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Seventy-five years have passed since Lingard completed 
his HISTORY OF ENGLAND, which ends with the Revolu- 
tion 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 know- 
ledge, renders co-operation almost necessary and certainly 
advisable. The History, of which this volume is an in- 
stalment, is an attempt to set forth in a readable form 
the results at present attained by research. It will con- 
sist of twelve volumes by twelve different writers, each 


of them chosen as being specially 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 in- 
tellectual, 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 Ap- 
pendix 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 with- 
out 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 great- 
ness 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 

Vol. II. 1066 to 1216. By George Burton Adams, M.A., 

Professor of History in Yale University, New Haven, 

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. 

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. B y 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, Oxford. 
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, 

Cbe political ftietor? of 







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Oct., 1066. After the battle tpf Hastings ,' I 

Nov. The march on London . . . . . . 3 

Winchester occupied 6 

London submits 7 

25 Dec. The coronation of William 8 

Jan., 1067. Regulations for government II 

The confiscation of lands 13 

The introduction of feudalism ..... 14 

Power of the Norman duke 21 

March-Dec. William in Normandy 24 

Revolts in England ....... 26 


Feb.-March, 1068. Conquest of the south-west 27 

Coronation of Matilda 29 

Summer. Final conquest of the north . . .31 

Raid of Harold's sons ....... 33 

1069. Danish invasion ; the north rebels 35 

Dec. The harrying of Northumberland ... o 36 

Jan.-Feb., 1070. Conquest of the west 38 

Reformation of the Church 39 

Aug. Lanfranc made primate 43 

Effect of the conquest on the Church . . . .45 

The king and the Church 48 


1070-4. The revolt in Ely 52 

Norman families in England 54 

Centralization of the State 56- 

The New Forest . . 58 

Aug., 1072. William invades Scotland 59 

1073. He subdues Maine . . . . . . .60 

1075. Revolt of Earls Roger and Ralph 61 

1082. The arrest of Bishop Odo ...... 65 

William's son Robert 66 

1086. The Domesday Book 67 

9 Sept., 1087. The death of William 69 






26 Sept., 1087. Coronation of William II ...... 72 

Apr.-June, 1088. The barons rebel ..... 73 

Nov. The trial of William of St. Calais .... 77 

1095. The revolt of Robert of Mowbray .... 79 

28 May, 1089. The death of Lanfranc ...... 8r~ 

Ranulf Flambard . > ..... 82 - , 

Troubles in Normandy ...... 85 

April, 1090. The court resolves on war ...... 88 

Feb., 1091. William invades Normandy ...... 88 

Malcolm attacks England ...... 89 

1092. William occupies Carlisle ...... 89 

Nov., 1093. Death of Malcolm and Margaret ..... 90 


Lent, 1093. Illness of William II ....... 91 

March. Anselm named archbishop ...... 93 - 

Conditions on which he accepted . . . 95 - 

Jan., 1094. His first quarrel with the king ..... 97 

19 March. William crosses to Normandy ..... 98 

1095. Second quarrel with Anselm ..... i<xx~ 
March. The case tried at Rockingham ..... ioi<- 

1096. Robert mortgages Normandy ..... 104 

1097. Renewed quarrel with Anselm ..... 106 -^ 
Nov. Anselm leaves England ...... 108' 

1098. Wars on the continent , ..... 108 
2 Aug., 1 100. William II killed ....... no 


2 Aug., II oo. Henry claims the crown ...... 112 

5 Aug. His coronation ........ 114 

His character ........ 115 

Aug. His coronation charter . ... . . 117- - 

23 Sept. Return of Anselm ....... 120 

II Nov. Henry's marriage ....... 1 20 

Beginning of investiture strife ..... 121 . 

Merits of the case ....... 124 

July, noi. Robert invades England ...... 127 

He yields to Henry ....... 128 

1102. Robert of Bell8me punished ..... 129 

noi-2. Fruitless embassies to Rome ..... 132- 

27 April, 1 103. Anselm again leaves England ..... 136 


1104. Henry visits Normandy .. 

1103-5. Dealings with Anselm 

21 July, 1105. Meeting with Anselm and Adela 

Aug., 1 1 06. The compromise and reconciliation 






28 Sept., 1 106. The battle of Tinchebrai 145 

Terms of investiture compromise .... 147 , 

21 April, 1109. Anselm's last years, and death 149 

1109-11. Reform of local courts 151-' 

1109-14. Marriage of Matilda and Henry V . . . .154 

1109-13. War with Louis VI of France 155 

Growing power of the Church 159 


March, II 16. William recognized as heir ...... 163 

Renewed war with France 165 

1 1 20. An advantageous peace . . . . . .168 

25 Sept., 1 1 20. Henry's son William drowned 169 

Robert made Earl of Gloucester . . . . .171 

1123. Revolt of Norman barons 172 

Jan., 1127. Matilda made Henry's heir 176 

She marries Geoffrey of Anjou 178 

1129. A period of peace 181 

1130. The Pipe Roll of 1130 ...... 182 

The Exchequer . . . . . . . .184 

Henry's charter to London . . . . .187 

i Dec., 1135. His death .......... 189 


Dec., 1135. Stephen of Boulogne secures London 
Obtains support of the Church 
His coronation .... 
Normandy accepts Stephen . 

1136. Charter to the Church . 
Matilda appeals to Rome 

The first revolt .... 
The impression created by Stephen 

1137. Stephen in Normandy. 




1138. The beginning of civil war 214 

The revolt around Bristol 217 

22 Aug. The battle of the Standard 219 

June, 1139. The arrest of the bishops 223 

Matilda in England 226 

1140. Stephen's purchase of support 230 

2 Feb., 1141. The battle of Lincoln 231 


March, 1141. Matilda received in Winchester 233 

24 June, 1141. She is driven from London 235 

Stephen released 236 

1142-4. Geoffrey conquers Normandy 238 



1144. The fall of Geoffrey de Mandeville .... 241 

y~ H49- Henry of Anjou in England 244 

1152. He marries Eleanor of Aquitaine .... 247 

1153. Henry again in England 250 

Nov. He makes peace with Stephen 251 


The character of Henry II 255 

19 Dec., 1154. His coronation 259 

1155. The pope's grant of Ireland 262 

Jan., 1156. Henry in Normandy 264 

1158. Treaty with Louis VII 267 

June, 1159. Attack on Toulouse ....... 268 

New forms of taxation 269 

1162. Thomas Becket made primate 272 


1162. The position of Becket 275 

July, 1163. First disagreement with Henry 277 

The question of crimmous clerks .... 278 

1164. The constitutions of Clarendon . . . . 282 

Oct. The trial of Becket 285 

Becket flees from England 290 

1165-70. War between king and primate 291 

14 June, 1 1 70. Young Henry crowned 293 

July. Henry and Becket reconciled 293 

29 Dec. Murder of Becket 295 


Oct., 1171. Henry II in Ireland 298 

May, 1172. Reconciled with the Church 300 

Henry and his sons 301 

Discontent of young Henry 304 

1173. Plans of Henry II in the southeast .... 305 

Young Henry and the barons rebel . . . -307 

12 July, 1174. Henry IPs penance at Canterbury .... 310 

1 2 July. The king of Scotland captured 311 

6 Aug. Henry returns to Normandy 312 

30 Sept. Peace concluded 313 


1175. Government during peace 316 

The homage of Scotland 318 

Judicial reforms 320 

Itinerant justices and jury . . . . . . 322 

The common law 324 

1176. Young Henry again discontented .... 327 
Affairs in Ireland 329 



1177. Dealings with France 331 

1 1 80. Philip II king of France ...... 333 

1183. War between Henry's sons 335 

ii June. Death of young Henry 336 


1183. Negotiations with France 338 

1184-5. The question of a crusade . 340 

1185. John in Ireland 342 

1 1 86. Philip II and Henry's sons 345 

1187. War with Philip II ........ 347 

Renewed call for a crusade ,.... 349 

1 1 88. The Saladin tithe 351 

A new war with Philip 353 

Nov. Richard abandons his father 354 

4 July, 1189. Peace forced on Henry ...... 356 

6 July. Death of Henry II 357 


1189. Richard's first acts 359 

Methods of raising money 362 

Arrangements for Richard's absence .... 363 

Conduct of William Longchamp 365 

June, 1 190. Richard goes on the crusade 366 

1191. Events of the third crusade 368 

Strife of John and Longchamp 370 

Oct. Longchamp deposed 372 

Philip II intrigues with John 372 


Dec., 1192. Richard imprisoned in Germany 374 

1193. Negotiations for his release 375 

1 6 March, 1194. He reaches London 377 

War with Philip II 37 8 

Hubert Walter justiciar 379 

1 5 Jan., 1196. Treaty with France . . . ... . 380 

Renewed war 3& 1 

7 Dec., 1197. Bishop Hugh refuses Richard's demand . . . 382 

1198. Financial difficulties . 3^5 

6 April, 1199. The death of Richard 3^6 

The growth of English towns 3^7 


April, 1199. John succeeds in Normandy 39 

27 May. Crowned in Westminster 394 

Philip II takes Arthur's side 395 

1200. John's second marriage 397 



1202. Trial and sentence of John 399 

i Aug. John captures Arthur 400 

1203. Siege of Chateau-Gaillard 403 

24 June, 1204. Capture of Rouen 405 

1205. French conquest checked in Poitou .... 405 


1205. Question of the Canterbury election .... 409 

1 7 June, 1207. The pope consecrates Langton 410 

Taxation of the clergy 411 

24 March, 1208. The interdict proclaimed .412 

Power of the king 414 

Nov., 1209. John excommunicated 416 

1210. Expedition to Ireland ....... 417 

1 21 2. Alliance against France 419 

Philip II plans to invade England .... 421 

May, 1213. John yields to the pope 423 


20 July, 1213. The king absolved 426 

Henry Fs charter produced 429 

Feb., 1214. John invades Poitou 430 

27 July. Battle of Bouvines 431 

The barons resist the king 432 

The charter demanded 433 

15 June, 1215. Magna Carta granted 437 

Civil strife renewed 440 

The crown offered to Louis of France . . . 442 

21 May, 1216. Louis lands in England 444 

19 Oct., 1216. The death of John 446 


On authorities 44& 

INDEX 457 


1. England and the French Possessions of William I. (1087) 

2. England and France, July, 1185 



THE battle of the I4th of October, 1066, was decisive of CHAP. 
the struggle for the throne of England, but William of Nor- 1 
mandy was in no haste to gather in the results of the victory 
which he had won. The judgment of heaven had been pro- 
nounced in the case between him and Harold, and there was 
no mistaking the verdict. The Saxon army was routed and 
flying. It could hardly rally short of London, but there was 
no real pursuit. The Normans spent the night on the battle- 
field, and William's own tent was pitched on the hill which 
the enemy had held, and in the midst of the Saxon wounded, 
a position of some danger, against which his friend and ad- 
viser, Walter Giffard, remonstrated in vain. On the next 
day he fell back with his army to Hastings. Here he re- 
mained five days waiting, the Saxon Chronicle tells us, for 
the nation to make known its submission ; waiting, it is more 
likely, for reinforcements which were coming from Normandy. 
So keen a mind as William's probably did not misjudge the 
situation. With the only real army against him broken to 
pieces, with the only leaders around whom a new army could 
rally dead, he could afford to wait. He may not have under- 
stood the rallying power of the Saxon soldiery, but he probably 
knew very well the character of the public men of England, 
who were left alive to head and direct a new resistance. The 
only candidate for the throne upon whom all parties could 
unite was a boy of no pronounced character and no experi- 
ence. The leaders of the nobility who should have stood 
forth in such a crisis as the natural leaders of the nation were 



CHAP, men who had shown in the clearest way their readiness to 
1 sacrifice England to their personal ambitions or grievances. 
At the head of the Church were men of but little higher 
character and no greater capacity for leadership, undisguised 
pluralists who could not avoid the charge of disregarding in 
their own selfish interests the laws they were bound to admin- 
ister. London, where the greater part of the fugitives had 
gathered, could hardly have settled upon the next step to be 
taken when William began his advance, five days after the 
battle. His first objective point was the great fortress of 
Dover, which dominated that important landing-place upon 
the coast. On the way he stopped to give an example of 
what those might expect who made themselves his enemies, 
by punishing the town of Romney, which had ventured to beat 
off with some vigour a body of Normans, probably one that 
had tried to land there by mistake. 

Dover had been a strong fortress for centuries, perched on 
its cliffs as high as an arrow can be shot, says one who may 
have been present at these events, and it had been recently 
strengthened with new work. William doubtless expected a 
difficult task, and he was correspondingly pleased to find the 
garrison ready to surrender without a blow, an omen even 
more promising than the victory he had gained over Harold. 
If William had given at Romney an example of what would 
follow stubborn resistance, he gave at Dover an example of 
how he proposed to deal with those who would submit, not 
merely in his treatment of the surrendered garrison of the 
castle, but in his payment of the losses of the citizens ; for his 
army, disappointed of the plunder which would have followed 
the taking of the place by force, had burned the town or part 
of it. At Dover William remained a week, and here his army 
was attacked by a foe often more deadly to the armies of the 
Middle Ages than the enemies they had come out to fight. 
Too much fresh meat and unaccustomed water led to an out- 
break of dysentery which carried off many and weakened 
others, who had to be left behind when William set out again. 
But these losses were balanced by reinforcements from Nor- 
mandy, which joined him here or soon afterwards. His next 
advance was towards Canterbury, but it had hardly begun 
when delegations came up to meet him, bringing the submis- 


sion of that city and of other places in Kent. Soon after CHAP. 
leaving Dover the duke himself fell ill, very possibly with l 
the prevailing disease, but if we may judge by what seems to 
be our best evidence, he did not allow this to interrupt his 
advance, but pushed on towards London with only a brief stop 
at any point. 1 Nor is there any certain evidence to be had 
of extensive harrying of the country on this march. His 
army was obliged to live on what it could take from the in- 
habitants, and this foraging was unquestionably accompanied 
with much unnecessary plundering ; but there is no convincing 
evidence of any systematic laying waste of large districts to 
bring about a submission which everything would show to be 
coming of itself, and it was not like William to ravage without 
need. He certainly hesitated at no cruelty of the sort at 
times, but we can clearly enough see reasons of policy in 
most at least of the cases, which may have made the action 
seem to him necessary. Nearly all are instances either of 
defensive action or of vengeance, but that he should systemat- 
ically ravage the country when events were carrying out his 
plan as rapidly as could be expected, we have no reason to 
consider in accordance with William's policy or temper. 

In the meantime, as the invading army was slowly drawing 
near to London, opinion there had settled, for the time at 
least, upon a line of policy. Surviving leaders who had been 
defeated in the great battle, men high in rank who had been 
absent, some purposely standing aloof while the issue was 
decided, had gathered in the city. Edwin and Morcar, the 
great earls of north and middle England, heads of the house 
that was the rival of Harold's, who seem to have been willing 
to see him and his power destroyed, had now come in, having 
learned the result of the battle. The two archbishops were 
there, and certain of the bishops, though which they were we 
cannot surely tell. Other names we do not know, unless it 
be that of Esegar, Harold's staller and portreeve of London, 
the hero of a doubtful story of negotiations with the approach- 
ing enemy. But other nobles and men of influence in the 
state were certainly there, though their names are not re- 
corded. Nor was a military force lacking, even if the " army " 

1 William of Poitiers, in Migne's Patrologia Latina, cxlix, 1258. and see F. Bar- 
ing, in Engl. Hist. Rev., xiii. 18 (1898). 


CHAP, of Edwin and Morcar was under independent and not trust- 
1 worthy command. It is clear that the tone of public opinion 
was for further resistance, and the citizens were not afraid to 
go out to attack the Conqueror on his first approach to their 
neighbourhood. But from all our sources of information the 
fatal fact stands out plainly, of divided counsels and lack of 
leadership. William of Malmesbury believed, nearly two 
generations later, and we must agree with him, that if the 
English could have put aside " the discord of civil strife," and 
have " united in a common policy, they could have amended 
the ruin of the fatherland." But there was too much self- 
seeking and a lack of patriotism. Edwin and Morcar went 
about trying to persuade people that one or the other of 
them should be made king. Some of the bishops appear to 
have opposed the choice of any king. No dominating per- 
sonality arose to compel agreement and to give direction and 
power to the popular impulse. England was conquered, not 
by the superior force and genius of the Norman, but by the 
failure of her own men in a great crisis of her history. 

The need of haste seems an element in the situation, and 
under the combined pressure of the rapid approach of the 
enemy and of the public opinion of the city citizens and 
shipmen are both mentioned the leaders of Church and 
State finally came to an agreement that Edgar atheling 
should be made king. It was the only possible step except 
that of immediate submission. Grandson of Edmund Iron- 
side, the king who had offered stubborn and most skilful 
resistance to an earlier foreign invader, heir of a house that 
had been royal since the race had had a history, all men 
could unite upon him, and upon him alone, if there must 
be a king. But there was no other argument in his favour. 
Neither the blood of his grandfather nor the school of adver- 
sity had made of him the man to deal with such a situation. 
In later life he impressed people as a well-mannered, agree- 
able, and frank man, but no one ever detected in him the stuff 
of which heroes are made. He was never consecrated king, 
though the act would have strengthened his position, and one 
wonders if the fact is evidence that the leaders had yielded 
only to a popular pressure in agreeing upon him against 
their own preference, or merely of the haste and confusion of 


events. One act of sovereignty only is attributed to him, the CHAP. 
confirmation of Brand, who had been chosen by the monks l 
Abbot of Peterborough, in succession to Leofric, of the house 
of Edwin and Morcar, who had been present at the battle of 
Hastings and had died soon after. William interpreted this 
reference of the election to Edgar for confirmation as an act 
of hostility to himself, and fined the new abbot heavily, but to 
us the incident is of value as evidence of the character of the 
movement, which tried to find a national king in this last male 
of Cerdic's line. 

From Canterbury the invading army advanced directly upon 
London, and took up a position in its neighbourhood. From 
this station a body of five hundred horsemen was sent forward 
to reconnoitre the approaches to the city, and the second battle 
of the conquest followed, if we may call that a battle which 
seems to have been merely one-sided. At any rate, the citi- 
zens intended to offer battle, and crossed the river and ad- 
vanced against the enemy in regular formation, but the Norman 
knights made short work of the burgher battalions, and drove 
them back into the city with great slaughter. The suburb on 
the south bank of the Thames fell into the hands of the 
enemy, who burned down at least a part of it. William 
gained, however, no further success at this point. London 
was not yet ready to submit, and the river seems to have been 
an impassable barrier. To find a crossing the Norman march 
was continued up the river, the country suffering as before 
from the foraging of the army. The desired crossing was 
found at Wallingford, not far below Oxford and nearly fifty 
miles above London. That he could have crossed the river 
nearer the city than this, if he had wished, seems probable, 
and considerations of strategy may very likely have governed 
William's movements. Particularly might this be the case if 
he had learned that Edwin and Morcar, with their army, had 
abandoned the new king and retired northward, as some of the 
best of modern scholars have believed, though upon what is 
certainly not the best of evidence. If this was so, a little 
more time would surely convince the Londoners that submis- 
sion was the best policy, and the best position for William 
to occupy would be between the city and this army in the 
north, a position which he could easily reach, as he did, from 


CHAP, his crossing at Wallingford. If the earls had not abandoned 
London, this was still the best position, cutting them off from 
their own country and the city from the region whence rein- 
forcements must come if they came at all. A long sweep 
about a hostile city was favourite strategy of William's. 

From some point along this line of march between Dover 
and Wallingford, William had detached a force to secure the 
submission of Winchester. This city was of considerable im- 
portance, both because it was the old royal residence and still 
the financial centre of the state, and because it was the abode 
of Edith, the queen of Edward the Confessor, to whom it had 
been assigned as part of her dower. The submission of the 
city seems to have been immediate and entirely satisfactory 
to William, who confirmed the widowed Lady of England in 
her rights and showed later some favour to the monks of the 
new minster. William of Poitiers, the duke's chaplain, who 
possibly accompanied the army on this march, 1 and wrote an 
account of these events not long afterwards, tells us that at 
Wallingford Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, came in and 
made submission to his master. There is no reason to doubt 
this statement, though it has been called in question. The 
best English chroniclers omit his name from the list of those 
who submitted when London surrendered. The tide of suc- 
cess had been flowing strongly one way since the Normans 
landed. The condition of things in London afforded no real 
hope that this tide could be checked. A man of Stigand's 
type could be depended upon to see that if William's success 
was inevitable, an early submission would be better than a 
late one. If Stigand went over to William at Wallingford, it 
is a clear commentary on the helplessness of the party of 
resistance in London. 

From Wallingford William continued his leisurely march, 
leaving a trail of devastation behind him through Oxfordshire, 
Buckinghamshire, and Hertfordshire, where he turned south 
towards London. But the city was now convinced of the im- 
possibility of resistance and was ready to yield to the inevi- 
table. How near the enemy was allowed to approach before 
the step of actual surrender was taken is not quite certain. 
The generally accepted opinion, on the authority of English 

1 Orderic Vitalis, ii. 158 (ed. Le Prevost). 


chroniclers, is that the embassy from London went to meet CHAP. 
William at Berkhampsted, thirty miles away, but if we could l 
accept the suggestion which has been made that Little Berk- 
hampsted was the place intended, the distance would agree 
better with the express statement of the chaplain, William of 
Poitiers, that the city was in sight from the place of confer- 
ence. It is hard to avoid accepting William's statement, for 
it is precisely the kind of thing which the men of the duke's 
army which had been so long approaching the city and 
thinking of its capture would be likely to notice and re- 
member. It also agrees better with the probabilities of the 
case. Thirty miles was still a safe distance, especially in 
those days, and would allow much time for further debate and 
for the unexpected to happen. Wherever the act of sub- 
mission occurred, it was in form complete and final for the 
city and for the chief men of England. Edgar came to offer 
his useless and imperfect crown ; Aldred, Archbishop of York, 
was there to complete the submission of the Church ; bishops 
of several sees were also present, and chief men of the state, 
among whom Edwin and Morcar are mentioned by one of the 
chroniclers who had earlier sent them home to the north. 
Possibly he is right in both statements, and the earls had re- 
turned to make their peace when they saw that resistance was 
hopeless. These men William received most kindly and with 
good promises, and Edgar in particular he embraced and 
treated like a son. 

This deputation from London, headed by their nominal 
king, came to offer the crown to William. For him and for 
the Normans the decisive moment of the expedition was now 
come. A definite answer must be made. According to the 
account we are following, a kind of council of war of the Nor- 
man and other barons and the leaders of the army seems to 
have been held, and to this council William submitted the 
question whether it would be better to take the crown now, 
or to wait until the country was more completely subdued and 
until his wife Matilda could be present to share the honour 
with him. This is the question which we are told was pro- 
posed, but the considerations which seem to have led to the 
final decision bear less upon this than upon the question 
whether William should be king at all or not. We have 


CHAP, before this date no record of any formal decision of this ques- 
1 tion. It had been doubtless tacitly understood by all; the 
crown was more or less openly the object of the expedition ; 
but the time had now come when the question stood as a sharp 
issue before William and before his men and must be frankly 
met. If the Duke of the Normans was to be transformed 
into the King of the English, it could be done only with the 
loyal support of his Norman followers ; nor is it at all likely 
that, in a state so thoroughly feudal as Normandy, the suzerain 
would have ventured to assume so great an increase of rank 
and probable power without the express consent of his vassals, 
in disregard of what was certainly the usual feudal practice. 
The decision of the council was favourable, and William ac- 
cepted the crown. Immediately a force of men was sent for- 
ward to take military possession of the city and build, after 
the Norman fashion, some kind of defences there, and to make 
suitable preparation for the coming of the king who was to be. 
The interval William occupied in his favourite amusement of 
the chase, and his army in continuing to provide for their 
various wants from the surrounding country and that with no 
gentle hand. 

Whatever may have prevented the coronation of Edgar, 
there was to be no unnecessary delay about William's. 
Christmas day, the nearest great festival of the Church, was 
fixed upon for the ceremony, which was to take place in the 
new abbey church of Westminster, where Harold had been 
crowned and where the body of Edward lay. The consecration 
was to be performed by Aldred, Archbishop of York. No 
Norman, least of all William, who had come with the special 
blessing of the rightful pope, could allow this sacred office to 
Stigand, whose way to the primacy had been opened by the 
outlawry of the Norman archbishop Robert, and whose pallium 
was the gift of a schismatic and excommunicated pope. With 
this slight defect, from which Harold's coronation also suf- 
fered, the ceremony was made as formal and stately as possible. 
Norman guards kept order about the place; a long proces- 
sion of clergy moved into the church, with the duke and his 
supporting bishops at the end. Within, the old ritual of coro- 
nation was followed as nearly as we can judge. Englishmen 
and Frenchmen were asked in their own languages if they 


would have William to be king, and they shouted out their CHAP. 
approval ; William then took oath to defend the Church, to l 
rule justly, to make and keep right law, and to prevent dis- 
orders, and at last he was anointed and crowned and became 
King of the English in title and in law. But all this had not 
taken place without some plain evidence of the unusual and 
violent character of the event. The Normans stationed with- 
out had mistaken the shouts of approval which came from 
within for shouts of anger and protest, and in true Norman 
fashion had at once fallen on whatever was at hand, people 
and buildings, slaying and setting fire, to create a diversion 
and to be sure of vengeance. In one point at least they were 
successful; the church was emptied of spectators and the 
ceremony was finished, king and bishops alike trembling with 
uncertain dread, in the light of burning buildings and amid 
the noise of the tumult. 

At the time of his coronation William was not far from forty 
years of age. He was in the full tide of a vigorous physical 
life, in height and size, about the average, possibly a trifle 
above the average, of the men of his time, and praised for his 
unusual strength of arm. In mental gifts he stood higher 
above the general run of men than in physical. As a soldier 
and a statesman he was clear-headed, quick to see the right 
thing to do and the right time to do it ; conscious of the ulti- 
mate end and of the combination of means, direct and indirect, 
slowly working out, which must be made to reach it. But the 
characteristic by which he is most distinguished from the other 
men of his time is one which he shares with many of the 
conquerors of history a characteristic perhaps indispensable 
to that kind of success an utterly relentless determination 
to succeed, if necessary without hesitation at the means 
employed, and without considering in the least the cost to 
others. His inflexible will greatly impressed his own time. 
The men who came in contact with him were afraid of him. 
His sternness and mercilessness in the enforcement of law, 
in the punishment of crime, and in the protection of what he 
thought to be his rights, were never relaxed. His laws were 
thought to be harsh, his money-getting oppressive, and his 
forest regulations cruel and unjust. And yet William intended 
to be, and he was, a good ruler. He gave his lands, what was 


CHAP, in those days the best proof of good government, and to be 
1 had only of a strong king, internal peace. He was patient 
also, and did not often lose control of himself and yield to 
the terrible passion which could at last be roused. For thirty 
years, in name at least, he had ruled over Normandy, and he 
came to the throne of England with a long experience behind 
him of fighting against odds, of controlling a turbulent baron- 
age, and of turning anarchy into good order. 

William was at last crowned and consecrated king of the 
English. But the kingdom over which he could exercise any 
real rule embraced little more than the land through which 
he had actually passed ; and yet this fact must not be under- 
stood to mean too much. He had really conquered England, 
and there was no avoiding the result. Notwithstanding all 
the difficulties which were still before him in getting posses- 
sion of his kingdom, and the length of time before the last 
lingering resistance was subdued, there is no evidence any- 
where of a truly national movement against him. Local 
revolts there were, some of which seemed for a moment 
to assume threatening proportions; attempts at foreign 
intervention with hopes of native aid, which always proved 
fallacious ; long resistance by some leaders worthy of a better 
support, the best and bravest of whom became in the end 
faithful subjects of the new king : these things there were, 
but if we look over the whole period of the Conquest, we can 
only be astonished that a handful of foreign adventurers over- 
came so easily a strong nation. There is but one explana- 
tion to be found, the one to which such national overthrow 
is most often due, the lack of leadership. 

The panegyrist of the new king, his chaplain, William of 
Poitiers, leads us to believe that very soon after the corona- 
tion William adopted somewhat extensive regulations for the 
settlement of his kingdom and for the restraint of disorders 
in his army. We may fairly insist upon some qualification 
of the unfailing wisdom and goodness which this semi-official 
historian attributes to his patron, but we can hardly do other- 
wise than consider his general order of events correct, and 
his account of what was actually done on the whole trust- 
worthy. England had in form submitted, and this submis- 
sion was a reality so far as all were concerned who came into 


contact with William or his army. And now the new govern- CHAP. 
ment had to be set going at once. Men must know what l 
law was to be enforced and under what conditions property 
was to be secure. The king's own followers, who had won 
his kingdom for him, must receive the rewards which they 
had expected ; but the army was now a national and not an 
invading army, and it must be restrained from any further 
indiscriminate plunder or rioting. Two acts of William 
which we must assign to this time give some evidence that he 
did not feel as yet altogether sure of the temper 'of Condon. 
Soon after the ceremony at Westminster he retired to Bark- 
ing, a few miles distant, and waited there while the fortifica- 
tion in the city was completed, which probably by degrees 
grew into the Tower. And apparently at this time, certainly 
not long afterwards, he issued to the bishop and the port- 
reeve his famous charter for the city, probably drawn up 
originally in the English language, or if not, certainly with 
an English translation attached for immediate effect. In 
this charter the clearest assurance is given on two points 
about which a great commercial city, intimately concerned in 
such a revolution, would be most anxious, the establishment 
of law and the security of property. The king pledges him- 
self to introduce no foreign law and to make no arbitrary 
confiscations of property. To win the steady adhesion of 
that most influential body of men who were always at hand 
to bring the pressure of their public opinion to bear upon the 
leaders of the state, the inhabitants of London, this measure 
was as wise as was the building of the Tower for security 
against the sudden tumults so frequent in the medieval city, 
or even more dangerous insurrections. 

At the same time strict regulations were made for the 
repression of disorders in the army. The leaders were 
exhorted to justice and to avoid any oppression of the con- 
quered ; the soldiers were forbidden all acts of violence, and 
the favourite vices of armies were prohibited, too much 
drinking, we are told, lest it should lead to bloodshed. 
Judges were appointed to deal with the offences of the 
soldiers ; the Norman members of the force were allowed 
no special privileges ; and the control of law over the army, 
says the king's chaplain, proudly, was made as strict as the 


CHAP, control of the army over the subject race. Attention was 
1 given also to the fiscal system of the country, to the pun- 
ishment of criminals, and to the protection of commerce. 
Most of this we may well believe, though some details of 
fact as well as of motive may be too highly coloured, for our 
knowledge of William's attitude towards matters of this kind 
is not dependent on the words of any panegyrist. 

While William waited at Barking, other English lords in 
addition to those who had already acknowledged him came 
in and made submission. The Norman authorities say that 
the earls Edwin and Morcar were the chief of these, and if 
not earlier, they must have submitted then. Two men, Siward 
and Eldred, are said to have been relatives of the last Saxon 
king, but in what way we do not know. Copsi, who had 
ruled Northumberland for a time under Tostig, the brother of 
Harold, impressed the Norman writers with his importance, 
and a Thurkill is also mentioned by name, while " many 
other nobles " are classed together without special mention. 
Another great name which should probably be added to this 
list is that of Waltheof, Earl of Northampton and Hunting- 
don, of distinguished descent and destined later to an un- 
happy fate. All of these the king received most kindly. 
He accepted their oaths, restored to them all their posses- 
sions, and held them in great honour. 

But certainly not in all cases did things go so easily for the 
English. Two bits of evidence, one in the Saxon Chronicle, 
that men bought their lands of the king, and one in Domes- 
day Book, a statement of the condition of a piece of land 
" at the time when the English redeemed their lands," lead us 
to infer that William demanded of the English that they 
obtain from him in form a confirmation of their possessions 
for which they were obliged to pay a price. No statement is 
made of the reasons by which this demand was justified, but 
the temptation to regard it as an application of the principle 
of the feudal relief is almost irresistible ; of the relief paid on 
the succession of a new lord, instead of the ordinary relief paid 
on the recognition of the heir to the fief. If the evidence 
were greater that this was a common practice in feudalism 
rather than an occasional one, as it seems only to have been, 
it would give us the simplest and most natural explanation of 


this act of William's. To consider that he regarded all the CHAP. 
land of the kingdom as rightly confiscate, which has been l 
suggested as an explanation, because of a resistance which in 
many cases never occurred, and in most had not at the time 
when this regulation must have been made, is a forced and 
unnatural theory, and not in harmony with William's usual 
methods. To suppose that he regarded this as an exceptional 
case, in which a relief on a change of lords could be collected, 
is a less violent supposition. Possibly it was an application 
more general than ordinary of the practice which was usual 
throughout the medieval world of obtaining at a price, from a 
new king, confirmations of the important grants of his predeces- 
sors. But any explanation of the ground of right on which the 
king demanded this general redemption of lands must remain 
from lack of evidence a mere conjecture. The fact itself 
seems beyond question, and is an indication of no little value of 
the views and intentions of the new king. The kingdom was 
his ; all the land must be held of him and with his formal 
consent, but no uncalled-for disturbance of possession was to 

Beyond reasonable doubt at this time was begun that 
policy of actual confiscation, where reasons existed, which by 
degrees transformed the landed aristocracy from English into 
Norman. Those who had gained the crown for the new king 
must receive the minor rewards which they had had in view 
for themselves, and with no unnecessary delay. A new 
nobility must be endowed, and policy would dictate also that 
at the earliest moment the country should be garrisoned by 
faithful vassals of the king's own, supplied with means of 
defending themselves and having proportionately as much at 
stake in the country as himself. The lands and property of 
those who had fought against him or who were irreconcilable 
would be in his hands to dispose of, according to any theory 
of his position which William might hold. The crown lands 
of the old kings were of course his, and in spite of all the 
grants that were made during the reign, this domain was 
increased rather than diminished under William. The pos- 
sessions of Harold's family and of all those who had fallen 
in the battle with him were at once confiscated, and these 
seem to have sufficed for present needs. Whatever may have 


CHAP, been true later, we may accept the conclusion that " on the 
1 whole William at this stage of his reign warred rather against 
the memory of the dead than against the lives or fortunes of 
the living." 

These confiscated lands the king bestowed on the chiefs of 
his army. We have little information of the way in which 
this change was carried out, but in many cases certainly the 
possessions held by a given Saxon thane in the days of 
Edward were turned over as a whole to a given Norman with 
no more accurate description than that the lands of A were 
now to be the lands of B. What lands had actually belonged 
to A, the old owner, was left to be determined by some sort 
of local inquiry, but with this the king did not concern himself 
beyond giving written orders that the change was to be made. 
Often this turning over to a Norman of the estate of a dispos- 
sessed Saxon resulted in unintended injustice and in legal 
quarrels which were unsettled years afterwards. Naturally 
the new owner considered himself the successor of the old 
one in all the rights which he possessed. If for some of his 
manors the Saxon was the tenant of a church or of an abbey, 
the Norman often seized upon these with the rest, as if all 
were rightfully confiscated together and all held by an equally 
clear title, and the Church was not always able, even after 
long litigation, to establish its rights. We have little direct 
evidence as to the relationship which such grants created 
between the recipient and the king, or as to the kind of tenure 
by which they were held, but the indirect evidence is constantly 
accumulating, and may be said to be now indeed conclusive, 
that the relation and the tenure made use of were the only 
ones with which the Normans were at this time familiar or 
which would be likely to seem to them possible, the rela- 
tionship of vassal and lord ; and that with these first grants 
of land which the king made to his followers was introduced 
into England that side of the feudal system which Saxon 
England had never known, but which was, from this time 
on, for nearly two centuries, to be the ruling system in both 
public and private law. 

In saying that the feudal system was introduced into Eng- 
land by these grants, we must guard against a misconception. 
The feudal system, if we use that name as we commonly do to 


cover the entire relations of the society of that age, had two CHAP. 
sides to it, distinct in origin, character, and purpose. To any l 
clear understanding of the organization of feudal society, or 
of the change which its establishment made in English his- 
tory, it is necessary, although it is not easy, to hold these two 
sides apart. There was in the practices and in the vocabulary 
of feudalism itself some confusion of the two in the border- 
land that lay between them, and the difficulty is made greater 
for us by the fact that both sides were primarily concerned 
with the holding of land, and especially by the fact that the 
same piece of land belonged at once to both sides and was 
held at the same time by two different men, by two different 
kinds of tenure, and under two different systems of law. The 
one side may be called from its ruling purpose economic and 
the other political. The one had for its object the income to 
be drawn from the land ; the other regarded chiefly the politi- 
cal obligations joined to the land and the political or social 
rank and duties of the holders. 

The economic side concerned the relations of the cultivators 
of the soil with the man who was, in relation to them, the 
owner of that soil ; it regulated the tenures by which they 
held the little pieces which they cultivated, their rights over 
that land and its produce, their obligations to the owner of 
service in cultivating for him the lands which he reserved for 
his own use, and, in addition, of payments to him in kind and 
perhaps in money on a variety of occasions and occurrences 
throughout the year ; it defined and practically limited, also, 
the owner's right of exaction from these cultivators. These 
regulations were purely customary ; they bad grown up slowly 
out of experience, and they were not written. But this was 
true also of almost all the law of that age, and this law of the 
cultivators was as valid in its place as the Idng's law, and was 
enforced in its own courts. It is true that rttost of these men 
who cultivated the soil were serfs, at least not entirely free; 
but that fact made no difference in this particular ; they had 
their standing, their voice, and their rights in their lord's 
" customary " court, and the documents which .describe to us 
these arrangements call them, as they do the highest barons 
of the realm, "peers," that is, peers of these customary 
courts. Not all, indeed, were serfs.; many fre^a" 1611 * small 


CHAP, farmers, possibly it would not be wrong to say all who had 
1 formerly belonged to that class, had been forced by one neces- 
sity or another to enter into this system, to surrender the un- 
qualified ownership of their lands, and to agree to hold them 
of some lord, though traces of their original full ownership 
may long have lingered about the land. When they did this, 
they were brought into very close relations with the unfree 
cultivators ; they were parts of the same system and subject to 
some of the same regulations and services ; but their land was 
usually held on terms that were economically better than the 
serfs obtained, and they retained their personal freedom. 
They were members of the lords' courts, and there the serfs 
were their peers; but they were also members of the old 
national courts of hundred and shire, and there they were 
the peers of knights and barons. 

This system, this economic side of feudalism, is what we 
know as the manorial system. Its unit was the manor, an 
estate of land larger or smaller, but large enough to admit of 
this characteristic organization, managed as a unit, usually 
from some well-defined centre, the manor house, and directed 
by a single responsible head, the lord's steward. The land 
which constituted the manor was divided into two clearly 
distinguished parts, the " domain " and the "tenures." The 
domain was the part of each manor that was reserved for the 
lord's own use, and cultivated for him by the labour of his 
tenants under the direction of the steward, as a part of the 
services by which they held their lands ; that is, as a part of 
the rent paid for them. The returns from these domain 
lands formed a very large part, probably the largest part, 
of the income of the landlord class in feudal days. The 
" tenures " were the holdings of the cultivators, worked for 
themselves by their own labour, of varying sizes and held on 
terms of varying advantage, and usually scattered about the 
manor in small strips, a bit here and another there. Besides 
these cultivated lands there were also, in the typical manor, 
common pasture lands and common wood lands, in which the 
rights of each member of this little community were carefully 
regulated by the customary law of the manor. This whole 
arrangement was plainly economic in character and purpose ; 
it was not in the least political Its object was to get the 


soil cultivated, to provide mankind with the necessary food CHAP. 
and clothing, and the more fortunate members of the race l 
with their incomes. This purpose it admirably served in 
an age when local protection was an ever present need, when 
the labouring man had often to look to the rich and strong 
man of the neighbourhood for the security which he could 
not get from the state. Whatever may have been the origin 
of this system, it was at any rate this need which perpetuated 
it for centuries from the fall of Rome to the later Middle 
Ages ; and during this long time it was by this system that 
the western world was fed and all its activities sustained. 

This economic side of feudalism, this manorial system, was 
not introduced into England by the Norman Conquest. It 
had grown up in the Saxon states, as it had on the conti- 
nent, because of the prevalence there of the general social 
and economic conditions which favoured its growth. It 
was different from the continental system in some details; 
it used different terms for many things; but it was essen- 
tially the same system. It had its body of customary law 
and its private courts ; and these courts, like their prototypes 
in the Prankish state, had in numerous cases usurped or had 
been granted the rights and functions of the local courts of 
the nation, and so had annexed a minor political function 
which did not naturally belong to the system. Indeed, this 
process had gone so far that we may believe that the stronger 
government of the state established by the Conqueror found 
it necessary to check it and to hold the operation of the pri- 
vate courts within stricter limits. This economic organization 
which the Normans found in England was so clearly parallel 
with that which they had always known that they made no 
change in it. They introduced their own vocabulary in 
many cases in place of the Saxon ; they identified in some 
cases practices which looked alike but which were not 
strictly identical ; and they had a very decided tendency to 
treat the free members of the manorial population, strongly 
intrenched as they were in the popular courts, as belonging 
at the same time to both sides of feudalism, the economic and 
the political : but the confusion of language and custom which 
they introduced in consequence is not sufficient to disguise 
from us the real relationships which existed. Nor should it 

VOL. II. 2 


CHAP, be in the opposite process, which was equally easy, as when 
the Saxon chronicler, led by the superficial resemblance and 
overlooking the great institutional difference, called the ^curia 
of William by the Saxon name of witenagemot. 

With the other side of feudalism, the political, the case 
was different. That had never grown up in the Saxon world. 
The starting-points in certain minor Roman institutions from 
which it had grown, seem to have disappeared with the 
Saxon occupation of Britain. The general conditions which 
favoured its development the almost complete breakdown 
of the central government and the difficult and interrupted 
means of communication existed in far less degree in the 
Saxon states than in the more extensive Prankish territories. 
Such rudimentary practices as seem parallel to early stages 
of feudal growth were more so in appearance than in reality, 
and we can hardly affirm with any confidence that political 
feudalism was even in process of formation in England before 
the Conquest, though it would undoubtedly have been intro- 
duced there by some process before very long. 

The political feudal organization was as intimately bound 
up with the possession of land as the economic, but its 
primary object was different. It may be described as that 
form of organization in which the duties of the citizen to the 
state had been changed into a species of land rent. A set of 
legal arrangements and personal relationships which had 
grown up wholly in the field of private affairs, for the serv- 
ing of private ends, had usurped the place of public law in 
the state. Duties of the citizen and functions of the govern- 
ment were translated into its terms and performed as inci- 
dents of a private obligation. The individual no longer 
served in the army because this service was a part of his 
obligation as a citizen, but because he had agreed by private 
contract to do so as a part of the rent he was to pay for the 
land he held of another man. The judicial organization was 
transformed in the same way. The national courts dis- 
appeared, and their place was taken by private courts made 
up of tenants. The king summoned at intervals the great 
men of Church and State to gather round him in his council, 
law court, and legislature, in so far as there was a legislature 
in that age, the curia regis, the mother institution of a numer- 


ous progeny ; but he did not summon them, and they came no CHAP. 
longer, because they were the great men of Church and State, l 
the wise men of the land, but because they had entered into 
a private obligation with him to attend when called upon, as 
a return for lands which he had given them ; or, in other 
words, as Henry II told the bishops in the Constitutions of 
Clarendon, because they were his vassals. Public . taxation 
underwent the same change, and the money revenue of the 
feudal state which corresponds most nearly to the income 
of taxation, was made up of irregular payments due on the 
occurrence of specified events from those who held land of 
the king, and these in turn collected like payments of their 
tenants ; the relief, for instance, on the succession of the heir 
to his father's holding, or the aids in three cases, on the 
knighting of the lord's eldest son, the marrying of his eldest 
daughter, and the ransom of his own person from imprison- 
ment. The contact of the central government with the mass 
of the men of the state was broken off by the intervening 
series of lords who were political rulers each of the territory 
or group of lands immediately subject to himself, and exer- 
cised within those limits the functions which the general 
government should normally exercise for the whole state. 
The payments and services which the lord's vassals made 
to him, while they were of the nature of rent, were not 
rent in the economic sense ; they were important to the suze- 
rain less as matters of income than as defining his political 
power and marking his rank in this hierarchical organization. 
The state as a whole might retain its geographical outlines 
and the form of a common government, but it was really 
broken up into fragments of varying size, whose lords pos- 
sessed in varying degrees of completeness the attributes of 

This organization, however, never usurped the place of the 
state so completely as might be inferred. It had grown up 
within the limits of a state which was, during the whole 
period of its formation, nominally ruled over by a king who 
was served by a more or less centralized administrative 
system. This royal power never entirely disappeared. It 
survived as the conception of government, it survived in the 
exercise of some rights everywhere, and of many rights in 


CHAP, some places, even in the most feudal of countries. Some 
1 feeling of public law and public duty still lingered. In the 
king's court, the curia regis, whether in England or in France, 
there was often present a small group of members, at first in 
a minor and subordinate capacity, who were there, not because 
they were the vassals of the king, but because they were the 
working members of a government machine. The military 
necessity of the state in all countries occasionally called out 
something like the old general levy. In the judicial depart- 
ment, in England at least, one important class of courts, the 
popular county courts, was never seriously affected by feudal- 
ism, either in their organization or in the law which they 
interpreted. Any complete description of the feudal organi- 
zation must be understood to be a description of tendencies 
rather than of a realized system. It was the tendency of 
feudalism to transform the state into a series of principal- 
ities rising in tiers one above the other, and to get the 
business of the state done, not through a central constitu- 
tional machine, but through a series of graded duties corre- 
sponding to these successive stages and secured by private 
agreements between the landholders and by a customary law 
which was the outgrowth of such agreements. 

At the date of the Norman Conquest of England, this ten- 
dency was more nearly realized in France than anywhere 
else. Within the limits of that state a number of great 
feudal principalities had been formed, duchies and counties, 
round the administrative divisions of an earlier time as their 
starting-point, in many of which the sovereign of the state 
could exercise no powers of government. The extensive 
powers which the earlier system had intrusted to the duke 
or count as an administrative officer of the state he now 
exercised as a practically independent sovereign, and the 
state could expect from this portion of its territory only the 
feudal services of its ruler, perhaps ill-defined and difficult 
to enforce. In some cases, however, this process of breaking 
up the state into smaller units went no further. Normandy, 
with which we are particularly concerned, was an instance of 
this fact. The duke was practically the sole sovereign of that 
province. The king of France was entirely shut out. Even 
the Church was under the unlimited control of the duke. And 



with respect to his subjects his power was as great as with re- CHAP. 
spect to his nominal sovereign. Very few great baronies ex- l 
isted in Normandy formed of contiguous territory and capable 
of development into independent principalities, and those that 
did exist were kept constantly in the hands of relatives of the 
ducal house and under strong control. Political feudalism 
existed in Normandy in even greater perfection and in a more 
logical completeness, if we regard the forms alone, its prac- 
tices and customs, than was usual in the feudal world of that 
age ; but it existed not as the means by which the state was 
broken into fragments, but as the machinery by which it was 
governed by the duke. It formed the bond of connexion 
between him and the great men of the state. It defined the 
services which he had the right to demand of them, and which 
they in turn might demand of their vassals. It formed the 
foundation of the army and of the judicial system. Every 
department of the state was influenced by its forms and prin- 
ciples. At the same time the Duke of Normandy was more 
than a feudal suzerain. He had saved on the whole, from 
the feudal deluge, more of the prerogatives of sovereignty 
than had the king of France. He had a considerable non- 
feudal administrative system, though it might not reach all 
parts of the duchy. The supreme judicial power had never 
been parted with, and the Norman barons were unable to ex- , 
ercise in its full extent the right of high justice. The oath of 
allegiance from all freemen, whosesoever vassals they might 
be, traces of which are to be found in many feudal lands 
and even under the Capetian kings, was retained in the 
duchy. Private war, baronial coinage, engagements with for- 
eign princes to the injury of the duke, these might occur 
in exceptional cases during a minority or under a weak duke, 
or in time of rebellion ; but the strong dukes repressed them 
with an iron hand, and no Norman baron could claim any of 
them as a prescriptive right. Feudalism existed in Normandy 
as the organization of the state, and as the system which regu- 
lated the relations between the duke and the knights and the 
nobles of the land, but it did not exist at the expense of the 
sovereign rights of the duke. 

This was the system which was introduced fully formed 
into England with the grants of land which the Conqueror 


CHAP, made to his barons. It was the only system known to him 
1 by which to regulate their relations to himself and their 
duties to the state. To suppose a gradual introduction of 
feudalism into England, except in a geographical sense, as 
the confiscation spread over the land, is to misunderstand 
both feudalism itself and its history. This system gave to 
the baron opportunities which might be dangerous under a 
ruler who could not make himself obeyed, but there was 
nothing in it inconsistent with the practical absolutism exer- 
cised by the first of the Norman kings and by the more part 
of his immediate successors. Feudalism brought in with 
itself two ideas which exercised decisive influence on later 
English history. I do not mean to assert that these ideas 
were consciously held, or that they could have been formu- 
lated in words, though of the first at least this was very nearly 
true, but that they unconsciously controlled the facts of the 
time and their future development. One was the idea that 
all holders of land in the kingdom, except the king, were, 
strictly speaking, tenants rather than owners, which pro- 
foundly influenced the history of English law; the other 
was the idea that important public duties were really private 
obligations, created by a business contract, which as pro- 
foundly influenced the growth of the constitution. Taken 
together, the introduction of the feudal system was as mo- 
mentous a change as any which followed the Norman Con- 
quest, as decisive in its influence upon the future as the 
enrichment of race or of language; more decisive in one 
respect, since without the consequences in government and 
constitution, which were destined to follow from the feudali- 
zation of the English state, neither race nor language could 
have done the work in the world which they have already 
accomplished and are yet destined to perform in still larger 

But, however profound this change may have been, it 
affected but a small class, comparatively speaking. The 
whole number of military units, of knights due the king in 
service, seems to have been something less than five thou- 
sand. 1 For the great mass of the population, the working 
substratum, whose labours sustained the life of the nation, 

* Round, Feudal England, p. 292, 


the Norman Conquest made but little change. The interior CHAP. 
organization of the manor was not affected by it. Its work l 
went on in the same way as before. There was a change of 
masters ; there was a new set of ideas to interpret the old 
relationship; the upper grades of the manorial population 
suffered in some parts of England a serious depression. 
But in the main, as concerned the great mass of facts, there 
was no change of importance. Nor was there any, at first at 
least, which affected the position of the towns. The new 
system allowed as readily as the old the rights which they 
already possessed. In the end, the new ideas might be a 
serious matter for the towns in some particulars, but at pres- 
ent the conditions did not exist which were to raise these 
difficulties. At the time, to the mass of the nation, to every- 
body indeed, the Norman Conquest might easily seem but a 
change of sovereigns, a change of masters. It is because we 
can see the results of the changes which it really introduced 
that we are able to estimate their profound significance. 

The spoiling of England for the benefit of the foreigner 
did not consist in the confiscation of lands alone. Besides 
the forced redemption of their lands, William seems to have 
laid a heavy tax on the nation, and the churches and monas- 
teries whose lands were free from confiscation seem to have 
suffered heavy losses of their gold and silver and precious 
stuffs. The royal treasure and Harold's possessions would 
pass into William's hands, and much confiscated and plun- 
dered wealth besides. These things he distributed with a 
free hand, especially to the churches of the continent whose 
prayers and blessings he unquestionably regarded as a strong 
reinforcement of his arms. Harold's rich banner of the 
fighting man went to Rome, and valuable gifts besides, and 
the Norman ecclesiastical world had abundant cause to return 
thanks to heaven for the successes which had attended the 
efforts of the Norman military arm. If William despatched 
these gifts to the continent before his own return to Nor- 
mandy, they did not exhaust his booty, for the wonder and 
admiration of the duchy is plainly expressed at the richness 
and beauty of the spoils which he brought home with him. 

Having settled the matters which demanded immediate 
attention, the Jdng proceeded to jnake a progress through 


CHAP, those parts of his kingdom which were under his control. 
Just where he went we are not told, but he can hardly have 
gone far outside the counties of southern and eastern England 
which were directly influenced by his march on London. In 
such a progress he probably had chiefly in mind to take pos- 
session for himself and his men of confiscated estates and of 
strategic points. No opposition showed itself anywhere, but 
women with their children appeared along the way to beseech 
his mercy, and the favour which he showed to these suppliants 
was thought worthy of special remark. Winchester seems to 
have been visited, and secured by the beginning of a Norman 
castle within the walls, and the journey ended at Pevensey, 
where he had landed so short a time before in pursuit of the 
crown. William had decided that he could return to Nor- 
mandy, and the decision that this could be safely done with 
so small a part of the kingdom actually in hand, with so few 
castles already built or garrisons established, is the clearest 
possible evidence of William's opinion of the situation. He 
would have been the last man to venture such a step if he had 
believed the risk to be great. And the event justified his 
judgment. The insurrectionary movements which called him 
back clearly appear to have been, not so much efforts of the 
nation to throw off a foreign yoke, as revolts excited by the 
oppression and bad government of those whom he had left in 
charge of the kingdom. 

On the eve of his departure he confided the care of his 
new kingdom to two of his followers whom he believed the 
most devoted to himself, the south-east to his half brother 
Odo, and the north to William Fitz Osbern. Odo, Bishop of 
Bayeux, but less an ecclesiastic, according to the ideals of 
the Church, than a typically feudal bishop, was assigned the 
responsibility for the fortress of Dover, was given large 
estates in Kent and to the west of it, and was probably made 
earl of that county at this time. William Fitz Osbern was the 
son of the duke's guardian, who had been murdered for his 
fidelity during William's minority, and they had been boys 
together, as we are expressly told. He was appointed to be 
responsible for Winchester and to hold what might be called 
the marches, towards the unoccupied north and west. Very 
probably at this time also he was made Earl of Hereford. 


Some other of the leading nobles of the Conquest had been CHAP. 
established in their possessions by this date, as we know on l 
good evidence, like Hugh of Grantmesnil in Hampshire, but 
the chief dependence of the king was apparently upon these 
two, who are spoken of as having under their care the minor 
holders of the castles which had been already established. 

No disorders in Normandy demanded the duke's return. 
Everything had been quiet there, under the control of Matilda 
and those who had been appointed to assist her. William's 
visit at this time looks less like a necessity than a parade to 
make an exhibition of the results of his venture. He took 
with him a splendid assortment of plunder and a long train of 
English nobles, among whom the young atheling Edgar, 
Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, Earls Edwin and Morcar, 
Waltheof, son of Siward, the Abbot of Glastonbury, and a 
thane of Kent, are mentioned by name. The favour and 
honour with which William treated these men did not dis- 
guise from them the fact that they were really held as hos- 
tages. No business of especial importance occupied William 
during his nine months' stay in Normandy. He was received 
with great rejoicing on every hand, especially in Rouen, where 
Matilda was staying, and his return and triumphal progress 
through the country reminded his panegyrist of the successes 
and glories of the great Roman commanders. He distributed 
with a free hand, to the churches and monasteries, the wealth 
which he had brought with him. A great assembly gathered 
to celebrate with him the Easter feast at the abbey of Fecamp. 
His presence was sought to add tclat to the dedication of new 
churches. But the event of the greatest importance which 
occurred during this visit to the duchy was the falling vacant 
of the primacy of Normandy by the death of Maurilius, 
Archbishop of Rouen. The universal choice for his successor 
was Lanfranc, the Italian, Abbot of St. Stephen's at Caen, 
who had already made evident to all the possession of those 
talents for government which he was to exercise in a larger 
field. But though William stood ready, in form at least, to 
grant his sanction, Lanfranc declined the election, which then 
fell upon John, Bishop of Avranches, a friend of his. Lan- 
franc was sent to Rome to obtain the pallium for the new 
archbishop, but his mission was in all probability one of 


CHAP, information to the pope regarding larger interests than those 
of the archbishopric of Rouen. 

In the meantime, affairs had not run smoothly in England. 
We may easily guess that William's lieutenants, especially 
his brother, had not failed on the side of too great gentleness 
in carrying out his directions to secure the land with garri- 
sons and castles. In various places unconnected with one 
another troubles had broken out. In the north, where Copsi 
had been made Earl of Northumberland, an old local dynas- 
tic feud was still unsettled, and the mere appointment of an 
earl would not bring it to an end. Copsi was slain by his 
rival, Oswulf, who was himself soon afterward killed, but the 
Norman occupation had still to be begun. In the west a 
more interesting resistance to the Norman advance had de- 
veloped near Hereford, led by Edric, called the Wild, 
descendant of a noble Saxon house. He had enlisted the 
support of the Welsh, and in retaliation for attacks upon 
himself had laid waste a large district in Herefordshire. 
Odo had had in his county an insurrection which threatened 
for a moment to have most serious consequences, but which 
had ended in a complete failure. The men of Kent, planning 
rebellion, had sent across the channel to Eustace, Count of 
Boulogne, who believed that he had causes of grievance against 
William, and had besought him to come to their aid in an 
attempt to seize the fortress of Dover. Eustace accepted 
the invitation and crossed over at the appointed time, but 
his allies had not all gathered when he arrived, and the 
unsteady character of the count wrecked the enterprise. 
He attacked in haste, and when he failed to carry the 
castle by storm, he retired in equal haste and abandoned 
the undertaking. William judged him too important a man 
to treat with severity, and restored him to his favour. 
Besides these signs which revealed the danger of an open 
outbreak, William undoubtedly knew that many of the 
English had left the country and had gone in various 
directions, seeking foreign aid. His absence could not be 
prolonged without serious consequences, and in December, 
1067, he returned to England. 



