Sunday 26 October 1264: the legate’s farewell

Posted on 27 October 2014 by Richard Cassidy

The final act of Guy Foulquois as papal legate, marking the complete failure of his attempts to assert his authority over the baronial government, came on 20 October. He repeated the formal excommunication which he had pronounced in August, denouncing the Provisions of Oxford. The authority of his denunciation was much diminished, however, because he had to pronounce the excommunication at Hesdin, in Flanders, rather than in England. He ordered bulls of excommunication and interdict to be published throughout France, but had been unable to secure their publication in England, where his authority was ignored. (Heidemann, register, 49-52; Foedera, I, I, 447-8)

Meanwhile, Simon de Montfort’s government, now again established in Westminster, continued its unavailing efforts to assert its authority over the royalist barons of the Marches and the north. Roger Mortimer and James of Audley were yet again ordered to come to the king’s court. Simon de Montfort’s son Henry, as warden of the Cinque Ports, was given the task of safeguarding merchandise, particularly wool, belonging to foreign merchants. The disorder in the country must have had an adverse effect on trade, which the government needed to counter. But the appointment also showed the increasingly prominent role being taken by de Montfort’s own family. (CPR 1258-66, 355)

The fine roll records the appointment of Ralph of Ash as sheriff of Devon. He was a local landowner (he held the manor now known as Rose Ash), so his appointment was in accordance with the reformers’ commitment to appointing local men as sheriffs, rather than the outsiders who had been blamed for exploiting the counties. Ash replaced Hugh Peverel of Sampford (another local man, from the village now named after his family, Sampford Peverell). Peverel had been appointed in the initial wave of new sheriffs put in place when the reforming barons took over the government in June 1264. There seems to be no particular explanation for the new appointment; Peverel continued to serve the baronial government, as castellan of Oxford, then as keeper of the peace for Devon. (CFR 1263-64, 220; CPR 1258-66, 387, 400)

Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester, had agreed to pay £1,000 in order to take possession of the lands he had inherited. He now paid £100 of this enormous sum to the keepers of the works at Westminster — this payment helped to continue the construction of Westminster abbey, but it by-passed the usual procedures for Exchequer control of income and expenditure. The £1,000 fine had been recorded in the fine roll in July 1263, and Gilbert had taken formal possession of his inheritance in September 1264, when he came of age. (CPR 1258-66, 354; CFR 1262-63, 727)

Sunday 19 October 1264: return to Westminster

Posted on 19 October 2014 by Richard Cassidy

The return of the king and the government from Canterbury to Westminster demonstrated growing confidence about the threat of invasion. It was clearly no longer considered so pressing that it required the court to remain near the Kent coast. Queen Eleanor’s invasion force in Flanders was dispersing and her funds were running out. About this time, the queen gave up and withdrew to France. (Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 221)
The government acknowledged the receipt of £133 which Thomas fitz Thomas, mayor of London, had paid into the Wardrobe for the wardship of the lands and heirs of Robert le Blund, tenant-in-chief. This payment, which had been agreed in July, gave fitz Thomas control of lands in Essex, Wiltshire and Staffordshire. It showed that fitz Thomas was a very wealthy man. Despite that, he was a populist mayor who supported the reforming regime and opposed the élite of aldermen who traditionally ruled London. It also showed that the government was continuing to channel income through the Wardrobe, rather than the Treasury (although this payment does not appear in the accounts of the Wardrobe, which handled the finances of the royal household) — the sort of behaviour which the reformers had once criticized. (CPR 1258-66, 341, 353; CFR 1263-64, 302)

Edward the Confessor, Henry III’s favourite saint, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry

Edward the Confessor, Henry III’s favourite saint, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry

The feast of Edward the Confessor on 13 October was always an important event for Henry III. It would seem that it was celebrated as usual this year. The court had returned to Westminster, the king’s sauser was buying pepper, cumin and cinnamon to make sauces for the king at the feast, and the keeper of the wardrobe was buying wax and gold coins for offerings. (CLR 1260-67, 143-4) One chronicler, in the annals of Dunstable, records that the clergy of England met in a council at Westminster on 19 October, to ratify an appeal against the legate’s condemnation. (C&S, II, I, 700)

