. Next month, he crossed over to France so
secretly that his subjects believed that he went disguised as a
merchant or a pilgrim. At Pont-Sainte-Maxence, a little town on the
Oise, a few miles below Compiegne, Edward held an interview with Philip
VI., who came thither with equal privacy. The French king does not seem
to have insisted upon a renewal of homage, being content with the
assurance already given as to the character of the previous ceremony.
The informal interview, which the modern historian can only ascertain
by painful scrutiny of the royal itineraries, proved more fertile in
friendship than all the pomp of Amiens. Before Edward went home, Philip
gave him complete satisfaction for the outrage at Saintes, and arrived
at a financial settlement. Thus Edward and Philip at last became
friends "so far as outside appearances went," as a chronicler of the
time phrased it. The fundamental difference of interests and standpoint
could be glossed over by no facile compromise, and the calm of the next
six years was only the prelude to a storm destined to end the policy
that had regulated the relations of the two courts from the days of the
peace of 1259 to those of the meeting at Pont-Sainte-Maxence.

At first there was talk of further cementing the newly established
friendship. There were suggestions of a marriage of Edward's infant son
with Philip's daughter, a fresh interview between the monarchs, a
treaty of perpetual alliance and a common crusade against the Turks.
The last, and the most fantastic, of these projects was the one which
was most seriously discussed. The chivalrous spirit of Philip of Valois
rose eagerly to the idea of a great European expedition against the
infidel, of which he was to be the chief commander. Inspired by John
XXII., he took the cross, made preparations for an early start, and
invoked Edward's co-operation. Edward cleverly utilised his kinsman's
zeal as another lever for enforcing the settlement of outstanding
differences. "Tell your master," he said to the French ambassador,
Peter Roger, now Archbishop of Rouen, "that when he has fulfilled his
promises, I will be more eager to go on the holy voyage than he is
himself." But the chronic troubles, arising from the unceasing
extension of the suzerain's claims in Aquitaine, and from the shelter
given by Philip to David Bruce, had continued all through the years of
professed friendship, and in 1334 an embassy to Paris, presided over by
Archbishop Stratford, failed to establish a _modus vivendi_. In the
same year John XXII. died without having either procured the crusade or
crushed Louis of Bavaria. His successor, James Founder of Foix, who
took the name of Benedict XII., pursued his general policy, though in a
more diplomatic and self-seeking spirit. Benedict's great wish was to,
unite France and England against his enemy, the Emperor Louis of
Bavaria, and he dexterously played upon Philip's eagerness for the
crusade to persuade him to abandon to the papacy the position, which he
had assumed, of arbiter of the differences between Edward and the
Scots. It was a signal, though transitory, triumph of this policy that
a truce between England and Scotland was brought about by the mediation
of the pope and not of the French king. But Benedict found that a
crusade was impossible so long as the chief powers of the west were
hopelessly estranged from each other. In 1336, he vetoed the crusading
scheme until happier times had dawned. Philip, bitterly disappointed,
sought out Benedict at Avignon, but utterly failed to change his
purpose. He was in his own despite released from the crusader's vow,
though exhorted still to continue his preparations. The galleys,
purchased from the crusading tenths of the Church, were transferred
from the Mediterranean to the Channel. The French king might well find
consolation for the abandonment of the holy war in a sudden descent on

From that moment the horizon darkened. Philip VI., once more took up
the cause of the Scots, and once more the Aquitanian troubles became
acute. His irritation at Benedict led him to open up negotiations with
Louis of Bavaria, whereat Benedict was greatly offended. Edward III.
then sought to find friends who would help him against Philip. He was
as much disgusted with the pope as was his French rival. The crusading
fleet, equipped with the money of the Roman Church, threatened the
English coast, and the _curia_ was even more French in its sympathies
than the temporising pontiff. It is no wonder then that both kings
looked coldly on Benedict's offer of mediation between them. Yet,
notwithstanding the indifference manifested by both courts, two
cardinals, Peter Gomez, a Spaniard, and Bertrand of Montfavence, a
Frenchman, were sent in the summer of 1337 as papal legates to France
and England to settle the points in dispute. For the next three years
these prelates pursued their mission with energy and persistence,
though with little result.

A fresh dispute further embittered the personal relations of Philip and
Edward. In 1336, Edward offered a refuge in England to Robert of Artois,
Philip's brother-in-law and mortal enemy. The grandson of the Count
Robert of Artois who was slain in 1302 at Courtrai, Robert of Artois was
indignant that the rich county of Artois should, according to local
custom, have devolved upon his aunt Maud, the wife of Otto, Count of
Burgundy, or Franche Comte, and the mother-in-law of the last two kings
of the direct Capetian line. Though he had failed in several suits to
obtain it, Robert renewed his claim after his brother-in-law became King
of France. It was soon proved that the charters upon which he relied to
prove his title had been forged. The sudden death of the Countess of
Artois, followed quickly by that of her daughter and heiress, added the
suspicion of poisoning to the certainly of forgery. Robert was deprived
of all his possessions and was exiled from France. Driven from his first
refuge in Brabant by Philip's indignant hostility, he found shelter in
England, where he was received with a favour which Philip bitterly
resented. Condemned in his absence as a traitor, and devoured by a
ferocious hatred of Philip and his Burgundian wife, Robert did all that
he could to inflame the mind of Edward against the French king. French
romance of the next generation, in the poem of the _Vow of the
Heron_,[1] tells how Robert, returning to Edward's court from the chase,
brought as his only victim a heron, which he offered to the king as the
most timid of birds to the most cowardly of kings; "for, sire," he
declared, "you have not dared to claim the realm of France which belongs
to you by hereditary right". Stirred up by this challenge, Edward swore
to God and the heron that within a year he would place the crown of
France on Queen Philippa's brow. This famous legend is, however, a
fiction. It was not until later that Edward seriously renewed the claim
which he had advanced in 1328. But when once war became certain, the
challenge of the French throne was bound to be made, and the dissolution
of the friendly personal relations of the two kings, which had so long
prevented either from proceeding to extremities, was certainly in large
part the work of Robert of Artois. For the moment, Edward probably
thought that his welcome of Robert was only a fair return for Philip's
reception of David Bruce.

    [1] _Les voeus du heron_ in Wright, _Political Poems and
    Songs_, i., 1-25 (Rolls Ser.)

War being imminent, Edward looked beyond sea for foreign allies.
Commercial and traditional ties closely bound England to the county of
Flanders, but our friendship had latterly been with its people rather
than with its princes. Louis of Nevers, the Count of Flanders, had been
expelled in 1328 by a rising of the maritime districts of the county,
and had been restored by force of arms through the agency of Philip of
Valois. Gratitude and interest accordingly combined to make Count Louis
a strong partisan of Philip of Valois. Though far from absolute, he was
still possessed of sufficient authority over his unruly townsmen to
make it impossible for Edward to negotiate successfully with them. In
1336 the count answered Edward's advances by prohibiting all commercial
relations between his subjects and England. Bitterly disgusted at the
hostility of Flanders, Edward in 1337 passed a law through parliament
which prohibited the export of wool to the Flemish weaving centres.
This measure provoked an economic crisis at Ghent and Ypres; but for
the moment such a catastrophe could only accentuate the differences
between England and the count. It was otherwise, however, with the
neighbouring princes of the imperial obedience. Count William I. of
Hainault, Holland, and Zealand was Edward III.'s father-in-law, and,
during the last months of his strenuous career, he welcomed Bishop
Burghersh, Edward's chief diplomatist, to his favourite residence of
Valenciennes, where from April, 1337, the English ambassadors kept
great state, "sparing as little as if the king were present there in
his own person," and striving with all their might to build up an
alliance with the princes of the Low Countries. When the count died,
his son and successor, William II., persisted, though with less energy,
in his father's policy, and the Hainault connexion became the nucleus
of a general Low German alliance. Burghersh was lavish in promises, and
soon a large number of imperial vassals took Edward's pay and promised
to fight his battles. Among these were Count Reginald of Gelderland,
who since 1332 had been the husband of Edward III.'s sister Eleanor,
and with him came the Counts of Berg, Juelich, Cleves, and Mark, the
Count Palatine of the Rhine, and a swarm of minor potentates.

Hardest to win over of the Netherlandish princes was Duke John III. of
Brabant, a crafty statesman and a successful warrior, who had recently
conquered limburg, and won a signal victory over a formidable coalition
of his neighbours. Among his former foes had been the house of Avesnes,
but he had reconciled himself with Hainault, by reason of his greater
hatred for Louis of Flanders. The Flemish cities were the rivals in
trade of his own land, and their count's friendship for his French
suzerain ensured the establishment of Philip of Valois as temporary
lord of Mechlin, the possession of which had long been indirectly
disputed between Brabant and Flanders. The hesitating duke was at last
won over by a favourable commercial treaty, which made Antwerp the
staple of English wools, and ensured for the looms of Louvain and
Brussels the advantages denied by Edward's hostility to the
clothworkers of Ghent and Ypres. Convinced that war with Philip was the
surest way of adding Mechlin to his dominions, he then joined the
circle of Edward's stipendiaries. The excommunicated and schismatic
emperor, Louis of Bavaria, welcomed the advances of Burghersh. More
than one tie already bound the Bavarian to England. The English
Franciscan, William of Ockham, proved himself the most active and
daring of the literary champions of the imperial claims against John
XXII. Moreover, the emperor and Edward had married sisters, and their
brother-in-law, the new Count of Hainault, Holland, and Zealand, was
childless, so that they had common interests in keeping on good terms
with him. Louis' bitter enemy, Benedict XII., forbade all hope of
French support, and blocked the way to all prospect of reconciliation
with the Church. It was natural that Louis should take his revenge by
an alliance with the prince who ignored the advice of the pontiff, and
hated the Valois king. As the result of all this, an offensive and
defensive alliance between Edward on the one hand and Louis and his Low
German vassals on the other was signed at Valenciennes in the summer of

The die seemed cast. Philip VI. pronounced the forfeiture of Gascony
and Ponthieu. The French at once invaded Edward's duchy and county,
while the French sailors in the Channel plundered the Anglo-Norman
islands and the towns on the Sussex and Hampshire coasts. Edward
redoubled his preparations for war, and issued a long manifesto to his
subjects in which he set forth in violent language his grievances
against Philip. It was at this unlucky moment that the two cardinal
legates came upon the scene, reaching Paris in August, intent on
arranging a pacification. The irritation, which Benedict showed against
Edward for concluding an alliance with the schismatic emperor, did not
make him more disposed to the work of conciliation. But the pope saw in
the outbreak of a great war the destruction of his last hopes of
humiliating the Bavarian, and once more played upon the weakness and
impolicy of Philip. Though France was more ready than England, and
Philip had everything to lose by delay, the French king allowed himself
to be persuaded by the two legates to enter once more upon the paths of
conciliation. As a preliminary measure, he revoked the order for the
confiscation of Gascony, and accepted a temporary armistice. As before
in the Scottish business, Philip again played the game of the papacy.
Unlike his adversary, Edward continued steadily in the line which he
had determined upon, while welcoming any delay that gave him
opportunity to get ready. He employed the interval in making peace more
impossible than ever. On October 7, he renewed his claim to the French
crown, repudiated the homage into which he had been tricked during his
infancy, and sent Bishop Burghersh straight from Valenciennes to Paris
as bearer of his defiance. Thus the autumn of 1337 saw a virtual
declaration of war. In November the first serious hostilities took
place. Sir Walter Manny devastated the Flemish island of Cadzand,
taking away with him as prisoner the bastard brother of the Count of

Papal diplomacy had not yet exhausted its resources. Benedict XII. was
deeply concerned at the conclusion of the Anglo-imperial alliance. He
was convinced that the only possible way of avoiding its perils was to
persuade Edward and Philip to bury their differences and unite with him
against the emperor. He succeeded in obtaining short prolongations of
the existing armistice and, in December, 1337, the two cardinal legates
landed in England, and were gladly received by Edward, who was
delighted to gain time by negotiations. For the next six months they
tarried in England, hoping against hope that something definite would
result from their efforts. Meanwhile the English hurried on their
preparations for war, and Edward made ready to cross over to the
continent. As months slipped away, the tension became more severe, and
in May Edward denounced the truces, though he still kept up the
pretence of negotiations, and so late as June appointed ambassadors to
treat with Philip of Valois. The real interest centred in the hard
fighting which at once broke out at sea between the rival seamen of
England and Normandy. At first the advantage was with the Normans. Not
only were many English ships captured, but repeated destructive forays
were made on the coasts of the south-eastern counties. Portsmouth was
burnt; the Channel Islands were ravaged; and so alarming were the
French corsairs that, in July, 1338, the dwellers on the south coast
were ordered to take refuge in fortresses, or withdraw their goods to a
distance of four leagues from the sea.

At last the army and fleet were ready. On July 12, 1338, Edward
appointed his son, the eight-year-old Duke of Cornwall, warden of
England, and a few days later sailed from Orwell on a great ship named
the _Christopher_. A favourable wind quickly bore the royal fleet to
the mouth of the Scheldt. Thence the king and his army sailed up the
river to Antwerp, the chief port of Brabant, where they landed on July
16. There, on July 22, Edward revoked all commissions addressed to the
King of France, and withheld from his agents all power to prejudice his
own pretensions to the throne of the Valois. He passed more than a
month at Antwerp, holding frequent conferences with his imperial
allies, and thence proceeded through Brabant and Juelich to Cologne.
From that city he went up the Rhine to Coblenz, where on September 5 he
held an interview with his queen's imperial brother-in-law. Their
meeting was celebrated with all the pomp and stateliness of the heyday
of chivalry. Edward was accompanied by the highest nobles of his land,
the emperor by all the electors, save King John of Bohemia, who, as a
Luxemburger, was a convinced partisan of the French. Louis received his
ally clothed in a purple dalmatic, with crown on head and with sceptre
and orb in hand, surrounded by the electors and the higher dignitaries
of the empire, and seated on a lofty throne erected in the Castorplatz,
hard by the Romanesque basilica that watches over the junction of the
Moselle with the Rhine. Another throne, somewhat lower in height, was
occupied by the King of England, clothed in a robe of scarlet
embroidered with gold, and surrounded by three hundred knights. Then,
before the assembled crowd, Louis declared that Philip of France had
forfeited the fiefs which he held of the empire. He put into Edward's
hands a rod of gold and a charter of investiture, by which symbols he
appointed him as "Vicar-general of the Empire in all the Germanies and
in all the Almaines". Next day the allies heard a mass celebrated by
the Archbishop of Cologne in the church of St. Castor. After the
service the emperor swore to aid Edward against the King of France for
seven years, while the barons of the empire took oaths to obey the
imperial vicar and to march against his enemies. Thereupon the English
king took farewell of the emperor, and returned to Brabant.

All was ready for war. The interview at Coblenz was the deathblow to
the papal diplomacy, and the sluggish Philip awaited in the Vermandois
the expected attack of the Anglo-imperial armies. Yet the best part of
a year was still to elapse before lances were crossed in earnest. The
lords of the empire had no real care for the cause of Edward. They were
delighted to take his presents, to pledge themselves to support him,
and to insist upon the regular payment of the subsidies he had
promised. But John of Brabant was more intent on winning Mechlin than
on invading France, and even William of Avesnes was embarrassed by the
ties which bound him to Philip, his uncle, even more than to Edward,
his brother-in-law. They contented themselves with taking Edward's
money and giving him little save promises in return. It became evident
that an imperial vicar would be obeyed even less than an emperor. Every
week of delay was dangerous to Edward, who had exhausted his resources
in the pompous pageantry of his Rhenish journey, and in magnificent
housekeeping in Brabant. It was then Edward's interest, as it had
previously been Philip's, to bring matters to a crisis. That he failed
to do this must be ascribed to the lukewarmness of his allies, the
poverty of his exchequer, and, above all, to the still active diplomacy
of Benedict XII.

The cardinal legates appeared in Brabant, but their tone was different
from that which they had taken in the previous spring in England.
Profoundly irritated by the alliance of Edward and Louis, Benedict
lectured the English king on the iniquity of his courses. The empire
was vacant; the Coblenz grant was therefore of no effect; if Edward
persisted in acting as vicar of the schismatic, he would be
excommunicated. Benedict stood revealed as the partisan of France. It
was in vain that Edward offered peace if France gave up the Scots and
made full restitution of Gascony. Benedict ordered his legates to
refuse to discuss the latter proposal, and, as the Gascon question lay
at the root of the whole matter, an amicable settlement became more
impossible than ever. Edward hotly defended his right to make what
alliances he chose with his wife's kinsmen, and bitterly denounced the
employment of the wealth of the Church in equipping the armies of his
enemies. Though the cardinals, Peter and Bertrand, remained in Edward's
camp, they might, for all practical purposes, as well have been at
Avignon. The papal diplomacy had failed.

Edward employed the leisure forced upon him by these events in
elaborating his claim to the French throne. His lawyers ransacked both
Roman jurisprudence and feudal custom that they might lay before the
pope and Christendom plausible reasons for their master's pretensions.
They advanced pleas of an even bolder character. Was not the right of
Edward to the French throne the same as that of Jesus Christ to the
succession of David? The Virgin Mary, incapable of the succession on her
own behalf, was yet able to transmit her rights to her Son. These
contentions, sacred and profane, did not touch the vital issue. It was
not the dynastic question that brought about the war, though, war being
inevitable, Edward might well, as he himself said, use his claim as a
buckler to protect himself from his enemies. The fundamental difference
between the two nations lay in the impossible position of Edward in
Gascony. He could not abandon his ancient patrimony, and Philip could
not give up that policy of gradually absorbing the great fiefs which the
French kings had carried on since the days of St. Louis. The support
given to the Scots, the Anglo-imperial alliance, the growing national
animosity of the two peoples, the rivalry of English and French
merchants and sailors, all these and many similar causes were but
secondary.[1] At this stage the claim to the French throne, though
immensely complicating the situation, and interposing formidable
technical obstacles to the conduct of negotiations, loomed larger in
talk than in acts. It was only in 1340, when Edward saw in his
pretensions the best way of commanding the allegiance of Philip's sworn
vassals, that the question of the French title became a serious matter.

    [1] Deprez, _Les Preliminaires de la Guerre de Cent Am_, pp.
    400-406, admirably elucidates the situation.

On which side did the responsibility for the war rest? National
prejudices have complicated the question. English historians have seen
in the aggression of Philip in Gascony, his intervention in Scottish
affairs, and the buccaneering exploits of the Norman mariners, reasons
adequate to provoke the patience even of a peace-loving monarch. French
writers, unable to deny these facts, have insisted upon the slowness of
Philip to requite provocation, his servile deference to papal
authority, his willingness to negotiate, and his dislike to take
offence even at the denial of his right to the crown which he wore.
Either king seems hesitating and reluctant when looked at from one
point of view, and pertinaciously aggressive when regarded from the
opposite standpoint. It is safer to conclude that the war was
inevitable than to endeavour to apportion the blame which is so equally
to be divided between the two monarchs. The modern eye singles out
Edward's baseless claim and makes him the aggressor, but there was
little, as the best French historians admit, in Edward's pretension
that shocked the idea of justice in those days. Moreover this view,
held too absolutely, is confuted by the secondary position taken by the
claim during the negotiations which preceded hostilities. If in the
conduct of the preliminaries we may assign to Edward the credit of
superior insight, more resolute policy, and a more clearly perceived
goal, the intellectual superiority, which he possessed over his rival,
was hardly balanced by any special moral obliquity on his part; though
to Philip, with all his weakness, must always be given the sympathy
provoked by the defence of his land against the foreign invader. It is
useless to refine the issue further. The situation had become
impossible, and fighting was the only way out of the difficulty. When
in the late summer of 1339 the curtain was rung down on the
long-drawn-out diplomatic comedy, Edward had not yet finally assumed
that title of King of France, which made an inevitable strife
irreconcilable, and so prolonged hostilities that the struggle became
the Hundred Years' War.



In the late summer of 1339 Edward III. was at last able to take the
offensive against France. During the negotiations England strained
every effort to provide her absent sovereign with men and money, but
neither the troops nor the supplies were adequate. The army which
assembled in September in the neighbourhood of Brussels consisted
largely of imperial vassals, hired by the English King, and clamorous
for the regular payment of their wages. Already Edward told his
ministers that, had not "a good friend in Flanders" advanced him a
large sum, he would have been obliged to return with shame to England.
As it was, enough was raised to set the unwieldy host in motion, and on
September 20 he marched from Valenciennes, and thence advanced into the
bishopric of Cambrai, whose lord, though an imperial vassal, had
declared for France and the papacy.

The rolling uplands of the Cambresis were devastated with fire and
sword. One night an English baron took the Cardinal Bertrand, who with
his comrade Peter still accompanied Edward's host, to the summit of a
high tower, whence they could witness the flaming homesteads and
villages of the fertile and populous district. In that woeful spectacle
the churchman saw the futility of his last two years of constant
labour, and fell in a swoon to the ground. But the confederates could
do little more than devastate the open country. Cambrai itself was
besieged to no purpose, and Edward pressed on to the invasion of
France. On October g he spent his first night on French soil at the
abbey of Mont Saint-Martin. He learnt how slender was the tie which
bound his foreign allies to him, for his brother-in-law, William of
Hainault, refused to serve, except on imperial soil, against his uncle
Philip VI. Consoled for this defection by the arrival of the sluggish
Duke of Brabant and of the Elector of Brandenburg, the eldest son of
the emperor, Edward marched through the Vermandois, the Soissonais, and
the Laonnais, burning and devastating, without meeting any serious
resistance. Philip of Valois timidly held aloof in the neighbourhood of

By the middle of October, when Edward was near St. Quentin on the Oise,
the Duke of Brabant suggested the expediency of seeking out winter
quarters. The slow-moving host was almost in mutiny, when the master
crossbowman of the King of France brought a challenge from his lord.
"Let the King of England," ran the message, "seek out a field
favourable for a pitched battle, where there is neither wood, nor
marsh, nor river." Edward cheerfully accepted a day for the combat, and
chose his ground higher up the Oise valley, among the green meadowlands
and hedgerows of the Thierache. The appointed day passed by, and the
French came not. At last, when Edward almost despaired of a meeting, he
was told that the French were arrayed at Buironfosse, on the plateau
between the Oise and the upper Sambre, and that Philip was ready to
fight the next day, Saturday, October 23. Edward once more chose a
suitable field of action in a plain between La Flamangrie and
Buironfosse, a league and a half from the French. "On the Saturday,"
wrote Edward to his son in England, "we were in the field, a full
quarter of an hour before dawn, and took up our position in a fitting
place to fight. In the early morning some of the enemy's scouts were
taken, and they told us that his advanced guard was in battle array and
coming out towards us. The news having come to our host, our allies,
though they had hitherto borne themselves somewhat sluggishly, were in
truth of such loyal intent that never were folk of such goodwill to
fight. In the meantime one of our scouts, a knight of Germany, was
taken, and he showed all our array to the enemy. Thereupon the foe
withdrew his van, gave orders to encamp, made trenches around him, and
cut down large trees in order to prevent us from approaching him. We
tarried all day on foot in order of battle, until towards evening it
seemed to our allies that we had waited long enough. And at vespers we
mounted our horses and went near to Avesnes, and made him to know that
we would await him there all the Sunday. On the Monday morning we had
news that the lord Philip had withdrawn. And so would our allies no
longer afterwards abide."

Thus ended the inglorious campaign of the Thierache. Edward returned to
Brussels "like a fox to his hole," and each side denounced the other
for failing to keep the appointed tryst. The chivalry of the fourteenth
century saw something ignoble in the sluggishness of Philip; but no
modern soldier would blame him for his inactivity. Without striking a
blow, he obtained the object of his campaign, for the enemy abandoned
French territory. Had Edward been fully confident of victory, he could
easily have forced a battle by advancing on Buironfosse; but he
preferred to run the risk of a fiasco rather than abandon the defensive
tactics on which he relied. Thus, even from the chivalrous point of
view, he was by no means blameless. From the material standpoint, his
first French campaign was a failure. It left its only mark on the
devastated countryside, the beggared peasantry, the desolated churches
and monasteries, the farmsteads and villages burnt to ashes.

Edward seemed ruined both in reputation and purse. He had exhausted his
resources in meeting the extravagant demands of his allies, and their
help had profited him nothing at all. Yet his inexhaustible energy
opened up a surer means of foreign assistance than had been supplied by
the unruly vassals of Louis of Bavaria. At the moment when the imperial
alliance was tried and found wanting, the way was opened up for close
friendship between Edward and the Flemish cities. In earlier years the
chivalrous devotion of Louis of Nevers to his overlord had secured the
political dependence of Flanders upon the King of France. If the action
of their count made the Flemings the tools of French policy, their
commercial necessities bound them to England by chains forged by nature
itself. Alone of the lands of northern and western Europe, Flanders was
not a self-sufficing economic community.[1] Its great ports and weaving
towns depended for their customers on foreign markets, and the raw
material of their staple manufacture was mainly derived from England.
When in 1337 Edward prohibited the export of wool to Flanders, his
action at once brought about the same result that the cessation of the
supplies of American cotton would cause in the manufacturing districts
of Lancashire. A wool famine, like the Lancashire cotton famine of
1862-65, plunged Ghent, Ypres, and Bruges into grievous distress. The
starving weavers wandered through the farms begging their bread, and,
when charity at home proved inadequate, they exposed their rags and
their misery in the chief cities of northern France. Even wealthy
merchants felt the pinch of the crisis which ruined the small craftsmen.