WITH William's return to England began the long and CHAP. 
difficult task of bringing the country completely under his n 
control. But this was not a task that called for military 
genius. Patience was the quality most demanded, and Will- 
iam's patience gave way but rarely. There was no army in 
the field against him. No large portion of the land was in 
insurrection. No formal campaign was necessary. Local 
revolts had to be put down one after another, or a district 
dealt with where rebellion was constantly renewed. The 
Scandinavian north and the Celtic west were the regions not 
yet subdued, and the seats of future trouble. Three years 
were filled with this work, and the fifteen years that follow 
were comparatively undisturbed. For the moment after his 
return, William was occupied with no hostilities. The Christ- 
mas of 1067 was celebrated in London with the land at peace, 
Normans and English meeting together to all appearance with 
cordial good-will. A native, Gospatric, was probably at this 
time made Earl of Northumberland, in place of Copsi, who 
had been killed, though this was an exercise of royal power 
in form rather than in reality, since William's authority did 
not yet reach so far. A Norman, Remigius, was made Bishop 
of Dorchester, in place of Wulfwig, who had died while the 
king was in Normandy, and William's caution in dealing with 
the matter of Church reform is shown in the fact that the 
new bishop received his consecration from Stigand. It is 
possible also that another heavy tax was imposed at this 

But soon after Christmas, William felt himself obliged to 
take the field. He had learned that Exeter, the rich com- 
mercial city of the south-west, was making preparations to 
resist him. It was in a district where Harold and his family 



CHAP, had had large possessions. His mother was in the city, and 
11 perhaps others of the family. At least some English of 
prominence seem to have rallied around them. The citizens 
had repaired and improved their already strong walls. They 
had impressed foreigners, merchants even, into their service, 
and were seeking allies in other towns. William's rule had 
never yet reached into that part of England, and Exeter 
evidently hoped to shut him out altogether. When the king 
heard of these preparations, he acted with his usual prompti- 
tude, but with no sacrifice of his diplomatic skill. The citi- 
zens should first be made to acknowledge their intentions. 
A message was sent to the city, demanding that the oath of 
allegiance to himself be taken. The citizens answered that 
they would take no oath, and would not admit him within the 
walls, but that they were willing to pay him the customary 
tribute. William at once replied that he was not accus- 
tomed to have subjects on such conditions, and at once began 
his march against the city. Orderic Vitalis thought it worthy 
of note, that in this army William was using Englishmen for 
the first time as soldiers. 

When the hostile army drew near to the town, the courage 
of some of the leading men failed, and they went out to seek 
terms of peace. They promised to do whatever was com- 
manded, and they gave hostages, but on their return they 
found their negotiations disavowed and the city determined 
to stand a siege. This lasted only eighteen days. Some 
decided advantage which the Normans gained the under- 
mining of the walls seems to be implied induced the city 
to try again for terms. The clergy, with their sacred books 
and relics, accompanied the deputation, which obtained from 
the king better promises than had been hoped for. For 
some reason William departed from his usual custom of 
severity to those who resisted. He overlooked their evil 
conduct, ordered no confiscations, and even stationed guards 
in the gates to keep out the soldiers who would have helped 
themselves to the property of the citizens with some violence. 
But as usual he selected a site for a castle within the walls, 
and left a force of chosen knights under faithful command, to 
complete the fortification and to form the garrison. Harold's 
mother, Gytha, left the city before its surrender, and finally 


found a refuge in Saint Omer, in Flanders. Harold's sons CHAP. 
also, if they were in Exeter, made their escape before its fall. n 

After subduing Exeter, William marched with his army 
into Cornwall, and put down without difficulty whatever 
resistance he found there. The confiscation of forfeited 
estates was no doubt one object of his march through the 
land, and the greater part of these were bestowed upon his 
own half brother, Robert, Count of Mortain, the beginning 
of what grew ultimately into the great earldom of Cornwall. 
In all, the grants which were made to Robert have been esti- 
mated at 797 manors, the largest made to any one as the 
result of the Conquest. Of these, 248 manors were in Corn- 
wall, practically the whole shire ; 75 in Dorset, and 49 in 
Devonshire. This was almost a principality in itself, and is 
alone nearly enough to disprove the policy attributed to Will- 
iam of scattering about the country the great estates which 
he granted. So powerful a possession was the earldom which 
was founded upon this grant that after a time the policy 
which had been followed in Normandy, in regard to the 
great counties, seemed the only wise one in this case also, 
and it was not allowed to pass out of the immediate family 
of the king until in the fourteenth century it was made into 
a provision for the king's eldest son, as it has ever since 
remained. These things done, William disbanded his army 
and returned to spend Easter at Winchester. 

Once more for a moment the land seemed to be at peace, 
and William was justified in looking upon himself as now no 
longer merely the leader of a military adventure, seeking to 
conquer a foreign state, but as firmly established in a land 
where he had made a new home for his house. He could 
send for his wife; his children should be born here. It 
should be the native land of future generations for his family. 
Matilda came soon after Easter, with a distinguished train of 
ladies as well as lords, and with her Guy, Bishop of Amiens, 
who, Orderic tells us, had already written his poem on the 
war of William and Harold. At Whitsuntide, in Westmin- 
ster, Matilda was crowned queen by Archbishop Aldred. 
Later in the summer Henry, the future King Henry I, was 
born, and the new royal family had completely identified 
itself with the new kingdom. 


CHAP. But a great task still lay before the king, the greatest per- 
haps that he had yet undertaken. The north was his only in 
name. Scarcely had any English king up to this time exer- 
cised there the sort of authority to which William was accus- 
tomed, and which he was determined to exercise everywhere. 
The question of the hour was, whether he could establish his 
authority there by degrees, as he seemed to be trying to do, 
or only after a sharp conflict. The answer to this question 
was known very soon after the coronation of Matilda. What 
seemed to the Normans a great conspiracy of the north and 
west was forming. The Welsh and English nobles were 
making common cause ; the clergy and the common people 
joined their prayers; York was noted as especially enthu- 
siastic in the cause, and many there took to living in tents 
as a kind of training for the conflict which was coming. 
The Normans understood at the time that there were two 
reasons for this determination to resist by force any further 
extension of William's rule. One was, the personal dissatis- 
faction of Earl Edwin. He had been given by William some 
undefined authority, and promoted above his brother, and he 
had even been promised a daughter of the king's as his 
wife. Clearly it had seemed at one time very necessary to 
conciliate him. But either that necessity had passed away, 
or William was reluctant to fulfil his promise; and Edwin, 
discontented with the delay, was ready to lead what was for 
him at least, after he had accepted so much from William, a 
rebellion. He was the natural leader of such an attempt ; his 
family history made him that. Personal popularity and his 
wide connexions added to his strength, and if he had had in 
himself the gifts of leadership, it would not have been even 
then too late to dispute the possession of England on even 
terms. The second reason given us is one to which we must 
attach much greater force than to the personal influence of 
Edwin. He in all probability merely embraced an opportu- 
nity. The other was the really moving cause. This is said 
to have been the discontent of the English and Welsh nobles 
under the Norman oppression, but we must phrase it a little 
differently. No direct oppression had as yet been felt, either 
in the north or west, but the severity of William in the south 
and east, the widespread confiscations there, were undoubtedly 


well known, and easily read as signs of what would follow in CHAP. 
the north, and already the borders of Wales were threatened n 
with the pushing forward of the Norman lines, which went on 
so steadily and for so long a time. 

Whether or not the efforts which had been making to obtain 
foreign help against William were to result finally in bringing 
in a reinforcement of Scots or Danes, the union of Welsh- 
men and Englishmen was itself formidable and demanded 
instant attention. Early in the summer of 1068 the army 
began its march upon York, advancing along a line some- 
what to the west of the centre of England, as the situation 
would naturally demand. As in William's earlier marches, 
so here again he encountered no resistance. Whatever may 
have been the extent of the conspiracy or the plans of the 
leaders, the entire movement collapsed before the Norman's 
firm determination to be master of the kingdom. Edwin and 
Morcar had collected an army and were in the field somewhere 
between Warwick and Northampton, but when the time came 
when the fight could no longer be postponed, they thought 
better of it, besought the king's favour again, and obtained 
at least the show of it. The boastful preparations at York 
brought forth no better result. The citizens went out to 
meet the king on his approach, and gave him the keys of 
the city and hostages from among them. 

The present expedition went no further north, but its 
influence extended further. Ethelwin, the Bishop of Dur- 
ham, came in and made his submission. He bore inquiries 
also from Malcolm, the king of Scots, who had been listening 
to the appeals for aid from the enemies of William, and pre- 
paring himself to advance to their assistance. The Bishop 
of Durham was sent back to let him know what assurances 
would be acceptable to William, and he undoubtedly also 
informed him of the actual state of affairs south of his 
borders, of the progress which the invader had made, and 
of the hopelessness of resistance. The Normans at any rate 
believed that as a result of the bishop's mission Malcolm was 
glad to send down an embassy of his own which tendered to 
William an oath of obedience. It is not likely that William 
attached much weight to any profession of the Scottish 
king's. Already, probably as soon as the failure of this 


CHAP, northern undertaking was apparent, some of the most 
11 prominent of the English, who seem to have taken part in 
it, had abandoned England and gone to the Scottish court. 
It is very possible that Edgar and his two sisters, Margaret 
and Christina, sought the protection of Malcolm at this time, 
together with Gospatric, who had shortly before been made 
Earl of Northumberland, and the sheriff Merleswegen. These 
men had earlier submitted to William, Merleswegen perhaps 
in the submission at Berkhampsted, with Edgar, and had 
been received with favour. Under what circumstances they 
turned against him we do not know, but they had very likely 
been attracted by the promise of strength in this effort at 
resistance, and were now less inclined than the unstable 
Edwin to profess so early a repentance. Margaret, whether 
she went to Scotland at this time or a little later, found there 
a permanent home, consenting against her will to become the 
bride of Malcolm instead of the bride of the Church as she 
had wished. As queen she gained, through teaching her 
wild subjects, by the example of gentle manners and noble 
life, a wider mission than the convent could have furnished 
her. The conditions which Malcolm accepted evidently con- 
tained no demand as to any English fugitives, nor any other 
to which he could seriously object. William was usually able 
to discern the times, and did not attempt the impracticable. 

William intended this expedition of his to result in the per- 
manent pacification of the country through which he had 
passed. There is no record of any special severity attend- 
ing the march, but certainly no one was able to infer from it 
that the king was weak or to be trifled with. The important 
towns he secured with castles and garrisons, as he had in the 
south. Warwick and Northampton were occupied in this way 
as he advanced, with York at the north, and Lincoln, Hunt- 
ingdon, and Cambridge along the east as he returned. A 
great wedge of fortified posts was thus driven far into that 
part of the land from which the greatest trouble was to be ex- 
pected, and this, together with the general impression which 
his march had made, was the most which was gained from it. 
Sometime during this summer of 1068 another fruitless at- 
tempt had been made to disturb the Norman possession of 
England. Harold's sons had retired, perhaps after the fall 



of Exeter, to Ireland, where their father had formerly found CHAP. 
refuge. There it was not difficult to stir up the love of n 
plundering raids in the descendants of the Vikings, and they 
returned at this time, it is said with more than fifty ships, and 
sailed up the Bristol Channel. If any among them intended 
a serious invasion of the island, the result was disappointing. 
They laid waste the coast lands ; attacked the city of Bristol, 
but were beaten off by the citizens ; landed again further down 
in Somerset, and were defeated in a great battle by Ednoth, 
who had been Harold's staller, where many were killed on 
both sides, including Ednoth himself; and then returned 
with nothing gained but such plunder as they succeeded in 
carrying off. The next year they repeated the attempt in the 
same style, and were again defeated, even more disastrously, 
this time by one of the newcomers, Brian of Britanny. Such 
piratical descents were not dangerous to the Norman govern- 
ment, nor was a rally to beat them off any test of English 
loyalty to William. 

Even the historian, Orderic Vitalis, half English by descent 
and wholly so by birth, but writing in Normandy for Normans 
and very favourable to William, or possibly the even more 
Norman William of Poitiers, whom he may have been follow- 
ing, was moved by the sufferings of the land under these re- 
peated invasions, revolts, and harryings, and notes at the close 
of his account of this year how conquerors and conquered alike 
were involved in the evils of war, famine, and pestilence. He 
adds that the king, seeing the injuries which were inflicted on 
the country, gathered together the soldiers who were serving 
him for pay, and sent them home with rich rewards. We 
may regard this disbanding of his mercenary troops as an- 
other sign that William considered his position secure. 

In truth, however, the year which was coming on, 1069, 
was another year of crisis in the history of the Conquest. 
The danger which had been threatening William from the 
beginning was this year to descend upon him, and to prove 
as unreal as all those he had faced since the great battle with 
Harold. For a long time efforts had been making to induce 
some foreign power to interfere in England and support the 
cause of the English against the invader. Two states seemed 
especially fitted for the mission, from close relationship with 

VOL. II. 3 


CHAP. England in the past, Scotland and Denmark. Fugitives, 
who preferred exile to submission, had early sought the one 
or the other of these courts, and urged intervention upon 
their kings. Scotland had for the moment formally accepted 
the Conquest. Denmark had not done so, and Denmark was 
the more directly interested in the result, not perhaps as a 
mere question of the independence of England, but for other 
possible reasons. If England was to be ruled by a foreign 
king, should not that king on historical grounds be a Dane 
rather than a Norman ? Ought he not to be of the land that 
had already furnished kings to England? And if Sweyn 
dreamed of the possibility of extending his rule, at such a 
time, over this other member of the empire of his uncle, 
Canute the Great, he is certainly not to be blamed. 

It is true that the best moment for such an intervention had 
been allowed to slip by, the time when no beginning of con- 
quest had been made in the north, but the situation was not 
even yet unfavourable. William was to learn, when the new 
year had hardly begun, that he really held no more of the 
north than his garrisons commanded. Perhaps it was a rash 
attempt to try to establish a Norman earl of Northumberland 
in Durham before the land had been overawed by his own 
presence ; but the post was important, the two experiments 
which had been made to secure the country through the 
appointment of English earls had failed, and the submission 
of the previous summer might prove to be real. In January 
Robert of Comines was made earl, and with rash confidence, 
against the advice of the bishop, he took possession of Durham 
with five hundred men or more. He expected, no doubt, to be 
very soon behind the walls of a new castle, but he was allowed 
no time. The very night of his arrival the enemy gathered 
and massacred him and all his men but two. Yorkshire took 
courage at this and cut up a Norman detachment. Then the 
exiles in Scotland believed the time had come for another 
attempt, and Edgar, Gospatric, and the others, with the men 
of Northumberland at their back, advanced to attack the castle 
in York. This put all the work of the previous summer in 
danger, and at the call of William Malet, who held the castle 
for him, the king advanced rapidly to his aid, fell unexpectedly 
on the insurgents, and scattered them with great slaughter. 


As a result the Norman hold on York was tightened by the CHAP. 
building of a second castle, but Northumberland was still left n 
to itself. 

William may have thought, as he returned to celebrate 
Easter at Winchester, that the north had learned a lesson 
that would be sufficient for some time, but he must have 
heard soon after his arrival that the men of Yorkshire had 
again attacked his castles, though they had been beaten off 
without much difficulty. Nothing had been gained by any 
of these attempts, but they must have been indications to any 
abroad who were watching the situation, and to William as 
well, that an invasion of England in that quarter might hope 
for much local assistance. It was nearly the end of the sum- 
mer before it came, and a summer that was on the whole 
quiet, disturbed only by the second raid of Harold's sons in 
the Bristol Channel. 

Sweyn of Denmark had at last made up his mind, and had 
got ready an expedition, a somewhat miscellaneous force ap- 
parently, " sharked up " from all the Baltic lands, and not 
too numerous. His fleet sailed along the shores of the North 
Sea and first appeared off south-western England. A foolish 
attack on Dover was beaten off, and three other attempts to 
land on the east coast, where the country was securely held, 
were easily defeated. Finally, it would seem, off the H umber 
they fell in with some ships bearing the English leaders from 
Scotland, who had been waiting for them. There they landed 
and marched upon York, joined on the way by the men of 
the country of all ranks. And the mere news of their ap- 
proach, the prospect of new horrors to be lived through with 
no chance of mitigating them, proved too much for the old 
archbishop, Aldred, and he died a few days before the storm 
broke. William was hunting in the forest of Dean, on the 
southern borders of Wales, when he heard that the invaders 
had landed, but his over-confident garrison in York reported 
that they could hold out for a year without aid, and he left 
them for the present to themselves. They planned to stand 
a siege, and in clearing a space about the castle they kindled 
a fire which destroyed the most of the city, including the 
cathedral church ; but when the enemy appeared, they tried 
a battle in the open, and were killed or captured to a man. 



CHAP. The fall of York gave a serious aspect to the case, and 
11 called for William's presence. Soon after the capture of the 
city the Danes had gone back to the Humber, to the upper 
end of the estuary apparently, and there they succeeded in 
avoiding attack by crossing one river or another as the army 
of the king approached. In the meantime, in various places 
along the west of England, insurrections had broken out, 
encouraged probably by exaggerated reports of the successes 
of the rebels in the north. Only one of these, that in Staf- 
fordshire, required any attention from William, and in this 
case we do not know why. In all the other cases, in Devon, 
in Somerset, and at Shrewsbury, where the Welsh helped in 
the attack on the Norman castle, the garrisons and men of 
the locality unassisted, or assisted only by the forces of their 
neighbours, had defended themselves with success. If the 
Danish invasion be regarded as a test of the security of the 
Conquest in those parts of England which the Normans had 
really occupied, then certainly it must be regarded as com- 

From the west William returned to the north with little 
delay, and occupied York without opposition. Then followed 
the one act of the Conquest which is condemned by friend 
and foe alike. When William had first learned of the fate of 
his castles in York, he had burst out into ungovernable rage, 
and the mood had not passed away. He was determined to 
exact an awful vengeance for the repeated defiance of his 
power. War in its mildest form in those days was little regu- 
lated by any consideration for the conquered. From the 
point of view of a passionate soldier there was some provoca- 
tion in this case. Norman garrisons had been massacred; 
detached parties had been cut off; repeated rebellion had 
followed every pacification. Plainly a danger existed here, 
grave in itself and inviting greater danger from abroad. 
Policy might dictate measures of unusual severity, but policy 
did not call for what was done, and clearly in this case the 
Conqueror gave way to a passion of rage which he usually 
held in check, and inflicted on the stubborn province a 
punishment which the standard of his own time did not 

Slowly he passed with his army through the country to the 


north of York, drawing a broad band of desolation between CHAP. 
that city and Durham. Fugitives he sought out and put to n 
the sword, but even so he was not satisfied. Innocent and 
guilty were involved in indiscriminate slaughter. Houses 
were destroyed, flocks and herds exterminated. Supplies of 
food and farm implements were heaped together and burned. 
With deliberate purpose, cruelly carried out, it was made 
impossible for men to live through a thousand square miles. 
Years afterwards the country was still a desert ; it was gen- 
erations before it had fully recovered. The Norman writer, 
Orderic Vitalis, perhaps following the king's chaplain and 
panegyrist William of Poitiers, while he confesses here that 
he gladly praised the king when he could, had only condem- 
nation for this deed. He believed that William, responsible 
to no earthly tribunal, must one day answer for it to an infinite 
Judge before whom high and low are alike accountable. 

Christmas was near at hand when William had finished 
this business, and he celebrated at York the nativity of the 
Prince of Peace, doubtless with no suspicion of inconsistency. 
Soon after Christmas, by a short but difficult expedition, Will- 
iam drove the Danes from a position on the coast which 
they had believed impregnable, and forced them to take to 
their ships, in which, after suffering greatly from lack of 
supplies, they drifted southward as if abandoning the land. 
During this expedition also, we are told, Gospatric, who had 
rebelled the year before, and Waltheof who had "gone out" 
on the coming of the Danes, made renewed submission and 
were again received into favour by the king. The hopes 
which the coming of foreign assistance had awakened were 
at an end. 

One thing remained to be done. The men of the Welsh 
border must be taught the lesson which the men of the 
Scottish border had learned. The insurrection which had 
called William into Staffordshire the previous autumn seems 
still to have lingered in the region. The strong city of 
Chester, from which, or from whose neighbourhood at least, 
men had joined the attack on Shrewsbury, and which com- 
manded the north-eastern parts of Wales, was still unsubdued. 
Soon after his return from the coast William determined 
upon a longer and still more difficult winter march, across 


CHAP, the width of England, from York to Chester. It is no won- 
11 der that his army murmured and some at least asked to be 
dismissed. The country through which they must pass was 
still largely wilderness. Hills and forests, swollen streams 
and winter storms, must be encountered, and the strife with 
them was a test of endurance without the joy of combat. 
One expedition of the sort in a winter ought to be enough. 
But William treated the objectors with contempt. He pushed 
on as he had planned, leaving those to stay behind who 
would, and but few were ready for open mutiny. The haz- 
ardous march was made with success. What remained of 
the insurrection disappeared before the coming of the king ; 
it has left to us at least no traces of any resistance. Chester 
was occupied without opposition. Fortified posts were estab- 
lished and garrisons left there and at Stafford. Some things 
make us suspect that a large district on this side of England 
was treated as northern Yorkshire had been, and homeless 
fugitives in crowds driven forth to die of hunger. The pa- 
tience which pardoned the faithlessness of Edwin and Wal- 
theof was not called for in dealing with smaller men. 

From Chester William turned south. At Salisbury he dis- 
missed with rich rewards the soldiers who had been faithful to 
him, and at Winchester he celebrated the Easter feast. There 
he found three legates who had been sent from the pope, and 
supported by their presence he at last took up the affairs of 
the English Church. The king had shown the greatest cau- 
tion in dealing with this matter. It must have been under- 
stood, almost if not quite from the beginning of the Norman 
plan of invasion, that if the attempt were successful, one of 
its results should be the revolution of the English Church, 
the reform of the abuses which existed in it, as the conti- 
nental churchman regarded them, and as indeed they were. 
During the past century a great reform movement, ema- 
nating from the monastery of Cluny, had transformed the 
Catholic world, but in this England had but little part. 
Starting as a monastic reformation, it had just succeeded 
in bringing the whole Church under monastic control. 
Henceforth the asceticism of the monk, his ideals in religion 
and worship, his type of thought and learning, were to be 
those of the official Church, from the papal throne to the 


country parsonage. It was for that age a true reformation. CHAP. 
The combined influence of the two great temptations to which n 
the churchmen of this period of the Middle Ages were ex- 
posed ignorance, so easy to yield to, so hard to overcome, 
and property, carrying with it rank and power and opening 
the way to ambition for oneself or one's posterity was so 
great that a rule of strict asceticism, enforced by a power- 
ful organization with fearful sanctions, and a controlling ideal 
of personal devotion, alone could overcome it. The monastic 
reformation had furnished these conditions, though severe 
conflicts were still to be fought out before they would be made 
to prevail in every part of western Europe. Shortly before 
the appointment of Stigand to the archbishopric of Canterbury, 
these new ideas had obtained possession of the papal throne in 
the person of Leo IX, and with them other ideas which had 
become closely and almost necessarily associated with them, 
of strict centralization under the pope, of a theocratic papal 
supremacy, in line certainly with the history of the Church, but 
more self-consciously held and logically worked out than ever 

In this great movement England had had no permanent 
share. Cut off from easy contact with the currents of conti- 
nental thought, not merely by the channel but by the lack of 
any common interests and natural incentives to common life, 
it stood in an earlier stage of development in ecclesiastical 
matters, as in legal and constitutional. In organization, in 
learning, and in conduct, ecclesiastical England at the eve of 
the Norman Conquest may be compared not unfairly to eccle- 
siastical Europe of the tenth century. There was the same 
loosening of the bonds of a common organization, the same 
tendency to separate into local units shut up to interest in them- 
selves alone. National councils had practically ceased to meet. 
The legislative machinery of the Church threatened to disap- 
pear in that of the State. An outside body, the witenagemot, 
seemed about to acquire the right of imposing rules and regu- 
lations upon the Church, and another outside power, the king, 
to acquire the right of appointing its officers. Quite as 
important in the eyes of the Church as the lack of legislative 
independence was the lack of judicial independence, which 
was also a defect of the English Church. The law of the 


CHAP. Church as it bore upon the life of the citizen was declared 
11 and enforced in the hundred or shire court, and bishop and 
ealdorman sat together in the latter. Only over the eccle- 
siastical faults of his clergy did the bishop have exclusive 
jurisdiction, and this was probably a jurisdiction less well 
developed than on the continent. The power of the primate 
over his suffragans and of the bishop within his diocese was 
ill defined and vague, and questions of disputed authority or 
doubtful allegiance lingered long without exact decision, per- 
haps from lack of interest, perhaps from want of the means 
of decision. 

In learning, the condition was even worse. The cloister 
schools had undergone a marked decline since the great days 
of Theodore and Alcuin. Not merely were the parish priests 
ignorant men, but even bishops and abbots. The universal 
language of learning and faith was neglected, and in England 
alone, of all countries, theological books were written in the 
local tongue, a sure sign of isolation and of the lack of inter- 
est in the common philosophical life of the world. In moral 
conduct, while the English clergy could not be held guilty of 
serious breaches of the general ethical code, they were far 
from coming up to the special standard which the canon 
law imposed upon the clergy, and which the monastic refor- 
mation was making the inflexible law of the time. Married 
priests abounded ; there were said to be even married bishops. 
Simony was not infrequent. Every churchman of high rank 
was likely to be a pluralist, holding bishoprics and abbacies 
together, like Stigand, who held with the primacy the bish- 
opric of Winchester and many abbeys. That such a man as 
Stigand, holding every ecclesiastical office that he could man- 
age to keep, depriving monasteries of their landed endow- 
ments with no more right than the baron after him, refused 
recognition by every legally elected pope, and thought un- 
worthy to crown a king, or even in most cases to consecrate 
a bishop, should have held his place for so many years as 
unquestioned primate in all but the most important functions, 
is evidence enough that the English Church had not yet been 
brought under the influence of the great religious reformation 
of the eleventh century. 

This was the chief defect of the England of that time a 


defect upon all sides of its life, which the Conquest remedied. CHAP. 
It was an isolated land. It stood in danger of becoming a n 
Scandinavian land, not in blood merely, or in absorption in 
an actual Scandinavian empire, but in withdrawal from the 
real world, and in that tardy, almost reluctant, civilization 
which was possibly a necessity for Scandinavia proper, but 
which would have been for England a falling back from 
higher levels. It was the mission of the Norman Conquest 
if we may speak of a mission for great historical events to 
deliver England from this danger, and to bring her into the 
full current of the active and progressive life of Christendom. 

It was more than three years after the coronation of 
William before the time was come for a thorough overhauling 
of the Church. So far as we know, William, up to that time, 
had given no sign of his intentions. The early adhesion of 
Stigand had been welcomed. The Normans seem to have 
believed that he enjoyed great consideration and influence 
among the Saxons, and he had been left undisturbed. He 
had even been allowed to consecrate the new Norman bishop 
of Dorchester, which looks like an act of deliberate policy. 
It had not seemed wise to alarm the Church so long as the 
military issue of the invasion could be considered in any 
sense doubtful, and not until the changes could be made 
with the powerful support of the head of the Church directly 
expressed. It is a natural guess, though we have no means 
of knowing, that Lanfranc's mission to Rome in 1067 had 
been to discuss this matter with the Roman authorities, quite 
as much as to get the pallium for the new Archbishop of 
Rouen. Now the time had come for action. 

Three legates of the pope were at Winchester, and there a 
council was summoned to meet them. Two of the legates 
were cardinals, then a relatively less exalted rank in the 
Church than later, but making plain the direct support of the 
pope. The other was Ermenfrid, Bishop of Sion, or Sitten, in 
what is now the Swiss canton of the Vallais. He had already 
been in England eight years earlier as a papal legate, and he 
would bring to this council ideas derived from local observa- 
tion, as well as tried diplomatic skill. Before the council 
met, the papal sanction of the Conquest was publicly pro- 
claimed, when the cardinal legates placed the crown on the 


CHAP, king's head at the Easter festival. On the octave of Easter, 
11 in 1070, the council met. Its first business was to deal with 
the case of Stigand. Something like a trial seems to have 
been held, but its result could never have been in doubt. He 
was deprived of the archbishopric, and, with that, of his other 
preferments, on three grounds : he had held Winchester 
along with the primacy; he had held the primacy while 
Robert was still the rightful archbishop according to the 
laws of the Church ; and he had obtained his pallium and 
his only recognition from the antipope Benedict X. His 
brother, the Bishop of Elmham, was also deposed, and some 
abbots at the same time. 

An English chronicler of a little later date, Florence of 
Worcester, doubtless representing the opinion of those contem- 
poraries who were unfavourable to the Normans, believed 
that for many of these depositions there were no canonical 
grounds, but that they were due to the king's desire to have 
the help of the Church in holding and pacifying his new king- 
dom. We may admit the motive and its probable influence 
on the acts of the time, without overlooking the fact that 
there would be likely to be an honest difference in the inter- 
pretation of canonical rights and wrongs on the Norman and 
the English sides, and that the Normans were more likely to 
be right according to the prevailing standard of the Church. 
The same chronicler gives us interesting evidence of the con- 
temporary native feeling about this council, and the way the 
rights of the English were likely to be treated by it, in record- 
ing the fact that it was thought to be a bold thing for the Eng- 
lish bishop Wulfstan, of Worcester, to demand his rights in 
certain lands which Aldred had kept in his possession when 
he was transferred from the see of Worcester to the arch- 
bishopric of York. The case was postponed until there should 
be an archbishop of York to defend the rights of his Church, 
but the brave bishop had nothing to lose by his boldness. 
The treatment of the Church throughout his reign is evidence 
of William's desire to act according to established law, though 
it is also evidence of his ruling belief that the new law was 
superior to the old, if ever a conflict arose between them. 

Shortly after, at Whitsuntide, another council met at Wind- 
sor, and continued the work. The cardinals had returned to 

1070 LANFRANC 43 

Rome, but Ermenfrid was still present. Further vacancies CHAP. 
were made in the English Church in the same way as by the n 
previous council by the end of the year only two, or at most 
three, English bishops remained in office but the main busi- 
ness at this time was to fill vacancies. A new Archbishop of 
York, Thomas, Canon of Bayeux, was appointed, and three 
bishops, Winchester, Selsey, and Elmham, all of these from 
the royal chapel. But the most important appointment of 
the time was that of Lanfranc, Abbot of St. Stephen's at 
Caen, to be Archbishop of Canterbury. With evident reluc- 
tance he accepted this responsible office, in which his work 
was destined to be almost as important in the history of Eng- 
land as William's own. Two papal legates crossing from 
England, Ermenfrid and a new one named Hubert, a synod 
of the Norman clergy, Queen Matilda, and her son Robert, 
all urged him to accept, and he yielded to their solicitation. 

Lanfranc was at this time sixty-five years of age. An 
Italian by birth, he had made good use of the advantages 
which the schools of that land offered to laymen, but on the 
death of his father, while still a young man, he had abandoned 
the path of worldly promotion which lay open before him in 
the profession of the law, in which he had followed his father, 
and had gone to France to teach and finally to become a 
monk. By 1045 he was prior of the abbey of Bee, and 
within a few years he was famous throughout the whole 
Church as one of its ablest theologians. In the controversy 
with Berengar of Tours, on the nature of the Eucharist, he 
had argued with great skill in favour of transubstantiation. 
Still more important was the fact that his abilities and ideas 
were known to William, who had long relied upon his counsel 
in the government of the duchy, and that entire harmony of 
action was possible between them. He has been called 
William's " one friend," and while this perhaps unduly limits 
the number of the king's friends, he was, in the greatest 
affairs of his reign, his firm supporter and wise counsellor. 

From the moment of his consecration, on August 29, 1070, 
the reformation of the English Church went steadily on, 
until it was as completely accomplished as was possible. 
The first question to be settled was perhaps the most im- 
portant of all, the question of unity of national organiza- 


CHAP. tion. The new Archbishop of York refused Lanfranc's de- 
11 mand that he should take the oath of obedience to Canterbury, 
and asserted his independence and coordinate position, and 
laid claim to three bordering bishoprics as belonging to his 
metropolitan see, Worcester, Lichfield, and Dorchester. The 
dispute was referred to the king, who arranged a temporary 
compromise in favour of Lanfranc, and then carried to the 
pope, by whom it was again referred back to be decided by a 
council in England. This decision was reached at a council 
in Windsor at Whitsuntide in 1072, and was in favour of Lan- 
franc on all points, though it seems certain that the victory 
was obtained by an extensive series of forgeries of which the 
archbishop himself was probably the author. 1 It must be 
added, however, that the moral judgment of that age did not 
regard as ours does such forgeries in the interest of one's 
Church. If the decision was understood at the time to mean 
that henceforth all archbishops of York should promise ca- 
nonical obedience to the Archbishop of Canterbury, it did not 
permanently secure that result. But the real point at issue in 
this dispute, at least for the time being, was no mere matter 
of rank or precedence ; it was as necessary to the plans of 
Lanfranc and of the Church that his authority should be 
recognized throughout the whole kingdom as it was to those 
of William. Nor was the question without possible political 
significance. The political independence of the north still 
uncertain in its allegiance would be far easier to establish 
if it was, to begin with, ecclesiastically independent. 

Hardly less important than the settlement of this matter 
was the establishment of the legislative independence of the 
Church. From the two legatine councils of 1070, at Win- 
chester and Windsor, a series begins of great national synods, 
meeting at intervals to the end of the reign. Complete divorce 
from the State was not at first possible. The council was held 
at a meeting of the court, and was summoned by the king. 
He was present at the sessions, as were also lay magnates of 
the realm, but the questions proper to the council were dis- 
cussed and decided by the churchmen alone, and were pro- 
mulgated by the Church as its own laws. This was real 

1 See H. Bohmer, Die Falschttngen Erzbischof Lanfranks -von Canterbury 
(Leipzig, 1902). 



legislative independence, even if the form of it was some- CHAP. 
what defective, and before very long, as the result of this n 
beginning, the form came to correspond to the reality, and 
the process became as independent as the conclusion. 

William's famous ordinance separating the spiritual and 
temporal courts decreed another extensive change necessary 
to complete the independence of the Church in its legal 
interests. The date of this edict is not certain, but it would 
seem from such evidence as we have to have been issued not 
very long after the meeting of the councils of 1070. It with- 
drew from the local popular courts, the courts of the hundred, 
all future enforcement of the ecclesiastical laws, subjected all 
offenders against these laws to trial in the bishop's court, 
and promised the support of the temporal authorities to the 
processes and decisions of the Church courts. This abolish- 
ing by edict of so important a prerogative of the old local 
courts, and annulling of so large a part of the old law, was 
the most violent and serious innovation made by the Con- 
queror in the Saxon judicial system ; but it was fully justified, 
not merely by the more highly developed law which came 
into use as a result of the change, but by the necessity of a 
stricter enforcement of that law than would ever be possible 
through popular courts. 

With these more striking changes went others, less revolu- 
tionary but equally necessary to complete the new ecclesias- 
tical system. The Saxon bishops had many of them had 
their seats in unimportant places in their dioceses, tending 
to degrade the dignity almost to the level of a rural bishopric. 
The Norman prelates by degrees removed the sees to the 
chief towns, changing the names with the change of place. 
Dorchester was removed to Lincoln, Selsey to Chichester, 
Sherborne to Old Sarum, and Elmham by two removes to 
Norwich. The new cities were the centres of life and influ- 
ence, and they were more suitable residences for barons of 
the king, as the Norman bishops were. The inner organi- 
zation of these bishoprics was also improved. Cathedral 
chapters were reformed ; in Rochester and Durham secular 
canons were replaced by monastic clergy under a more strict 
regime. New offices of law and administration were intro- 
duced. The country priests were brought under stricter con- 


CHAP, trol, and earnest attempts were made to compel them to follow 
11 more closely the disciplinary requirements of the Church. 

The monastic system as it existed at the time of the Con- 
quest underwent the same reformation as the more secular 
side of the Church organization. It was indeed regarded by 
the new ecclesiastical rulers as the source of the Church's 
strength and the centre of its life. English abbots were re- 
placed by Norman, and the new abbots introduced a better 
discipline and improvement in the ritual. The rule was 
more strictly enforced. Worship, labour, and study became 
the constant occupations of the monks. Speedily the insti- 
tution won a new influence in the life of the nation. The 
number of monks grew rapidly ; new monasteries were every- 
where established, of which the best remembered, the Con- 
queror's abbey of Battle, with the high altar of its church 
standing where Harold's standard had stood in the memo- 
rable fight, is only an example. Many of these new foun- 
dations were daughter-houses of great French monasteries, 
and it is a significant fact that by the end of the reign of 
William's son Henry, Cluny, the source of this monastic 
reformation for the world, had sent seventeen colonies into 
England. Wealth poured into these establishments from the 
gifts of king and barons and common men alike. Their 
buildings grew in number and in magnificence, and the poor 
and suffering of the realm received their share in the new 
order of things, through a wider and better organized charity. 

With this new monastic life began a new era of learning. 
Schools were everywhere founded or renewed. The uni- 
versal language of Christendom took once more its proper 
place as the literary language of the cloister, although the 
use of English lingered for a time here and there. England 
caught at last the theological eagerness of the continent in 
the age when the stimulus of the new dialectic method was 
beginning to be felt, and soon demanded to be heard in the 
settlement of the problems of the thinking world. Lan- 
franc continued to write as Archbishop of Canterbury. 1 
Even something that may be called a literary spirit in an age 
of general barrenness was awakened. Poems were produced 
not unworthy of mention, and the generation of William's 

1 Bohmer, Kirche undStaatin England und in der Normandie, pp. 103-106. 


sons was not finished when such histories had been written CHAP. 
as those of Eadmer and William of Malmesbury, superior in n 
conception and execution to anything produced in England 
since the days of Bede. In another way the stimulus of 
these new influences showed itself in an age of building, and 
by degrees the land was covered with those vast monastic 
and cathedral churches which still excite our admiration and 
reveal to us the fact that the narrow minds of what we were 
once pleased to call the dark ages were capable, in one 
direction at least, of great and lofty conceptions. Norman 
ideals of massive strength speak to us as clearly from the 
arches of Winchester or the piers of Gloucester as from the 
firm hand and stern rule of William or Henry. 

In general the Conquest incorporated England closely, as 
has already been said, with that organic whole of life and 
achievement which we call Christendom. This was not more 
true of the ecclesiastical side of things than of the political 
or constitutional. But the Church of the eleventh century 
included within itself relatively many more than the Church 
of to-day of those activities which quickly respond to a new 
stimulus and reveal a new life by increased production. The 
constitutional changes involved in the Conquest, and directly 
traceable to it through a long line of descent, though more 
slowly realized and for long in less striking forms, were in 
truth destined to produce results of greater permanence and 
a wider influence. The final result of the Norman Conquest 
was a constitutional creation, new in the history of the world. 
Nothing like this followed in the sphere of the Church. But 
for a generation or two the abundant vigour which flowed 
through the renewed religious life of Europe, and the radical 
changes which were necessary to bring England into full 
harmony with it, made the ecclesiastical revolution seem the 
most impressive and the most violent of the changes which 
took place in this age in English public organization and life. 

If we may trust a later chronicler, whose record is well 
supported by independent and earlier evidence, in the same 
year in which these legatine councils met, and in which the 
reformation of the Church was begun, there was introduced 
an innovation, so far as the Saxon Church is concerned, 
which would have seemed to the leaders of the reform party 


CHAP, hostile to their cause had they not been so familiar with it 
11 elsewhere, or had they been conscious of the full meaning of 
their own demands. Matthew Paris, in the thirteenth cen- 
tury, records that, in 1070, the king decreed that all bishoprics 
and abbacies which were holding baronies, and which hereto- 
fore had been free from all secular obligations, should be 
liable to military service ; and caused to be enrolled, according 
to his own will, the number of knights which should be due 
from each in time of war. Even if this statement were with- 
out support, it would be intrinsically probable at this or some 
near date. The endowment lands of bishopric and abbey, or 
rather a part of these lands in each case, would inevitably be 
regarded as a fief held of the crown, and as such liable to the 
regular feudal services. This was the case in every feudal 
land, and no one would suppose that there should be any 
exception in England. The amount of the service was arbi- 
trarily fixed by the king in these ecclesiastical baronies, just 
as it was in the lay fiefs. The fact was important enough 
to attract the notice of the chroniclers because the military 
service, regulated in this way, would seem to be more of an 
innovation than the other services by which the fief was held, 
like the court service, for example, though it was not so in 

This transformation in life and culture was wrought in the 
English Church with the full sanction and support of the 
king. In Normandy, as well as in England, was this the case. 
The plans of the reform party had been carried out more 
fully in some particulars in these lands than the Church alone 
would have attempted at the time, because they had convinced 
the judgment of the sovereign and won his favour. At every 
step of the process where there was need, the power of the 
State had been at the command of the Church, to remove 
abuses or to secure the introduction of reforms. But with 
the theocratic ideas which went with these reforms in the 
teaching of the Church William had no sympathy. The 
leaders of the reformation might hold to the ideal supremacy 
of pope over king, and to the superior mission and higher 
power of the Church as compared with the State, but there 
could be no practical realization of these theories in any 
Norman land so long as the Conqueror lived. In no part of 


Europe had the sovereign exercised a greater or more direct CHAP. 
power over the Church than in Normandy. All departments n 
of its life were subject to his control, if there was reason to 
exert it. This had been true for so long a time that the 
Church was accustomed to the situation and accepted it with- 
out complaint. This power William had no intention of 
yielding. He proposed to exercise it in England as he had 
in Normandy, 1 and, even in this age of fierce conflict with 
its great temporal rival, the emperor, the papacy made no 
sharply drawn issue with him on these points. There could 
be no question of the headship of the world in his case, and 
on the vital moral point he was too nearly in harmony with 
the Church to make an issue easy. On the importance of 
obeying the monastic rule, the celibacy of the clergy, and the 
purchase of ecclesiastical office, he agreed in theory with the 
disciples of Cluny. 2 But, if he would not sell a bishopric, he 
was determined that the bishop should be his man ; he stood 
ready to increase the power and independence of the Church, 
but always as an organ of the State, as a part of the machine 
through which the government was carried on. 

It is quite within the limits of possibility that, in his negotia- 
tions with Rome before his invasion of England, William may 
have given the pope to understand, in some indefinite and 
informal way, that if he won the kingdom, he would hold it 
of St. Peter. In accepting the consecrated banner which the 
pope sent him, he could hardly fail to know that he might be 
understood to be acknowledging a feudal dependence. When 
the kingdom was won, however, he found himself unwilling 
to carry out such an arrangement, whether tacitly or openly 
promised. To Gregory VII's demand for his fealty he re- 
turned a respectful but firnTrefusal. The sovereignty of 
England was not to be diministrgfphe would hold the king- 
dom as freely as his predecessors had done. Peter's pence, 
which it belonged of right to England to pay, should be 
regularly collected and sent to Rome, but no right of rule, 
even theoretical, over king or kingdom, could be allowed the 

An ecclesiastical historian whose childhood and early youth 
fell in William's reign, and who was deeply impressed with 

1 Eadmer, Historic. Nevorum, p. 9. 2 Bohmer, Kirche und Staat, pp. 126 ff. 
VOL. II. 4 


CHAP, the strong control under which he held the Church, has re- 
11 corded three rules to govern the relation between Church and 
State, which he says were established by William. 1 These 
are : i, that no one should be recognized as pope in England 
except at his command, nor any papal letters received with- 
out his permission ; 2, that no acts of the national councils 
should be binding without his sanction ; 3, that none of his 
barons or servants should be excommunicated, even for crimes 
committed, without his consent. Whether these were con- 
sciously formulated rules or merely generalizations from his 
conduct, they state correctly the principles of his action, and 
exhibit clearly in one most important sphere the unlimited 
power established by the Norman Conquest. 

To this year, 1070, in which was begun the reformation of 
the Church, was assigned at a later time another work of con- 
stitutional interest. The unofficial compiler of a code of laws, 
the Leges Edwardi, written in the reign of Henry I, and drawn 
largely from the legislation of the Saxon kings, ascribed his 
work, after a fashion not unusual with writers of his kind, to 
the official act of an earlier king. He relates that a great 
national inquest was ordered by King William in this year, 
to ascertain and establish the laws of the English. Each 
county elected a jury of twelve men, who knew the laws, and 
these juries coming together in the presence of the king 
declared on oath what were the legal customs of the land. 
So runs the preface of the code which was given out as com- 
piled from this testimony. Such a plan and procedure would 
not be out of harmony with what we know of William's 
methods and policy. The machinery of the jury, which was 
said to be employed, was certainly introduced into England 
by the first Norman king, and was used by him for the es- 
tablishment of facts, both in national undertakings like the 
Domesday Book and very probably in local cases arising in 
the courts. We know also that he desired to leave the old 
laws undisturbed so far as possible, and the year 1070 is one 
in which an effort to define and settle the future legal code 
of the state would naturally fall. But the story must be re- 
jected as unhistorical. An event of such importance as this 
inquisition must have been, if it took place, could hardly have 

1 Eadmer, Hist. Nov., p. 10. 


occurred without leaving its traces in contemporary records CHAP. 
of some sort, and an official code of this kind would have n 
produced results in the history of English law of which we 
find no evidence. The Saxon law and the machinery of the 
local courts did survive the Conquest with little change, but 
no effort was made to reduce the customs of the land to sys- 
tematic and written form until a later time, until a time indeed 
when the old law was beginning to give place to the new. 




CHAP. POLITICAL events had not waited for the reformation of 
111 the Church, and long before these reforms were completed, 
England had become a thoroughly settled state under the 
new king. The beginning of the year 1070 is a turning-point 
in the reign of William. The necessity for fighting was not 
over, but from this date onwards there was no more fighting 
for the actual possession of the land. The irreconcilables had 
still to be dealt with; in one small locality they retained 
even yet some resisting power ; the danger of foreign inva- 
sion had again to be met : but not for one moment after 
William's return from the devastation of the north and west 
was there even the remotest possibility of undoing the Con- 

The Danes had withdrawn from the region of the H umber, 
but they had not left the country. In the Isle of Ely, then 
more nearly an actual island than in modern times, was 
a bit of unsubdued England, and there they landed for a 
time. In this position, surrounded by fens and interlacing 
rivers, accessible at only a few points, occurred the last resist- 
ance which gave the Normans any trouble. The rich myth- 
ology which found its starting-point in this resistance, and 
especially in its leader, Hereward, we no longer mistake for 
history ; but we should not forget that it embodies the popu- 
lar attitude towards those who stubbornly resisted the Nor- 
man, as it was handed on by tradition, and that it reveals 
almost pathetically the dearth of heroic material in an age 
which should have produced it in abundance. Hereward was 
a tenant in a small way of the abbey of Peterborough. What 
led him into such a determined revolt we do not know, unless 
he was among those who were induced to join the Danes after 
their arrival, in the belief that their invasion would be suc- 



cessful. Nor do we know what collected in the Isle of Ely CHAP. 
a band of men whom the Peterborough chronicler was pro- In 
bably not wrong, from any point of view, in calling outlaws. 
A force of desperate men could hope to maintain themselves 
for some time in the Isle of Ely ; they could not hope for 
anything more than this. The coming of the Danes added 
little real strength, though the country about believed for the 
moment, as it had done north of the Humber, that the tide 
had turned. The first act of the allies was the plunder and 
destruction of the abbey and town of Peterborough shortly 
after the meeting of the council of Windsor. The English 
abbot Brand had died the previous autumn, and William had 
appointed in his place a Norman, Turold, distinguished as a 
good fighter and a hard ruler. These qualities had led the 
king to select him for this special post, and the plundering 
of the abbey, so far as it was not mere marauding, looks like 
an answering act of spite. The Danes seem to have been 
disposed at first to hold Peterborough, but Turold must have 
brought them proposals of peace, from William, which in- 
duced them to withdraw at last from England with the secure 
possession of their plunder. 

Hereward and his men accomplished nothing more that 
year, but others gradually gathered in to them, including 
some men of note. Edwin and Morcar had once more 
changed sides, or had fled from William's court to escape 
some danger there. Edwin had been killed in trying to 
make his way through to Scotland, but Morcar had joined 
the refugees in Ely. Bishop Ethelwin of Durham was also 
there, and a northern thane, Siward Barn. In 1074 Will- 
iam advanced in person against the "camp of refuge." A 
fleet was sent to blockade one side while the army attacked 
from the other. It was found necessary to build a long 
causeway for the approach of the army and around this work 
the fiercest fighting occurred ; but its building could not be 
stopped, and just as it was finished the defenders of the Isle 
surrendered. The leaders were imprisoned, Morcar in Nor- 
mandy for the rest of William's reign. The common men 
were mutilated and released. Hereward escaped to sea, but 
probably afterwards submitted to William and received his 
favour. Edric the Wild, who had long remained urtsub- 


CHAP, dued on the Welsh borders, had also yielded before the sur- 
render of the Isle of Ely, and the last resistance that can be 
called in any sense organized was at an end. 

The comparatively easy pacification of the land, the early 
submission to their fate of so strong a nation, was in no 
small degree aided by the completeness with which the 
country was already occupied by Norman colonies, if we 
may call them so. Probably before the surrender of Ely 
every important town was under the immediate supervision 
of some Norman baron, with a force of his own. In all the 
strategically important places fortified posts had been built 
and regular garrisons stationed. Even the country districts 
had to a large extent been occupied in a similar way. It is 
hardly probable that as late as 1072 any considerable area in 
England had escaped extensive confiscations. Everywhere 
the Norman had appeared to take possession of his fief, to 
establish new tenants, or to bring the old ones into new 
relations with himself, to arrange for the administration of 
his manors, and to leave behind him the agents who were 
responsible to himself for the good conduct of affairs. If he 
made but little change in the economic organization of his 
property, and disturbed the labouring class but slightly or not 
at all, he would give to a wide district a vivid impression of 
the strength of the new order and of the hopelessness of any 

Already Norman families, who were to make so much of 
the history of the coming centuries, were rooted in the land. 
Montfort and Mortimer; Percy, Beauchamp, and Mowbray; 
Ferrers and Lacy ; Beaumont, Mandeville, and Grantmesnil ; 
Clare, Bigod, and Bohun ; and many others of equal or 
nearly equal name. All these were as yet of no higher 
than baronial rank, but if we could trust the chroniclers, we 
should be able to make out in addition a considerable list 
of earldoms which William had established by this date or 
soon afterwards, in many parts of England, and in these were 
other great names. According to this evidence, his two 
half brothers, the children of his mother by her marriage 
with Herlwin de Conteville, had been most richly provided 
for : Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, as Earl of Kent, and Robert, 
Count of Mortain, with a princely domain in the south-west 


as Earl of Cornwall. One of the earliest to be made an earl CHAP. 
was his old friend and the son of his guardian, William Fitz ni 
Osbern, who had been created Earl of Hereford ; he was now 
dead and was succeeded by his son Roger, soon very justly to 
lose title and land. Shrewsbury was held by Roger of Mont- 
gomery; Chester by Hugh of Avranches, the second earl; 
Surrey by William of Warenne ; Berkshire by Walter Giffard. 
Alan Rufus of Britanny was Earl of Richmondshire ; Odo of 
Champagne, Earl of Holderness ; and Ralph of Guader, who 
was to share in the downfall of Roger Fitz Osbern, Earl of 
Norfolk. One Englishman, who with much less justice was to 
be involved in the fate which rightly befell these two Norman 
earls, was also earl at this time, Watheof, who had lately suc- 
ceeded Gospatric in the troubled earldom of Northumberland, 
and who also held the earldoms of Northampton and Hunt- 
ingdon. These men certainly held important lordships in the 
districts named, but whether so many earldoms, in form and 
law, had really been established by the Conqueror at this 
date, or were established by him at any later time, is exceed- 
ingly doubtful. The evidence of the chroniclers is easily 
shown to be untrustworthy in the matter of titles, and the more 
satisfactory evidence which we obtain from charters and the 
Domesday Book does not justify this extensive list. But 
the historian does not find it possible to decide with confi- 
dence in every individual case. Of the earldoms of this list 
it is nearly certain that we must drop out those of Corn- 
wall, Holderness, Surrey, Berkshire, and Richmond, and 
almost or quite certain that we may allow to stand those of 
Waltheof and William Fitz Osbern, of Kent, Chester, and 

Independently of the question of evidence, it is difficult to see 
what there was in the general situation in England which . 
could have led the Conqueror to so wide a departure from the 
established practice of the Norman dukes as the creation of 
so many earls would be. In Normandy the title of count was 
practically unknown outside the ducal family. The feudal 
count as found in other French provinces, the sovereign of a 
little principality as independent of the feudal holder of the 
province as he himself was of the king, did not exist there. 
The four lordships which bore the title of count, Talou or 


CHAP. Arques, Eu, Evreux, and Mortain, were reserved for younger 
111 branches of the ducal house, and carried with them no sove- 
reign rights. The tradition of the Saxon earldom undoubtedly 
exercised by degrees a great influence on the royal practice 
in England, and by the middle of the twelfth century earls 
existed in considerable numbers ; but the lack of conclusive 
evidence for the existence of many under William probably 
reflects the fact of his few creations. But in the cases which 
we can certainly trace to William, it was not the old Saxon earl- 
dom which was revived. The new earldom, with the possible 
exception of one or two earls who, like the old Prankish mar- 
grave, or the later palatine count, were given unusual powers 
to support unusual military responsibilities, was a title, not an 
office. It was not a government of provinces, but a mark of 
rank ; and the danger involved in the older office, of the growth 
of independent powers within the state under local dynasties 
which would be, though existing under other forms, as diffi- 
cult to control as the local dynasties of feudal France, was 
removed once for all by the introduction of the Norman 
centralization. That no serious trouble ever came from the 
so-called palatine earldoms is itself evidence of the powerful 
monarchy ruling in England. 

This centralization was one of the great facts of the Con- 
quest. In it resided the strength of the Norman monarchy, 
and it was of the utmost importance as well in its bearing on 
the future history of England. Delolme, one of the earliest 
of foreign writers on the English constitution, remarks that the 
explanation of English liberty is to be found in the absolute 
power of her early kings, and the most careful modern stu- 
dent can do no more than amplify this statement. That this 
centralization was the result of any deliberate policy on the 
part of William can hardly be maintained. A conscious modi- 
fication of the feudal system as he introduced it into England, 
with a view to the preservation of his own power, has often 
been attributed to the Conqueror. But the political insight 
which would have enabled him to recognize the evil tenden- 
cies inherent in the only institutional system he had ever 
known, and to plan and apply remedies proper to counteract 
these tendencies but not inconsistent with the system itself, 
would indicate a higher quality of statesmanship than any- 


thing else in his career shows him to possess. More to CHAP. 
the purpose is the fact that there is no evidence of any ni 
such modification, while the drift of evidence is against it. 
William was determined to be strong, not because of any the- 
ory which he had formed of the value of strength, or of the 
way to secure it, but because he was strong and had always 
been so since he recovered the full powers of a sovereign in the 
struggles which followed his minority. The concentration of 
all the functions of sovereignty in his own hands, and the 
reservation of the allegiance of all landholders to himself, 
which strengthened his position in England, had strengthened 
it first in Normandy. 

Intentional weakening of the feudal barons has been seen 
in the fact that the manors which they held were scattered 
about in different parts of England, so that the formation 
of an independent principality, or a quick concentration of 
strength, would not be possible. That this was a fact 
characteristic of England is probably true. But it is suf- 
ficiently accounted for in part by the gradual spread of the 
Norman occupation, and of the consequent confiscations 
and re-grants, and in part by the fact that it had always 
been characteristic of England, so that when the holding of 
a given Saxon thane was transferred bodily to the Norman 
baron, he found his manors lying in no continuous whole. In 
any case, however, the divided character of the Norman 
baronies in England must not be pressed too far. The 
grants to his two half brothers, and the earldoms of Chester 
and Shrewsbury on the borders of Wales, are enough to show 
that William was not afraid of principalities within the state, 
and other instances on a somewhat smaller scale could be 
cited. Nor ought comparison to be made between English 
baronies, or earldoms even, and those feudal dominions on 
the continent which had been based on the counties of the 
earlier period. In these, sovereign rights over a large con- 
tiguous territory, originally delegated to an administrative 
officer, had been transformed into a practically independent 
power. The proper comparison is rather between the Eng- 
lish baronies of whatever rank and those continental feudal 
dominions which were formed by natural process half eco- 
nomic and half political, without definite delegation of sove- 


CHAP, reign powers, within or alongside the provincial countships, 
111 and this comparison would show less difference. 