Sunday 12 October 1264: an unusual delivery

Posted on 12 October 2014 by Richard Cassidy

The court and Simon de Montfort’s government were based in Canterbury until the end of this week. According to the London chronicler Arnold fitz Thedmar, the king returned to London on 11 October, two days before the feast of St Edward the Confessor, which was always an important date in Henry III’s calendar. The king would thus be able to celebrate the feast at the saint’s shrine in Westminster abbey. (Cronica Maiorum, 69)
The government continued its unavailing efforts to assert its authority over the northern royalists. Robert de Nevill was ordered to hand over York castle to the Montfortian sheriff of Yorkshire. Similarly, Adam of Jesmond was commanded to deliver the castle of Newcastle on Tyne to the sheriff of Northumberland. Nevill and Jesmond, together with John and Eustace de Balliol, Peter de Brus and other Northern barons, were yet again ordered to come to the king with horses and arms, to defend the realm against the threat of invasion. They were offered safe conduct until 28 October, but this offer was once more ignored.
The Marchers, led by Roger Mortimer and James of Audley, resumed hostilities by besieging Gilbert de Clare’s castle at Hanley in Worcestershire. De Montfort’s government initially responded by pointing out that this threatened any prospect of release for the royalist hostages it held, lord Edward and Henry of Almain. (CPR 1258-66, 373-5)

Knights in a ship, with a letter. From BL Royal 14 E III, first quarter of 14th century

Knights in a ship, with a letter. From BL Royal 14 E III, first quarter of 14th century

The bishops of London and Winchester, the baronial government’s representatives in talks with the papal legate, had asked for safe conduct to return to Wissant on 7 or 8 October, but did not appear. Instead, on 11 October, ‘a certain knight of the king of England’ sailed to Wissant, but did not land, throwing into the sea a small box full of letters to the legate. These included the texts of the peace of Canterbury and of the ordinance establishing the government of England by the baronial council, as well as letters formally rejecting the legate’s proposals. Negotiations were well and truly ended. (Heidemann, register, 45-6)

Sunday 5 October 1264: undelivered letters

Posted on 5 October 2014 by Richard Cassidy

Pope Urban IV died on 2 October, which formally ended Guy Foulquois’ appointment as papal legate, although the news would obviously take some time to reach the legate in northern France. The legate’s attempts to impose a settlement between the Montfortian government and the royalist exiles, led by the queen, had effectively collapsed. Queen Eleanor’s representatives had withdrawn from the talks, saying that the queen was outraged that nothing had been said about the hostages, her son and nephew. On 3 October, the representatives of the baronial government, the bishops of Winchester and London, also withdrew for further deliberations, taking with them a letter from the legate to the bishops of England. This ordered the bishops to announce the excommunication of the leading barons and of the citizens of London and the Cinque Ports, unless they had submitted to the legate’s demands within fifteen days. These demands included a complex scheme for arbitration, overseen by the legate, which would have required the barons to surrender Dover castle and the hostages – terms which were clearly unacceptable to the barons. The bishops were also ordered not to pay the tenth or any other form of subsidy to the baronial government. In any event, the legate’s letters never reached their destination; the citizens of Dover seized them, tore them up and threw them into the sea. (Heidemann, register, 43-4; Flores, II, 501)

Castle and ship, from BL Royal 10 E IV, the Smithfield Decretals.

Castle and ship, from BL Royal 10 E IV, the Smithfield Decretals.