    [1] See for this Pirenne, _Histoire de Belgique_, vols. i. and
    ii., and Lamprecht, _Deutsche Geschichte_, iii., 304-324, and
    iv., 134-142.

A common desire to avoid calamity bound together the warring classes
and rival districts of Flanders, as they had never been united before.
Bruges and Ypres had borne the brunt of earlier struggles, and had not
even yet recovered from the exhaustion of the wars of the early years
of the century. Their exhaustion left the way open to Ghent, where the
old patricians and the rich merchants, the weavers and the fullers,
forgot their ancient rivalries and worked together to remedy the
crisis. A wealthy landholder and merchant-prince of Ghent, James van
Artevelde, made himself the spokesman of all classes of that great
manufacturing city. He was no demagogue nor artisan, though his
eloquence and force had wonderful power over the impressionable
craftsmen of the trading guilds. He was no Netherlandish patriot, as
some moderns have imagined, though he was anxious to unite Flanders
with her neighbour states, on the broad basis of their identity of
economic and political interests. A man of Ghent, above all things, his
policy was to save the imperilled industries of his native town, and to
make it the centre of a new movement for the vindication of commercial
liberty against feudal domination. By the winter of 1337 this rich
capitalist allied himself with the turbulent democracy of the weavers'
guilds, and put himself at the head of affairs. Early in 1338 he began
to negotiate with Edward III., and his loans to the distressed monarch
had the result of removing the embargo on English wool. The famished
craftsmen hailed the enemy of their class as a god who had come down
from heaven for their salvation.

Louis of Nevers and Philip of Valois took the alarm. Seeing in the
ascendency of Artevelde the certainty that Flanders would join the
English alliance, they left no stone unturned to avoid so dire a
calamity. Artevelde, conscious of the narrow basis of his own
authority, was prudent enough to be moderate. Instead of pressing the
English alliance to a conclusion, he accepted the suggestion of Philip
VI., that Flanders should remain neutral. Louis of Nevers hated the
notion; but in June, 1338, Edward and Philip agreed to recognise
Flemish neutrality, and he was forced to acquiesce in it. Both monarchs
promised to avoid Flemish territory, and offered free commercial
relations between Flanders and their respective dominions.

Artevelde and the men of Ghent were the real masters of Flanders. They
kept their count in scarcely veiled captivity, forcing him to wear the
Flemish colours and to profess acceptance of the policy that he
disliked. In such circumstances the neutrality of Flanders could not
last long. Both Edward and Artevelde regarded it simply as a step
towards a declared alliance. Before long Philip became uneasy, and
lavished concession on concession to keep the dominant party true to
its promises. He gave up the degrading conditions which since the
treaty of Athis had secured the subjection of Flanders. But Edward
could offer more than his rival. He proposed to the count and the "good
towns" of Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres that, in return for their alliance,
he would aid them to win back the towns of Lille, Douai, Bethune, and
Tournai, which the French king had usurped from the Flemings, as well
as the county of Artois, which had been separated from Flanders since
the days of Philip Augustus. He also offered ample commercial
privileges, the establishment of the staple of wool at Bruges as well
as at Antwerp, free trade for Flemish cloth with the English markets,
and a good and fixed money which was to be legal tender in Flanders,
Brabant, France, and England. The Flemings demanded in return that
Edward, by formally assuming the title of King of France, should stand
to them as their liege lord, and thus free themselves and their count
from the ecclesiastical penalties and dishonour involved in their
waging war against a king of France. Late in 1339, these terms were
mutually accepted, and Count Louis avoided further humiliations by
flight into France.

In January, 1340, Edward entered Flemish territory and was
magnificently entertained in the abbey of Saint Bavon at Ghent. "The
three towns of Flanders," declared Artevelde to his guest, "are ready
to recognise you as their sovereign lord, provided that you engage
yourself to defend them." The deputies of the three towns took oaths to
Edward as their suzerain, and thereupon Edward was proclaimed King of
France with much ceremony in the Friday market of Ghent. A new great
seal was fashioned and new royal arms assumed, in which the lilies of
France were quartered with the leopards of England. The new regnal year
of Edward, which began on January 25, was styled the fourteenth of his
reign in England, and the first of his reign in France. Urgent affairs
called Edward back to his kingdom, but his debts to the Flemings were
already so heavy that they only consented to his departure on his
pledging himself to return before Michaelmas day, and on his leaving as
hostages his queen, his two sons, and two earls. At last, on February
20, he crossed over from Sluys to Orwell. He had been absent from home
for nearly a year and a half.

From February 21 to June 22, 1340, Edward remained in England. During
that period, formal treaties with the Flemings confirmed the hasty
negotiations of Ghent. Benedict XII, still pursued Edward with
remonstrances. He warned the English king to have no trust in allies
like the Flemings, who had shamefully driven away their natural lords
and whose faithlessness and inconstancy were by-words. He told him that
his strength was not enough to conquer France, and reproached him with
calling himself king of a land of which he possessed nothing. Somewhat
inconsistently, he offered his mediation between Edward and Philip. But
Philip was only less weary than Edward of the self-seeking pontiff.
Benedict was forced to drink the cup of humiliation, for after the
rejection of his mediation, he was confronted with a proposal that the
schismatic Bavarian should arbitrate between the two crowns. Meanwhile,
after many delays, Edward embarked a gallant army on a fleet of 200
ships, and on June 22 a favourable west wind bore them from the Orwell
towards Flanders. On arriving next day off Blankenberghe, he learned
that a formidable French squadron was anchored in the mouth of the
Zwyn, and that he could only land in Flanders as the reward of victory.

From the outbreak of hostilities in 1337, there had been a good deal of
fighting by sea, and in the first stages of warfare the advantage lay
with the French. Since the days of Edward I., and Philip the Fair, the
maritime energies of the two countries had developed at an almost equal
rate, and the parallel growth had been marked by bitter rivalry between
the seamen of the two nations. The Normans had taken the leading share
in this expansion of the French navy.[1] They welcomed the outbreak of
war with enthusiasm, as giving them a chance of measuring their forces
with their hated foes. Alone among the provinces of France, Normandy
seems already to have experienced that intense national bitterness
against the English which was soon to spread to all the rest of the
country. Not content with the vigorous war of corsairs which had
inflicted so much mischief on our southern coast and on English
shipping, the Normans formed bold designs of a new Norman Conquest of
England, and in return for the permanent establishment of the local
estates of Normandy, agreed with Philip and his son John, who bore the
title of Duke of Normandy, to equip a large fleet and army, with which
England was to be invaded in the summer of 1339. Normandy, which
monopolised the glory, was to monopolise the spoil. If England were
conquered, Duke John, like Duke William before him, was to be King of
England as well as Duke of Normandy. Thus the aggressions of Edward in
France were to be answered by Norman aggressions in England.[2]

    [1] _C_. de la Ronciere, _Hist, de_ la _Marine Francaise_; of.
    Nicolas, _Hist, of the Royal Navy_.

    [2] See on this subject A. Coville, _Les Etats_ de _Normandie_,
    pp. 41-52 (1894).

Nothing came of this grandiose project, though the burning ruins of
Southampton, the capture of the great _Christopher_, which had borne
Edward in 1338 to Antwerp, and the occupation of the Channel
Islands--the last remnants of the old duchy still under English
rule--showed that the Normans were in earnest. The chief result of their
energy was the equipment of the strongest French fleet that had ever
been seen in the Channel. Though a few Genoese galleys under Barbavera
and a few great Spanish ships swelled the number of the armada, 160 of
the 200 ships that formed the fleet were Norman.[1] Of the two Frenchmen
in command, one, Hugh Quieret, was a Picard knight, but the other, the
more popular, was Nicholas Behuchet, a Norman of humble birth, then a
knight and the chief confidant of Philip VI. Quieret and Behuchet had
long challenged the command of the narrow seas. But for their error of
dividing their forces and preferring a piratical war of reprisals, they
might have cut off communications between England and the Netherlands.
They had learnt wisdom by experience, and their ships were massed in
Zwyn harbour to prevent the passage of Edward to his new allies.

    [1] _S_. Luce, _La Marine normande a l'Ecluse_, in _La France
    pendant la Guerre de Cent Ans_, 3-31.

The coast-line between Blankenberghe and the mouth of the Scheldt was
strangely different in the fourteenth century from what it is at
present.[1] The sandy flats, through which the Zwyn now trickles to the
sea, formed a large open harbour, accessible to the biggest ships then
known. It was protected on the north by the island of Cadzand, the scene
of Manny's exploit in 1337, while at its head stood the town of Sluys,
so called from the locks, or sluices, that regulated the waters of the
ship canal, which bore to the great mart of Bruges the merchantmen of
every land. It was in this harbour that Edward, on arriving off
Blankenberghe, first spied the fleet of Quieret and Behuchet. He
anchored at sea for the night, and on the afternoon of June 24, the
anniversary of Bannockburn, he bore down on the French, having the sun,
the tide, and the wind in his favour. On his approach Barbavera urged
that the French should take to the open sea; but Quieret and Behuchet
preferred to fight in the harbour. As an unsatisfactory compromise,
however, the French moved a mile or so towards the enemy. Then they
lashed their ships together and awaited attack.

    [1] For this see Professor Tait's inset map of the district in
    _Oxford Historical Atlas_, plate lvi.

The English, unable to break the serried mass of their enemies, feigned
a retreat, whereupon the Normans unlashed their ships and hurried in
pursuit into the open water. At once the English turned and met them.
The battle began when the English admiral, Robert Morley, lay alongside
the _Christopher_, which, after its capture, had been taken into the
enemy's service. Soon the ships of both fleets were closely grappled
together in a fierce hand-to-hand fight which lasted until after
nightfall. The desperate eagerness of the combatants strangely
contrasted with the slackness of the campaign in the Thierache. "This
battle," says Froissart, "was right fierce and horrible, for battles by
sea are more dangerous and fiercer than battles by land, for at sea
there is no retreat nor fleeing; there is no remedy but to fight and
abide fortune, and every man to show his prowess." In the end the
English won an overwhelming victory, which was completed next morning
after more hard fighting. During the night Barbavera and his Genoese put
to sea and escaped, but the magnificent Norman fleet was in the hands of
the victor. The English loss was small, though it included Thomas of
Monthermer, a son of Joan of Acre, and Edward himself was wounded in the
thigh. The Norman force was almost annihilated. Quieret fell mortally
wounded into Edward's hands; Behuchet was captured unhurt. A later
Norman legend tells how Behuchet, when brought before the English king,
answered some taunt by boxing the king's ears, whereupon the angry
monarch hanged him forthwith from the mast of his ship.[1] But the
tradition is unsupported by English authorities, and, with all his
faults, Edward was not the man to deal thus with a captive knight who
had fought his best. Master at last of the sea, Edward landed at Sluys
amidst the rejoicings of the Flemings, and made his way to Ghent, where
he greeted his wife, and first saw his infant son John, born during his
absence, to whom Artevelde stood as godfather.

    [1] Luce, _Le Soufflet de l'Ecluse_, in _La Frame pendant la
    Guerre de Cent Ans_, 2nd serie, pp. 3-15.

Edward's military fame was established over all Europe, and, says the
Flemish writer, John van Klerk, "all who spoke the German tongue
rejoiced at the defeat of the French". Yet the victory at Sluys was the
prelude to a land campaign as ineffective as the raid into the
Thierache. Eager to restore their lost lands to the Flemings, Edward
made the mistake of dividing his army. He sent Robert of Artois to
effect the reconquest of Artois, while he himself besieged Tournai,
which was then in French hands. Robert's attempt to win back the lands
of his ancestors was a sorry failure. Defeated outside Saint Omer, he
was unable even to invest that town. Almost equally unsuccessful was
Edward's siege of Tournai, which resisted with such energy that he was
soon at the end of his resources. At last, in despair, Edward
challenged Philip VI. to decide their claim to France by single combat.
The Valois answered that he would gladly do so if, in the event of his
winning, he might obtain Edward's kingdom. In the same spirit of
caution, Philip tarried half-way between Saint Omer and Tournai,
watching both armies and afraid to strike at either. The armies wore
themselves out in this game of waiting until the widowed Countess of
Hainault, then abbess of the Cistercian nuns of Fontenelles, was moved
by the desolation of the country to intervene between the two kings.
The mother of the Queen of England and the sister of the King of
France, she succeeded not only by reason of her prayers, but through
the refusal of the Duke of Brabant, the Count of Hainault, and the
other imperial vassals to remain longer at the war. On September 25,
1340, a truce was signed at the solitary chapel of Esplechin, situated
in the open country a little south of Tournai. By it hostilities
between both kings and their respective allies were suspended, until
midsummer day, 1341. Each king was to enjoy the lands actually in his
possession, and commerce was to be carried on as if peace had been
made. The most significant clause of the truce was that by which both
kings pledged themselves that they "procure not that any innovation be
done by the Church of Rome, or by others of Holy Church on either of
the said kings. And if our most holy father the pope will do that, the
two kings shall prevent it, so far as in them lies."

The truce of Esplechin, renewed until 1345, put an end to the first, or
Netherlandish, period of the Hundred Years' War. The imperial alliance,
which had failed Edward, was soon to be solemnly dissolved. Early in
1341, Louis of Bavaria revoked Edward's vicariate, and announced his
intention of becoming henceforth the friend of his uncle, the King of
France. This alliance between Philip and Louis completed the
discomfiture of Benedict XII. In 1342 he died, and his successor was
Peter Roger, the sometime Archbishop of Rouen, who assumed the title of
Clement VI. By persuading Brabant and Hainault to be neutral between
France and England, the new pontiff broke up the last remnant of the
Anglo-imperial alliance. Even Flanders and England became estranged.
Artevelde, who found it a hard matter to govern Flanders after the
truce, would willingly have supported Edward. But Edward had henceforth
less need of Artevelde than Artevelde had of him. In 1345 Edward again
appeared at Sluys and had an interview with him, and then returned to
his own country without setting foot on Flemish soil. Artevelde soon
afterwards met his death in a popular tumult. His family fled to
England, _where_ they lived on a pension from Edward. This was the end
of the Anglo-Flemish alliance.

After the treaty of Esplechin, Edward returned to Ghent. The conclusion
of military operations was a signal to all his creditors to clamour for
immediate settlement of their debts. Neither subsidies nor wool came
from England, though the king wrote in piteous terms to his council.
Edward was convinced that the real cause of his failure was the
remissness of the home government, and resolved to wreak his vengeance
on his ministers. He was encouraged to this effect by Bishop Burghersh,
who still remembered his old feuds with Archbishop Stratford, and may
well have believed that the archbishop, who had a financier's dread of
war, had wilfully ruined his rival's diplomacy. But Edward dared not
openly return to England, for his Flemish creditors regarded his
personal presence as the best security for his debts. He was therefore
reduced to the pitiful expedient of running away from them. One day he
rode out of Ghent on the pretext of taking exercise, and hurried
secretly and without escort to Sluys. Thence he took ship for England,
and, after a tempestuous voyage of three days and nights, sailed up the
Thames, and landed at the Tower on November 30, 1340, after nightfall.
At cockcrow next morning, he summoned his ministers before him,
denounced them as false traitors and drove them all from office. The
judges were thrown into prison, and with them some of the leading
merchants, including William de la Pole of Hull. A special commission,
like that of 1289, scrutinised the acts of the royal officials
throughout the kingdom, and exacted heavy fines from the many who were
found wanting. Nothing but fear of provoking the wrath of the Church
prevented Edward from consigning to prison the dismissed chancellor,
Robert Stratford, Bishop of Chichester, and the late treasurer, Roger
Northburgh, Bishop of Coventry. Their successors were lay knights, the
new chancellor, Sir Robert Bourchier, being the first keeper of the
great seal who was not a clerk.

Earlier in the year the king had quarrelled with Archbishop Stratford,
who resigned the chancellorship. But before Edward sailed from Orwell
in June there had been a partial reconciliation, and the king left
Stratford president of the council during his absence. When his brother
and colleagues were dismissed, the archbishop was at Charing. Conscious
that he was the chief object of Edward's vengeance, he at once took
sanctuary with the monks of his cathedral. Every effort was made to
drag him from his refuge. Some Louvain merchants, to whom he had bound
himself for the king's debts, demanded that he should be surrendered to
their custody until the money was paid. He was summoned to court and
afterwards to parliament. But he prudently remained safe within the
walls of Christ Church, and preached a course of sermons to the monks,
in which he compared himself to St. Thomas of Canterbury, and hinted at
the danger of his incurring his prototype's fate. Edward replied to
this challenge by a lengthy pamphlet, called the _libellus famosus_.
The violence and unmeasured terms of the tractate suggest the hand of
Bishop Orleton, Stratford's lifelong foe, who had by Burghersh's recent
death become the most prominent of the courtly prelates. The archbishop
was declared to be the sole cause of the king's failures. He had left
Edward without funds, and in trusting to him the king had leant on a
broken reed. Stratford justified himself in another sermon in which he
invited inquiry and demanded trial by his peers.

Edward so far relented as to issue letters of safe-conduct enabling the
archbishop to attend the parliament summoned for April 23, 1341. But
when Stratford took his place, the king refused to meet him, and
ordered him to answer in the exchequer the complaints brought against
him. The lords upheld the primate's cause, and declared that in no
circumstances could a peer of parliament be brought to trial elsewhere
than in full parliament. Edward's fury abated when he saw that he would
get no grant unless he gave way. He restored Stratford to his favour,
and acceded to his request that he should answer in parliament and not
in the exchequer. The childish controversy ended with the personal
victory of the primate and the formal re-assertion of the important
principle of trial by peers. But not even then was Edward able to get a
subsidy. He was further forced to embody in the statute of the year the
doctrines that auditors of the accounts of the royal officers should be
elected in parliament, and that all ministers should be chosen by the
king, after consultation with his estates, and should resign their
offices at each meeting of parliament and be prepared to answer all
complaints before it.

Thus the fallen minister brought the estates the greatest triumph over
the prerogative won during Edward's reign. Before long Edward was
magnanimous enough to resume friendly relations with him, but he was
never suffered to take a prominent part in politics. He died in 1348,
after spending his later years in the business of his see. It was a
strange irony of fate that this worldly and politic ecclesiastic should
have perforce become the champion of the rights of the Church and the
liberties of the nation. His victory established a remarkable
solidarity between the high ecclesiastical party and the popular
opposition, which was to last nearly as long as the century. Disgust at
this alliance moved Edward to take up the anti-clerical attitude which
henceforth marks the policy of the crown until the accession of the
house of Lancaster.

The victory of the estates of 1341 was too complete to last. For a
medieval king to hand over the business of government to a nominated
ministry was in substance a return to the state of things in 1258 or
1312. Edward was not the sort of man to endure the thraldom that his
father and great-grandfather had both found intolerable. Even at the
moment of sealing the statute, he and his ministers protested that they
were not bound to observe laws contrary to the constitution of the
realm. Five months later, on October 1, 1341, the king issued letters,
revoking the laws of the previous session. "We have never," he
impudently declared, "really given our consent to the aforesaid
pretended statute. But inasmuch as our rejecting it would have
dissolved parliament in confusion, without any business having been
transacted, and so all our affairs would have been ruined, we
dissembled, as was our duty, and allowed the pretended statute to be
sealed." For more than two years he did not venture to face a
parliament, but the next gathering of the estates in April, 1343,
repealed the offensive acts of 1341. Parliament was so reluctant to
ratify the king's high-handed action, that he did not venture to ask it
for any extraordinary grant of money. The only other important act of
this parliament was a petition from lords and commons, urging the king
to check the claims of a French pope, friendly to the "tyrant of
France," to exercise ever-increasing rights of patronage over English
benefices. The anti-clerical tide was still flowing.

Before parliament met in 1343, the French war had been renewed on
another pretext. A new source of trouble arose in a disputed succession
to the duchy of Brittany. The duke John III., the grandson of John II.
and Edward I.'s sister Beatrice, died in April, 1341. He left no
legitimate children, and his succession was claimed by his half-brother,
John of Montfort, and his niece Joan of Penthievre. Montfort, the son of
Duke Arthur II. by his second wife, had inherited from his mother the
Norman county of Montfort l'Amaury, which became her possession as the
representative on the spindle side of the line of Simon de Montfort the
Albigensian crusader. Joan was the daughter of Guy, John III.'s brother
of the full blood, in whose favour the great county of
Penthievre-Treguier, including the whole of the north coast of the duchy
from the river of Morlaix to within a few miles of the Rance, had been
dissociated from the demesne and reconstituted as an appanage.[1] The
heiress of Penthievre thus ruled directly over nearly a sixth of
Brittany, and her power was further strengthened by her marriage with
Charles of Blois, who, though a younger son, enjoyed great influence as
the sister's son of Philip VI., and also by reason of his simple,
saintly, honourable, and martial character. The house of Penthievre not
only stood to Brittany as the house of Lancaster stood to England, as
the natural head of the higher nobility; it also enjoyed the favour and
protection of the French king, who was ever anxious to find friends
among the chief sub-tenants of his great vassals. Against so formidable
an opponent John of Montfort could only secure his rights by
promptitude. Accordingly he made his way to Nantes and, receiving a warm
welcome from his burgesses, proclaimed himself duke. Very few of the
great feudatories threw in their lot with him. His strength was in the
petty _noblesse_, the townsmen, and the enthusiasm of the Celtic
population of _La Bretagne bretonnante_, which made Leon, Cornouailles,
and Vannes the strongholds of his cause. Yet the Penthievre influence
took with it the Breton-speaking inhabitants of the diocese of Treguier,
and the piety of Charles made the clergy, and especially the friars,
devoted to him.

    [1] On the importance of Penthievre, see A. de la Borderie, _La
    Geographie feodale de la Bretagne_ (1889), pp. 60-65.

The fight was not waged in Brittany only. Montfort had to contend
against the general sentiment of the French nobility and the strong
interest and affection which bound Philip VI. to uphold the claims of
Charles of Blois. After a few months the parliament of Paris decided in
favour of the king's nephew against Montfort. Charles's wife was the
nearest heir of the deceased duke, and had therefore a prior claim over
her uncle. Montfort urged in vain that the superior rights of the male,
which had made the Count of Valois King of France, equally gave the
Count of Montfort the duchy of Brittany. He had to fight for his duchy.
John, Duke of Normandy, the heir of France, marched to Brittany with a
strong force, to secure the establishment of his cousin in accordance
with the decree of parliament. The union of the royal troops, with the
levies of Penthievre and the great feudatories of Brittany, was too
powerful a combination to withstand. Montfort was shut up in Nantes,
was forced to capitulate, and sent prisoner to Paris. His place was
taken by his wife, Joan of Flanders, a daughter of Louis of Nevers.
This lady shewed "the heart of a man and of a lion," as Froissart says.
Her efforts, however, did not prevail against her formidable enemies.
Bit by bit she was driven from one stronghold to another, until at last
she was closely besieged in Hennebont by Charles of Blois. Before that,
she had recognised Edward as King of France, and offered him the homage
of her husband and son. Edward III. readily took up the cause of
Montfort. He recked little of the inconsistency involved in the prince,
who claimed France through his mother, supporting in Brittany a duke,
whose pretensions were based upon grounds similar to the claim advanced
by Philip of Valois on the French throne. As in Flanders, he found two
rival nations contending in the bosom of a single French fief. He at
once supported the Celtic party in Brittany as he had supported the
Flemish party in Flanders. Both his allies had the same enemies in
feudalism, the French monarchy, and the pretensions of high
clericalism. Afraid to renew the attack in France without allies,
Edward welcomed the support of the Montfort party, as giving him a
chance of renewing his assaults on his adversary of Valois. He invested
Montfort with the earldom of Richmond, of which John III had died
possessed. He sent Sir Walter Manny with a force sufficient to raise
the siege of Hennebont. The heroic Joan of Flanders was almost at the
end of her resources, when on an early June morning, in 1342, she
espied the white sails of Manny's fleet working its way from the sea up
the estuary of the Blavet, which bathes the walls of Hennebont. After
the arrival of the English, Charles of Blois abandoned the siege in
despair. For the rest of the year the war was waged on a more equal
footing. In August Edward sent to Brest an additional force under
William Bohun, Earl of Northampton, who attempted, though with little
success, to invade the domains of the house of Penthievre. A hard-won
victory against great odds near Morlaix was made memorable by
Northampton's first applying the tactics of Halidon Hill to a pitched
battle on the continent.[1] But the earl's troops were so few that
they were forced to withdraw after their success into more friendly
regions. Leon and Cornouailles then resumed allegiance to the house of
Montfort. In the midst of the struggle Robert of Artois received a
wound which soon ended his tempestuous career.