If the Saxon earl did not survive the Conquest in the same 
position as before, the Saxon sheriff did. The office as the 
Normans found it in England was in so many ways similar to 
that of the viscount, vicecomes, which still survived in Nor- 
mandy as an administrative office, that it was very easy to 
identify the two and to bring the Norman name into common 
use as an equivalent of the Saxon. The result of the new 
conditions was largely to increase the sheriff's importance 
and power. As the special representative of the king in 
the county, he shared in the increased power of his master. 
Practically the whole administrative system of the state, as it 
affected its local divisions, was worked through him. Admin- 
istrator of the royal domains, responsible for the most impor- 
tant revenues, vehicle of royal commands of all kinds, and 
retaining the judicial functions which had been associated 
with the office in Saxon times, he held a position, not merely 
of power but of opportunity. Evidence is abundant of 
great abuse of power by the sheriff at the expense of the 
conquered. Nor did the king always escape these abuses, 
for the office, like that of the Carolingian count, to which it 
was in many ways similar, contained a possibility of use for 
private and personal advantage which could be corrected, 
even by so strong a sovereign as the Anglo-Norman, only by 
violent intervention at intervals. 

Some time after the Conquest, but at a date unknown, Will- 
iam set aside a considerable portion of Hampshire to form 
a hunting ground, the New Forest, near his residence at Win- 
chester. The chroniclers of the next generation describe the 
formation of the Forest as the devastation of a large tract of 
country in which churches were destroyed, the inhabitants 
driven out, and the cultivated land thrown back into wilder- 
ness, and they record a contemporary belief that the violent 
deaths of so many members of William's house within the 
bounds of the Forest, including two of his sons, were acts of 
divine vengeance and proofs of the wickedness of the deed. 
While this tradition of the method of making the Forest is 
still generally accepted, it has been called in question for 
reasons that make it necessary, in my opinion, to pronounce it 


doubtful. It is hardly consistent with the general character CHAP. 
of William. Such statements of chroniclers are too easily ex- m 
plained to warrant us in accepting them without qualification. 
The evidence of geology and of the history of agriculture 
indicates that probably the larger part of this tract was only 
thinly populated, and Domesday Book shows some portions of 
the Forest still occupied by cultivators. 1 The forest laws of 
the Norman kings were severe in the extreme, and weighed 
cruelly on beasts and men alike, and on men of rank as well 
as simple freemen. They excited a general and bitter hostility 
which lasted for generations, and prepared a natural soil for 
the rapid growth of a partially mythical explanation to ac- 
count in a satisfactory way for the dramatic accidents which 
followed the family of the Conqueror in the Forest, by the 
direct and tangible wickedness which had attended the 
making of the hunting ground. It is probable also that 
individual acts of violence did accompany the making, and 
that some villages and churches were destroyed. But the 
likelihood is so strong against a general devastation that 
history should probably acquit William of the greater crime 
laid to his charge, and refuse to place any longer the devas- 
tation of Hampshire in the same class with that of Northum- 

After the surrender of Ely, William's attention was next 
given to Scotland. In 1070 King Malcolm had invaded 
northern England, but without results beyond laying waste 
other portions of that afflicted country. It was easier to 
show the Scots than the Danes that William was capable of 
striking back, and in 1072, after a brief visit to Normandy, 
an army under the king's command advanced along the east 
coast with an accompanying fleet. No attempt was made 
to check this invasion in the field, and only when William 
had reached Abernethy did Malcolm come to meet him. 
What arrangement was made between them it is impossible 
to say, but it was one that was satisfactory to William at 
the time. Probably Malcolm became his vassal and gave 
him hostages for his good conduct, but if so, his allegiance 
did not bind him very securely. Norman feudalism was no 

1 Round, Victoria History of Hampshire, i. 412-413. But see F. Baring in 
EngL Hist. Rev. xvi. 427-438 (1901). 



CHAP, more successful than the ordinary type, in dealing with a 
111 reigning sovereign who was in vassal relations. 

The critical years of William's conquest of England had 
been undisturbed by any dangers threatening his continental 
possessions. Matilda, who spent most of the time in Nor- 
mandy, with her councillors, had maintained peace and 
order with little difficulty ; but in the year after his Scottish 
expedition he was called to Normandy by a revolt in his 
early conquest, the county of Maine, which it required a for- 
midable campaign to subdue. William's plan to attach this 
important province to Normandy by a marriage between his 
son Robert and the youngest sister of the last count had failed 
through the death of the proposed heiress, and the county 
had risen in favour of her elder sister, the wife of the Italian 
Marquis Azo or of her son. Then a successful communal 
revolution had occurred in the city of Le Mans, anticipating 
an age of rebellion against the feudal powers, and the effort 
of the commune to bring the whole county into alliance with 
itself, though nearly successful for the moment at least, had 
really prepared the way for the restoration of the Norman 
power by dividing the party opposed to it. William crossed 
to Normandy in 1073, leading a considerable army composed 
in part of English. The campaign was a short one. Revolt 
was punished, as William sometimes punished it, by barbar- 
ously devastating the country. Le Mans did not venture to 
stand a siege, but surrendered on William's sworn promise 
to respect its ancient liberty. By a later treaty with Fulk of 
Anjou, Robert was recognized as Count of Maine, but as a 
vassal of Anjou and not of Normandy. 

William probably returned to England after the settlement 
of these affairs, but of his doings there nothing is recorded, 
and for some time troubles in his continental dominions occu- 
pied more of his attention than the interests of the island. 
He was in Normandy, indeed, during the whole of that " most 
severe tempest," as a writer of the next generation called it, 
which broke upon a part of England in the year 1075 ; and 
the first feudal insurrection in English history was put down, 
as more serious ones were destined to be before the fall of 
feudalism, by the king's officers and the men of the land in 
the king's absence. To determine the causes of this insur- 


rection, we need to read between the lines of the story as it is CHAP. 
told us by the writers of that and the next age. Elaborate In 
reasons for their hostility to William's government were put 
into the mouths of the conspirators by one of these writers, 
but these would mean nothing more than a general statement 
that the king was a very severe and stern ruler, if it were not 
for the more specific accusation that he had rewarded those 
who had fought for him very inadequately, and through 
avarice had afterward reduced the value even of these gifts. 1 
A passage in a letter of Lanfranc's to one of the leaders of 
the rebellion, Roger, Earl of Hereford, written evidently 
after Roger's dissatisfaction had become known but before 
any open rebellion, gives us perhaps a key to the last part of 
this complaint. 2 He tells him that the king, revoking, we 
infer, former orders, has directed his sheriffs not to hold any 
more pleas in the earl's land until he can return and hear the 
case between him and the sheriffs. In a time when the profits 
of a law court were important to the lord who had the right 
to hold it, the entry of the king's officers into a " liberty " 
to hear cases there as the representative of the king, and to 
his profit, would naturally seem to the baron whose income 
was affected a diminution of the value of his fief, due to the 
king's avarice. Nothing could show us better the attitude 
natural to a strong king towards feudal immunities than the 
facts which these words of Lanfranc's imply, and though we 
know of no serious trouble arising from this reason for a 
century or more, it is clear that the royal view of the matter 
never changed, and finally like infringements on the baronial 
courts became one of the causes of the first great advance 
towards constitutional liberty, the Magna Carta. 

This letter of Lanfranc's to Roger of Hereford is a most 
interesting illustration of his character and of his diplomatic 
skill, and it shows us clearly how great must have been his 
usefulness to William. Though it is perfectly evident to us 
that he suspects the loyalty of Roger to be seriously tempted, 
there is not a word of suspicion expressed in the letter, but 
the considerations most likely to keep him loyal are strongly 
urged. With the exception of the sentence about the sheriffs, 
and formal phrases at the beginning and end, the letter runs 

1 Orderic Vitalis, ii. 260. 2 Lanfranc, Opera (ed. Giles), i. 64. 


CHAP, thus : " Our lord, the king of the English, salutes you and 
111 us all as faithful subjects of his in whom he has great con- 
fidence, and commands us that as much as we are able we 
should have care of his castles, lest, which God avert, they 
should be betrayed to his enemies; wherefore I ask you, 
as I ought to ask, most dear son, whom, as God is witness, 
I love with my whole heart and desire to serve, and whose 
father I loved as my soul, that you take such care of this 
matter and of all fidelity to our lord the king that you may 
have the praise of God, and of him, and of all good men. 
Hold always in your memory how your glorious father lived, 
and how faithfully he served his lord, and with how great 
energy he acquired many things and held them with great 
honour. ... I should like to talk freely with you ; if this is 
your will, let me know where we can meet and talk together 
of your affairs and of our lord the king's. I am ready to go 
to meet you wherever you direct" 

The letter had no effect. Roger seems to have been a man 
of violent temper, and there was a woman in this case also, 
though we do not know that she herself influenced the course 
of events. The insurrection is said to have been determined 
upon, and the details of action planned, at the marriage of 
Roger's sister to Ralph Guader, Earl of Norfolk, a marriage 
which William had forbidden. 

There was that bride-ale 
That was many men's bale, 

said the Saxon chronicler, and it was so indeed. The two 
chief conspirators persuaded Earl Waltheof to join them, at 
least for the moment, and their plan was to drive the king 
out of England and to divide the kingdom between them into 
three great principalities, "for we wish," the Norman his- 
torian Orderic makes them say, "to restore in all respects 
the kingdom of England as it was formerly in the time of 
King Edward," a most significant indication of the general 
opinion about the effect of the Conquest, even if the words 
are not theirs. 

After the marriage the Earls of Norfolk and Hereford 
separated to raise their forces and bring them together, when 
they believed they would be too strong for any force which 


could be raised to act against them. They counted on the CHAP. 
unpopularity of the Normans and on the king's difficulties m 
abroad which would prevent his return to England. The king 
did not return, but their other hope proved fallacious. Bishop 
Wulfstan of Worcester and Abbot Ethelwy of Evesham, both 
English prelates, with some Norman help, cut off the line of 
communication in the west, and Earl Roger could not force 
his way through. The two justiciars, William of Warenne 
and Richard of Bienfaite, after summoning the earls to answer 
in the king's court, with the aid of Bishop Odo and the Bishop 
of Coutances, who was also a great English baron, raised an 
army of English as well as Normans, and went to meet Earl 
Ralph, who was marching westwards. Something like a 
battle took place, but the rebels were easily defeated. Ralph 
fled back to Norwich, but it did not seem to him wise to stop 
there. Leaving his wife to stand a siege in the castle, he 
sailed off to hasten the assistance which had already been 
asked for from the Danes. A Danish fleet indeed appeared 
off the coast, but it did nothing beyond making a plundering 
raid in Yorkshire. Emma, the new-made wife of Earl Ralph, 
seems to have been a good captain and to have had a good 
garrison. The utmost efforts of the king's forces could not 
take the castle, and she at last surrendered only on favourable 
terms. She was allowed to retire to the continent with her 
forces. The terms which were granted her, as they are made 
known in a letter from Lanfranc to William, are especially 
interesting as giving us one of the earliest glimpses we have 
of that extensive dividing out of land to under-vassals, the 
process of subinfeudation, which must already have taken 
place on the estates granted to the king's tenants in chief. 
A clear distinction was made between the men who were 
serving Ralph because they held land of him, and those who 
were merely mercenaries. Ralph's vassals, although they 
were in arms against Ralph's lord, the king, were thought 
to be entitled to better terms, and they secured them more 
easily than those who served him for money. Ralph and 
Emma eventually lived out the life of a generation of those 
days, on Ralph's Breton estates, and perished together in the 
first crusade. 

Their fellow-rebels were less fortunate. Roger surrendered 


CHAP, himself to be tried by the king's court, and was condemned 
111 " according to the Norman law," we are told, to the forfeiture 
of his estates and to imprisonment at the king's pleasure. 
From this he was never released. The family of William's 
devoted guardian, Osbern, and of his no less devoted friend, 
William Fitz Osbern, disappears from English history with 
the fall of this imprudent representative, but not from the 
country. It has been reserved for modern scholarship to 
prove the interesting fact of the continuance for generations 
of the male line of this house, though in minor rank and posi- 
tion, through the marriage of the son of Earl Roger, with the 
heiress of Abergavenny in Wales. 1 The fate of Waltheof 
was even more pathetic because less deserved. He had no 
part in the actual rebellion. Whatever he may have sworn 
to do, under the influence of the earls of stronger character, 
he speedily repented and made confession to Lanfranc as to 
his spiritual adviser. Lanfranc urged him to cross at once 
to Normandy and make his confession to the king himself. 
William received him kindly, showed no disposition to regard 
the fault as a serious one, and apparently promised him his 
forgiveness. Why, on his return to England, he should have 
arrested him, and after two trials before his court should 
have allowed him to be executed, " according to English law," 
we do not surely know. The hatred of his wife Judith, the 
king's niece, is plainly implied, but is hardly enough to 
account for so radical a departure from William's usual 
practice in this the only instance of a political execution in 
his reign. English sympathy plainly took the side of the 
earl. The monks of the abbey at Crowland, which he had 
favoured in his lifetime, were allowed the possession of his 
body. Soon miracles were wrought there, and he became, 
in the minds of monks and people, an unquestioned martyr 
and saint. 

This was the end of William's troubles in England which 
have any real connexion with the Conquest. Malcolm of 
Scotland invaded Northumberland once more, and harried 
that long-suffering region, but without result ; and an army 
of English baron's, led by the king's son Robert, which re- 
turned the invasion soon after, was easily able to force the 

1 Round, Peerage Studies, pp. 181 ff. 


king of the Scots to renew his acknowledgment of subjection CHAP. 
to England. The failure of Walcher, Bishop of Durham, to ni 
keep his own subordinates in order, led to a local riot, in 
which the bishop and many of his officers and clergy were 
murdered, and which was avenged in his usual pitiless style 
by the king's brother Odo. William himself invaded Wales 
with a large force, received submissions, and opened the way 
for the extension of the English settlements in that country. 
The great ambition of Bishop Odo, and the increase of wealth 
and power which had come to him through the generosity of 
his brother, led him to hope for still higher things, and he 
dreamed of becoming pope. This was not agreeable to 
William, and may even have seemed dangerous to him when 
the bishop began to collect his friends and vassals for an 
expedition to Italy. Archbishop Lanfranc, who had not 
found his brother prelate a comfortable neighbour in Kent, 
suggested to the king, we are told, the exercise of his feudal 
rights against him as his baron. The scene must have been 
a dramatic one, when in a session of the ctwia regis William 
ordered his brother's arrest, and when no one ventured to exe- 
cute the order laid hands upon him himself, exclaiming that 
he arrested, not the Bishop of Bayeux, but the Earl of Kent. 
William must have had some strong reason for this action, 
for he refused to consent to the release . of his brother as 
long as he lived. At one time what seemed like a great dan- 
ger threatened from Denmark, in the plans of King Canute 
to invade England with a vast host and deliver the country 
from the foreigner. William brought over from Normandy 
a great army of mercenaries to meet this danger, and laid 
waste the country along the eastern coast that the enemy 
might find no supplies on landing; but this Danish threat 
amounted to even less than the earlier ones, for the fleet 
never so much as appeared off the coast. All these events 
are but the minor incidents which might occur in any reign ; 
the Conquest had long been finished, and England had 
accepted in good faith her new dynasty. 

Much more of the last ten years of William's life was spent 

in Normandy than in England. Revolts of unruly barons, 

attacks on border towns or castles, disputes with the king 

of France, were constantly occupying him with vexatious 

VOL. ii. 5 


CHAP, details, though with nothing of serious import. Most vexa- 
tious of all was the conduct of his son Robert. With the 
eldest son of William opens in English history a long line of 
the sons and brothers of kings, in a few cases of kings them- 
selves, who are gifted with popular qualities, who make 
friends easily, but who are weak in character, who cannot 
control men or refuse favours, passionate and selfish, hardly 
strong enough to be violently wicked as others of the line 
are, but causes of constant evil to themselves and their friends, 
and sometimes to the state. And with him opens also the 
long series of quarrels in the royal family, of which the 
French kings were quick to take advantage, and from which 
they were in the end to gain so much. The ground of Rob- 
ert's rebellion was the common one of dissatisfaction with 
his. position and his father's refusal to part with any of his 
power in his favour. Robert was not able to excite any real 
insurrection in Normandy, but with the aid of his friends 
and of the French king he maintained a border war for 
some time, and defended castles with success against the 
king. He is said even, in one encounter, to have wounded 
and been on the point of slaying his father. For some time 
he wandered in exile in the Rhine valley, supported by gifts 
sent him by his mother, in spite of the prohibition of her 
husband. Once he was reconciled with his father, only to 
begin his rebellion again. When the end came, William left 
him Normandy, but people thought at least that he did it 
unwillingly, foreseeing the evil which his character was likely 
to bring on any land over which he ruled. 

The year 1086 is remarkable for the formation of one of 
the most unique monuments of William's genius as a ruler, 
and one of the most instructive sources of information which 
we have of the condition of England during his reign. At 
the Christmas meeting of the court, in 1085, it was decided, 
apparently after much debate and probably with special 
reference to the general land-tax, called the Danegeld, to 
form by means of inquiries, officially made in each locality, 
a complete register of the occupied lands of the kingdom, of 
their holders, and of their values. The book in which the re- 
sults of this survey of England were recorded was carefully 
preserved in the royal treasury, and soon came to be regarded 


as conclusive evidence in disputed questions which its entries CHAP. 
would concern. Not very long after the record was made it m 
came to be popularly known as the Domesday Book, and a 
hundred years later the writer on the English financial sys- 
tem of the twelfth century, the author of the " Dialogue con- 
cerning the Exchequer," 1 explained the name as meaning 
that the sentences derived from it were final, and without 
appeal, like those of the last great day. 

An especially interesting feature of this survey is the 
method which was employed to make it. Two institutions 
which were brought into England by the Conquest, the 
king's missi and the inquest, the forerunners of the circuit 
judge and of the jury, were set in motion for this work ; and 
the organization of the survey is a very interesting fore- 
shadowing of the organization which a century later William's 
great-grandson was to give to our judicial system in fea- 
tures which still characterize it, not merely in England but 
throughout great continents of which William never dreamed. 
Royal commissioners, or missi, were sent into each county. 
No doubt the same body of commissioners went through- 
out a circuit of counties. In each the county court was 
summoned to meet the commissioners, just as later it was 
summoned to meet the king's justice on his circuit. The 
whole " county " was present to be appealed to on questions 
of particular importance or difficulty if it seemed necessary, 
but the business of the survey as a rule was not done by the 
county court. Each hundred was present by its sworn jury, 
exactly as in the later itinerant justice court, and it was this 
jury which answered on oath the questions submitted to it 
by the commissioners, exactly again as in the later practice. 
Their knowledge might be reinforced, or their report modi- 
fied, by evidence of the men of the vill, or other smaller sub- 
division of the county, who probably attended as in the older 
county courts, and occasionally by the testimony of the whole 
shire ; but in general the information on which the survey 
was made up was derived from the reports of the hundred 
juries. The questions which were submitted to these juries 
show both the object of the survey and its thorough charac- 
ter. They were required to tell the name of each manor 

1 Dialogus de Scaccario, i. 16 (ed. Hughes, p. 108). 



CHAP, and the name of its holder in the time of King Edward and 
111 at the time of the inquiry ; the number of hides it contained ; 
the number of ploughs employed in the cultivation of the 
lord's domain land, and the number so used on the lands 
held by the lord's men, a rough way of determining the 
amount of land under cultivation. Then the population 
of the manor was to be given in classes : freemen and soke- 
men ; villeins, cotters, and serfs ; the amount of forest and 
meadow ; the number of pastures, mills, and fish-ponds ; and 
what the value of the manor was in the time of King Edward, 
at the date of its grant by King William, and at the time of 
the inquiry. In some cases evidently the jurors entered into 
such details of the live stock maintained by the manor as to 
justify the indignant words of the Saxon chronicler, that not 
" an ox nor a cow nor a swine was left that was not set down 
in his writing." 

The object of all this is plain enough. It was an assessment 
of the property of the kingdom for purposes of taxation. The 
king wished to find out, as indeed we are told in what may be 
considered a copy or an abstract of the original writ directing 
the commissioners as to their inquiries, whether he could get 
more from the kingdom in taxes than he was then getting. But 
the record of this inquest has served far different purposes in 
later times. It is a storehouse of information on many sides 
of history, personal, family, geographical, and especially eco- 
nomic. It tells us much also of institutions, but less than we 
could wish, and less than it would have told us if its purpose 
had been less narrowly practical. Indeed, this limiting of the 
record to a single definite purpose, which was the controlling 
interest in making it, renders the information which it gives 
us upon all the subjects in which we are now most interested 
fragmentary and extremely tantalizing, and forces us to use 
it witli great caution. It remains, however, even with this 
qualification, a most interesting collection of facts, unique in 
all the Middle Ages, and a monument to the practical genius 
of the monarch who devised it. 

On August i of the same year in which the survey was 
completed, in a great assembly on Salisbury Plain, an oath of 
allegiance to the king was taken by all the land-holding men 
of England, no matter of whom they held. This has been 


represented as an act of new legislation of great institutional CHAP. 
importance, but the view cannot be maintained. It is im- m 
possible to suppose that all land-owners were present or that 
such an oath had not been generally taken before ; and the 
Salisbury instance was either a renewal of it such as was 
occasionally demanded by kings of this age, or possibly an 
emphatic enforcement of the principle in cases where it had 
been neglected or overlooked, now perhaps brought to light 
by the survey. 

Already in 1083 Queen Matilda had died, to the lasting 
and sincere grief of her husband; and now William's life 
was about to end in events which were a fitting close to his 
stormy career. Border warfare along the French boundary 
was no unusual thing, but something about a raid of the 
garrison of Mantes, into Normandy, early in 1087, roused 
William's especial anger. He determined that plundering in 
that quarter should stop, and reviving old claims which had 
long been dormant he demanded the restoration to Normandy 
of the whole French Vexin, of which Mantes was the capital 
city. Philip treated his claims with contempt, and added a 
coarse jest on William's corpulence which roused his anger, 
as personal insults always did, to a white heat. JThe land 
around Mantes was cruelly laid waste by his orders, and by a 
sudden advance the city was carried and burnt down, churches 
and houses together. The heat and exertion of the attack, 
together with an injury which he received while riding through 
the streets of the city, by being thrown violently against the 
pummel of his saddle by the stumbling of his horse, proved 
too much for William in his physical condition, and he was 
carried back to Rouen to die after a few weeks. 

A monastic chronicler of a little later date, Orderic Vitalis, 
gives us a detailed account of his death-bed repentance, but it 
was manifestly written rather for the edification of the believer 
than to record historical fact. It is interesting to note, how- 
ever, that while William is made to express the deepest sorrow 
for the numerous acts of wrong which were committed in the 
process of the Conquest of England, there is no word which 
indicates any repentance for the Conquest itself or belief on 
William's part that he held England unjustly. He admits that 
it did not come to him from his fathers, but the same sentence 


CHAP, which contains this admission affirms that he had gained it 
111 by the favour of God. It has been strongly argued from 
these words, and from others like them, which are put into 
the mouth of William later in this dying confession, when he 
comes to dispose of his realms and treasures, that William 
was conscious to himself that he did not possess any right 
to the kingdom of England which he could pass on heredi- 
tarily to his heirs. These words might without violence be 
made to yield this meaning, and yet it is impossible to inter- 
pret them in this way on any sound principle of criticism, 
certainly not as the foundation of any constitutional doctrine. 
There is not a particle of support for this interpretation from 
any other source ; everything else shows that his son William 
succeeded him in England by the same right and in the 
same way that Robert did in Normandy. William speaks of 
himself in early charters, as holding England by hereditary 
right. He might be ready to acknowledge that it had not 
come to him by such right, but never that once having gained 
it he held it for himself and his family by any less right than 
this. The words assigned to William on his death-bed should 
certainly be interpreted by the words of the same chronicler, 
after he has finished the confession ; and these indicate some 
doubt on William's part as to the effect of his death on the 
stability of his conquest in England, and his great desire 
to hasten his son William off to England with directions to 
Lanfranc as to his coronation before the news of his own 
death should be spread abroad. They imply that he is not 
sure who may actually become king in the tumults which 
may arise when it becomes known that his own strong rule is 
ended ; that rests with God : but they express no doubt of 
the right of his heirs, nor of his own right to determine which 
one among them shall succeed him. 

With reluctance, knowing his disposition, William conceded 
Normandy to Robert. The first-born son was coming to 
have special rights. More important in this case was the fact 
that Robert's right to Normandy had been formally recog- 
nized years before, and that recognition had never been with- 
drawn. The barons of the duchy had sworn fealty to him as 
his father's successor, and there was no time to put another 
heir in his place, or to dealjjath the opposition that would 



surely result from the attempt. William was his father's 
choice for England, and he was despatched in all haste to 
secure the crown with the aid of Lanfranc. To Henry was 
given only a sum of money, joined with a prophecy that he 
should eventually have all that the king had had, a prophecy 
which was certainly easy after the event, when it was written 
down, and which may not have been difficult to a father who had 
studied carefully the character of his sons. William was buried 
in the church of St. Stephen, which he had founded in Caen, 
and the manner in which such foundations were frequently made 
in those days was illustrated by the claim, loudly advanced in 
the midst of the funeral service, that the land on which the 
participants stood had been unjustly taken from its owners 
for the Conqueror's church. It was now legally purchased 
for William's burial place. The son, who was at the moment 
busy securing his kingdom in England, afterwards erected in 
it a magnificent tomb to the memory of his father. 




CHAP. WILLIAM, the second son of the Conqueror, followed with 
IV no filial compunction his father's command that he should 
leave his death-bed and cross the channel at once to secure the 
kingdom of England. At the port of embarkation he learned 
that his father had died, but he did not turn back. Probably 
the news only hastened his journey, if this were possible. In 
England he went first to Winchester to get possession of his 
father's great treasure, and then to Canterbury with his letter 
to Lanfranc. Nowhere is there any sign of opposition to his 
succession, or of any movement in favour of Robert, or on 
Robert's part, at this moment. If the archbishop had any 
doubts, as a man of his good judgment might well have 
had, knowing the new king from his boyhood, they were soon 
quieted or he resolved to put them aside. He had, indeed, no 
alternative. There is nothing to indicate that the letter of his 
dying master allowed him any choice, nor was there any pos- 
sible candidate who gave promise of a better reign, for Lan- 
franc must have known Robert as well as he knew William. 
Together they went up to London, and on September 26, 
1087, hardly more than two weeks after he left his father's 
bedside, William was crowned king by Lanfranc. The arch- 
bishop took of him the customary oath to rule justly and to 
defend the peace and liberty of the Church, exacting a special 
promise always to be guided by his advice ; but there is no 
evidence of any unusual assembly in London of magnates 
or people, of any negotiations to gain the support of persons 
of influence, or of any consent asked or given. The proceed- 
ings throughout were what we should expect in a kingdom 
held by hereditary right, as the chancery of the Conqueror 



often termed it, and by such a right descending to the heir. CHAP. 
This appearance may possibly have been given to these events IV 
by haste and by the necessity of forestalling any opposition. 
Men may have found themselves with a new king crowned 
and consecrated as soon as they learned of the death of the 
old one ; but no objection was ever made. Within a few 
months a serious insurrection broke out among those who 
hoped to make Robert king, but no one alleged that Will- 
iam's title was imperfect because he had not been elected. 
If the English crown was held by the people of the time to 
be elective in any sense, it was not in the sense which we 
at present understand by the word " constitutional." 

Immediately after the coronation, the new king went back to 
Winchester to fulfil a duty which he owed to his father. The 
great hoard which the Conqueror had collected in the an- 
cient capiUl was distributed with a free hand to the churches 
of England. William II was as greedy of money as his 
father. HH exactions pressed even more heavily on the 
kingdom, ani the Church believed that it was peculiarly the 
victim of his financial tyranny, but he showed no disposition 
to begrudge t\ese benefactions for the safety of his father's 
soul. Money Vas sent to each monastery and church in the 
kingdom, and fy many rich gifts of other things, and to each 
county a hundnd pounds for distribution to the poor. 

Until the folWing spring the disposition of the kingdom 
which Lanfranc lad made was unquestioned and undisturbed. 
William II wore his crown at the meeting of the court in 
London at Christnas time, and nothing during the winter 
called for any special exertion of royal authority on his part. 
But beneath the s\rface a great conspiracy was forming, 
for the purpose of fyerthrowing the new king and of putting 
his brother Robert ir\his place. During Lent the movers of 
this conspiracy were ^specially active, and immediately after 
Easter the insurrectio\ broke out. It was an insurrection in 
which almost all the Wman barons of England took part, 
and their real object AS the interest neither of king nor of 
kingdom, but only theirown personal and selfish advantage. 
A purely feudal insurrection, inspired solely by those local 
and separatist tendencie^which the feudal system cherished, 
it reveals, even more c\arly than the insurrection of the 


CHAP. Earls of Hereford and Norfolk under William I, the solid 
IV reserve of strength in the support of the nation which was 
the only thing that sustained the Norman kingship in England 
during the feudal age. 

The writers upon whom we depend for our knowledge of 
these events represent the rebellious barons as moved by two 
chief motives. Of these that which is put forward as the lead- 
ing motive is their opposition to the division of the Norman 
land into two separate realms, by the succession of the elder 
brother in Normandy and of the younger in England. The 
fact that these barons held fiefs in both countries, and ander two 
different lords, certainly put them in an awkward position, but 
in one by no means uncommon throughout the feudal world. 
A suzerain of the Norman type, however, in the event of a 
quarrel between the king and the duke, could rrake things 
exceedingly uncomfortable for the vassals who held of both, 
and these men seem to have believed that tteir divided 
allegiance would endanger their possessions in one land or 
the other. They were in a fair way, they thought, to lose 
under the sons the increase of wealth and honours for which 
they had fought under the father. A seconi motive was 
found in the contrasted characters of the two orothers. Our 
authorities represent this as less influential tten the first, but 
the circumstances of the case would lead us :o believe that it 
had equal weight with the barons. Willian they considered 
a man of violence, who was likely to respectno right ; Robert 
was " more tractable." That Robert was -he elder son, that 
they had already sworn allegiance to hin, while they owed 
nothing to William, which are suggested as among their 
motives, probably had no real influence in deciding their 
action. But the other two motives are sccompletely in accord 
with the facts of the situation that we must accept them as 
giving the reasons for the insurrectid. The barons were 
opposed to the separation of the two comtries, and they wished 
a manageable suzerain. 

The insurrection was in appearanc an exceedingly danger- 
ous one. Almost every Norman b^on in England revolted 
and carried his vassals with him. Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, 
the king's uncle, was the prime moer in the affair. He had 
been released from his prison by t'e Conqueror on his death- 



bed, and had been restored by William II to his earldom of CHAP. 
Kent ; but his hope of becoming the chief counsellor of the IV 
king, as he had become of Robert in Normandy, was disap- 
pointed. With him was his brother, Robert of Cornwall, 
Count of Mortain. The other great baron-bishop of the Con- 
quest, Geoffrey of Coutances, was also in insurrection, and 
with him his nephew, Robert of Mowbray, Earl of Northumber- 
land. Another leading rebel was Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury, 
with his three sons, the chief of whom, Robert of Belle'me, 
was sent over from Normandy by Duke Robert, with Eustace 
of Boulogne, to aid the insurrection in England until he should 
himself be able to cross the channel. The treason of one man, 
William of St. Calais, Bishop of Durham, was regarded by the 
English writers as particularly heinous, if indeed we are right 
in referring their words to him and not to Bishop Odo ; it is at 
least evident from the sequel that the king regarded his con- 
duct in that light. The reason is not altogether clear, unless 
it be that the position of greatest influence in England, which 
Bishop Odo had desired in vain, had been given him by the 
king. Other familiar names must be added to these : William 
of Eu, Roger of Lacy, Ralph of Mortimer, Roger Bigod, 
Hugh of Grantmesnil. On the king's side there were few 
Norman names to equal these : Hugh of Avranches, Earl of 
Chester, William of Warenne, and of course the vassals of 
the great Archbishop Lanfranc. But the real strength of the 
king was not derived from the baronial elements. The 
castles in most of the great towns remained faithful, and so 
did nearly all the bishops and the Church as a whole. But 
the weight which turned the scale and gave the decision to 
the king was the support of the great mass of the nation, 
of the English as opposed to the Norman. 

For so great a show of strength, the insurrection was very 
short-lived, and it was put down with almost no fighting. 
The refusal of the barons to come to the Easter court, April 
14, was their first overt act of rebellion, though it had been 
evident in March that the rebellion was coming, and before 
the close of the summer confiscation or amnesty had been 
measured out to the defeated rebels. We are told that the 
crown was offered to Robert and accepted by him, and great 
hopes were entertained of decisive aid which he was to send ; 


CHAP, but nothing came of it. Two sieges, of Pevensey castle and of 
IV Rochester castle, were the most important military events. 
There was considerable ravaging of the country by the rebels 
in the west, and some little fighting there. The Bishop of Cou- 
tances and his nephew seized Bristol and laid waste the country 
about, but were unsuccessful in their siege of Ilchester. Roger 
of Lacy and others collected a force at Hereford, and advanced 
to attack Worcester, but were beaten off by the Norman garri- 
son and the men of Bishop Wulf stan. Minor incidents of the 
same kind occurred in Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Nor- 
folk, and the north. But the decisive events were in the 
south-east, in the operations of the king against his uncle 
Odo. At London William called round him his supporters, 
appealing especially to the English, and promising to grant 
good laws, to levy no unjust taxes, and to allow men the free- 
dom of their woods and of hunting. With an army which did 
not seem large, he advanced against Rochester, where the 
Bishop of Bayeux was, to strike the heart of the insurrection. 
Tunbridge castle, which was held for Odo, was first stormed, 
and on the news of this Odo thought it prudent to betake him- 
self to Pevensey, where his brother, Robert of Mortain, was, 
and where reinforcements from Robert of Normandy would 
be likely to land. William at once turned from his march to 
Rochester and began the siege of Pevensey. The Norman 
reinforcements which Robert finally sent were driven back with 
great loss, and after some weeks Pevensey was compelled to 
surrender. Bishop Odo agreed to secure the surrender of 
Rochester, and then to retire from England, only to return if 
the king should send for him. But William unwisely sent 
him on to Rochester with a small advance detachment, to 
occupy the castle, while he himself followed more slowly with 
the main body. The castle refused to surrender. Odo's expres- 
sion of face made known his real wishes, and was more convinc- 
ing than his words. A sudden sally of the garrison overpowered 
his guards, and the bishop was carried into the castle to try 
the fortune of a siege once more. For this siege the king 
again appealed to the country and called for the help of all 
under the old Saxon penalty of the disgraceful name of 
" nithing." The defenders of the castle suffered greatly from 
the blockade, and were soon compelled to yield upon such 


terms as the king pleased, who was with difficulty persuaded CHAP. 
to give up his first idea of sending them all to the gallows. IV 

The monk Orderic Vitalis, who wrote an account of these 
events a generation after they occurred, was struck with one 
characteristic of this insurrection, which the careful observer 
of any time would hardly fail to notice. He says : " The 
rebels, although they were so many and abundantly furnished 
with arms and supplies, did not dare to join battle with the 
king in his kingdom." It was an age, to be sure, when 
wars were decided less by fighting in the open field than by 
the siege and defence of castles ; and yet the collapse of so 
formidable an insurrection as this, after no resistance at all 
in proportion to its apparent fighting strength, is surely a 
significant fact. To notice here but one inference from it, it 
means that no one questioned the title of William Rufus 
to the throne while he was in possession. Though he might 
be a younger son, not elected, but appointed by his father, 
and put into the kingship by the act of the primate alone, 
he was, to the rebellious barons as to his own supporters, 
the rightful king of England till he could be overthrown. 

The insurrection being put down, a general amnesty seems 
to have been extended to the rebels. The Bishop of Bayeux 
was exiled from England ; some confiscations were made, and 
some rewards distributed ; but almost without exception the 
leaders escaped punishment. The most notable exception, 
besides Odo, was William of St. Calais, the Bishop of Durham. 
For some reason, which does not clearly appear, the king 
found it difficult to pardon him. He was summoned before 
the king's court to answer for his conduct, and the account of 
the trial which followed in November of this year, preserved 
to us by a writer friendly to the bishop and present at the 
proceedings, is one of the most interesting and instructive 
documents which we have from this time. William of St. 
Calais, as the king's vassal for the temporalities of his 
bishopric, was summoned before the king's feudal .court to 
answer for breach of his feudal obligations. William had 
shown, in one of the letters which he had sent to the king 
shortly before the trial, that he was fully aware of these 
obligations ; and the impossibility of meeting the accusation 
was perfectly clear to his mind. With the greatest subtlety 


CHAP, and skill, he sought to take advantage of his double position, 

IV as vassal and as bishop, and to transfer the whole process to 

different ground. With equal skill, and with an equally clear 

understanding of the principles involved, Lanfranc met every 

move which he made. 1 

From the beginning the accused insisted upon the privileges 
of his order. He would submit to a canonical trial only. 
He asked that the bishops should appear in their pontificals, 
which was a request that they judge him as bishops, and not 
as barons. Lanfranc answered him that they could judge 
him well enough clad as they were. William demanded that 
his bishopric should be restored to him before he was com- 
pelled to answer, referring to the seizing of his temporalities 
by the king. Lanfranc replied that he had not been deprived 
of his bishopric. He refused to plead, however, until the 
point had been formally decided, and on the decision of the 
court against him, he demanded the canonical grounds on 
which they had acted. Lanfranc replied that the deci- 
sion was just, and that he ought to know that it was. He 
requested to be allowed to take counsel with the other 
bishops on his answer, and Lanfranc explained that the 
bishops were his judges and could not be his counsel, his 
answer resting on a principle of the law necessary in the 
courts of public assembly, one which gave rise to elaborate 
regulations in some feudal countries. Bishop William finally 
refused to accept the judgment of the court on several 
grounds, but especially because it was against the canons ; 
and Lanfranc explained at greater length than before, that he 
had not been put on trial concerning his bishopric, but con- 
cerning his fief, as the Bishop of Bayeux had been tried 
under William I. But all argument was in vain. The bishop 
could not safely yield, and he insisted on his appeal to Rome. 
On his side the king insisted on the surrender of the bishop's 
castle, the last part of his fief which he still held, and was 
sustained by the court in this demand. The bishop demurred, 
but at last yielded the point to avoid arrest, and after con- 
siderable delay, he was allowed to cross over to the continent. 
There he was welcomed by Robert and employed in Nor- 

1 Dugdale, Monasticon, ed. 1846, i. 244 ff. and Symeon of Durham, De injusta 
Vexatione (Rolls series), i. 170 ff. 


mandy, but he never went any farther nor pushed his appeal CHAP. 
to Rome, which in all probability he had never seriously in- IV 
tended, though there is evidence that the pope was disposed 
to take up his cause. Throughout the case the king was act- 
ing wholly within his right, regarding the bishop as his vassal ; 
and Lanfranc's position in the trial was in strict accordance 
with the feudal law. 

This was the end of serious rebellion against King William 
Rufus. Seven years later, in 1095, a conspiracy was formed 
by some of the barons who had been pardoned for their 
earlier rebellion, which might have resulted in a widespread 
insurrection but for the prompt action of William. Robert 
of Mowbray, Earl of Northumberland, who had inherited the 
280 manors of his uncle, the Bishop of Coutances, and was 
now one of the most powerful barons of the kingdom, had 
been summoned to the king's court, probably because the 
conspiracy was suspected, since it was for a fault which 
would ordinarily have been passed over without remark, and 
he refused to appear. The king's hands were for the moment 
free, and he marched at once against the earl. By degrees 
the details of the conspiracy came out. From Notting- 
ham, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was accompany- 
ing the march, was sent back to Kent to hold himself in 
readiness at a moment's notice to defend that part of Eng- 
land against an expected landing from Normandy. This 
time it had been planned to make Stephen of Aumale, a 
nephew of the Conqueror, king in William's place ; but no 
Norman invasion occurred. The war was begun and ended 
by the siege and surrender of Mowbray's two castles of 
Tynemouth and Bamborough. In the siege of the latter, 
Mowbray himself was captured by a trick, and his newly 
married wife was forced to surrender the castle by the threat 
of putting out his eyes. The earl was thrown into prison, 
where, according to one account, he was held for thirty years. 
Treachery among the traitors revealed the names of the 
leaders of the plot, and punishments were inflicted more 
generally than in 1088, but with no pretence of impartiality. 
A man of so high rank and birth as William of Eu was 
barbarously mutilated ; one man of minor rank was hanged ; 
banishment and fines were the penalties in other cases. 


CHAP. William of St. Calais, who had been restored to his see, fell 
IV again under the suspicion of the king, and was summoned to 
stand another trial, but he was already ill when he went up to 
the court, and died before he could answer the charges against 
him. There were reasons enough in the heavy oppressions 
of the reign why men should wish to rebel against William, 
but he was so fixed in power, so resolute in action, and 
so pitiless towards the victims of his policy, that the form- 
ing of a dangerous combination against him was practically 

The contemporary historians of his reign tell us much of 
William's personality, both in set descriptions and in occa- 
sional reference and anecdote. It is evident that he impressed 
in an unusual degree the men of his own time, but it is evi- 
dent also that this impression was not so much made by his 
genius as a ruler or a soldier, by the possession of the gifts 
which a great king would desire, as by something in his spirit 
and attitude towards life which was new and strange, some- 
thing out of the common in words and action, which startled 
or shocked men of the common level and seemed at times to 
verge upon the awful. In body he was shorter than his father, 
thick-set and heavy, and his red face gave him the name Rufus 
by which he was then and still is commonly known. Much 
of his father's political and military ability and strength of 
will had descended to him, but not his father's character and 
high purpose. Every king of those times thought chiefly of 
himself, and looked upon the state as his private property ; 
but the second William more than most. The money which 
he wrung from churchman and layman he used in attempts 
to carry out his personal ambitions in Normandy, or scattered 
with a free hand among his favourites, particularly among 
the mercenary soldiers from the continent, with whom he espe- 
cially loved to surround himself, and whose licensed plunder- 
ings added greatly to the burden and tyranny of his reign. 
But the ordinary doings of a tyrant were not the worst things 
about William Rufus. Effeminate fashions, vices horrible 
and unheard-of in England, flourished at his court and threat- 
ened to corrupt the nation. The fearful profanity of the king, 
his open and blasphemous defiance of God, made men tremble, 
and those who were nearest to him testified " that he every 


morning got up a worse man than he lay down, and every CHAP. 
evening lay down a worse man than he got up." 1V 

In the year after the suppression of the first attempt of the 
barons against the king, but before other events of political 
importance had occurred, on May 28, 1089, died Lanfranc, 
the great Archbishop of Canterbury, after nearly nineteen 
years of service in that office. Best of all the advisers of the 
first William, he was equally with him conqueror of England, 
in that conquest of laws and civilization which followed the 
mere conquest of arms. Not great, though famous as a theo- 
logian and writer, his powers were rather of a practical 
nature. He was skilful in the management of men ; he 
had a keen appreciation of legal distinctions, and that com- 
prehensive sight at the same time of ends and means which 
we call the organizing power. He was devoted to that 
great reformation in the religious and ecclesiastical world 
which occurred during his long life, but he was devoted to it 
in his own way, as his nature directed. He saw clearly, for 
one thing, that the success of that reformation in England 
depended on the maintenance of the strong government of 
the Norman kings; and from his loyalty to them he never 
swerved, serving them with wise counsel and with all the 
resources at his command. Less of a theologian and idealist 
than his successor Anselm, more of a lawyer and statesman, he 
could never have found himself, for another thing, in that 
attitude of opposition to the king which fills so much of his 
successor's pontificate. 

As his life had been of constant service to England, his 
death was an immediate misfortune. We cannot doubt the 
opinion expressed by more than one of the writers of the 
next reign, that a great change for the worse took place in 
the actions of the king after the death of Lanfranc. The 
aged archbishop, who had been in authority since his child- 
hood, who might seem to prolong in some degree the reign 
or the influence of his father, acted as a restraining force, 
and the true character of William expressed itself freely only 
when this was removed. In another way also the death of 
Lanfranc was a misfortune to England. It dates the rise to 
influence with the king of Ranulf Flambard, whose name is 
closely associated with the tyranny of Rufus ; or if this may 
VOL. II. 6 


CHAP, already have begun, it marks his very speedy attainment of 
IV what seems to have been the complete control of the admin- 
istrative and judicial system of the kingdom. Of the early 
history of Ranulf Flambard we know but little with certainty. 
He was of low birth, probably the son of a priest, and he 
rose to his position of authority by the exercise of his own 
gifts, which were not small. A pleasing person, ingratiating 
manners, much quickness and ingenuity of mind, prodigality 
of flattery, and great economy of scruples, these were traits 
which would attract the attention and win the favour of a 
man like William II. In Ranulf Flambard we have an in- 
stance of the constantly recurring historical fact, that the 
holders of absolute power are always able to find in the 
lower grades of society the ministers of their designs who 
serve them with a completeness of devotion and fidelity which 
the master rarely shows in his own interest, and often with a 
genius which he does not himself possess. 

Our knowledge of the constitutional details of the reign 
either of William I or William II is very incomplete, and it is 
therefore difficult for us to understand the exact nature of the 
innovations made by Ranulf Flambard. The chroniclers leave 
us no doubt of the general opinion of contemporaries, that 
important changes had been made, especially in the treatment 
of the lands of the Church, and that these changes were all in 
the direction of oppressive exactions for the benefit of the king. 
The charter issued by Henry I at the beginning of his reign, 
promising the reform of various abuses of his brother's 
reign, confirms this opinion. But neither the charter nor 
the chroniclers enable us to say with confidence exactly in 
what the innovations consisted. The feudal system as a 
system of military tenures and of judicial organization had 
certainly been introduced by William the Conqueror, and 
applied to the great ecclesiastical estates of the kingdom very 
early in his reign. That all the logical deductions for the 
benefit of the crown which were possible from this system, 
especially those of a financial nature, had been made so early, 
is not so certain. In the end, and indeed before very long, 
the feudal system as it existed in England became more logi- 
cal in details, more nearly an ideal feudalism, with reference 
to the rights of the crown, than anywhere else in Christen- 


dom. It is quite within the bounds of possibility that Ranulf CHAP. 
Flambard, keen of mind, working under an absolute king, IV 
whose reign was followed by the longer reign of another 
absolute king, not easily forced to keep the promises of his 
coronation charter, may have had some share in the logical 
carrying out of feudal principles, or in their more com- 
plete application to the Church, which would be likely to 
escape feudal burdens under a king of the character of 
the first William. Indeed, such a complete application of 
the feudal rights of the crown to the Church, the development 
of the so-called regalian rights, was at this date incomplete 
in Europe as a whole, and according to the evidence which 
we now have, the Norman in England was a pioneer in that 

The loudest complaints of these oppressions have come 
down to us in regard to Canterbury and the other ecclesiasti- 
cal baronies which fell vacant after the death of Lanfranc. 
This is what we should expect : the writers are monks. It 
seems from the evidence, also, that in most cases no exact 
division had as yet been made between those lands belonging 
to a monastic bishop or an abbot, which should be consid- 
ered particularly to form the barony, and those which should 
be assigned to the support of the monastic body. Such a 
division was made in time, but where it had not been made 
before the occurrence of a vacancy, it was more than likely 
that the monks were placed on very short commons, and the 
right of the king to the revenues interpreted in the most 
ample sense. The charter of Henry I shows that in the 
case of lay fiefs the rights of the king, logically involved in 
the feudal system, had been stretched to their utmost limit, 
and even beyond. It would be very strange if this were not 
still more true in the case of ecclesiastical fiefs. The monks, 
we may be sure, had abundant grounds for their complaints. 
But we should notice that what they have in justice to com- 
plain of is the oppressive abuse of real rights. The system 
of Ranulf Flambard, so far as we can determine what it was, 
does not differ in its main features from that which was in 
operation without objection in the time of Henry II. The 
vacant ecclesiastical, like the vacant lay, fief fell back into 
the king's domain. It is difficult to determine just what its 



CHAP, legal status was then considered to be, but it was perhaps 
IV regarded as a fief reverting on failure of heirs. Certainly it 
was sometimes treated as only an escheated or forfeited lay 
fief would be treated. Its revenues might be collected by 
the ordinary machinery, as they had been under the bishop, 
and turned into the king's treasury ; or it might be farmed 
out as a whole to the highest bidder. There could be no 
valid objection to this. If the legal position which Lanfranc 
had so vigorously defended was correct, that a bishop might 
be tried as a baron by a lay court and a lay process, with no 
infringement of his ecclesiastical rights, then there could be 
no defence against this further extension of feudal principles. 
Relief, wardship, and escheat were perfectly legitimate feudal 
rights, and there was no reason which the state would consider 
valid why they should not be enforced in all fiefs alike. The 
case of the Bishop of Durham, in 1088, had already estab- 
lished a precedent for the forfeiture of an ecclesiastical barony 
for the treason of its holder, and in that case the king had 
granted fiefs within that barony to his own vassals. Still more 
clearly would such a fief return to the king's hands, if it were 
vacant. But if the right was clear, it might still be true that 
the enforcement of it was new and accompanied with great 
practical abuses. Of this much probably we must hold Ranulf 
Flambard guilty. 

The extension and abuse of feudal law, however, do not 
fill up the measure of his guilt. Another important source of 
royal revenue, the judicial system, was put under his control, 
and was forced to contribute the utmost possible to the king's 
income. That the justiciarship was at this time as well 
defined an office, or as regularly recognized a part of the 
state machinery, as it came to be later, is hardly likely. But 
that some officer should be clothed with the royal authority 
for a special purpose, or in the absence of the king for 
general purposes, was not an uncommon practice. In some 
such way as this Ranulf Flambard had been given charge of 
the king's interests in the judicial system, and had much to do 
by his activities in that position with the development of the 
office of justiciar. Exactly what he did in this field is as un- 
certain as in that of feudal law, though the one specific 
instance which we have on record shows him acting in a 


capacity much like that of the later itinerant justice. However CHAP. 
this may be, the recorded complaints of his oppressions as Iv 
judge, though possibly less numerous and detailed than of 
his mistreatment of the Church, are equally bitter. He was 
the despoiler of the rich, the destroyer of the poor. Exac- 
tions already heavy and unjust he doubled. Money alone 
decided cases in the courts. Justice and the laws disappeared. 
The rope was loosened from the very neck of the robber if 
he had anything of value to promise the king; while the 
popular courts of shires and hundreds were forced to become 
engines of extortion, probably by the employment of the 
sheriffs, who were allowed to summon them, not according 
to the old practice, but when and where it suited their con- 
venience. The machinery of the state and the interpretation 
of its laws were, in days like these, completely at the mercy 
of a tyrannous king and an unscrupulous minister. No 
system of checks on absolute power had as yet been devised ; 
there were no means of expressing public discontent, nor any 
form of appeal but insurrection, and that was hopeless against 
a king so strong as Rufus. The land could only suffer and 
wait, and at last rejoice that the reign was no longer. 

In the meantime, from the beginning of Robert's rule in 
the duchy across the channel, the condition of things there 
had been a standing invitation to his brother to interfere. 
Robert is a fair example of the worst type of men of the 
Norman- Angevin blood. Not bad in intention, and not with- 
out abilities, he was weak with that weakness most fatal of 
all in times when the will of the ruler gave its only force to 
law, the inability to say no, the lack of firm resisting power. 
The whole eleventh century had been nourishing the growth, 
in the favouring soil of feudalism, of the manners and morals 
of chivalry. The generation to which William and Robert 
belonged was more strongly influenced in its standards of 
conduct by the ideals of chivalry than by any other ethical 
code, and both these princes are examples of the superior 
power of these ideals. In the age of chivalry no princely 
virtue was held of higher worth than that of " largesse," the 
royal generosity which scattered gifts on all classes with 
unstinted hand ; but Robert's prodigality of gifts was greater 
than the judgment of his own time approved, and, combined 


CHAP, with the inability to make himself respected or obeyed, which 

IV often goes with such generosity, it was the source of most of 

his difficulties. His ideal seemed to be that every man should 

have what he wanted, and soon it was apparent that he had 

retained very little for himself. 

The castles of Normandy were always open to the duke, 
and William the Conqueror had maintained garrisons of his 
own in the most important of them, to insure the obedience 
of their holders. The first move that was made by the barons 
of Normandy, on the news of William's death, was to expel 
these garrisons and to substitute others of their own. The 
example was set by Robert of Belleme, the holder of a power- 
ful composite lordship on the south-west border and partly 
outside the duchy. On his way to William's court, he heard 
of the duke's death, and he instantly turned about, not merely 
to expel the ducal garrisons from the castles of his own fiefs, 
but to seize the castles of his neighbours which he had reason 
to desire, and some of these he destroyed and some he held 
for himself. This action is typical of the influence of Rob- 
ert's character on government in Normandy. Contempt for 
the authority of the duke meant not merely that things which 
belonged to him would be seized upon and his rights denied, 
but also that the property and rights of the weak, and even of 
those who were only a little weaker than their neighbours, 
were at the mercy of the stronger. 

Duke Robert's squandering of his resources soon brought 
him to a want of ready money intolerable to a prince of his 
nature, and his mind turned at once with desire to the large 
sum in cash which his father had left to Henry. But Henry 
was not at all of the stamp of Robert. He was perfectly 
clear headed, and he had no foolish notions about the virtue 
of generosity. He preferred to buy rather than to give away. 
A bargain was struck between them, hardly six months after 
their father's death, and the transaction is characteristic of 
the two brothers. For three thousand pounds of silver, Henry 
purchased what people of the time regarded as a third of 
Robert's inheritance, the lordship of the Cotentin, with its 
important castles, towns, and vassals. The chroniclers call 
him now Count of the Cotentin, and he there practised the 
art of government for a time, and, in sharp contrast to Robert, 


maintained order with a strong hand. During the same CHAP. 
summer, of 1088, Henry crossed over to England to get pos- IV 
session of the lands of his mother Matilda, which she had 
bequeathed to him on her death. This inheritance he does 
not seem to have obtained, at least not permanently ; but there 
was no quarrel between him and William at that time. In 
the autumn he returned to Normandy, taking with him Robert 
of Belleme. Robert had been forgiven his rebellion by the 
king, and so clear was the evidence that Henry and Robert 
of Belleme had entered into some kind of an arrangement 
with King William to assist his designs on Normandy, or so 
clear was it made to seem to Duke Robert, that on their 
landing he caused them both to be arrested and thrown into 
prison. On the news of this the Earl of Shrewsbury, the 
father of Robert of Belleme, crossed over from England to 
the aid of his son, and a short civil war followed, in the early 
part of the next year, in which the military operations were 
favourable to the duke, but his inconstancy and weakness of 
character were shown in his releasing Robert of Belleme at 
the close of the war as if he had himself been beaten. Henry 
also was soon released, and took up again his government of 
the Cotentin. 

William may have felt that Robert's willingness to accept 
the crown of England from the rebel barons gave him the 
right to take what he could get in Normandy, though pro- 
bably he was not particularly troubled by the question of- any 
moral justification of his conduct. Opportunity would be for 
him the main consideration, and the growing anarchy in the 
duchy furnished this. Private war was carried on without 
restraint in more than one place, and though the reign of a 
weak suzerain was to the advantage of the rapacious feudal 
baron, many of the class preferred a stronger rule. The 
arguments also in favour of a union of the kingdom and the 
duchy, which had led to the rebellion against William, would 
now, since that attempt had failed, be equally strong against 
Robert. For William no motive need be sought but that of 
ambition, nor have we much right to say that in such an 
age the ambition was improper. The temptation which the 
Norman duchy presented to a Norman king of England was 
natural and irresistible, and we need only note that with 


CHAP. William II begins that determination of the English kings 
IV to rule also in continental dominions which influences so 
profoundly their own history, and hardly less profoundly the 
history of their island kingdom, for centuries to come. To 
William the Conqueror no such question could ever present 
itself, but the moment that the kingdom and the duchy were 
separated in different hands it must have arisen in the mind 
of the king. 

But if William did not himself care for any moral justifi- 
cation of his plans, he must make sure of the support of 
his English vassals in such an undertaking ; and the policy 
of war against Robert was resolved upon in a meeting of the 
court, probably the Easter meeting of 1090. But open war 
did not begin at once. William contented himself for some 
months with sending over troops to occupy castles in the 
north-eastern portion of Normandy, which were opened to him 
by barons who were favourable to his cause or whose sup- 
port was purchased. The alarm of Robert was soon excited 
by these defections, and he appealed to his suzerain, King 
Philip I of France, for aid. If the policy of ruling in Nor- 
mandy was natural for the English king, that of keeping 
kingdom and duchy in different hands was an equally natural 
policy for the French king. It is hardly so early as this, 
however, that we can date the beginning of this which comes 
in the end to be a ruling motive of the Capetian house. 
Philip responded to his vassal's call with a considerable army, 
but the money of the king of England quickly brought him 
to a different mind, and he retired from the field, where he 
had accomplished nothing. 

