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)

Sunday 17 August 1264: the Peace of Canterbury, and a hanging

Posted on 17 August 2014 by Richard Cassidy

This week, Henry III and his court moved from St Paul’s, where they had been based since the end of May, to Canterbury. This brought the king and his keepers closer to the great army preparing to resist invasion by the queen’s forces. It was also more convenient for the diplomatic exchanges taking place across the Channel, with the king of France and the papal legate.

The legate and Louis were displeased because no negotiators had appeared to meet them in Boulogne. The legate delivered a lengthy public denunciation of the baronial regime in the church of Boulogne on 12 August. He demanded that he should be allowed entry to England by the beginning of September, under threat of excommunication of the barons and their supporters. The legate’s terms allowed little room for compromise: Henry was to be restored to power, the hostages freed, and the Provisions of Oxford abandoned. (Heidemann, register nos. 19 and 20)

It was plain that the legate was firmly opposed to the baronial government. It was also clear that Louis would have no part in the proposed arbitration under the Mise of Lewes. Simon de Montfort’s government responded on 15 August by sending to Louis and the legate the Peace of Canterbury. This document was an expanded version of the ordinance adopted by the June parliament. It set out the arrangements for government by council, in the absence of progress on the Mise of Lewes. One significant difference was that it was now stated that the constitutional arrangements would last throughout Henry’s reign and until some unspecified point in the reign of Edward. The Montfortian government for the first time made a public claim to a long-term role, and considered the prospect of dealing with another king who would be just as hostile and much more forceful. The Peace of Canterbury also re-stated the commitment to the Charters and the Provisions. It somewhat weakened the former hostility to aliens, who would be allowed to enter or leave the country freely (although the councillors, castellans and royal officials should always be natives). Louis was asked to examine and approve the Peace, and cause it to be accepted by the royalist exiles. (DBM, 294-301; CPR 1258-66, 366)

The legate did not delay in delivering his reaction. He wrote to Henry on 16 August, rejecting the Peace, and to the bishops of England on 17 August, again dismissing a settlement which replaced one king with three councillors, and exposed England to dangers and schisms. The bishops were again summoned to appear before him. (Heidemann, register nos. 21-3)

Initial C for Crimen, from BL Royal 6 E VI, S.E. England, c. 1360-75.

Initial C for Crimen, from BL Royal 6 E VI, S.E. England, c. 1360-75.

Away from these momentous events, there was an odd item recorded in the patent roll this week. Juetta de Balsham had been sentenced to hang for receiving thieves. She had been hanged from the ninth hour of Monday until sunrise of the Tuesday following, as appeared on trustworthy testimony, and lived. She was to be pardoned. Such survivals were not unknown. They could be attributed to a miracle, as in the case of the hanged man saved by St Thomas Cantilupe, or to incompetence or collusion. (CPR 1258-66, 342; Robert Bartlett, The Hanged Man, for an account of a miracle; Henry Summerson, ‘Attitudes to capital punishment in England, 1200-1350’, Thirteenth Century England VIII, for instances of recovery from hanging.)

Sunday 10 August 1264: the bishops and the legate

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Richard Cassidy

Henry III spent another week in London, but the attention of the government which ruled in his name was concentrated on the coasts of France and England. The great popular army to resist the threatened invasion was mustering in Kent. According to one chronicler, there was such a multitude of mounted and foot soldiers gathered at Harbledown, near Canterbury, that you would not have believed there were so many in England. There was a further summons for the sheriffs of Cambridgeshire and Essex to ensure that their counties provided armed men for the defence of the coast; those who failed to come were to be imprisoned. The army which had been called out to defend the coasts had already been serving for a long time, beyond the customary period of service, and they were assured that this would not be regarded as establishing a precedent. A letter in Henry’s name was sent to the archbishop of Rheims and other councillors of the king of France, asking them to use their influence to prevent the levying of troops in France for the invasion. The letter drew attention to the possible danger this would pose to the hostages, lord Edward and Henry of Almain. (Rishanger, 36; CPR 1258-66, 364-5, 340; Royal Letters, II, 268-9)

Two bishops, from BL Royal 2 B VI, a psalter and canticles from St Albans, c. 1246-60

Two bishops, from BL Royal 2 B VI, a psalter and canticles from St Albans, c. 1246-60