    [1] Baker, p.76, gives the place, Knighton, ii., 25, the
    details. See also my note in _Engl. Hist. Review, xix._ (1904),

Edward was eager to enter the field in person. Since his return to
England in 1340, his only military experience had been a luckless
winter campaign in the Lothians against King David. In October, 1342,
he left the Duke of Cornwall as warden of England during his absence,
and took ship at Sandwich for Brittany. He remained in the country
until the early months of 1343, raiding the land from end to end,
receiving many of the greater barons into his obedience, and striving
in particular to conquer the regions included in the modern department
of the Morbihan. There he besieged Vannes, the strongest and largest
city of Brittany, says Froissart, after Nantes. The triumphs of his
rival at last brought Philip VI. into Brittany. While Edward
laboriously pursued the siege of Vannes, amidst the hardships of a wet
and stormy winter, Philip watched his enemy from Ploermel, a few miles
to the north. For a third time the situation of Buironfosse and Tournai
was renewed. The rivals were within striking distance, but once more
both Edward and Philip were afraid to strike. History still further
repeated itself; for the cardinal-bishops of Palestrina and Frascati,
sent by Clement VI. to end the struggle, travelled from camp to camp
with talk of peace. The sufferings of both armies gave the kings a
powerful reason for listening to their advances. At last, on January
19, 1343, a truce for nearly four years was signed at Malestroit,
midway between Ploermel and Vannes, "in reverence of mother church, for
the honour of the cardinals, and that the parties shall be able to
declare their reasons before the pope, not for the purpose of rendering
a judicial decision, but in order to make a better peace and treaty".
Scotland and the Netherlands were included in the truce, and it was
agreed that each belligerent should continue in the enjoyment of the
territories which he held at the moment. Vannes, the immediate apple of
discord, was put into the hands of the pope.

The spring of 1343 saw Edward back in England. The scene of interest
shifted to the papal court at Avignon, where ambassadors from Edward
and Philip appeared to declare their masters' rights. The protracted
negotiations were lacking in reality. The English, distrusting Clement
as a French partisan, did their best to complicate the situation by
complaints against papal provisions in favour of aliens "not having
knowledge of the tongue nor condition of those whose governance and
care should belong to them". English indignation rose higher when,
despite the terms of the truce and the promise of the cardinals,
Montfort remained immured in his French prison, while Breton nobles of
his faction were kidnapped and put to death by Philip. Clement declared
himself against Edward's claims to the French throne, and, long before
the negotiations had reached a formal conclusion, it was clear that
nothing would come of them. At last in 1345 the English King denounced
the truce and prepared to renew the war. His first concern was,
necessarily finance, and he had already exhausted all his resources as
a borrower. The financial difficulties, which had stayed his career in
the Netherlands five years before, had reached their culmination.
Stratford was avenged for the outrages of 1340, for Edward was in worse
embarrassments than on that winter night when the glare of torches
illuminated the sovereign's sudden return to the Tower. The king's
Netherlandish, Rhenish, and Italian creditors would trust him no longer
and vainly clamoured for the repayment of their advances. "We grieve,"
he was forced to reply to the Cologne magistrates, "nay, we blush, that
we are unable to meet our obligations at the due time." Edward's
anxiety to prepare for fresh campaigns made him careless as to his
former obligations. His wholesale neglect to repay his debts drove the
great banking houses of the Bardi and the Peruzzi into bankruptcy, and
the failure of the English king's creditors plunged all Florence into
deep distress. One good result came from the king's dishonour. The
foreign sources of supply having dried up, Edward was forced to lean
more exclusively upon his English subjects. A wealthy family of Hull
merchants, recently transferred to London, became very flourishing. Its
head, William de la Pole, who had financed every government scheme
since the days of Mortimer, became a knight, a judge, a territorial
magnate, and the first English merchant to found a baronial house. And
as the credit of the English merchants was limited, Edward was forced
more and more to rely upon parliamentary grants. The memory of the
king's want of faith to the estates of 1341 had died away, and a
parliament, which met in 1344, once more made Edward liberal
contributions. Secure of his subjects' support, the frivolous king
largely employed his resources in the chivalrous pageantry which
stirred up the martial ardour of his barons and made the war popular.
It was then that he resolved to set up a "round table" at Windsor after
the fabled fashion of King Arthur. From this came the foundation of the
Round Tower which Edward was to erect in his favourite abode, and the
organised chivalry that was soon to culminate in the Order of the
Garter. In the summer of 1345 Edward made that journey to Sluys, which
has already been noted, and he held on ship-board his last interview
with James van Artevelde. His immediate return to England showed that
he had no mind to renew his Flemish alliances. In the same year the
death of the queen's brother, William of Avesnes, established the rule
of Louis of Bavaria in the three counties of Holland, Zealand, and
Hainault in the right of his wife, Philippa's elder sister. Edward put
in a claim on behalf of his queen, which further embittered his already
uneasy relations with Louis, and led him to seek his field of combat
anywhere rather than in the Netherlands. In Brittany the murder of the
nobles of Montfort's faction had given an excuse for the renewal of
partisan warfare as early as 1343, but Montfort was still under
surveillance in France, even after his release from Philip's prison,
and Joan of Flanders, the heroic defender of Hennebont, was hopelessly
insane in England. At last in 1345 Montfort ventured to flee from
France to England, where he did homage to Edward as King of France for
the duchy which he claimed. He then went to Brittany, and there shortly
afterwards died. The new Duke of Brittany, also named John, was a mere
boy when he was thus robbed of both his parents' care, and his cause
languished for want of a head. Edward took upon himself the whole
direction of Brittany as tutor of the little duke. Northampton was once
more sent thither, but for a time the war degenerated into sieges of
castles and petty conflicts.

While action was thus impracticable in the Netherlands, and ineffective
in Brittany, Gascony became, for the first time during the struggle, the
scene of military operations of the first rank. The storm of warfare had
hitherto almost spared the patrimony of the English king in southern
France. No great effort was made either by the French to capture the
last bulwarks of the Aquitanian inheritance, or by Edward to extend his
duchy to its ancient limits. Cut off from other fields of expansion,
Edward threw his chief energies into the enlargement of his power in
southern France. He won over many of those Gascon nobles, including the
powerful lord of Albret, who had been alienated by his former
indifference. All was ready for action, and in June, 1345, Henry of
Grosmont, Earl of Derby, the eldest son of Henry of Lancaster, landed at
Bayonne with a sufficient English force to encourage the lords of
Gascony to rally round the ducal banner. Soon after his landing, the
death of his blind father made Derby Earl of Lancaster. During the next
eighteen months, the earl successfully led three raids into the heart of
the enemies' territory.[1] The first, begun very soon after his landing,
occupied the summer of 1345. Advancing from Libourne, the limit of the
Anglo-Gascon power, Henry made his way up the Dordogne, a fleet of boats
co-operating with his land forces. He took the important town of
Bergerac, and thence, mounting the stream as far as Lalinde, he crossed
the hills separating the Dordogne from the Isle, and unsuccessfully
assaulted Perigueux. Thence he advanced still further, and captured the
stronghold of Auberoche, dominating the rocky valley of the Auvezere.
Leaving a garrison at Auberoche, Henry returned to his base, but upon
his withdrawal the French closely besieged his conquest, and the earl
made a sudden move to its relief. On October 21 he won a brisk battle
outside the walls of Auberoche before the more sluggish part of his army
had time to reach the scene of action. This famous exploit again
established the Gascon duke in Perigord.

    [1] For these campaigns, see Ribadieu, _Les Campagnes du Comte
    de Derby en Guyenne, Saintonge et Poitou_ (1865).

Early in 1346 the victor of Auberoche led his forces up the Garonne
valley. La Reole, lost since 1325, was taken in January, and thence
Earl Henry marched to the capture of many a town and fortress on the
Garonne and the lower Lot. His most important acquisition was
Aiguillon, commanding the junction of the Lot and the Garonne, for its
possession opened up the way for the reconquest of the Agenais, the
rich fruit of the last campaign of Charles of Valois. Duke John of
Normandy then appeared upon the scene, and Henry of Lancaster withdrew
before him to the line of the Dordogne. Aiguillon stood a siege from
April to August, when the Duke of Normandy, then at the end of his
resources, solicited a truce. News having come to Lancaster at Bergerac
that Edward had begun his memorable invasion of Normandy, he
contemptuously rejected the proposal. Before long, Duke John raised the
siege and hurried to his father's assistance. Thereupon Lancaster
returned to the Garonne and revictualled Aiguillon. Immediately after
he started on his third raid. This time he bent his steps northwards,
and late in September was at Chateauneuf on the Charente, whence he
threatened Angouleme, and finally obtained its surrender. Crossing the
Charente, he entered French Saintonge, where the important town of
Saint-Jean-d'Angely opened its gates and took oaths to Edward _as_ duke
and king. Then he boldly dashed into the heart of Poitou, marching by
Lusignan to Poitiers. "We rode before the city," wrote Lancaster, "and
summoned it, but they would do nothing. Thereupon on the Wednesday
after Michaelmas we stormed the city, and all those within were taken
or slain. And the lords that were within fled away on the other side,
and we tarried full eight days. Thus we have made a fair raid, God be
thanked, and are come again to Saint-Jean, whence we propose to return
to Bordeaux." This exploit ended Lancaster's Gascon career. In January,
1347, he was back in England, having restored the reputation of his
king in Gascony, and set an example of heroism soon to be emulated by
his cousin, the Black Prince.

Edward resolved to take the field in person in the summer of 1346.
Special efforts were made to equip the army, and lovers of ancient
precedent were dismayed when the king called upon all men of property to
equip archers, hobblers, or men-at-arms, according to their substance,
that they might serve abroad at the king's wages. But the nation
responded to the king's call, and a host of some 2,400 cavalry and
10,000 archers and other infantry collected at Portsmouth between Easter
and the early summer.[1] There were the usual delays of a medieval
muster, and it was not until July was well begun that Edward, having
constituted his second son Lionel of Antwerp, a boy of six, as regent,
took ship at Portsmouth with his eldest son, then sixteen years of age,
and, since 1343, Prince of Wales as well as Duke of Cornwall. The
destination of the army was a secret, but Edward's original idea seems
to have been to join Henry of Lancaster in Gascony, though we may well
believe that the resources of medieval transport were hardly adequate to
convey so large a force for so great a distance. Moreover, a persistent
series of south-westerly winds prohibited all attempts to round the
Breton peninsula, while Godfrey of Harcourt, a Norman lord who had
incurred the wrath of Philip VI. and had been driven into exile,
persistently urged on Edward the superior attractions of his native
coast. When the fleet set sail from Portsmouth, it was directed to
follow in the admiral's track; and as soon as the open sea was gained,
the ships were instructed to make their way to the Cotentin. On July 12
the English army reached Saint-Vaast de la Hougue, and spent five days
in disembarking and ravaging the neighbourhood.[2] Immediately on
landing, Edward dubbed the Prince of Wales a knight, along with other
young nobles, one of whom was Roger Mortimer, the grandson and heir of
the traitor Earl of March. At last, on July 18, the English army began
to move by slow stages to the south. It met with little resistance, and
plundered and burnt the rich countryside at its discretion. The English
marvelled at the fertility of the country and the size and wealth of its
towns. Barfleur was as big as Sandwich, Carentan reminded them of
Leicester, Saint-Lo was the size of Lincoln, and Caen was more populous
than any English city save London.

    [1] On the details of this force, see Wrottesley, _Crecy and
    Calais,_ in _Collections for a History of Staffordshire,_ vol.
    xviii. (1897); _cf._ J.E. Morris in _Engl. Hist. Review, xiv.,_

    [2] Besides the sources for this campaign mentioned in Sir E.M.
    Thompson, _Chronicle of Geoffrey le Baker,_ pp. 252-57, the
    disregarded _Acta bellicosa Edwardi, etc.,_ published in
    Moisant, _Le Prince Noir en Aquitaine, pp._ 157-74, from a
    Corpus Christi Coll. Cambridge MS., should be mentioned. It has
    first been utilised in H. Pientout's valuable paper, _La prise
    de Caen par Edouard III. en 1346, in Memoires de l'Academie de
    Caen_ (1904).

It was only at Caen that any real resistance was encountered. On July
26 Edward's soldiers entered the northern quarter of the town without
opposition, to find the fortified enclosures of the two great abbeys of
William the Conqueror and his queen undefended and desolate, the _grand
bourg_, the populous quarter round the church of St. Peter open to
them, and only the castle in the extreme north garrisoned. Caen was not
a walled town, and the defenders preferred to limit themselves to
holding the southern quarter, the _Ile Saint-Jean_, which lay between
the district of St. Peter's and the river Orne, but was cut off from
the rest by a branch of the Orne that ran just south of St. Peter's
church. There was sharp fighting at the bridge which commanded access
to the island; but the English archers prepared the way, and then the
men-at-arms completed the work. After a determined conflict, the Island
of St. John was captured, and its chief defenders, the Count of Eu,
Constable of France, and the lord of Tancarville, the chamberlain, were
taken prisoners. Meanwhile the English fleet, which had devastated the
whole coast from Cherbourg to Ouistreham, arrived off the mouth of the
Orne, laden with plunder and eager to get back home with its spoils.
Edward thought it prudent to avoid a threatened mutiny by ordering the
ships to recross the Channel, and take with them the captives and the
loot which he had amassed at Caen. During a halt of five days at Caen,
Edward discovered a copy of the agreement made between the Normans and
King Philip for the invasion of England eight years before. This also
he despatched to England, where it was read before the Londoners by the
Archbishop of Canterbury in order to show that the aggression was not
all on one side.

On July 31, Edward resumed his eastward march. At Lisieux, the next
important stage, came the inevitable two cardinals with their
inevitable proposals of mediation, which Edward put aside with scant
civility. The army was soon once more on the move, and on August 7
struck the Seine at Elbeuf, a few miles higher up the river than Rouen.
Here Edward was at last in touch with his enemy. During the English
march through lower Normandy, Philip VI. had assembled a considerable
army, with which he occupied the Norman capital. Nothing but the Seine
and a few miles of country separated the two forces. But as at
Buironfosse, at Tournai, and at Vannes, the French declined to attack,
and Edward would not depart from his tradition of acting on the
defensive. The English slowly made their way up the left bank of the
Seine, avoiding the stronger castles and walled towns, and devastating
the open country. The French followed them on the right bank, carefully
watching their movements, and breaking all the bridges. So things went
until, on August 13, Edward reached Poissy, a town within fifteen miles
of the capital.

The English advanced troops plundered up to the walls of Paris, whose
citizens, watching in terror the flames that made lurid the western
sky, implored their king to come to their help. From Saint-Denis Philip
issued a challenge to Edward to meet him in the open field on a fixed
day, Edward, however, was not to be tempted by such appeals to his
chivalry. The day after Philip's message was sent, he repaired the
bridge at Poissy, crossed the Seine, sent a stinging reply to Philip's
letter, and moved rapidly northwards. Avoiding Pontoise, Beauvais, and
other towns, he was soon within a few miles of the Somme. Long marching
had fatigued his army, and he resolved to retreat to the Flemish
frontier. The French soon followed him by a route some miles further
towards the east. They reached the Somme earlier than the English, and
were pouring into Amiens and Abbeville, while Edward's scouts were
vainly seeking for an unguarded passage over the river. If the Somme
could not be crossed, there was every chance of Edward's war-worn army
being driven into a corner at Saint-Valery, between the broad and sandy
estuary of the Somme and the open sea. When affairs had become thus
critical, local guides revealed to the English a way across the
estuary, where a white band of chalk, called the _Blanche taque_,
cropping out of the sandy river bed, forms a hard, practicable ford
from one bank of the river to the other. "Then," writes an official
reporter, "the King of England and his host took that water of the
Somme, where never man passed before without loss, and fought their
enemies, and chased them right up to the gate of Abbeville." That night
Edward and his troops slept on the outskirts of the forest of Crecy.
After traversing this, they took up a strong position on the northern
side of the wood on Saturday, August 26. There, in the heart of his
grandmother's inheritance of Ponthieu, Edward elected to make a stand,
and, for the first time in all their campaigning, Philip felt
sufficient confidence to engage in an offensive battle against his

Ponthieu is a land of low chalk downs, open fields, and dense woods,
broken by valleys, through which the small streams that water it
trickle down to the sea, and by the waterless depressions
characteristic of a chalk country. The village of Crecy-en-Ponthieu is
situated on the north bank of the little river Maye. Immediately to the
east of the village, a lateral depression, running north and south,
called the _Vallee aux Clercs,_ falls down into the Maye valley, and is
flanked with rolling downs, perhaps 150 to 200 feet in height. On the
summit of the western slopes of this valley, Edward stationed his army.
Its right was held by the first of the three traditional "battles,"
under the personal command of the young Prince of Wales. Its front and
right flank were protected by the hill, while still further to the
right lay Crecy village embowered in its trees, beyond which the dense
forest formed an excellent protection from attack. The second of the
English battles, under the Earls' of Northampton and Arundel, held the
less formidable slopes of the upper portion of the _Vallee aux Clercs,_
their left resting on the enclosures and woods of the village of
Wadicourt. The third battle, commanded by the king himself, and
stationed in the rear as a reserve, held the rolling upland plain, on
the highest point of which was a windmill, commanding the whole field,
in which Edward took up his quarters. The English men-at-arms left
their horses in the rear. The archers of each of the two forward
battles were thrown out at an angle on the flanks, so that the enemy,
on approaching the serried mass of men-at-arms, had to encounter a
severe discharge of arrows both from the right and the left. It was the
tactics of Halidon hill, perfected by experience and for the first time
applied on a large scale against a continental enemy. The credit of it
may well be assigned to Northampton, fresh from the fight at Morlaix,
where similar tactics had already won the day.

The English were in position early in the morning of Saturday, August
26, and employed their leisure in further strengthening their lines by
digging shallow holes, like the pits at Bannockburn, in the hope of
ensnaring the French cavalry, if they came to close quarters with the
dismounted men-at-arms. The summer day had almost ended its course
before the French army appeared. Philip and his men had passed the
previous night at Abbeville, and had not only performed the long march
from the capital of Ponthieu, but many of them, misled by bad
information as to Edward's position, had made a weary detour to the
north-west. It was not until the hour of vespers that the mass of the
French host was marshalled in front of the village of Estrees on the
eastward plateau beyond the _Vallee aux Clercs_. John of Hainault, who
had become a thorough-going French partisan, advised Philip to delay
battle until the following day. The French were tired; all the army had
not yet come up; night would soon put an end to the combat; the evening
sun, shining brightly after a violent summer storm, was blazing
directly in the faces of the assailants. But the French nobles demanded
an immediate advance. Confident in their numbers and prowess, they had
already assured themselves of victory, and were quarrelling about the
division of the captives they would make. Philip, too sympathetic with
the feudal point of view to oppose his friends, ordered the advance.

The battle began by the French sending forward a strong force of
Genoese crossbowmen, to prepare the way for the cavalry charge. But the
long bows of the English outshot the obsolete and cumbrous weapons of
the Genoese, whose strings had been wetted by the recent storm. The
Italians descended into the valley, but were soon demoralised by seeing
their comrades fall all round them, while their own bolts failed to
reach the enemy. They were already in full retreat back up the slope,
when the impatience of the French horsemen burst all bounds. The
reckless cavalry charge swept right through the disordered ranks of the
crossbowmen, whose groans and cries as they were trampled underfoot by
the mail-clad steeds, inspired the rear ranks of the French with the
vain belief that the English were hard pressed, and made them eager to
join the fray. The charge, as disorderly and as badly directed as the
fatal attack of Bannockburn, never reached the English ranks. Shot down
right and left by archers, terrified by the fearful booming of three
small cannon that the English had dragged about during their
wanderings, the French line soon became a confused mob of furious
horsemen on panic-stricken horses. With gallantry even more conspicuous
than their want of discipline, the French made no less than fifteen
attempts to penetrate the enemies' lines. At one point only did they
get near their goal, and that was on the right battle where the Prince
of Wales himself was in command. A timely reinforcement sent by King
Edward relieved the pressure, and the French were soon in full retreat,
protected, as the English boasted, from further attack by the rampart
of dead that they left behind them. The darkness, which ended the
struggle, forbade all pursuit. Next day the fight was renewed by fresh
French forces, but a fog hampered their movements, and they fell easy
victims to the English. Then the defeated force retreated to Abbeville.
The English loss was insignificant, but the field was covered with the
bravest and noblest of the French. Among those who perished on the side
of Philip were Louis of Nevers, the chivalrous Count of Flanders, who
had sacrificed everything save his honour on the altar of feudal duty,
and the blind King John of Bohemia, whose end was as romantic and
futile as his life. Both these princes left as their successors sons of
very different stamp in Louis de Male, and Charles of Moravia. Charles,
who had recently been set up as King of the Romans by the clerical
party against Louis of Bavaria, was present at Crecy, but a prudent
retreat saved him from his father's fate.

In the midst of the Norman campaign, Philip urgently besought David,
King of Scots, to make a diversion in his favour. Since 1341 David,
then a youth of seventeen, had been back in Scotland. Prolonged truces
gave him little opportunity of trying his skill as a soldier, and his
domestic rule was not particularly successful. The full effects of the
Franco-Scottish alliance were revealed when, early in October, the
Scottish king invaded the north of England, confident that, as all the
fighting-men were in France, he would meet no more formidable opponents
than monks, peasants, and shepherds. The five days' resistance of Lord
Wake's border peel of Castleton in Liddesdale showed the baselessness
of this imagination. At its capture on October 10, David put to death
its gallant captain, a knight named Walter Selby. Then the Scots
streamed over the hills into Upper Tynedale, and soon devastated
Durham. Such of the border lords as were not with the king in France
had now prepared for resistance. Beside the Nevilles, Percys, and other
great houses of the north, the Archbishop of York, William de la Zouch,
took a vigorous part in organising the local levies, and in a very
short space of time a sufficient army assembled to make head against
the invaders. From their muster at Richmond, the northern barons
marched into the land of St. Cuthbert, many priests following their
archbishop as of old their predecessors had followed Melton or
Thurstan. On October 17 the forces joined battle at Neville's Cross, a
wayside landmark on the Red hills, a rough and broken region sloping
down to the Wear, immediately to the west of the city of Durham.
Neither host was large in size, and each stood facing the other, with
the archers at either wing, after the fashion that had become Scottish
as well as English. For a time neither army was willing to begin. At
last the English archers, irritated at the delay, advanced upon the
Scots with showers of missiles. Then the struggle grew general and
after a fierce hand-to-hand fight the English prevailed. David was
taken prisoner and was lodged in the Tower, and many of the noblest of
the Scots lay dead on the field. The diversion was a failure; the local
levies had proved amply sufficient to cope with the enemy. In thus
playing the game of the French king, David began a policy which, from
Neville's Cross to Flodden, brought embarrassment to England and
desolation to Scotland. It was the inevitable penalty of two
independent and hostile states existing in one little island.

So war-worn were the victors of Crecy that all the profit they could
win from the battle was the power to continue their march undisturbed
to the sea coast. On September 4, Edward reached the walls of Calais,
the last French town on the frontiers of Flanders, and the port whose
corsairs had inflicted exceptional damage on English shipping during
the whole of the war. With a keen eye to the military importance of the
place, the King abandoned the easy course of returning with his troops
to England, and at once sat down before Calais. It was an arduous and
prolonged siege. Calais was girt by double walls and ditches of
exceptional strength and was bravely defended by John de Vienne and a
numerous garrison. Moreover the yielding soil of the sands and marshes
around the town made it impossible for Edward to erect against the
fortifications the cumbrous machines by which engineers then sought to
batter down the walls of towns. The only method of taking the place was
by starvation. At first Edward was not able to block every avenue of
access to the beleaguered fortress. Winter came on; the troops demanded
permission to go home; the sailors threatened mutiny, and the French
were actively on the watch.

Amidst these troubles, Edward III showed a persistence worthy of his
grandfather. He remained at the seat of war, transacting much of the
business of government in the town of wooden huts which, growing up
round the besiegers' lines, made the winter siege endurable. In the
worst period of the year sufficient forces to man the trenches could
only be secured by wholesale charters of pardon to felonious and
offending soldiers, on condition that they did not withdraw from service
without the king's licence, so long as Edward himself remained beyond
the seas.[1] A parliament of magnates met in March, 1347, and granted an
aid. Instead of summoning the commons, Edward preferred to raise his
chief supplies by another loan of 20,000 sacks of wool from the
merchants, by additional customs dues voted by a merchant assembly, and
by considerable loans from ecclesiastics and religious houses. In April
and May all England was alive with martial preparation, and gradually a
force far transcending the Crecy army was gathered round the walls of
Calais, while a great fleet held the sea and prohibited the access of
French ships to the doomed garrison. Northampton, ever fertile in
expedients, discovered that, even after the high seas were blocked,
boats still crept into Calais port by hugging the shallow shore. He ran
long jetties of piles from the coast line into deep water, and thus cut
off the last means of communication and of supplies. By June the town
was suffering severely from famine.