In the following winter, early in February of 1091, William 
crossed over into Normandy to look after his interests in person. 
The money which he was wringing from England by the 
ingenuity of Ranulf Flambard he scattered in Normandy 
with a free hand, to win himself adherents, and with success. 
Robert could not command forces enough to meet him in the 
field, and was compelled to enter into a treaty with him, in 
which, in return for some promises from William, he not 
merely accepted his occupation of the eastern side of the 
duchy, which was already accomplished, but agreed to a 
similar occupation by William of the north-western corner. 



Cherbourg and Mont-Saint-Michel, two of the newly ceded CHAP. 
places, belonged to the dominions which "Count" Henry IV 
had purchased of his brother, and must be taken from him 
by force. William and Robert marched together against him, 
besieged him in his castle of Mont-Saint-Michel, and stripped 
him of his lordship. Robert received the lion's share of the 
conquest, but William obtained what he wished. Henry was 
once more reduced to the condition of a landless prince, but 
when William returned to England in August of this year 
both his brothers returned with him, and remained there for 
some time. 

William had been recalled to England by the news that 
King Malcolm of Scotland had invaded England during his 
absence and harried Northumberland almost to Durham. 
Malcolm had already refused to fulfil his feudal obligations 
to the new king of England, and William marched against 
him immediately on his return, taking his two brothers with 
him. At Durham Bishop William of St. Calais, who had 
found means to reconcile himself with the king, was restored 
to his rights after an exile of three years. The expedition to 
Scotland led to no fighting. William advanced with his army 
to the Firth of Forth. Malcolm met him there with an army 
of his own, but negotiations were begun and conducted for 
William by his brother Robert, and for Malcolm by the 
atheling Edgar, whose expulsion from Normandy had been 
one of the conditions of the peace between William and 
Robert. Malcolm at last agreed to acknowledge himself the 
man of William II, with the same obligations by which he 
had been bound to his father, and the king returned to Eng- 
land, as he had gone, by way of Durham. Very likely 
something in this expedition suggested to William that the 
north-western frontier of England needed rectification and 
defence. At any rate, early in the spring of the next year, 
1092, he marched against Carlisle, expelled Dolphin, son of 
the Gospatric of William the Conqueror's time, who was 
holding it under Malcolm of Scotland, built and garrisoned a 
castle there, and after his return to the south sent a colony 
of English families to occupy the adjacent country. This 
enlargement of the area of England was practically a con- 
quest from the king of Scotland, and it may have been, in 


CHAP, violation of the pledge which William had just given, to re- 
IV store to Malcolm all his former possessions. Something, at 
least, led to immediate complaints from Malcolm, which were 
without avail, and a journey that he made by invitation 
the next year, to confer with William at Gloucester, resulted 
only in what he regarded as further humiliating treatment. 
On his return to Scotland he immediately took arms, and 
again invaded Northumberland. This, however, was destined 
to be the last of his incursions, for he was killed, together 
with his eldest son, Edward, near Alnwick, on the eastern 
coast. The news of the death of her husband and son at once 
proved fatal to Queen Margaret. A reaction followed against 
English influence in the state, which she had supported, and 
a conflict of parties and a disputed succession gave to Will- 
iam an opportunity to interfere in favour of candidates of his 
own, though with little real success. At least the north of 
England was relieved of the danger of invasion. This year 
was also marked by important advances in the conquest of 
South Wales by the Norman barons of the country. 



IN following the history of Malcolm of Scotland we have CHAP. 
passed by events of greater importance which make the year v 
1093 a turning-point in the reign of William Rufus. The 
appointment of Anselm to the archbishopric of Canterbury 
divides the reign into two natural divisions. In the first 
period William secures his hold on power, develops his tyran- 
nous administrative system and his financial extortions, begins 
his policy of conquest in Normandy, forces Scotland to recog- 
nize his supremacy, and rounds off his kingdom towards the 
north-west. The second period is more simple in character, 
but its events are of greater importance. Apart from the 
abortive rebellion of Robert of Mowbray, which has already 
been narrated, William's authority is unquestioned. Flam- 
bard's machine appears to run smoothly. Monks record 
their groans and give voice to their horror, but the peace of 
the state is not disturbed, nor are precautions necessary 
against any foreign enemy. Two series of events fill up the 
history of the period, both of great and lasting interest. One 
is the long quarrel between the king and the archbishop, 
which involve the whole question of the relation between 
Church and State in the feudal age; and the other is the 
king's effort to gain possession of Normandy, the intro- 
ductory chapter of a long history. 

Early in Lent, 1093, or a little earlier, King William fell 
sick at a royal manor near to Gloucester, and was carried in 
haste into that city. There he lay during the rest of Lent, 
so ill that his death was expected at any moment, and it was 
even reported that he had died. Brought face to face with 
death, the terrors of the world to come seized hold of him. 
The medieval sinner who outraged the moral sentiment of 
his time, as William did, was sustained by no philosophical 



CHAP, doubt of the existence of God or belief in the evolutionary 
v origin of ethics. His life was a reckless defiance or a careless 
disregard of an almighty power, whose determination and 
ability to punish him, if not bought off, he did not question. 
The torments of a physical hell were vividly portrayed on all 
occasions, and accepted by the highest as well as the lowest 
as an essential part of the divine revelation. William was 
no exception to this rule. He became even more shockingly 
defiant of God after his recovery than he had been before. 
God, he declared to the Bishop of Rochester, should never 
have in him a good man because of the evil which He had 
done him. And God let him have what he wished, adds 
the pious historian, according to the idea of good which he 
had formed. And yet, if he had been allowed time for a 
death-bed repentance at the end of his life, he would have 
yielded undoubtedly to the same vague terrors, and have 
made a hasty bid for safety with gifts and promises. At any 
rate now, when the nobles and bishops who came to visit him 
suggested that it was time for him to make atonement for his 
evil deeds, he eagerly seized upon the chance. He promised 
to reform his life, to protect the churches, and not put them 
up any more for sale, to annul bad laws, and to decree good 
ones; and bishops were sent to lay these promises on the 
altar. Some of his good resolutions could only be carried 
out by virtue of a royal writ, and an order was drawn up and 
sealed, commanding the release of prisoners, the remission of 
debts due the crown, and the forgiving of offences. Great 
was the rejoicing at these signs of reformation, and prayers 
were everywhere offered /or so good a king, but when he had 
once recovered, his promises were as quickly forgotten as 
the very similar ones which he had made in the crisis of the 
rebellion of 1088. William probably still believed, when he 
found himself restored to health, that nobody can keep all 
his promises, as he had answered when Lanfranc remon- 
strated with him on the violation of his coronation pledges. 
Before his recovery, however, he took one step in the 
way of reformation from which he did not draw back. He 
appointed a new Archbishop of Canterbury. It was the fear 
of death alone which wrung this concession from the king, 
and it shows a clear consciousness on his part of the guilt 


of retaining the archbishopric in his hands. Only a few CHAP. 
weeks earlier, at the meeting of the Christmas court, when v 
the members had petitioned that he would be graciously 
pleased to allow prayers to be offered that he might be led to 
see the wrong which he was doing, he had answered with 
contempt, " Pray as much as you like ; I shall do what I 
please. Nobody's praying is going to change my mind." 
Now, however, he was praying himself, and anxious to get 
rid of this guilt. The man whom all England with one voice 
declared to be the ideal archbishop was at hand, and the king 
besought him most earnestly to accept the appointment, and 
so to aid him in his endeavour to save his soul. 

This man was Anselm, now abbot of the famous monastery 
of Bee, where Lanfranc had been at one time prior. Born 
sixty years before, at Aosta, in the kingdom of Burgundy, 
in the later Piedmont, he had crossed into France, like 
Lanfranc, led by the desire of learning and the religious life. 
Finally he had become a monk at Bee, and had devoted him- 
self to study and to theological writing. Only with great 
reluctance, and always imperfectly, did he attend to the 
administrative duties which fell to him as he was made first 
prior and then abbot of the monastery. His cast of mind 
was wholly metaphysical, his spirit entirely of the cloister 
and the school. The monastic life, free from the responsi- 
bilities of office, exactly suited him, and he was made for it. 
When all England was importuning him to accept the pri- 
macy, he shrank back from it with a reluctance which was 
wholly genuine, and an obstinacy which belonged also to his 
nature. He felt himself unfitted for the place, and he fore- 
saw the result. He likened his future reflation with the king 
to that of a weak old sheep yoked with an untamed bull. In 
all this he was perfectly right. That harmony which had 
existed between Lanfranc and the Conqueror, because each 
understood the other's position and rights and was interested 
in his work, was never for a moment possible between Anselm 
and William Ruf us ; and this was only partly due to the char- 
acter of the king. So wholly did the archbishop belong to 
another world than the king's that he never appreciated the 
double position in which his office placed him. One side of 
it only, the ecclesiastical, with its duties and rights and all 


CHAP, their logical consequences, he clearly saw. At the beginning 
v of his primacy, he seemed to understand, and he certainly 
accepted, the feudal relationship in which he was placed to 
the king, but the natural results of this position he never 
admitted. His mind was too completely taken up with the 
other side of things ; and with his fixedness of purpose, almost 
obstinacy of character, and the king's wilfulness, conflict was 

It was only with great difficulty that Anselm was brought 
to accept the appointment. Being in England on a visit to 
Hugh, Earl of Chester, he had been brought to the king's 
bedside when he fell sick, as the man best able to give him the 
most certain spiritual comfort ; and when William had been 
persuaded of his guilt in keeping the primacy so long vacant, 
Anselm was dragged protesting to the presence of the sick 
man, and his fingers were partially forced open to receive the 
pastoral staff which William extended to him. Then he was 
carried off, still protesting, to a church near by, where the 
religious ceremonies usual on the appointment of a bishop 
were performed. Still Anselm refused to yield to this 
friendly violence. He returned immediately to the king, pre- 
dicted his recovery, and declared that he had not accepted 
the primacy, and did not accept it, in spite of all that had 
been done. For some reason, however, William adhered to 
this much of his reformation. He gave order for the imme- 
diate transfer to his appointee of all that pertained to the 
archbishopric, and sent to Normandy for the consent of the 
secular and ecclesiastical superiors of Anselm, the duke and 
the Archbishop of Rouen, and of the monks of his abbey. 
At length Anselm yielded, not because his judgment had 
been changed as to the wisdom of the appointment, but sacri- 
ficing himself rather, in the monastic spirit, to the call of 

It was near the end of September, however, before the new 
archbishop was enthroned. Several matters had first to be 
arranged to the satisfaction of Anselm, and among these 
were three conditions which he presented to be agreed to by 
the king. William was probably ready to agree without 
hesitation that he would take the archbishop as his guide 
and director in religious matters, and equally ready to pay no 


attention to the promise afterward. A more difficult condi- CHAP. 
tion was, that all the lands which had belonged to the church v 
of Canterbury at Lanfranc's death should be restored, in- 
cluding, evidently, certain lands which William had granted to 
his own men. This condition would show that the king had 
treated the archbishopric as a forfeited fief, and that its lands 
had been alienated on terms unfavourable to the Church. 
William hesitated long on this condition, and tried to per- 
suade Anselm to waive it ; but the letters of the future arch- 
bishop show that his conscience was deeply engaged and 
would not permit him to agree to anything that would impov- 
erish his see, and the king must have yielded in the end. 
The third condition was, that Anselm should be allowed to 
continue in the obedience of Pope Urban II, whom he had 
already acknowledged in Normandy. This must also have 
been a disagreeable condition to the king. The divided state 
of Christendom, into which it had been thrown by the conflict 
between the pope and the emperor on the question of investi- 
tures, was favourable to that autocratic control of the Church 
which William Rufus desired to maintain. He had no wish 
to decide between the rival popes, nor was he willing to 
modify his father's rule that no pope should be recognized 
by the English Church without the king's consent. We are 
not told that in this particular he made anything more than a 
vague promise to do what he ought to do, but very likely 
Anselm may have regarded this point more as a warning to 
the king of his own future action than as a necessary condi- 
tion of his acceptance of the archbishopric. 

All these preliminaries being settled in some form satisfac- 
tory to Anselm, he yielded to the universal desire, and was 
enthroned on September 25. The rejoicing of this day at 
Canterbury was not allowed to go on, however, without 
interruption by the king. Ranulf Flambard appeared in 
person and served a writ on the new archbishop, summoning 
him to answer in some suit in the king's court. The assurance 
of Anselm's friend and biographer, Eadmer, that this action 
concerned a matter wholly within the province of the Church, 
we can hardly accept as conclusive evidence of the fact ; but 
Anselm was certainly right in regarding such an act on this 
day as foreboding greater troubles to come. On December 4, 


CHAP. Anselm was consecrated at an assembly of almost all the 
v bishops of England, including Thomas, Archbishop of York. 
The occasion is noteworthy because the Archbishop of York 
interrupted the proceedings to object to the term "metro- 
politan of all Britain," applied to the church of Canterbury, 
calling attention to the fact that the church of York was 
known to be metropolitan also. The term primate was at 
once substituted for that of metropolitan, since the arch- 
bishops of Canterbury did not claim the right to exercise an 
administrative authority within the see of York. 

It is interesting to notice, in view of the conflict on inves- 
titures which was before long to begin in England, and which 
had already been for years so bitterly fought upon the 
continent, that all these events happened without the slightest 
questioning on the part of any one of the king's sole right to 
dispose of the highest see of the realm as he pleased. There 
was~no Img^ no objectiorTto 

Ta^^^SSurejjno^^pro^gtjftrom any one. Anselm accepted 
investiture with the staff from the hand of the king without 
remark. He acknowledged his feudal relation to him, swore 
fealty to him as a vassal, 1 and was ready to perform his 
obligations of feudal service, at least upon his own interpre- 
tation of their extent. A little later, in 1095, after the first 
serious conflict between himself and the king, when the 
papal legate in England took of him his oath of fealty to the 
pope, the oath contained the usual Norman clause reserving 
his fealty to the king. A clause in the bishop's oath to the 
pope so unusual as this could not have passed in that age 
without notice. It occasioned instant criticism from strict 
ecclesiastics on the continent, and it must have been con- 
sciously inserted by Anselm and consciously accepted by the 
legate. Such facts as these, combined with the uncompro- 
mising character of Anselm, are more striking evidence of 
the absolutism of the Norman monarchy than anything which 
if occurred in the political world during this period. 

Within a few days after his consecration, Anselm set out 
from Canterbury to attend the Christmas meeting of the 
king's court at Gloucester. There he was well received by 
the king, but the most important business before the court 

1 Eadmer, Hist. Nov., p. 41. 



was destined to lead to the first breach between them. Robert CHAP. 
of Normandy had grown tired of his brother's long delay in v 
keeping the promises which he had made in the treaty of 
Caen. Now there appeared at Gloucester a formal embassy 
from him, authorized to declare William forsworn and faith- 
less, and to renounce all peace and agreement with him unless 
he held to the treaty or exculpated himself in due form. 
There could be no hesitation about an answer to this 
demand. It is more than likely that William himself, within 
a short time, would have sought for some excuse to begin 
again his conquest of Normandy, if Robert had not furnished 
him this one. War was at once resolved upon, and prepara- 
tions made for an immediate campaign. The most important 
preliminary question, both for William and for England, was 
that of money, and on this question the scruples of Anselm 
and the will of the king first came into collision. Voluntary 
aids, donations of money for the special undertakings or 
necessities of the king, were a feature of William's financial 
management, though their voluntary character seems often to 
have been more a matter of theory than of reality. If the 
sum offered was not so large as the king expected, he refused 
to accept it and withdrew his favour from the delinquent until 
he received the amount he thought proper. Anselm was 
persuaded by his friends to conform to this custom, and hop- 
ing that he might in this way secure the favour and support of 
the king in his ecclesiastical plans, he offered him five hundred 
pounds of silver. At first William was pleased with the gift 
and accepted it, but his counsellors advised him that it was 
too small, and Anselm was informed that it would not be 
received. The archbishop's attempt to persuade William to 
take the money only called out an angry answer. " Keep 
your own to yourself," the king said, " I have enough of 
mine ; " and Anselm went away rejoicing that now evil-minded 
men would have no occasion to say that he had bought his 
office, and he promised the money to the poor. The arch- 
bishop was acting here entirely within his legal rights, but it 
was not an auspicious beginning of his pontificate. 

Within a few weeks the prelates and nobles of England 
were summoned to meet again at Hastings, from which port 
the king intended to cross to Normandy. The weather was 
VOL. II. 7 


CHAP, for some weeks unfavourable, and during the delay the church 
v of the new abbey of Battle was dedicated ; Robert Bloet, who 
had been appointed Bishop of Lincoln while the king was in 
fear of death, was consecrated, though Anselm himself had 
not as yet received his pallium from the pope ; and Herbert 
Losinga, Bishop of Thetford, who had bought his bishopric 
from the king and afterwards, apparently in repentance, had 
personally sought the confirmation of the pope, was sus- 
pended from his office because he had left the realm without 
the permission of the king and had sought from the unac- 
knowledged Pope Urban the bishopric which the king asserted 
his full right to confer. He afterwards recovered William's 
favour and removed his see to Norwich. At Hastings, in a 
personal interview with the king, Anselm sought permission 
to hold a synod of the kingdom, which had not up to this 
time been allowed during the reign, and remonstrated with 
him in the plainest language for keeping so many monasteries 
without abbots while he used their revenues for wars and 
other secular purposes. In both respects William bluntly 
refused to change his conduct, and when Anselm sought 
through the bishops the restoration of his favour, refused 
that also " because," he said, " I do not know why I should 
grant it." When it was explained to Anselm that this was a 
formula of the king's which meant that his favour was to be 
bought, he refused on grounds of policy as well as of principle 
to increase, or even to renew, his former offer. This seemed 
like a final breach with the king. William's anger was great 
when he heard of Anselm's decision. He declared that he 
would hate him constantly more and more, and never would 
hold him for his spiritual father or a bishop. " Let him go 
home as soon as he likes," he cried, " he need not wait any 
longer to give his blessings to my crossing over ; " and Anselm 
departed at once from Hastings. 

On March 19, 1094, William at last crossed to Normandy. 
The campaign which followed was without decisive results. 
He was no nearer the conquest of the duchy at the end than 
at the beginning. Indeed, we can hardly say that the cam- 
paign had an end. It died away by degrees, but no formal 
peace was made, and the duchy came finally into the hands 
of William, not by conquest, but by other means. On 


William's landing an attempt was made to renew the peace CHAP. 
at an interview between him and Robert, but without avail. v 
Then those who had signed the treaty of Caen as guarantors, 
twelve barons for Robert and twelve for William, were called 
upon to say who was acting in violation of the treaty. They 
decided, apparently without disagreement, against William, 
but he refused to be bound by their verdict. The war which 
followed was a typical feudal war, the siege of castles, the 
capture of men and towns. Robert called in once more his 
suzerain, Philip of France, to his aid, and captured two im- 
portant castles, that of Argentan towards the south, and that 
of La Houlme in the north-west. William then took a step 
which illustrates again the extent of his power and his 
arbitrary use of it. He ordered a levy of ten thousand men 
from England to be sent him in Normandy, and when they had 
assembled at Hastings, Ranulf Flambard, by the king's orders 
we are told, took from them the ten shillings which each man 
had been furnished for his expenses, and sent them home. 
Robert and Philip were now marching against William at Eu, 
and it was probably by the liberal use of this money that 
" the king of France was turned back by craft and all the ex- 
pedition dispersed." About the same time William sent for 
his brother Henry to join him. Henry had reappeared in 
western Normandy not long before, and had begun the recon- 
struction of his power there. Invited by the inhabitants of 
Domfront to protect them against Robert of Belleme, he had 
made that place a starting-point from which he had recovered 
a considerable part of his earlier possessions. Now William 
sent ships to bring him by sea to Eu, probably wishing to use 
his military skill against their common enemy. For some 
reason, however, the ships departed from their course, and on 
the last day of October he landed at Southampton, where he 
stayed some weeks. On December 28, William also returned 
to England, and in the spring, Henry was sent back to Nor- 
mandy with supplies of money to keep up the war against 

The year 1094 had been a hard one for both England and 
Normandy. The duchy had suffered more from the private 
wars which prevailed everywhere, and which the duke made 
no effort to check, than from the invasion of William. Eng- 



CHAP, land in general had had peace, under the strong hand of the 
v king, but so heavy had been the burden of the taxation which 
the war in Normandy had entailed that agriculture declined, 
we are told, and famine and pestilence followed. In the 
west the Welsh had risen against the Norman lords, and had 
invaded and laid waste parts of the English border counties. 
In Scotland William's ally, Duncan, had been murdered, and 
his uncle, Donald, who represented the Scottish national 
party, had been made king in his place. William found 
difficulties enough in England to occupy him for some time, 
particularly when, as was told above, the refusal of Robert 
of Mowbray to appear at court in March revealed the plans 
of the barons for another insurrection. 

Before he could attempt to deal with any of these difficul- 
ties, however, another question, more troublesome still, was 
forced upon the king. A few weeks after his landing An- 
selm came to him and asked leave to go to Rome to get his 
pallium from the pope. " From which pope ? " asked the 
king. Anselm had already given warning of the answer 
which he must make, and at once replied, " From Urban." 
Here was joined an inevitable issue between the king and the 
archbishop ; inevitable, not because of the character of the 
question but because of the character of the two men. No 
conflict need have arisen upon this question. When Anselm 
had remonstrated with the king on the eve of his Norman 
expedition, about the vacant abbeys that were in his hands, 
William in anger had replied that Lanfranc would never 
have dared to use such language to his father. We may 
be sure for one thing, that Lanfranc would have dared to 
oppose the first William with all his might, if he had thought 
the reason sufficient, but also that his more practical mind 
would never have allowed him to regard this question as im- 
portant enough to warrant the evils that would follow in the 
train of an open quarrel between king and primate. During 
the last years of Lanfranc's life, at least from 1084, no pope 
had been formally recognized in England. To Anselm's 
mind, however, the question was one of vital importance, 
where delay would be the sacrifice of principle to expediency. 
On the other hand, it seems clear to us, looking back on 
these events, that William, from the strength of his position 


in England, could have safely overlooked Anselm's personal CHAP. 
recognition of Urban, and could have tacitly allowed him v 
even to get his pallium from the pope without surrendering 
anything of his own practical control of the Church. William, 
however, refused to take this course. Perhaps he had come 
to see that a conflict with Anselm could not be avoided, and 
chose not to allow him any, even merely formal, advantages. 
The student of this crisis is tempted to believe, from the facts 
of this case, from the king's taking away " the staff " from the 
Bishop of Thetford, if the words used refer to anything more 
than a confiscation of his fief, and especially from his steady 
refusal to allow the meeting of a national council, that William 
had conceived the idea of an independent Church under his 
supreme control in all that pertained to its government, and 
that he was determined to be rid of an Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, who would never consent to such a plan. 

Of the dispute which followed we have a single interesting 
and detailed account, written by Eadmer who was in personal 
attendance on Anselm through it all, but it is the account 
of a devoted partisan of the archbishop which, it is clear, we 
cannot trust for legal distinctions, and which is not entirely 
consistent with itself. According to this narrative, William 
asserted that Anselm's request, as amounting to an official 
recognition of one of the two popes, was an attack upon his 
sovereignty as king. This Anselm denied, he could not 
well appreciate the point, and he affirmed that he could at 
the same time be true to the pope whom he had recognized 
and to the king whose man he was. This was perfectly true 
from Anselm's point of view, but the other was equally true 
from William's. The fundamental assumptions of the two men 
were irreconcilable. The position of the bishop in a powerful 
feudal monarchy was an impossible one without some such 
practical compromise of tacit concessions from both sides, as 
existed between Lanfranc and William I. Anselm desired 
that this question, whether he could not at the same time 
preserve his fidelity to both pope and king, be submitted to 
the decision of the king's court, and that body was summoned 
to meet at Rockingham castle at an early date. 

The details of the case we cannot follow. The king 
appears to have been desirous of getting a condemnation of 


CHAP. Anselm which would have at least the practical effect of 
v vacating the archbishopric, but he met with failure in his pur- 
pose, whatever it was, and this it seems less from the resist- 
ance of the bishops to his will than from the explicit refusal 
of the lay barons to regard Anselm as no longer archbishop. 
The outcome of the case makes it clear that there was in 
Anselm's position no technical violation of his feudal obliga- 
tions to the king. At last the actual decision of the question 
was postponed to a meeting to be held on the octave of Whit- 
suntide, but in the meantime the king had put into operation 
another plan which had been devised for accomplishing his 
wish. He secretly despatched two clerks of his chapel to 
Italy, hoping, so at least Anselm's biographer believed, to 
obtain, as the price of his recognition of Urban, the depo- 
sition of Anselm by the authority of the pope for whom he 
was contending. The opportunity was eagerly embraced at 
Rome. A skilful and not over-scrupulous diplomatist, Wal- 
ter, Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, was immediately sent back 
to England with the messengers of Rufus, doubtless with 
instructions to get as much as possible from the king with- 
out yielding the real principle involved in Anselm's case. 
In the main point Walter was entirely successful. The man 
of violent temper is not often fitted for the personal conflicts 
of diplomacy ; at least in the strife with the papal legate the 
king came off second best. It is more to be wondered at 
that a man of so acute a mind as William of St. Calais, who 
was now one of the king's most intimate advisers, did not 
demand better guarantees. 

Cardinal Walter carefully abstained at first from any com- 
munication with Anselm. He passed through Canterbury 
without the archbishop's knowledge ; he seemed to acquiesce 
in the king's view of the case. William believed that every- 
thing was going as he wished, and public proclamation was 
made that Urban was to be obeyed throughout his dominions. 
But when he pressed for a deposition of Anselm, he found 
that this had not been included in the bargain ; nor could 
he gain, either from the legate or from Anselm, the privilege 
of bestowing the pallium himself. He was obliged to yield 
in everything which he had most desired; to reconcile himself 
publicly with the archbishop, and to content himself with 


certain not unimportant concessions, which the cardinal wisely CHAP. 
yielded, but which brought upon him the censure of the v 
extreme Church party. Anselm promised to observe faith- 
fully the laws and customs of the kingdom ; at this time also 
was sworn his oath of fidelity to the pope, with the clause re- 
serving his fealty to the king ; and Cardinal Walter formally 
agreed that legates should be sent to England only with the 
consent of the king. But in the most important points which 
concerned the conflict with the archbishop the king had been 
defeated. Urban was officially recognized as pope, and the 
legate entered Canterbury in solemn procession, bearing the 
pallium, and placed it on the altar of the cathedral, from 
which Anselm took it as if he had received it from the hands 
of the pope. 

Inferences of a constitutional sort are hardly warranted by 
the character of our evidence regarding this quarrel, but the 
facts which we know seem to imply that even so powerful 
and arbitrary a king as William Rufus could not carry out 
a matter on which his heart was so set as this without some 
pretence of legal right to support him, at least in the case of 
so high a subject as the Archbishop of Canterbury; and that 
the barons of the kingdom, with the law on their side, were 
able to hold the king's will in check. Certainly the different 
attitude of the barons in the quarrel of 1097, where Anselm 
was clearly in the wrong, is very suggestive. 

Alrea'dy before the close of this business the disobedience 
of Robert of Mowbray had revealed to the king the plot 
against him, and a considerable part of the summer of 1095 
was occupied in the reduction of the strongholds of the Earl 
of Northumberland. In October the king invaded Wales in 
person, but found it impossible to reach the enemy, and 
retired before the coming on of winter. In this year died 
the aged Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, the last of the Eng- 
lish bishops who survived the Conquest. His bishopric fell 
into the hands of Flambard, and furnishes us one of the best 
examples we have of his treatment of these fiefs. On the 
first day of the next year died also William of St. Calais, 
Bishop of Durham, who had once more fallen under the 
king's displeasure for some reason, and who had been com- 
pelled to come up to the Christmas court, though too ill to 


CHAP, travel. He left incomplete his new cathedral of Durham, 

v which he had begun on a splendid scale soon after his return 

from exile early in the reign, beginning also a new period in 

Norman architecture of lighter and better-proportioned forms, 

with no sacrifice of the impression of solid strength. 

This year of 1096, which thus began for England with the 
death of one of the ablest of her prelates, is the date of the 
beginning for Europe as a whole of one of the most pro- 
found movements of medieval times. The crusades had long 
been in preparation, but it was the resolution and eloquence 
of Pope Urban which turned into a definite channel the 
strong ascetic feeling and rapidly growing chivalric passion 
of the west, and opened this great era. The Council of 
Clermont, at which had occurred Urban's famous appeal 
and the enthusiastic vow of the crusaders, had been held in 
November, 1095, and the impulse had spread rapidly to all 
parts of France. The English nation had no share in this 
first crusade, and but little in the movement as a whole ; 
but its history was from the beginning greatly influenced by 
it. Robert of Normandy was a man of exactly the type to 
be swept away by such a wave of enthusiasm, and not to 
feel the strength of the motives which should have kept him 
at home. His duty as sovereign of Normandy, to recover 
the castles held by his brother, and to protect his subjects 
from internal war, were to him as nothing when compared 
with his duty to protect pious pilgrims to the tomb of Christ, 
and to deliver the Holy Land from the rule of the infidel. 
William Rufus, on the other hand, was a man to whom 
the motives of the crusader would never appeal, but who 
stood ready to turn to his own advantage every opportu- 
nity which the folly of his brother might offer. Robert's 
most pressing need in such an undertaking was for money, 
and so much more important did this enterprise seem to 
him than his own proper business that he stood ready to 
deliver the duchy into the hands of his brother, with whom 
he was even then in form at war for its possession, if he 
could in that way obtain the necessary resources for his 
crusade. William was as eager to get the duchy as Robert 
was to get the money, and a bargain was soon struck 
between them. William carried over to Normandy 10,000 


marks the mark was two-thirds of a pound and received CHAP. 
from Robert, as a pledge for the payment of the loan, the v 
possession of the duchy for a period of at least three years, 
and for how much longer we cannot now determine with cer- 
tainty, but for a period which was probably intended to 
cover Robert's absence. The duke then set off at once on 
his crusade, satisfied with the consciousness that he was 
following the plain path of duty. With him went his 
uncle, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, to die in Sicily in the next 

William had bought the possession of Normandy at a bar- 
gain, but he did not propose to pay for it at his own cost. 
The money which he had spent, and probably more than that, 
he recovered by an extraordinary tax in England, which 
excited the bitter complaints of the ecclesiastical writers. 
If we may trust our interpretation of the scanty accounts 
which have reached us, this money was raised in two ways, 
by a general land-tax and by additional personal payments 
from the king's own vassals. By grant of the barons of Eng- 
land a Danegeld of four shillings on the hide, double the 
usual tax, was collected, and this even from the domain lands 
of the Church, which it was asserted, though with doubtful 
truth, had always been exempt. The clergy paid this tax, 
but entered formal protest against it, probably in order to 
prevent, if possible, the establishment of a precedent against 
their liberties. The additional payment suggested by some 
of the chroniclers is to be seen in detail in the case of 
Anselm, who regarded this as a reasonable demand on the 
part of the king, and who, besides passing over to the treasury 
what he collected from his men, made on advice a personal 
payment of 200 marks, which he borrowed from the Canter- 
bury monks on the security of one of his domain manors. 
Not all the churches were so fortunate as to have the ready 
money in the treasury, and in many cases ornaments and 
sacred utensils were sacrificed, while the lay lords undoubtedly 
recovered their payments by like personal aiixilia from their 
men, until the second tax really rested like the first upon 
the land. The whole formed a burden likely to cripple seri- 
ously the primitive agriculture of the time, as we are told 
that it did. 


CHAP. Having taken possession of Normandy, William returned 
v to England at Easter in 1097. The Welsh had been making 
trouble again, and the king once more marched against them 
in person ; but a country like Wales was easily defended 
against a feudal army, and the expedition accomplished little 
and suffered much, especially in the loss of horses. William 
returned probably in no very amiable mood, and at once sent 
off a letter to Anselm complaining that the contingent of 
knights which he had sent to meet his obligation of service 
in the campaign was badly furnished and not fit for its 
duties, and ordered him to be ready to do him right accord- 
ing to the sentence of the king's court whenever he should 
bring suit against him. To this letter Anselm paid no atten- 
tion, and he resolved to let the suit against him go by default, 
on the ground that everything was determined in the court 
by the will of the king, and that he could get no justice there. 
In taking this position, the archbishop was putting himself 
in the wrong, for the king was acting clearly within his legal 
rights; but this fact Anselm probably did not understand. 
He could not enter into the king's position nor his own in 
relation to him, but he might have remembered that two 
years before, for once at least, the king had failed to carry 
through his will in his court. 

The case came on for trial at the Whitsuntide court at 
Windsor, but before anything was determined Anselm sent by 
certain barons to ask the king's leave to go to Rome, which 
was at once refused. This action was evidently not intended 
by Anselm as an appeal of the case to Rome, nor was it so 
understood by the king ; but for some reason the suits against 
him were now dropped. Anselm's desire to visit Rome 
apparently arose from the general condition of things 
in the kingdom, from his inability to hold synods, to get 
important ecclesiastical offices filled, or to reform the evils of 
government and morals which prevailed under William. In 
other words, he found himself nominally primate of England 
and metropolitan of the great province of Canterbury, but in 
reality with neither power nor influence. Such a condition 
of things was intolerable to a man of Anselm's conscien- 
tiousness, and he had evidently been for some time coming to 
the conclusion that he must personally seek the advice of the 


head of the Church as to his conduct in such a difficult situa- CHAP. 
tion. He had now definitely made up his mind, and as the v 
Bishop of Winchester told him at this time, he was not easy 
to be moved from a thing he had once undertaken. He 
repeated his request in August, and again in October of the 
same year. On the last occasion William lost his temper and 
threatened him with another suit in the court for his vexa- 
tious refusal to abide by the king's decision. Anselm insisted 
on his right to go. William pointed out to him, that if he 
was determined to go, the result would be the confiscation of 
the archbishopric, that is, of the barony. Anselm was not 
moved by this. Then the bishops attempted to show him 
the error of his ways, but there was so little in common 
between their somewhat worldly position as good vassals of 
the king, and his entire other-worldliness, that nothing was 
gained in this way. Finally, William informed him that if 
he chose he might go, on the conditions which had been 
explained to him, that is, of the loss of all that he held of 
the king. This was permission enough for Anselm, and he 
at once departed, having given his blessing to the king. 

No case could be more typical than this of the irrecon- 
cilable conflict between Church and State in that age, irrecon- 
cilable except by mutual concessions and compromise, and 
the willingness of either to stand partly in the position of the 
other. If we look at the matter from the political side, re- 
garding the bishop as a public officer, as a baron in a feudally 
organized state, the king was entirely right in this case, and 
fully justified in what he did. Looking at the Church as a 
religious institution, charged with a spiritual mission and the 
work of moral reformation, we must consider Anselm's con- 
duct justified, as the only means by which he could hope to 
obtain freedom of action. Both were in a very real sense 
right in this quarrel, and both were wrong. Not often dur- 
ing the feudal period did this latent contradiction of rights 
come to so open and plain an issue as this. That it did so 
here was due in part to the character of the king, but in the 
main to the character of the archbishop. Whether Lanfranc 
could have continued to rule the Church in harmony with 
William Rufus is an interesting question, but one which we 
cannot answer. He certainly would not have put himself 




CHAP, legally in the wrong, as Anselm did, and he would have con- 
v sidered carefully whether the good to be gained for the cause 
of the Church from a quarrel with the king would outweigh 
the evil. Anselm, however, was a man of the idealistic type 
of mind, who believed that if he accepted as the conditions of 
his work the evils with which he was surrounded, and con- 
sented to use the tools that he found ready to his hand, he 
had made, as another reformer of somewhat the same type 
once said of the constitution of the United States in the 
matter of slavery, " a covenant with death and an agree- 
ment with hell." 

Anselm left England early in November, 1097, not to 
return during the lifetime of William. If he had hoped, 
through the intervention of the pope, to weaken the hold of 
the king on the Church of England, and to be put in a posi- 
tion where he could carry out the reforms on which his heart 
was set, he was doomed to disappointment. After a stay 
of some months at Lyons, with his friend Archbishop Hugh, 
he went on to Rome, where he was treated with great cere- 
monial honour by the pope, but where he learned that the 
type of lofty and uncompromising independence which he 
himself represented was as rare in the capital of the Chris- 
tian world as he had found it among the bishops of England. 
There, however, he learned a stricter doctrine on the subject 
of lay investitures, of appointments to ecclesiastical office 
by kings and princes, than he had yet held, so that when he 
finally returned to England he brought with him the germs 
of another bitter controversy with a king, with whom but for 
this he might have lived in peace. 

In the same month with Anselm, William also crossed 
to Normandy, but about very different business. Hardly 
had he obtained possession of the duchy when he began to 
push the claims of the duke to bordering lands, to the 
French Vexin, and to the county of Maine, claims about 
which his brother had never seriously concerned himself 
and which, in one case, even his father had allowed to 
slumber for years. Robert had, indeed, asserted his claim 
to Maine after the death of his father, and had been accepted 
by the county; but a revolt had followed in 1190, the Nor- 
man rule had been thrown off, and after a few months 


Elias of La Fleche, a baron of Maine and a descendant CHAP. 
of the old counts, had made himself count. He was a man v 
of character and ability, and the peace which he established 
was practically undisturbed by Robert ; but the second Will- 
iam had no mind to give up anything to which he could lay 
a claim. He demanded of the French king the surrender 
of the Vexin, and warned Elias, who had taken the cross, 
that the holy errand of the crusade would not protect his 
lands during his absence. War followed in both cases, simul- 
taneous wars, full of the usual incidents, of the besieging 
of castles, the burning of towns, the laying waste of the 
open country ; wars in which the ruin of his peasantry was 
almost the only way of coercing the lord. William's opera- 
tions were almost all successful, but he died without accom- 
plishing all that he had hoped for in either direction. In 
the Vexin he captured a series of castles, which brought 
him almost to Paris; in Maine he captured Le Mans, lost 
it again, and finally recovered its possession, but the south- 
ern part of the county and the castles of Elias there he 
never secured. 

In the year 1098 Magnus, king of Norway, had appeared 
for a moment with a hostile fleet off the island of Anglesey. 
Some reason not certainly known had brought him round 
Scotland, perhaps to make an attack on Ireland. He was 
the grandson of the King Harold of Norway, who had invaded 
England on the eve of the Norman Conquest and perished in 
the battle of Stamford Bridge, and he had with him, it is said, 
a son of Harold of England : to him the idea of a new inva- 
sion of England would not seem strange. At any rate, after 
taking possession of the Isle of Man, he came to the help 
of the Welsh against the earls, Hugh of Chester and Hugh of 
Shrewsbury, who were beginning the conquest of Anglesey. 
The incident is noteworthy because, in the brief righting 
which occurred, the Earl of Shrewsbury was slain. His 
death opened the way for the succession of his brother, 
Robert of Belleme, to the great English possessions of their 
father in Wales, Shropshire, and Surrey, to which he soon 
added by inheritance the large holdings of Roger of Bully 
in Yorkshire and elsewhere. These inheritances, when added 
to the lands, almost a principality in themselves, which he 




CHAP, possessed in southern Normandy and just over the border 
v in France, made him the most powerful vassal of the Eng- 
lish king. In character he had inherited far more from his 
tyrannous and cruel mother, Mabel, daughter of William 
Talvas of Belleme, than from his more high-minded father, 
Roger of Montgomery, the companion of the Conqueror. 
As a vassal he was utterly untrustworthy, and he had become 
too powerful for his own safety or for that of the king. 

Some minor events of these years should be recounted. 
In 1097 William had sent Edgar the atheling to Scotland 
with an army, King Donald had been overthrown, and Ed- 
gar's nephew, himself named Edgar, with the support of the 
English king, had been made king. In 1099 Ranulf Flam- 
bard received the reward of his faithful services, and was 
made Bishop of Durham, in some respects the most desir- 
able bishopric in England. Greater prospects still of power 
and dominion were opened to William a few months before 
his death, by the proposition of the Duke of Aquitaine to 
pledge him his great duchy for a sum of money to pay the 
expenses of a crusade. To add to the lands he already 
ruled those between the Loire and the Garonne would be 
almost to create a new monarchy in France and to threaten 
more dangerously at this moment the future of the Capetian 
kingdom than did two generations later the actual union of 
these territories and more under the king of England. 

But William was now rapidly approaching the term of his 
life. The monastic chronicles, written within a generation 
or two later, record many visions and portents of the time 
foreshadowing the doom which was approaching, but these 
are to us less records of actual facts than evidences of the 
impression which the character and government of the king 
had made, especially upon the members of the Church. On 
August 2, noo, William rode out to hunt in the New Forest, 
as was his frequent custom. In some way, how we do not 
know, but probably by accident, he was himself shot with an 
arrow by one of his company, and died almost instantly. 
Men believed, not merely that he was justly cut off in his 
sins with no opportunity for the final offices of the Church, 
but that his violent death was an instance, the third already, 
of the doom which followed his father's house because of the 


evil that was done in the making of the Forest. The king's CHAP. 
body was brought to Winchester, where it was buried in the v 
old minster, but without the ordinary funeral rites. One of 
his companions that day, Walter Tirel, a French baron who 
had been attracted to the service of the king by the prospect 
of rich reward which it offered, was thought to have been 
responsible for his death, and he fled in haste and escaped to 
his home ; but he afterwards solemnly declared, when there 
would have been no danger to himself in confession, that it 
was not his arrow that slew the king, and whose it was will 
never be known. 




IN the hunting party which William Rufus led out on 
August 2, noo, to his mysterious death in the New Forest, 
was the king's younger brother, Henry. When the cry rang 
through the Forest that the king was dead, Henry seized the 
instant with the quick insight and strong decision which were 
marked elements of his genius. He rode at once for Win- 
chester. We do not even know that he delayed long enough 
to make sure of the news by going to the spot where his 
brother's body lay. He rode at full speed to Winchester, and 
demanded the keys of the royal treasury, "as true heir," says 
Orderic Vitalis, one of the best historians of Henry's reign, re- 
cording rather, it is probable, his own opinion than the words 
of the prince. Men's ideas were still so vague, not yet fixed 
and precise as later, on the subject of rightful heirship, that 
such a demand as Henry's a clear usurpation according to 
the law as it was finally to be could find some ground on 
which to justify itself ; at least this, which his historian sug- 
gests and which still meant much to English minds, that he 
was born in the purple, the son of a crowned king. 

But not every one was ready to admit the claim of Henry. 
Between him and the door of the treasury William of Breteuil, 
who also had been of the hunting party and who was the 
responsible keeper of the hoard, took his stand. Against the 
demand of Henry he set the claim of Robert, the better claim 
according even to the law of that day, though the law which 
he urged was less that which would protect the right of 
the eldest born than the feudal law regarding homage done 
and fealty sworn. "If we are going to act legally," he said 
to Henry, " we ought to remember the fealty which we have 



promised to Duke Robert, your brother. He is, too, the eldest CHAP. 
born son of King William, and you and I, my Lord Henry, VI 
have done him homage. We ought to keep faith to him absent 
in all respects as if he were present." He followed his law 
by an appeal to feeling, referring to Robert's crusade. "He 
has been labouring now a long time in the service of God, and 
God has restored to him, without conflict, his duchy, which as 
a pilgrim he laid aside for love of Him." Then a strife arose, 
and a crowd of men ran together to the spot. We can imagine 
they were not merely men of the city, but also many of the 
king's train who must have ridden after Henry from the Forest. 
Whoever they were, they supported Henry, for we are told 
that as the crowd collected the courage of the " heir who was 
demanding his right" increased. Henry drew his sword and 
declared he would permit no " frivolous delay." His insist- 
ence and the support of his friends prevailed, and castle and 
treasury were turned over to him. 1 

This it was which really determined who should be king. 
Not that the question was fully settled then, but the popular 
determination which showed itself in the crowd that gathered 
around the disputants in Winchester probably showed itself; in 
the days that followed, to be the determination of England in 
general, and thus held in check those who would have supported 
Robert, while Henry rapidly pushed events to a conclusion and 
so became king. There is some evidence that, after the burial 
of William, further discussion took place among the barons 
who were present, as to whether they would support Henry 
or not, and that this was decided in his favour largely by the 
influence of Henry of Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, son of 
his father's friend and counsellor, the Count of Meulan. But 
we ought not to allow the use of the word witan in this 
connexion, by the Saxon chronicler, or of " election " by other 
historians or by Henry himself, to impose upon us the belief 
in a constitutional right of election in the modern sense, which 
could no more have existed at that time than a definite law of 
inheritance. In every case of disputed succession the ques- 
tion was, whether that one of the claimants who was on the 
spot could secure quickly enough a degree of support which 
would enable him to hold the opposition in check until he 

1 Orderic Vitalis, iv. 87 f. 
VOL. II. 8 


CHAP, became a crowned king. A certain amount of such support 
VI was indispensable to success. Henry secured this in one way, 
Stephen in another, and John again in a third. In each case, 
the actual events show clearly that a small number of men 
determined the result, not by exercising a constitutional right 
of which they were conscious, but by deciding for themselves 
which one of the claimants they would individually support. 
Some were led by one motive, and some by another. In 
Henry's case we cannot doubt that the current of feeling 
which had shown itself in Winchester on the evening of the 
king's death had a decisive influence on the result, at least 
as decisive as the early stand of London was afterwards in 
Stephen's case. 

Immediately, before leaving Winchester, Henry performed 
one royal act of great importance to his cause, and skilfully 
chosen as a declaration of principles. He appointed William 
Giffard, who had been his brother's chancellor, Bishop of 
Winchester. This see had been vacant for nearly three 
years and subject to the dealings of Ranulf Flambard. The 
immediate appointment of a bishop was equivalent to a pro- 
clamation that these dealings should now cease, that bishop- 
rics should no longer be kept vacant for the benefit of the 
king, and it was addressed to the Church, the party directly 
interested and one of the most powerful influences in the 
state in deciding the question of succession. The speed with 
which Henry's coronation was carried through shows that the 
Church accepted his assurances. 

There was no delay in Winchester. William was killed 
on the afternoon of Thursday, August 2 ; on Sunday, Henry 
was crowned in Westminster, by Maurice, Bishop of London. 
Unhesitating determination and rapid action must have filled 
the interval. Only a small part of England could have learned 
of William's death when Henry was crowned, and he must 
have known at the moment that the risk of failure was still 
great. But everything indicates that Henry had in mind a 
clearly formed policy which he believed would lead to success, 
and he was not the man to be afraid of failure. The Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury was still in exile ; the Archbishop of 
York was far away and ill ; the Bishop of London readily 
performed the ceremony, which followed the old ritual. In 


the coronation oath of the old Saxon formula, Henry swore, CHAP. 
with more intention of remembering it than many kings, VI 
that the Church of God and all Christian people he would 
keep in true peace, that he would forbid violence and iniquity 
to all men, and that in all judgments he would enjoin both 
justice and mercy. 

The man who thus came to the throne of England was one 
of her ablest kings. We know far less of the details of his 
reign than we could wish. Particularly scanty is our evidence 
of the growth in institutions which went on during these thirty- 
five years, and which would be of especial value in illustrating 
the character and abilities of the king. But we know enough 
to warrant us in placing Henry beyond question in the not 
long list of statesmen kings. Not without some trace of the 
passions which raged in the blood of the Norman and Ange- 
vin princes, he exceeded them all in the strength of his self- 
control. This is the one most marked trait which constantly 
recurs throughout the events of his long reign. Always calm, 
we are sometimes tempted to say even cold, he never lost 
command of himself in the most trying circumstances. Per- 
fectly clear-headed, he saw plainly the end to be reached from 
the distant beginning, and the way to reach it, and though he 
would turn aside from the direct road for policy's sake, he 
reached the goal in time. He knew how to wait, to allow 
circumstances to work for him, to let men work out their own 
destruction, but he was quick to act when the moment for 
action came. Less of a military genius than his father, he 
was a greater diplomatist. And yet perhaps we call him less 
of a military genius than his father because he disliked war 
and gave himself no opportunities which he could avoid ; but 
he was a skilful tactician when he was forced to fight a battle. 
But diplomacy was his chosen weapon, and by its means he 
won battles which most kings would have sought to win by 
the sword. With justice William of Malmesbury applied to 
him the words of Scipio Africanus : "My mother brought me 
forth a general, not a mere soldier." 

These were the gifts of nature. But when he came to the 
throne, he was a man already disciplined in a severe school. 
Ever since the death of his father, thirteen years before, when 
he was not yet twenty, the events which had befallen him, 



CHAP, the opportunities which had come to him, the inferences 
VI which he could not have failed to make from the methods of 
his brothers, had been training him for the business of his life. 
It was not as a novice, but as a man experienced in govern- 
ment, that he began to reign. And government was to him 
a business. It is clear that Henry had always far less delight 
in the ordinary or possible glories of the kingship than in the 
business of managing well a great state; and a name by which 
he has been called, " The Lion of Justice," records a judg- 
ment of his success. Physically Henry followed the type of 
his house. He was short and thick-set, with a tendency to 
corpulence. He was not " the Red " ; the mass of his black 
hair and his eyes clear and serene struck the observer. 
Naturally of a pleasant disposition and agreeable to those 
about him, he was quick to see the humorous side of things 
and carried easily the great weight of business which fell to 
him. He was called " Beauclerc," but he was never so com- 
monly known by this name as William by his of " Rufus." 
But he had, it would seem with some justice, the reputation 
of being a learned king. Some doubtful evidence has been 
interpreted to mean that he could both speak and read Eng- 
lish. Certainly he cherished a love of books and reading 
remarkable, at that time, in a man of the world, and he 
seems to have deserved his reputation of a ready, and even 
eloquent, speaker. 

It was no doubt partly due to Henry's love of business that 
we may date from his reign the beginning of a growth in insti- 
tutions after the Conquest. The machinery of good govern- 
ment interested him. Efforts to improve it had his support. 
The men who had in hand its daily working in curia regis 
and exchequer and chancery were certain of his favour, when 
they strove to devise better ways of doing things and more 
efficient means of controlling subordinates. But the reign 
was also one of advance in institutions because England was 
ready for it. In the thirty-five years since the Conquest, the 
nation which was forming in the island had passed through 
two preparatory experiences. In the first the Norman, with 
his institutions, had been introduced violently and artificially, 
and planted alongside of the native English. It had been the 
policy of the Conqueror to preserve as much as possible of 



the old while introducing the new. This was the wisest CHAP. 
possible policy, but it could produce as yet no real union. VI 
That could only be the work of time. A new nation and a 
new constitution were foreshadowed but not yet realized. 
The elements from which they should be made had been 
brought into the presence of each other, but not more than 
this was possible. Then followed the reign of William II. 
In this second period England had had an experience of one 
side, of the Norman side, carried to the extreme. The prin- 
ciples of feudalism in favour of the suzerain were logically 
carried out for the benefit of the king, and relentlessly applied 
to the Church as to the lay society. That portion of the old 
English machinery which the Conqueror had preserved fell 
into disorder, and was misused for royal, and worse still, for 
private advantage. This second period had brought a vivid 
experience of the abuses which would result from the exagger- 
ation of one of the elements of which the new state was to be 
composed at the expense of the other. One of its most im- 
portant results was the reaction which seems instantly to 
have shown itself on the death of William Rufus, the reaction 
of which Henry was quick to avail himself, and which gives 
us the key to an understanding of his reign. 

It is not possible to cite evidence from which we may 
infer beyond the chance of question, either a popular reaction 
against the tyranny of William Rufus, or a deliberate policy 
on the part of the new king to make his hold upon the 
throne secure by taking advantage of such a reaction. It is 
perhaps the duty of the careful historian to state his belief in 
these facts in less dogmatic form. And yet, when we com- 
bine together the few indications which the chroniclers give 
us with the actual events of the first two years of Henry's 
reign, it is hardly possible to avoid such a conclusion. Henry 
seems certainly to have believed that he had much to gain by 
pledging himself in the most binding way to correct the abuses 
which his brother had introduced, and also that he could 
safely trust his cause to an English, or rather to a national, 
party against the element in the state which seemed unas- 
similable, the purely Norman element. 

On the day of his coronation, or at least within a few days 
of that event, Henry issued, in form of a charter, that is, in 


CHAP, the form of a legally binding royal grant, his promise to undo 
VI his brother's misdeeds ; and a copy of this charter, separately 
addressed, was sent to every county in England. Considered 
both in itself as issued in the year uoo, and in its historical 
consequences, this charter is one of the most important of 
historical documents. It opens a long list of similar consti- 
tutional documents which very possibly is not yet complete, 
and it is in form and spirit worthy of the best of its descendants. 
Considering the generally unformulated character of feudal 
law at this date, it is neither vague nor general. It is to be 
noticed also, that the practical character of the Anglo-Saxon 
race rules in this first charter of its liberties. It is as business- 
like and clean cut as the Bill of Rights, or as the American 
Declaration of Independence when this last gets to the busi- 
ness in hand. 

The charter opens with an announcement of Henry's coro- 
nation. In true medieval order of precedence, it promises 
first to the Church freedom from unjust exactions. The 
temporalities of the Church shall not be sold nor put to farm, 
nor shall anything be taken from its domain land nor from its 
men during a vacancy. Then follows a promise to do away 
with all evil customs, and a statement that these in part will 
be enumerated. Thus by direct statement here and elsewhere 
in the charter, its provisions are immediately connected with 
the abuses which William II had introduced, and the charter 
made a formal pledge to do away with them. The first pro- 
mises to the lay barons have to do with extortionate reliefs 
and the abuse of the rights of wardship and marriage. The 
provision inserted in both these cases, that the barons them- 
selves shall be bound by the same limitations in regard to 
their men, leads us to infer that William's abuses had been 
copied by his barons, and suggests that Henry was looking 
for the support of the lower ranks of the feudal order. 
Other promises concern the coinage, fines, and debts due the 
late king, the right to dispose by will of personal property, 
excessive fines, and the punishment of murder. The forests 
Henry announces he will hold as his father held them. To 
knights freedom of taxation is promised in the domain lands 
proper of the estates which they hold by military service. 
The law of King Edward is to be restored with those changes 



which the Conqueror had made, and finally any property of CHAP. 
the crown or of any individual which has been seized upon VI 
since the death of William is to be restored under threat of 
heavy penalty. 

So completely does this charter cover the ground of pro- 
bable abuses in both general and local government, when its 
provisions are interpreted as they would be understood by 
the men to whom it was addressed, that it is not strange if 
men thought that all evils of government were at an end. 
Nor is it strange in turn, that Henry was in truth more severe 
upon the tyranny of his brother while he was yet uncertain 
of his hold upon the crown, than in the practice of his later 
years. As a matter of fact, not all the promises of the char- 
ter were kept. England suffered much from heavy financial 
exactions during his reign, and the feudal abuses which had 
weighed most heavily on lay and ecclesiastical barons re- 
appeared in their essential features. They became, in fact, 
recognized rights of the crown. Henry was too strong to 
be forced to keep such promises as he chose to forget, and 
it was reserved for a later descendant of his, weaker both in 
character and in might of hand, to renew his charter at a 
time when the more exact conception, both of rights and 
of abuses, which had developed in the interval, enabled men 
not merely to enlarge its provisions but to make them in 
some particulars the foundation of a new type of government. 

Events rapidly followed the issue of the charter which 
were equally emphatic declarations of Henry's purpose of 
reform, and some of which at least would seem like steps in 
actual fulfilment of the promises of the charter. Ranulf 
Flambard was arrested and thrown into the Tower ; on what 
charge or under what pretence of right we do not know, but 
even if by some exercise of arbitrary power, it must have been 
a very popular act Several important abbacies which had 
been held vacant were at once filled. Most important of 
all, a letter was despatched to Archbishop Anselm, making 
excuses for the coronation of the king in his absence, and 
requesting his immediate return to England. Anselm was at 
the abbey of La Chaise Dieu, having just come from Lyons, 
where he had spent a large part of his exile, when the news 
came to him of the death of his royal adversary. He at once 


CHAP, started for England, and was on his way when he was met 
VI at Cluny by Henry's letter. Landing on September 23, he 
went almost immediately to the king, who was at Salisbury. 
There two questions of great importance at once arose, in one 
of which Anselm was able to assist Henry, while the other 
gave rise to long-continued differences between them. 