The English clergy were also participating in the national mobilization, some by providing their customary military service for their lands, some by contributing a levy of one-tenth of their revenues (and in the case of Dunstable priory, apparently both). It seems that this had been decided by a council of prelates and magnates. This may have been the same council of bishops and magnates, reported in only one chronicle, where the bishop of Worcester set out the case for the new regime; as spokesman for the bishops, he formally rejected any attempt by the legate to impose excommunication or interdict. A further council early in August (before 11 August, when the bishop of Exeter sent a mandate for collection of a levy) involved both prelates and the lower clergy, who agreed that the religious and the beneficed clergy should give a tenth of their spiritual income. (Councils & Synods, II, I, 694-9; Ann Mon, III, 233; Gervase, II, 239-42)

The legate, if he knew of the bishop of Worcester’s statement, was unimpressed. He was certainly displeased by the way in which the English government had treated his messengers, refusing them entry and confiscating their letters. The government feared the importation of papal letters condemning their seizure of power. Monks from Fountains abbey were only allowed to attend a general chapter of the Cistercian order on condition that they did not bring back anything prejudicial. The legate’s  response was proclaimed publicly, in the church at Amiens, on 3 or 4 August. As the legate was not allowed into England, he summoned the bishops to Boulogne. The clerical and secular negotiations were thus coming together, with the legate arriving in Boulogne on 9 August and Louis IX on 10 August, both waiting for a response from England. (CPR 1258-66, 340; Heidemann, register entries 17-19)

The government made yet more attempts to establish its authority over the northern royalists. It ordered its supporters in the north to cease harassing the royalist leaders, so that they would not have that excuse for refusing to come to the king. It then enlisted the bishop and prior of Durham and the abbot of St Mary’s, York, to ensure safe conduct for the northern magnates who were ordered to come to London. As usual, these instructions were ignored. At least one of the northerners who had fought for the king at Lewes, Robert de Brus, was still held captive; his son was given safe conduct to come to England to arrange for his father’s release. (CPR 1258-66, 364, 339-40; Royal Letters, II, 269-70)

Sunday 3 August 1264: the legate and negotiations

Posted on 3 August 2014 by Richard Cassidy
Pope Clement IV and Charles of Anjou

Pope Clement IV and Charles of Anjou

This week, Simon de Montfort’s government was mostly concerned with events across the Channel, where queen Eleanor was amassing an invasion force, the king of France was being enlisted as arbiter, and the papal legate had reached the north of France and begun to take an active role in support of the royal cause. The legate, Guy de Foulquois, a Provençal cardinal, was later to become pope as Clement IV. He had been appointed legate in November 1263, at Henry III’s request, with the general object of restoring the king’s authority and suppressing baronial rebellion. The baronial government was naturally suspicious of the legate, who was closely associated with Louis IX. In addition, the papacy had previously shown itself hostile, in 1261 assisting Henry’s return to power by issuing a papal bull releasing him from his oath to observe the Provisions of Oxford.  According to a note in one source, from Ramsey abbey, the government at the end of July announced that it had prohibited the importation and publication of sentences of excommunication and interdict against those who observed the Provisions; it even decreed the unusual penalty of beheading for anyone who disobeyed this ban. (Councils & Synods, II, I, 693-4; Gilson, ‘Parliament of 1264’, EHR 1901)

The legate’s attempts to open negotiations with the government were repeatedly rebuffed. The government’s attitude was demonstrated early in July when the legate’s messenger, a friar, brother Alan, was detained at Dover. Alan reported that he was searched, and all his letters were seized. He was told that if he brought in a letter harmful to the kingdom, he would lose his life. Unsurprisingly, Alan advised the legate against attempting to come to England in person. Around the end of July, while the legate was in Amiens, he received a letter from the barons. This said that the legate could not enter England without invitation, but that negotiations might begin in Boulogne. It also asked the legate to prevent the king of France providing financial support for the planned invasion. The legate replied on 2 or 3 August that he could not help: the money had already been paid. (Heidemann, Papst Clemens IV, register entries 5-14)

The government continued to be greatly concerned with the arrangements for defence against a foreign invasion. The sheriff of Essex was told not to distrain the vicar of Coggeshall to contribute to the support of the four or six men of the town who were supposed to be sent to London, with 40 days’ expenses. The sheriff of Kent was not to force the men of Greenwich to join the land forces assembled near Dover, because they were more useful at sea, guarding the Thames and Medway against alien incursions. There were elaborate arrangements limiting the amount of trade, particularly wine imports, permitted through the major ports. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 391-5)

The king wrote to Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare concerning negotiations with the king of France. Messengers were to be sent to Boulogne, and the king himself was to go to Dover. Lord Edward and Henry of Almain had been sent from Wallingford to Kenilworth, but should also be present at Dover. Letters in Henry III’s name were also sent to the king of France, and to Charles of Anjou, stressing the threat of invasion, and the danger to lord Edward and Henry of Almain, as hostages.  Henry asked that the proposed negotations at Boulogne should be postponed from 8 to 17 August, provided delegates were given safe conduct. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 396-7; Royal Letters, II, 262-6)