    [1] See for this, _Rotulus Normannice_ in _Cal. Patent Rolls,_
    1345-48, especially PP. 473-526. For the vast force gathered
    later, see Wrottesley and Morris, U.S.

The French made a great effort, both by sea and land, to relieve
Calais. On June 25 Northampton went out with his ships as far as the
mouth of the Somme, where off Le Crotoy he won a naval victory which
made the English command of the sea absolutely secure. A month later
Philip, at the head of the land army, looked down upon the lines of
Calais from the heights of Guines. The two cardinals made their usual
efforts for a truce, but the English would not allow their prey to be
snatched from them at the eleventh hour. Then Philip challenged the
enemy to a pitched battle, and four knights on each side were appointed
to select the place of combat. The French, however, were of no mind to
risk another Crecy, and on the morning of July 31 the smoke of their
burning camp told the English that once more Philip had shrunk from a
meeting. Then at last the garrison opened its gates on August 3, 1347.
The defenders were treated chivalrously by the victor, who admired
their courage and endurance. But the mass of the population were
removed from their homes, and numerous grants of houses and property
made to Englishmen. Edward resolved to make his conquest an English
town, and, from that time onwards, it became the fortress through which
an English army might at any time be poured into France, and the
warehouse from which the spinners and weavers of Flanders were to draw
their supplies of raw wool. For more than two hundred years, English
Calais retained all its military and most of its commercial importance.
Later conquests enabled a ring of forts to be erected round it which
strengthened its natural advantages.

Crecy, Neville's Cross, Aiguillon, and Calais did not exhaust the
glories of this strenuous time. The war of the Breton succession, which
Northampton had waged since 1345, was continued in 1346 by Thomas
Dagworth, a knight appointed as his lieutenant on his withdrawal to
join the army of Crecy and Calais. The Montfort star was still in the
ascendant, and even the hereditary dominions of Joan of Penthievre were
assailed. An English garrison was established at La Roche Derien,
situated some four miles higher up the river Jaudy than the little open
episcopal city of Treguier, and communicating by the river with the sea
and with England. So troublesome did Montfort's garrison at La Roche
become to the vassals of Penthievre, that in the summer of 1347 Charles
of Blois collected an army, wherein nearly all the greatest feudal
houses of Brittany were strongly represented, and sat down before La
Roche. Dagworth, one of the ablest of English soldiers, was at Carhaix,
in the heart of the central uplands, when he heard of the danger of the
single English post within the lands of Penthievre. He at once hurried
northwards, and on the night of June 19 rested at the abbey of Begard,
about ten miles to the south of La Roche. From Begard two roads led to
La Roche, one on each bank of the Jaudy. Thinking that Dagworth would
pursue the shorter road on the left bank, Charles of Blois stationed a
portion of his army at some distance from La Roche on that side of the
Jaudy, while the rest remained with himself on the right bank before
the walls of the town. Dagworth, however, chose the longer route, and
before daybreak, on the morning of June 20, fell suddenly upon Charles.
A fierce fight in the dark was ended after dawn in favour of Montfort
by a timely sally of the beleaguered garrison. In the confusion Charles
forgot to recall the division uselessly stationed beyond the Jaudy, and
this error completed his ruin. Charles fought like a hero, and, after
receiving seventeen wounds, yielded up his sword to a Breton lord
rather than to the English commander. When his wounds were healed,
Charles was sent to London, where he joined David of Scotland, the
Count of Eu, and the Lord of Tancarville. It looked as if Montfort's
triumph was secured.

In the midst of his successes Edward made a truce, yielding to the
earnest request of the cardinals, "through his reverence to the
apostolic see". The truce of Calais was signed on September 28, and
included Scotland and Brittany as well as France within its scope. On
October 12 Edward returned to his kingdom. Financial exhaustion, the
need of repose, the unwillingness of his subjects to continue the
combat, and the failure of the Flemish and Netherlandish alliances
sufficiently explain this halt in the midst of victory. Yet from the
military standpoint Edward's action, harmful everywhere to his
partisans, was particularly fatal in Brittany, where most of Penthievre
and nearly all upper Brittany were still obedient to Charles of
Blois.[1] But Edward had embarked upon a course infinitely beyond his
material resources. When a special effort could only give him the one
town of Calais, how could he ever conquer all France?

    [1] See on this A. de la Borderie, _Hist. de Bretagne_, iii.,
    507, _et seq_.



At the conclusion of the truce of Calais in 1347, Edward III and
England were at the height of their military reputation. Perhaps the
nation was in even a stronger position than the monarch. Edward had
dissipated his resources in winning his successes, but the danger which
faced the ruler had but slightly impaired the fortunes of his subjects.
The country was in a sufficiently prosperous condition to bear its
burdens without much real suffering. The widespread dislike of
extraordinary taxation, which so often assumed the form of the familiar
cry that the king must live of his own, had taken the shape of
unwillingness to accept responsibility for the king's policy and a
growing indisposition to meet his demands. But since the rule of Edward
began, England enjoyed a prosperity so unbroken that far heavier
burdens would hardly have brought about a diminution of the well-being
which stood in glaring contrast to the desolation long inflicted by
Edward's wars on France. A war waged exclusively on foreign soil did
little harm to England, and offered careers whereby many an English
adventurer was gaining a place among the landed classes. The simple
archers and men-at-arms, who received high wages and good hopes of
plunder in the king's foreign service, found in it a congenial and
lucrative, if demoralising profession. In England, though wages were
low, provisions were cheap and employment constant. The growth of the
wool trade, then further stimulated by refugees from the "three towns
of Flanders," against which Louis de Male was waging relentless war,
was bringing comfort to many, and riches to a few. The maritime
greatness of England that found its first results in the battle of
Sluys was the fruit of a commercial activity on the sea which enabled
English shipmen to deprive the Italians, Netherlanders, and Germans of
the overwhelming share they had hitherto enjoyed of our foreign trade.
The dark shadows of medieval life were indeed never absent from the
picture; but medieval England seldom enjoyed greater wellbeing and
tranquillity than during the first eighteen years of the personal rule
of Edward III. One sign of the increasing attention paid to suppressing
disorder was an act of 1344, which empowered the local conservators of
the peace, already an element in the administrative machinery, to hear
and determine felonies. A later act made this a part of their regular
functions, and gave them the title of justices of the peace, thus
setting up a means of maintaining local order so effective that the old
machinery of the local courts gradually gave way to it.

A rude ending to this period of prosperity was brought about by the
devastations of the pestilence known to modern readers as the Black
Death, which since 1347 had decimated the Levant. This was the bubonic
plague, almost as familiar in the east of to-day as in the
mid-fourteenth century. It was brought along the chief commercial
highways which bound the western world to the markets of the east. First
introduced into the west at the great ports of the Mediterranean,
Venice, Genoa, Marseilles, it spread over France and Italy by the early
months of 1348. Avignon was a chief centre of the infection, and, amidst
the desolation around him, Clement VI. strove with rare energy to give
peace to a distracted world. The regions of western and northern France,
which had felt the full force of the war, were among the worst
sufferers. Aquitaine, too, was cruelly desolated, and among the victims
was Edward III.'s daughter, Joan, who perished at Bordeaux on her way to
Castile, as the bride of the prince afterwards infamous as Peter the
Cruel. Early in August, 1348, the scourge crossed the channel, making
its first appearance in England at Weymouth. Thence it spread northwards
and westwards. Bristol was the first great English town to feel its
ravages. Though the Gloucestershire men prohibited all intercourse
between the infected port and their own villages, the plague was in no
wise stayed by their precautions. The disease extended, by way of
Gloucester and Oxford, to London, reaching the capital early in
November, and continuing its ravages until the following Whitsuntide.
When it had almost died out in London, it began, in the spring of 1349,
to rage severely in East Anglia,[1] while in Lancashire the worst time
seems to have been from the autumn of 1349 to the beginning of 1350.[2]
Scotland was so long exempt that the Scots, proud of their immunity,
were wont to swear "by the foul death of England". In 1350 they gathered
together an army in Ettrick forest with the object of invading the
plague-stricken border shires. But the pestilence fell upon the host
assembled for the foray, and all war was stopped while Scotland was
devastated from end to end. Ireland began to suffer in August, 1349, the
disease being at first confined to the Englishry of the towns, though,
after a time, it made its way also to the pure Irish.[3]

    [1] A. Jessopp, _The Black Death in East Anglia_, in _The
    Coming of the Friars and Other Essays_(1889). For general
    details see F. Seebohm, _The Black Death_, in _Fortnightly
    Review (1865 and 1866)_; J.E.T. Rogers, _England before and
    after the Black Death_, in _Fortnightly Review (1866)_; F.A.
    Gasquet's _Great Pestilence_ (1893); and C. Creighton, _History
    of Epidemics in Britain_, i., 114-207(1891).

    [2] A.G. Little, _The Black Death in Lancashire_, in _Engl.
    Hist. Review_, v. (1890), 524-30

    [3] See for Ireland, however, the vivid details in J. Clyn of
    Kilkenny, _Annales Hibevnia: ad annum 1349_, ed. R. Butler,
    _Irish Archaological Soc._ (1849).

The wild exaggerations of the chroniclers reflect the horror and
desolation wrought by the epidemic. There died so many, we are told,
that the survivors scarcely sufficed to bury the victims, and not one
man in ten remained alive. The more moderate estimate of Froissart sets
down the proportion dead of the plague as one in three throughout all
Christendom, and some modern inquirers have rashly reckoned the
mortality in England as amounting to a half or a third of the
population. In truth, complete statistics are necessarily wanting, and
if the records of the admissions of the clergy attest that, in certain
dioceses, half the livings changed hands during the years of
pestilence, it is not permissible to infer from that circumstance that
there was a similar rate of mortality from the plague over the whole of
the population. The sudden and overwhelming character of the disorder
increased the universal terror. One day a man was healthy: within a few
hours of the appearance of the fatal swelling, or of the dark livid
marks which gave the plague its popular name, he was a corpse. The
pestilence seemed to single out the young and robust as its prey, and
to spare the aged and sick. The churchyards were soon overflowing, and
special plague pits had to be dug where the dead were heaped up by the
hundred. Comparatively few magnates died, but the poor, the religious,
and the clergy were chief sufferers. The law courts ceased to hold
regular sessions. When the people had partially recovered from the
first visitations of the plague, others befel them which were scarcely
less severe. The years 1362 and 1369 almost rivalled the horrors of
1348 and 1349.

The immediate effects of the calamity were overwhelming. At first the
horror of the foul death effaced all other considerations from men's
minds. There were not enough priests to absolve the dying, and special
indulgences, with full liberty to choose confessors at discretion, were
promulgated from Avignon and from many diocesan chanceries. The price
of commodities fell for the moment, since there were few, we are told,
who cared for riches amidst the general fear of death. The pestilence
played such havoc with the labouring population that the beasts
wandered untended in the pastures, and rich crops of corn stood rotting
in the fields from lack of harvesters to gather them. There was the
same lack of clergy as of labourers, and the priest, like the peasant,
demanded a higher wage for his services by reason of the scarcity of
labour. A mower was not to be had for less than a shilling a day with
his food, and a chaplain, formerly glad to receive two marks and his
board, demanded ten pounds, or ten marks at the least. Non-residence,
neglect of cures, and other evils followed. As Langland wrote:--

  Persones and parisch prestes - playneth to heore bisschops,
  That heore parisch hath ben pore - seththe the pestilence tyme,
  And asketh leue and lycence - at Londun to dwelle,
  To singe ther for simonye - for seluer is swete.[1]

The lack of clergy was in some measure compensated by the rush of
candidates for orders. Some of these new clerks were men who had lost
their wives by the plague; many of them were illiterate, or if they
knew how to read their mass-book, could not understand it. The close
social life of the monasteries proved particularly favourable to the
spread of the disease; the number of monks and nuns declined
considerably, and, since there was no great desire to embrace the
religious profession, many houses remained half empty for generations.

    [1] _Vision of Piers Plowman_, i., p. g, ed. Skeat.

No one in the Middle Ages believed in letting economic laws work out
their natural results. If anything were amiss, it was the duty of kings
and princes to set things right. Accordingly Edward and his council at
once strove to remedy the lack of labourers by ordinances that
harvesters and other workmen should not demand more wages than they had
been in the habit of receiving, while the bishops, following the royal
example, ordered chaplains and vicars to be content with their
accustomed salaries. As soon as parliament ventured to assemble, the
royal orders were embodied in the famous statute of labourers of 1351.
This measure has been condemned as an attempt of a capitalist
parliament to force poor men to work for their masters at wages far
below the market rates. But it was no new thing to fix wages by
authority, and the medieval conception was that a just and living wage
should be settled by law, rather than left to accident. The statute
provided that prices, like wages, should remain as they had been before
the pestilence, so that, far from only regarding the interests of the
employer, it attempted to maintain the old ratio between the rate of
wages and the price of commodities. Moreover it sought to provide for
the cultivation of the soil by enacting that the sturdy beggar, who,
though able, refused to work, should be forced to put his hand to the
plough. Futile as the statute of labourers was, it was not much more
ineffective than most laws of the time. Though real efforts were made
to carry it out, the chronic weakness of a medieval executive soon
recoiled before the hopeless task of enforcing impossible laws on an
unwilling population. Class prejudices only showed themselves in the
stipulation that, while the employer was forbidden to pay the new rate
of wages under pain of heavy fines, the labourers who refused, to work
on the old terms were imprisoned and only released upon taking oath to
accept their ancient wages. In effect, however, the king's arm was not
long enough to reach either class. The labourers, says a chronicler,
were so puffed up and quarrelsome that they would not observe the new
enactment, and the master's alternative was either to see his crops
perish unharvested, or to gratify the greedy desires of the workmen by
violating the statute. While labourers could escape punishment through
their numbers, the employer was more accessible to the royal officers.

Thus the labourers enjoyed the benefits of the scarcity of labour,
while the employers suffered the full inconveniences of the change.
Producers were to some extent recompensed by a great rise in prices,
more especially in the case of those commodities into whose cost of
production labour largely entered. For example the rise in the price of
corn and meat was inconsiderable, while clothing, manufactured goods,
and luxuries became extraordinarily dear. Of eatables fish rose most in
value, because the fishermen had been swept away by the plague. Rents
fell heavily. Landlords found that they could only retain their tenants
by wholesale remissions. When farmers perished of the plague, it was
often impossible to find others to take up their farms. It was even
harder for lords, who farmed their own demesne, to provide themselves
with the necessary labour. Hired labour could not be obtained except at
ruinous rates. It was injudicious to press for the strict performance
of villein services, lest the villein should turn recalcitrant and
leave his holding. The lord preferred to commute his villein's service
into a small payment. On the whole the best solution of the difficulty
was for him to abandon the ancient custom of farming his demesne
through his bailiffs, and to let out his lands on such rents as he
could get to tenant farmers. Thus the feudal method of land tenure,
which, since the previous century, had ceased to have much political
significance, became economically ineffective, and began to give way to
a system more like that which still obtains among us.

Struck by these undoubted results of the pestilence, some modern
writers have persuaded themselves that the Black Death is the one great
turning-point in the social and economic history of England, and that
nearly all which makes modern England what it is, is due to the effects
of this pestilence. A wider survey suggests the extreme improbability
of a single visitation having such far-reaching consequences. Moreover
the Black Death was not an English but a European calamity, and it is
strange to imagine that the effects of the plague in England should
have been so much deeper than in France or Germany, and so different.
In the fourteenth century there was little that was distinctly insular
in the conditions of England, as compared with those of the continent.
A trouble common to both regions alike could hardly have been the
starting-point of such differentiation between them as later ages
undoubtedly witnessed. There was a French counterpart to the statute of

In truth the Black Death was no isolated phenomenon. There were already
in the air the seeds of the decay of the ancient order, and those seeds
fructified more rapidly in England by reason of the plague.[1] It is
only because of the impetus which it gave to changes already in progress
that the pestilence had in a fashion more lasting results in England
than elsewhere. The last thirty years of the reign of Edward were an
epoch of social upheaval and unrest contrasting strongly with the
uneventful times that had preceded the Black Death. It is not right to
regard the period as one of misery or severe distress. The war of
classes, which was beginning, sprang not so much from material
discomfort of the poor, as from what unsympathetic annalists called
their greediness, their pride, and their wantonness. The wage-earner was
master of the situation and did not hesitate to make his power felt.
While the spread of manufactures, the rise of prices, and the opening
out of wider markets still secured the prosperity of the shopkeeper, the
merchant, or the artisan of the towns, the whole brunt of the social
change fell upon the landed classes, and most heavily upon the
ecclesiastics and especially upon the monks. Broken down by the heavy
demands of the state, unable to share with the layman in the new avenues
to wealth opened up by the expanding resources of the country, the monks
saw the chief sources of their prosperity drying up. Their rents were
shrinking and it became increasingly difficult to cultivate their lands.
They never recovered their ancient welfare, and were already getting out
of touch with the national life.

    [1] See for this W. Cunningham, _Growth of English Industry and
    Commerce,_ vol. i., p. 330 ff. (ed. 4); T.W. Page, _The End of
    Villainage in England_ (American Economic Association, 1900);
    and, above all, P. Vinogradoff in _Engl. Hist. Review, xv._
    (1900), 774-781.

One immediate result of the plague was a renewed activity in founding
religious houses. Upon the two plague pits west and east of the city of
London, Sir Walter Manny set up his Charterhouse in Smithfield, and
Edward III. his foundation for Cistercian nuns between Tower Hill and
Aldgate. More characteristic of the times was the foundation of secular
colleges, which were established either with mainly ecclesiastical
objects or to encourage study at the universities. Both at Oxford and
Cambridge there were more colleges set up in the first than in the
second half of the fourteenth century; and it is noteworthy that
several Cambridge colleges incorporated after the plague were founded
with the avowed motive of filling up the gaps in the secular clergy
occasioned by it. The riots between the Oxford townsmen and the clerks
of the university on St. Scholastica's day, 1354, resulted in the
victory of the former because of the recent diminution in the number of
the scholars. Yet even as regards the monasteries, it is easy to
exaggerate the effects of the plague. Five years after the Black Death,
the Cistercians of the Lancashire abbey of Whalley boasted that they
had added twenty monks to their convent, and were busy in enlarging
their church.[1]

    [1] Cal. _Papal Registers, Petitions_, i., 264. Professor Tait,
    however, informs me that the monks took a sanguine view of
    their numbers. After the plague of 1362, we know that they were
    not much more numerous than in the previous century.

Change was in the air in religion as well as in society. Along with
democratic ideas filtering in with the exiles from the great Flemish
cities, came a breath of that restless and unquiet spirit which soon
awakened the concern of the inquisition in the Netherlands. There
brotherhoods, some mystical and quietistic, others enthusiastic and
fanatical, were growing in numbers and importance. Some of these bodies,
Beguines, Beghards, and what not, were harmless enough, but the whole
history of the Middle Ages bears testimony to the readiness with which
religious excitement unchastened by discipline or direction, grew into
dangerous heresy. The strangest of the new communities, the Flagellants,
made its appearance in England immediately after the pestilence. In the
autumn of 1349, some six score men crossed over from Holland and marched
in procession through the open spaces of London, chanting doleful
litanies in their own tongue. They wore nothing save a linen cloth that
covered the lower part of their body, and on their heads hats marked
with a red cross behind and before. Each of them bore in his right hand
a scourge, with which he belaboured the naked back and shoulders of his
comrade in the fore rank. Twice a day they repeated this mournful
exercise, and even at other times were never seen in public but with cap
on head and discipline in hand. Few Englishmen joined the Flagellants,
but their appearance is not unworthy of notice as the first concrete
evidence of the religious unrest which soon became more widespread.
Before long the Yorkshireman, John Wycliffe, was studying arts at the
little north-country foundation of the Balliols at Oxford, and John
Ball, the Essex priest, was preaching his revolutionary socialism to the
villeins. "We are all come," said he, "from one father and one mother,
Adam and Eve. How can the gentry show that they are greater lords than
we?"[1] In 1355 there were heretics in the diocese of York who
maintained that it is impossible to merit eternal life by good works,
and that original sin does not deserve damnation.[2]

    [1] The sentiment, or its equivalent in Ball's famous distich,
    was not new; it was employed for mystical purposes in Richard

      "When Adam delf and Eue span, spir, if thou wil spede,
      Whare was then the pride of man, that now merres his mede?"

    _Library of Early English Writers. Richard Rolle of Hampole and
    his followers_, ed. Horstman, i., 73 (1895).

    [2] Cal. _Papal Registers, Letters_, iii., 565.

The Flagellants were denounced as heretics by Clement VI.; the
Archbishop of York proceeded against the northern heretics, and in 1366
the Archbishop of Canterbury forbade John Ball's preaching. But there
were more insidious, because more measured, enemies of the Church than
a handful of fanatics. The English were long convinced that the Avignon
popes were playing the game of the French adversary, and Clement VI.'s
efforts for peace never had a fair hearing. Since the beginning of the
war, the king laid his hand on the alien priories, and, though in his
scrupulous regard for clerical rights he had allowed the monks to
remain in possession, he diverted the stream of tribute from the French
mother houses to his own treasury. Bolder measures against papal
provisions were taken in the years which immediately followed the
pestilence. Finding remonstrances futile, the parliament of 1351, which
passed the statute of labourers, enacted also the first statute of
provisors. It recited that the anti-papal statute of Carlisle of 1307
was still law, and that the king had sworn to observe it. It claimed
for all electing bodies and patrons the right to elect or to present
freely to the benefices in their gift. It declared invalid all
appointments brought about by way of papal provision. Provisors who had
accepted appointments from Avignon were to be arrested. If convicted,
they were to be detained in prison, until they had made their peace
with the king, and found surely not to accept provisions in the future,
and also not to seek their reinstatement by any process in the Roman
_curia_. Two years later this measure was supplemented by the first
statute of _praemunire_, which enacted that those who brought matters
cognisable in the king's courts before foreign courts should be liable
to forfeiture and outlawry. Though the papal court is not specially
mentioned, it is clear that this measure _was_ aimed against it.

General measures proving insufficient, more specific legislation soon
followed. In 1365 a fresh statute of _praemunire_ was drawn up on the
initiative of the crown, enacting that all who obtained citations,
offices, or benefices from the Roman court should incur the penalties
prescribed by the act of 1353. The prelates dissociated themselves from
so stringent a law, but did not actively oppose it. When in 1366,
Edward requested the guidance of the estates as to how he was to deal
with the demand of Urban V. for the arrears of King John's tribute,
withheld altogether for more than thirty years, the prelates joined the
lay estates in answering that neither John nor any one else could put
the realm into subjection without their consent. Even the ancient
offering of Peter's pence ceased to be paid for the rest of Edward's
reign. If these laws had been strictly carried out, the papal authority
in England would have been gravely circumscribed. But medieval laws
were too often the mere enunciations of an ideal. The statutes of
provisors and _praemunire_ were as little executed as were the statutes
of labourers, or as some elaborate sumptuary legislation passed by the
parliament of 1363. The catalogue of acts of papal interference in
English ecclesiastical and temporal affairs is as long after the
passing of these laws as before. Litigants still carried their suits to
Avignon: provisions were still issued nominating to English benefices,
and Edward himself set the example of disregarding his own laws by
asking for the appointment of his ministers to bishoprics by way of
papal provision. Papal ascendency was too firmly rooted in the
fourteenth century to be eradicated by any enactment. To the average
clergyman or theologian of the day the pope was still the "universal
ordinary," the one divinely appointed source of ecclesiastical
authority, the shepherd to whom the Lord had given the commission to
feed His sheep. This theory could only be overcome by revolution; and
the parliaments and ministers of Edward III. were in no wise of a
revolutionary temper.

The anti-papal laws of the fourteenth century were the acts of the
secular not of the ecclesiastical power. They were not simply
anti-papal, they were also anti-clerical in their tendency, since to the
men of the age an attack on the pope was an attack on the Church. No
doubt the English bishop at Edward's court sympathised with his master's
dislike of foreign ecclesiastical interference, and the English priest
was glad to be relieved from payments to the curia. But the clergyman,
whose soul grew indignant against the curialists, still believed that
the pope was the divinely appointed autocrat of the Church universal.
Being a man, a pope might be a bad pope; but the faithful Christian,
though he might lament and protest, could not but obey in the last
resort. The papacy was so essentially interwoven with the whole Church
of the Middle Ages, that few figments have less historical basis than
the notion that there was an anti-papal Anglican Church in the days of
the Edwards. However, before another generation had passed away,
ecclesiastical protests began.