The question most easily settled was that of Henry's mar- 
riage. According to the historians of his reign, affection led 
Henry to a marriage which was certainly most directly in 
line with the policy which he was carrying out. Soon after 
his coronation, he proposed to marry Edith, daughter of Mal- 
colm, king of Scotland, and of Margaret, sister of the athel- 
ing Edgar. She had spent almost the whole of her life in 
English monasteries, a good part of it at Romsey, where her 
aunt Christina was abbess. Immediately the question was 
raised, whether she had not herself taken the veil, which she 
was known to have worn, and therefore whether the marriage 
was possible. This was the question now referred to Anselm, 
and he made a most careful examination of the case, and 
decision was finally pronounced in a council of the English 
Church. The testimony of the young woman herself was 
admitted and was conclusive against any binding vow. She 
had been forced by her aunt to wear the veil against her will 
as a means of protection in those turbulent times, but she 
had always rejected it with indignation when she had been 
able to do so, nor had it been her father's intention that she 
should be a nun. Independent testimony confirmed her 
assertion, and it was formally declared that she was free 
to marry. The marriage took place on November n, and 
was celebrated by Anselm, who also crowned the new queen 
under the Norman name of Matilda, which she assumed. 

No act which Henry could perform would be more pleasing 
to the nation as a whole than this marriage, or would seem 
to them clearer proof of his intention to rule in the interest 
of the whole nation and not of himself alone, or of the small 
body of foreign oppressors. It would seem like the expres- 
sion of a wish on Henry's part to unite his line with that of 
the old English kings, and to reign as their representative 
as well as his father's, and it was so understood, both by the 
party opposed to Henry and by his own supporters. What- 


ever we may think of the dying prophecy attributed to CHAP. 
Edward the Confessor, that the troubles which he foresaw VI 
for England should end when the green tree the English 
dynasty cut off from its root and removed for the space 
of three acres' breadth three foreign reigns should with- 
out human help be joined to it again and bring forth leaves 
and fruit, the fact that it was thought, in Henry's reign, to 
have been fulfilled by his marriage with Matilda and by the 
birth of their children, shows plainly enough the general 
feeling regarding the marriage and that for which it stood. 
The Norman sneer, in which the king and his wife are 
referred to as Godric and Godgifu, is as plain an indication 
of the feeling of that party. Such a taunt as this could not 
have been called out by the mere marriage, and would never 
have been spoken if the policy of the king, in spite of the 
marriage, had been one in sympathy with the wishes of the 
extreme Norman element. 

But if it was Henry's policy to win the support of the 
nation as a whole, and to make it clear that he intended to 
undo the abuses of his brother, he had no intention of aban- 
doning any of the real rights of the crown. The second 
question which arose on the first meeting of Anselm and 
Henry involved a point of this kind. The temporalities of 
the Archbishop of Canterbury were still in the king's hands, 
>.iy.eH hy William R uii~*m- -ArreffWs: departure. Henry 
demanded that Anselm should do homage for this fief, as 
would any baron of the king, and receive it from his hand. 
To the astonishment of every one, Anselm flatly refused. In 
answer to inquiries, he explained the position of the pope on 
the subject of lay investiture, declared that he must stand by 
that position, and that if Henry also would not obey the 
pope, he must leave England again. Here was a sharp issue, 
drawn with the greatest definiteness, and one which it was 
very difficult for the king to meet. He could not possibly 
afford to renew the quarrel with Anselm and to drive him 
into exile again at this moment, but it was equally impossible 
for him to abandon this right of the crown, so long unques- 
tioned and one on which so much of the state organization 
rested. He proposed a truce until Easter, that the question 
might be referred to the pope, in the hope that he would con- 


CHAP, sent to modify his decrees in view of the customary usages 

VI of the kingdom, and agreeing that the archbishop should, in 

the meantime, enjoy the revenues of his see. To this delay 

Anselm consented, though he declared that it would be 


According to the archbishop's devoted friend and biogra- 
pher, Eadmer, who was in attendance on him at this meeting 
at Salisbury, Anselm virtually admitted that this was a new 
position for him to take. He had learned these things at 
Rome, was the explanation which was given ; and this was 
certainly true, though his stay at Lyons, under the influence of 
his friend, Archbishop Hugh, a strong partisan of the papal 
cause, was equally decisive in his change of views. 1 He had 
accepted investiture originally from the hand of William 
Rufus without scruple; he had never objected to it with 
regard to any of that king's later appointments. In the con- 
troversy which followed with Henry, there is nothing which 
shows that his own conscience was in the least degree involved 
in the question. He opposed the king with his usual unyield- 
ing determination, not because he believed himself that lay 
investiture was a sin, but because pope and council had 
decided against it, and it was his duty to maintain their 

This was a new position for Anselm to take ; it was also 
raising a new question in the government of England. For 
more than a quarter of a century the papacy had been fight- 
ing this battle against lay investiture with all the weapons at 
its disposal, against its nearest rival, the emperor, and with 
less of open conflict and more of immediate success in most 
of the other lands of Europe. But in the dominions of the 
Norman princes the question had never become a living 
issue. This was not because the papacy had failed to de- 
mand the authority there which it was striving to secure 
elsewhere. Gregory VII had laid claim to an even more 
complete authority over England than this. But these 
demands had met with no success. Even as regards the 
more subordinate features of the Hildebrandine reforma- 
tion, simony and the celibacy of the clergy, the response 

1 Liebermann, Anselm und Hugo von Lyon, in Aufsatze dent Andenken an 
Georg Wa itz gewidm et. 


of the Norman and English churches to the demand for CHAP. 
reformation had been incomplete and half-hearted, and not VI 
even the beginning of a papal party had shown itself in 
either country. This exceptional position is to be accounted 
for by the great strength of the crown, and also by the fact 
that the sovereign in his dealings with the Church was follow- 
ing in both states the policy marked out by a long tradition. 
Something must also be attributed, and probably in Nor- 
mandy as well as in England, to the clearness with which 
Lanfranc perceived the double position of the bishop in the 
feudal state. The Church was an important part of the 
machinery of government, and as such its officers were 
appointed by the king, and held accountable to him for a 
large part at least of their official action. This was the 
theory of the Norman state, and this theory had been up to 
this time unquestioned. It is hardly too much to call the 
Norman and English churches, from the coronation of 
William I on to this time, practically independent national 
churches, with some relationship to the pope, but with one 
so external in its character that no serious inconvenience 
would have been experienced in their own government had 
some sudden catastrophe swept the papacy out of existence. 

It was, however, in truth impossible for England to keep 
itself free from the issue which had been raised by the war 
upon lay investiture. The real question involved in this con- 
troversy was one far deeper than the question of the appoint- 
ment of bishops by the sovereign of the state. That was a 
point of detail, a means to the end; very important and 
essential as a means, but not the end itself. Slowly through 
centuries of time the Church had become conscious of itself. 
Accumulated precedents of the successful exercise of power, 
observation of the might of organization, and equally instruc- 
tive experience of the weakness of disorganization and of the 
danger of self-seeking, personal or political, in the head of the 
Christian world, had brought the thinking party in the Church 
to understand the dominant position which it might hold in 
the world if it could be controlled as a single organization 
and animated by a single purpose. It was the vision of the 
imperial Church, free from all distracting influence of family 
or of state, closely bound together into one organic whole, 



1 100 

CHAP, an independent, world-embracing power : more than this even, 
VI a power above all other powers, the representative of God, 
on earth, to which all temporal sovereigns should be held 

That the Church failed to gain the whole of that for which 
it strove was not the fault of its leaders. A large part of the 
history of the world in the eleventh and twelfth centuries is 
filled with the struggle to create, in ideal completeness, this 
imperial Church. The reformation of Cluny had this for its 
ultimate object. From the beginning made by that move- 
ment, the political genius of Hildebrand sketched the finished 
structure and pointed out the means to be employed in its 
completion. That the emperor was first and most fiercely 
attacked was not due to the fact that he was a sinner above all 
others in the matter of lay investiture or simony. It was the 
most urgent necessity of the case that the papacy should 
make itself independent of that power which in the past had 
exercised the most direct sovereignty over the popes, and 
before the conflict should end be able to take its seat beside 
the empire as an equal, or even a superior, world power. 
But if the empire must be first overcome, no state could be 
left out of this plan, and in England as elsewhere the issue 
must sooner or later be joined. 

It must not be understood that mere ambition was at the 
bottom of this effort of the Church. Of ambition in the ordi- 
nary sense it is more than probable that no leader of this 
movement was conscious. The cause of the Church was the 
cause of God and of righteousness. The spiritual power 
ought justly to be superior to the temporal, because the 
spiritual interests of men so far outweigh their temporal. If 
the spiritual power is supreme, and holds in check the tem- 
poral, and calls the sovereign to account for his wrong-doing, 
the way of salvation will be easier for all men, and the cause 
of righteousness promoted. If this kind of a Church is to be 
organized, and this power established in the world, it is 
essential that so important an officer in the system as the 
bishop should be chosen by the Church alone, and with refer- 
ence alone to the spiritual interests which he is to guard, and 
the spiritual duties he must perform. Selection by the state, 
accountability to the state, would make too serious a flaw in 


the practical operation of this system to be permitted. The CHAP. 
argument of the Church against the practice of lay investiture VI 
was entirely sound. 

On the other hand, the argument of the feudal state was 
not less sound. It is difficult for us to get a clear mental 
picture of the organization of the feudal state, because the 
institutions of that state have left few traces in modern forms 
of government. The complete transformation of the feudal 
baronage into a modern nobility, and the rise on the ruins of 
the feudal state of clearly denned, legislative, judicial, and ad- 
ministrative systems have obscured the line of direct descent. 
But the feudal baron was very different from a modern noble, 
and there was no bureaucracy and no civil service in the feudal 
state beyond their mere beginnings in the personal servants of 
the king. No function of government was the professional 
business of any one, but legislative, judicial, administrative, 
financial, and military operations were all incidental to some- 
thing else. This may not seem true of the sheriff ; but that 
he had escaped transformation, after the feudalization of 
England, into something more than an administrative officer 
makes the Norman state somewhat exceptional at that time, 
and the history of this office, even under the most powerful of 
kings, shows the strength of the tendency toward develop- 
ment in the direction of a private possession. Even while 
remaining administrative, the office was known to the Nor- 
mans by a name which to some extent in their own home, and 
generally elsewhere, had come to be an hereditary feudal title, 
the viscount. In this system of government, the baron 
was the most essential feature. Every kind of government 
business was performed in the main through him, and as 
incidental to his position as a baron. The assembly of the 
barons, the curia regis, whether the great assembly of all the 
barons of the kingdom, meeting on occasions by special sum- 
mons, or the smaller assembly in constant attendance on the 
king, was the primitive and undifferentiated .machine by 
which government was carried on. If the baronage was 
faithful to the crown, or if the crown held the baronage under 
a strong control, the realm enjoyed good government and the 
nation bore with comparatively little suffering the burdens 
which were always heavy. If the baronage was out of con- 


CHAP, trol, government fell to pieces, and anarchy and oppression 
VI took its place. 

In this feudal state, however, a bishop was a baron. The 
lands which formed the endowment of his office and in 
those days endowment could take no other form consti- 
tuted a barony. The necessity of a large income and the 
generosity of the faithful made of his endowment a great 
fief. It is important to realize how impossible any other 
conception than this was to the political half of the world. 
In public position, influence upon affairs, wealth, and popular 
estimation, the bishop stood in the same class with the 
baron. The manors which were set aside from the general 
property of the Church to furnish his official income would, in 
many cases, provide for an earldom. In fitness to perform 
the manifold functions of government which fell to him, the 
bishop far exceeded the ordinary baron. The state could not 
regard him as other than a baron ; it certainly could not dis- 
pense with his assistance. It was a matter of vital impor- 
tance to the king to be able to determine what kind of men 
should hold these great fiefs and occupy these influential posi- 
tions in the state, and to be able to hold them to strict account- 
ability. The argument of the state in favour of lay investiture 
was as sound as the argument of the Church against it. 

Here was a conflict of interests in which no real com- 
promise was possible. Incidental features of the conflict 
might be found upon which the form of a compromise could 
be arranged. But upon the one essential point, the right of 
selecting the man, one or the other of the parties whose 
interests were involved must give way. It is not strange 
that in the main, except where the temporary or permanent 
weakness of the sovereign made an exception, that interest 
which seemed to the general run of men of most immediate 
and pressing importance gained the day, and the spiritual 
gave way to the temporal. But in England the conflict was 
now first begun, and the time of compromise had not yet 
come. Henry's proposal to Anselm of delay and of a new 
appeal to the pope was chiefly a move to gain time until the 
situation of affairs in England should turn more decidedly in 
his favour. He especially feared, Eadmer tells us, lest Anselm 
should seek out his brother Robert and persuade him as 


he easily could to admit the papal claims, and then make CHAP. 
him king of England. VI 

Robert had returned to Normandy from the Holy Land 
before the arrival of Anselm in England. He had won 
much glory on the crusade, and in the rush of events 
and in the constant fighting, where responsibility for the 
management of affairs did not rest upon him alone, he had 
shown himself a man of energy and power. But he came 
back unchanged in character. Even during the crusade 
he had relapsed at times into his more indolent and 
careless mood, from which he had been roused with diffi- 
culty. In southern Italy, where he had stopped among the 
Normans on his return, he had married Sibyl, daughter of 
Geoffrey of Conversana, a nephew of Robert Guiscard, but 
the dowry which he received with her had rapidly melted 
away in his hands. He was, however, now under no obli- 
gation to redeem Normandy. The loan for which he had 
pledged the duchy was regarded as a personal debt to 
William Rufus, not a debt to the English crown, and Henry 
laid no claim to it. Robert took possession of Normandy 
without opposition from any quarter. It is probable that if 
Robert had been left to himself, he would have been satisfied 
with Normandy, and that his easy-going disposition would 
have led him to leave Henry in undisturbed possession of 
England. But he was not left to himself. The events which 
had occurred soon after the accession of William Rufus 
repeated themselves soon after Henry's. No Norman baron 
could expect to gain any more of the freedom which he 
desired under Henry than he had had under William. The 
two states would also be separated once more if Henry 
remained king of England. Almost all the Normans accord- 
ingly applied to Robert, as they had done before, and offered 
to support a new attempt to gain the crown. Robert was 
also urged forward by the advice of Ranulf Flambard, who 
escaped from the Tower in February, noi, and found a 
refuge and new influence in Normandy. Natural ambition 
was not wanting to Robert, and in the summer of noi he 
collected his forces for an invasion of England. 

Though the great Norman barons stood aloof from him 
Robert of Belleme and his two brothers Roger and Arnulf, 


CHAP. William of Warenne, Walter Giffard, and Ivo of Grantmesnil, 
VI with others Henry was stronger in England than Robert. 
No word had yet been received from Rome in answer to the 
application which he had made to the pope on the subject of 
the investiture; and in this crisis the king was liberal with 
promises to the archbishop, and Anselm was strongly on his 
side with the Church as a whole. His faithful friends, 
Robert, Count of Meulan, and his brother Henry, Earl of 
Warwick, were among the few whom he could trust. But 
his most important support he found, as his brother William 
had found it in similar circumstances, in the mass of the nation 
which would now be even more ready to take the side of the 
king against the Norman party. 

Henry expected the invaders to land at Pevensey, but 
apparently, with the help of some part of the sailors who had 
been sent against him, Robert landed without opposition at 
Portsmouth, towards the end of July, noi. Thence he 
advanced towards London, and Henry went to meet him. 
The two armies came together near Alton, but no battle was 
fought. In a conflict of diplomacy, Henry was pretty sure 
of victory, and to this he preferred to trust. A meeting of 
the brothers was arranged, and as a result Robert surrendered 
all the real advantages which he had crossed the channel to 
win, and received in place of them gains which might seem 
attractive to him, but which must have seemed to Henry, 
when taken all together, a cheap purchase of the crown. 
Robert gave up his claim to the throne and released Henry, 
as being a king, from the homage by which he had formerly 
been bound. Henry on his side promised his brother an 
annual payment of three thousand marks sterling, and gave 
up to him all that he possessed in Normandy, except the 
town of Domfront, which he had expressly promised not to 
abandon. It was also agreed, as formerly between Robert 
and William Rufus, that the survivor should inherit the 
dominions of the other if he died without heirs. A further 
provision concerned the adherents of each of the brothers 
during this strife. Possessions in England of barons of 
Normandy, which had been seized by Henry because of 
their fidelity to Robert, should be restored, and also the 
Norman estates of English barons seized by Robert, but each 



should be free to deal with the barons of his own land who CHAP. 
had proved unfaithful. This stipulation would be of especial VI 
value to Henry, who had probably not found it prudent to 
deal with the traitors of his land before the decision of the 
contest ; but some counter-intrigues in Normandy in favour of 
Henry were probably not unknown to Robert. 

Robert sent home at once a part of his army, but he him- 
self remained in England long enough to witness in some 
cases the execution by his brother of the provision of the 
treaty concerning traitors. He took with him, on his return 
to Normandy, Orderic Vitalis says, William of Warenne and 
many others disinherited for his sake. Upon others the king 
took vengeance one at a time, on one pretext or another, and 
these included at least Robert of Lacy, Robert Malet, and 
Ivo of Grantmesnil. The possessions of Ivo in Leicester- 
shire passed into the hands of the faithful Robert, Count of 
Meulan faithful to Henry if not to the rebel who sought 
his help and somewhat later became the foundation of the 
earldom of Leicester. 

Against the most powerful and most dangerous of the 
traitors, Robert of Belleme, Henry felt strong enough to take 
steps in the spring of 1 102. In a court in that year Henry 
brought accusation against Robert on forty-five counts, of 
things done or said against himself or against his brother 
Robert. The evidence to justify these accusations Henry 
had been carefully and secretly collecting for a year. When 
Robert heard this indictment, he knew that his turn had come, 
and that no legal defence was possible, and he took advantage 
of a technical plea to make his escape. He asked leave to 
retire from the court and take counsel with his men. As 
this was a regular custom leave was granted, but Robert took 
horse at once and fled from the court. Summoned again to 
court, Robert refused to come, and began to fortify his castles. 
Henry on his side collected an army, and laid siege first of all 
to the castle of Arundel. The record of the siege gives us 
an incident characteristic of the times. Robert's men, find- 
ing that they could not defend the place, asked for a truce 
that they might send to their lord and obtain leave to 
surrender. The request was granted, the messengers were 
sent, and Robert with grief " absolved them from their pro- 
VOL. II. 9 


CHAP, mised faith and granted them leave to make concord with the 
VI king." Henry then turned against Robert's castles in the 
north. Against Blyth he marched himself, but on his 
approach he was met by the townsmen who received him as 
their "natural lord." To the Bishop of Lincoln he gave 
orders to besiege Tickhill castle, while he advanced towards 
the west, where lay Robert's chief possessions and greatest 

In his Shrewsbury earldom Robert had been preparing 
himself for the final struggle with the king ever since he had 
escaped his trial in the court. He counted upon the help of 
his two brothers, whose possessions were also in those parts, 
Arnulf of Pembroke, and Roger called the Poitevin, who had 
possession of Lancaster. The Welsh princes also stood ready, 
as their countrymen stood for centuries afterwards, to com- 
bine with any party of rebellious barons in England, and their 
assistance proved of as little real value then as later. With 
these allies and the help of Arnulf he laid waste a part of 
Staffordshire before Henry's arrival, the Welsh carrying off 
their plunder, including some prisoners. Robert's chief de- 
pendence, however, must have been upon his two very strong 
castles of Bridgenorth and Shrewsbury, both of which had 
been strengthened and provisioned with care for a stubborn 

Henry's first attack with what seems to have been a large 
force was on Bridgenorth castle. Robert had himself chosen 
to await the king's attack in Shrewsbury, and had left three 
of his vassals in charge of Bridgenorth, with a body of mer- 
cenaries, who often proved, notwithstanding the oaths of 
vassals, the most faithful troops of feudal days. He had 
hoped that his Welsh friends would be able to interfere 
seriously with Henry's siege operations, but in this he was 
disappointed. The king's offers proved larger than his, at 
least to one of the princes, and no help came from that quar- 
ter. One striking incident of this siege, though recorded by 
Orderic Vitalis only, is so characteristic of the situation in 
England, at least of that which had just preceded the rebel- 
lion of Robert, and bears so great an appearance of truth, 
that it deserves notice. The barons of England who were 
with the king began to fear that if he were allowed to drive 



so powerful an earl as Robert of Belleme to his ruin the rest CHAP. 
of their order would be henceforth at his mercy, and no more VI 
than weak " maid-servants " in his sight. Accordingly, after 
consulting among themselves, they made a formal attempt 
to induce the king to grant terms to Robert. In the midst 
of an argument which the king seems to have been obliged 
to treat with consideration, the shouts of 3000 country sol- 
diers stationed on a hill near by made themselves heard, 
warning Henry not to trust to " these traitors," and promis- 
ing him their faithful assistance. Encouraged by this sup- 
port, the king rejected the advice of the barons. 

The siege of Bridgenorth lasted three weeks. At the end 
of that time, Henry threatened to hang all whom he should 
capture, unless the castle were surrendered in three days ; and 
despite the resistance of Robert's mercenaries, the terms he 
offered were accepted. Henry immediately sent out his forces 
to clear the difficult way to Shrewsbury, where Robert, hav- 
ing learned of the fall of Bridgenorth, was awaiting the issue, 
uncertain what to do. One attempt he made to obtain for 
himself conditions of submission, but met with a flat refusal. 
Unconditional surrender was all that Henry would listen to. 
Finally, as the king approached, he went out to meet him, 
confessed himself a traitor and beaten, and gave up the keys 
of the town. Henry used his victory to the uttermost. Per- 
sonal safety was granted to the earl, and he was allowed to 
depart to his Norman possessions with horses and arms, but 
this was all that was allowed him. His vast possessions in 
England were wholly confiscated ; not a manor was left him. 
His brothers soon afterwards fell under the same fate, and the 
most powerful and most dangerous Norman house in England 
was utterly ruined. For the king this result was not merely 
the fall of an enemy who might well be feared, and the acqui- 
sition of great estates with which to reward his friends; it 
was a lesson of the greatest value to the Norman baronage. 
Orderic Vitalis, who gives us the fullest details of these 
events states this result in words which cannot be improved 
upon : " And so, after Robert's flight, the kingdom of Albion 
was quiet in peace, and King Henry reigned prosperously 
three and thirty years, during which no man in England 
dared to rebel or to hold any castle against him," 



CHAP. From these and other forfeitures Henry endowed a new 
VI nobility, men of minor families, or of those that had hitherto 
played no part in the history of the land. Many of them 
were men who had had their training and attracted the king's 
attention in the administrative system which he did so much 
to develop, and their promotion was the reward of faithful 
service. These " new men " were settled in some numbers in 
the north, and scholars have thought they could trace the in- 
fluence of their administrative training and of their attitude 
towards the older and more purely feudal nobility in the events 
of a century later in the struggle for the Great Charter. 

These events, growing directly out of Robert's attempt 
upon England, have carried us to the autumn of 1102 ; but 
in the meantime the equally important conflict with Anselm 
on the subject of investitures had been advanced some stages 
further. The answer of Pope Paschal II to the request which 
had been made of him, to suspend in favour of England the 
law of the Church against lay investitures, had been received 
at least soon after the treaty with Robert. The answer was 
a flat refusal, written with priestly subtlety, arguing through- 
out as if what Henry had demanded was the spiritual con- 
secration of the bishops, though it must be admitted that in 
the eyes of men who saw only the side of the Church the 
difference could not have been great. So far as we know, 
Henry said nothing of this answer. He summoned Anselm 
to court, apparently while his brother was still in England, 
and peremptorily demanded of him that he should become 
his man and consecrate the bishops and abbots whom he had 
appointed, as his predecessors had done, or else immediately 
leave the country. It is uncertain whether the influence of 
Robert had anything to do with this demand, as Eadmer sup- 
posed, but the recent victory which the king had gained, 
and the greater security which he must have felt, doubtless 
affected its peremptory character. Anselm again based his 
refusal of homage on his former position, on the doctrine 
which he had learned at Rome. Of this Henry would hear 
nothing; he insisted upon the customary rights of English 
kings. The other alternative, however, which he offered the 
archbishop, or with which he threatened him, of departure 
from England ; Anselm also declined to accept, and he re- 



turned to Canterbury to carry on his work quietly and to await CHAP. 
the issue. VI 

This act of Anselm's was a virtual challenge to the king to 
use violence against him if he dared, and such a challenge 
Henry was as yet in no condition to take up. Not long after 
his return to Canterbury, Anselm received a friendly letter 
from the king, inviting him to come to Westminster, to con- 
sider the business anew. Here, with the consent of the as- 
sembled court, a new truce was arranged, and a new embassy 
to Rome determined on. This was to be sent by both parties 
and to consist of ecclesiastics of higher rank than those of the 
former embassy, who were to explain clearly to the pope the 
situation in England, and to convince him that some modifi- 
cation of the decrees on the subject would be necessary if he 
wished to retain the country in his obedience. Anselm's 
representatives were two monks, Baldwin of Bee and Alex- 
ander of Canterbury ; the king's were three bishops, Gerard 
of Hereford, lately made Archbishop of York by the king, 
Herbert of Norwich, and Robert of Coventry. 

The embassy reached Rome ; the case was argued before 
the pope ; he indignantly refused to modify the decrees ; and 
the ambassadors returned to England, bringing letters to this 
effect to the king and to the archbishop. Soon after their 
return, which was probably towards the end of the summer, 
1 1 02, Anselm was summoned to a meeting of the court at 
London, and again required to perform homage or to cease 
to exercise his office. He of course continued to refuse, and 
appealed to the pope's letters for justification. Henry declined 
to make known the letter he had received, and declared that 
he would not be bound by them. His position was supported 
by the three bishops whom he had sent to Rome, who on the 
reading of the letter to Anselm declared that privately the pope 
had informed them that so long as the king appointed suitable 
men he would not be interfered with, and they explained that 
this could not be stated in the letters lest the news should be 
carried to other princes and lead them to usurp the rights of 
the Church. Anselm's representatives protested that they had 
heard nothing of all this, but it is evident that the solemn asser- 
tion of the three bishops had considerable weight, and that 
even Anselm was not sure but that they were telling the truth. 


CHAP. On a renewed demand of homage by the king, supported 
VI by the bishops and barons of the kingdom, Anselm answered 
that if the letters had corresponded to the words of the 
bishops, very likely he would have done what was demanded ; 
as the case stood, he proposed a new embassy to Rome to 
reconcile the contradiction, and in the meantime, though he 
would not consecrate the king's nominees, he agreed not 
to regard them as excommunicate. This proposal was at 
once accepted by Henry, who regarded it as so nearly an 
admission of his claim that he immediately appointed two 
new bishops : his chancellor, Roger, to Salisbury, and his 
larderer, also Roger, to Hereford. 

Perhaps in the same spirit, regarding the main point as 
settled, Henry now allowed Anselm to hold the council of 
the English Church which William Ruf us had so long refused 
him. The council met at Westminster and adopted a series 
of canons, whose chief object was the complete carrying out 
of the Gregorian reformation in the English Church. The 
most important of them concerned the celibacy of the priest- 
hood, and enacted the strictest demands of the reform party, 
without regard to existing conditions. No clerics of any 
grade from subdeacon upward, were to be allowed to marry, 
nor might holy orders be received hereafter without a pre- 
vious vow of celibacy. Those already married must put away 
their wives, and if any neglected to do so, they were no 
longer to be considered legal priests, nor be allowed to 
celebrate mass. One canon, which reveals one of the 
dangers against which the Church sought to guard by these 
regulations, forbade the sons of priests to inherit their 
father's benefices. It is very evident from these canons, 
that this part of the new reformation had made but little, 
if any, more headway in England than that which concerned 
investiture, and we know from other sources that the mar- 
riage of secular clergy was almost the rule, and that the 
sons of priests in clerical office were very numerous. Less 
is said of the other article of the reform programme, the 
extinction of the sin of simony, but three abbots of important 
monasteries, recently appointed by the king, were deposed on 
this ground without objection. This legislation, so thorough- 
going and so regardless of circumstances, is an interesting 


illustration of the uncompromising character of Anselm, CHAP. 
though it must be noticed that later experience raised the VI 
question in his mind whether some modifications of these 
canons ought not to be made. 

That Henry on his side had no intention of surrendering 
anything of his rights in the matter of investiture is clearly 
shown, about the same time, by his effort to get the bishops 
whom he had appointed to accept consecration from his very 
useful and willing minister, Gerard, Archbishop of York. 
Roger the larderer, appointed to Hereford, had died without 
consecration, and in his place Reinelm, the queen's chan- 
cellor, had been appointed. When the question of consecra- 
tion by York was raised, rather than accept it he voluntarily 
surrendered his bishopric to the king. The other two persons 
appointed, William Giff ard of Winchester, and Roger of Salis- 
bury, seemed willing to concede the point, but at the last 
moment William drew back and the plan came to nothing. 
The bishops, however, seem to have refused consecration 
from the Archbishop of York less from objection to royal 
investiture than out of regard to the claims of Canterbury. 
William Giffard was deprived of his see, it would seem by 
judicial sentence, and sent from the kingdom. 

About the middle of Lent of the next year, 1 103, Henry 
made a new attempt to obtain his demands of Anselm. On 
his way to Dover he stopped three days in Canterbury 
and required the archbishop to submit. What followed is a 
repetition of what had occurred so often before. Anselm 
offered to be guided by the letters from Rome, in answer 
to the last reference thither, which had been received but not 
yet read. This Henry refused. He said he had nothing to 
do with the pope. He demanded the rights of his predeces- 
sors. Anselm on his side declared that he could consent to 
a modification of the papal decrees only by the authority 
which had made them. It would seem as if no device re- 
mained to be tried to postpone a complete breach between 
the two almost co-equal powers of the medieval state ; but 
Henry's patience was not yet exhausted, or his practical 
wisdom led him to wish to get Anselm out of the kingdom 
before the breach became complete. He begged Anselm to 
go himself to Rome and attempt what others had failed to 




CHAP, effect. Anselm suspected the king's object in the proposal, 
VI and asked for a delay until Easter, that he might take the 
advice of the king's court. This was unanimous in favour of 
the attempt, and on April 27, 1103, ne landed at Wissant, 
not an exile, but with his attendants, " invested with the king's 

Four years longer this conflict lasted before it was finally 
settled by the concordat of August, 1107; but these later 
stages of it, though not less important considered in them- 
selves, were less the pressing question of the moment for 
Henry than the earlier had been. They were rather inci- 
dents affecting his gradually unfolding foreign policy, and 
in turn greatly affected by it. From the fall of Robert 
of Belleme to the end of Henry's reign, the domestic history 
of England is almost a blank. If we put aside two series of 
events, the ecclesiastical politics of the time, of which inter- 
ested clerks have given us full details, and the changes in in- 
stitutions which were going on, but which they did not think 
posterity would be so anxious to understand, we know of 
little to say of this long period in the life of the English 
people. The history which has survived is the history of the 
king, and the king was in the main occupied upon the con- 
tinent. But in the case of Henry I, this is not improperly 
English history. It was upon no career of foreign conquest, 
no seeking after personal glory, that Henry embarked in his 
Norman expeditions. It was to protect the rights of his sub- 
jects in England that he began, and it was because he could 
accomplish this in no other way that he ended with the con- 
quest of the duchy and the lifelong imprisonment of his 
brother. There were so many close bonds of connexion 
between the two states that England suffered keenly in the 
disorders of Normandy, and the turbulence and disobedience 
of the barons under Robert threatened the stability of 
Henry's rule at home. 



ROBERT OF BELLEME had lost too much in England to rest CHAP. 
satisfied with the position into which he had been forced. vn 
He was of too stormy a disposition himself to settle down to 
a quiet life on his Norman lands. Duke Robert had attacked 
one of his castles, while Henry was making war upon him in 
England, but, as was usual in his case, totally failed ; but it 
was easy to take vengeance upon the duke, and he was the 
first to suffer for the misfortunes of the lord of Belleme. 
All that part of Normandy within reach of Robert was laid 
waste; churches arid monasteries even, in which men had 
taken refuge, were burned with the fugitives. Almost all 
Normandy joined in planning resistance. The historian, 
Orderic, living in the duchy, speaks almost as if general 
government had disappeared, and the country were a con- 
federation of local states. But all plans were in vain, be- 
cause a " sane head " was lacking. Duke Robert was totally 
defeated, and obliged to make important concessions to 
Robert of Belleme. At last Henry, moved by the com- 
plaints which continued to come to him from churchmen and 
barons of Normandy, some of whom came over to England 
in person, as well as from his own subjects, whose Norman 
lands could not be protected, resolved himself to cross to 
Normandy. This he did in the autumn of 1 104, and visited 
Domfront and other towns which belonged to him. There 
he was joined by almost all the leading barons of Nor- 
mandy, who were, indeed, his vassals in England, but who 
meant more than this by coming to him at this time. 

The expedition, however, was not an invasion. Henry did not 
intend to make war upon his brother or upon Robert of 
Belleme. It was his intention rather to serve notice on all 
parties that he was deeply interested in the affairs of Nor- 
mandy and that anarchy must end. To his brother Robert 



CHAP, he read a long lecture, filled with many counts of his miscon- 
vn duct, both to himself personally and in the government of the 
duchy. Robert feared worse things than this, and that he 
might turn away his brother's wrath, ceded to him the county 
of Evreux, with the homage of its count, William, one of the 
most important possessions and barons of the duchy. Already 
in the year before Robert had been forced to surrender the 
pension Henry had promised him in the treaty which they 
had made after Robert's invasion. This was because of a 
rash visit he had paid to England without permission, at the 
request of William of Warenne, to intercede for the restora- 
tion of his earldom of Surrey. By these arrangements Rob- 
ert was left almost without the means of living, but he was 
satisfied to escape so easily, for he feared above all to be 
deprived of the name of duke and the semblance of power. 
Before winter came on the king returned to England. 

In this same year, following out what seems to have 
been the deliberate purpose of Henry to crush the great 
Norman houses, another of the most powerful barons of 
England was sent over to Normandy, to furnish in the end 
a strong reinforcement to Robert of Belleme, a man of 
the same stamp as himself, namely William of Mortain, 
Earl of Cornwall, the king's own cousin. At the time of 
Henry's earliest troubles with his brother Robert, William 
had demanded the inheritance of their uncle Odo, the earl- 
dom of Kent. The king had delayed his answer until the 
danger was over, had then refused the request, and shortly 
after had begun to attack the earl by suits at law. This 
drove him to Normandy and into the party of the king's 
open enemies. On Henry's departure, Robert with the 
help of William began again his ravaging of the land of 
his enemies, with all the former horrors of fire and slaughter. 
The peasants suffered with the rest, and many of them fled 
the country with their wives and children. 

If order was to be restored in Normandy and property 
again to become secure, it was clear that more thorough- 
going measures than those of Henry's first expedition must 
be adopted. These he was now determined to take, and in 
the last week of Lent, 1 105, he landed at Barfleur, and within 
a few days stormed and destroyed Bayeux, which had refused 

1 105 ANSELM EXILED 139 

to surrender, and forced Caen to open its gates. Though CHAP. 
this formed the extent of his military operations in this vn 
campaign, a much larger portion of Normandy virtually 
became subject to him through the voluntary action of the 
barons. And in a quite different way his visit to Normandy 
was of decisive influence in the history of Henry and 
of England. As the necessity of taking complete posses- 
sion of the duchy, in order to secure peace, became clear to 
Henry, or perhaps we should say as the vision of Normandy 
entirely occupied and subject to his rule rose before his mind, 
the conflict with Anselm in which he was involved began to 
assume a new aspect. As an incident in the government of 
a kingdom of which he was completely master, it was one 
thing; as having a possible bearing on the success with 
which he could conquer and incorporate with his dominions 
another state, it was quite another. 

Anselm had gone to Rome toward the end of the summer 
of 1 103. There he had found everything as he had antici- 
pated. The argument of Henry's representative that England 
would be lost to the papacy if this concession were not granted, 
was of no avail. The pope stood firmly by the decrees 
against investiture. But Henry's ambassador was charged 
with a mission to Anselm, as well as to the pope; and at 
Lyons, on the journey back, the archbishop was told that 
his return to England would be very welcome to the king 
when he was ready to perform all duties to the king as other 
archbishops of Canterbury had done them. The meaning 
of this message was clear. By this stroke of policy, Henry 
had exiled Anselm, with none of the excitement or outcry 
which would have been occasioned by his violent expulsion 
from the kingdom. 

On the return of his embassy from Rome, probably in 
December, 1103, Henry completed the legal breach between 
himself and Anselm by seizing the revenues of the arch- 
bishopric into his own hands. This, from his interpretation 
of the facts, he had a perfect right to do, but there is very 
good ground to suppose that he might not have done it even 
now, if his object had been merely to punish a vassal who 
refused to perform his customary services. Henry was 
already looking forward to intervention in Normandy. His 


CHAP, first expedition was not made until the next summer, but it 
vn must by this time have been foreseen, and the cost must 
have been counted. The revenues of Canterbury doubtless 
seemed quite worth having. Already, in 1104, we begin to 
get complaints of the heavy taxation from which England 
was suffering. In the year of the second expedition, 1 105, 
these were still more frequent and piteous. Ecclesiastics 
and Church lands bore these burdens with the rest of the 
kingdom, and before the close of this year we are told that 
many of the evils which had existed under William Rufus 
had reappeared. 1 

True to his temporizing policy, when complaints became 
loud, as early as 1104, Henry professed his great desire for 
the return of Anselm, provided always he was willing to 
observe the customs of the kingdom, and he despatched 
another embassy to Rome to persuade the pope to some 
concession. This was the fifth embassy which he had sent 
with this request, and he could not possibly have expected 
any other answer than that which he had already received. 
Soon a party began to form among the higher clergy of 
England, primarily in opposition to the king, and, more for 
this reason probably than from devotion to the reformation, 
in support of Anselm, though it soon began to show a dis- 
position to adopt the Gregorian ideas for which Anselm 
stood. This disposition was less due to any change of heart 
on their part than to the knowledge which they had acquired 
of their helplessness in the hands of an absolute king, and of 
the great advantage to be gained from the independence 
which the Gregorian reformation would secure them. Even 
Gerard of York early showed some tendency to draw toward 
Anselm, as may be seen from a letter which he despatched to 
him in the early summer of 1105, with some precautions, sup- 
pressing names and expressions by which the writer might be 
identified. 2 Toward the end of the year he joined with five 
other bishops, including William Giffard, appointed by Henry 
to Winchester, in a more open appeal to Anselm, with promise 
of support. How early Henry became aware of this move- 
ment of opposition is not certain, but we may be sure that 
his department of secret service was well organized. We 

1 Eadmer, p. 172. 2 Liebermann, Quadriparfitus, p. 155. 


shall not be far wrong if we assign to a knowledge of the CHAP. 
attitude of powerful churchmen in England some weight vn 
among the complex influences which led the king to the 
step which he took in July of this year. 

In March, 1 105, Pope Paschal II, whose conduct throughout 
this controversy implies that he was not more anxious to drive 
matters to open warfare than was Henry, advanced so far as 
to proclaim the excommunication of the Count of Meulan and 
the other counsellors of the king, and also of those who had 
received investiture at his hand. This might look as if the 
pope were about to take up the case in earnest and would 
proceed shortly to excommunicate the king himself. But 
Anselm evidently interpreted it as the utmost which he 
could expect in the way of aid from Rome, and immediately 
determined to act for himself. He left Lyons to go to 
Reims, but learning on the way of the illness of the Coun- 
tess of Blois, Henry's sister Adela, he went to Blois instead, 
and then with the countess, who had recovered, to Chartres. 
This brought together three persons deeply interested in this 
conflict and of much influence in England and with the king : 
Anselm, who was directly concerned ; the Countess Adela, 
a favourite with her brother and on intimate terms with him ; 
and Bishop Ivo of Chartres, who had written much and wisely 
on the investiture controversy. And here it seems likely were 
suggested, probably by Bishop Ivo, and talked over among 
the three, the terms of the famous compromise by which the 
conflict was at last ended. 

Anselm had made no secret of his intention of proceeding 
shortly to the excommunication of Henry. The prospect 
excited the liveliest apprehension in the mind of the reli- 
giously disposed Countess Adela, and she bestirred herself 
to find some means of averting so dread a fate from her 
brother. Henry himself had heard of the probability with 
some apprehension, though of a different sort from his sister's. 
The respect which Anselm enjoyed throughout Normandy 
and northern France was so great that, as Henry looked 
forward to an early conquest of the duchy, he could not 
afford to disregard the effect upon the general feeling of 
an open declaration of war by the archbishop. The invita- 
tion of the king of France to Anselm, to accept an asylum 


CHAP, within his borders, was a plain foreshadowing of what might 

vn follow. 1 Considerations of home and foreign politics alike 

disposed Henry to meet halfway the advances which the 

other side was willing to make under the lead of his sister. 

With the countess, Anselm entered Normandy and met 
Henry at Laigle on July 21, 1105. Here the terms of the 
compromise, which were more than two years later adopted as 
binding law, were agreed upon between themselves, in their 
private capacity. Neither was willing at the moment to be 
officially bound. Anselm, while personally willing, would not 
formally agree to the concessions expected of him, until he 
had the authority of the pope to do so. Subsequent events 
lead us to suspect that once more Henry was temporizing. 
Anselm was not in good health. He was shortly after seri- 
ously ill. It is in harmony with Henry's policy throughout, 
and with his action in the following months, to suppose that 
he believed the approaching death of the archbishop would 
relieve him from even the slight concessions to which he 
professed himself willing to agree. It is not the place 
here to state the terms and effect of this agreement, but in 
substance Henry consented to abandon investiture with the 
ring and staff, symbols of the spiritual office; and Anselm 
agreed that the officers of the Church should not be excom- 
municated nor denied consecration if they received investi- 
ture of their actual fiefs from the hand of the king. Henry 
promised that an embassy should be at once despatched to 
Rome, to obtain the pope's consent to this arrangement, in 
order that Anselm, to whom the temporalities of his see 
were now restored, might be present at his Christmas court 
in England. 

Delay Henry certainly gained by this move. The forms 
of friendly intercourse were restored between himself and 
Anselm. The excommunication was not pronounced. The 
party of the king's open enemies in Normandy, or of those 
who would have been glad to be his open enemies in France, 
if circumstances had been favourable, was deprived of sup- 
port from any popular feeling of horror against an outcast of 
the Church. But he made no change in his conduct or plans. 
By the end of summer he was back in England, leaving 

1 Anselm, Epist. iv. 50, 51; Luchaire, Louis Vf, Annales, No. 31. 


things well under way in Normandy. Severer exactions CHAP. 
followed in England, to raise money for new campaigns. vn 
One invention of some skilful servant of the king's seemed 
to the ecclesiastical historians more intolerable and dangerous 
than anything before. The king's justices began to draw the 
married clergy before the secular courts, and to fine them 
for their violation of the canons. By implication this would 
mean a legal toleration of the marriage, on payment of fines 
to the king, and thus it would cut into the rights of the 
Church in two directions. It was the trial of a spiritual 
offence in a secular court, and it was the virtual suspension 
of the law of the Church by the authority of the State. Still 
no embassy went to Rome. Christmas came and it had not 
gone. Robert of Belleme, alarmed at the plans of Henry, 
which were becoming evident, came over from Normandy to 
try to make some peaceable arrangement with the king, but 
was refused all terms. In January, 1106, Robert of Nor- 
mandy himself came over, to get, if possible, the return of 
what he had lost at home ; but he also could obtain nothing. 
All things were in Henry's hands. He could afford to refuse 
favours, to forget his engagements, and to encourage his 
servants in the invention of ingenious exactions. 

But Anselm was growing impatient. New appeals to 
action were constantly reaching him from England. The let- 
ter of the six bishops was sent toward the close of 1105. He 
himself began again to hint at extreme measures, and to 
write menacing letters to the king's ministers. Finally, early 
in 1 1 06, the embassy was actually sent to Rome. Towards 
the end of March the Roman curia took action on the pro- 
posal, and Anselm was informed, in a letter from the pope, 
that the required concessions would be allowed. The pope 
was disposed to give thanks that God had inclined the king's 
heart to obedience ; yet the proposal was approved of, not as 
an accepted principle, but rather as a temporary expedient, 
until the king should be converted by the preaching of the 
archbishop, to respect the rights of the Church in full. But 
Anselm did not yet return to England. Before the envoys 
came back from Rome, Henry had written to him of his 
expectation of early crossing into Normandy. On learning 
that the compromise would be accepted by the pope, Henry 


CHAP, had sent to invite him at once to England, but Anselm was 
vn then too ill to travel, and he continued so for some time. It 
was nearly August before Henry's third expedition actually 
landed in Normandy, and on the i5th of that month the king 
and the archbishop met at the Abbey of Bee, and the full 
reconciliation between them took place. Anselm could now 
agree to the compromise. Henry promised to make reforma- 
tion in the particulars of his recent treatment of the Church, 
of which the archbishop complained. Then Anselm crossed 
to Dover, and was received with great rejoicing. 

The campaign upon which Henry embarked in August 
ended by the close of September in a success greater than 
he could have anticipated. He first attacked the castle of 
Tinchebrai, belonging to William of Mortain, and left a forti- 
fied post there to hold it in check. As soon as the king 
had retired, William came to the relief of his castle, repro- 
visioned it, and shut up the king's men in their defences. 
Then Henry advanced in turn with his own forces and his 
allies, and began a regular siege of the castle. The next 
move was William's, and he summoned to his aid Duke 
Robert and Robert of Belleme, and all the friends they had 
left in Normandy. The whole of the opposing forces were 
thus face to face, and the fate of Normandy likely to be 
settled by a single conflict. Orderic, the historian of the war, 
notes that Henry preferred to fight rather than to withdraw, 
as commanded by his brother, being willing to enter upon this 
" more than civil war for the sake of future peace." 

In the meantime, the men of religion who were present 
began to exert themselves to prevent so fratricidal a collision 
of these armies, between whose opposing ranks so many 
families were divided. Henry yielded to their wishes, and 
offered to his brother terms of reconciliation which reveal 
not merely his belief in the strength of his position in the 
country and his confidence of success, but something also of 
his general motive. The ardour of religious zeal which the 
historian makes Henry profess we may perhaps set aside, but 
the actual terms offered speak for themselves. Robert was to 
surrender to Henry all the castles and the jurisdiction and 
administration of the whole duchy. This being done, Henry 
would turn over to him, without any exertion on his part, the 


revenues of half the duchy to enjoy freely in the kind of life CHAP. 
that best pleased him. If Robert had been a different sort vn 
of man, we should commend his rejection of these terms. 
Possibly he recalled Henry's earlier promise of a pension, 
and had little confidence in the certainty of revenues from 
this source. But Henry, knowing the men whose advice 
Robert would ask before answering, had probably not ex- 
pected his terms to be accepted. 

The battle was fought on September 28, and it was 
fiercely fought, the hardest fight and with the largest 
forces of any in which Normans or Englishmen had been 
engaged for forty years. The main body of both armies 
fought on foot. The Count of Mortain, in command of 
Robert's first ' division, charged Henry's front, but was met 
with a resistance which he could not overcome. In the 
midst of this struggle Robert's flank was charged by Henry's 
mounted allies, under Count Elias of Maine, and his position 
was cut in two. Robert of Bellme, who commanded the 
rear division, seeing the battle going against the duke, took 
to flight and left the rest of the army to its fate. This was 
apparently to surrender in a body. Henry reports the number 
of common soldiers whom he had taken as ten thousand, too 
large a figure, no doubt, but implying the capture of Robert's 
whole force. His prisoners of name comprised all the 
leaders of his brother's side except Robert of Belleme, 
including the duke himself, Edgar the English atheling, 
who was soon released, and William of Mortain. The vic- 
tory at once made Henry master of Normandy. There could 
be no further question of this, and it is of interest to note 
that the historian, William of Malmesbury, who in his own 
person typifies the union of English and Norman, both in 
blood and in spirit, records the fact that the day was the 
same as that on which the Conqueror had landed forty years 
earlier, and regards the result as reversing that event, and as 
making Normandy subject to England. This was not far 
from its real historical meaning. 

Robert clearly recognized the completeness of Henry's 
success. By his orders Falaise was surrendered, and the 
castle of Rouen ; and he formally absolved the towns of Nor- 
mandy in general from their allegiance to himself. At Falaise 
VOL. II. 10 




CHAP. Robert's young son William, known afterwards as William 
vn Clito, was captured and brought before Henry. Not wishing 
himself to be held responsible for his safety, Henry turned 
him over to the guardianship of Elias of Saint-Saens, who 
had married a natural daughter of Robert's. One unsought- 
for result of the conquest of Normandy was that Ranulf 
Flambard, who was in charge of the bishopric of Lisieux, 
succeeded in making his peace with the king and obtained 
his restoration to Durham, but he never again became a 
king's minister. Only Robert of Belleme thought of further 
fighting. As a vassal of Elias, Count of Maine, he applied 
to him for help, and promised a long resistance with his 
thirty-four strong castles. Elias refused his aid, pointed 
out the unwisdom of such an attempt, defended Henry's 
motives, and advised submission, promising his good influ- 
ences with Henry. This advice Robert concluded to accept. 
Henry, on his side, very likely had some regard to the thirty- 
four castles, and decided to bide his time. Peace, for the 
present, was made between them. 

Some measures which Henry considered necessary for the 
security of Normandy, he did not think it wise to carry out by 
his own unsupported action. In the middle of October a 
great council of Norman barons was called to meet at Lisieux. 
Here it was decreed that all possessions which had been 
wrongfully taken from churches or other legitimate holders 
during the confusion of the years since the death of William 
the Conqueror should be restored, and all grants from the 
ducal domain to unworthy persons, or usurpations which 
Robert had not been able to prevent, were ordered to be 
resumed. It is of especial interest that the worst men of the 
prisoners taken at Tinchebrai were here condemned to per- 
petual imprisonment. The name of Robert is not mentioned 
among those included in this judgment, and later Henry justi- 
fies his conduct toward his brother on the ground of political 
necessity, not of legal right. The result of all these measures 
we may believe it would have been the result of the con- 
quest alone was to put an end at once to the disorder, private 
warfare, and open robbery from which the duchy had so long 
suffered. War enough there was in Normandy, in the later 
years of Henry's reign, but it was regular warfare. The 


license of anarchy was at an end. Robert was carried over CHAP. 
to England, to a fate for which there could be little warrant vn 
in strict law, but which was abundantly deserved and fully 
supported by the public opinion of the time. He was kept 
in prison in one royal castle or another until his death, twenty- 
eight years later. If Henry's profession was true, as it pro- 
bably was, that he kept him as a royal prisoner should be 
kept, and supplied him with the luxuries he enjoyed so much, 
the result was, it is possible, not altogether disagreeable to 
Robert himself. Some time later, when the pope remon- 
strated with Henry on his conduct, and demanded the release 
of Robert, the king's defence of his action was so complete 
that the pope had no reply to make. Political expediency, 
the impossibility of otherwise maintaining peace, was the 
burden of his answer, and this, if not actual justice, must still 
be Henry's defence for his treatment of his brother. 

Henry returned to England in time for the Easter meeting 
of his court, but the legalization of the compromise with 
Anselm was deferred to Whitsuntide because the pope was 
about to hold a council in France, from which some action 
affecting the question might be expected. At Whitsuntide 
Anselm was ill, and another postponement was necessary. 
At last, early in August, at a great council held in the king's 
palace in London, the agreement was ratified. No formal 
statement of the terms of this compromise has been given 
us by any contemporary authority, but such accounts of it 
as we have, and such inferences as seem almost equally 
direct, probably leave no important point unknown. Of all 
his claims, Henry surrendered only the right of investiture 
with ring and staff. These were spiritual symbols, typical 
of the bishop's relation to his Church and of his pastoral 
duties. To the ecclesiastical mind the conferring of them 
would seem more than any other part of the procedure the 
actual granting of the religious office, though they had been 
used by the kings merely as symbols of the fief granted. 
Some things would seem to indicate that the forms of canoni- 
cal election were more respected after this compromise than 
they had been before, but this is true of forms only, and if 
we may judge from a sentence in a letter to the pope, in 
which Anselm tells him of the final settlement, this was 



CHAP, not one of the terms of the formal agreement, and William 
vn of Malmesbury says distinctly that it was not. In all else 
the Church gave way to the king. He made choice of the 
person to be elected, with such advice and counsel as he 
chose to take, and his choice was final. He received the 
homage and conferred investiture of the temporalities of 
the office of the new prelate as his father and brother had 
done. Only when this was completed to the king's satisfac- 
tion, and his permission to proceed received, was the bishop 
elect consecrated to his spiritual office. 

To us it seems clear that the king had yielded only what 
was a mere form, and that he had retained all the real sub- 
stance of his former power, and probably this was also the 
judgment of the practical mind of Henry and of his chief 
adviser, the Count of Meulan. We must not forget, how- 
ever, that the Church seemed to believe that it had gained 
something real, and that a strong party of the king's sup- 
porters long and vigorously resisted these concessions in 
his court. The Church had indeed set an example, for itself 
at least, of successful attack on the absolute monarchy, and 
had shown that the strongest of kings could be forced to 
yield a point against his will. Before the century was closed, 
in a struggle even more bitterly fought and against a stronger 
king, the warriors of the Church looked back to this example 
and drew strength from this success. It is possible, also, 
that these cases of concession forced from reluctant kings 
served as suggestion and model at the beginning of a politi- 
cal struggle which was to have more permanent results. All 
this, however, lay yet in the future, and could not be sus- 
pected by either party to this earliest conflict. 

The agreement ratified in 1 107 was the permanent settle- 
ment of the investiture controversy for England, and under 
it developed the practice on ecclesiastical vacancies which 
we may say has continued to the present time, interrupted 
under some sovereigns by vacillating practice or by a more 
or less theoretical concession of freedom of election to the 
Church. Henry's grandson, Henry II, describes this prac- 
tice as it existed in his day, in one of the clauses of the Con- 
stitutions of Clarendon. The clause shows that some at least 
of the inventions of Ranulf Flambard had not been discarded, 


and there is abundant evidence to show that the king was CHAP. 
really stating in it, as he said he was, the customs of his vn 
grandfather's time. The clause reads : "When an archbishop- 
ric or bishopric or abbey or priory of the king's domain has 
fallen vacant, it ought to be in the king's hands, and he shall 
take thence all the returns and revenues as domain revenues, 
and when the time has come to provide for the Church, the 
king shall call for the chief persons of the Church [that 
is, summon a representation of the Church to himself], and 
in the king's chapel the election shall be made with the 
assent of the king and with the counsel of those ecclesiastics 
of the kingdom whom he shall have summoned for this pur- 
pose, and there the elect shall do homage and fealty to the 
king, as to his liege lord, of his life and limb and earthly 
honour, saving his order, before he shall be consecrated." 

This long controversy having reached a settlement which 
Anselm was at least willing to accept, he was ready to re- 
sume the long-interrupted duties of primate of Britain. On 
August n, assisted by an imposing assembly of his suf- 
fragan bishops, and by the Archbishop of York, he conse- 
crated in Canterbury five bishops at once, three of these of 
long-standing appointment, William Giffard of Winchester, 
Roger of Salisbury, and Reinelm of Hereford; the other 
two, William of Exeter and Urban of Landaff, recently 
chosen. The renewed activity of Anselm as head of the 
English Church, which thus began, was not for long. His 
health had been destroyed. His illness returned at frequent 
intervals, and in less than two years his life and work were 
finished. These months, however, were filled with consider- 
able activity, not all of it of the kind we should prefer to 
associate with the name of Anselm. Were we shut up to 
the history of this time for our knowledge of his character, 
we should be likely to describe it in different terms from 
those we usually employ. The earlier Anselm, of gentle 
character, shrinking from the turmoil of strife and longing 
only for the quiet of the abbey library, had apparently dis- 
appeared. The experiences of the past few years had been, 
indeed, no school in gentleness, and the lessons which he 
had learned at Rome were not those of submission to the 
claims of others. In the great council which ratified the 


CHAP, compromise, Anselm had renewed his demand for the obedi- 
vn ence of the Archbishop of York, and this demand he con- 
tinued to push with extreme vigour until his death, first 
against Gerard, who died early in 1108, and then against his 
successor, Thomas, son of Bishop Samson of Worcester, 
appointed by Henry. A plan for the division of the large 
diocese of Lincoln, by the creation of a new diocese of Ely, 
though by common consent likely to improve greatly the 
administration of the Church, he refused to approve until the 
consent of the pope had been obtained. He insisted, against 
the will of the monks and the request of the king, upon the 
right of the archbishop to consecrate the abbot of St. Augus- 
tine's, Canterbury, in whatever church he pleased, and again, 
in spite of the king's request, he maintained the same right 
in the consecration of the bishop of London. The canon 
law of the Church regarding marriage, lay or priestly, he 
enforced with unsparing rigour. Almost his last act, it 
would seem, before his death, was to send a violent letter to 
Archbishop Thomas of York, suspending him from his 
office and forbidding all bishops of his obedience, under pen- 
alty of " perpetual anathema," to consecrate him or to com- 
municate with him if consecrated by any one outside of 
England. On April 21, 1109, this stormy episcopate closed, 
a notable instance of a man of noble character, and in some 
respects of remarkable genius, forced by circumstances out 
of the natural current of his life into a career for which he 
was not fitted. 