The traditional enmity between the sailors of the Cinque Ports and those of Yarmouth had broken out again. The government intervened on the side of the Cinque Ports, which were playing a crucial role in the defence of the south-east coast against a possible landing by the forces which queen Eleanor had assembled across the Channel. They were to be compensated for any losses caused by the men of Yarmouth, as the men of the Cinque Ports were ‘labouring manfully about the defence of the sea and the maritime parts against the invasion of aliens’. Hostages from Yarmouth were to be delivered to the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, who would hold them in Norwich castle, as security against disorder breaking out at Yarmouth fair. The sheriff was to ensure that the arguments between the Cinque Ports and Yarmouth did not lead to new contentions and grievances at the fair, while the burgesses of Yarmouth were warned to keep the peace, or ‘the king will betake himself so grievously to them that they and their heirs shall thenceforward feel themselves aggrieved in no small measure.’ (CPR 1258-66, 352, 372-3)
The liberate roll contains a passing reference to a sad event. Lord Edward, the king’s son, was still being held as a hostage. At this time, the only child of Edward and Eleanor of Castile was Katherine, of whom we know only that she was born some time between 1261 and 1263, and died in September 1264. The king’s almoner paid 4 marks for two cloths of gold adorned with wheels for the use of Katherine, Edward’s deceased daughter. The almoner also received £40 for making offerings on the day of Katherine’s funeral. Some of the usual pieties were evidently being observed, even while Edward was a captive. (CLR 1260-67,143; Morris, A Great and Terrible King, 73)

Sunday 28 September 1264: peace talks

Posted on 28 September 2014 by Richard Cassidy
Harley 4380 f.189v

Another, rather later, party arrives by sea at Boulogne. From BL Harley 4380, Froissart, 1470-72.

The negotiations about the peace settlement and the future government of England began, at last, during this week. Simon de Montfort and Hugh Despenser wrote to the papal legate, explaining that they had come to Dover, ready to cross to France with nobles and prelates to meet the legate, but that they found his letters of safe conduct unsatisfactory. On 24 September, the papal legate was asked to provide letters of safe conduct for Peter de Montfort to come to him to explain in person the baronial proposals for a peace settlement. The legate sent more comprehensive safe conduct letters, and a baronial delegation, led by the bishop of London, came to Boulogne on 24 September, as did representatives of the Queen and the king’s son Edmund.

After some delay, the baronial party presented their proposals for arbiters to choose the council to govern England, to consist only of Englishmen. The two sides could not agree, and the talks broke up on 29 September. A further attempt at negotiation was hampered by a baronial party, including Henry of Almain, losing their documents, taken by the sailors who brought them to Boulogne. The Queen’s representatives said that she was outraged that the hostages, her son Edward and nephew Henry of Almain, had not been mentioned in the negotiations. The talks had achieved very little. (Heidemann, register, nos. 30-43; Foedera, I, I, 447; Close Rolls 1261-64, 410)

The countess of Flanders had written in August, expressing concern about the security of Flemish merchants. On 24 September, the governing council announced that, as the countess had taken English merchants under her protection in Flanders, Flemish merchants and merchandise would be protected in England. Merchants should store their goods in churches or religious houses until full tranquillity was restored. Although the authorities in the ports of East Anglia had been ordered not to let any ships cross the sea, Flemish merchants would be allowed to export their wool, hides and other merchandise.  (CPR 1258-66, 350, 371-2)

The government was still trying to maintain the army to defend against invasion, and to ensure that it remained on guard for at least another month. The sheriff of Oxford and Berkshire was to summon knights and free tenants to come with horses and arms, and to provide for the expenses of the mounted and foot soldiers until late October. (CPR 1258-66, 372)

Sunday 21 September 1264: fines and earls

Posted on 21 September 2014 by Richard Cassidy

At this time, for the most part the fine rolls record little except a series of payments for judicial writs, or for having an assize taken by a particular justice. On 18 September, there were two less common payments.

Thomas de Craven offered 5 marks not to be placed on assizes. Such fines were common in the 1250s, when Henry III had a deliberate policy of raising money by selling respites from knighthood, and exemptions from the burdensome obligations of serving on juries and inquests. The reformers of 1258 had objected to this practice, as it led to a shortage of qualified personnel in local administration. The sale of exemptions was then greatly reduced – there were none in 1258-59. Scott Waugh thought there were also none in 1263-64 (‘Reluctant knights and jurors’, Speculum, 58, (1983), table 2), but it would seem that the baronial government made at least one exception to the reformers’ usual policy. (CFR 1263-64, 195).

A plaque showing the arms of Roger de Quincy, in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey.

A thirteenth-century plaque showing the arms of Roger de Quincy, in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey.