Monasticism no less than the papacy was of the very essence of the
Church of the Middle Ages. Yet the monastic ideal had no longer the
force that it had in previous generations, and even the latest
embodiments of the religious life had declined from their original
popularity. Pope John XXII. himself, in his warfare against William of
Ockham and the Spiritual Franciscans who had supported Louis of Bavaria,
denied in good round terms the Franciscan doctrine of "evangelical
poverty". Ockham was now dead, and with him perished the last of the
great cosmopolitan schoolmen, of whose birth indeed England might boast,
but who early forsook Oxford for Paris. Conspicuous among the younger
academical generation was Richard Fitzralph, Archbishop of Armagh, whose
bitter attacks on the fundamental principles underlying the mendicant
theory of the regular life are indicative of the changing temper of the
age. A distinguished Oxford scholar, a learned and pungent writer, a
popular preacher, a reputed saint, and a good friend of the pope,
Fitzralph made himself, about 1357, the champion of the secular clergy
against the friars by writing a treatise to prove that absolute poverty
was neither practised nor commended by the apostles.[1] The indignant
mendicants procured the archbishop's citation to Avignon, and it was a
striking proof of the ineffectiveness of recent legislation that Edward
III. allowed him to plead his cause before the _curia_. By 1358 the
friars gained the day, but their efforts to get Fitzralph's opinions
condemned were frustrated by his death in 1360. Fitzralph had the
sympathy not only of the seculars, but of the "possessioners," or
property-holding monks.

    [1] See his _De Pauperie Salvatoris_, lib. i.-iv., printed by
    R.L. Poole, as appendix to Wycliffe, _De Dominio Divino_.

The period of experiments in economic and anti-clerical legislation was
also marked by other important new laws, such as the ordinance of the
staple of 1354, providing that wool, leather, and other commodities
were only to be sold at certain _staple_ towns, a measure soon to be
modified by the law of 1362, which settled the staple at Calais; the
ordinance of 1357 for the government of Ireland, to which later
reference will be made; the statute making English the language of the
law courts in 1362, and a drastic act against purveyance in 1365. The
statute of treasons of 1352, which laid down seven several offences as
alone henceforth to be regarded as treason, also demands attention. Its
classification is rude and unsystematic. While the slaying of the
king's ministers or judges, and the counterfeiting of the great seal or
the king's coin, are joined with the compassing the death of the king
or his wife or heir, adherence to the king's enemies, the violation of
the queen or the king's eldest daughter, as definite acts of treason,
its omission to brand other notable indications of disloyally as
traitorous, inspired the judges of later generations to elaborate the
doctrine of constructive treason in order to extend in practice the
scope of the act. It was, however, an advance for nobles and commons to
have set any limitations whatever to the wide power claimed by the
courts of defining treason.

Partial respite from war did not diminish the martial ardour of the
king and his nobles. The period of the Black Death was precisely the
time when Edward completed a plan which he had begun by the erection of
his Round Table at Windsor in 1344. By 1348 he instituted a chapel at
Windsor, dedicated to St. George, served by a secular chapter, and
closely connected with a foundation for the support of poor knights.
Within a year this foundation also included the famous Order of the
Garter, the type and model of all later orders of chivalry. On St.
George's day the king celebrated the new institution by special
solemnities. The most famous of his companions-at-arms were associated
with him as founders and first knights. Clad in russet coats sprinkled
with blue garters, a blue garter on the right leg, and a mantle of blue
ornamented with little shields bearing the arms of St. George, the
Knights of the Garter heard mass sung by the Archbishop of Canterbury
in St. George's chapel, and then feasted solemnly in their common hall.
Ten years later the glorification of the king's birthplace was
completed by the erection of new quarters for the king, more sumptuous
and splendid than were elsewhere to be seen. The fame of the Knights of
the Garter excited the emulation of King John of France, who set up a
Round Table which grew in 1351 into the knightly Order of the Star.

The rival brethren of the Garter and the Star found plenty of
opportunities of demonstrating their prowess. Though between 1347 and
1355 there was, so far as forms went, an almost continuous armistice
for the space of eight years, its effect was not so much to stop
fighting as to limit its scale. In reality the years of nominal truce
were a period of harassing warfare in Brittany, the Calais march,
Gascony, and the narrow seas, which even the ravages of the Black Death
did not stop.

In Brittany affairs were in a wretched condition. The nominal duke,
John, was a child brought up in England under the guardianship of
Edward III. Edward was not in a position to spend either men or money
upon Brittany. As an easy way of discharging his obligations to his
ward, he handed over the duchy to Sir Thomas Dagworth, the governor,
who maintained the war from local resources and had a free hand as
regards his choice of agents and measures. In return for power to
appropriate to his own purposes the revenues of the duchy, Dagworth
undertook the custody of the fortresses, the payment of the troops, the
expenses of the administration, and the conduct of the war. In short,
Brittany was leased out to him as a speculation, like a farm left
derelict of husbandmen after the Black Death. Dagworth sublet to the
highest bidders the lordships, fortresses, and towns of Brittany. He
established at various centres of his influence a military adventurer,
whose chief business was to make war support war and, moreover, bring
in a good profit. The consequences were disastrous. Dagworth's captains
were for the most part Englishmen, men of character, energy, and
resources, but utterly without scruples and with no other ambition than
to raise a good revenue and maintain themselves in authority. The most
famous of them were members of gentle but obscure houses, whose poverty
debarred them from the ordinary avenues to fame and fortune, and whose
vigour and ability made good use of their exceptional positions. Two
Cheshire kinsmen, Hugh Calveley and Robert Knowles, thus won, each for
himself, a place in history. Some of the adventurers were of obscurer
origin, some were foreigners, German, French, or Netherlandish, and
some few Breton gentlemen of Montfort's faction. Of these Crockart, the
German, and Raoul de Caours, the Breton, were the most famous.

The results of the system bore heavily on the Breton peasantry. Each
lord of a castle levied systematic blackmail on the neighbouring
parishes. These payments, called ransoms, were exacted as a condition
of protection. The governor, though severely maltreating those who
neglected to pay their ransom, did little to save his dependants from
the ravages of the partisans of Charles of Blois. Despite such
misdeeds, the war of partisans was brightened by many feats of heroism.
The friends of Charles of Blois disregarded the truce and waged war as
well as they could. Among them was already conspicuous the son of a
nobleman of the neighbourhood of Dinan, the ugly, able, restless
Bertrand du Guesclin, whose enterprise and valour won for him a great
local reputation. In 1350 Dagworth was slain. The history of the
following years is not to be found in the acts of his successor, Sir
Walter Bentley, but in the private deeds of daring of the heroes of
both sides. Conspicuous among these is the famous Battle of the Thirty,
well known from the detailed narrative of Froissart, and the stirring
verses of a contemporary French poem. This fight was fought on March
27, 1351, between thirty Breton gentlemen of the Blois faction, drawn
from the garrison of Josselin, and a less noble but even more strenuous
band of thirty English and other adventurers of the Montfort party,
from the garrison of Ploermel, seven miles to the east. Beaumanoir, the
commandant at Josselin, had been moved to indignation at the cruel
treatment of peasants who had refused to pay ransom by Robert Bembro,
the commander of Ploermel. He challenged the tyrant to combat, and
thirty heroes of each party fought out their quarrel at a spot marked
by the half-way oak, equidistant from the two garrisons. After a long
struggle, in which Bembro was slain, victory fell to the men from
Josselin. Among the vanquished were Knowles, Calveley, and Crockart.
This fight had absolutely no influence on the fortune of the war.

In 1352 the French strove to carry on the Breton war on a grander scale,
and a large army, commanded by Guy of Nesle, marshal of France, was sent
to reinforce the partisans of Charles of Blois. They met Bentley at
Mauron, a few miles north of Ploermel, where one of the most interesting
battles of the war was fought Taught by the lesson of Crecy, Nesle had
already, in obscure fights in Poitou, ordered the French knights and
men-at-arms to fight on foot.[1] He here adopted the same plan for the
first time in a battle of importance, but, after a severe struggle,
Bentley won the day. In 1353 Edward III. made a treaty with his captive,
Charles of Blois. In return for a huge ransom Charles was to obtain his
liberty, be recognised as Duke of Brittany, marry one of Edward's
daughters, and promise to remain neutral in the Anglo-French struggle.
The treaty involved too great a dislocation of policy to be carried out.
Charles, after visiting Brittany, renounced the compact and returned to
his London prison. Thus the weary war of partisans still went on, and
thenceforth the fortunes of Charles depended less upon negotiations than
on the growing successes of Bertrand du Guesclin.

    [1] See my paper on _Some Neglected Fights between Crecy and
    Poitiers_ in _Engl. Hist. Review_, vol. xxi., Oct., 1905.

During these years Calais was the centre of much fighting. Eager to win
back the town, the French bribed an Italian mercenary, then in Edward's
service, to admit them into the castle. The plot was discovered, and
Edward and the Prince of Wales crossed over in disguise to help in
frustrating the French assault. The French were enticed into Calais and
taken as in a trap. Edward then sallied out of the town, and rashly
engaged in personal encounter with a more numerous enemy. He was
unexpectedly successful, and made wonderful display of his prowess as a
knight. In revenge, the English devastated the neighbouring country by
raids like that led by the Duke of Lancaster in 1351, which spread
desolation from Therouanne to Etaples. Of more enduring importance were
the gradual extensions of the English pale by the piecemeal conquest of
the fortresses of the neighbourhood. The chief step in this direction
was the capture of Guines in 1352. An archer named John Dancaster, who
escaped from French custody in Guines, led his comrades to the assault
of the town by a way which he learnt during his imprisonment. The
attack succeeded, and Dancaster, to avoid involving his master in a
formal breach of the truce, professed to hold the town on his own
account and to be willing to sell it to the highest bidder. Of course
the highest bidder was Edward III. himself, and thus Guines became the
southern outpost of the Calais march.

In Aquitaine and Languedoc there was no thought of repose. In 1349
Lancaster led a foray to the gates of Toulouse, which wrought immense
damage but led to no permanent results. There was incessant border
warfare. The Anglo-Gascon forces spread beyond the limits of Edward's
duchy and captured outposts in Poitou, Perigord, Quercy, and the
Agenais. In retaliation, the Count of Armagnac, a strong upholder of
the French cause, did what mischief he could in those parts of Gascony
adjacent to his own territories. On the whole the result of these
struggles was a considerable extension of the English power.

The most famous episode of these years was a naval battle fought off
Winchelsea on August 29, 1350, against a strong fleet of Spanish
privateers commanded by Charles of La Cerda. The Spaniards having
plundered English wine ships, Edward summoned a fleet to meet them, and
himself went on board, along with the Prince of Wales, Lancaster, and
many of his chief nobles. The fight that ensued was remarkable not more
for the reckless valour of the king and his nobles than for the
dexterity of the English tactics. The great busses of Spain towered
above the little English vessels, like castles over cottages. Yet the
English did not hesitate to grapple their adversaries' craft and swarm
up their sides on to the decks. Edward captured one of the chief of the
Spanish ships, though his own vessel, the Cog _Thomas_, was so severely
damaged that it had to be hastily abandoned for its prize. The glory of
the victory of the "Spaniards on the sea" kept up the fame first won at

In these years of truce first appeared the worst scourge of the war,
bands of mercenary soldiers, fighting on their own account and
recklessly devastating the regions which they chose to visit. The cry
for peace rose higher than ever. Innocent VI., who succeeded Clement VI.
in 1352, took up with great energy the papal policy of mediation. Thanks
to his legates' good offices, preliminary articles of peace were
actually agreed upon on April 6, 1354, at Guines. By them Edward agreed
to renounce his claim to the French throne if he were granted full
sovereignly over Guienne, Ponthieu, Artois, and Guines. When the
chamberlain, Burghersh, laid before parliament, which was then sitting,
the prospect of peace, "the commons with one accord replied that,
whatever course the king and the magnates should take as regards the
said treaty, was agreeable to them. On this reply the chamberlain said
to the commons: 'Then you wish to agree to a perpetual treaty of peace,
if one can be had?' And the said commons answered unanimously, 'Yea,
yea'."[1] Vexatious delays, however, supervened, and at last the
negotiations broke down hopelessly. The French refused to surrender
their over-lordship over the ceded provinces, and the Easter parliament
of 1355 agreed with the king that war must be renewed. Two years of war
were to follow more fierce than even the struggles which had culminated
in Crecy, La Roche, and Calais.

    [1] _Rot. Pad.,_ ii., 262.

Two expeditions were organised to invade France in the summer of 1355,
one for Aquitaine under the Prince of Wales,[1] and the other for
Normandy under Lancaster. Westerly winds long prevented their despatch.
It was not until September that the Prince of Wales reached Bordeaux.
The change of wind, which bore the prince to Gascony, enabled the host,
collected by the King and Lancaster on the Thames, to make its way to
Normandy. But the special reason which brought the English thither was
already gone. The expedition was planned to co-operate with the King of
Navarre. Charles, surnamed the Bad, traced on his father's side his
descent to that son of Philip the Bold who obtained the county of Evreux
in upper Normandy for his appanage. From his mother, the daughter of
Louis X., he derived his kingdom of Navarre and a claim on the French
monarchy of the same type as that of Edward III. Cunning, plausible,
unscrupulous, and violent, Charles had quarrelled fiercely with King
John, whose daughter he had married. His vast estates in Normandy made
him a valuable ally to Edward, and he had suggested joint action in that
duchy against the French. Unluckily, while the west winds kept the
English fleet beyond the Straits of Dover, John made terms with his
son-in-law. Lancaster was compensated for his disappointment by the
governorship of Brittany. The army equipped for the Norman expedition
was diverted to Calais, whence in November, Edward and Lancaster led a
purposeless foray in the direction of Hesdin, which hastily ended on the
arrival of the news that the Scots had surprised the town of Berwick,
and were threatening its castle. Thereupon Edward hastened back home. He
had to keep the Scots quiet, before he could attack the French.

    [1] For the Black Prince's career in Aquitaine, see Moisant,
    _Le Prince Noir en Aquitaine_ (1894)

When the Black Prince reached Bordeaux, he received a warm welcome from
the Gascons, and at once set out at the head of an army, partly English
and partly Gascon, on a foray into the enemy's territory. He made his
way from Bazas to the upper Adour through the county of Armagnac, whose
lord had incurred his wrath by his devotion to the house of Valois and
his invasions of the Gascon duchy. Thence he worked eastwards, avoiding
the greater towns, and plundering and devastating wherever he could.
The Count of Armagnac, the French commander in the south, watched his
progress from Toulouse, and prudently avoided any open encounter. The
prince approached within a few miles of the capital of Languedoc, but
found an easier prey in the rich towns and fertile plains in the valley
of the Aude. He captured the "town" of Carcassonne, though he failed to
reduce the fortress-crowned height of the "city". At Narbonne also he
took the "town" and left the "city". His progress spread terror
throughout the south, and the clerks of the university of Montpellier
and the papal _curia_ at Avignon trembled lest he should continue his
raid in their direction. But November came, and Edward found it prudent
to retire, choosing on his westward journey a route parallel to that
which he had previously adopted. He had achieved his real purpose in
desolating the region from which the French had derived the chief
resources for their attacks on Gascony. The raiders boasted that
Carcassonne was larger than York, Limoux not less great than
Carcassonne, and Narbonne nearly as populous as London. Over this fair
region, where wine and oil were more abundant than water, the black
band of desolation, which had already marked so many of the fairest
provinces of France, was cruelly extended.

The prince kept his Christmas at Bordeaux. Even during the winter his
troops remained active. Most of the Agenais was conquered by January,
1356, while in February the capture of Perigueux opened up the way of
invasion northwards. Meanwhile the prince mustered his forces for a
vigorous summer campaign. While the towns on the Isle and the Lot were
yielding to his son, Edward III. was avenging the capture of Berwick by
a winter campaign in the Lothians. Before the end of January, 1356,
Berwick was once more in his hands. Thence he passed to Roxburgh, where
Edward Balliol surrendered to him all his rights over the Scottish
throne. Thenceforth styling himself no longer overlord but King of
Scotland, Edward mercilessly harried his new subjects. But storms
dispersed the English victualling ships, and Edward's men could not
live in winter on the country that they had made a wilderness. In a few
weeks they were back over the border, though their raid was long
remembered in Scottish tradition as the Burnt Candlemas.

Another breach between Charles of Navarre and his father-in-law again
opened to the English the way to Normandy. John lost patience at
Charles's renewed intrigues, and in April arrested him and his friends
at Rouen. Thereupon his brother, Philip of Navarre, rose in revolt.
With him were many of the Norman lords, including Geoffrey of Harcourt,
lord of Saint-Sauveur. The English were once more invited to Normandy,
and on June 18 Lancaster landed at La Hougue with the double mission of
aiding the Norman rebels and establishing John of Montfort, then
arrived at man's estate, in his Breton duchy. It was the first English
invasion of northern France during the war, in which they had, as in
Brittany, the co-operation of a strong party in the land. The Navarre
and Harcourt influence at once secured them the Cotentin. Meanwhile,
however, the French were besieging the fortresses of the county of
Evreux. With the object of relieving this pressure, Lancaster,
immediately after his landing, marched into the heart of Normandy, and
soon reached Verneuil. It looked for the moment as if he were destined
to emulate the exploits of Edward II. in 1346. But he abruptly turned
back, leaving the county of Evreux to fall into French hands. The
permanent result of his intervention was to reduce Normandy to a state
of anarchy nearly as complete as that of Brittany. In the autumn
Lancaster at last made his way to the land of which he had had nominal
charge since the previous year. He left Philip of Navarre as commander
in Normandy, and the war was supported from local resources. The
Cotentin being in friendly hands, Lancaster attacked the strongholds of
the Blois party, which had hitherto been exempt from the war. In
October he laid siege to Rennes and was detained before its walls until
July, 1357, when he agreed to desist from the attack in return for a
huge ransom. Lancaster then established young Montfort as duke. At the
same time Charles of Blois, released from his long imprisonment, once
more reappeared in his wife's inheritance, though, as his ransom was
still but partly paid, his scrupulous honour compelled him to abstain
from personal intervention in the war. Thus Brittany got back both her

The northern operations in 1356 sink into insignificance when compared
with the exploits of the Black Prince in the south. After the capture
of Perigueux, there had been some idea of the prince making a northward
movement and joining hands with Lancaster on the Loire. When Lancaster
retired from Verneuil, however, the Black Prince was still in the
valley of the Dordogne. Even when all was ready, attacks on the Gascon
duchy compelled him to divert a large portion of his army for the
defence of his own frontiers. Not until August 9 was he able to advance
from Perigueux to Brantome into hostile territory. It was a month too
late to co-operate with Lancaster, and the 7,000 men, who followed his
banners, were in equipment rather prepared for a raid than for a
systematic conquest.

Edward's outward march was in a generally northerly direction. Leaving
Limoges on his right, he crossed the Vienne lower down the stream, and
thence he led his troops over the Creuse at Argenton and over the Indre
at Chateauroux. When he traversed the Cher at Vierzon, his followers
rejoiced that they had at last got out of the limits of the ancient
duchy of Guienne and were invading the actual kingdom of France. On
penetrating beyond the Cher into the melancholy flats of the Sologne,
the prince encountered the first serious resistance. He then turned
abruptly to the west, and chased the enemy into the strong castle of
Romorantin, which he captured on September 3. There he heard that John
of France, who had gathered together a huge force, was holding the
passages over the Loire. Edward marched to meet the enemy, and on
September 7 reached the neighbourhood of Tours, where he tarried in his
camp for three days. But the few bridges were destroyed or strongly
guarded, and the men-at-arms found it quite impossible to make their
way over the broad and swift Loire. Moreover the news came that John
had crossed the river near Blois, and was hurrying southwards.
Thereupon the Black Prince turned in the same direction, seeing in this
southward march his best chance of getting to close quarters. The
French host was enormously the superior in numbers, but after Morlaix,
Mauron, and Crecy, mere numerical disparity weighed but lightly on an
English commander.

For some days the armies marched in the same direction in parallel
lines, neither knowing very clearly the exact position of the other. On
September 14 Edward reached Chatelherault on the Vienne. His troops
were weary and war-worn, and his transport inordinately swollen by
spoils. He rested two days at Chatelherault, but was again on the move
on hearing that the enemy was at Chauvigny, situated some twenty miles
higher up the Vienne. Edward at once started in pursuit, only to find
that the French had retired before him to Poitiers, eighteen miles due
west of Chauvigny. Careless of his convoy, he hurried across country in
the hope of catching the elusive enemy, but was only in time to fight a
rear-guard skirmish at a manor named La Chaboterie, on the road from
Chauvigny to Poitiers, on September, 17. That night the English lay in
a wood hard by the scene of action, suffering terribly from want of
water. Next day, Sunday, September 18, Edward pursued the French as
near as he could to Poitiers, halting in battle array within a league
of the town. A further check on his impatience now ensued. Innocent
VI.'s legate, the Cardinal Talleyrand, brother of the Count of
Perigord, who was with the French army, crossed to the rival host with
an offer of mediation. Edward received the cardinal courteously and
spent most of the day in negotiations. But the French showed no
eagerness to bring matters to a conclusion, and as every hour
reinforcements poured into the enemy's camp the scanty patience of the
English was exhausted. They declared that the legate's talk about
saving the effusion of Christian blood was only a blind to gain time,
so that the French might overwhelm them. Edward broke off the
negotiations, and, retiring to a position more remote from the enemy,
passed the night quietly. Early next morning the cardinal again sought
to treat, but this time his offers were rejected. On his withdrawal,
the French attack began.

The topographical details of the battle of Poitiers of September 19,
1356, cannot be determined with certainty. We only know that the place
of the encounter was called Maupertuis, which is generally identified
with a farm now called La Cardinerie, some six miles south-east of
Poitiers, and a little distance to the north of the Benedictine abbey
of Nouaille. The abbey formed the southern limit of the field. On the
west the place of combat was skirted by the little river Miausson,
which winds its way through marshes in a deep-cut valley, girt by
wooded hills. The French left their horses at Poitiers, having
resolved, perhaps on the advice of a Scottish knight, Sir William
Douglas, to fight on foot, after the English and Scottish fashion, and
as they had already fought at Mauron and elsewhere. As at Mauron, a
small band of cavalry was retained, both for the preliminary
skirmishing which then usually heralded a battle, and in the hope of
riding down some of the archers. But the French did not fully
understand the English tactics, and took no care to combine men-at-arms
with archers or crossbowmen, though these were less important against
an army weak in archers and largely consisting of Gascons. Of the four
"battles" the first, under the Marshals Audrehem and Clermont, included
the little cavalry contingent; the second was under Charles, Duke of
Normandy, a youth of nineteen; the third under the Duke of Orleans, the
king's brother; and the rear was commanded by the king.