For Henry these months since the conquest of Normandy 
and the settlement of the dispute with Anselm had been 
uneventful. Normandy had settled into order as if the mere 
change of ruler had been all it needed, and in England, 
which now occupied Henry's attention only at intervals, there 
was no occasion of anxiety. Events were taking place across 
the border of Normandy which were to affect the latter years 
of Henry and the future destinies of England in important 
ways. In the summer of 1108, the long reign of Philip I of 
France had closed, and the reign, nearly as long, of his son, 
Louis VI, had begun, the first of the great Capetian kings, 
in whose reign begins a definite policy of aggrandizement for 
the dynasty directed in great part against their rivals, the 


English kings. Just before the death of Anselm occurred CHAP. 
that of Fulk Rechin, Count of Anjou, and the succession of vn 
his son Fulk V. He was married to the heiress of Maine, 
and a year later this inheritance, the overlordship of which 
the Norman dukes had so long claimed, fell in to him. Of 
Henry's marriage with Matilda two children had been born 
who survived infancy, Matilda, the future empress, early in 

1 1 02, and William in the late summer or early autumn of 

1 103. The queen herself, who had for a time accompanied 
the movements of her husband, now resided mostly at West- 
minster, where she gained the fame of liberality to foreign 
artists and of devotion to pious works. 

It was during a stay of Henry's in England, shortly after 
the death of Anselm, that he issued one of the very few docu- 
ments of his reign which give us glimpses into the changes 
in institutions which were then taking place. This is a 
writ, which we have in two slightly varying forms, one of 
them addressed to Bishop Samson of Worcester, dealing with 
the local judicial system. From it we infer that the old Saxon 
system of local justice, the hundred and county courts, had 
indeed never fallen into disuse since the days of the Conquest, 
but that they had been subjected to many irregularities of 
time and place, and that the sheriffs had often obliged them 
to meet when and where it suited their convenience ; and we 
are led to suspect that they had been used as engines of 
extortion for the advantage both of the local officer and 
of the king. All this Henry now orders to cease. The 
courts are to meet at the same times and places as in the 
days of King Edward, and if they need to be summoned 
to special sessions for any royal business, due notice shall 
be given. 

Even more important is the evidence which we get from 
this document of a royal system of local justice acting in 
conjunction with the old system of shire courts. The last 
half of the writ implies that there had arisen thus early the 
questions of disputed jurisdiction, of methods of trial, and of 
attendance at courts, with which we are familiar a few gen- 
erations later in the history of English law. Distinctly im- 
plied is a conflict between a royal jurisdiction on one side and 
a private baronial jurisdiction on the other, which is settled 


CHAP, in favour of the lord's court, if the suit is between two of his 
vn own vassals ; but if the disputants are vassals of two different 
lords, it is decided in favour of the king's, that is, of the 
court held by the king's justice in the county, who may, 
indeed, be no more than the sheriff acting in this capacity. 
This would be in strict harmony with the ruling feudal law 
of the time. But when the suit comes on for trial in the 
county court, it is not to be tried by the old county court 
forms. It is not a case in the sheriff's county court, the 
people's county court, but one before the king's justice, and 
the royal, that is, Norman method of trial by duel is to be 
adopted. Finally, at the close of the writ, appears an effort 
to defend this local court system against the liberties and 
immunities of the feudal system, an attempt which easily 
succeeded in so far as it concerned the king's county courts, 
but failed in the case of the purely local courts. 1 

If this interpretation is correct, this writ is typical of a pro- 
cess of the greatest interest, which we know from other sources 
was characteristic of the reign, a process which gave their 
peculiar form to the institutions of England and continued 
for more than a century. By this process the local law and 
institutions of Saxon England, and the royal law and central 
institutions of the Normans, were wrought into a single and 
harmonious whole. This process of union which was long 
and slow, guided by no intention beyond the convenience of 
the moment, advances in two stages. In the first, the Nor- 
man administration, royal and centralized, is carried down 
into the counties and there united, for the greater ease of 
accomplishing certain desired ends of administration, with 
the local Saxon system. This resulted in several very im- 
portant features of our judicial organization. The second 
stage was somewhat the reverse of this. In it, certain fea- 
tures which had developed in the local machinery, the jury and 
election, are adopted by the central government and applied 
to new uses. This was the origin of the English parliamen- 
tary system. It is of the first of these stages only that we get 
a glimpse, in this document, and from other sources of the 
reign of Henry, and these bits of evidence only allow us to 
say that those judicial arrangements which were put into 

1 See American Historical Review, viii, 478. 


organized form in his grandson's reign had their beginning, CHAP. 
as occasional practices, in his own. vn 

Not long after the date of this charter, a series of law 
books, one of the interesting features of the reign, began to 
appear. Their object was to state the old laws of England, 
or these in connexion with the laws then current in the courts, 
or with the legislation of the first of the Norman kings. Pri- 
vate compilations, or at most the work of persons whose posi- 
tion in the service of the state could give no official authority 
'to their codes, their object was mainly practical; but they 
reveal not merely a general interest in the legal arrange- 
ments existing at the moment, but a clear consciousness that 
these rested upon a solid substratum of ancient law, dating 
from a time before the Conquest. Towards this ancient law 
the nation had lately turned, and had been answered by 
the promise in Henry's coronation charter. Worn with the 
tyranny of William Rufus, men had looked back with longing 
to the better conditions of an earlier age, and had demanded 
the laws of Edward or of Canute, as, under the latter, men had 
looked back to the laws of Edgar, demanding laws, not in 
the sense of the legislation of a certain famous king, but of 
the whole legal and constitutional situation of earlier times, 
thought of as a golden age from which the recent tyranny 
had departed. What they really desired was never granted 
them. The Saxon law still survived, and was very likely 
renewed in particulars by Henry I, but it survived as local 
law and as the law of the minor affairs of life. The law of 
public affairs and of all great interests, the law of the tyranny 
from which men suffered, was new. It made much use of the 
local machinery which it found but in a new way, and it was 
destined to be modified in some points by the old law, but it 
was new as the foundation on which was to be built the later 
constitution of the state. The demand for the laws of an 
earlier time did not affect the process of this building, and 
the effort to put the ancient law into accessible form, which 
may have had this demand as one of its causes, is of inter- 
est to the student of general history chiefly for the evidence 
it gives of the great work of union which was then going 
on, of Saxon and Norman, in law as in blood, into a new 





It was during the same stay in England that an opportunity 
was offered to Henry to form an alliance on the continent 
which promised him great advantages in case of an open con- 
flict with the king of France. At Henry's Whitsuntide court, 
in 1 109, appeared an embassy from Henry V of Germany, to 
ask for the hand of his daughter, then less than eight years 
old. This request Henry would not be slow to grant. Con- 
flicting policies would never be likely to disturb such an 
alliance, and the probable interest which the sovereign of 
Germany would have in common with himself in limiting the 
expansion of France, or even in detaching lands from her 
allegiance, would make the alliance seem of good promise for 
the future. On the part of Henry of Germany, such a pro- 
posal must have come from policy alone, but the advantage 
which he hoped to gain from it is not so easy to discover as 
in the case of Henry of England. If he entertained any idea 
of a common policy against France, this was soon dropped, 
and his purpose must in all probability be sought in plans 
within the empire. Henry's recent accession to the throne 
of Germany had been followed by a change of policy. 
During the later years of his unfortunate father, whose 
stormy reign had closed in the triumph of the two enemies 
whom he had been obliged to face at once, the Church of 
Gregory VII, contending with the empire for equality and 
even for supremacy, and the princes of Germany, grasping 
in their local dominions the rights of sovereignty, the ambi- 
tious prince had fought against the king, his father. But 
when he had at last become king himself, his point of view 
was changed. The conflict in which his father had failed 
he was ready to renew with vigour and with hope of success. 
That he should have believed, as he evidently did, that a 
marriage with the young English princess was the most use- 
ful one he could make in this crisis of his affairs is interest- 
ing evidence, not merely of the world's opinion of Henry I, 
but also of the rank of the English monarchy among the 
states of Europe. 

Just as she was completing her eighth year, Matilda was 
sent over to Germany to learn the language and the ways of 
her new country. A stately embassy and a rich dower went 
with her, for which her father had provided by taking the 


regular feudal aid to marry the lord's eldest daughter, at the CHAP. 
rate of three shillings per hide throughout England. On vn 
April 10, 1 1 10, she was formally betrothed to the emperor- 
elect at Utrecht. On July 25, she was crowned Queen of 
Germany at Mainz. Then she was committed to the care 
of the Archbishop of Trier, who was to superintend her 
education. On January 7, 1114, just before Matilda had 
completed her twelfth year, the marriage was celebrated at 
Mainz, in the presence of a great assembly. All things had 
been going well with Henry. In Germany and in Italy he 
had overcome the princes and nobles who had ventured to 
oppose him. The clergy of Germany seemed united on his 
side in the still unsettled investiture conflict with the papacy. 
The brilliant assembly of princes of the empire and foreign 
ambassadors which gathered in the city for this marriage was 
in celebration as well of the triumph of the emperor. On 
this great occasion, and in spite of her youth, Matilda bore 
herself as a queen, and impressed those who saw her as 
worthy of the position, highest in rank in the world, to which 
she had been called. To the end of her stay in Germany 
she retained the respect and she won the hearts of her Ger- 
man subjects. 

By August, mi, King Henry's stay in England was over, 
and he crossed again to Normandy. What circumstances 
called him to the continent we do not know, but probably 
events growing out of a renewal of war with Louis VI, which 
seems to have been first begun early in iiOQ. 1 However this 
may be, he soon found himself in open conflict all along his 
southern border with the king of France and the Count of 
Anjou, with Robert of Belleme and other barons of the 
border to aid them. Possibly Henry feared a movement in 
Normandy itself in favour of young William Clito, or learned 
of some expression of a wish not infrequent among the Nor- 
man barons in times a little later, that he might succeed to 
his father's place. At any rate, at this time, Henry ordered 
Robert of Beauchamp to seize the boy in the castle of Elias 
of Saint-Saens, to whom he had committed him five years 
before. The attempt failed. William was hastily carried off 
to France by friendly hands, in the absence of his guardian. 

1 Luchaire, Louis VI^ Annales, p. cxv, 


CHAP. Elias joined him soon after, shared his long exile, and suf- 
VI1 fered confiscation of his fief in consequence. It would not 
be strange if Henry was occasionally troubled, in that age 
of early but full-grown chivalry, by the sympathy of the 
Norman barons with the wanderings and friendless poverty 
of their rightful lord; but Henry was too strong and too 
severe in his punishment of any treason for sympathy ever 
to pass into action on any scale likely to assist the exiled 
prince, unless in combination with some strong enemy of the 
king's from without. 

Henry would appear at first sight greatly superior to Louis 
VI of France in the military power and resources of which he 
had immediate command, as he certainly was in diplomatic 
skill. The Capetian king, master only of the narrow domains 
of the Isle of France, and hardly of those until the constant 
fighting of Louis's reign had subdued the turbulent barons of 
the province ; hemmed in by the dominions, each as extensive 
as his own, of the great barons nominally his vassals but 
sending to his wars as scanty levies as possible, or appearing 
openly in the ranks of his enemies as their own interests 
dictated; threatened by foreign foes, the kings of England 
and of Germany, who would detach even these loosely held 
provinces from his kingdom, the Capetian king could hardly 
have defended himself at this epoch from a neighbour so able 
as Henry I, wielding the united strength of England and 
Normandy, and determined upon conquest. The safety of 
the Capetian house was secured by the absence of both these 
conditions. Henry was not ambitious of conquest ; and as his 
troubles with France increased so did dissensions in Nor- 
mandy, which crippled his resources and divided his efforts. 
The net result at the close of Henry's reign was that the 
king of England was no stronger than in mo, unless we 
count the uncertain prospect of the Angevin succession; 
while the king of France was master of larger resources and 
a growing power. 

It seems most likely that it was in the spring of 1109 that 
the rivalry of the two kings first led to an open breach. This 
was regarding the fortress of Gisors, on the Epte, which 
William Rufus had built against the French Vexin. Louis 
summoned Henry either to surrender or to demolish it, but 

1 1 12 HENRY I AND LOUIS VI 157 

Henry refused either alternative, and occupied it with his CHAP. 
troops. The French army opposed him on the other side vn 
of the river, but there was no fighting. Louis, who greatly 
enjoyed the physical pleasure of battle, proposed to Henry 
that they should meet on the bridge which crossed the river 
at this point, in sight of the two armies, and decide their 
quarrel by a duel. Henry, the diplomatist and not the 
fighter, laughed at the proposition. In Louis's army were 
two men, one of whom had lately been, and the other of whom 
was soon to be, in alliance with Henry, Robert of Jerusalem, 
Count of Flanders, and Theobald, Count of Blois, eldest son 
of Henry's sister and brother of his successor as king, Stephen 
of England. Possibly a truce had soon closed this first war, 
but if so, it had begun again in the year of Henry's crossing, 
1 1 1 1 ; and the Count of Blois was now in the field against his 
sovereign and defeated Louis in a battle in which the Count 
of Flanders was killed. The war with Louis ran its course 
for a year and a half longer without battles. Against Anjou 
Henry built or strengthened certain fortresses along the 
border and waited the course of events. 

On November 4, 1112, an advantage fell to Henry which 
may have gone far to secure him the remarkable terms of 
peace with which the war was closed. He arrested Robert 
of Belleme, his constant enemy and the enemy of all good 
men, " incomparable in all forms of evil since the beginning 
of Christian days." He had come to meet the king at Bonne- 
ville, to bring a message from Louis, thinking that Henry 
would be obliged to respect his character as an envoy. Pro- 
bably the king took the ground that by his conduct Robert 
had forfeited all rights, and was to be treated practically as a 
common outlaw. At any rate, he ordered his arrest and trial. 
On three specific counts that he had acted unjustly toward 
his lord, that summoned three times to appear in court for 
trial he had not come, and that as the king's viscount he had 
failed to render account of the revenues he had collected he 
was condemned and sentenced to imprisonment. On Henry's 
return to England he was carried over and kept in Wareham 
castle, where he was still alive in 1130. The Norman histo- 
rian Orderic records that this action of Henry's met with 
universal approval and was greeted with general rejoicing. 


CHAP. During Lent of the next year, 1113, Henry made formal 
vn peace with both his enemies, the king of France and the 
Count of Anjou. The peace with the latter was first con- 
cluded. It was very possibly Fulk's refusal to recognize 
Henry's overlordship of Maine that occasioned the war. 
To this he now assented. He did homage for the county, 
and received investiture of it from the hand of the king. 
He also promised the hand of his daughter Matilda to 
Henry's son William. Henry, on his side, restored to favour 
the Norman allies of Fulk. A few days later a treaty was 
made at Gisors, with the king of France. Louis formally 
conceded to Henry the overlordship of Belleme, which had 
not before depended upon the duchy of Normandy, and that 
of Maine, and Britanny. In the case of Maine and of Brit- 
anny this was the recognition of long-standing claims and of 
accomplished facts, for Count Alan Fergant of Britanny, as 
well as Fulk of Anjou, had already become the vassal of 
Henry, and had obtained the hand of a natural daughter 
of the king for his son Conan, who in this year became 
count. But the important lordship of Belleme was a new 
cession. It was not yet in Henry's hands, nor had it been 
reckoned as a part of Normandy, though the lords of Bel- 
leme had been also Norman barons. Concessions such as 
these, forming with Normandy the area of many a kingdom, 
were made by a king like Louis VI, only under the compul- 
sion of necessity. They mark the triumph of Henry's skill, 
of his vigorous determination, and of his ready disregard of 
the legal rights of others, if they would not conform to his 
ideas of proper conduct or fit into his system of government. 
The occupation of Belleme required a campaign. William 
Talvas, the son of Robert, while himself going to defend 
his mother's inheritance of Ponthieu, had left directions with 
the vassals of Belleme for its defence, but the campaign 
was a short one. Henry, assisted by his new vassal, the 
Count of Anjou, and by his nephew, Theobald of Blois, 
speedily reduced city and lordship to submission. 

Orderic Vitalis, who was living in Normandy at this time, 
in the monastery of St. Evroul, declares that following this 
peace, made in the spring of 1113, for five years, Henry 
governed his kingdom and his duchy on the two sides of 


the sea with great tranquillity. These years, to the great CHAP. 
insurrection of the Norman barons in 1118, were not entirely vn 
undisturbed, but as compared with the period which goes 
before, or with that which follows, they deserve the histo- 
rian's description. One great army was led into Wales in 
1114, and the Welsh princes were forced to renew their sub- 
mission. Henry was apparently interested in the slow incor- 
poration of Wales in England which was going forward, but 
prudently recognized the difficulties of attempting to hasten 
the process by violence. He was ready to use the Church, 
that frequent medieval engine of conquest, and attempted 
with success, both before this date and later, to introduce 
English bishops into old Welsh sees. From the early part 
of this reign also dates the great Flemish settlement in 
Pembrokeshire, which was of momentous influence on all that 
part of Wales. 

These years were also fully occupied with controversies 
in the Church, whose importance for the state Henry clearly 
recognized. Out of the conflict over investitures, regarded 
from the practical side, the Norman monarchy had emerged, 
as we have seen, in triumph, making but one slight conces- 
sion, and that largely a matter of form. From the struggle 
with the empire on the same issue, which was at this date 
still unsettled, the Church was destined to gain but little 
more, perhaps an added point of form, depending for its 
real value on the spirit with which the final agreement was 
administered. In the matter of investitures, the Church could 
claim but little more than a drawn battle on any field ; and 
yet, in that great conflict with the monarchies of Europe into 
which the papacy had been led by the genius of Hildebrand, 
it had gained a real and great victory in all that was of the 
most vital importance. The pope was no longer the creature 
and servant of the emperor ; he was not even a bishop of the 
empire. In the estimation of all Christendom, he occupied 
an equal throne, exercised a co-ordinate power, and appeared 
even more directly as the representative of the divine gov- 
ernment of the world. Under his rule was an empire far 
more extensive than that which the emperor controlled, com- 
ing now to be closely centralized with all the machinery of 
government, legal, judicial, and administrative, highly organ- 


CHAP, ized and pervaded from the highest to the lowest ranks with 
vn a uniform theory of the absolute right of the ruler and of 
the duty of unquestioning obedience which the most perfect 
secular absolutism would strive in vain to secure. To have 
transformed the Church, which the emperor Henry III had 
begun to reform in 1046, into that which survived the last 
year of his dynasty, was a work of political genius as great as 
history records. 

It was not before the demand of the pope in the matter of 
investiture that the Norman absolute government of the 
Church went down. It fell because the Norman theory of 
the national Church, closely under the control of the state in 
every field of its activity, a part of the state machinery, and 
a valuable assistant in the government of the nation, was 
undermined and destroyed by a higher, and for that age a 
more useful, conception. When the idea of the Church as a 
world-wide unity, more closely bound to its theocratic head 
than to any temporal sovereign, and with a mission and 
responsibility distinct from those of the state, took possession 
of the body of the clergy, as it began to do in the reign of 
Henry, it was impossible to maintain any longer the separate- 
ness of the Norman Church. But the incorporation of the 
Norman and English churches in the papal monarchy meant 
the slipping from the king's hands of power in many individual 
cases, which the first two Norman kings had exercised without 
question, and which even the third had continued to exercise. 
The struggle of York to free itself from the promise of 
obedience to Canterbury was only one of the many channels 
through which these new ideas entered the kingdom. A 
new tide of monasticism had arisen on the continent, which 
did not spend itself even with the northern borders of Eng- 
land. The new orders and the new spirit found many abid- 
ing places in the kingdom, and drew laity as well as clergy 
under their strong influence. This was especially, though 
not alone, true of the Augustinian canons, who possessed 
some fifty houses in England at the close of Henry's reign, 
and in the later years of his life, of the Cistercians, with 
whose founding an English saint, Stephen Harding, had 
had much to do, and some of whose monasteries founded in 
this period, Tintern, Rievaulx, Furness, and Fountains, are 


still familiar names, famous for the beauty of their ruins. CHAP. 
This new monasticism had been founded wholly in the ideas vn 
of the new ecclesiastical monarchy, and was an expression of 
them. The monasteries it created were organized, not as 
parts of the state in which they were situated, but as parts of 
a great order, international in its character, free from local 
control, and, though its houses were situated in many lands, 
forming almost an independent state under the direct sove- 
reignty of the pope. The new monarchical papacy, which 
emerged from the conflicts of this period, occupied Christen- 
dom with its garrisons in these monastic houses, and every 
house was a source from which its ruling ideas spread widely 

A new education was also beginning in this same period, 
and was growing in definiteness of content and of organi- 
zation, in response to a demand which was becoming eager. 
At many centres in Europe groups of scholars were giving 
formal lectures on the knowledge of the day, and were 
attracting larger and larger numbers of students by the 
fame of their eloquence, or by the stimulus of their new 
method. The beginnings of Oxford as a place of teach- 
ers, as well as of Paris, reach back into this time. The am- 
bitious young man, who looked forward to a career in the 
Church, began to feel the necessity of getting the training 
which these new schools could impart. The number of 
students whom we can name, who went from England to 
Paris or elsewhere to study, is large for the time; but if we 
possessed a list of all the English students, at home or 
abroad, of this reign, we should doubtless estimate the force 
of this influence more highly, even in the period of its be- 
ginning. For the ideas which now reigned in the Church 
pervaded the new education as they did the new monasticism. 
There was hardly a source, indeed, from which the student 
could learn any other doctrine, as there has remained none in 
the learning of the Roman Church to the present day. The 
entire literature of the Church, its rapidly forming new philos- 
ophy and theology, its already greatly developed canon law, 
breathed only the spirit of a divinely inspired centralization. 
And the student who returned, very likely to rapid promotion 
in the English Church, did not bring back these ideas for him- 



CHAP, self alone. He set the fashion of thinking for his less fortu- 
vn nate fellows. 

It was by influences like these that the gradual and silent 
transformation was wrought which made of the English 
Church a very different thing at the end of these thirty-five 
years from what it had been at the beginning of the reign. 
The first two Norman kings had reigned over a Church which 
knew no other system than strict royal control. Henry I 
continued to exercise to the end of his reign, with only slight 
modification and the faint beginnings of change, the same pre- 
rogatives, but it was over a Church whose officers had been 
trained in an opposing system, and now profoundly disbe- 
lieved in his rights. How long would it avail the Norman 
monarchy anything to have triumphed in the struggle of 
investitures, when it could no longer find the bishop to ap- 
point who was not thoroughly devoted to the highest papal 
claims ? The answer suggested, in its extreme form, is too 
strong a statement for the exact truth ; for in whatever age, 
or under whatever circumstances, a strong king can maintain 
himself, there he can always find subservient tools. But the 
interested service of individuals is a very different foundation 
of power from the traditional and unquestioning obedience of 
a class. The history of the next age shows that the way had 
been prepared for rapid changes, when political conditions 
would permit; and the grandson of the first Henry found 
himself obliged to yield, in part at least, to demands of the 
Church entirely logical in themselves, but unheard of in his 
grandfather's time. 



WE need not enter into the details of the long struggle CHAP. 
between Canterbury and York. The archbishopric of Can- vin 
terbury was vacant for five years after the death of Anselm ; 
its revenues went to support the various undertakings of 
the king. In April, 1114, Ralph of Escures, Bishop of Roch- 
ester, was chosen Anselm's successor. The archbishopric of 
York had been vacant only a few months, when it was filled, 
later in the summer, by the appointment of Thurstan, one of 
the king's chaplains. The question of the obligation of the 
recently elected Archbishop of York to bind himself to obe- 
dience to the primate of Britain, whether settled as a principle 
or as a special case, by an English council or by the king or 
under papal authority, arose anew with every new appoint- 
ment. In the period which follows the appointment of 
Thurstan, a new element of interest was added to the dispute 
by the more deliberate policy of the pope to make use of it to 
gain a footing for his authority in England, and to weaken 
the unity and independence of the English Church. This 
attempt led to a natural alliance of parties, in which, while 
the issue was at bottom really the same, the lines of the earlier 
investiture conflict were somewhat rearranged. The pope 
supported the claim of York, while the king defended the 
right of Canterbury as bound up with his own. 

At an important meeting of the great council at Salisbury, 
in March, 1116, the king forced upon Thurstan the alterna- 
tive of submission to Canterbury or resignation. The barons 
and prelates of the realm had been brought together to make 
formal recognition of the right to the succession of Henry's 
son William, now fourteen years of age. Already in the 
previous summer this had been done in Normandy, the barons 
doing homage and swearing fealty to the prince. Now the 

163 11* 


CHAP. English barons followed the example, and, by the same cere- 
VHI mony, the strongest tie known to the feudal world, bound 
themselves to accept the son as their lord on the death of his 
father. The prelates, for their part, took oath that if they 
should survive Henry, they would recognize William as king, 
and then do homage to him in good faith. The incident is 
interesting less as an example of this characteristic feudal 
method of securing the succession, for this had been employed 
since the Conquest both in Normandy and in England, than 
because we are told that on this occasion the oath was de- 
manded, not merely of all tenants in chief, but of all inferior 
vassals. If this statement may be accepted, and there is no 
reason to doubt it, we may conclude that the practice estab- 
lished by the Conqueror at an earlier Salisbury assembly had 
been continued by his sons. This was a moment when 
Henry was justified in expressing his will, even on a matter 
of Church government, in peremptory command, and when no 
one was likely to offer resistance. Thurstan chose to sur- 
render the archbishopric, and promised to make no attempt 
to recover it ; but apparently the renunciation was not long 
regarded as final on either side. He was soon after this with 
the king in Normandy, but he was refused the desired per- 
mission to go to Rome, a journey which Archbishop Ralph 
soon undertook, that he might try the influence of his pres- 
ence there in favour of the cause of Canterbury and against 
other pretensions of the pope. 

From the date of this visit to Normandy, in the spring of 
1 1 1 6, Henry's continental interests mix themselves with those 
of the absolute ruler of the English Church, and he was 
more than once forced to choose upon which side he would 
make some slight concession or waive some right for the mo- 
ment. Slowly the sides were forming themselves and the 
opposing interests growing clear, of a great conflict for the 
dominion of northern France, a conflict forced upon the Eng- 
lish king by the necessity of defending the position he had 
gained, rather than sought by him in the spirit of conquest, 
even when he seemed the aggressor; a conflict in which he 
was to gain the victory in the field and in diplomacy, but to 
be overcome by the might of events directed by no human 
hand and not to be resisted by any. 

iii6 WAR RENEWED 165 

The peace between Henry and Louis, made in the spring CHAP. 
of 1113, was broken by Henry's coming to the aid of his vin 
nephew, Theobald of Blois. Theobald had seized the Count 
of Nevers on his return from assisting Louis in a campaign 
in the duchy of France in 1115. The cause was bad, but 
Henry could not afford to see so important an ally as his 
nephew crushed by his enemies, especially as his dominions 
were of peculiar strategical value in any war with the king 
of France. To Louis's side gathered, as the war developed, 
those who had reason from their position to fear what looked 
like the policy of expansion of this new English power in 
north-western France, especially the Counts of Flanders and 
of Anjou. The marriage of Henry's son William with 
Fulk's daughter had not yet taken place, and the Count of 
Anjou might well believe particularly from the close alli- 
ance of Henry with the rival power of Blois that he had 
more to fear than to hope for from the spread of the Norman 
influence. At the same time the division began to show itself 
among the Norman barons, of those who were faithful to 
Henry and those who preferred the succession of Robert's 
son William ; and it grew more pronounced as the war went 
on, for Louis took up the cause of William as the rightful 
heir of Normandy. In doing this he began the policy which 
the French kings followed for so many years, and on the 
whole with so little advantage, of fomenting the quarrels in 
the English royal house and of separating if possible the 
continental possessions from the English. 

On Henry's side were a majority of the Norman barons 
and the counts of Britanny and of Blois. For the first time, 
also, appeared upon the stage of history in this war Henry's 
other nephew, Stephen, who was destined to do so much evil 
to England and to Henry's plans before his death. His 
uncle had already made him Count of Mortain. The lord- 
ship of Belleme, which Henry had given to Theobald, had 
been by him transferred to Stephen in the division of their 
inheritance. It was probably not long after this that Henry 
procured for him the hand of Matilda, heiress of the county 
of Boulogne, and thus extended his own influence over that 
important territory on the borders of Flanders. France, 
Flanders, and Anjou certainly had abundant reason to fear 


CHAP, the possible combination into one power of Normandy, Brit- 
VIH anny, Maine, Blois, and Boulogne, and that a power which, 
however pacific in disposition, showed so much tendency to 
expansion. For France, at least, the cause of this war was 
not the disobedience of a vassal, nor was it to be settled by 
the siege and capture of border castles. 

The war which followed was once more not a war of 
battles. Armies, large for the time, were collected, but they 
did little more than make threatening marches into the en- 
emy's country. In 1118 the revolt of the Norman barons, 
headed by Amaury of Montfort, who now claimed the county 
of Evreux, assumed proportions which occasioned the king 
many difficulties. This was a year of misfortunes for him. 
The Count of Anjou, the king of France, the Count of 
Flanders, each in turn invaded some part of Normandy, and 
gained advantages which Henry could not prevent. Baldwin 
of Flanders, however, returned home with a wound from an 
arrow, of which he shortly died. In the spring of this year 
Queen Matilda died, praised by the monastic chroniclers to 
the last for her good deeds. A month later Henry's wisest 
counsellor, Robert of Meulan, died also, after a long life 
spent in the service of the Conqueror and of his sons. The 
close of the year saw no turn of the tide in favour of Henry. 
Evreux was captured in October by Amaury of Montfort, 
and afterwards Alengon by the Count of Anjou. 

The year 1119, which was destined to close in triumph for 
Henry, opened no more favourably. The important castle of 
Les Andelys, commanding the Norman Vexin, was seized 
by Louis, aided by treachery. But before the middle of the 
year, Henry had gained his first great success. He induced 
the Count of Anjou, by what means we do not know, by 
money it was thought by some at the time, to make peace 
with him, and to carry out the agreement for the marriage of 
his daughter with the king's son. The county of Maine was 
settled on the young pair, virtually its transfer to Henry. 
At the same time, Henry granted to William Talvas, perhaps 
as one of the conditions of the treaty, the Norman possessions 
which had belonged to his father, Robert of Belleme. In the 
same month, June, 1119, Baldwin of Flanders died of the 
wound which he had received in Normandy, and was sue- 


ceeded by his nephew, Charles the Good, who reversed Bald- CHAP. 
win's policy and renewed the older relations with England. vni 
The sieges of castles, the raiding and counter-raiding of the 
year, amounted to little until, on August 20, while each was 
engaged in raiding, the opposing armies commanded by the 
two kings in person unexpectedly found themselves in the 
presence of one another. The battle of Bre"mule, the only 
encounter of the war which can be called a battle, followed. 
Henry and his men again fought on foot, as at Tinchebrai, 
with a small reserve on horseback. The result was a com- 
plete victory for Henry. The French army was completely 
routed, and a large number of prisoners was taken, though 
the character which a feudal battle often assumed from this 
time on is attributed to this one, in the fact reported that in 
the fighting and pursuit only three men were killed. 

A diplomatic victory not less important followed the battle 
of Bremule by a few weeks. The pope was now in France. 
His predecessor, Gelasius II, had been compelled to flee from 
Italy by the successes of the Emperor Henry V, and had died 
at Cluny in January, 1119, on his way to the north. The 
cardinals who had accompanied him elected in his stead the 
Archbishop of Vienne, who took the name of Calixtus II. 
Gelasius in his short and unfortunate reign had attempted to 
interfere with vigour in the dispute between York and Can- 
terbury, and had summoned both parties to appear before 
him for the decision of the case. This was in Henry's year 
of misfortunes, 1118, and he was obliged to temporize. The 
early death of Gelasius interrupted his plan, but only until 
Calixtus II was ready to go on with it. He called a council 
of the Church to meet at Reims in October, to which he sum- 
moned the English bishops, and where he proposed to de- 
cide the question of the obedience of York to Canterbury. 
Henry granted a reluctant consent to the English bishops to 
attend this council, but only on condition that they would 
allow no innovations in the government of the English Church. 
To Thurstan of York, to whom he had restored the tempo- 
ralities of his see, under the pressure of circumstances nearly 
two years before, he granted permission to attend on condi- 
tion that he would not accept consecration as archbishop 
from the pope. This condition was at once violated, and 


CHAP. Thurstan was consecrated by the pope on October 19. 
vm Henry immediately ordered that he should not be allowed to 
return to any of the lands subject to his rule. 

At this council King Louis of France, defeated in the field 
and now without allies, appealed in person to the pope for 
the condemnation of the king of England. He is said, by 
Orderic Vitalis who was probably present at the council and 
heard him speak, to have recited the evil deeds of Henry, from 
the imprisonment of Robert to the causes of the present war. 
The pope himself was in a situation where he needed to pro- 
ceed with diplomatic caution, but he promised to seek an 
interview with Henry and to endeavour to bring about peace. 
This interview took place in November, at Gisors, and ended 
in the complete discomfiture of the pope. Henry was now 
in a far stronger position than he had been at the beginning 
of the year, and to the requests of Calixtus he returned defi- 
nite refusals or vague and general answers of which nothing 
was to be made. The pope was even compelled to recognize 
the right of the English king to decide when papal legates 
should be received in the kingdom. Henry was, however, 
quite willing to make peace. He had won over Louis's allies, 
defeated his attempt to gain the assistance of the pope, 
and finally overcome the revolted Norman barons. He 
might reasonably have demanded new advantages in addi- 
tion to those which had been granted him in the peace of 
1113, but all that marks this treaty is the legal recognition 
of his position in Normandy. Homage was done to Louis 
for Normandy, not by Henry himself, for he was a king, but 
by his son William for him. It is probable that at no pre- 
vious date would this ceremony have been acceptable, either 
to Louis or to Henry. On Louis's part it was not merely a 
recognition of Henry's right to the duchy of Normandy, but 
it was also a formal abandonment of William Clito, and an 
acceptance of William, Henry's son, as the heir of his father. 
This act was accompanied by a renewal of the homage of 
the Norman barons to William, whether made necessary by 
the numerous rebellions of the past two years, or desirable 
to perfect the legal chain, now that William had been recog- 
nized as heir by his suzerain, a motive that would apply to 
all the barons. 


This peace was made sometime during the course of the year CHAP. 
1 1 20. In November Henry was ready to return to England, VIH 
and on the 2 5th he set sail from Barfleur, with a great following. 
Then suddenly came upon him, not the loss of any of the 
advantages he had lately gained nor any immediate weaken- 
ing of his power, but the complete collapse of all that he had 
looked forward to as the ultimate end of his policy. His son 
William embarked a little later than his father in the White 
Ship, with a brilliant company of young relatives and nobles. 
They were in a very hilarious mood, and celebrated the 
occasion by making the crew drunk. Probably they were 
none too sober themselves; certainly Stephen of Blois was 
saved to be king of England in his cousin's place, by with- 
drawing to another vessel when he saw the condition of 
affairs on the White Ship. It was night and probably dark. 
About a mile and a half from Barfleur the ship struck a 
rock, and quickly filled and sank. It was said that William 
would have escaped if he had not turned back at the cries 
of his sister, Henry's natural daughter, the Countess of 
Perche. All on board were drowned except a butcher of 
Rouen. Never perished in any similar calamity so large a 
number of persons of rank. Another child of Henry's, his 
natural son Richard, his niece Matilda, sister of Theobald and 
Stephen, a nephew of the Emperor Henry V, Richard, Earl 
of Chester, and his brother, the end of the male line of Hugh 
of Avranches, and a crowd of others of only lesser rank. 
Orderic Vitalis records that he had heard that eighteen ladies 
perished, who were the daughters, sisters, nieces, or wives of 
kings or earls. Henry is said to have fallen to the ground in 
a faint when the news was told him, and never to have been 
the same man again. 

But if Henry could no longer look forward to the perma- 
nence in the second generation of the empire which he had 
created, he was not the man to surrender even to the blows 
of fate. The succession to his dominions of Robert's son 
William, who had been so recently used by his enemies 
against him, but who was now the sole male heir of William 
the Conqueror, was an intolerable idea. In barely more 
than a month after the death of his son, the king took counsel 
with the magnates of the realm, at a great council in London, 


CHAP, in regard to his remarriage. In less than another month the 
vin marriage was celebrated. Henry's second wife was Adelaide, 
daughter of Geoffrey, Duke of Lower Lorraine, a vassal of 
his son-in-law, the emperor, and his devoted supporter, as 
well as a prince whose alliance might be of great use in any 
future troubles with France or Flanders. This marriage was 
made chiefly in hope of a legitimate heir, but it was a child- 
less marriage, and Henry's hope was disappointed. 

For something more than two years after this fateful return 
of the king to England, his dominions enjoyed peace scarcely 
broken by a brief campaign in Wales in 1 121. At the end of 
1 1 20, Archbishop Thurstan, for whose sake the pope was 
threatening excommunication and interdict, was allowed to 
return to his see, where he was received with great rejoicing. 
But the dispute with Canterbury was not yet settled. In- 
deed, he had scarcely returned to York when he was served 
with notice that he must profess, for himself at least, obedi- 
ence to Canterbury, as his predecessors had done. This he 
succeeded in avoiding for a time, and at the beginning of 
October, in 1122, Archbishop Ralph of Canterbury died, not 
having gained his case. An attempt of Calixtus II to send a 
legate to England, contrary to the promise he had made to 
Henry at Gisors, was met and defeated by the king with his 
usual diplomatic skill, so far as the exercise of any legatine 
powers is concerned, though the legate was admitted to Eng- 
land and remained there for a time. In the selection of a 
successor to Ralph of Canterbury a conflict arose between 
the monastic chapter of Christ church and the bishops of the 
province, and was decided undoubtedly according to the king's 
mind in favour of the latter, by the election of William of 
Corbeil, a canon regular. Another episcopal appointment of 
these years illustrates the growing importance in the kingdom 
of the great administrative bishop, Roger of Salisbury, who 
seems to have been the king's justiciar, or chief representative, 
during his long absences in Normandy. The long pontificate 
of Robert Bloet, the brilliant and worldly Bishop of Lincoln, 
closed at the beginning of 1123 by a sudden stroke as he was 
riding with the king, and in his place was appointed Roger's 
nephew, Alexander. 

During this period also, probably within a year after the 


death of his son William, Henry took measures to estab- CHAP. 
lish the position of one of his illegitimate sons, very likely vm 
with a view to the influence which he might have upon the 
succession when the question should arise. Robert of Caen, 
so called from the place of his birth, was created Earl of 
Gloucester, and was married to Mabel, heiress of the large 
possessions of Robert Fitz Hamon in Gloucester, Wales, and 
Normandy. Robert of Gloucester, as he came to be known, 
was the eldest of Henry's illegitimate sons, born before his 
father's accession to the throne, and he was now in the vigour 
of young manhood. He was also, of all Henry's children of 
whom we know anything, the most nearly like himself, of 
more than average abilities, patient and resourceful, hardly 
inheriting in full his father's diplomatic skill but not without 
gifts of the kind, and earning the reputation of a lover of 
books and a patron of writers. A hundred years earlier 
there would have been no serious question, in the circum- 
stances which had arisen, of his right to succeed his father, 
at least in the duchy of Normandy. That the possibility of 
such a succession was present in men's minds is shown 
by a contemporary record that the suggestion was made to 
him on the death of Henry, and rejected at once through 
his loyalty to his sister's son. Whether this record is to be 
believed or not, it shows that the event was thought possible. 1 
Certainly there was no real movement, not even the slight- 
est, in his favour, and this fact reveals the change which had 
taken place in men's ideas of the succession in a century. 
The necessity of legitimate birth was coming to be recognized 
as indisputable, though it had not been by the early Teu- 
tonic peoples. Of the causes of this change, the teachings 
of the Church were no doubt the most effective, becoming of 
more force with its increasing influence, and especially since, 
as a part of the Hildebrandine reformation, it had insisted 
with so much emphasis on the fact that the son of a married 
priest could have no right of succession to his father's bene- 
fice, being of illegitimate birth ; but the teachings of the 
sacredness of the marriage tie, of the sinfulness of illicit 
relations, and of the nullity of marriage within the prohibited 
degrees, were of influence in the change of ideas. It is also 

1 Gesta Stephani (Rolls Series), p. 10. 


CHAP, true that men's notions of the right of succession to property 
VUI in general were becoming more strict and definite, and very 
possibly the importance of the succession involved in this 
particular case had its effect. One may almost regret that 
this change of ideas, which was certainly an advance in 
morals, as well as in law, was not delayed for another gener- 
ation ; for if Robert of Gloucester could have succeeded on 
the death of Henry without dispute, England would have 
been saved weary years of strife and suffering. 

The death of the young William was a signal to set Henry's 
enemies in motion again. But they did not begin at once. 
Henry's position was still unweakened. Very likely his 
speedy marriage was a notice to the world that he did not 
propose to modify in the least his earlier plans. Probably 
also the absence of Fulk of Anjou, who had gone on a pilgrim- 
age to Jerusalem soon after his treaty of 1119 with Henry, 
was a cause of delay, for the natural first move would be 
for him to demand a return of his daughter and her dowry. 
Fulk's stay was not long in the land of which he was in a 
few years to be king, and on his return he at once sent for 
his daughter, probably in 1121. She returned home, but as 
late as December, 1122, there was still trouble between him 
and Henry in regard to her dowry, which Henry no doubt 
was reluctant to surrender. 

About the same time, Henry's old enemy, Amaury of 
Montfort, disliking the strictness of Henry's rule and the 
frequency of his demands for money, began to work among 
the barons of Normandy and with his nephew, the Count of 
Anjou, in favour of William Clito. It was already clear that 
Henry's hope of another heir was likely to be disappointed, 
and Normandy would naturally be more easily attracted to 
the son of Robert than England. The first step was one 
which did not violate any engagement with Henry, but which 
was, nevertheless, a decided recognition of the claims of his 
nephew, and an open attack on his plans. Fulk gave his 
second daughter, Sibyl, in marriage to William Clito, and 
with her the county of Maine, which had been a part of 
Matilda's dower on her marriage with Henry's son William. 
Under the circumstances, this was equivalent to an announce- 
ment that he expected William Clito to be the Duke of Nor- 


mandy. Early in 1 123, Henry sent over troops to Normandy, CHAP. 
and in June of that year he crossed himself, to be on the VHI 
spot if the revolt and war which were threatening should 
break out. In September the discontented barons agreed 
together to take arms. It is of interest that among these 
was Waleran of Meulan, the son of the king's faithful coun- 
sellor, Count Robert. Waleran had inherited his father's 
Norman possessions while his brother Robert had become 
Earl of Leicester in England. 

In all this the hand of Louis, king of France, was not 
openly seen. Undoubtedly, however, the movement had his 
encouragement from the beginning, and very likely his pro- 
mise of open support when the time should come. The 
death of the male heir to England and Normandy would 
naturally draw Henry's daughter Matilda, and her husband 
the emperor, nearer to him ; and of this, while Henry was 
still in England, some evidence has come down to us though 
not of the most satisfactory kind. Any evidence at the time 
that this alliance was likely to become more close would excite 
the fear of the king of France and make him ready to sup- 
port any movement against the English king. Flanders 
would feel the danger as keenly, and in these troubles Charles 
the Good abandoned his English alliance and supported the 
cause of France. 

The contest which followed between the king and his 
revolted barons is hardly to be dignified with the name of 
war. The forced surrender of a few strongholds, the long 
siege of seven weeks, long for those days, of Waleran of 
Meulan's castle, of Pont Audemer and its capture, and the 
occupation of Amaury of Montfort's city of Evreux, filled 
the remainder of the year 1123, and in March of 1124 the 
battle of Bourgtheroulde, in which Ralph, Earl of Chester, 
defeated Amaury and Waleran and captured a large number 
of prisoners, virtually ended the conflict. Upon the leaders 
whom he had captured Henry inflicted his customary punish- 
ment of long imprisonment, or the worse fate of blinding. 
The Norman barons had taken arms, and had failed without 
the help from abroad which they undoubtedly expected. We 
do not know in full detail the steps which had been taken to 
bring about this result, but it was attributed to the diplomacy 


CHAP, of Henry, that neither Fulk of Anjou nor Louis of France 
was able to attack him. 

Henry probably had little difficulty in moving his son-in- 
law, the emperor Henry V, to attack Louis of France. 
Besides the general reason which would influence him, of 
willingness to support Matilda's father at^ this time, and of 
standing unfriendliness with France, he was especially ready 
to punish the state in which successive popes had found 
refuge and support when driven from Italy by his successes. 
The policy of an attack on Louis was not popular with the 
German princes, and the army with which the Emperor 
crossed the border was not a large one. To oppose him, 
Louis advanced with a great and enthusiastic host. Taking 
in solemn ceremony from the altar of St. Denis the oriflamme, 
the banner of the holy defender of the land, he aroused the 
patriotism of northern France as against a hereditary enemy. 
Even Henry's nephew, Theobald of Blois, led out his forces 
to aid the king. The news of the army advancing against 
them did not increase the ardour of the German forces ; and 
hearing of an insurrection in Worms, the Emperor turned 
back, having accomplished nothing more than to secure a free 
hand for Henry of England against the Norman rebels. 

Against Fulk of Anjou Henry seems to have found his 
ally in the pope. The marriage of William Clito with Sibyl, 
with all that it might carry with it, was too threatening a 
danger to be allowed to stand, if in any way it could be avoided. 
The convenient plea of relationship, convenient to be remem- 
bered or forgotten according to the circumstances, was urged 
upon the pope. The Clito and his bride were related in no 
nearer degree than the tenth, according to the reckoning of 
the canon law, which prohibited marriage between parties re- 
lated in the seventh degree, and Henry's own children, Wil- 
liam in his earlier, and Matilda in her later marriage, with 
the sister and brother of Sibyl, were equally subject to cen- 
sure. But this was a different case. Henry's arguments at 
Rome Orderic tells us that threats, prayers, and money 
were combined were effective, and the marriage was or- 
dered dissolved. Excommunication and interdict were neces- 
sary to enforce this decision ; but at last, in the spring of 
1 1 25, Fulk was obliged to yield, and William Clito began his 


wanderings once more, followed everywhere by the " long CHAP. 
arm " of his uncle. vni 

At Easter time in 1125, probably a few days before the 
date of the papal bull of interdict which compelled the disso- 
lution of the marriage of William and Sibyl, a papal legate, 
John of Crema, landed in England. Possibly this departure 
from Henry's practice down to this time was a part of the 
price which the papal decision cost. The legate made a com- 
plete visitation of England, had a meeting with the king of 
Scots, and presided at a council of the English Church held in 
September, where the canons of Anselm were renewed in 
somewhat milder form. On his return to Rome in October, 
he was accompanied by the Archbishops of Canterbury and 
York, who went there about the still unsettled question of the 
obedience of the latter. Not even now was this question set- 
tled on its merits, but William of Corbeil made application, sup- 
ported by the king, to be appointed the standing papal legate 
in Britain. This request was granted, and formed a prece- 
dent which was followed by successive popes and archbishops. 
This appointment is usually considered a lowering of the pre- 
tensions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and an infringe- 
ment of the independence of the English Church, and to a 
considerable extent this is true. Under a king as strong as 
Henry I, with an archbishop no stronger than William of 
Corbeil, or, indeed, with one not exceptionally strong, the 
papal authority gained very little from the arrangement. 
But it was a perpetual opportunity ; it was a recognition of 
papal right. Under it the number of appeals to Rome in- 
creased ; it marks in a legal way the advance of papal au- 
thority and of a consciousness of unity in the Church since 
the accession of the king, and it must have been so regarded 
at Rome. The appointment gave to Canterbury at once 
undoubted supremacy over York, but not on the old grounds, 
and that question was passed on to the future still unsettled. 

In the spring of 1125 also occurred an event which again 
changed the direction of Henry's plans. On May 23, the 
emperor Henry V died, without children by his marriage to 
Matilda. The widowed Empress, as she was henceforth called 
by the English though she had never received the imperial 
crown, obeyed her father's summons to return to him in 


CHAP. Normandy with great reluctance. She had been in Germany 
VIH since her early childhood, and she was now twenty-three 
years of age. She could have few recollections of any other 
home. She loved the German people, and was beloved by 
them. We are told even that some of them desired her to 
reign in her husband's stead, and came to ask her return of 
Henry. But the death of her husband had rendered her 
succession to the English throne a matter of less difficulty, 
and Henry had no mind to sacrifice his own plans for the 
benefit of a foreign people. In September, 1126, he re- 
turned with Matilda to England, and in January following, 
at a great council in London, he demanded and obtained of 
the baronage, lay and spiritual, an oath to accept Matilda as 
sovereign if he should die without a male heir. The infer- 
ence is natural from the account William of Malmesbury 
gives of this event, that in the argument before the council 
much was made of the fact that Matilda was a descendant of 
the old Saxon, as well as of the Norman, line. It is evident, 
also, that there was hesitation on the part of the barons, and 
that they yielded reluctantly to the king's demand. 

The feudalism of France and England clearly recognized 
the right of women to succeed to baronies, even of the first im- 
portance, though with some irregularities of practice and the 
feudal right of marriage which the English kings considered 
so important rested, in the case of female heirs, on this princi- 
ple. The king's son, Robert of Gloucester, and his nephew 
Stephen, now Count of Boulogne, who disputed with one 
another the right to take this oath to Matilda's succession 
next after her uncle, David, king of Scots, had both been 
provided for by Henry in this way. Still, even in these cases, 
a difference was likely to be felt between succession to the 
barony itself, and to the title and political authority which 
went with it, and the difference would be greater in the case 
of the highest of titles, of the throne of such a dominion as 
Henry had brought together. Public law in the Spanish 
peninsula had already, in one case, recognized the right of 
a woman to reign, but there had been as yet no case in 
northern Europe. The dread of such a succession was 
natural, in days when feudal turbulence was held in check 
only by the reigning king, and when even this could be 


accomplished only by a king of determined force. The CHAP. 
natural feeling in such cases is undoubtedly indicated by the VIn 
form of the historian's statement referred to above, that 
Robert of Gloucester declined the suggestion that he should 
be king out of loyalty to " his sister's son." It was the feel- 
ing that the female heir could pass the title on to her son, 
rather than that she could hold it herself. 

William of Malmesbury states, in his account of these 
events, that he had often heard Bishop Roger of Salisbury 
say that he considered himself released from this oath to 
Matilda because it had been taken on condition that she 
should not be married out of the kingdom except with the 
counsel of the barons. 1 The writer takes pains at the same 
time to say that he records this fact rather from his sense of 
duty as a historian than because he believes the statement. 
It has, however, a certain amount of inherent probability. 
To consult with his vassals on such a question was so fre- 
quently the practice of the lord, and it was so entirely in line 
with feudal usage, that the barons would have had some 
slight ground on which to consider themselves released from 
this oath, even if such a specific promise had not been made, 
nor is it likely that Henry would hesitate to make it if he 
thought it desired. It is indeed quite possible that Henry 
had not yet determined upon the plan which he afterwards 
carried out, though it may very likely have been in his mind, 
and that he was led to this by events which were taking place 
at this very time in France. 

Matilda's return to her father, and Henry's evident inten- 
tion to make her the heir of his dominions, of Normandy as 
well as of England, seem to have moved King Louis to some 
immediate action in opposition. The separation of the duchy 
from the kingdom, so important for the interests of the Cape- 
tian house, could not be hoped for unless this plan was 
defeated. The natural policy of opposition was the support 
of William Clito. At a great council of his kingdom, meeting 
at the same time with Henry's court in which Matilda's heir- 
ship was recognized, the French king bespoke the sympathy 
and support of his barons for "William of Normandy." The 
response was favourable, and Louis made him a grant of the 

1 William of Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, sec. 452. 
VOL. II. 12 


CHAP. French Vexin, a point of observation and of easy approach 
VIH to Normandy. At the same time, a wife was given William 
in the person of Jeanne, half sister of Louis's queen, and 
daughter of the Marquis of Montferrat. A few weeks later 
William advanced with an armed force to Gisors, and made 
formal claim to Normandy. 

It was hardly these events, though they were equivalent to 
a formal notification of the future policy of the king of 
France, which brought Henry to a decision as to his daugh- 
ter's marriage. On March 2, the Count of Flanders, Charles 
the Good, was foully murdered in the Church of St. Dona- 
tian at Bruges. He was without children or near rela- 
tives, and several claimants for the vacant countship at once 
appeared. Even Henry I is said to have presented his claim, 
which he would derive from his mother, but he seems never 
seriously to have prosecuted it. Louis, on the contrary, gave 
his whole support to the claim of William Clito, and suc- 
ceeded with little difficulty in getting him recognized by 
most of the barons and towns as count. This was a new and 
most serious danger to Henry's plans, and he began at once 
to stir up troubles for the new count among his vassals, by 
the support of rival claimants, and in alliance with neighbour- 
ing princes. But the situation demanded measures of direct 
defence, and Henry was led to take the decisive step, so 
eventful for all the future history of England, of marrying 
Matilda a second time. Immediately after Whitsuntide of 
1127, Matilda was sent over to Normandy, attended by 
Robert of Gloucester and Brian Fitz Count, and at Rouen 
was formally betrothed by the archbishop of that city to 
Geoffrey, son of Fulk of Anjou. The marriage did not 
take place till two years later. 

For this marriage no consent of English or Norman barons 
was asked, and none was granted. Indeed, we are led to 
suspect that Henry considered it unlikely that he could obtain 
consent, and deemed it wiser not to let his plans be known 
until they were so far accomplished as to make opposition 
useless. The natural rivalry and hostility between Nor- 
mandy and Anjou had been so many times passed on from 
father to son that such a marriage as this could seem to the 
Norman barons nothing but a humiliation, and to the Ange- 


vins hardly less than a triumph. The opposition, however, CHAP. 
spent itself in murmurs. The king was too strong. Proba- Vln 
bly also the political advantages were too obvious to warrant 
any attempt to defeat the scheme. Matilda herself is said to 
have been much opposed to the marriage, and this we can 
easily believe. Geoffrey was more than ten years her junior, 
and still a mere boy. She had but recently occupied the 
position of highest rank in the world to which a woman could 
attain. She was naturally of a proud and haughty spirit. 
We are told nothing of the arguments which induced her to 
consent; but in this case again the political advantage, the 
necessity of the marriage to the security of her succession, 
must have been the controlling motive. 

That these considerations were valid, that Henry was fully 
justified in taking this step in the circumstances which had 
arisen, is open to no question, if the matter is regarded as one 
of cold policy alone. To leave Matilda's succession to the sole 
protection of the few barons of England, who were likely to 
be faithful, however powerful they might be, would have been 
madness under the new conditions. With William Clito likely 
to be in possession of the resources of a strong feudal state, 
heartily supported by the king of France, felt by the great 
mass of Norman barons to be the rightful heir, and himself 
of considerable energy of character, the odds would be deci- 
dedly in favour of his succession. The balance could be re- 
stored only by bringing forward in support of Matilda's claim 
a power equal to William's and certain not to abandon her 
cause. Henry could feel that he had accomplished this by 
the marriage with Geoffrey, and he had every reason to 
believe that he had converted at the same time one of the 
probable enemies of his policy into its most interested de- 
fender. Could he have foreseen the early death of William, 
he might have had reason to hesitate and to question whether 
some other marriage might not lead to a more sure success. 
That this plan failed in the end is only a proof of Henry's 
foresight in providing, against an almost inevitable failure, the 
best defence which ingenuity could devise. 

William Clito' s tenure of his countship was of, but little 
more than a year, and a year filled with fighting. Boulogne 
was a vassal county of Flanders ; but the new count, Stephen, 



CHAP, undoubtedly carrying out the directions of his uncle, refused 
VHI him homage, and William endeavoured to compel his obedi- 
ence by force. Insurrections broke out behind him, due in part 
to his own severity of rule; and the progress of one of his rivals 
who was destined to succeed him, Dietrich of Elsass, was alarm- 
ing. Louis attempted to come to his help, but was checked 
by a forward move of Henry with a Norman army. The tide 
seemed about to turn in Henry's favour once more, when it 
was suddenly impelled that way by the death of William. 
Wounded in the hand by a spear, in a fight at Alost, he died 
a few days later. His father was still alive in an English 
prison, and was informed in a dream, we are told, of this final 
blow of fortune. But for Henry this opportune death not 
merely removed from the field the most dangerous rival for 
Matilda's succession, but it also re-established the English 
influence in Flanders. Dietrich of Elsass became count, 
with the consent of Louis, and renewed the bond with Eng- 
land. Not long afterwards by the influence of Henry he 
obtained as wife, Geoffrey of Anjou's sister Sibyl, who had 
been taken from William Clito. 