Royal ceremonial was being maintained, even if finances were precarious. The revenues from towns, manors and vacant bishoprics were being paid into the Wardrobe, rather than the Exchequer. The exchanges provided the cash needed to buy twelve gold pieces and 36 gold obols for the king’s annual offering on 1 August, the feast of St Peter’s Chains. (CLR 1260-67, 138-9)

Sunday 27 July 1264: heirs, courts and ships

Posted on 27 July 2014 by Richard Cassidy

The fine rolls record a transaction this week which shows both the continuation of the normal mechanisms concerning inheritance, and the way in which de Montfort’s regime used its position of power to reward supporters. Alfred of Lincoln was a member of a gentry family, long established in Dorset and Somerset (he was the fifth with the same, rather confusing, name). Alfred had succeeded his father, Alfred IV, in 1240, when he paid a relief of £100. Alfred V died in 1264, without male heirs, and his estates were divided between his three sisters, or their heirs. On 11 July, the fine roll recorded that the king had taken homage from the three heirs: Albreda of Lincoln, Alfred’s sister; Robert fitz Payn, the son of Alfred’s sister Margery; and William de Gouiz, the son of Alfred’s sister Beatrice. In each case, the escheator was to give them seisin of their share of the family estates, having accepted security for payment of relief. On 21 July, there was a further entry in the fine roll, pardoning fitz Payn and Gouiz payment of the relief they owed, for their praiseworthy service to the king and the damages they had sustained in his service in the conflict at Lewes. (CFR 1263-64, 136-8, 147; John Walker, ‘Lincoln family’, ODNB; CIPM, I, 580; Close Rolls 1261-64, 350)

There were other signs that the routine processes of administration were beginning to function, at least in parts of the country. The county courts of Nottinghamshire and Kent both met on Monday 21 July, with the sheriffs appointed by the new government presiding. The sheriffs’ accounts show only that a few minor amercements were imposed at each court, but they indicate that there was at least a measure of order and justice being established in those counties. Similarly, William de Wendling was appointed escheator for the southern half of the country, with authority to appoint or replace each county’s local escheator; the escheators played a key role in administering lands that fell into the king’s hands, and delivering the revenues to the Exchequer, as in the case of the lands of Alfred of Lincoln. (E 389/81; E 389/121; CPR 1258-66, 338)

The government was increasingly concerned about the threat of invasion, and the need to assert its authority over Bordeaux and Bayonne. Two masters of Gascon ships were thanked for refusing to carry enemies from Flanders, but ships from Bristol and Southampton had been detained in Bordeaux. Eleanor of Provence may have had more influence in Gascony than de Montfort’s government: she was in France, with cash to pay for shipping, and influential support. On 24 July, she wrote to Alphonse of Poitiers, as she was sending messengers to La Rochelle to recruit ships to carry the invasion force assembled at Damme. (CPR 1258-66, 338, 363; Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 215-6)

Henry III, under de Montfort’s control, wrote to the king of France, proposing that negotiations should begin. Henry would be at Dover by 7 August, and messengers from Henry and his barons would be at Boulogne the following day. Henry also wrote to Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare about these arrangements, to ensure that they would have their representatives at Boulogne, and that lord Edward and Henry of Almain, the hostages, would be brought to Dover. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 398-9)

Sunday 20 July 1264: castles and cash

Posted on 20 July 2014 by Richard Cassidy
Pevensey castle in the 17th century, by Wenceslas Hollar

Pevensey castle in the 17th century, by Wenceslas Hollar

Simon de Montfort’s administration continued to issue orders intended to establish its authority over the country. Several royalist nobles and castellans, particularly in the north and the Welsh Marches, continued to ignore these instructions. Key castles were supposed to be delivered to loyal supporters of the new regime, including Corfe to Henry de Montfort, Oxford, Orford and Devizes to Hugh Despenser, and Nottingham initially to Simon de Montfort junior, then to the sheriff William fitz Herbert. The castle of Pevensey, where many royalists had fled after the battle of Lewes, was besieged by Simon de Monfort junior, around 20 July. The royalist garrison of Pevensey was offered safe conduct to go overseas, if they surrendered the castle to the sheriff, or to the king himself, but the siege was to continue for many months. The royalist northern magnates were yet again offered safe conduct to come to London, and assured that the Montfortian northerners had been instructed not to molest them. (CPR 1258-66, 335-7, 363; Close Rolls 1261-64, 399-401; Annales Londonienses, 64)