The other unusual fine was from the executors of Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester, who had died on 25 April. They had found pledges for the payment of the earl’s debts to the king. This would allow them to proceed with the distribution of his estates. The close rolls include an extent of de Quincy’s estates, valuing them at £385 a year, and instructions to provide dower of one-third of this amount for his widow Eleanor. De Quincy also had extensive estates in Scotland (he was constable of Scotland), but had not been particularly wealthy, as earls go, compared to incomes of £2,000 for Simon de Montfort, £2,500 for Roger Bigod, or £3,700 for Gilbert de Clare. (CFR 1263-64, 193; Close Rolls 1261-64, 407-8; Morris, The Bigod Earls of Norfolk, 70; R.D. Oram, ‘Quincy, Roger de’, ODNB) De Quincy had three daughters from his first marriage, but no sons, so the earldom lapsed. His oldest daughter, Margaret, had married William de Ferrers, earl of Derby, who had died in 1254. She was Ferrers’ second wife. The widow Eleanor was de Quincy’s third wife. She was William de Ferrers’ daughter by his first marriage. Margaret had thus been step-mother to her own future step-mother.

The defence of the coast was being maintained by the fleet at Sandwich, which needed provisions of grain and wine. Royal officials were ordered to take 300 quarters of wheat from nearby towns; it would be paid for in October. (Foedera, I, I, 447; CPR 1258-66, 349)

Some less serious matters also occupied the government this week. The king was making preparations for his annual celebration of the feast of St Edward (13 October), and ordered his goldsmith, William of Gloucester, to provide gold for the completion of the paintings in his chamber. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 366)

Sunday 14 September 1264: peace terms

Posted on 14 September 2014 by Richard Cassidy
Eudes Rigaud, archbishop of Rouen. It was proposed that he should have the deciding vote if negotiations were tied.

Eudes Rigaud, archbishop of Rouen. It was proposed that he should have the deciding vote if negotiations were tied.

On 11 September, Simon de Montfort’s government produced a set of proposals for negotiations about the ‘form of peace’, the settlement agreed after the baronial victory. Several draft proposals survive, showing various approaches to setting up an Anglo-French committee to rule on the future government of England. Initially, the negotiators, to meet Louis IX and the papal legate, were the bishops of Worcester and Winchester, and Peter de Montfort. They were to propose establishing a group of four to decide what changes to the peace were needed, if any; two would be English (the bishop of London and Hugh Despenser) and two French, with the archbishop of Rouen as arbiter in the event of disagreement. The proposals stipulated that England must be governed by natives, and that castles and offices must be held by natives. A few days later, the bishop of London, Hugh Despenser, and the archdeacon of Oxford were added to the baronial negotiating team. (Diplomatic Documents, I, 269-70; Foedera, I, I, 446-7; CPR 1258-66, 369-70)

A further set of proposals was then produced. The arbitrators were to rule on the election of councillors, who must be Englishmen. These councillors would rule on the appointment of officials, who must also be English, the observance of the charters and the control of the king’s expenditure. When agreement was reached, the royal hostages would be released. If the arbitration failed, then the terms of the Peace of Canterbury would remain in effect. (CPR 1258-66, 370-1)

One chronicler, Arnold fitz Thedmar, reported that the king and barons went to Dover about this time, for a meeting between the representatives of the king and barons on one side, and on the other the foreigners whom the Queen had paid to invade England. Then Hugh Despenser, Peter de Montfort and other nobles and bishops went to France to discuss peace. A rather confused version of the actual events had evidently become known in London. (Cronica Maiorum, 69)

The government was not only concerned with the defence of the coasts: the local authorities in Oxford were ordered to repress illicit gatherings, intended to disturb the region, and to prevent the assembly of ‘a multitude of foreign Jews’ in the town. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 363-4)

Sunday 7 September 1264: Canterbury and cash

Posted on 7 September 2014 by Richard Cassidy

 

Canterbury Castle in 1775. Much of the outer walls were demolished later in the eighteenth century.

Canterbury Castle in 1775. Much of the outer walls were demolished later in the eighteenth century.