Geoffrey and Matilda were married at Le Mans, on June 9, 
1129, by the Bishop of Avranches, in the presence of a bril- 
liant assembly of nobles and prelates, and with the appearance 
of great popular rejoicing. After a stay there of three weeks, 
Henry returned to Normandy, and Matilda, with her husband 
and father-in-law, went to Angers. The jubilation with which 
the bridal party was there received was no doubt entirely genu- 
ine. Already before this marriage an embassy from the king- 
dom of Jerusalem had sought out Fulk, asking him to come 
to the aid of the Christian state, and offering him the hand 
of the heiress of the kingdom with her crown. This offer he 
now accepted, and left the young pair in possession of Anjou. 
But this happy outcome of Henry's policy, which promised to 
settle so many difficulties, was almost at the outset threat- 
ened with disaster against which even he could not provide. 
Matilda was not of gentle disposition. She never made it 
easy for her friends to live with her, and it is altogether 
probable that she took no pains to conceal her scorn of this 
marriage and her contempt for the Angevins, including very 
likely her youthful husband. At any rate, a few days after 


Henry's return to England, July 7, 1129, he was followed by CHAP. 
the news that Geoffrey had repudiated and cast off his wife, VIH 
and that Matilda had returned to Rouen with few attendants. 
Henry did not, however, at once return to Normandy, and it 
was two full years before Matilda came back to England. 

The disagreement between Geoffrey and Matilda ran its 
course as a family quarrel. It might endanger the future 
of Henry's plans, but it caused him no present difficulty. 
His continental position was now, indeed, secure and was 
threatened during the short remainder of his life by none 
of his enemies, though his troubles with his son-in-law were 
not yet over. The defeat of Robert and the crushing of the 
most powerful nobles had taught the barons a lesson which 
did not need to be repeated, and England was not easily 
accessible to the foreign enemies of the king. In Normandy 
the case was different, and despite Henry's constant successes 
and his merciless severity, no victory had been final so long 
as any claimant lived who could be put forward to dispute 
his possession. Now followed some years of peace, in which 
the history of Normandy is as barren as the history of Eng- 
land had long been, until the marriage of Matilda raised up 
a new claimant to disturb the last months of her father's life. 
During Henry's last stay in Normandy death had removed 
one who had once filled a large place in history, but who had 
since passed long years in obscurity. Ranulf Flambard died 
in 1128, having spent the last part of his life in doing what 
he could to redeem the earlier, by his work on the cathedral 
of Durham, where in worthy style he carried on the work 
of his predecessor, William of St. Calais. Soon after died 
William Giffard, the bishop whom Henry had appointed be- 
fore he was himself crowned, and in his place the king 
appointed his nephew, Henry of Blois, brother of Count 
Stephen, who was to play so great a part in the troubles that 
were soon to begin. About the same time we get evidence 
that Henry had not abandoned his practice of taking fines 
from the married clergy, and of allowing them to retain their 

The year 1130, which Henry spent in England, is made 
memorable by a valuable and unique record giving us a sight 
of the activities of his reign on a side where we have little 

1 82 



CHAP, other evidence. The Pipe Roll of that year has come down 
vm to us. 1 The Pipe Rolls, so called apparently from the shape 
in which they were filed for preservation, are the records of 
the accounting of the Exchequer Court with the sheriffs for 
the revenues which they had collected from their counties, and 
which they were bound to hand over to the treasury. From 
a point in the reign of Henry's grandson, these rolls become 
almost continuous, and reveal to us in detail many features 
of the financial system of these later times. This one record 
from the reign of the first Henry is a slender foundation for 
our knowledge of the financial organization of the kingdom, 
but from it we know with certainty that this organization 
had already begun as it was afterward developed. 

It has already been said that the single organ of the feudal 
state, by which government in all its branches was carried 
on, was the curia regis. We shall find it difficult to realize 
a fact like this, or to understand how so crude a system of 
government operated in practice, unless we first have clearly 
in mind the fact that the men of that time did not reason 
much about their government. They did not distinguish 
one function of the state from another, nor had they yet 
begun to think that each function should have its distinct 
machinery in the governmental system. All that came later, 
as the result of experience, or more accurately, of the pres- 
sure of business. As yet, business and machinery both were 
undeveloped and undifferentiated. In a single session of the 
court advice might be given to the king on some question 
of foreign policy and on the making or revising of a law ; 
and a suit between two of the king's vassals might be heard 
and decided : and no one would feel that work of different and 
somewhat inconsistent types had been done. One seemed as 
properly the function of the assembly as the other. In the 
composition of the court, and in the practice as to time and 
place of meeting, there was something of the same indefinite- 
ness. The court was the king's. It was his personal machine 
for managing the business of his great property, the state. 
As such it met when and where the king pleased, certain 
meetings being annually expected ; and it was composed of 
any persons who stood in immediate relations with the king, 

i Edited by Joseph Hunter and published by the Record Commission in 1833. 

u 3 o THE CURIA REGIS 183 

and whose presence he saw fit to call for by special or general CHAP. 
summons, his vassals and the officers of his household or vni 
government. If a vassal of the king had a complaint against 
another, and needed the assistance of the king to enforce his 
view of the case, he might look upon his standing in the 
curia regis as a right; but in general it was a burden, a 
service, which could be demanded of him because of some 
estate or office which he held. 

In the reign of the first Henry we can indeed trace the 
beginnings of differentiation in the machinery of government, 
but the process was as yet wholly unconscious. We find in 
this reign evidence of a large curia regis and of a small curia 
regis. The difference had probably existed in the two pre- 
ceding reigns, but it now becomes more apparent because the 
increasing business of the state makes it more prominent. 
More frequent meetings of the curia regis were necessary, but 
the barons of the kingdom could not be in constant attend- 
ance at the court and occupied with its business. The large 
court was the assembly of all the barons, meeting on occa- 
sions only, and on special summons. The small court was 
permanently in session, or practically so, and was composed 
of the king's household officers and of such barons or bishops 
as might be in attendance on the king or present at the time. 
The distinction thus beginning was destined to lead to most 
important results, plainly to be seen in the constitution of 
to-day, but it was wholly unnoticed at the time. To the 
men of that time there was no distinction, no division. The 
small curia regis was the same as the larger ; the larger was 
no more than the smaller. Who attended at a given date 
was a matter of convenience, or of precedent on the three 
great annual feasts, or of the desire of the king for a larger 
body of advisers about some difficult question of policy ; but 
the assembly was always the same, with the same powers and 
functions, and doing the same business. Cases were brought 
to the smaller body for trial, and its decision was that of the 
curia regis. The king asked advice of it, and its answer was 
that of the council. The smaller was not a committee of the 
larger. It did not act by delegated powers. It was the curia 
regis itself. In reality differentiation of old institutions into 
new ones had begun, but the beginning was unperceived. 


CHAP. It was by a process similar to this that the financial busi- 
vni ness of the state began to be set off from the legislative and 
judicial, though it was long before it was entirely dissociated 
from the latter, and only gradually that the Exchequer 
Court was distinguished from the curia regis. The sheriffs, 
as the officers who collected the revenues of the king, each 
in his own county, were responsible to the curia regis. 
Probably from early times the mechanical labour of examin- 
ing and recording the accounts had been performed by sub- 
ordinate officials ; but any question of difficulty which arose, 
any disputed point, whether between the sheriff and the 
state or between the sheriff and the taxpayer, must have 
been decided by the court itself, though probably by the 
smaller rather than by the larger body. Certainly it is the 
small curia regis which has supervision of the matter when 
we get our first glimpse of the working of this machinery. 
Already at this date a procedure had developed for examin- 
ing and checking the sheriff's accounts, which is evidently 
somewhat advanced, but which is interesting to us because 
still so primitive. Twice a year, at Easter and at Michaelmas, 
the court met for the purpose, under an organization peculiar 
to this work, and with some persons especially assigned to it ; 
and it was then known as the Exchequer. The name was 
derived from the fact that the method of balancing accounts 
reminded one of the game of chess. Court and sheriff sat 
about a table of which the cloth was divided into squares, 
seven columns being made across the width of the cloth, and 
these divided by lines running through the middle along the 
length of the table, thus forming squares. Each perpendic- 
ular column of squares stood for a fixed denomination of 
money, pence, shillings, pounds, scores of pounds, hundreds 
of pounds, etc. The squares on the upper side of the table 
stood for the sum for which the sheriff was responsible, and 
when this was determined the proper counters were placed 
on their squares to set out the sum in visible form, as on an 
abacus. The squares of the lower side of the table were 
those of the sheriff's credits, and in them counters were 
placed to represent the sum for which the sheriff could sub- 
mit evidence of payments already made. Such payments the 
sheriff was constantly making throughout the year, for fixed 

1 130 THE EXCHEQUER 185 

expenses of the state or on special orders of the king for CHAP. 
supplies for the court, for transport, for the keeping of vin 
prisoners, for public works, and for various other pur- 
poses. The different items of debt and credit were noted 
down by clerks for the permanent record. When the ac- 
count was over, a simple process of subtracting the coun- 
ters standing in the credit squares from those in the debit 
showed the account balanced, or the amount due from the 
sheriff, or the credit standing in his favour, as the case 
might be. 

At the Easter session of the court the accounts for the 
whole year were not balanced, the payment then made by the 
sheriff being an instalment on account, of about one-half 
the whole sum due for the year. For this he received a tally 
stick as a receipt, in which notches of different positions and 
sizes stood for the sum he had paid. A stick exactly corre- 
sponding was kept by the court, split off, indeed, from his, and 
the matching of the two at the Michaelmas session, when the 
year's account was finally closed, was the sheriff's proof of 
his former payment. The revenue of which the sheriff gave 
account in this way consisted of a variety of items. The 
most important was the firma comitatus, the farm or annual 
sum which the sheriff paid for his county as the farmer of its 
revenue. This was made up of the estimated returns from 
two sources, the rents from the king's lands in the county, 
and the share of the fines which went to the king from cases 
tried in the old popular courts of shire and hundred. The 
administration of justice was a valuable source of income in 
feudal days, whether to the king or to the lord who had his own 
court. But the fines which helped to make up the ferm of 
the county were not the only ones for which the sheriff ac- 
counted. He had also to collect, or at least in a general way 
to be responsible for, the fines inflicted in the king's courts as 
held in his county by the king's justices on circuits, and these 
were frequent in Henry's time. If a Danegeld or an aid was 
taken during the year, this must also be accounted for, together 
with such of the peculiarly feudal sources of income, ward- 
ships, marriages, escheats, etc., as were in the sheriff's hands. 
On the roll appear also numerous entries of fees paid by pri- 
vate persons to have their cases tried in the king's courts, or to 


CHAP, have the king's processes or officers for the enforcement of 
vin their rights. 

Altogether the items were almost as numerous as in a 
modern budget, but one chief source of present revenue, the 
customs duties, is conspicuously absent, and the general aspect 
of the system is far more that of income from property than 
in a modern state, even fines and fees having a personal rather 
than a political character. A careful estimate of all the re- 
venue accounted for in this Pipe Roll of 1130 shows that 
Henry's annual income probably fell a little short of ,30,000 
in the money of that day, which should be equal in purchasing 
power, in money of our time, to a million and a half or two 
million pounds. 1 This was a large revenue for the age. 
Henry knew the value of money for the ends he wished to 
accomplish, and though he accumulated large store of it, he 
spent it unsparingly when the proper time came. England 
groaned constantly under the heavy burden of his taxes, and 
the Pipe Roll shows us that there was ground for these com- 
plaints. The Danegeld, the direct land-tax, had been taken 
for some years before this date, with the regularity of a 
modern tax, and as it was taken at a rate which would make 
it in any age a heavy burden, we can well believe that it 
was found hard to bear in a time when the returns of agricul- 
ture were more uncertain than now, and when the frequently 
occurring bad seasons were a more serious calamity. Eco- 
nomically, however, England was well-to-do. She had en- 
joyed during Henry's reign a long age of comparative quiet. 
For nearly a generation and a half, as the lives of men 
then averaged, there had been no war, public or private, to 
lay waste any part of the land. In fact, since early in the 
reign of Henry's father, England had been almost without 
experience of the barbarous devastation that went with war 
in feudal days. Excessive taxation and licensed oppression 
had seemed at times a serious burden. Bad harvests and the 
hunger and disease against which the medieval man could 
not protect himself had checked the growth of wealth and 
population. Yet on the whole the nation had gained greatly 
in three generations. 

Especially is this to be seen in the development of the 

1 Ramsay, Foundations of England, ii, 328. 


towns, in the growth of a rich burgher class containing CHAP. 
many foreign elements, Norman, Flemish, and Jewish, and VIH 
living with many signs of comfort and luxury, as well as in 
the indications of an active and diversified commercial life. 
The progress of this portion of the nation, the larger portion 
in numbers but making little show in the annals of barons 
and bishops whose more dramatic activities it supported is 
marked in an interesting way by a charter granted by Henry 
to London, in the last years of his reign. 1 His father had 
put into legal form a grant to the city, but it was not, strictly 
speaking, a city charter. It was no more than a promise that 
law and property should be undisturbed. Henry's charter 
goes much beyond this, though it tells us no more of the 
internal government of the city. In return for a rent of 
.300 a year, the king abandoned to the city all his revenues 
from Middlesex, and because he would have no longer any 
interest in the collection of these revenues the city might 
choose its own sheriff, and presumably collect them for itself. 
The king's pleas were surrendered, the city was to have its 
own justiciar, and to make this concession a real one, no citi- 
zen need plead in any suit outside the city walls. Danegeld 
and murder fines were also given up, and the local courts of 
the city were to have their regular sittings. Behind a grant 
like this must lie some considerable experience of self-govern- 
ment, a developed and conscious capacity in the citizens to 
organize and handle the machinery of administration. But 
of this there is no hint in the charter, nor do we know much 
of the inner government of London till some time later. Of 
the wealth and power of the city the charter speaks still more 
plainly, and of this there was to be abundant evidence in the 
period which follows the close of Henry's reign. 

Henry's stay in England at this time was not long. 
Towards the end of the summer he returned to Normandy, 
though with what he was occupied there we have little 
knowledge. A disputed election to the papacy had taken 
place, and the pope of the reform party, Innocent II, had 
come to France, where that party was strong. The great 
St. Bernard, the most influential churchman of his time, had 
declared for him, and through his influence Henry, who met 

1 Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 347 ff. 


CHAP. Innocent in January, 1131, recognized him as the rightful 
VUI pope. In the following summer he returned to England, 
and brought back with him Matilda, who had now been two 
full years separated from her husband; but about this time 
Geoffrey thought better of his conduct, or determined to try 
the experiment of living with his wife again, and sent a re- 
quest that Matilda be sent back to him. What answer should 
be given him was considered in a meeting of the great council 
at Northampton, September 8, almost as if her relationship 
with Geoffrey were a new proposition; and it was decided 
that she should go. A single chronicler records that Henry 
took advantage of this coming together of the barons at the 
meeting of the court to demand fealty to Matilda, both from 
those who had formerly sworn it and from those who had 
not 1 Such a fact hardly seems consistent with the same 
chronicler's record of the excuse of Roger, Bishop of Salis- 
bury, for violating his oath ; but if it occurred, as this repe- 
tition of the fealty was after Matilda's marriage with Geoffrey 
and immediately after a decision of the baronage that she 
should return to him, it would make the bishop's argument 
a mere subterfuge or, at best, an exception applying to him- 
self alone. Matilda immediately went over to Anjou, where 
she was received with great honour. 

Few things remain to be recorded of the brief period of 
life left to the king. He had been interested, as his brother 
had been, in the extension of English influence in Cumber- 
land, and now he erected that county into a new bishopric of 
Carlisle, in the obedience of the Archbishop of York. On 
March 25, 1133, was born Matilda's eldest son, the future 
Henry II ; and early in August the king of England crossed 
the channel for the last time, undoubtedly to see his grand- 
son. On June i, of the next year, his second grandson, 
Geoffrey, was born. A short time before, the long imprison- 
ment of Robert of Normandy closed with his death, and the 
future for which Henry had so long worked must have seemed 
to him secure. But his troubles were not over. The medie- 
val heir was usually in a hurry to enter into his inheritance, 
and Geoffrey of Anjou, who probably felt his position greatly 
strengthened by the birth of his son, was no exception to the 

1 W. Malm., Historia Novella, sec. 455, and cf. sec. 452. 

1 135 THE KINGS DEATH 189 

rule. He demanded possessions in Normandy. He made CHAP. 
little wars on his own account. Matilda, who seems now to VIn 
have identified herself with her husband's interests, upheld 
his demands. Some of the Norman barons, who were glad 
of any pretext to escape from the yoke of Henry, added their 
support, especially William Talvas, the son of Robert of 
Bellme, who might easily believe that he had a long account 
to settle with the king. But Henry was still equal to the 
occasion. A campaign of three months, in 1135, drove 
William Talvas out of the country and brought everything 
again under the king's control, though peace was not yet 
made with his belligerent son-in-law. Then came the end 
suddenly. On November 25, Henry, still apparently in full 
health and vigour, planning a hunt for the next day, ate too 
heartily of eels, a favourite dish but always harmful to him, 
and died a week later, December i, of the illness which 
resulted. Asked on his death-bed what disposition should be 
made of the succession, he declared again that all should go 
to Matilda, but made no mention of Geoffrey. 

Henry was born in 1068, and was now past the end of his 
sixty-seventh year. His reign of a little more than thirty-five 
years was a long one, not merely for the middle ages, when 
the average of human life was short, but for any period of 
history. He was a man of unusual physical vigour. He 
had been very little troubled with illness. His health and 
strength were still unaffected by the labours of his life. He 
might reasonably have looked forward to seeing his grandson, 
who was now nearing the end of his third year, if not of an 
age to rule, at least of an age to be accepted as king with a 
strong regency under the leadership of Robert of Gloucester. 
A few years more of life for King Henry might have saved 
England from a generation that laboured to undo his work. 

With the death of Henry I a great reign in English history 
closed. Considered as a single period, it does not form an 
epoch by itself. It is rather an introductory age, an age of 
beginnings, which, interrupted by a generation of anarchy, 
were taken up and completed by others. We are tempted to 
suspect that these others receive more credit for the com- 
pleted result than they really deserve, because we know their 
work so well and Henry's so imperfectly. Certainly, we may 


CHAP, well note this fact, that every new bit of evidence which the 
vni scholar from time to time rescues from neglect tends to show 
that the special creations for which we have distinguished the 
reign of Henry's grandson, reach further back in time than 
we had supposed. To this we may add the fact that, wher- 
ever we can follow in detail the action of the king, we find it 
the action of a man of political genius. Did we know as 
much of Henry's activity in government and administration 
as we do of the carrying out of his foreign policy, it is more 
than probable that we should find in it the clear marks of 
creative statesmanship. Not the least important of Henry's 
achievements of which we are sure was the peace which he 
secured and maintained for England with a strong and un- 
sparing hand. More than thirty years of undisturbed quiet 
was a long period for any land in the middle ages, and during 
that time the vital process of union, the growing together 
in blood and laws and feeling of the two great races which 
occupied the land, was going rapidly forward. 



EARLS and barons, whom the rumour of his illness had CHAP. 
drawn together, surrounded the death-bed of Henry I and IX 
awaited the result. Among them was his natural son Robert 
of Gloucester ; but his legal heiress, the daughter for whom 
he had done so much and risked so much, was not there. 
The recent attempt of her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou, to 
gain by force the footing in Normandy which Henry had 
denied him, had drawn her away from her father, and she 
was still in Anjou. It was afterward declared that Henry 
on his death-bed disinherited her and made Stephen of Bou- 
logne heir in her place; but this is not probable, and it is 
met by the statement which we may believe was derived 
directly from Robert of Gloucester, that the dying king de- 
clared his will to be still in her favour. However this may 
be, no steps were taken by any one in Normandy to put 
Matilda in possession of the duchy, or formally to recognize 
her right of succession. Why her brother Robert did nothing 
and allowed the opportunity to slip, we cannot say. Possibly 
he did not anticipate a hostile attempt. At Rouen, whither 
Henry's body was first taken, the barons adopted measures 
to preserve order and to guard the frontiers, which show that 
they took counsel on the situation; but nothing was done 
about the succession. 

In the meantime, another person, as deeply interested in 
the result, did not wait for events to shape themselves. 
Stephen of Boulogne had been a favourite nephew of Henry I 
and a favourite at his uncle's court, and he had been 
richly provided for. The county of Mortain, usually held 



CHAP, by some member of the ducal house, had been given him ; 
IX he had shared in the confiscated lands of the house of 
Belleme ; and he had been married to the heiress of the 
practically independent county of Boulogne, which carried 
with it a rich inheritance in England. Henry might very 
well believe that gratitude would secure from Stephen as 
faithful a support of his daughter's cause as he expected 
from her brother Robert. But in this he was mistaken. 
Stephen acted so promptly on the news of his uncle's death 
that he must already have decided what his action would be. 
When he heard that his uncle had died, Stephen crossed 
at once to England. Dover and Canterbury were held by 
garrisons of Earl Robert's and refused him admittance, but 
he pushed on by them to London. There he was received 
with welcome by the citizens. London was in a situation 
to hail the coming of any one who promised to re-establish 
order and security, and this was clearly the motive on which 
the Londoners acted in all that followed. A reign of dis- 
order had begun as soon as it was known that the king was 
dead, as frequently happened in the medieval state, for the 
power that enforced the law, or perhaps that gave validity 
even to the law and to the commissions of those who executed 
it, was suspended while the throne was vacant. A great 
commercial city, such as London had grown to be during 
the long reign of Henry, would suffer in all its interests from 
such a state of things. Indeed, it appears that a body of 
plunderers, under one who had been a servant of the late 
king's, had established themselves not far from the city, and 
were by their operations manufacturing pressing arguments 
in favour of the immediate re-establishment of order. It is 
not necessary to seek for any further explanation of the wel- 
come which London extended to Stephen. Immediately on 
his arrival a council was held in the city, probably the gov- 
erning body of the city, the municipal council if we may so 
call it, which determined what should be done. Negotiations 
were not difficult between parties thus situated, and an agree- 
ment was speedily reached. The city bound itself to recog- 
nize Stephen as king, and he promised to put down disorder 
and maintain security. Plainly from the account we have of 
this arrangement, it was a bargain, a kind of business con- 


tract; .and Stephen proceeded at once to show that he in- CHAP. 
tended to keep his side of it by dispersing the robber band IX 
which was annoying the city and hanging its captain. 

It is unnecessary to take seriously the claim of a special 
right to fill the throne when it was vacant, which the citizens 
of London advanced for themselves according to a contempo- 
rary historian of these events. 1 This is surely less a claim 
of the citizens than one invented for them by a partisan who 
wishes to make Stephen's position appear as strong as pos- 
sible; and no one at the time paid any attention to it. 
Having secured the support of London, after what can 
have been only a few days' stay, Stephen went immedi- 
ately to Winchester. Before he could really believe himself 
king, he had to secure the royal treasures and more sup- 
port than he had yet gained. Stephen's own brother 
Henry, who owed his promotion in the Church, as Stephen 
did his in the State, to his uncle, was at this time Bishop 
of Winchester; and it was due to him, as a contempo- 
rary declares, that the plan of Stephen succeeded, and the 
real decision of the question was made, not at London, but 
at Winchester. 2 Henry went out with the citizens of Win- 
chester to meet his brother on his approach, and he was wel- 
comed as he had been at London. Present there or coming 
in soon after, were the Archbishop William of Canterbury, 
Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, the head of King Henry's admin- 
istrative system, and seemingly a few, but not many, barons. 
On the question of making Stephen king, the good, though 
not strong, Archbishop of Canterbury, was greatly troubled 
by the oath which had been sworn in the interest of Matilda. 
" There are not enough of us here," his words seem to mean, 
" to decide upon so important a step as recognizing this man 
as king, when we are bound by oath to recognize another." 3 

Though our evidence is derived from clerical writers, who 
might exaggerate the importance of the point, it seems 
clear from a number of reasons that this oath to Matilda was 
really the greatest difficulty in Stephen's way. That it 
troubled the conscience of the lay world very much does 
not appear, nor that it was regarded either in Normandy or 
England as settling the succession. If the Norman barons 

1 Gesta Stephani, 5. 2 W. Malm., Hist. Nov., sec. 460, 3 Cesta Stephani^ 8, 

VOL. II. 13 


CHAP, had been bound by this oath as well as the English, as is 
IX altogether probable, they certainly acted as if they considered 
the field clear for other candidates. But it is evident that 
the oath was the first and greatest difficulty to be overcome 
in securing for Stephen the support of the Church, and this 
was indispensable to his success. The active condemnation 
of the breaking of this oath survived for a long time in the 
Church, and with characteristic medieval logic the fate of 
those few who violated their oaths and met some evil end 
was pointed to as a direct vengeance of God, while that of the 
fortunate majority of the faithless is passed over in silence, 
including the chief traitor Hugh Bigod, who, as Robert of 
Gloucester afterwards declared, had twice sworn falsely, and 
made of perjury an elegant accomplishment. 1 

If the scruples of the archbishop were to be overcome, it 
could not be done by increasing the number of those who 
were present to agree to the accession of Stephen. No 
material increase of the party of his adherents could be 
expected before the ceremony of coronation had made him 
actual king. It seems extremely probable that it was at this 
crisis of affairs, that the scheme was invented to meet the 
hesitation of the archbishop; and it was the only way in 
which it could have been overcome at the moment. Certain 
men stepped forward and declared that at the last Henry 
repented of having forced his barons to take this oath, and 
that he released them from it. It is hardly possible to avoid 
the accumulated force of the evidence which points to Hugh 
Bigod as the peculiarly guilty person, or to doubt it was 
here that he committed the perjury of which so many ac- 
cused him. He is said to have sworn that Henry cut off 
Matilda from the succession and appointed Stephen his 
heir ; but he probably swore to no more than is stated above. 2 
That Matilda was excluded would be an almost necessary in- 
ference from it, and that Stephen was appointed heir in her 
place natural embroidery upon it. Nor can there be any 
reasonable doubt, I think, that his oath was deliberately 
false. Who should be made to bear the guilt of this scheme, 
if such it was, cannot be said. It is hardly likely that 
Henry of Winchester had any share in it. Whether true 

1 Henry of Huntingdon, 270. 2 See Round, G. de Mandeville, 6. 


or false, the statement removed the scruples of the archbishop CHAP. 
and secured his consent to Stephen's accession. 

With this declaration of Hugh Bigod's, however, was 
coupled another matter more of the nature of a positive 
inducement to the Church. Bishop Henry seems to have 
argued with much skill, and very likely to have believed him- 
self, that if they should agree to make his brother king, he 
would restore to the Church that freedom from the control 
of the State for which it had been contending since the be- 
ginning of the reign of Henry I, and which was now repre- 
sented as having been the practice in the time of their 
grandfather, William the Conqueror. Stephen agreed at 
once to the demand. He was obliged to pay whatever price 
was set upon the crown by those who had the disposal of 
it ; but of all the promises which he made to secure it, this is 
the one which he came the nearest to keeping. He swore 
to " restore liberty to the Church and to preserve it," and his 
brother pledged himself that the oath would be kept. Besides 
the adhesion of the Church, Stephen secured at Winchester 
the royal treasure which had been accumulated by his uncle 
and which was not small, and the obedience of the head of 
the administrative system, Roger of Salisbury, who seems to 
have made no serious difficulty, but who excused his violation 
of his oath to Matilda by another pretext, as has already 
been mentioned, than the one furnished by Hugh Bigod. 

With the new adherents whom he had gained, Stephen at 
once returned from Winchester to London for his formal 
coronation. This took place at Westminster, probably on 
December 22, certainly within a very few days of that date. 
His supporters were still a very small party in the state. 
Very few of the lay barons had as yet declared for him. 
His chief dependence must have been upon the two cities 
of London and Winchester, and upon the three bishops who 
had come to his coronation with him, and who certainly 
held positions of influence and power in Church and State 
far beyond that of the ordinary bishop. At his coronation 
Stephen renewed his oath to respect the liberty of the 
Church, and he issued a brief charter to the nation at large 
which is drawn up in very general terms, confirming the lib- 
erties and good laws of Henry, king of the English, and the 



CHAP, good laws and good customs of King Edward, but this can 
IX hardly be regarded as anything more than a proclamation 
that he intended to make no changes, a general confirmation 
of existing rights at the beginning of a new reign. The 
Christmas festival Stephen is said to have celebrated at 
London with great display. His party had not yet materi- 
ally grown in strength, but he was now a consecrated king, 
and this fait accompli, as it has been called, was undoubtedly 
a decided argument with many in the next few weeks. 

Throughout the three weeks that had elapsed since he 
had learned of his uncle's death, Stephen had acted with 
great energy, rapidity, and courage. Nor is there anything 
in the course of his reign to show that he was at any time 
lacking in these qualities. The period of English history 
upon which we enter with the coronation of Stephen is not 
merely a dreary period, with no triumphs abroad to be re- 
corded, nor progress at home, with much loss of what had 
already been gained, temporary, indeed, but threatening to 
be permanent. It is also one of active feudal strife and 
anarchy, lasting almost a generation, of the loosening of the 
bonds of government, and of suffering by the mass of 
the nation, the like of which never recurs in the whole 
of that history. But this misery fell upon the country in 
Stephen's time, not because he failed to understand the duty 
of a king, nor because he lacked the energy or courage 
which a king must have. The great defect of Stephen's 
character for the time in which he lived was that he yielded 
too easily to persuasion. Gifted with the popular qualities 
which win personal favour among men, he had also the weak- 
ness which so often goes with them ; he could not long re- 
sist the pressure of those about him. He could not impress 
men with the fact that he must be obeyed. His life after 
his coronation was a laborious one, and he did not spare him- 
self in his efforts to keep order and to put down rebellion ; 
but the situation passed irrecoverably beyond his control as 
soon as men realized that his will was not inflexible, and that 
swift and certain punishment of disobedience need not be 
feared. Stephen was at this time towards forty years old, 
an age which promised mature judgment and vigorous rule. 
His wife, who bore the name of Matilda, so common in the 


Norman house, was a woman of unusual spirit and energy, CHAP. 
and devotedly attached to him. She stood through her IX 
mother, daughter of Malcolm and Margaret of Scotland, in 
the same relationship to the empress Matilda that her hus- 
band did, and her descendants would therefore be equally 
near akin to the old Saxon dynasty as those of the Empress. 
If Stephen had seized the earliest opportunity, his cousin 
Matilda had been scarcely less prompt, but she had acted 
with less decision and with less discernment of the strategic 
importance of England. As soon as she learned of her 
father's death, she entered Normandy from the south, near 
Domfront, and was admitted to that town and to Argentan 
and Exmes without opposition by the viscount of that region, 
who was one of King Henry's "new men" in Normandy, 
and who recognized her claims at once. In a few days she 
was followed by her husband, Geoffrey, who entered the 
duchy a little farther to the east, in alliance with William 
Talvas, who opened to him Ses and other fortified places 
of his fief. So far all seemed going well, though as compared 
with the rapidity of Stephen's progress during those same 
days, such successes would count but little. Then, for some 
unaccountable reason, Geoffrey allowed his troops to plunder 
the Normans and to ravage cruelly the lands which had 
received him as a friend. The inborn fierceness of the 
Normans burst out at such treatment, and the Angevins 
were swept out of the country with as great cruelties as they 
had themselves exercised. Whether this incident had any 
influence on the action of the Norman barons it is not pos- 
sible to say, but it must have been about the same time 
that they met at Neubourg to decide the question of the suc- 
cession. We have no account of what they did or of what 
motives influenced their first decision. Theobald, Count of 
Blois and of Champagne, Stephen's elder brother, was present 
apparently to urge his own claim, and him they decided, or 
were on the point of deciding, to recognize as duke. At this 
moment a messenger from Stephen arrived and announced 
that all the English had accepted Stephen and agreed that 
he should be king. This news at once settled the question 
for the Norman barons. The reason which we have seen 
acting so strongly on earlier occasions the fear of the con- 



CHAP, sequences if they should try to hold their lands of two differ- 
IX ent suzerains was once more the controlling motive, and 
they determined to accept Stephen. Theobald acquiesced in 
this decision, though unwillingly, and retired to his own 
dominions, to show but little interest in the long strife which 
these events began. 

In England the effect of Stephen's coronation soon made 
itself felt. Immediately after the Christmas festivities in Lon- 
don he went with his court to Reading, whither the body of 
King Henry had now been brought from Normandy. There 
it was interred with becoming pomp, in the presence of the 
new king, in the abbey which Henry had founded and richly 
endowed. There Stephen issued a charter which is of 
especial historical value. It records a grant to Miles of 
Gloucester, and is signed among others by Payne Fitz-John. 
Both these were among Henry's "new men." Miles of 
Gloucester especially had received large gifts from the late 
king, and had held important office under him. Such men 
would naturally support Matilda. They might be expected 
certainly to hesitate until her cause was hopeless. Their 
presence with Stephen, accepting him as king so soon after 
his coronation, is evidence of great value as to the drift of 
opinion in England about the chance of his success. The 
charter is evidence also of one of the difficulties in Stephen's 
way, and of the necessity he was under of buying support, 
which we have seen already and which played so great a 
part in the later events of his reign. The charter confirms 
Miles in the possession of all the grants which had been 
made him in the late reign, and binds the king not to bring 
suit against him for anything which he held at the death of 
Henry. The question whether a new king, especially one 
who was not the direct heir of his predecessor, would respect 
his grants was a question of great importance to men in the 
position of Miles of Gloucester. 

At Reading, or perhaps at Oxford, where Stephen may 
have gone from the burial of Henry, news came to him that 
David, king of Scotland, had crossed the border and was 
taking possession of the north of England, from Carlisle to 
Newcastle. David professed to be acting in behalf of his 
niece, Matilda, and out of respect to the oath he had sworn 


to support her cause, and he was holding the plundering CHAP. 
habits of his army well in check. We are told that it IX 
was with a great army that Stephen marched against him. 
He had certainly force enough to make it seem wise to 
David, who was on his way to Durham, to fall back and 
negotiate. Terms were quickly arranged. David would not 
conform to the usual rule and become Stephen's man ; and 
Stephen, still yielding minor matters to secure the greater, 
did not insist. But David's son Henry did homage to 
Stephen, and received the earldom of Huntingdon, with a 
vague promise that he might be given at some later time the 
other part of the possessions of his grandfather, Waltheof, 
the earldom of Northumberland, and with the more sub- 
stantial present grant of Carlisle and Doncaster. The other 
places which David had occupied were given up. 

From the north Stephen returned to London to hold his 
Easter court. He was now, he might well believe, king 
without question, and he intended to have the Easter assem- 
bly make this plain. Special writs of summons were sent 
throughout England to all the magnates of Church and State ; 
and a large and brilliant court came together in response. 
Charters issued at this date, when taken together, give us the 
names of three archbishops one, the Archbishop of Rouen 
and thirteen bishops, four being Norman, and thirty-nine 
barons and officers of the court who were present, including 
King David's son Henry, who had come with Stephen from 
the north. At this assembly Stephen's queen, Matilda, was 
crowned, and so brilliant was the display and so lavish the 
expenditure that England was struck with the contrast to 
the last reign, whose economies had in part at least accu- 
mulated the treasure which Stephen might now scatter with 
a free hand to secure his position. The difficulties of his task 
are illustrated by an incident which occurred at this court. 
Mindful of the necessity of conciliating Scotland, he gave to 
young Henry, at the Easter feast, the seat of honour at his 
right hand; whereupon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, of- 
fended because his claims of precedence had been set aside, 
left the court ; and Ralph, Earl of Chester, angered because 
Carlisle, to which he asserted claims of hereditary right, 
had been made over to Henry, cried out upon the young 




CHAP, man, and with other barons insulted him so grievously that 
IX his father David was very angry in his turn. 

Immediately after the Easter festivities, the court as a body 
removed to Oxford. Just after Easter Robert of Gloucester, 
the Empress's brother, had landed in England. Stephen had 
been importuning him for some time to give up his sister's 
cause and acknowledge him as king. So far as we know, 
Robert had done nothing up to this time to stem the current 
of events, and these events were probably a stronger argu- 
ment with him than Stephen's inducements. All England 
and practically all Normandy had accepted Stephen. The 
king of Scotland had abandoned the opposition. Geoffrey 
and Matilda had accomplished nothing, and seemed to be 
planning nothing. The only course that lay plainly open 
was to make the best terms possible with the successful 
usurper, and to await the further course of events. William 
of Malmesbury, who looked upon Earl Robert as his patron 
and who wrote almost as his panegyrist, thinking, perhaps, 
dissimulation a smaller fault than disregard of his oath, ac- 
counted for his submission to Stephen by his desire to gain 
an opportunity to persuade the English barons to saner coun- 
sels. This statement can hardly be taken as evidence of 
Robert's intention, but at any rate he now joined the court 
at Oxford and made his bargain with Stephen. He did him 
homage, and promised to be his man so long as the king 
should maintain him in his position and keep faith with him. 
At this Oxford meeting another bargain, even more im- 
portant to Stephen than his bargain with the Earl of Glouces- 
ter, was put into a form which may be not improperly called a 
definitive treaty. This was the bargain with the Church, to 
the terms of which Stephen had twice before consented. 
The document in which this treaty was embodied is com- 
monly known as Stephen's second charter; and, witnessed 
by nearly all those who witnessed the London charters already 
referred to, and by the Earl of Gloucester in addition, it had 
the force of a royal grant confirmed by the curia regis. Noth- 
ing could prove to us more clearly than this charter how 
conscious Stephen was of the desperate character of the un- 
dertaking on which he had ventured, and of the vital necessity 
of the support of the Church. The grant is of the most sweep- 


ing sort. All that the Church had demanded in the conflict CHAP. 
between Anselm and Henry I is freely yielded, and more. All IX 
simony shall cease, vacancies shall be canonically filled ; the 
possessions of the Church shall be administered by its own 
men during a vacancy, that is, the feudal rights which had 
been exercised by the last two kings are given up ; jurisdiction 
over all ecclesiastical persons and property is abandoned to the 
Church ; ecclesiastics shall have full power to dispose of their 
personal property by will ; all unjust exactions, by whomso- 
ever brought in, including among these, no doubt, as Henry 
of Huntingdon expressly says, the Danegeld, which the Church 
had insisted ought not to be paid by its domain lands, are 
to be given up. " These all I concede and confirm," the 
charter closes, " saving my royal and due dignity." Dignity 
in the modern sense might be left the king, but not much 
real power over the Church if this charter was to determine 
future law and custom. The English Church would have 
reached at a stroke a nearer realization of the full programme 
of the Hildebrandine reform than all the struggles of nearly 
a century had yet secured in any other land, if the king kept 
his promises. As a matter of fact, he did not do so entirely, 
though the Church made more permanent gain from the weak- 
ness of this reign than any other of the contending and rival 

One phrase at the beginning of this charter strikes us with 
surprise. In declaring how he had become king, Stephen 
adds to choice by clergy and people, and consecration by the 
archbishop, the confirmation of the pope. Since when had 
England recognized the right of the pope to confirm its 
sovereigns or to decide cases of disputed succession ? Or is 
the papacy securing here, from the necessities of Stephen, a 
greater concession than any other in the charter, a practical 
recognition of the claim which once Gregory VII had made 
of the Conqueror only to have it firmly rejected, and which 
the Church had not succeeded in establishing in any European 
land ? In reality England had recognized no claim of papal 
overlordship, nor was any such claim in the future based 
upon this confirmation. The reference to the pope had been 
practically forced upon Stephen, whether he would have 
taken the step himself or not, and the circumstances made it 




CHAP, of the Highest importance to him to proclaim publicly the 
IX papal sanction of his accession. Probably immediately on 
hearing the news of Stephen's usurpation, Matilda had 
despatched to Pope Innocent II, then residing at Pisa be- 
cause Rome was in possession of his rival, Anacletus II, an 
embassy headed by the Bishop of Angers, to appeal to the 
pope against the wicked deeds of Stephen, in that he had 
defrauded her of her rights and broken his oath, as William 
of Normandy had once appealed to the pope against the 
similar acts of Harold. 1 At Pisa this embassy was opposed 
by another of Stephen's, whose spokesman was the arch- 
deacon of Ses. It must have started at about the same 
time as Matilda's, and it brought to the pope the official 
account of the bishops who had taken part in the coronation 
of Stephen. 

In the presence of Innocent something like a formal trial 
occurred. The case was argued by the champions of the 
two sides, on questions which it belonged to the Church to 
decide, or which at least the Church claimed the right to 
decide, the usurpation of an inheritance, and the violation of 
an oath. Against Matilda's claim were advanced the argu- 
ments which had already been used with effect in England, 
that the oath had been extorted from the barons by force, 
and that on his death-bed Henry had released them from it ; 
but more than this, Stephen's advocates suddenly sprang on 
their opponents a new and most disconcerting argument, one 
which would have had great weight in any Church court, and 
which attacked both their claims at once. Matilda could not 
be the rightful heir, and so the oath itself could not be bind- 
ing, because she was of illegitimate birth, being the daughter 
of a nun. One account of this debate represents Matilda's 
side as nonplussed by this argument and unable to answer it. 
And they might well be, for during the long generation since 
Henry's marriage, no question of its validity had ever been 
publicly raised. The sudden advancing of the doubt at this 
time shows, however, that it had lingered on in the minds of 
some in the Church. It is not likely that the point would 
have been in the end dangerous to Matilda's cause, for it 

1 Round, Geoffrey de Mandeville, 250-261 ; and Bohmer, Kirche und Staat, 


would not have been possible to produce evidence sufficient CHAP. 
to warrant the Church in reversing the decision which Arch- IX 
bishop Anselm had carefully made at the time. But the 
pope did not allow the case to come to a decision. He broke 
off the debate, and announced that he would not decide the 
question nor permit it to be taken up again. His caution 
was no doubt due to the difficult position in which Innocent 
was then placed, with a rival in possession of the capital 
of Christendom, the issue uncertain, and the support of all 
parties necessary to his cause. Privately, but not as an 
official decision, he wrote to Stephen recognizing him as king 
of England. The letter reveals a reason in Stephen's favour 
which probably availed more with the pope than all the 
arguments of the English embassy, the pressure of the king 
of France. The separation of Anjou at least, if not of 
Normandy also, from England, was important to the plans of 
France, and the support of the king was essential to the pope. 

To Stephen the reasons for the pope's letter were less 
important than the fact that such decision as there was was 
in his favour. He could not do otherwise than make this 
public. The letter probably arrived in England just before, 
or at the time of, the Easter council in London. To the 
Church of England, in regard to the troublesome matter of 
the oath, it would be decisive. There could be no reason 
why Stephen should not be accepted as king if the pope, 
with full understanding of the facts, had accepted him. And 
so the Church was ready to enter into that formal treaty with 
the king which is embodied in Stephen's second charter, 
which is a virtual though conditional recognition of him, 
and which naturally, as an essential consideration, recites 
the papal recognition and calls it not unnaturally a con- 
firmation, though this word may be nothing more than the 
mere repetition of an ecclesiastical formula set down by a 
clerical hand, without especial significance. 

Stephen might now believe himself firmly fixed in the pos- 
session of power. His bold stroke for the crown had proved 
as successful as Henry I's, and everything seemed to promise 
as secure and prosperous a reign. The all-influential Church 
had declared for him, and its most influential leader was his 
brother Henry of Winchester, who had staked his own hon- 


CHAP, our in his support. The barons of the kingdom had accepted 
IX him, and had attended his Easter court in unusual numbers 
as compared with anything we know of the immediately pre- 
ceding reigns. Those who should have been the leaders of 
his rival's cause had all submitted, her brother, Robert of 
Gloucester, Brian Fitz Count, Miles of Gloucester, Payne Fitz 
John, the Bishop of Salisbury, and his great ministerial 
family. The powerful house of Beaumont, the earls of War- 
wick and of Leicester, who held almost a kingdom in middle 
England, promised to be as faithful to the new sovereign 
as it had been to earlier ones. Even Matilda herself and her 
husband Geoffrey seemed to have abandoned effort, having 
met with no better success in their appeal to the pope than 
in their attack on Normandy. For more than two years 
nothing occurs which shakes the security of Stephen's power 
or which seriously threatens it with the coming of any 

And yet Stephen, like Henry I, had put himself into a 
position which only the highest gifts of statesmanship and 
character could maintain, and in these he was fatally lacking. 
The element of weakness, which is more apparent in his case, 
though perhaps not more real, than in Henry's, that he was 
a king by " contract," as the result of various bargains, and 
that he might be renounced by the other parties to these 
bargains if he violated their terms, was only one element in 
a general situation which could be dominated by a strong will 
and by that alone. These bargains served as excuses for 
rebellion, unusually good, to be sure, from a legal point of 
view, but excuses are always easy to find, or are often 
thought unnecessary, for resistance to a king whom one may 
defy with impunity. The king's uncle had plainly marked 
out a policy which a ruler in his situation should follow at 
the beginning of his reign to destroy the power of the 
most dangerous barons, one by one, and to raise up on their 
ruins a body of less powerful new men devoted to himself ; 
but this policy Stephen had not the insight nor the strength 
of purpose to follow. His defect was not the lack of courage. 
He was conscious of his duty and unsparing of himself, but 
he lacked the clear sight and the fixed purpose, the inflexible 
determination which the position in which he had placed 


himself demanded. To understand the real reason for the CHAP. 
period of anarchy which follows, to know why Stephen, with IX 
as fair a start, failed to rule as Henry I had done, one must 
see as clearly as possible how, in the months when his power 
seemed in no danger of falling, he undermined it himself 
through his lack of quick perception and his unsteadiness of 

It would not be profitable to discuss here the question 
whether or not Stephen was a usurper. Such a discussion is 
an attempt to measure the acts of that time by a standard 
not then in use. As we now judge of such things he was 
a usurper ; in the forum of morals he must be declared a 
usurper, but no one at the time accused him of any wrong- 
doing beyond the breaking of his oath. 1 Of no king before 
or after is so much said, in chronicles and formal documents, 
of " election " as is said of Stephen ; but of anything which 
may be called a formal or constitutional election there is no 
trace. The facts recorded indeed illustrate more clearly 
than in any other case the process by which, in such circum- 
stances, a king came to the throne. It was clearly a process 
of securing the adhesion and consent, one after another, of 
influential men or groups of men. In this case it was plainly 
bargaining. In every case there was probably something of 
that as much as might be necessary to secure the weight 
of support that would turn the scale. 

Within a few days of this brilliant assembly at the Easter 
festival, the series of events began which was to test Stephen's 
character and to reveal its weakness to those who were 
eager in every reign of feudal times to profit by such a 
revelation. A rumour was in some way started that the king 
was dead. Instantly Hugh Bigod, who had been present at 
the Oxford meeting, and who had shown his own character 
by his willingness to take on his soul the guilt of perjury in 
Stephen's cause, seized Norwich castle. The incident shows 
what was likely always to happen on the death of the king, 
the seizure of royal domains or of the possessions of 
weaker neighbours, by barons who hoped to gain something 
when the time of settlement came. Hugh Bigod had large 

1 Freeman, Norman Conquest, Vol. V, App. DD., is right in calling attention 
to the fact but wrong in the use he makes of it. 


CHAP, possessions in East Anglia, and was ambitious of a greater 
IX position still. He became, indeed, in the end, earl, but with- 
out the possession of Norwich. Now he was not disposed to 
yield his prey, even if the king were still alive ; he did so 
only when Stephen came against him in person, and then 
very unwillingly. That he received any punishment for his 
revolt we are not told. 

Immediately after this Stephen was called to the opposite 
side of the kingdom by news of the local depredations of 
Robert of Bampton, a minor baron of Devonshire. His 
castle was speedily captured, and he was sent into exile. But 
greater difficulties were at hand in that region. A baron 
of higher rank, Baldwin of Redvers, whose father before him, 
and himself in succession, had been faithful adherents of 
Henry I from the adventurous and landless days of that 
prince, seized the castle of Exeter and attempted to excite a 
revolt, presumably in the interests of Matilda. The inhabit- 
ants of Exeter refused to join him, and sent at once to 
Stephen for aid, which was hurriedly despatched and arrived 
just in time to prevent the sacking of the town by the angry 
rebel. Here was a more important matter than either of the 
other two with which the king had had to deal, and he sat 
down to the determined siege of the castle. It was strongly 
situated on a mass of rock, and resisted the king's earlier 
attacks until, after three months, the garrison was brought to 
the point of yielding by want of water. At first Stephen, by 
the advice of his brother Henry, insisted upon unconditional 
surrender, even though Baldwin's wife came to him in person 
and in great distress to move his pity. But now, as in Henry 
I's attack on Robert of Bellerne at the beginning of his reign, 
another influence made itself felt. The barons in Stephen's 
camp began to put pressure on the king to induce him to grant 
favourable terms. We know too little of the actual circum- 
stances to be able to say to what extent Stephen was really 
forced to yield. In the more famous incident at Bridgenorth 
Henry had the support of the English common soldiers in his 
army. Here nothing is said of them, or of any support to the 
king. But with or without support, he yielded. The garrison 
of the castle were allowed to go free with all their personal 
property. Whether this was a concession which in the cir- 


cumstances Stephen could not well refuse, or an instance of CHAP. 
his easy yielding to pressure, of which there are many later, IX 
the effect was the same. Contemporary opinion declared it 
to be bad policy, and dated from it more general resistance 
to the king. It certainly seems clear from these cases, es- 
pecially from the last, that Stephen had virtually given notice 
at the beginning of his reign that rebellion against him was 
not likely to be visited with the extreme penalty. Baldwin of 
Redvers did not give up the struggle with the surrender of 
Exeter castle. He had possessions in the Isle of Wight, and 
he fortified himself there, got together some ships, and began 
to prey on the commerce of the channel. Stephen followed 
him up, and was about to invade the island when he appeared 
and submitted. This time he was exiled, and crossing over 
to Normandy he took refuge at the court of Geoffrey and 
Matilda, where he was received with a warm welcome. 

For the present these events were not followed by anything 
further of a disquieting nature. To all appearances Stephen's 
power had not been in the least affected. From the coast he 
went north to Brampton near Huntingdon, to amuse himself 
with hunting. There he gave evidence of how strong he felt 
himself to be, for he held a forest assize and tried certain 
barons for forest offences. In his Oxford charter he had 
promised to give up the forests which Henry had added to 
those of the two preceding kings, but he had not promised 
to hold no forest assizes, and he could not well surrender 
them. There was something, however, about his action at 
Brampton which was regarded as violating his " promise to 
God and to the people " ; and we may regard it, considering 
the bitterness of feeling against the forest customs, especially 
on the part of the Church, as evidence that he felt himself 
very secure, and more important still as leading to the belief 
that he would not be bound by his promises. 

A somewhat similar impression must have been made at 
about this time, the impression at least that the king was try- 
ing to make himself strong enough to be independent of his 
pledges, if he wished, by the fact that he was collecting about 
him a large force of foreign mercenaries, especially men from 
Britanny and Flanders. From the date of the Conquest itself, 
the paid soldier, the mercenary drawn from outside the domin- 


CHAP, ions of the sovereign, had been constantly in use in England, 
IX not merely in the armies of the king, but sometimes in the 
forces of the greater barons, and had often been a main sup- 
port in both cases. When kept under a strong control, the 
presence of mercenaries had given rise to no complaints; 
indeed, it is probable that in the later part of reigns like those 
of William I and Henry I their number had been compara- 
tively insignificant. But in a reign in which the king was 
dependent on their aid and obliged to purchase their support 
by allowing them liberties, as when William II proposed to 
play the tyrant, or in the time of Stephen from the weakness 
of the king, complaints are frequent of their cruelties and 
oppressions, and the defenceless must have suffered whatever 
they chose to inflict. The contrast of the reign of Stephen, 
in the conduct and character of the foreigners in England, 
with that of Henry, was noted at the time. In the commander 
of his mercenaries, William of Ypres, who had been one of 
the unsuccessful pretenders to the countship of Flanders some 
years before, Stephen secured one of his most faithful and 
ablest adherents. 

In the meantime a series of events in Wales during this 
jsame year was revealing another side of Stephen's character, 
/his lack of clear political vision, his failure to grasp the real 
/ importance of a situation. At the very beginning of the year, 
: the Welsh had revolted in South Wales, and won a signal 
victory. From thence the movement spread toward the west 
and north, growing in success as it extended. Battles were won 
in the field, castles and towns were taken, leaders among the 
Norman baronage were slain, and the country was overrun. It 
looked as if the tide which had set so steadily against the Welsh 
had turned at last, at least in the south-west, and as if the Nor- 
man or Flemish colonists might be driven out. But Stephen 
did not consider the matter important enough to demand his 
personal attention, even after he was relieved of his trouble 
with Baldwin of Redvers, though earlier kings had thought 
less threatening revolts sufficiently serious to call for great 
exertions on their part. He sent some of his mercenaries, 
but they accomplished nothing ; and he gave some aid to the 
attempts of interested barons to recover what had been lost, 
with no better result. Finally, we are told by the writer most 


favourable to Stephen's reputation, he resolved to expend no CHAP. 
more money or effort on the useless attempt, but to leave the IX 
Welsh to weaken themselves by their quarrels among them- 
selves. 1 The writer declares the policy successful, but we 
can hardly believe it was so regarded by those who suffered 
from it in the disasters of this and the following year, or by 
the barons of England in general. 

It might well be the case that Stephen's funds were running 
low. The heavy taxes and good management of his uncle had 
left him a full treasury with which to begin, but the demands 
upon it had been great. Much support had undoubtedly been 
purchased outright by gifts of money. The brilliant Easter 
court had been deliberately made a time of lavish display ; 
mercenary troops could have been collected only at consider- 
able cost ; and the siege of Exeter castle had been expensive 
as well as troublesome. Stephen's own possessions in Eng- 
land were very extensive, and the royal domains were in 
his hands; but the time was rapidly coming when he must 
alienate these permanent sources of supply, lands and reve- 
nues, to win and hold support. It was very likely this lack 
of ready money which led Stephen to the second violation of 
his promises, if the natural interpretation of the single refer- 
ence to the fact is correct. 2 In November of this year, 1136, 
died William of Corbeil, who had been Archbishop of Canterbury 
for thirteen years and legate of the pope in England for nearly 
as long. Officers of the king took possession of his personal 
property, which Stephen had promised the Church should dis- 
pose of, and found hidden away too large a store of coin for 
the archbishop's reputation as a perfect pastor, for he should 
have distributed it in his lifetime and then it would have gone 
to the poor and to his own credit. 

Whatever opinion about Stephen might be forming in Eng- 
land during this first year of his reign, from his violation of 
his pledges, or his determination to surround himself with 
foreign troops, or his selfish sacrificing of national interests, 
or his too easy dealing with revolt, there was as yet no further 
movement against him. Nobody seemed disposed to ques- 
tion his right to reign or to withhold obedience, and he could, 
without fear of the consequences, turn his attention to Nor- 

1 Gesta Stepham, 14. 2 Ibid., 7. 

VOL. II. 14 


CHAP, mandy to secure as firm possession of the duchy as he now 
IX had of the kingdom. About the middle of Lent, 1137, 
Stephen crossed to Normandy, and remained there till 
Christmas of the same year. Normandy had accepted him 
the year before, as soon as it knew the decision of England, 
but there had been no generally recognized authority to 
represent the sovereign, and some parts of the duchy had 
suffered severely from private war. In the south-east, the 
house of Beaumont, Waleran of Meulan and Robert of 
Leicester, were carrying on a fierce conflict with Roger of 
Tosny. In September, 1136, central Normandy was the 
scene of another useless and savage raid of Geoffrey of 
Anjou, accompanied by William, the last duke of Aquitaine, 
William Talvas, and others. They penetrated the country as 
far as Lisieux, treating the churches and servants of God, 
says Orderic Vitalis, after the manner of the heathen, but 
were obliged to retreat; and finally, though he had been 
joined by Matilda, Geoffrey, badly wounded, abandoned this 
attempt also and returned to Anjou. 

The general population of the duchy warmly welcomed the 
coming of Stephen, from whom they hoped good things and 
especially order ; but the barons seem to have been less enthu- 
siastic. They resented his use of Flemish soldiers and the 
influence of William of Ypres, and they showed themselves 
as disposed as in England to prevent the king from gaining 
any decisive success. Still, however, there was no strong 
party against him, and Stephen seemed to be in acknow- 
ledged control of the duchy, even if it was not a strong con- 
trol. In May he had an interview with Louis VI of France, 
and was recognized by him as duke, on the same terms as 
Henry I had been, his son Eustace doing homage in his 
stead. This arrangement with France shows the strength of 
Stephen's position, though the acknowledgment was no doubt 
dictated as well by the policy of Louis, but events of the same 
month showed Stephen's real weakness. In May Geoffrey 
attempted a new invasion with four hundred knights, this time 
intending the capture of Caen. But Stephen's army, the 
Flemings under William of Ypres, and the forces of some of 
the Norman barons, blocked the way. William was anxious 
to fight, but the Normans refused, and William with his 


Flemings left them in disgust and joined Stephen. Geoffrey, CHAP. 
however, gave up his attempt on Caen and drew back to IX 
Argentan. In June, on Stephen's collecting an army to 
attack Geoffrey, the jealousies between the Normans and 
the hired soldiers broke out in open fighting, many were 
slain, and the Norman barons withdrew from the army. 
Geoffrey and Stephen were now both ready for peace. 
Geoffrey, it is said, despaired of accomplishing anything 
against Stephen, so great was his power and wealth ; and 
Stephen, on the contrary, must have been influenced by the 
weakness which recent events had revealed. In July a truce 
for two years was agreed to between them. 