The English army spent the night before the battle beyond the Miausson,
but in the morning the prince, fearing an ambuscade behind the hill of
Nouaille on the east bank, abandoned his original position and crossed
the stream in order to occupy it. He divided his forces into three
"battles," led respectively by himself, Warwick, and William Montague,
since 1343 by his father's death Earl of Salisbury. Though he found no
enemy there, he remained with his "battle" on the hill, because it
commanded the slopes to the north over on which the French were now
advancing. His remote position threw the brunt of the fighting upon the
divisions of Warwick and Salisbury. They were stationed side by side in
advance of him on ground lower than that held by him, but higher than
that of the enemy, and beset with bushes and vineyards which sloped
down on the left towards the marshes of the Miausson. Some distance in
front of their position, a long hedge and ditch divided the upland, on
which the "battles" of Warwick and Salisbury were stationed, from the
fields in which the French were arrayed. At its upper end, remote from
the Miausson, where Salisbury's command lay, the hedge was broken by a
gap through which a farmer's track connected the fields on each side of
it. The first fighting began when the English sent a small force of
horsemen through the gap to engage with the French cavalry beyond.
While Audrehem, on the French right, suspended his attack to watch the
result, Clermont made his way straight for the gap, hoping to take
Salisbury's division, on the upper or right-hand station, in flank.
Before he reached the gap, however, he found the hedge and the
approaches to the cart-road held in force by the English archers.
Meanwhile the mail-clad men and horses of Audrehem's cavalry had
approached dangerously near the left of the English line, where Warwick
was stationed. Their complete armour made riders and steeds alike
impervious to the English arrows, until the prince, seeing from his
hill how things were proceeding, ordered some archers to station
themselves on the marshy ground near the Miausson, in advance of the
left flank of the English army. From this position they shot at the
unprotected parts of the French horses, and drove the little band of
cavalry from the field. By that time Clermon's attack on the gap had
been defeated, and so both sections of the first French division

Then came the stronger "battle" of the eldest son of the French king.
The fight grew more fierce, and for a long time the issue remained
doubtful. The English archers exhausted their arrows to little purpose,
and the dismounted French men-at-arms, offering a less sure mark than
the horsemen, forced their way to the English ranks and fought a
desperate hand-to-hand conflict with them. At last the Duke of
Normandy's followers were driven back. Thereupon a panic seized the
division commanded by the Duke of Orleans, which fled from the field
without measuring swords with the enemy. The victors themselves were in
a desperate plight. Many were wounded, and all were weary, especially
the men-at-arms encased in heavy plate mail. The flight of Orleans gave
them a short respite: but they soon had to face the assault of the rear
battle of the enemy, gallantly led by the king. "No battle," we are
told, "ever lasted so long. In former fights men knew, by the time that
the fourth or the sixth arrow had been discharged, on which side victory
was to be. But here a single archer shot with coolness a hundred arrows,
and still neither side gave way."[1] At last the bowmen had only the
arrows they snatched from the bodies of the dead and dying, and when
these were exhausted, they were reduced to throwing stones at their
foes, or to struggle in the _melee_, with sword and buckler, side by
side with the men-at-arms. But the Black Prince from his hill had
watched the course of the encounter, and at the right moment, when his
friends were almost worn out, marched down, and made the fight more
even. Before joining himself in the engagement, Edward had ordered the
Captal de Buch, the best of his Gascons, to lead a little band, under
cover of the hill, round the French position and attack the enemy in the
rear. At first the Anglo-Gascon army was discouraged, thinking that the
captal had fled, but they still fought on. Suddenly the captal and his
men assaulted the French rear. This settled the hard fought day.
Surrounded on every side, the French perished in their ranks or
surrendered in despair. King John was taken prisoner, fighting
desperately to the last, and with him was captured his youngest son
Philip, the future Duke of Burgundy, a boy of twelve, whose epithet of
"the Bold" was earned by his precocious valour in the struggle. Before
nightfall the English host had sole possession of the field, and the
best fought, best directed, and most important of the battles of the war
ended in the complete triumph of the invaders.

    [1] _Eulogium Hist._, iii., 225.

As after Crecy, the victors were too weak to continue the campaign.
Next day they began their slow march back to their base. On October 2
Edward reached Libourne, and a few days later conducted the captive
king into the Gascon capital. They were soon followed by the Cardinal
Talleyrand on whose insistence the prince agreed to resume
negotiations. On March 23, 1357, a truce to last until 1359 was
arranged at Bordeaux. On May 24 the prince led the vanquished king
through the streets of London.

The English, weary of the burden of war, strove to use their advantages
to procure a stable peace. Though Charles of Blois was released, he was
muzzled for the future, and when John joined his ally David Bruce in
the Tower, it was the obvious game of Edward to exact terms from his
prisoners. David's spirit was broken, and he was glad to accept a
treaty sealed in October, 1357, at Berwick, by which he was released
for a ransom of 100,000 marks, to be paid by ten yearly instalments.
The task was harder for a poor country like Scotland than the
redemption of Richard I. had been for England. On hostages being given,
David was released, and Edward, without relinquishing his own
pretensions to be King of Scots, took no steps to enforce his claim.
The event showed that Edward knew his man. The instalments of ransom
could not be regularly paid, and David never became free from his
obligations. Nothing save the tenacity of the Scottish nobles prevented
him from accepting Edward's proposals to write off the arrears of his
ransom in return for his accepting either the English king himself or
his son, Lionel of Antwerp, as heir of Scotland. This attitude brought
David into conflict with his natural heir, Robert, the Steward of
Scotland, the son of his sister Margaret. The tension between uncle and
nephew forced the Scots king to remain on friendly terms with Edward.
For the rest of the reign, Scottish history was occupied by
aristocratic feuds, by financial expedients for raising the king's
ransom, by the gradual development of the practice of entrusting the
powers of parliament to those committees of the estates subsequently
famous as the lords of the articles, by David's matrimonial troubles
after Joan's death, and by his unpopular visits to the court of his
neighbour. Warfare between the realms there was none, save for the
chronic border feuds. When David died in 1371, the Steward of Scotland
land mounted the throne as Robert II. This first of the Stewart kings
went back to the policy of the French alliance, but was too weak to
inflict serious mischief on England.

In January, 1358, preliminaries of peace were also arranged with the
captive King of France, and sent to Paris and Avignon for ratification.
Innocent VI. was overjoyed at his success, and Frenchmen were willing
to make any sacrifices to bring back their monarch, for immediately
after Poitiers a storm of disorder burst over France. The states
general met a few weeks after the battle, and the regent, Charles of
Normandy, was helpless in their hands. This was the time of the power
of Stephen Marcel, provost of the merchants of Paris, and of Robert
Lecoq, Bishop of Laon. But the movement in Paris was neither in the
direction of parliamentary government nor of democracy, and few men
have less right to be regarded as popular heroes than Marcel and Lecoq.
The estates were manipulated in the interests of aristocratic intrigue,
and, behind the ostensible leaders, was the sinister influence of
Charles of Navarre, who availed himself of the desolation of France to
play his own game. For a time he was the darling of the Paris mob.
Innocent VI. was deceived by his protestations of zeal for peace. As
grandson of Louis X. he aspired to the French throne, and was anxious
to prevent John's return. Edward had no good-will for a possible rival,
but it was his interest to keep up the anarchy, and he had no scruple
in backing up Charles. There was talk of Edward becoming King of France
and holding the maritime provinces, while Charles as his vassal should
be lord of Paris and the interior districts. English mercenaries, who
had lost their occupation with the truce, enlisted themselves in the
service of Navarre. Robert Knowles, James Pipe, and other ancient
captains of Edward fought for their own hand in Normandy, and built up
colossal fortunes out of the spoils of the country. Some of these
hirelings appeared in Paris, where the citizens welcomed allies of the
Navarrese, even when they were foreign adventurers. However, Charles
went so far that a strong reaction deprived him of all power. He was
able to prevent the ratification of the preliminaries of 1358. But in
that year the death of Marcel was followed by the return of the regent
to Paris, the expulsion of the foreign mercenaries, the collapse of the
estates, and the restoration of the capital to the national cause. The
short-lived horrors wreaked by the revolted peasantry were followed by
the more enduring atrocities of the nobles who suppressed them.
Military adventurers pillaged France from end to end, but the worst
troubles ended when Charles of Navarre lost his pre-eminence.[1]

    [1] An admirable account of the state of France between 1356
    and 1358 is in Denifie, _La Desolation des Eglises en_ France
    _pendant _la _Guerre de Cent Ans, ii.,_ 134-316 (1899).

When the truce of Bordeaux was on the verge of expiration, the French
king negotiated a second treaty by which he bought off the threatened
renewal of war. This was the treaty of London, March 24, 1359, by which
John yielded up to Edward in full sovereignty the ancient empire of
Henry II. Normandy, the suzerainty of Brittany, Anjou, and Maine,
Aquitaine within its ancient limits, Calais and Ponthieu with the
surrounding districts, were the territorial concessions in return for
which Edward renounced his claim to the French throne. The vast ransom
of 4,000,000 golden crowns was to be paid for John's redemption; the
chief princes of the blood were to be hostages for him, and in case of
failure to observe the terms of the treaty he was to return to his
captivity. The only provision in any sense favourable to France was
that by which Edward promised to aid John against the King of Navarre.

The treaty of London excited the liveliest anger in France. "We had
rather," declared the assembled estates, "endure the great mischief that
has afflicted us so long, than suffer the noble realm of France thus to
be diminished and defrauded."[1] Spurred up by these patriotic
manifestations, the regent rejected the treaty, and prepared as best he
could for the storm of Edward's wrath which soon burst upon his country.
Anxious to unite forces against the national enemy, he made peace with
Charles of Navarre, who, abandoned by Edward, was delighted to be
restored to his estates.

    [1] Froissart, v., 180, ed. Luce.

Edward concentrated all his efforts on a new invasion of France. In
November, 1359, he marched out of Calais with all his forces. His four
sons attended him, and there was a great muster of earls and
experienced warriors. Among the less known members of the host was the
young Londoner, Geoffrey Chaucer, a page in Lionel of Antwerp's
household. In three columns, each following a separate route, the
English made their way from Calais towards the south-east. The French
avoided a pitched battle, but hung on the skirts of the army and slew,
or captured, stragglers and foragers. Chaucer was among those thus
taken prisoner. Edward's ambition was to take Reims, and have himself
crowned there as King of France. On December 4 he arrived at the gates
of the city, and besieged it for six weeks. Then on January 11, 1360,
the King despaired of success, abandoned the siege, and marched
southwards through Champagne towards Burgundy. Despite the check at
Reims, he was still so formidable that in March Duke Philip of Burgundy
concluded with him the shameful treaty of Guillon, by which he
purchased exemption from invasion by an enormous ransom and a promise
of neutrality.

Edward next turned towards Paris. The news that the French had effected
a successful descent on Winchelsea and behaved with extreme brutality to
the inhabitants, infuriated the English troopers, who perpetrated a
hundredfold worse deeds in the suburbs of the French capital. It seemed
as if the war was about to end with the siege and capture of Paris. The
regent, unable to meet the English in the field, fell back in despair on
negotiation. Innocent VI. again offered his good services. John sent
from his English prison full powers to his son to make what terms he
would, and on April 3, which was Good Friday, ambassadors from each
power met under papal intervention at Longjumeau; but Edward still
insisted on the terms of the treaty of London, for which the French were
not yet prepared. On April 7 Edward began the siege of Paris by an
attack on the southern suburbs, but was so little successful that he
withdrew five days later. A terrible tempest destroyed his provision
train and devastated his army. These disasters made Edward anxious for
peace, and the negotiations, after two interruptions, were successfully
renewed at Chartres, and facilitated by the signature of a truce for a
year. The work of a definitive treaty was pushed forward, and on May 8,
preliminaries of peace were signed between the prince of Wales and
Charles of France at the neighbouring hamlet of Bretigni, whither the
peacemakers had transferred their sittings. There were still formalities
to accomplish which took up many months. King John was escorted in July
by the Prince of Wales to Calais, and in October he was joined by Edward
III., who had returned to England about the time that the negotiations
at Bretigni were over. The peace took its final form at Calais in
October 24, 1360. Next day John was released, and ratified the
convention as a free man on French soil. This permanent treaty is more
properly styled the treaty of Calais than the treaty of Bretigni; but
the alterations between the two were only significant in one particular
respect. At Calais the English agreed to omit a clause inserted at
Bretigni by which Edward renounced his claims to the French throne, and
John his claims over the allegiance of the inhabitants of the ceded
districts. As the Calais treaty of October alone had the force of law,
it was a real triumph of French diplomacy to have suppressed so vital a
feature in the definitive document.[1] Even with this alleviation the
terms were sufficiently humiliating to France. Edward and his heirs were
to receive in perpetuity, "and in the manner in which the kings of
France had held them," an ample territory both in southern and northern
France. All Aquitaine was henceforth to be English, including Poitou,
Saintonge, Perigord, Angoumois, Limousin, Quercy, Rouergue, Agenais, and
Bigorre. The greatest feudatories of these districts, the friendly Count
of Foix as well as the hostile Count of Armagnac, and the Breton
pretender to the viscounty of Limoges, were to do homage to Edward for
all their lands within these bounds. Nor was this all. The county of
Ponthieu, including Montreuil-sur-mer, was restored to its English
lords, and added to the pale of Calais, which was to include the whole
county of Guines, made up two considerable northern dominions for
Edward. With these cessions were included all adjacent islands, and all
islands held by the English king at that time, so that the Channel
islands were by implication recognised as English.

    [1] On the importance of this, see the paper of MM.
    Petit-Dutaillis and P. Collier, _La Diplomatie francaise et le
    Traite de Bretigny_ in _Le Moyen Age_, 2e serie, tome i.
    (1897), pp. 1-35.

The ransom of John was fixed at 3,000,000 gold crowns, that is ~500,000
sterling. The vastness of this sum can be realised by remembering that
the ordinary revenue of the English crown in time of peace did not much
exceed L60,000, while the addition to that of a sum of L150,000
involved an effort which only a popular war could dispose Englishmen to
make. Of this ransom 600,000 crowns were to be paid at once, and the
rest in annual instalments of 400,000 crowns until the whole payment
was effected. During this period the prisoners from Poitiers, several
of the king's near relatives, a long list of the noblest names in
France, and citizens of some of its wealthiest cities, were to remain
as hostages in Edward's hands. As to the Breton succession, Edward and
John engaged to do their best to effect a peaceful settlement. If they
failed in attaining this, the rival claimants were to fight it out
among themselves, England and France remaining neutral. Whichever of
the two became duke was to do homage to the King of France, and John of
Montfort was, in any case, to be restored to his county of Montfort. A
similar care for Edward's friends was shown in the article which
preserved for Philip of Navarre his hereditary domains in Normandy.
Forfeitures and outlawries were to be pardoned, and the rights of
private persons to be respected. Nevertheless Calais was to remain at
Edward's entire disposal, and the burgesses, dispossessed by him, were
not to be reinstated. The French renounced their alliance with the
Scots, and the English theirs with the Flemings. Time was allowed to
carry out these complicated stipulations, and, by way of compensating
Edward for the significant omission which has been mentioned, elaborate
provisions were made for the mutual execution at a later date of
charters of renunciation, by which Edward abandoned his claim to the
French throne and John the over-lordship of the districts yielded to
Edward. These were to be exchanged at Bruges about a year later.

England rejoiced at the conclusion of so brilliant a peace, and laid no
stress on the subtle change in the conditions which made the treaty far
less definitive in reality than in appearance. In France the faithful
flocked to the churches to give thanks for deliverance from the long
anarchy. The perfect courtesy and good feeling which the two kings had
shown to each other gilded the concluding ceremonies with a ray of
chivalry. John was released almost at once, and allowed to retain with
him in France some of the hostages, including his valiant son Philip,
the companion of his captivity. John made Edward's peace with Louis of
Flanders, and Edward persuaded John to pardon Charles and Philip of
Navarre. At last the two weary nations looked forward to a long period
of repose.



It was an easier matter to conclude the treaty of Calais than to carry
it out. Troubles followed the release of the French king and the
expiration of the year during which the two parties were to yield up
the ceded territory and effect the renunciations of their respective
claims. John did his best to keep faith in both these matters. He
ordered his vassals to submit themselves to their new lord, and
appointed commissioners to hand over the lost provinces to the agents
of the English king. In July, 1361, Sir John Chandos, Edward's
lieutenant in France, received the special mission of taking possession
of the new acquisitions in the name of his master. Chandos' reputation
as a soldier made him acceptable to the French, and being recognised by
the treaty as lord of Saint-Sauveur in the Cotentin, he was interested
in maintaining good relations between the two realms. He began his work
by taking possession of Poitiers and Poitou, but found that many of the
descendants of the greedy lords, who, more than a hundred years before,
had played off Henry III against St. Louis, abandoned the rule of John
with undisguised reluctance. It was worse with the towns, where
national sentiment was stronger. La Rochelle held out for months, and,
when its notables at last submitted, they declared: "We will accept the
English with our lips but never with our hearts". Much patriotic
feeling was manifested in Quercy. The consuls of Cahors made their
submission, weeping and groaning. "Alas!" they declared, "how odious it
is to lose our natural lord, and to pass over to a master we know not.
But it is not we who abandon the King of France. It is he who, against
our wishes, hands us over, like orphans, to the hands of the stranger."
It was not until two years after the signing of the treaty that Edward
entered into possession of the bulk of the lands granted to him. Even
then there were districts in Poitou, notably Belleville, which never
became English at all. One of the last districts to yield was Rouergue,
whose count, John of Armagnac, only made his submission under the
compulsion of irresistible necessity.

It was even more difficult to get the English out of the lands which
the treaty had assigned to the French. These districts were largely
held by companies of mercenaries, little under Edward's control and
indisposed to yield up the conquests won by their own hands because
their nominal lord had thought fit to make a treaty with the French
king. Despite the orders of Edward, the English garrisons in the north
and centre of France flatly refused to surrender their strongholds. In
Maine, Hugh Calveley took Bertrand du Guesclin prisoner when he sought
to receive the submission of his castles, and only released him on
payment of a heavy ransom. In Normandy, Du Guesclin had to buy off
James Pipe, who dominated all the central district from the fortified
abbey of Cormeilles, and to crush John Jowel in a pitched battle near
Lisieux. Even when the castles were surrendered, the garrisons joined
with each other to establish societies of warriors that now inflicted
terrible woes on France. The exploits of these free companies hardly
belong to English history, though many of their leaders and a large
proportion of the rank and file were Englishmen. Cruel, fierce, and
uncouth, they still preserved in all military dealings the strict
discipline which had taught the English armies the way to victory. The
combination of the order of a settled host with the rapacity of a gang
of freebooters made them as irresistible as they were destructive.
Though Edward formally repudiated them, it was more than suspected that
they were secretly playing his game.

Before long, this guerilla warfare became consolidated into military
operations on a large scale. Charles of Navarre once more profited by
the disorder of France to bring himself to the front. In 1361 John had
availed himself of the death of Philip of Rouvres to treat the duchy of
Burgundy as a lapsed fief, and conferred it on his youngest son, Philip
the Bold. Charles then claimed to be the heir of Burgundy, and while he
personally directed the forces of disorder in the south, his agents
united with the English _condottieri_ in Normandy. John Jowel still
held tight to his Norman conquests, and was, by Edward's direction,
fighting openly for Charles of Navarre. The Captal de Buch, the hero of
Poitiers, hurried from Gascony to protect the Navarrese lands from the
invasion of Bertrand du Guesclin. On May 16, 1364, the little armies of
the Captal and the Breton partisan met at Cocherel on the Eure, where
Du Guesclin cleverly won the first important victory gained by the
French in the open field during the whole course of the war. The Captal
was taken prisoner, and the establishment of Du Guesclin in some of
Charles of Navarre's Norman fiefs deprived the intriguer of his
opportunities to do mischief in the north. Charles of Navarre's career
was not yet over; but henceforth his chief field was his southern

The victorious Du Guesclin turned his attention to his native Brittany,
where the war of Blois and Montfort still went on, for Joan of
Penthievre insisted so strongly upon her rights that the efforts of
Edward and John to end the contest had been without result. In 1362
John de Montfort was at last entrusted with the government of Brittany,
and Du Guesclin quitted the service of France for that of Charles of
Blois, that the treaty of 1360 might remain unbroken. But as in the
early wars, the army of Blois was mainly French, and the host of
Montfort was commanded by the Englishman, John Chandos, and largely
consisted of English men-at-arms and archers. Calveley, Knowles, and
the Breton Oliver de Clisson were among the captains of Duke John's

The decisive engagement took place on September 29, 1364, on the
plateau, north of Auray, which is still marked by the church of St.
Michael, erected as a thank-offering by the victor. It was another
Poitiers on a small scale. The Anglo-Breton army held a good defensive
position, facing northwards, with its back on the town of Auray. The
troops of Charles of Blois and Du Guesclin advanced to attack them with
more ardour than discipline or skill. Both sides fought on foot. The
French knights had at last learnt to meet the storm of English arrows
by strengthening their armour and by protecting themselves by large
shields. Thus, as at Poitiers, they had little difficulty in making
their way up to the enemy's ranks. But their order was confused, and
they thought of nothing but the fierce delights of the _melee_. The
Montfort party showed more intelligence, and Chandos, like the captal
at Poitiers, fell suddenly upon the flank of one of the enemy's
divisions. This settled the fight; Charles of Blois was slain, Du
Guesclin taken prisoner, and their army utterly scattered. Auray ended
the war of the Breton succession. Even Joan of Penthievre was at last
willing to treat. In 1365 the treaty of Guerande was signed, by which.
Montfort was recognised as John IV. of Brittany, and did homage to the
French crown. Joan was consoled by remaining in possession of the
county of Penthievre and the viscounty of Limoges. Practically her
defeat was an English victory, and Montfort remained in his duchy so
long only as English influence prevailed. A second step towards the
pacification of the north was made when the troubles in Brittany were
ended within a few months of the destruction of the power of Charles
the Bad in Normandy.

The free companies lost their chief hunting-grounds; and a further
relief came when some of them, like the White Company, found a better
market for their swords in Italy. With all their faults, the companies
opened out a career to talent such as had seldom been found before. John
Hawkwood, the leader of the White Company, was an Essex man of the
smaller landed class. He had played but a subordinate figure beside
Knowles, Calveley, Pipe, and Jowel; but in Italy he won for himself the
name of the greatest strategist of his age. Thus, though at the cost of
murder and pillage, the English made themselves talked about all over
the western world. "In my youth," wrote Petrarch, "the Britons, whom we
call Angles or English, had the reputation of being the most timid of
the barbarians. Now they are the most warlike of peoples. They have
overturned the ancient military glory of the French by a series of
victories so numerous and unexpected that those, who were not long since
inferior to the wretched Scots, have so crushed by fire and sword the
whole realm that, on a recent journey, I could hardly persuade myself
that it was the France that I had seen in former years."[1]

    [1] _Epistolae Familiares_, iii., Ep. 14, p. 162, ed.

It was to little purpose that King John laboured to redeem his plighted
word and make France what it had been before the war. Though in
November, 1361, neither he nor Edward sent commissioners to Bruges,
where, according to the treaty of Calais, the charters of renunciation
were to be exchanged, John offered in 1362 to carry out his promise.
Edward, however, for reasons of his own, made no response to his
advances. The result was that the renunciations were never made, and so
the essential condition of the original settlement remained
unfulfilled. The matter passed almost unnoticed at the time as a mere
formality, but in later years Edward's lack of faith brought its own
punishment in giving the French king a plausible excuse for still
claiming suzerainty over the ceded provinces. Perhaps Edward still
cherished the ambition of resuscitating his pretensions to the French
crown. He found it as hard to give up a claim as ever his grandfather
had done.

John's good faith was conspicuously evinced by the efforts he made to
raise the instalments of his ransom. His payments were in arrears: some
of the hostages left in free custody by Edward's generosity broke their
parole and escaped; and among them was his own son, Louis, Duke of
Anjou. The father felt it his duty to step into the place thus left
vacant. In 1363 he returned to his English prison, where he died in
1364, surrounded with every courtesy and attention that Edward could
lavish upon him. During the last months of his life, England received
visits from two other kings, David of Scotland and the Lusignan lord of
Cyprus, who still called himself King of Jerusalem, and was wandering
through the courts of Europe to stir up interest in the projected

Charles of Normandy then became Charles V. He was no knight-errant like
his father, and his diplomatic gifts, tact, and patience made him much
better fitted than John for outwitting his English enemies and for
restoring order to France. Slowly but surely he grappled with the
companies, and at last an opening was found for their skill in the
civil war which broke out in Castile. Peter the Cruel, since 1350 King
of Castile, had made himself odious to many of his subjects. At last
his bastard brother, Henry of Trastamara, rose in revolt against him.
Peter, however, was capable and energetic, and not without support from
certain sections of the Castilians. Moreover, he was friendly with
Charles of Navarre, and allied with Edward III. On the other hand Henry
found powerful backing from the King of Aragon, and made an appeal to
the King of France. This gave Charles V. the chance he wanted. He hated
Peter, who was reputed to have murdered his own wife, Blanche of
Bourbon sister of the Queen of France, and in 1365 he agreed to give
Henry assistance. Du Guesclin welded the scattered companies into an
army and led them against the Spanish king. The pope fell in with the
scheme as an indirect way of realising his crusading ambition. When
Henry had become King of Castile, the companies would go on to attack
the Moors of Granada. English and French mercenaries flocked gladly
together under Du Guesclin's banner. Edward in vain ordered his
subjects not to take part in an invasion of the lands of his friend and
cousin, Peter of Castile. Though Chandos declined at the last moment to
follow Du Guesclin into the peninsula, Sir Hugh Calveley would not
desist from the quest of fresh adventure, even at the orders of his
lord. Professional and knightly feeling bound Calveley to Du Guesclin
more closely than their difference of nationality separated them, so
that Calveley took his part in the Castilian campaign with perfect
loyally to his ancient enemy. In December, 1365, Du Guesclin and his
followers made their way through Roussillon and Aragon into Castile.
The spring of 1366 saw Peter a fugitive in Aquitaine, and Henry of
Trastamara crowned Henry II. of Castile. Most of the companies then
went home, though Du Guesclin and Calveley remained to support the new
king's throne.