Henry III’s court remained in Canterbury for the whole month of September, to be close to the continuing negotiations in northern France with Louis IX and the papal legate, and to oversee the defence of the coasts against the continuing threat of invasion by the Queen’s forces. While the king was in Canterbury, on 5 September, the sheriff of Kent was ordered to repair the great gate of the castle, which had recently been burned down, and the gates, doors and windows which had been pulled down and damaged. (There had been disorder in Canterbury in April, including attacks on the Jewish community.) (CLR 1260-67, 142)

The legate, Guy de Foulquois, had ordered the barons to send representatives to Gravelines, on the French coast, by 1 September. One of the legate’s chaplains waited for them, but reported to his master that nobody turned up. (Heidemann, register, nos. 30-32) On 4 September, one of the royal hostages, Henry of Almain, who had been held in Dover castle, was released on parole, to go to France to try to negotiate a peace settlement. He was to return to custody by 8 September, unless the negotiations took two or three days longer. Several bishops stood security for his return, in the enormous sum of 20,000 marks. (Foedera, I, I, 446; CPR 1258-66, 345)

The defence of the coasts was still a priority. Nobody was to cross the Channel from Dover without permission from the king or Henry de Montfort. The city of London was to send a galley and a large ship, with crossbowmen, to Sandwich, in readiness for a foreign invasion. While the men of Winchelsea were serving with the fleet off Sandwich, the Winchelsea region was to be defended by 300 archers. The problems of maintaining a large army in Kent were demonstrated by a letter to the sheriff of Rutland: the county would have to cover the expenses of its contingent for longer than expected, up to 15 September, but their daily rate would have to increase from 3d. to 4d. per man, because of the dearth produced by the presence of such great numbers. The sheriff was to seize the lands of those who failed to serve in the defence of the coast, or who deserted from the army without permission. It was also necessary to stem desertions from the forces guarding the coast of East Anglia, by offering to pay their expenses up to 15 September. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 360-2, 405-6; CPR 1258-66, 367-8)

The church had shown its support for the baronial regime in August by offering a subsidy of one-tenth of clerical income. The government was now pressing for payment of this subsidy, writing to the bishop of Norwich, asking for the money to be sent without delay; the council threatened that otherwise the tenth would be collected by the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. The bishop of Rochester was told to provide £20 at once, and to deliver the rest to Canterbury by the end of the week. Similarly, the archbishop of York was told to deliver the subsidy by Michaelmas, or it would be collected by royal officials, for the security and defence of the kingdom. (Foedera, I, I, 445; Close Rolls 1261-64, 361-2, 403-5)

The government was evidently short of cash, as usual, and relying on the imminent arrival of the cash from the clerical tenth to cover frantic borrowing. Simon de Montfort was empowered to contract a loan of money, wine and corn, for supplies for the king’s ships and wages for the sailors. Hugh Despenser took wine worth £33 from merchants at Sandwich, to munition the ships. The bishop of London loaned 200 marks. The city of London was asked to lend £50 from each aldermanry. They were all promised repayment in October, out of the tenth. (CPR 1258-66, 345-6)

There was at least one piece of potential good news on the financial front. The German miners led by Walter of Hamburg, who had been sent to Devon in July, had struck copper. John Silvester, the former warden of the mint, was to determine whether to invest in developing a mine. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 406-7)

Sunday 31 August 1264: Flanders and Marchers

Posted on 31 August 2014 by Richard Cassidy

Henry III’s court remained at Canterbury for another week. It clearly planned to remain there for some time: on 28 August, the sheriffs of London were ordered to transport 20 tuns of white wine to Canterbury, out of the stock of 60 tuns which the king’s butler had taken at Portsmouth. (CLR 1260-67, 141)

Henry’s government was still mainly concerned with the threats from France, the north, and the Marches. The authorities in Dover and the other ports were ordered to ensure that nobody crossed the Channel without the government’s permission. Such measures may have been intended to prevent contacts with regime’s enemies, or the papal legate, but they also hindered normal commerce. Margaret, countess of Flanders, wrote to Henry on 31 August, about the problems faced by Flemish merchants. Because peace had not yet been restored, they could not bring merchandise to Flanders safely and securely; she asked that they should be assured the same security as English merchants enjoyed in Flanders. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 359; Diplomatic Documents, I, no. 392)

There was yet another attempt to win over the northern royalists, like John and Eustace de Balliol, Peter de Brus, Robert Neville and Adam of Jesmond. They were again ordered to come to the king with horses and arms for the defence of the realm, but they were offered the reassurance that the bishop of Durham would conduct them to York. The bishop would then have to return to the north, to organize its defence. Safe conduct would then be provided by the abbot of St Mary’s, York, who would bring the royalists to the king. As before, these instructions were ignored. (CPR 1258-66, 343, 366)

Wigmore castle, the Mortimer family stronghold, as it appeared in the eighteenth century.