De Montfort’s first military priority was to establish control of the Welsh Marches. De Montfort and Gilbert de Clare went to the March, calling for the support of Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire against the Marchers who had seized the king’s castles. A brief campaign resulted in the recovery of several castles, the devastation of Roger Mortimer’s lands, and another peace agreement. De Montfort then had to hurry back to Kent, to deal with the threat of invasion from Flanders by the mercenary forces which Queen Eleanor had assembled. (CPR 1258-66, 363; Flores Historiarum, II, 498-9)

There was an indication of the privileged position which Simon de Montfort was adopting: the ruling council had forbidden anyone to bear arms, or to go with horses and arms, as a peace-keeping measure, but de Montfort was given permission to do so, because of the hostages and prisoners he had. (CPR 1258-66, 337)

The government’s finances evidently continued to be precarious, with the royal household being supplied by hand-to-mouth expedients. The keepers of St Botulph’s fair were told that the king’s revenues from the fair should be used to cover purchases at the fair by the Wardrobe, and by the taker of the king’s wines. A few weeks later, on 8 August, there was a further emergency measure to cover purchases for the Wardrobe at the fair. The bailiffs of Lincoln, Grimsby, York and Caistor were told to pay the farms of their towns for the coming Michaelmas term to the Wardrobe’s buyers, “quia rex denarios ad presens non habet”. The sheriff of Lincolnshire was to ensure that 60 tuns of wine were transported from the fair to Canterbury. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 351, 353; CLR 1260-67, 140)

Ebulo de Montibus, by Michael Ray

Posted on 14 July 2014 by Richard Cassidy

Michael Ray writes:

Ebulo de Montibus or Ebal de Mont of Mont-sur-Rolle, Vaud, Switzerland

The motte/donjon of Mont-le-Grand, Vaud

The motte/donjon of Mont-le-Grand, Vaud

Last weekend I was due to meet a retired professor of medieval history from the University of Lyon who was going to help me locate the collegiate church of St Catherine built by Peter de Aigueblanche, Bishop of Hereford 1240-68, at Aiguebelle in the Maurienne, Savoy.  However he had car trouble and was not able to come.  We carried on to Aiguebelle but, after an extensive search, we found nothing.  On returning to England, I discovered that the foundation was actually at Randens, a nearby village, but there may be no remains.

View from the castle of Mont-le-Grand

View from the castle of Mont-le-Grand

However, the trip to Savoy was not completely wasted.  The day before, with the help of a guest at a wedding at the Chateau de Mont vineyard at Mont-sur-Rolle in the Swiss canton of Vaud, we were able to find the remains of the castle of Mont-le-Grand.  This was the home of Ebal II de Mont who came to England with Peter of Savoy and is known in our records as Ebulo de Montibus.  First mentioned in England in 1246 (CCR 1242-7, 487), his initial mention in the Fine Rolls was in April 1250 when he was respited for scutage for the manor of Ewell (Surrey) (CFR 1249-50, no.268).  As Huw Ridgeway noted, Ebal was chosen in 1251 by the Queen and Peter to be a companion of the twelve-year-old Lord Edward.  He might have acted as his Chamberlain and as Steward.  Later Ebal served Henry III himself as Steward of the Household from 1256 (the date is challenged by Ridgeway who puts it as much later).  His fellow steward was another Savoyard, Imbert Pugeys.  Ebal was Constable of Windsor castle in 1266.  Between 1251 and 1262, he witnessed at least eighty-seven royal charters.  He was dead by 1268 when the Queen was one of his executors.  Like so many of the aliens, Ebal married a widow:  Joan de Bohun, of the senior but non-comital branch of the family, had first wed Stephen de Somery and then Godfrey of Crowcombe, a prominent curialis.

The castle at Rolle, Vaud

The castle at Rolle, Vaud

The castle is on the wooded slopes of the Jura mountains, high above Mont-sur-Rolle along an unsigned and unmarked trackway but the bailey is set out as a picnic spot.  On the motte there are three story-boards and, from it, there is a magnificent view of Lake Geneva as far as the Jet d’Eau fountain at Geneva.  To the south, across the lake, is the line of the Alps.  No stone work survives above ground but there are extensive earth works and the castle must have been a formidable presence dominating the east-west route from Lausanne to Geneva along the north side of the lake.  However, Peter of Savoy built a fine stone castle on the lakeside itself at Rolle, and this still exists and is in plain view of Mont-le-Grand.