The deposed tyrant went to Bordeaux, where since 1363 the Black Prince
had been resident as Prince of Aquitaine; for in 1362 Edward had erected
his new possessions into a principality and conferred it on his eldest
son, in the hope of conciliating the Gascons by some pretence of
restoring their independence. At Bordeaux Peter persuaded the prince to
restore him to his throne by force. Edward also agreed to support Peter,
and sent his third son, John of Gaunt, to march through Brittany and
Poitou with a powerful English reinforcement to his brother's resources,
while the lord of Aquitaine assembled the whole, strength of his new
principality for the expedition. At the bidding of his lord, Calveley
cheerfully abandoned Du Guesclin, and thenceforth fought as courageously
on the one side as he had previously done on the other. Charles of
Navarre professed great desire to help forward the invaders, and his
offers of friendship opened up to the prince the easiest way into Spain
by way of the pass of Roncesvalles from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to
Pamplona, the capital of Navarre. In February, 1367, the prince's army
made its way in frost and snow through the valleys famous in romance.
From Pamplona two roads diverged to Burgos, the ancient Castilian
capital. The easier way ran south-westwards through Navarrese territory
to the Ebro at Logrono, where beyond the river lay the Castilian
frontier. The more difficult route went westwards through rugged
mountains and high valleys by way of Salvatierra and Vitoria to a
passage over the upper Ebro at Miranda. The Black Prince chose the
latter route, and reached Vitoria in safely. Beyond the town King
Henry's army held a position so strong that Edward found it impossible
to dislodge him.

The winter weather still held the upland valleys in its grip when March
was far advanced. Men and horses suffered terribly from cold and
hunger, and the prince, seeing that he could not long maintain his
position, boldly resolved to transfer himself to the southern route. A
flank march over snow-clad sierras brought him to the vale of the Ebro,
and, crossing the stream at Logrono, he took up his position a few
miles south-west of that town, near the Castilian village of Navarrete.
On the prince's change of front King Henry also moved southward,
crossing the Ebro a few miles above Logrono, and then advanced to
Najera, a village about six miles west of Navarrete, where he once more
blocked the English path. The prince, however, had the advantage of
position and could afford to wait until the Castilians attacked. On
April 3 Henry advanced over the little river Najarilla against the
enemy. The Spanish host fought after a different fashion from that
practised by both sides in the French wars. Only Du Guesclin and the
small remnant of the companies which still abode in Spain dismounted.
The mass of the Castilians remained on their horses. Their cavalry was
of two sorts: besides a large number of men-at-arms bestriding armoured
steeds, there were swarms of light horsemen, unencumbered by heavy
armour and called _genitours_, from being mounted on the fleet Spanish
steeds called jennets. The desperate valour of Du Guesclin and his
followers could not prevent utter disaster. Henry fled in panic from
the scene; Du Guesclin was again a prisoner, and the Najarilla was
reddened by the blood of the thousands of fugitive Spaniards, for,
caught as in a trap at the narrow bridge which offered the _sole_ means
of retreat, they were massacred without difficulty by the prince's
troops. The victors marched on to Burgos, and, Don Henry having fled to
France, Peter was restored with little further trouble to the Castilian

The Black Prince remained in Castile all through the summer, waiting
for the rewards which Don Peter had promised him. His army melted away
through fever and dysentery, and the prince himself contracted the
beginnings of a mortal disorder. Thus the crowning victory of his
career was the last of his triumphs. Like many other leaders of
chivalry, he had not understood the limitations of his resources, and
had dissipated on this bootless Spanish campaign means scarcely
sufficient to grapple with the spirit of disaffection already
undermining his power in Aquitaine. With shattered health and the mere
skeleton of his gallant army, he made his way back over the Pyrenees.
Henceforth misfortune dogged every step of his career.

Since 1363 the constant residence of the Black Prince and his wife, Joan
of Kent, in Gascony, had been broken only by his Castilian expedition.
It was a wise policy to send the prince to hold a permanent court in
Aquitaine, such as the land had never seen since Richard Coeur de Lion.
All that affability, magnificence, and chivalry could do to make his
domination attractive might be confidently anticipated from so brilliant
and high-minded a knight as the prince of Aquitaine. The court of
Bordeaux was as brilliant as the court of Windsor. "Never," boasted the
Chandos Herald,[1] "was such good entertainment as his; for every day at
his table he had more than four-score knights and four times as many
squires. There was found all nobleness, merriment, freedom, and honour.
His subjects loved him, for he did them much good." The sulky magnates
of the south-west, such as John of Armagnac and Gaston Phoebus of Foix,
found their bitterness tempered by the prince's courtesy, while the
boastful knights of Gascony looked forward to a career of honourable
service under the descendant of their ancient dukes. Feastings and
tournaments were not enough to win all his subjects' hearts; and the
Black Prince strove with some energy to show that he was a ruler of men
as well as the centre of a court. It is to his credit that he cleared
his inheritance from the free companies, so that Poitou and Limousin
enjoyed far more prosperity and tranquillity than in the days of French
ascendency. Such new taxation as Gascon custom allowed was only levied
after grants from the three estates. Great pains were taken to improve
the administration, the judicial system, and the coinage. Edward saw
that his best policy was to rely upon the people of Gascony, and to look
with suspicion on the great lords. But he did not understand how limited
was the authority which tradition gave to the dukes of Aquitaine, and he
was too stiff, too pedantic, too insular, to get on really cordial terms
with his subjects. He never, like Gaston Phoebus or Richard Coeur de
Lion, threw himself into the local life, language, and traditions of the

    [1] _Le Prince Noir, poeme du heraut d'Armes Chandos_, pp.
    107-108, ed. F. Michel.

The Black Prince's greatest successes were with the towns, and
especially with those which had been continuously subject to English
rule. The citizens of Bordeaux, who had feared lest Edward's claim to
the French crown should involve them in more complete subjection, were
appeased by promises that they should in any case remain subject to the
English monarchy. Their liberties were increased and their wine trade
was fostered, even to the loss of English merchants. The other towns
were equally contented. Edward relied upon them as a counterpoise to
the feudal lords, and their liberties exempted them from the
extraordinary taxes by which he strove to restore the equilibrium of
his finances. The half-independent magnates were soon convinced that
their chivalrous lord was no friend of aristocratic privilege. Edward,
even when using their services in war, carefully excluded them from the
administration. They saw with disgust the chief offices monopolised by
Englishmen. An English bishop, John Harewell of Bath, was Edward's
chancellor and confidential adviser. An English knight, Thomas Felton,
was seneschal of Aquitaine and head of the administration. The
constableship was assigned to Chandos. The seneschalships of the
several provinces were mainly in English hands. With English notions of
the rights of the supreme power, the prince paid little attention to
the franchises of either lord or prelate. He mortally offended John of
Armagnac by requiring a direct oath of fealty from the Bishop of Rodez,
who held all his lands of Armagnac as Count of Rouergue. Clerks of
lesser degree were outraged by the prince's attempts to hinder students
from attending the university of Toulouse.

The Spanish expedition immensely increased the Black Prince's
difficulties. He exhausted his finances to equip his army, and both on
their coming and going his soldiers cruelly pillaged the country.
Edward now dismissed most of his troops and urged them to betake
themselves to France. In January, 1368, he obtained from the estates of
Aquitaine a new hearth tax of ten _sous_ a hearth for five years. The
tax was freely voted and collected from the great majority of the
payers without trouble. The towns were mainly exempt from it by reason
of their liberties; and the lesser lords were as yet not averse from
English rule. But the greater feudatories saw in the new hearth-tax a
pretext for revolt. They had no special zeal for the French monarchy,
but the house of Valois was weak and far removed from their
territories. Their great concern was the preservation of their
independence, which seemed more threatened by a resident prince than by
a distant overlord at Paris. Even before the imposition of the
hearth-tax, the Count of Armagnac entered into a secret treaty with
Charles V., who promised to increase his territories and respect his
franchises, if he would return to the French allegiance. The lord of
Albret married a sister of the French queen and followed Armagnac's
lead. A little later the Counts of Perigord and Comminges and other
lords associated themselves with this policy. Thus the rule of the
Black Prince in Aquitaine, acquiesced in by the mass of the people, was
threatened by a feudal revolt. Armagnac appealed to the parliament of
Paris against the hearth-tax. Charles V. accepted the appeal on the
ground of the non-exchange of the renunciations which should have
followed the treaty of Calais. Cited before the parliament in January,
1369, the Black Prince replied that he would go to Paris with helmet on
head and with sixty thousand men at his back. His father once more
assumed the title of King of France, and war broke out again.

The relative positions of France and England were different from what
they had been nine years before. Edward III. was sinking into an
unhonoured old age, and the Prince of Aquitaine suffered from dropsy,
and was incapable of taking the field. Of their former comrades some,
like Walter Manny, were dead, and others too old for much more
fighting. On the other side was Charles V., who had tamed Navarre and
the feudal lords, had cleared the realm of the companies, had put down
faction and disorder, and had made himself the head of a strong
national party, resolved to effect the expulsion of the foreigner. His
chief military counsellors were Du Guesclin, and Du Guesclin's old
adversary in the Breton wars, Oliver de Clisson, now the zealous
servant of the king. A wonderful outburst of French patriotism
facilitated the reconquest of the lands that had passed to English rule
nine years before. Even the tradition of military superiority availed
little against commanders who were learning by their defeats how to
meet their once invincible enemies.

There was a like modification in the foreign alliances of the two
kingdoms. Dynastic changes in the Netherlands had robbed Edward of
supporters who, though costly and ineffective, had been imposing in
outward appearance. Even after the dissolution of the alliances of the
early years of the war, the temporising policy of Louis de Male at
least neutralised the influence of Flanders. During the peace both
Edward and Charles did their best to win the goodwill of the Flemish
count. Louis' relation to the two rivals was the more important since
his only child was a daughter named Margaret. In 1356, this lady, to
Edward's great disgust, was promised in marriage to Philip de Rouvre,
Duke and Count of Burgundy, and Count of Artois. The death of Philip in
1361 saved Edward from the danger of a great state with one arm in the
Burgundies and the other in Flanders and Artois; and the irritation of
Louis de Male at Charles V.'s grant of the Burgundian duchy to his
youngest son, Philip the Bold, gave the English king a new chance of
winning his favour. At last, in 1364, Edward concluded a treaty with
Flanders according to his dearest wishes. Edmund of Langley, Earl of
Cambridge, his youngest son, was betrothed to the widowed Margaret,
with Ponthieu, Guines, and Calais as their appanage. Great as were
Edward's sacrifices, they were worth making if a permanent union could
be established between England and Flanders, equally threatening to
France and to the lords of the Netherlands. Charles persuaded Urban V.
to refuse the necessary dispensations for the marriage. Edward and
Louis, irritated at the success of this countermove, waited patiently
and renewed their alliance.

No sooner was his understanding with Armagnac completed than Charles
strove to secure the support of northern as well as of southern
feudalism against Edward. He offered his brother, Philip of Burgundy,
to Margaret, along with the restoration of the districts of French
Flanders, which he still held. In June, 1369, the marriage took place.
Edmund of Cambridge lost his last chance of the great heiress, and
Charles V. bought off the enmity of the Count of Flanders at the price
of that union of Burgundy and Flanders which, in the next century, was
to make the descendants of Philip and Margaret the most formidable
opponents of the French monarchy. For the moment, however, Charles
gained little. Flemish ships, indeed, fought against the English at
sea, notably in Bourgneuf Bay in 1371, but next year Louis made peace
with them. Despite his daughter's marriage, the Count of Flanders still
showed that his sympathies were with England. The other princes of the
Netherlands were much more decidedly on the French side than the Count
of Flanders. Margaret of Hainault, Queen Philippa's sister, had, after
the death of her husband the Emperor Louis of Bavaria, in 1347 fought
with her son William for the possession of her three counties of
Hainault, Holland, and Zealand, to which Philippa also had pretensions,
naturally upheld by her husband. William obtained such advantages over
his mother that Margaret was obliged to invoke the assistance of her
brother-in-law. Eager to regain his influence in the Netherlands,
Edward willingly agreed to be arbiter between Margaret and her son, and
at his suggestion the disputed lands were divided between them. William
was married to Maud of Lancaster, Duke Henry's elder daughter, and thus
secured to the English alliance. On Margaret's death William inherited
all the three counties: but Maud died, and William became insane,
whereupon his brother and heir invoked the support of the Emperor
Charles IV., and was duly established in his fiefs. The claims of
Philippa were ignored, and the Lancaster marriage with the lord of
Holland, like the projected union of Edmund with the heiress of
Flanders, failed to fulfil Edward's hopes.

Meanwhile Edward had to face the constant hostility of the emperor.
Wenceslaus of Luxemburg, brother of Charles IV., had married the
daughter and heiress of John III of Brabant, with the result of solidly
establishing the house of Luxemburg in the strongest of the duchies of
the Low Countries. With the Luxemburger as with the Bavarian, Edward's
relations were unfriendly. Two only of the Low German lords, the dukes
of Gelderland and Juelich, were willing to take his pay. Early in the
war they were assailed by the Luxemburgers, and the contest occupied
all their energies. Thus Edward re-entered the struggle against France
with no help save that of his own subjects. Urban V. died at Avignon in
1370, and his successor, Gregory XI., was as little friendly to English
claims in France as his predecessors had been. Pope, emperor, and the
Netherlandish princes, were all either French or neutral. And in 1369
Peter of Castile lost his throne, and soon afterwards perished at his
brother's hands. Henry of Trastamara, henceforth King of Castile,
became the firm ally of the French, who had already the support of
Aragon. Even Charles the Bad thought it prudent to declare for France.

At each stage of the war the French took the initiative. The appeal of
the southern nobles was the beginning of a national movement which,
before March, 1369, was supported by more than 900 towns, castles, and
fortified places in Edward's allegiance. In April the French invaded
Ponthieu and were welcomed as deliverers at Abbeville and the other
towns of the county. John of Gaunt led an army during the summer from
Calais southwards. He marched through Ponthieu, crossed the Somme at
Blanchetaque, and ravaged the country up to the Seine. Then he retired
exhausted, having gained no real advantage by this mere foray. Charles
announced that, as Edward had supported the free companies, he fell
under the excommunication threatened by the pope against the abettors
of these pests of society, and that the vassals of the English crown
were therefore relieved from allegiance to him. Soon afterwards he
declared that Edward had forfeited all his possessions in France.

Quercy and Rouergue, which had submitted last, were the first districts
of Aquitaine to revolt. Cahors declared for France as soon as the Black
Prince was cited to Paris. By the end of 1369 all Quercy had
acknowledged Charles V., and John of Armagnac ruled Rouergue as his
vassal. It was the same in the Garonne valley, where towns which had no
quarrel with English rule, were swept away by the strong tide of
national feeling that surged round their walls. A systematic attack was
made upon the English power in Aquitaine. Charles V. fitted out new
armies in which the townsmen and the country-folk fought side by side
with the nobility. Two of his brothers, John, Duke of Berri, and Louis,
Duke of Anjou, prepared to assail the intruders, Berri in the central
uplands, Anjou in the Garonne valley. It was not enough to recover what
was lost. Aggression must be met by aggression, and the Duke of
Burgundy, Charles' third brother, equipped a fleet in Norman ports,
either to invade England or at least to cut off the Black Prince from
his base. Portsmouth was burnt, before England had made any effort to
defend her shores.

The English were strangely inactive. The Black Prince lay sick at
Cognac, and of his subordinates Chandos, now seneschal of Poitou, alone
showed vigour. Chandos, finding the lords of Poitou much more loyal to
the English connexion than those of the south, was able to take the
aggressive by invading Anjou. He was, however, soon recalled to protect
Poitou, and on January 1, 1370, was mortally wounded at the bridge of
Lussac. James Audley had already died of disease in another Poitevin
town. While England was losing her best soldiers, Du Guesclin began a
fresh series of raids in the Garonne valley. Soon the banner of the
lilies waved within a few leagues of Bordeaux, and ancient towns of the
English obedience, like Bazas and Bergerac, fell into the enemy's
hands. With the capture of Perigueux, the Limousin was isolated from
Gascon succour. In August the Duke of Berri appeared before the walls
of the _cite,_ or episcopal quarter, of Limoges, and the bishop
promptly handed it over to him.

Disasters at last stirred up the English to action. In 1370 John of
Gaunt was sent with one army to Gascony and Sir Robert Knowles with
another to Calais. The Black Prince, though unable to ride, was eager
to command. It was arranged that while Lancaster led one force from
Bordeaux to Limoges, Edward should accompany another that marched from
Cognac towards the same destination. To resist this combination Du
Guesclin strove to combine the separate armies of the Dukes of Anjou
and Berri. However, he failed to prevent the junction of Lancaster and
Edward, and their advance to Limoges. On September 19, the anniversary
of Poitiers, the city of Limoges opened its gates after a five days'
siege. The English took a terrible revenge. Not a house in the _cite_
was spared, and the cathedral rose over a mass of ruins. The whole
population was put to the sword, the Black Prince in his litter
watching grimly the execution of his orders. A few gentlemen alone were
saved for the sake of their ransoms. Among them was the brother of Pope
Gregory XI., who not unnaturally became a warm friend of the patriotic
party. The sack of Limoges was the last exploit of the Black Prince.
Early in 1371, he returned to England, partly because of his state of
health, and partly because he had no money to pay his soldiers. It is
not unlikely that he was already on bad terms with John of Gaunt, who
had necessarily taken the chief share in the campaign and was nominated
his successor. Too late, efforts were made to conciliate the Gascons;
in 1370 a supreme court was set up at Saintes to save the necessity of
appeals to London which had become as onerous as the ancient frequency
of resort to the parliament of Paris; and the hearth-tax, the
ostensible cause of the rising, was formally renounced.

Sir Robert Knowles's expedition of 1370 was as futile as that of
Lancaster. He advanced from Calais into the heart of northern France.
Taught by long experience the danger of joining battle, the French
allowed him to wander where he would, plundering and ravaging the
country. Roughly following the line of march of Edward III. in 1360,
the English advanced through Artois and Vermandois to Laon and Reims,
and thence southwards through Champagne. Then striking northwards from
the Burgundian border, they appeared, at the end of September, before
the southern suburbs of Paris. To dissipate the alarm felt at the
presence of the English, Du Guesclin was summoned from the south and
made constable of France. Before his arrival Knowles had moved on
westwards 'towards the Beauce, intending to reach his own estates in
Brittany for winter quarters. But his young captains got out of
control. Led by a Gloucestershire knight, Sir John Minsterworth, "ready
in hand but deceitful and perverse in mind," a considerable section of
the troops refused to follow the old "tomb-robber" to Brittany, and
determined to spend the winter where they were, under Minsterworth's
leadership. Knowles would not give place to his subordinate, and made
his way to Brittany with the part of his army which was still faithful
to him. No sooner was he well started than Du Guesclin, after a march
of ninety miles in three days, fell upon his rearguard at Pontvallain
in southern Maine and overwhelmed it on December 4, 1370. Knowles
managed to reach Brittany with the bulk of his forces, and
Minsterworth, the real cause of the disaster, ventured to go to England
and denounce his leader as a traitor. He was forced to flee to France,
where he openly joined the enemy. Seven years later he was captured and

Minsterworth was not the only traitor. In the earlier part of the war,
there had fought on the English side a grand-nephew of the last
independent Prince of Wales, Sir Owen ap Thomas ap Rhodri,[1] whose
grandfather, Rhodri or Roderick, the youngest brother of the princes
Llewelyn and David, had after the ruin of his house lived obscurely as
a small Cheshire and Gloucestershire landlord. In 1365 Owen was in
France, engaged, no doubt, in one of the free companies, and on his
father's death he returned to defend his inheritance from the claims of
the Charltons of Powys. Having succeeded in this, he returned to
France, and nothing more is heard of him until after the renewal of the
war. In 1370 he appeared as a strenuous partisan of the French. Mindful
of his ancestry he posed as the lawful Prince of Wales, and established
communications with his countrymen, both in France and in Wales.
Anxious to stir up discord in Edward's realm, the French king gladly
upheld his claims. A gallant knight and an impulsive, energetic
partisan, Sir Owen of Wales soon won a place of his own in the history
of his time. In Gwynedd he was celebrated as Owain _Lawgoch,_ Owen of
the Red Hand. Conspiracies in his favour were ruthlessly stamped out,
and a halo of legend and poetry soon encircled his name. In France
Charles entrusted him and another Welshman, named John Wynn, with the
equipment of a fleet at Rouen with which the champion was to descend on
the principality and excite arising. Bad weather caused the complete
destruction of the expedition of the Welsh pretender. Two years later,
however, another fleet was fitted out on his behalf, and in June, 1372,
Owen took possession of Guernsey.

    [1] The place of Owen of Wales in history was for the first
    time clearly shown by Mr. Edward Owen in _Y Cymmrodor,_
    1899-1900, pp. 1-105.

At that time the fortune of war was strongly in favour of France,
though the initial successes of Charles V. were damped by the doubtful
results of the petty struggles which filled the year 1371. During that
year Du Guesclin, the soul of the French attack, ejected the English
from many places in Normandy and Poitou. On the other hand, the English
won the hard fought battle over a Flemish fleet in Bourgneuf Bay, which
has already been mentioned. They also showed some power of recovery in
Aquitaine, where their recapture of Figeac in upper Quercy gave them a
base for renewing their attacks on Rouergue. On the whole then, the
year left matters much as they had been.

The occupation of Guernsey by Owen of Wales was the beginning of a new
series of French victories. Up to that time the northern coastlands of
Aquitaine, lower Poitou, Saintonge, and Angoumois had remained almost
entirely under their English lords. In the hope of resisting attack,
the English projected the invasion of France both from Calais and from
Guienne. To carry out the latter plan John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke,
was despatched with a fleet and army from England, with a commission to
succeed John of Gaunt as the king's lieutenant in Aquitaine. The
Franco-Spanish alliance then began to bear its fruits. Henry of
Trastamara equipped a strong Spanish fleet to meet the invaders in the
Bay of Biscay. On June 23, 1372, the two fleets fought an action off La
Rochelle. The light Spanish galleys out-manoeuvred the heavy English
ships, laden deep in the water with stores and filled with troops and
horses. The Spaniards set on fire some of the English transports, which
became unmanageable owing to the fright of the horses embarked upon
them. The English fought valiantly, and night fell before the battle
was decided. Next day, the Spaniards attacked again, and won a complete
victory. The English fleet was destroyed, and Pembroke was taken a
prisoner to Santander.

The news of Pembroke's defeat encouraged the French to attempt the
conquest of Poitou. Du Guesclin invaded the county from the north in
co-operation with the Spaniards at sea, Owen of Wales abandoned the
siege of Cornet castle, in Guernsey, which still held out against him,
and hurried to join the Spaniards. At Santander he met the captive
Pembroke, and bitterly reproached the marcher earl with the part his
house had taken in driving the Welsh from their lands. In August Owen
and the Spaniards were lying off La Rochelle. Sir Thomas Percy,
seneschal of Poitou, and the Captal de Buch were with a considerable
force at Soubise, near the mouth of the Charente. Owen ascended the
river and fell unexpectedly on the English at night. The English were
utterly defeated and both leaders were taken prisoners, Thomas Percy,
the future ally of Owen Glendower, being captured by one of Sir Owen's
Welsh followers. Meanwhile, Du Guesclin, after receiving the surrender
of Poitiers on August 7, pressed forward to the coast and was soon in
touch with Owen and the Spaniards. On the same September day Angouleme
and La Rochelle opened their gates to the French. In the course of the
same month all the other towns of the district declared for the winning
side. The nobles of Poitou were still to some extent English in
sympathy, and a considerable band of them and their followers took
refuge in Thouars. On December 1 this last stronghold of Poitevin
feudalism surrendered. The tidings of disaster roused the old English
king to his final martial effort. A fleet was raised and sailed from
Sandwich, having on board the king, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of
Lancaster, and many other magnates. Contrary winds kept the vessels
near the English coast, and the vast sums lavished on the equipment of
the expedition were wasted. In despair the Black Prince surrendered to
his father his principality of Aquitaine. When the king begged the
commons for a further war subsidy, he was told that the navy had been
ruined by his harsh impressment of seamen, and his refusal to give them
pay when detained in port waiting for orders. When the command of the
sea passed to the French and their Spanish allies, all hope of
retaining Aquitaine was lost.

The final stages in the ruin of the English power in France need not
detain us long. Despite his successes, Du Guesclin persevered in his
policy of wearing down the English by delays and by avoiding pitched
battles. He turned his attention to Brittany, where Duke John, in
difficulties with his subjects, had invoked the aid of an English army.
Thereupon the Breton barons called the French king to take possession
of the duchy, whose lord was betraying it to the foreigner. The old
party struggle was at an end: Celtic Brittany joined hands with French
Brittany. Before the end of 1373, Duke John was a fugitive, and only a
few castles with English garrisons upheld his cause. Of these Brest was
the most important, and despite the Spaniards and Owen of Wales, the
English were still strong enough at sea to retain possession of the

In July, 1373, John of Gaunt marched out of Calais with one of the
strongest armies with which an English invader had ever entered France.
Pursuing a general south-easterly direction, the English pitilessly
devastated Artois, Picardy, and Champagne. Du Guesclin hastened back
from Brittany to command the army engaged in watching Lancaster. He
still continued his defensive tactics, but gave the enemy little rest.
Lancaster was no match for so able a general as the Breton constable.
At the end of September he moved from Troyes to Sens, and thence pushed
into Burgundy. Then he turned westwards through the Nivernais and the
Bourbonnais, and led his army through the uplands of Auvergne. By the
end of the year he had traversed the Limousin, and made his way to
Bordeaux. Half his army had perished of hunger, cold, and in petty
warfare. The horses had suffered worse than the men, and the baggage
train was almost destroyed. Without fighting a battle Du Guesclin had
put the enemy out of action. Experience now showed how useless were the
prolonged plundering raids which ten years before had filled all France
with terror.