Wigmore castle, the Mortimer family stronghold, as it appeared in the eighteenth century.

Negotiations with the other major group of royalist opponents, the Marcher lords, had apparently been more successful. The Marchers sent negotiators to the king, and the negotiators were given safe conduct for their return journey to Wales on 24 August. They also carried letters instructing the Marchers to release the prisoners taken at Northampton and to hand over royal castles they occupied. On 25 August, the king ratified a peace agreement, made between the barons led by Simon de Montfort, and the Marchers. The Marcher leaders, Roger Mortimer and James of Audley, were each to hand over a son as hostage for the observance of the peace. (CPR 1258-66, 343-4, 366-7)

The papal legate, Guy Foulquois, sent another angry letter, this time to the English bishops. The bishops had written to him, under the seal of the bishop of London, defending the settlement made after the battle of Lewes, and denying that the king’s authority had been taken away by the governing council. The legate replied that the council were three new princes. The legate had heard the king of France say that he would rather break clods behind a plough than have this kind of rule. (Heidemann, register entries nos. 27-9)

Sunday 24 August 1264: courts and ports

Posted on 24 August 2014 by Richard Cassidy

The court spent the week at Canterbury, again mostly concerned with the threat of invasion and the exchanges with the legate in France. There was still time, however, for the king and Simon de Montfort to involve themselves in more local matters. Fulk Peyforer, the sheriff of Kent, reported that he had collected no revenue from the meeting of the county court on Monday 18 August, ‘because the lord king was present and the pleas were held by the earl of Leicester.’ (E 389/81)

Perquisites of the county court on Monday after the Assumption: ‘nothing, because the lord king was present and the pleas were held by the earl of Leicester.'

Perquisites of the Kent county court on Monday after the Assumption: ‘nothing, because the lord king was present and the pleas were held by the earl of Leicester.’ The same thing happened at the next meeting of the court, on 15 September. (E 389/81)

Another indication of the continuing bureaucratic routine was the resumption of entries in the charter roll. It had not been used since 30 March, when the king was at Oxford. He now began again to issue charters, with three enrolled on 24 August at Canterbury. They were unremarkable grants of free warren and the right to a weekly market and annual fair, but their enrolment was another indication that de Montfort’s regime was trying to maintain the usual procedures of government. (Calendar of Charter Rolls, II, 49)

Military preparations were still being made. The officials of the Cinque Ports were ordered to bring all their ships, with men, arms and provisions, before the port of Sandwich by Thursday 21 August, for the defence of the realm against a foreign invasion. They were not to allow any merchandise to leave the ports without the permission of Henry de Montfort. Even the most remote regions were thought to be under threat: a letter in the king’s name to the whole community of Northumberland warned them to prepare to defend the coast against invasion. The royalists of the north and the Marches were still disregarding orders to come to London, to release their prisoners, and to hand over the castles they held, such as Gloucester, Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 356; Royal Letters, II, 271-3; CPR 1258-66, 366-7)

Relations with the papal legate were not improving. A further exchange of letters showed how far apart the two sides were. The barons wrote that they were amazed at the legate’s public rejection of the peace terms agreed by the king, the prelates and the whole community of the realm. This resulted in another unyielding set of demands from the legate. He should be assured of safe conduct for coming to England, or the barons would be excommunicated and London and the Cinque Ports placed under an interdict. The king’s freedom should be restored, and the hostages, lord Edward and Henry of Almain, should be liberated. The Provisions of Oxford should be abandoned. The barons’ representatives should come to him at Boulogne by the beginning of September. There was clearly little willingness to compromise on either side. (Heidemann, register, nos. 24-6)