Even in Gascony Lancaster could not hold his own. After declining
battle with the Duke of Anjou, he returned to England, leaving Sir
Thomas Felton as seneschal. The enemy had penetrated to the very heart
of the old English district. La Reole opened its gates to them;
Saint-Sever, the seat of the Gascon high court, followed its example,
By 1374 the English duchy was reduced to the coast lands around Bayonne
and Bordeaux. That year the French laid siege to Chandos's castle of
Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte. The siege was as long and as elaborately
organised as the great siege of Calais. A ring of _bastilles_ was
erected round the doomed town, and cannon discharged huge balls of
stone against its ramparts. After nearly a year's siege the garrison
agreed to surrender on condition of a heavy payment. With the fall of
the old home of the Harcourts the English power in Normandy perished.
There was still, it is true, the influence of Charles of Navarre; but
that desperate intriguer had compromised himself so much with both
parties that no confidence could be placed in him.

The misfortunes of the English inclined them to listen to proposals of
peace. Though the papacy was more frankly on the French side than ever,
it had not lost its ancient solicitude to put an end to the war. With
that object Gregory XI, though eager to return to Rome, tarried in the
Rhone valley. Two of his legates appeared in Champagne at the time of
John of Gaunt's abortive expedition. From that moment offers of peace
were constantly pressed on both sides. Lancaster was at Calais, and
Anjou was not far off at Saint-Omer, when definite proposals were
exchanged. Before long it was found more convenient that the envoys
should meet face to face, and for this reason the two dukes accepted
the hospitality of Louis de Male, and held personal interviews at
Bruges. More than once the negotiations broke down altogether. At no
time was there much hope of a permanent peace. The English insisted on
the terms of 1360, and the French demanded the cession of Calais and
the release of the unpaid ransom of King John. However, on June 27,
1375, a truce for a year was signed at Bruges, which was further
extended until June, 1377, just long enough to allow the old king to
end his days in peace. France had once more to wrestle with the
companies set free by the truce, so that England could still enjoy
possession of Calais, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Brest, and the other scanty
remnants of the cessions of the treaty of Calais. Satisfied at putting
an end to the war, Gregory XI betook himself to Rome. Thus the truce
outlasted the Babylonish captivity of the papacy as well as the life of
Edward III.



Never was Edward's glory so high as in the years immediately succeeding
the treaty of Calais. The unspeakable misery of France heightened his
magnificence by the strength of the contrast. At eight-and-forty he
retained the vigour and energy of his younger days, though surrounded
by a band of grown-up sons. In 1362 the king celebrated his jubilee, or
his fiftieth birthday, amidst feasts of unexampled splendour. Not less
magnificent were the festivities that attended the visits of the three
kings, of France, Cyprus, and Scotland, in 1364.

Of the glories of these years we have detailed accounts from an
eye-witness a writer competent, above all other men of his time, to set
down in courtly and happy phrase the wonders that delighted his eyes.
In 1361, John Froissart, an adventurous young clerk from Valenciennes,
sought out a career for himself in the household of his countrywoman,
Queen Philippa, bearing with him as his credentials a draft of a verse
chronicle which was his first attempt at historical composition. He
came to England at the right moment. The older generation of historians
had laid down their pens towards the conclusion of the great war, and
had left no worthy successors. The new-comer was soon to surpass them,
not in precision and sobriety, but in wealth of detail, in literary
charm, and in genial appreciation of the externals of his age. He
recorded with an eye-witness's precision of colour, though with utter
indifference to exactness, the tournaments and fetes, the banquets and
the _largesses_ of the noble lords and ladies of the most brilliant
court in Christendom. He celebrated the courtesy of the knightly class,
their devotion to their word of honour, the liberality with which
captive foreigners was allowed to share in their sports and pleasures,
and the implicit loyalty with which nearly all the many captive knights
repaid the trust placed on their word. To him Edward was the most
glorious of kings, and Philippa, his patroness, the most beautiful,
liberal, pious, and charitable of queens. For nine years he enjoyed the
queen's bounty, and described with loyal partiality the exploits of
English knights. With the death of his patroness and the beginning of
England's misfortunes, the light-minded adventurer sought another
master in the French-loving Wenceslaus of Brabant. The first edition of
his chronicle, compiled when under the spell of the English court,
contrasts strongly with the second version written at Brussels at the
instigation of the Luxemburg duke of Brabant.

Even Froissart saw that all was not well in England. The common people
seemed to him proud, cruel, disloyal, and suspicious. Their delight was
in battle and slaughter, and they hated the foreigner with a fierce
hatred which had no counterpart in the cosmopolitan knightly class.
They were the terror of their lords and delighted in keeping their
kings under restraint. The Londoners were the most mighty of the
English and could do more than all the rest of England. Other writers
tell the same tale. The same fierce patriotism that Froissart notes
glows through the rude battle songs in which Lawrence Minot sang the
early victories of Edward from Halidon Hill to the taking of Guines,
and inspired Geoffrey le Baker to repeat with absolute confidence every
malicious story which gossip told to the discredit of the French king
and his people. It was under the influence of this spirit that the
steps were taken, which we have already recorded, to extend the use of
English, notably in the law courts. Yet the old bilingual habit clave
long to the English. Despite the statute of 1362, the lawyers continued
to employ the French tongue, until it crystallised into the jargon of
the later _Year Books_ or of Littleton's _Tenures_. Under Edward III,
however, French remained the living speech of many Englishmen. John
Gower wrote in French the earliest of his long poems. But he is a
thorough Englishman for all that. He writes in French, but, as he says,
he writes for England.[1]

    [1] "O gentile Engleterre, a toi j'escrits," _Mirour de
    l'Omme,_ in John Gower's _Works,_ i., 378, ed. G.C. MaCaulay,
    to whom belongs the credit of recovering this long lost work.

It was characteristic of the patriotic movement of the reign of Edward
III, that a new courtly literature in the English language rivalled the
French vernacular literature which as yet had by no means ceased to
produce fruit. The new type begins with the anonymous poems, "Sir
Gawain and the Green Knight," and the "Pearl". While Froissart was the
chief literary figure at the English court during the ten years after
the treaty of Calais, his place was occupied in the concluding decade
of the reign by Geoffrey Chaucer, the first great poet of the English
literary revival. The son of a substantial London vintner, Chaucer
spent his youth as a page in the household of Lionel of Antwerp, from
which he was transferred to the service of Edward himself. He took part
in more than one of Edward's French campaigns, and served in diplomatic
missions to Italy, Flanders, and elsewhere. His early poems reflect the
modes and metres of the current French tradition in an English dress,
and only reach sustained importance in his lament on the death of the
Duchess Blanche of Lancaster, written about 1370. It is significant
that the favourite poet of the king's declining years was no clerk but
a layman, and that the Tuscan mission of 1373, which perhaps first
introduced him to the treasures of Italian poetry, was undertaken in
the king's service. Thorough Englishman as Chaucer was, he had his eyes
open to every movement of European culture. His higher and later style
begins with his study of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Though he
wrote for Englishmen in their own tongue, his fame was celebrated by
the French poet, Eustace Deschamps, as the "great translator" who had
sown the flowers of French poesy in the realm of Aeneas and Brut the
Trojan. His broad geniality stood in strong contrast to the savage
patriotism of Minot. In becoming national, English vernacular art did
not become insular. Chaucer wrote in the tongue of the southern
midlands, the region wherein were situated his native London, the two
universities, the habitual residences of the court, the chief seats of
parliaments and councils, and the most frequented marts of commerce.
For the first time a standard English language came into being, largely
displacing for literary purposes the local dialects which had hitherto
been the natural vehicles of writing in their respective districts. The
Yorkshireman, Wycliffe, the westcountryman, Langland, adopted before
the end of the reign the tongue of the capital for their literary
language in preference to the speech of their native shires. The
language of the extreme south, the descendant of the tongue of the West
Saxon court, became the dialect of peasants and artisans. That a
continuous life was reserved for the idiom of the north country, was
due to its becoming the speech of a free Scotland, the language in
which Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, commemorated for the court of
the first Stewart king the exploits of Robert Bruce and the Scottish
war of independence. The unity of England thus found another notable
expression in the oneness of the popular speech. And the evolution of
the northern dialect into the "Scottish" of a separate kingdom showed
that, if England were united, English-speaking Britain remained

Other arts indicate the same tendency. Even in the thirteenth century
English Gothic architecture differentiated itself pretty completely from
its models in the Isle de France. The early fourteenth century, the age
of the so-called "decorated style," suggests in some ways a falling back
to the French types, though the prosperity of England and the desolation
of France make the English examples of fourteenth century building the
more numerous and splendid. The occasional tendency of the later
"flowing" decorated towards "flamboyant" forms, to be seen in some of
the churches of Northamptonshire, marks the culminating point of this
fresh approximation of French and English architecture. But the division
between the two countries brought about by war was illustrated before
the end of the reign in the growth of the most local of our medieval
architectural types, that "perpendicular" style which is so strikingly
different from the "flamboyant" art of the neighbouring kingdom. This
specially English style begins early in the reign of Edward III, when
the cult of the murdered Edward of Carnarvon gave to the monks of St.
Peter's, Gloucester, the means to recast the massive columns and gloomy
arcades of the eastern portions of their romanesque abbey church after
the lighter and brighter patterns in which Gloucester set the fashion to
all southern Britain. In the buildings of the later years of Edward's
reign the old "flowing decorated" and the newer and stiffer
"perpendicular" grew up side by side. If the two seem almost combined in
the church of Edington, in Wiltshire, the foundation dedicated in 1361
for his native village by Edward's chancellor, Bishop Edington of
Winchester, the triumph of the perpendicular is assured in the new choir
which Archbishop Thoresby began for York Minster, and in the
reconstruction of the Norman cathedral of Winchester begun by Bishop
Edington, and completed when his greater successor, William of Wykeham,
carried out in a more drastic way the device already adopted at
Gloucester of recasing the ancient structure so as to suit modern
tastes. The full triumph of the new style is apparent in Wykeham's twin
foundations at Winchester and Oxford. The separation of feeling between
England and Scotland is now seen in architecture as well as in language.
When the perpendicular fashion was carrying all before it in the
southern realm, the Scottish builders erected their churches after the
flamboyant type of their French allies. Thus while the twelfth and
thirteenth century structures of the northern and southern kingdoms are
practically indistinguishable, the differences between the two nations,
which had arisen from the Edwardian policy of conquest, expressed
themselves ultimately in the striking contrast between the flamboyant of
Melrose or St. Giles' and the perpendicular of Winchester or Windsor.

English patriotism, which had asserted itself in the literature and art
of the people long before it dominated courtly circles, continued to
express itself in more popular forms than even those of the poems of
Chaucer. The older fashions of instructing the people were still in
vogue in the early part of Edward's reign. Richard Rolle, the hermit of
Hampole, whose _Prick_ of _Conscience_ and vernacular paraphrases of
the Bible illustrate the older didactic literature, was carried off in
his Yorkshire cell in the year of the Black Death. The cycles of
miracle plays, which edified and amused the townsfolk of Chester and
York, crystallised into a permanent shape early in this reign, and were
set forth with ever-increasing elaborateness by an age bent on
pageantry and amusement. The vernacular sermons and popular manuals of
devotion increased in numbers and copiousness. In this the time of the
Black Death is, as in other aspects of our story, a deep dividing line.

The note of increasing strain and stress is fully expressed in the
earlier forms of _The Vision of Piers Plowman,_ which were composed
before the death of Edward III. Its author, William Langland, a clerk in
minor orders, debarred by marriage from a clerical career, came from the
Mortimer estates in the march of Wales: but his life was mainly spent in
London, and he wrote in the tongue of the city of his adoption. The
first form of the poem is dated 1362, the year of the second visitation
of the Black Death, while the troubles of the end of the reign perhaps
inspired the fuller edition which saw the light in 1377. It is a
commonplace to contrast the gloomy pictures drawn by Langland with the
highly coloured pictures of contemporary society for which Chaucer was
gathering his materials. Yet this contrast may be pressed too far.
Though Langland had a keen eye to those miseries of the poor which are
always with us, the impression of the time gathered from his writings is
not so much one of material suffering, as of social unrest and
discontent. The poor ploughman, who cannot get meat, still has his
cheese, curds, and cream, his loaf of beans and bran, his leeks and
cabbage, his cow, calf, and cart mare.[1] The very beggar demanded
"bread of clean wheat" and "beer of the best and brownest," while the
landless labourer despised "night-old cabbage," "penny-ale," and bacon,
and asked for fresh meat and fish freshly fried.[2] There is plenty of
rough comfort and coarse enjoyment in the England through which "Long
Will" stalked moodily, idle, hopeless, and in himself exemplifying many
of the evils which he condemned. The England of Langland is bitter,
discontented, and sullen. It is the popular answer to the class
prejudice and reckless greed of the lords and gentry. Langland's own
attitude towards the more comfortable classes is much that of the
self-assertive and mutinous Londoner whom Froissart looked upon with
such bitter prejudice. He boasts that he was loath to do reverence to
lords and ladies, or to those clad in furs with pendants of silver, and
refuses to greet "sergeants" with a "God save you". Every class of
society is flagellated in his scathing criticisms. He is no
revolutionist with a new gospel of reform, but, though content to accept
the old traditions, he is the ruthless denouncer of abuses, and is
thoroughly filled with the spirit which, four years after the second
recension of his book, found expression in the Peasants Revolt of 1381.
With all the archaism of his diction and metre, Langland, even more than
Chaucer, reflects the modernity of his age.

    [1] _Vision of Piers Plowman,_ i.,220, ed. Skeat.

    [2] _Ibid.,_ i., 222.

Even the universities were growing more national, for the war prevented
Oxford students from seeking, after their English graduation, a wider
career at Paris. William of Ockham, the last of the great English
schoolmen that won fame in the European rather than in the English
world, died about 1349 in the service of the Bavarian emperor. In the
same year the plague swept away Thomas Bradwardine, the "profound
doctor," at the moment of his elevation to the throne of Canterbury.
Bradwardine, though a scholar of universal reputation, won his fame at
Oxford without the supplementary course at Paris, and lived all his
career in his native land. As an English university career became more
self-sufficient, Oxford became the school of the politician and the man
of affairs as much as of the pure student. The new tendency is
illustrated by the careers of the brothers Stratford, both Oxford
scholars, yet famous not for their writings but for lives devoted to the
service of the State, though rewarded by the highest offices of the
Church. His conspicuous position as a teacher of scholastic philosophy
first brought John Wycliffe into academic prominence. But he soon won a
wider fame as a preacher in London, an adviser of the court, an opponent
of the "possessioner" monks, and of the forsworn friars, who, deserting
apostolic poverty, vied with the monks in covetousness. His attacks on
practical abuses in the Church marked him out as a politician as well as
a philosopher. His earlier career ended in 1374, the year in which he
first became the king's ambassador, not long after proceeding to the
degree of doctor of divinity.[1] His later struggles must be considered
in the light of the political history of the concluding episodes of
Edward's reign. In a few years we shall find the Oxford champion
abandoning the Latin language of universal culture, and appealing to the
people in homely English. With Wycliffe's entry upon his wider career,
it is hardly too much to say that Oxford ceased to be merely a part of
the cosmopolitan training ground of the schoolmen, and became in some
fashion a national institution. Cambridge, too young and obscure in
earlier ages to have rivalled Oxford, first began to enjoy an increasing

    [1] This was before Dec. 26, 1373. See Twemlow in _Engl. Hist.
    Review_, xv, (1900), 529-530.

Hitherto culture had been not only cosmopolitan but clerical. Every
university student and nearly every professional man was a clerk. But
education was becoming possible for laymen, and there were already lay
professions outside the clerical caste. The wide cultivation and the
vigorous literary output of laymen of letters like Chaucer and Cower
are sufficient evidence of this. But the best proof is the complete
differentiation of the common lawyers from the clergy. The inns of
court of London became virtually a legal university, where highly
trained men studied a juristic system, which was not the less purely
English in spirit because its practitioners used the French tongue as
their technical instrument. There were no longer lawyers in England
who, like Bracton, strove to base the law of the land on the forms and
methods of Roman jurisprudence. There were no longer kings, like Edward
I., with Italian trained civilians at their court ready to translate
the law of England into imperialist forms. The canonist still studied
at Oxford or Cambridge, but his career was increasingly clerical, and
the Church, unlike the State, was unable to nationalise itself, though
the whole career of Wycliffe and the strenuous efforts of the kings and
statesmen who passed the statutes of Provisors and Praemunire, showed
that some of the English clergy, and many of the English laity, were
willing to make the effort. English law, in divorcing itself from the
universities and the clergy, became national as well as lay. There were
no longer any Weylands who concealed their clerical beginnings, and hid
away the subdeacon under the married knight and justice, the founder of
a landowning family. The lawyers of Edward's reign were frankly laymen,
marrying and giving in marriage, establishing new families that became
as noble as any of the decaying baronial houses, and yet cherishing a
corporate ideal and common spirit as lively and real as those of any
monastery or clerical association.

In enumerating the many convergent tendencies which worked together in
strengthening the national life, we must not forget the growing
importance of commerce. Merchant princes like the Poles could rival the
financial operations of Lombard or Tuscan, and climb into the baronial
class. The proud and mutinous temper of the Londoners was largely due
to their ever-increasing wealth. We are on the threshold of the careers
of commercial magnates, like the Philpots and the Whittingtons. Even
when Edward III. was still on the throne, a London mayor of no special
note, John Pyel, could set up in his native Northamptonshire village of
Irthlingborough a college and church of remarkable stateliness and
dignity. The growth of the wool trade, and its gradual transfer to
English hands, the development of the staple system, the rise of an
English seaman class that knew all the havens of Europe, the beginnings
of the English cloth manufacture, all indicate that English commerce
was not only becoming more extensive, but was gradually emancipating
itself from dependence on the foreigner. Thus before the end of
Edward's reign England was an intensely national state, proudly
conscious of itself, and haughtily contemptuous of the foreigner, with
its own language, literature, style in art, law, universities, and even
the beginnings of a movement towards the nationalisation of the Church.
The cosmopolitanism of the earlier Middle Ages was everywhere on the
wane. A modern nation had arisen out of the old world-state and
world-spirit. In the England of Edward III., Chaucer, and Wycliffe, we
have reached the consummation of the movement whose first beginnings we
have traced in the early storms of the reign of Henry III. It is in the
development of this tendency that the period from 1216 to 1377
possesses such unity as it has.

During the years of peace after the treaty of Calais, Edward III.
completed the scheme for the establishment of his family begun with the
grant of Aquitaine to the Black Prince. The state of the king's
finances made it impossible for him to provide for numerous sons and
daughters from the royal exchequer, and the system of appanages had
seldom been popular or successful in England. Edward found an easier
way of endowing his offspring by politic marriages that transferred to
his sons the endowments and dignities of the great houses, which, in
spite of lavish creations of new earldoms, were steadily dying out in
the male line. Some of his daughters in the same way were married into
baronial families whose attachment to the throne would, it was
believed, be strengthened by intermarriage with the king's kin; while
others, wedded to foreign princes, helped to widen the circle of
continental alliances on which he never ceased to build large hopes.
Collateral branches of the royal family were pressed into the same
system, which was so systematically ordered that it has passed for a
new departure in English history. This is, however, hardly the case.
Many previous kings, notably Edward I., carried out a policy based upon
similar lines, and only less conspicuous by reason of the smaller
number of children that they had to provide for. The descendants of
Henry III. and Edward I. in no wise kept true to the monarchical
tradition, but rather gave distinction to the baronial opposition by
ennobling it with royal alliances. But the martial and vigorous policy
of Edward III. had at least the effect of reducing to inactivity the
tradition of constitutional opposition which had been the common
characteristic of successive generations of the royal house of
Lancaster, the chief collateral branch of the royal family. Subsequent
history will show that the Edwardian family settlement was as
unsuccessful as that of his grandfather. The alliances which Edward
built up brought neither solidarity to the royal house, nor strength to
the crown, nor union to the baronage. But the working out of this, as
of so many of the new developments of the later part of Edward's reign,
can only be seen after his death.

Edward's eldest son became, as we have seen, Duke of Cornwall, Prince
of Wales, and Earl of Chester even before he received Aquitaine. He was
the first of the continuous line of English princes of Wales, for
Edward III. never bore that title. The Black Prince's marriage with his
cousin, Joan of Kent, was a love-match, and the estates of his bride
were scarcely an important consideration to the lord of Wales and
Cheshire. Yet the only child of the unlucky Edmund of Woodstock was no
mean heiress, bringing with her the estates of her father's earldom of
Kent, besides the inheritance of her mother's family, the Wakes of
Liddell and Lincolnshire. The estates and earldom afterwards passed to
Joan's son by a former husband, and the Holland earls of Kent formed a
minor family connexion which closely supported the throne of Richard of
Bordeaux. Though their paternal inheritance was that of Lancashire
squires, the Hollands won a leading place in the history of the next

Edward III.'s second son, William of Hatfield, died in infancy. For his
third son, Lionel of Antwerp, when still in his childhood, Edward found
the greatest heiress of her time, Elizabeth, the only daughter of
William de Burgh, the sixth lord of Connaught and third Earl of Ulster,
the representative of one of the chief Anglo-Norman houses in Ireland.
Even before his marriage, Lionel was made Earl of Ulster, a title sunk
after 1362 in the novel dignity of the duchy of Clarence. This title was
chosen because Elizabeth de Burgh was a grand-daughter of Elizabeth of
Clare, the sister of the last Clare Earl of Gloucester, and a share of
the Gloucester inheritance passed through her to the young duke. His
marriage gave Lionel a special relation to Ireland, where, however, his
two lordships of Ulster and Connaught were largely in the hands of the
native septs, and where the royal authority had never won back the
ground lost during the vigorous onslaught of Edward Bruce on the English
power. In 1342 the estates of Ireland forwarded to Edward a long
statement of the shortcomings of the English administration of the
island.[1] No effective steps were taken to remedy those evils until, in
1361, Edward III. sent Lionel as governor to Ireland, declaring "that
our Irish dominions have been reduced to such utter devastation and ruin
that they may be totally lost, if our subjects there are not immediately
succoured". Lionel's most famous achievement was the statute of
Kilkenny. This law prohibited the intermixture of the Anglo-Normans in
Ireland with the native Irish, which was rapidly undermining the basis
of English rule and confounding Celts and Normans in a nation, ever
divided indeed against itself, but united against the English. Lionel
wearied of a task beyond his strength. His wife's early death lessened
the ties which bound him to her land, and he went back to England
declaring that he would never return to Ireland if he could help it. His
succession as governor by a Fitzgerald showed that the plan of ruling
Ireland through England was abandoned by Edward III. in favour of the
cheaper but fatal policy of concealing the weakness of the English power
by combining it with the strength of the strongest of the Anglo-Norman
houses. Under this faulty system, the statute of Kilkenny became
inoperative almost from its enactment.

    [1] Cal. of Close, Rolls, 1341-43, pp. 508-16.

The widowed Duke of Clarence made a second great marriage. The
Visconti, tyrants of Milan, were willing to pay heavily for the
privilege of intermarriage with the great reigning families of Europe,
and neither Edward III. nor the French king could resist the temptation
of alliance with a family that was able to endow its daughters so
richly. Accordingly, the Duke of Clarence became in 1368 the husband of
Violante Visconti, the daughter of Galeazzo, lord of Pavia, and the
niece of Bernabo, signor of Milan, the bitter foe of the Avignon
papacy. Five months later, Lionel was carried away by a sudden
sickness, and thus the Visconti marriage brought little fruit to
England. Lionel's only child, Philippa, the offspring of his first
marriage, was married, just before her father's death, to Edmund
Mortimer, Earl of March, great-grandson of the traitor earl beheaded in
1330. Lionel's death added to the vast inheritance of the Mortimers and
Joinvilles the lands and claims of Ulster and Clarence, and so Edward
III.'s magnanimity in reviving the earldom of March after the disgrace
of 1330 was rewarded by the devolution of its estates to his
grand-daughter's child. The Earl of March was invested with a new
political importance, for his wife was the nearest representative of
Edward III, save for the dying Bla