Closely connected with these events, but in exactly what way 
we do not know, were others which show us something of the 
relations between the king and the Earl of Gloucester, and 
which seem to indicate the growth of suspicion on both 
sides. Robert had not come to Normandy with Stephen, but 
on his departure he had followed him, crossing at Easter. 
What he had been doing in England since he had made 
his treaty with the king at Oxford, or what he did in Nor- 
mandy, where he had extensive possessions, we do not 
know ; but the period closes with an arrangement between 
him and Stephen which looks less like a renewal of their 
treaty than a truce. In the troubles in the king's army 
during the summer campaign against Geoffrey, Robert was 
suspected of treason. At one time William of Ypres set 
some kind of a trap for him, in which he hoped to take him 
at a disadvantage, but failed. The outcome of whatever hap- 
pened was evidently that Stephen found himself placed in a 
wrong and somewhat dangerous position, and was obliged to 
take an oath that he would attempt nothing further against 
the earl, and to pledge his faith in the hand of the Arch- 
bishop of Rouen. Robert accepted the new engagements of 
the king in form, and took no open steps against him for the 
present ; but it is clear that the relation between them was 
one of scarcely disguised suspicion. It was a situation with 
which a king like Henry I would have known how to deal, but 
a king like Henry I would have occupied by this time a stronger 
position from which to move than Stephen did, because his 
character would have made a far different impression. 


CHAP. While these events were taking place in Normandy, across 
IX the border in France other events were occurring, to be in 
the end of as great interest in the history of England as in 
that of France. When William, Duke of Aquitaine, returned 
from his expedition with Geoffrey, he seems to have been 
troubled in his conscience by his heathenish deeds in Nor- 
mandy, and he made a pilgrimage to St. James of Compos- 
tella to seek the pardon of heaven. In this he seemed to 
be successful, and he died there before the altar of the apostle, 
with all the comforts of religion. When he knew that his 
end was approaching, he besought his barons to carry out the 
plan which he had formed of conveying the duchy to the king 
of France, with the hand of his daughter and heiress Eleanor 
for his son Louis. The proposition was gladly accepted, the 
marriage took place in July at Bordeaux, and the young 
sovereign received the homage of the vassals of a territory 
more than twice his father's in area, which was thus united 
with the crown. Before the bridal pair could return to Paris, 
the reign of Louis VI had ended, and Louis the Young had 
become king as Louis VII. He was at this time about seven- 
teen years old. His wife was two years younger, and Henry 
of Anjou, the son of Matilda, whose life was to be even more 
closely associated with hers, had not yet finished his fifth 

During Stephen's absence in Normandy there had been 
nothing to disturb the peace of England. Soon after his 
departure the king of Scotland had threatened to invade the 
north, but Thurstan, the aged Archbishop of York, went to 
meet him, and persuaded him to agree to a truce until the 
return of King Stephen from Normandy. This occurred not 
long before Christmas. Most of the barons of Normandy 
crossed over with him, but Robert of Gloucester again took 
his own course and remained behind. There was busi- 
ness for Stephen in England at once. An embassy from 
David of Scotland waited on him and declared the truce at 
an end unless he were prepared to confer the half-promised 
earldom of Northumberland on Henry without further de- 
lay. Another matter, typical of Stephen and of the times, 
demanded even earlier attention. Stephen owed much, as 
had all the Norman kings, to the house of Beaumont, and 


he now attempted to make some return. Simon of Beau- CHAP. 
champ, who held the barony of Bedford and the custody of IX 
the king's castle in that town, had died shortly before, leaving 
a daughter only. In the true style of the strong kings, his 
predecessors, Stephen proposed, without consulting the wishes 
of the family, to bestow the hand and inheritance of the heir- 
ess on Hugh, known as "the Poor," because he was yet 
unprovided for, brother of Robert of Leicester and Waleran 
of Meulan, and to give him the earldom of Bedford. The 
castle had been occupied with his consent by Miles of Beau- 
champ, Simon's nephew, and to him Stephen sent orders to 
hand the castle over to Hugh and to do homage to the new 
Earl of Bedford for whatever he held of the king. It was to 
this last command apparently that Miles especially objected, 
and he refused to surrender the castle unless his own inherit- 
ance was secured to him. In great anger, Stephen collected 
a large army and began the siege of the castle, perhaps on 
Christmas day itself. The castle was stoutly defended. The 
siege had to be turned into a blockade. Before it ended the 
king was obliged to go away to defend the north against 
the Scots. After a siege of five weeks the castle was sur- 
rendered to Bishop Henry of Winchester, who seems for 
some reason to have opposed his brother's action in the 
case from the beginning. 



CHAP. THE year 1138, which began with the siege of Bedford 
x castle, has to be reckoned as belonging to the time when 
Stephen's power was still to all appearance unshaken. But 
it is the beginning of the long period of continuous civil war- 
fare which ended only a few months before his death. Judg- 
ment had already been passed upon him as a king. It is clear 
that certain opinions about him, of the utmost importance as 
bearing on the future, had by this time fixed themselves in the 
minds of those most interested that severe punishment for 
rebellion was not to be feared from him; that he was not 
able to carry through his will against strong opposition, or to 
force obedience ; and that lavish grants of money and lands 
were to be extorted from him as a condition of support. The 
attractive qualities of Stephen's personality were not obscured 
by his faults or overlooked in passing this judgment upon 
him, for chroniclers unfavourable to him show the influence 
of them in recording their opinion of his weakness ; but the 
general verdict is plainly that which was stated by the Saxon 
Chronicle under the year 1137, in saying that " he was a mild 
man, and soft, and good, and did no justice." Such traits 
of character in the sovereign created conditions which the 
feudal barons of any land would be quick to use to their own 

The period which follows must not be looked upon as 
merely the strife between two parties for the possession of 
the crown. It was so to the candidates themselves ; it was 
so to the most faithful of their supporters. But to a large 
number of the barons most favourably situated, or of those 
who were most unprincipled in pursuit of their own gain, it 


was a time when almost anything they saw fit to demand CHAP. 
might be won from one side or the other, or from both alter- x 
nately by well-timed treason. It was the time in the history 
of England when the continental feudal principality most 
nearly came into existence, the only time after the Con- 
quest when several great dominions within the state, firmly 
united round a local chief, obtained a virtual, or even it may 
be a formal, independence of the sovereign's control. These 
facts are quite as characteristic of the age as the struggle for 
the crown, and they account for the continuance of the con- 
flict more than does the natural balance of the parties. No 
triumph for either side was possible, and the war ended only 
when the two parties agreed to unite and to make common 
cause against those who in reality belonged to neither of them. 

From the siege of Bedford castle, Stephen had been called 
to march to the north by the Scottish invasion, which early 
in January followed the failure of David's embassy. All 
Scottish armies were mixed bodies, but those of this period 
were so not merely because the population of Scotland was 
mixed, but because of the presence of foreign soldiers and 
English exiles, and many of them were practically impossible 
to control. Portions of Northumberland down to the Tyne 
were ravaged with the usual barbarities of Scottish warfare 
before the arrival of Stephen. On his coming David fell 
back across the border, and Stephen made reprisals on a 
small district of southern Scotland. But his army would not 
support him in a vigorous pushing of the campaign. The 
barons did not want to fight in Lent, it seemed. Evidences 
of more open treason appear also to have been discovered, 
and Stephen, angry but helpless, was obliged to abandon 
further operations. 

Shortly after Easter David began a new invasion, and at 
about the same time rebellion broke out in the south-west of 
England, in a way that makes the suspicion natural that the 
two events were parts of a concerted movement in favour 
of Matilda. This second Scottish invasion was hardly more 
than a border foray, though it penetrated further into the 
country than the first, and laid waste parts of Durham and 
Yorkshire. Lack of discipline in the Scottish army prevented 
any wider success. The movement in the south-west, however, 


CHAP, proved more serious, and from it may be dated the beginning 
x of continuous civil war. Geoffrey Talbot, who had accepted 
Stephen two years before, revolted and held Hereford castle 
against him. From Gloucester, where he was well received, 
the king advanced against Hereford about the middle of May, 
and took the castle after a month's blockade, letting the gar- 
rison off without punishment, Talbot himself having escaped 
the siege. But by the time this success had been gained, or 
soon after, the rebellion had spread much wider. 

Whether the insurrection in the south and west had be- 
come somewhat general before, or was encouraged by it to 
begin, the chief event connected with it was the formal notice 
which Robert of Gloucester served on the king, by mes- 
sengers from Normandy, who reached Stephen about the 
middle of June, that his allegiance was broken off. A begin- 
ning of rebellion, at least, as in England, had occurred some- 
what earlier across the channel. In May Count Waleran of 
Meulan and William of Ypres had gone back to Normandy 
to put down the disturbances there. In June, Geoffrey of 
Anjou entered the duchy again with an armed force, and 
is said to have persuaded Robert to take the side of his 
sister. Probably Robert had quite as much as Geoffrey to 
do with the concerted action which seems to have been 
adopted, and himself saw that the time had come for an 
open stand. He had been taking counsel of the Church on 
the ethics of the case. Numerous churchmen had informed 
him that he was endangering his chances of eternal life by 
not keeping his original oath. He had even applied to the 
pope, and had been told, in a written and formal reply, that 
he was under obligation to keep the oath which he had sworn 
in the presence of his father. Whether Innocent II was de- 
ciding an abstract question of morals in this answer, or was 
moved by some temporary change of policy, it is impossible 
to say. Robert's conscience was not troubled by the oath 
he had taken to Stephen except because it was in violation of 
the earlier one. That had been a conditional oath, and Rob- 
ert declared that Stephen had not kept the terms of the agree- 
ment ; besides he had no right to be king and therefore no 
right to demand allegiance. Robert's possessions in England 
were so wide, including the strong castles of Bristol and Dover, 


and his influence over the baronage was so great, that his CHAP. 
defection, though Stephen must have known for some time x 
that it was probable, was a challenge to a struggle for the 
crown more desperate than the king had yet experienced. 

It is natural to suppose that the many barons who now 
declared against the king, and fortified their castles, were in- 
fluenced by a knowledge of Robert's action, or at least by a 
knowledge that it was coming. No one of these was of the 
rank of earl. William Peverel, Ralph Lovel, and Robert of 
Lincoln, William Fitz John, William of Mohun, Ralph Paga- 
nel, and William Fitz Alan, are mentioned by name as hold- 
ing castles against the king, besides a son of Robert's and 
Geoffrey Talbot who were at Bristol, and Walkelin Maminot 
who held Dover. The movement was confined to the south- 
west, but as a beginning it was not to be neglected. Stephen 
acted with energy. He seized Robert's lands and destroyed 
his castles wherever he could get at them. A large mili- 
tary force was summoned. The queen was sent to besiege 
Dover castle, and she drew from her county of Boulogne 
a number of ships sufficient to keep up the blockade of the 
harbour. The king himself advanced from London, where he 
had apparently gone from Hereford to collect his army and 
arrange his plans, against Bristol which was the headquarters 
of Robert's party. 

Bristol was strong by nature, protected by two rivers and 
open to the sea, and it had been strongly fortified and pre- 
pared for resistance. There collected the main force of the 
rebels, vassals of Robert, or men who, like Geoffrey Talbot, 
had been dispossessed by Stephen, and many mercenaries 
and adventurers. Their resources were evidently much less 
than their numbers, and probably to supply their needs as 
well as to weaken their enemies they began the ravaging of 
the country and those cruel barbarities quickly imitated by the 
other side, and by many barons who rejoiced in the dissolu- 
tion of public authority the plundering of the weak by all 
parties from which England suffered so much during the 
war. The lands of the king and of his supporters were syste- 
matically laid waste. Cattle were driven off, movable pro- 
perty carried away, and men subjected to ingenious tortures 
to force them to give up the valuables they had concealed. 


CHAP. Robert's son, Philip Gai, acquired the reputation of a skilful 
x inventor of new cruelties. These plundering raids were car- 
ried to a distance from the city, and men of wealth were 
decoyed or kidnapped into Bristol and forced to give up their 
property. The one attempt of these marauders which was 
more of the nature of regular warfare, before the king's 
approach, illustrates their methods as well. Geoffrey Talbot 
led an attack on Bath, hoping to capture the city, but was 
himself taken and held a prisoner. On the news of this 
a plot was formed in Bristol for his release. A party was 
sent to Bath, who besought the bishop to come out and nego- 
tiate with them, promising under oath his safe return ; but 
when he complied they seized him and threatened to hang 
him unless Geoffrey were released. To this the bishop, in 
terror of his life, at last agreed. Stephen shortly after came 
to Bath on his march against Bristol, and was with difficulty V 
persuaded not to punish the bishop by depriving him of his 

Stephen found a difficult task before him at Bristol. Its 
capture by assault was impracticable. A siege would have 
to be a blockade, and this it would be very hard to make 
effective because of the difficulty of cutting off the water 
communication. Stephen's failure to command the hearty 
and honest support of his own barons is also evident here 
as in almost every other important undertaking of his life. 
All sorts of conflicting advice were given him, some of it 
intentionally misleading we are told. 1 Finally he was per- 
suaded that it would be better policy to give up the attempt 
on Bristol for the present, and to capture as many as pos- 
sible of the smaller castles held by the rebels. In this he 
was fairly successful. He took Castle Gary and Harptree, 
and, after somewhat more prolonged resistance, Shrewsbury, 
which was held by William Fitz Alan, whose wife was Earl 
Robert's niece. In this last case Stephen departed from his 
usual practice and hanged the garrison and its commander. 
The effect of this severity was seen at once. Many surren- 
ders and submissions took place, including, probably at this 
time, the important landing places of Dover and Wareham. 

In the meantime, at almost exactly the date of the surren- 

J Gcsta Sttphani, 42. 


der of Shrewsbury, affairs in the north had turned even CHAP. 
more decidedly in the king's favour. About the end of July, x 
King David of Scotland, very likely as a part of the general 
plan of attack on Stephen, had crossed the borders into Eng- 
land, for the third time this year, with a large army gathered 
from all his dominions and even from beyond. Treason to 
Stephen, which had before been suspected, now in one 
case at least openly declared itself. Eustace Fitz John, 
brother of Payne Fitz John, and like him one of Henry I's 
new men who had been given important trusts in the north, 
but who had earlier in the year been deprived by Stephen 
of the custody of Bamborough Castle on suspicion, joined 
King David with his forces, and arranged to give up his 
other castles to him. David with his motley host came on 
through Northumberland and Durham, laying waste the 
land and attacking the strongholds in his usual manner. On 
their side the barons of the north gathered in York at the 
news of this invasion, the greatest danger of the summer, but 
found themselves almost in despair at the prospect. Stephen, 
occupied with the insurrection in the south, could give them 
no aid, and their own forces seemed unequal to the task. 
Again the aged Archbishop Thurstan came forward as the 
real leader in the crisis. He pictured the sacred duty of 
defence, and under his influence barons and common men 
alike were roused to a holy enthusiasm, and the war became 
a crusade. He promised the levies of the parishes under the 
parish priests, and was with difficulty dissuaded, though he 
was ill, from encouraging in person the warriors on the battle- 
field itself. A sacred banner was given them under which 
to fight the standard from which this most famous battle of 
Stephen's reign gets its name a mast erected on a wagon, 
carrying the banners of St. Peter of York, St. John of Bev- 
erly, and St. Wilfrid of Ripon, and with a pyx at the top 
containing the Host, that, " present in his body with them, 
Christ might be their leader in the battle." The army was 
full of priests and higher clergy, who moved through the 
ranks before the fighting began, stimulating the high reli- 
gious spirit with which all were filled. 

The list of the barons who gathered to resist this invasion 
contains an unusual number of names famous in the later 


CHAP, history of England. The leader, from his age and experi- 
x ence and the general respect in which he was held, was 
Walter Espec ; the highest in rank was William of Aumale. 
Others were Robert of Bruce, William of Percy, Ilbert of 
Lacy, Richard of Courcy, Robert of Stuteville, William Fos- 
sard, Walter of Ghent, and Roger of Mowbray, who was too 
young, men thought, to be in battle. Stephen had sent a 
small reinforcement under Bernard of Balliol, and Robert 
of Ferrers was there from Derbyshire, and William Peverel 
even, though his castles were at the time defying the king 
in the further south. As the armies were drawing near 
each other, Bruce and Balliol went together to remind the 
Scottish king of all that his family owed to the kings of Eng- 
land, and to persuade him to turn back ; but they were hailed 
as traitors because they owed a partial allegiance to Scotland, 
and their mission came to nothing. 

The battle was fought early in the day on August 22 near 
Northallerton. The English were drawn up in a dense mass 
round their standard, all on foot, with a line of the best-armed 
men on the outside, standing " shield to shield and shoulder to 
shoulder," locked together in a solid ring, and behind them 
the archers and parish levies. Against this " wedge " King 
David would have sent his men-at-arms, but the half-naked 
men of Galloway demanded their right to lead the attack. 
" No one of these in armour will go further to-day than I 
will," cried a chieftain of the highlands, and the king yielded. 
But their fierce attack was in vain against the " iron wall " ; 
they only shattered themselves. David's son Henry made a 
gallant though badly executed attempt to turn the fortunes 
of the day, but this failed also, and the Scottish army was 
obliged to withdraw defeated to Carlisle. There was little 
pursuit, but the Scottish loss was heavy, and great spoil of 
baggage and armour abandoned in their hasty retreat was 
gathered by the English. David did not at once give up the 
war, but the capture of Wark and a few border forays of 
subordinates were of no influence on the result. The great 
danger of a Scottish conquest of the north or invasion of cen- 
tral England was for the present over. 

In a general balance of the whole year we must say that 
the outcome was in favour of Stephen. The rebellion had not 


been entirely subdued. Bristol still remained a threatening CHAP. 
source of future danger. Stephen himself had given the x 
impression of restless but inefficient energy, of rushing about 
with great vigour from one place to another, to besiege one 
castle or another, but of accomplishing very little. As com- 
pared with the beginning of the year he was not so strong 
or so secure as he had been ; yet still there was no serious 
falling off of power. There was nothing in the situation 
which threatened his fall, or which would hold out to his ene- 
mies any good hope of success. In Normandy the result of 
the year was but little less satisfactory. Geoffrey's invasion 
in June had been checked and driven back by Count Waleran 
and William of Ypres. In the autumn the attempt was 
renewed, and with no better result, though Argentan remained 
in Geoffrey's hands. The people of the duchy had suffered 
as much as those of England from private war and unlicensed 
pillage, but while such things indicated the weakness of 
authority they accomplished little towards its overthrow. 

During this year, 1138, Stephen adopted a method of 
strengthening himself which was imitated by his rival and by 
later kings, and which had a most important influence on the 
social and constitutional history of England. We have noticed 
already his habit of lavish gifts. Now he began to include 
the title of earl among the things to be given away to secure 
fidelity. Down to this time the policy of William the Conqueror 
had been followed by his successors, and the title had been 
very sparingly granted. Stephen's first creation was the one 
already mentioned, that of Hugh " the Poor," of Beaumont, 
as Earl of Bedford, probably just at the end of 1 137. In the 
midst of the insurrection of the south-west, Gilbert of Clare, 
husband of the sister of the three Beaumont earls, was made 
Earl of Pembroke. As a reward for their services in defeat- 
ing King David at the battle of the standard, Robert of Fer- 
rers was made Earl of Derby, and William of Aumale Earl 
of Yorkshire. Here were four creations in less than a year, 
only a trifle fewer than the whole number of earls in England 
in the last years of Henry I. In the end Stephen created 
nine earls. Matilda followed him with six others, and most 
of these new titles survived the period in the families on 
which they were conferred. It is from Stephen's action that 


CHAP, we may date the entry of this title into English history as 
x a mark of rank in the baronage, more and more freely 
bestowed, a title of honour to which a family of great posses- 
sions or influence might confidently aspire. But it must be 
remembered that the earldoms thus created are quite different 
from those of the Anglo-Saxon state or from the countships 
of France. They carried with them increase of social con- 
sideration and rank, usually some increase of wealth in grants 
from crown domains accompanying the creation, and very 
probably increased influence in state and local affairs, but 
they did not of themselves, without special grant, carry polit- 
ical functions or power, or any independence of position. 
They meant rank and title simply, not office. 

Just at the close of the year the archbishopric of Canter- 
bury was filled, after being a twelvemonth in the king's 
hands. During the vacancy the pope had sent the Bishop 
of Ostia as legate to England. He had been received with- 
out objection, had made a visitation of England, and at Car- 
lisle had been received by the Scottish king as if that city 
were a part of his kingdom. The ambition of Henry of 
Winchester to become primate of Britain was disappointed. 
He had made sure of the succession, and seems actually to 
have exercised some metropolitan authority ; perhaps he had 
even been elected to the see during the time when his 
brother's position was in danger. But now Stephen declared 
himself firmly against his preferment, and the necessary papal 
sanction for his translation from one see to another was not 
granted. Theobald, Abbot of Bee, was elected by a process 
which was in exact accordance with that afterwards de- 
scribed in the Constitutions of Clarendon, following probably 
the lines of the compromise between Henry and Anselm ; l 
and he departed with the legate to receive his pallium, 
and to attend with other bishops from England the council 
which had been called by the pope. If Stephen's refusal to 
allow his brother's advancement had been a part of a syste- 
matic policy, carefully planned and firmly executed, of weak- 
ening and finally overthrowing the great ecclesiastics and 
barons of England who were so strong as to be dangerous 

1 Gervase of Canterbury, i. 109. But see Ralph de Diceto, i. 252, n. 2, and 
Bohmer, Kirche und Staat, 375. 


to the crown, it would have been a wise act and a step towards CHAP. 
final success. But an isolated case of the sort, or two or x 
three, badly connected and not plainly parts of a progressive 
policy, could only be exasperating and in truth weakening 
to himself. We are told that Henry's anger inclined him to 
favour the Empress against his brother, and though it may 
not have been an actual moving cause, the incident was pro- 
bably not forgotten when the question of supporting Matilda 
became a pressing one. 

The year 1139, which was destined to see the king de- 
stroy by his own act all prospect of a secure and com- 
plete possession of the throne, opened and ran one-half its 
course with no change of importance in the situation. In 
April, Queen Matilda, who was in character and abilities 
better fitted to rule over England than her husband, suc- 
ceeded in making peace with King David of Scotland, who 
stood in the same relation to her as to the other Matilda, the 
Empress, since she was the daughter of his sister Mary. 
The earldom of Northumberland was at last granted to 
Henry, except the two strong castles of Newcastle and Barn- 
borough, and under certain restrictions, and the Scots gave 
hostages for the keeping of the peace. At the same date, 
in the great Lateran council at Rome, to which the English 
bishops had gone with the legate, the pope seems to have 
put his earlier decision in favour of Stephen into formal and 
public shape. In Stephen's mind this favour of the pope's 
was very likely balanced by another act of his which had 
just preceded it, by which Henry of Winchester had been 
created papal legate in England. By this appointment he was 
given supreme power over the English Church, and gained 
nearly all that he had hoped to get by becoming Archbishop 
of Canterbury. Personally Stephen was occupied during the 
early months of the year, as he had been the year before, in 
attacking the castles which were held against him; but in 
the most important case, the siege of Ludlow castle, he met 
with no success. 

At the end of June the great council of the kingdom came 
together at Oxford, and there it was that Stephen committed 
the fatal mistake which turned the tide of affairs against him. 
Of all the men who had been raised to power in the service 


CHAP, of Henry I, none occupied so commanding a position as 
x Roger, Bishop of Salisbury. As a priest he had attracted 
the attention of Henry before he became king by the quick- 
ness with which he got through the morning mass ; he was 
taken into his service, and steadily rose higher and higher 
until he became the head of the whole administrative system, 
standing next to the king when he was in England, and exer- 
cising the royal authority, as justiciar, when he was absent. 
In his rise he had carried his family with him. His nephew 
Alexander was Bishop of Lincoln. Another nephew Nigel 
was Bishop of Ely. His son Roger was chancellor of the 
kingdom. The administrative and financial system was still 
in the hands of the family. The opportunities which they 
had enjoyed for so many years to enrich themselves from the 
public revenues, very likely as a tacitly recognized part of the 
payment of their services, they had not neglected. But they 
had gone further than this. Evidently with some ulterior 
object in view, but with precisely what we can only guess, 
they had been strengthening royal castles in their hands, and 
even building new ones. That bishops should fortify castles of 
their own, like barons, was not in accordance with the theory 
of the Church, nor was it in accordance with the custom in 
England and Normandy. The example had been followed 
apparently by Henry of Winchester, who had under his con- 
trol half a dozen strongholds. The situation would in itself, 
and in any circumstances, be a dangerous one. In the pre- 
sent circumstances the suspicion would be natural that a family 
which owed so much to King Henry was secretly preparing 
to aid his daughter in an attempt to gain the throne, and 
this suspicion was generally held by the king's party. To 
this may be added the fact that, in the blow which he now 
struck, we very possibly have an attempt on Stephen's part 
to carry further the policy of weakening, in the interest of 
the crown, the too strong ecclesiastical and baronial element 
in the state, which he had begun in refusing the archbishopric 
of Canterbury to his brother. The wealth of the family may 
have been an additional incentive, and intrigues against these 
bishops by the powerful house of Beaumont are mentioned. 
There is no reason to suppose, however, that the Beaumonts 
were not acting, as they had so often done, in the real inter- 


ests of the king, which plainly demanded the breaking up of CHAP. 
this threatening power. There was nothing to indicate that x 
the present was not a favourable time to undertake it, and 
the best accounts of these events give us the impression that 
Stephen was acting throughout with much confidence and a 
feeling of strength and security. 

Whatever may have been his motive, Stephen's first move 
at the beginning of the Oxford meeting was the extreme one 
of ordering the arrest of bishops Roger and Alexander. The 
pretext for this was a street brawl between some of their men 
and followers of the Beaumonts, and their subsequent refusal 
to surrender to the king the keys of their castles. A step of 
this kind would need clear reasons to justify it and much real 
strength to make it in the end successful. Taken on what 
looked like a mere pretext arranged for the purpose, it was 
certain to excite the alarm and opposition of the Church. 
Stephen himself hesitated, as perhaps he would have in any 
circumstances. The historian most in sympathy with his 
cause expresses his disapproval. 1 The familiar point was 
urged that the bishops were arrested, not as bishops, but as 
the king's ministers ; and this would have been sufficient under 
a king like the first two Williams. But the arrest was not all. 
The bishops were treated with much indignity, and were com- 
pelled to deliver up their castles by fear of something worse. 
In Roger's splendid castle of Devizes were his nephew, the 
Bishop of Ely, who had escaped arrest at Oxford, and Maud 
of Ramsbury, the mother of his son Roger the Chancellor. 
William of Ypres forced its surrender by making ready to 
hang the younger Roger before the walls, and Newark castle 
was driven to yield by threatening to starve Bishop Alexander. 

The indignation of the clergy is expressed by every writer 
of the time. It was probably especially bitter because Stephen 
was so deeply indebted to them for his success and had re- 
cently made them such extensive promises. Henry of Win- 
chester, who may have had personal reasons for alarm, was 
not disposed to play the part of Lanfranc and defend the 
king for arresting bishops. He evidently believed that the 
king was not strong enough to carry through his purpose, 
and that the Church was in a position to force the issue upon 

1 Gesta Stephani^ 47. 
VOL. II. 15 


CHAP. him. Acting for the first time under his commission as legate 
x which he had received in the spring of the year, he called a 
council to meet at Winchester, and summoned his brother to 
answer before it for his conduct. The council met on Au- 
gust 30. The Church was well represented. The legate's 
commission was read, and he then opened the subject in a 
Latin speech in which he denounced his brother's acts. The 
king was represented by Aubrey de Vere and the Archbishop 
of Rouen, the baron defending the king's action point by 
point, and the ecclesiastic denying the right of the bishops to 
hold castles, and maintaining the right of the king to call for 
them. The attempt of Henry did not succeed. His demand 
that the castles should be given back to the bishops until 
the question should be settled was refused, and the bishops 
were threatened with exile if they carried the case to Rome. 
The council ended without taking any action against the 
king. Some general decrees were adopted against those 
who laid hands on the clergy or seized their goods, but it 
was also declared, if we are right in attributing the action to 
this body, that the castles of the kingdom belonged to the 
king and to his barons to hold, and that the duties of the 
clergy lay in another direction. Stephen retained the bishops' 
castles and the treasures which he had found in them ; and 
when Bishop Roger died, three months later, his personal 
property was seized into the king's hands. 

While these events were going on, the Empress and her 
brother had decided that the time was favourable for a descent 
on England. In advance of their coming, Baldwin of Red- 
vers landed with some force at Wareham and intrenched 
himself in Corfe castle against the king. Matilda and Robert 
landed at Arundel on the last day of September with only 
one hundred and forty men. Stephen had abandoned the 
siege of Corfe castle on the news that they were about to 
cross, and had taken measures to prevent their landing ; but 
he had again turned away to something else, and their landing 
was unopposed. Arundel castle was in possession of Adelaide, 
the widowed queen of Henry I, now the wife of William of 
Albini. It is not possible to suppose that this place was 
selected for the invasion without a previous understanding; 
and there, in the keeping of her stepmother, Robert left his 


sister and set out immediately on his landing for Bristol, tak- CHAP. 
ing with him only twelve men. On hearing of this Stephen x 
pursued, but failed to overtake him, and turned back to 
besiege Arundel castle. Then occurred one of the most 
astonishing events of Stephen's career astonishing alike to 
his contemporaries and to us, but typical in a peculiar degree 
of the man. 

Queen Adelaide became alarmed on the approach of 
Stephen, and began to take thought of what she had to lose 
if the king should prove successful, as there was every reason 
to suppose he would ; and she proposed to abandon Matilda's 
cause and to hand her over at once to Stephen. Here was 
an opportunity to gain a most decided advantage perhaps 
to end the whole strife. With Matilda in his hands, Stephen 
would have been master of the situation. He could have 
sent her back to Normandy and so have ended the attempt 
at invasion. He could have kept her in royal captivity, or 
have demanded the surrender of her claims as the price of 
her release. Instead of seizing the occasion, as a Henry 
or a William would certainly have done, he was filled with 
chivalrous pity for his cousin's strait, and sent her with an 
escort under Henry of Winchester and Waleran of Meulan 
to join her brother at Bristol. The writers of the time 
explain his conduct by his own chivalrous spirit, and by the 
treasonable persuasions of his brother Henry, who, we may 
believe, had now reasons for disloyalty. The chivalrous 
ideals of the age certainly had great power over Stephen, 
as they would have over any one with his popular traits of 
mind and manners ; and his strange throwing away of this 
advantage was undoubtedly due to this fact, together with 
the readiness with which he yielded to the persuasions of 
a stronger spirit. The judgment of Orderic Vitalis, who 
was still writing in Normandy, is the final judgment of his- 
tory on the act : " Surely in this permission is to be seen 
the great simplicity of the king or his great stupidity, and 
he is to be pitied by all prudent men because he was unmind- 
ful of his own safety and of the security of his kingdom." 

This was the turning-point in Stephen's history. Within 
the brief space of two months, by two acts surprisingly ill- 
judged and even of folly, he had turned a position of great 



CHAP, strength, which might easily have been made permanently 
x secure, into one of great weakness ; and so long as the strug- 
gle lasted he was never able to recover what he had lost. 
By his treatment of the bishops he had turned against him- 
self the party in the state whose support had once been 
indispensable, and whose power to injure him he was soon 
to feel. By allowing Matilda and her brother to enter 
Bristol, he had given to all the diverse elements of opposi- 
tion in England the only thing they still needed, a natural 
leadership, and from an impregnable position. Either of 
these mistakes alone might not have been fatal. Their com- 
ing together as they did made then irretrievable blunders. 

No sudden falling off of strength marks the beginning of 
Stephen's decline. Two barons of the west who had been 
very closely connected with Henry I and with Robert, but 
who had both accepted Stephen, declared now for Matilda, 
Brian Fitz Count of Wallingford, and Miles of Gloucester. 
Other minor accessions in the neighbourhood seem to have 
followed. About the middle of October the Empress went 
on to Gloucester, where her followers terrorized city and 
country as they had at Bristol. Stephen conducted his 
counter-campaign in his usual manner, attacking place after 
place without waiting to finish any enterprise. The recovery 
of Malmesbury castle, which he had lost in October, was his 
only success, and this was won by persuasion rather than by 
arms. Hereford and Worcester suffered severely from at- 
tacks of Matilda's forces, and Hereford was captured. The 
occupation of Gloucester and Hereford was the most impor- 
tant success of the Empress's party, and with Bristol they 
mark the boundaries of the territory she may be said to have 
gained, with some outlying points like Wallingford, which 
the king had not been able to recover. On December n, 
Bishop Roger of Salisbury died, probably never having re- 
covered from the blow struck by Stephen in August. He had 
occupied a great place in the history of England, but it had 
been in political and constitutional, not in religious history. 
It may very likely have seemed to him, in the last three 
months of his life, that the work to which he had given 
himself, in the organization of the administrative and finan- 
cial machinery of the government, was about to be destroyed 


in the ruin of his family and the anarchy of civil war ; but CHAP. 
such forebodings, if he felt them, did not prove entirely true. x 

The year 1140 is one of the most dreary in the slow and 
wearing conflict which had now begun. No event of special 
interest tempts us to linger upon details. The year opens 
with a successful attack by the king on Nigel, Bishop of Ely, 
who had escaped at the time of his uncle's arrest, and who 
was now preparing for revolt in his bishopric. Again the 
bishop himself escaped, and joined Matilda's party, but 
Stephen took possession of the Isle of Ely. An effort to add 
Cornwall to the revolted districts was equally unsuccessful. 
Reginald of Dunstanville, a natural son of Henry I, appeared 
there in the interest of his sister, who, imitating the methods 
of Stephen, created him, at this time or a little later, Earl of 
Cornwall; but his rule was unwise, and Stephen advancing 
in person had no difficulty in recovering the country. The 
character which the war was rapidly assuming is shown by 
the attempt of Robert Fitz Hubert, a Flemish mercenary, 
to hold the strong castle of Devizes, which he had seized 
by surprise, in his own interest and in despite of both par- 
ties. He fell a victim to his own methods employed against 
himself, and was hanged by Robert of Gloucester. In 
the spring a decided difference of opinion arose between the 
king and his brother Henry about the appointment of a suc- 
cessor to Roger of Salisbury, which ended in the rejection 
of both their candidates and a long vacancy in the bishopric. 
Henry of Winchester was, however, not yet ready openly to 
abandon the cause of his brother, and he busied himself later 
in the year with efforts to bring about an understanding be- 
tween the opposing parties, which proved unavailing. A 
meeting of representatives of both sides near Bath led to no 
result, and a journey of Henry's to France, perhaps to bring 
the influence of his brother Theobald and of the king of 
France to bear in favour of peace, was also fruitless. Dur- 
ing the summer Stephen gained an advantage in securing 
the hand of Constance, the sister of Louis VII of France, for 
his son Eustace, it was believed at the time by a liberal use 
of the treasures of Bishop Roger. 

At Whitsuntide and again in August the restlessness of 
Hugh Bigod in East Anglia had forced Stephen to march 


CHAP, against him. Perhaps he felt that he had not received a large 
x enough reward for the doubtful oath which he had sworn to 
secure the king his crown. Stephen at any rate was now in 
a situation where he could not withhold rewards, or even 
refuse demands in critical cases ; and it was probably at this 
time, certainly not long after, that, following the policy he had 
now definitely adopted, he created Hugh Earl of Norfolk. A 
still more important and typical case, which probably oc- 
curred in the same year, is that of Geoffrey de Mandeville. 
Grandson of a baron of the Conquest, he was in succession to 
his father, constable of the Tower in London, and so held a 
position of great strategic importance in turbulent times. 
Early in the strife for the crown he seems to have seen very 
clearly the opportunity for self-aggrandizement which was 
offered by the uncertainty of Stephen's power, and to have 
resolved to make the most of it for his own gain without 
scruple of conscience. His demand was for the earldom of 
Essex, and this was granted him by the king. Apparently 
about the same time occurred a third case of the sort which 
completes the evidence that the weakness of Stephen's cha- 
racter was generally recognized, and that in the resulting 
attitude of many of the greater barons we have the key to his 
reign. One of the virtually independent feudal principalities 
created in England by the Conqueror and surviving to this 
time was the palatine earldom of Chester. The then earl was 
Ralph II, in succession to his father Ralph Meschin, who had 
succeeded on the death of Earl Richard in the sinking of the 
White Ship. It had been a grievance of the first Ralph that 
he had been obliged by King Henry to give up his lordship 
of Carlisle on taking the earldom, and this grievance had 
been made more bitter for the second Ralph when the lord- 
ship had been transferred to the Scots. There was trouble 
also about the inheritance of his mother Lucy, in Lincolnshire, 
in which another son of hers, Ralph's half-brother, William of 
Roumare, was interested. We infer that toward the end of 
the year 1 140 their attitude seemed threatening to the king, 
for he seems to have visited them and purchased their adher- 
ence with large gifts, granting to William the earldom of 

Then follows rapidly the series of events which led to the 


crisis of the war. The brothers evidently were not yet satis- CHAP. 
fied. Stephen had retained in his hands the castle of Lincoln, x 
and this Ralph and William seized by a stratagem. Stephen, 
informed of what had happened by a messenger from the citi- 
zens, acted with his characteristic energy at the beginning of 
any enterprise, broke up his Christmas court at London, and 
suddenly, to the great surprise of the earls, appeared in 
Lincoln with a besieging army. Ralph managed to escape 
to raise in Chester a relieving army, and at once took a step 
which becomes from this time not infrequent among the 
barons of his stamp. He applied for help to Robert of 
Gloucester, whose son-in-law he was, and offered to go over 
to Matilda with all that he held. He was received, of course, 
with a warm welcome. Robert recognized the opportunity 
which the circumstances probably offered to strike a decisive 
blow, and, gathering the strongest force he could, he advanced 
from Gloucester against the king. On the way he was joined 
by the Earl of Chester, whose forces included many Welsh 
ready to fight in an English quarrel but badly armed. The 
attacking army skirted Lincoln and appeared on the high 
road leading to it from the north, where was the best pros- 
pect of forcing an entrance to the city. 

The approach of the enemy led, as usual in Stephen's 
armies, to divided counsels. Some were in favour of retreat- 
ing and collecting a larger army, others of fighting at once. 
To fight at once would be Stephen's natural inclination, 
and he determined to risk a battle, which he must have 
known would have decisive consequences. His army he 
drew up in three bodies across the way of approach. Six 
earls were with the king, reckoning the Count of Meulan, but 
they had not brought strong forces and there were few horse- 
men. Five of these earls formed the first line. The second 
was under William of Ypres and William of Aumale, and was 
probably made up of the king's foreign troops. Stephen 
himself, with a strong band of men all on foot, was posted 
in the rear. The enemy's formation was similar. The Earl 
of Chester claimed the right to lead the attack, because the 
quarrel was his, but the men upon whom Robert most de- 
pended were the " disinherited," of whom he had collected 
many, men raised up by Matilda's father and cast down 


CHAP, by Stephen, and now ready to stake all on the hope of revenge 
x and of restoration ; and these he placed in the first line. Earl 
Ralph led the second, and himself the third. The battle was 
soon over, except the struggle round the king. His first 
and second lines were quickly swept away by the determined 
charge of Robert's men and took to flight, but Stephen and 
his men beat off several attacks before he was finally over- 
powered and forced to yield. He surrendered to Robert of 
Gloucester. Many minor barons were taken prisoners with 
him, but the six earls all escaped. The citizens of Lincoln 
were punished for their adhesion to the king's side by a sack- 
ing of the city, in which many of them were slain. Stephen 
was taken to Gloucester by Robert, and then sent to imprison- 
ment in the castle of Bristol, the most secure place which 
Matilda possessed. 



THE victory at Lincoln changed the situation of affairs at CHAP. 
a blow. From holding a little oval of territory about the XI 
mouth of the Severn as the utmost she had gained, with 
small immediate prospect of enlarging it, Matilda found the 
way to the throne directly open before her with no obstacle 
in sight not easily overcome. She set out at once for Win- 
chester. On his side, Bishop Henry was in no mood to 
stake his position and influence on the cause of his brother. 
Stephen's attitude towards him and towards the Church had 
smoothed the way for Matilda at the point where she might 
expect the first and most serious check. The negotiations 
were not difficult, but the result shows as clearly as in the 
case of Stephen the disadvantage of the crown at such a crisis, 
and the opportunity offered to the vassal, whether baron or 
bishop, who held a position of independent strength and was 
determined to use it in his own interests. The arrangement 
was called at the time a pactus a treaty. The Empress 
took oath to the bishop that all the more important business 
of England, especially the filling of bishoprics and abbacies, 
should be done according to his desire, and her oath was 
supported by those of her brother and of the leading barons 
with her. The bishop in turn received her as "Lady of 
England," and swore fealty to her as long as she should 
keep this pact. The next day, March 3, she entered the 
city, took possession of the small sum of money which had 
been left in the treasury by Stephen and of the royal crown 
which was there, entered the cathedral in solemn procession, 
supported by Henry and the Bishop of St. David's, with four 
other bishops and several abbots present, and had herself 
proclaimed at once " lady and queen of England," whatever 
the double title may mean. Certainly she intended to be 



CHAP, and believed herself nothing less than reigning queen. 1 With- 
XI out waiting for any ceremony of coronation, she appointed a 
bishop, created earls, and spoke in a formal document of her 
kingdom and her crown. 

Directly after these events Henry of Winchester had sum- 
moned a council, to learn, very likely to guide, the decision of 
the Church as to a change of allegiance. The council met in 
Winchester on April 7. On that day the legate met sepa- 
rately, in secret session, the different orders of the clergy, 
and apparently obtained from them the decision which he 
wished. The next day in a speech to the council, he recited 
the misgovernment of his brother, who, he declared, had, 
almost immediately after his accession to power, destroyed the 
peace of the kingdom ; and without any allusion to his deposi- 
tion, except to the battle of Lincoln as a judgment of God, 
and with no formal action of the council as a whole, he 
announced the choice of the Church in favour of Matilda. 
The day following, a request of the Londoners and of the 
barons who had joined them for the release of Stephen, and 
one of his queen's to the same effect, was refused. The 
Empress was not present at the council. She spent Easter 
at Oxford, receiving reports, no doubt, of the constant suc- 
cesses her party was now gaining in different parts of England. 
It was not, however, till the middle of June that London, 
naturally devoted to Stephen, was ready to receive her. 

Her reception in London marks the height of her success. 
She bought the support of the powerful Geoffrey de Mande- 
ville by confirming to him the price which he had extorted 
from Stephen, the earldom of Essex, and by bidding higher 
than her rival with gifts of lands, revenues, and privileges 
which started him on the road to independence of the crown, 
which he well knew how to follow. Preparations were no 
doubt at once begun for her coronation. Her uncle King 
David came down from Scotland to lend it dignity, but it was 
destined never to occur. Her fall was as rapid as her rise, 
and was due, even more clearly than Stephen's, to her own 
inability to rule. The violent and tyrannical blood of her 
uncle, William Rufus, showed itself in her as plainly as the 
irresolute blood of Robert Curthose in her cousin, but she 

1 See Rossler, Kaiserin Mathilde, 287 ff. 


did not wait to gain her uncle's security of position to make CHAP. 
violence and tyranny possible. Already, before she came up XI 
to London, she had offended her followers by the arrogance 
and harshness of her conduct. Now these traits of character 
proved fatal to her cause. She greatly offended the legate, 
to whom she was as deeply indebted as Stephen had been, 
and whose power to injure her she might easily understand, 
by refusing to promise that Eustace might hold his father's 
continental counties of Boulogne and Mortain. Equally 
unwise was her attitude towards London. She demanded a 
large subsidy. The request of the citizens for a confirmation 
of the laws of King Edward, because her father's were too 
heavy for them, she sternly refused. Queen Matilda, " acting 
the part of a man," advanced with her forces to the neigh- 
bourhood of the city and brought home to the burghers the 
evils of civil war. They were easily moved. A sudden 
uprising of the city forced the Empress to "ignominious" 
flight, leaving her baggage behind. She retreated to Oxford, 
and Matilda the queen entered the recovered city. Geoffrey 
de Mandeville at once brought his allegiance to the new 
market and obtained, it is probable, another advance of price ; 
and Henry of Winchester was easily persuaded to return 
to his brother's side. "Behold," says the historian of the 
Empress's party, " while she was thinking that she could im- 
mediately possess all England, everything changed." He adds 
that the change was her own fault, and in this he was right. 1 
But Matilda was not ready to accept calmly so decided 
a reverse, nor to allow Winchester to remain in undisturbed 
possession of her enemies, and her brother Robert was not. 
They had been driven from London on June 24. At the 
end of July, with a strong force, they attacked the older 
capital city, took possession of a part of it, forced the bishop 
to flee, and began the siege of his castle. At once the 
leaders of Stephen's cause, encouraged by recent events, 
gathered against them. While the Empress besieged the 
bishop's men from within, she was herself besieged from with- 
out by superior forces. At last the danger of being cut off 
from all supplies forced her to retreat, and in the retreat 
Robert of Gloucester, protecting his sister's flight, was himself 

1 William of Malmesbury, sec. 497. 


CHAP, captured. This was a great stroke of fortune, because it bal- 
XI anced for practical purposes the capture of Stephen at the 
battle of Lincoln, and it at once suggested an even exchange. 
Negotiations were not altogether easy. Robert modestly in- 
sisted that he was not equal to a king, but the arrangement 
was too obvious to admit of failure, and the exchange was 
effected at the beginning of November. 

Since the middle of June the course of affairs had turned 
rapidly in favour of the king, but he was still far from having 
recovered the position of strength which he occupied before 
the landing of Matilda. Oxford was still in her hands, and 
so was a large part of the west of England. The Earl of 
Chester was still on her side, though he had signified his 
willingness to change sides if he were properly received. 
Stephen had yet before him a hard task in recovering his 
kingdom, and he never accomplished it. The war dragged on 
its slow length for more than ten years. Its dramatic period, 
however, was now ended. Only the story of Matilda's flight 
from Oxford enlivens the later narrative. Siege and skirmish, 
treason and counter-treason, fill up the passing months, but 
bring the end no nearer, until the entry of the young Henry 
on the scene lends a new element of interest and decision to 
the dull movement of events. 

At first after his release Stephen carried on the work 
of restoration rapidly and without interruption. London re- 
ceived him with joy. At Christmas time he wore his crown 
at Canterbury ; he was probably, indeed, re-crowned by the 
archbishop, to make good any defect which his imprisonment 
might imply. Already, on December 7, a new council, assem- 
bling in Westminster, had reversed the decisions of the coun- 
cil of Winchester, and, supported by a new declaration of the 
pope in a letter to the legate, had restored the allegiance of 
the Church to Stephen. At the Christmas assembly Geoffrey 
de Mandeville secured from the king the reward of his latest 
shift of sides, in a new charter which increased a power 
already dangerous and made him an almost independent 
prince. In the creation of two new earls a short time before, 
William of Albini as Earl of Sussex or Arundel, and Gilbert 
of Clare as Earl of Hertford, Stephen sought to confirm a 
doubtful, and to reward a steady, support. No event of im- 


portance marks the opening months of 1142. Lent was CHAP. 
spent in a royal progress through eastern England, where as XI 
yet the Empress had obtained no footing, to York. On the 
way, at Stamford, he seems to have recovered the allegiance 
of the Earl of Chester and of his brother, the Earl of Lin- 
coln, a sure sign of the change which had taken place since 
the battle in which they had overcome him so disastrously 
a year before. 

In the summer Stephen again assumed the offensive and 
pushed the attack on his enemies with energy and skill. 
After a series of minor successes he advanced against the 
Empress herself at Oxford, where she had made her head- 
quarters since the loss of London. Her brother Robert, who 
was the real head of her party, was now in Normandy, 
whither he had gone to persuade Geoffrey to lend the sup- 
port of his personal presence to his wife's cause in England, 
but he had made sure, as he believed, of his sister's safety 
before going. The fortifications of Oxford had been strength- 
ened. The barons had pledged themselves to guard Matilda, 
and hostages had been exacted from some as a check on the 
fashion of free desertion. It seems to have been felt, how- 
ever, that Stephen would not venture to attack Oxford, and 
there had been no special concentration of strength in the 
city ; so that when he suddenly appeared on the south, having 
advanced down the river from the west, he was easily able to 
disperse the burghers who attempted to dispute his passage 
of the river, and to enter one of the gates with them in their 
flight. The town was sacked, and the king then sat down to 
a siege of the castle. The siege became a blockade, which 
lasted from the end of September to near Christmas time, 
though it was pushed with all the artillery of the age, and a 
blockade in which the castle was carefully watched day and 
night. Stephen seems to have changed his mind since the 
time when he had besieged Matilda in Arundel castle, and to 
have been now determined to take his rival prisoner. The 
barons who had promised to protect the Empress gathered at 
Wallingford, but did not venture to attempt a direct raising 
of the siege. Robert of Gloucester returned from Normandy 
about December i, but Stephen allowed him to win a small 
success or two, and kept steadily to his purpose. 


CHAP. As it drew near to Christmas provisions became low in 
XI the castle, and the necessity of surrender unpleasantly clear. 
Finally Matilda determined to attempt a bold escape. It 
was a severe winter and the ground was entirely covered with 
snow. With only a few attendants three and five are both 
mentioned she was let down with ropes from a tower, and, 
clad all in white, stole through the lines of the besiegers, 
detected only by a sentry, who raised no alarm. With deter- 
mined spirit and endurance she fled on foot through the 
winter night and over difficult ways to Abingdon, six miles 
away. There she obtained horses and rode on to Walling- 
ford, where she was safe. The castle of Oxford immediately 
surrendered to Stephen, but the great advantage for which 
he had striven had escaped him when almost in his hands. 
Robert of Gloucester, who was preparing to attempt the 
raising of the siege, at once joined his sister at Walling- 
ford, and brought with him her son, the future Henry II, 
sent over in place of his father, on his first visit to England. 
Henry was now in his tenth year, and for four years and 
more he remained in England in the inaccessible stronghold 
of Bristol, studying with a tutor under the guardianship of 
his uncle. Robert's mission of the previous summer, to get 
help for Matilda in England, proved more useful to Geoffrey 
than to his wife. During a rapid campaign the conquest of 
the duchy had at last been really begun, and in the two fol- 
lowing years it was carried to a successful conclusion. On 
January 20, 1144, the city of Rouen surrendered to the Count 
of Anjou, though the castle held out for some time longer. 
Even Waleran of Meulan recognized the new situation of 
affairs, and gave his aid to the cause of Anjou, and before 
the close of the year Louis VII formally invested Geoffrey 
with the duchy. This much of the plan of Henry I was 
now realized ; Stephen never recovered possession of Nor- 
mandy. But without England, it was realized in a way which 
destroyed the plan itself, and England was still far from any 
union with the Angevin dominions. 

By the time the conquest of Normandy was completed, 
events of equal interest had taken place in England, in- 
volving the fall of the powerful and shifty Earl of Essex, 
Geoffrey de Mandeville. Soon after Easter, 1142, he had 


found an opportunity for another prudent and profitable CHAP. 
change of sides. The king had fallen ill on his return from XI 
the north, and, once more, as at the beginning of his reign, 
the report of his death was spread abroad. Geoffrey seems 
to have hurried at once to the Empress, as a probable source 
of future favours, and to have carried with him a small crowd 
of his friends and relatives, including the equally unscrupu- 
lous Hugh Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. Matilda, who was then at 
Oxford, and had no prospect of any immediate advance, was 
again ready to give him all he asked. Her fortunes were at 
too low an ebb to warrant her counting the cost, and in any 
case what she was buying was of great value if she could make 
sure that the sellers would keep faith. Geoffrey, with his 
friends, and Nigel, Bishop of Ely, who was already on her 
side, controlling Essex, Hertford, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cam- 
bridge, could give her possession of as large a territory on 
the east of England as she now held on the west, and this 
would very likely carry with it the occupation of London 
once more, and would threaten to cut the kingdom of Stephen 
into two detached fragments. Geoffrey was in a position to 
drive a good bargain, and he did so. New lands and reve- 
nues, new rights and privileges, were added to those he had 
already extorted from both sides ; the Empress promised to 
make no peace without his consent with his " mortal enemies," 
the burghers of London, towards whom she probably had her- 
self just then no great love. Geoffrey's friends were admit- 
ted to share with him in the results of his careful study of the 
conditions of the market, especially his brother-in-law, Aubrey 
de Vere, who was made Earl by his own choice of Cambridge, 
but in the end of Oxford, probably because Matilda's cousin, 
Henry of Scotland, considered that Cambridge was included 
in his earldom of Huntingdon. What price was offered to 
Hugh Bigod, or to Gilbert Clare, Earl of Pembroke, who seems 
to have been of the number, we do not know. 

As a matter of fact, neither Geoffrey nor the Empress 
gained anything from this bargaining. Stephen was not 
dead, and his vigorous campaign of the summer of 1142 
evidently made it seem prudent to Geoffrey to hold his 
intended treason in reserve for a more promising opportunity. 
It is probable that Stephen soon learned the facts, before 


CHAP, very long they became common talk, but he awaited on his 
XI side a better opportunity to strike. The earl had grown too 
powerful to be dealt with without considering ways and means. 
Contemporary writers call him the most powerful man in 
England, and they regard his abilities with as much respect 
as his possessions and power. Stephen took his opportunity 
in the autumn of 1143, at a court held at St. Albans. The 
time was not wisely chosen. Things had not been going 
well with him during the summer. At Wilton he had been 
badly defeated by the Earl of Gloucester, and nearly half of 
England was in Matilda's possession or independent of his 
own control. But he yielded to the pressure of Geoffrey's 
enemies at the court, and ordered and secured his arrest 
on a charge of treason. The stroke succeeded no better than 
such measures usually did with Stephen, for he was always 
satisfied with a partial success. A threat of hanging forced 
the earl to surrender his castles, including the Tower of 
London, and then he was released. Geoffrey was not the 
man to submit to such a sudden overthrow without a trial of 
strength. With some of his friends he instantly appealed to 
arms, took possession of the Isle of Ely, where he was sure 
of a friendly reception, seized Ramsey Abbey, and turning 
out the monks made a fortress of it, and kept his forces in 
supplies by cruelly ravaging the surrounding lands. 

It has been thought that the famous picture of the suffer- 
ings of the people of England during the anarchy of Stephen's 
reign, which was written in the neighbouring city of Peter- 
borough, where the last of the English Chronicles was now 
drawing to its close, gained its vividness from the writer's 
personal knowledge of the horrors of this time; and this 
is probable, though he speaks in general terms. His pitiful 
account runs thus in part : " Every powerful man made his 
castles and held them against him [the king] ; and they 
filled the land full of castles. They cruelly oppressed the 
wretched men of the land with castle-works. When the 
castles were made, they filled them with devils and evil men. 
Then took they those men that they thought had any 
property . . . and put them in prison for their gold and 
silver, and tortured them with unutterable torture ; for never 
were martyrs so tortured as they were. They hanged them 


up by the feet and smoked them with foul smoke ; they CHAP. 
hanged them by the thumbs or by the head and hung armour XI 
on their feet ; they put knotted strings about their heads and 
writhed them so that they went into the brain. They put 
them in dungeons in which were adders, and snakes, and 
toads, and killed them so. ... Then was corn dear, and 
flesh, and cheese, and butter ; for there was none in the land. 
Wretched men died of hunger ; some went seeking alms who 
at one while were rich men ; some fled out of the land. 
Never yet had more wretchedness been in the land, nor 
ever did heathen men do worse than they did; for often- 
times they forbore neither church nor churchyard, but took 
all the property that was therein and then burned the church 
and all together. . . . However a man tilled, the earth bare 
no corn ; for the land was all fordone by such deeds ; and 
they said openly that Christ and his saints slept." 

Geoffrey de Mandeville's career of plundering and sacri- 
lege was not destined to continue long. Towards the end 
of the summer of 1 144, he was wounded in the head by an 
arrow, in an attack on a. fortified post which the king had 
established at Burwell to hold his raids in check; and soon 
after he died. His body was carried to the house of the Tem- 
plars in London, but for twenty years it could not be received 
into consecrated ground, for he had died with his crimes 
unpardoned and under the ban of the Church, which was 
only removed after these years by the efforts of his younger 
son, a new Earl of Essex. To the great power for which 
Geoffrey was playing, to his independent principality, or to 
his possibly even higher ambition of controlling the destinies 
of the crown of England, there was no successor. His eldest 
son, Ernulf, shared his father's fall and condemnation, and 
was disinherited, though from him there descended a family 
holding for some generations a minor position in Oxford- 
shire. Twelve years after the death of Geoffrey, his second 
son also Geoffrey was made Earl of Essex by Henry II, 
and his faithful service to the king, and his brother's after 
him, were rewarded by increasing possessions and influence 
that almost rivalled their father's ; but the wilder designs 
and unscrupulous methods of the first Earl of Essex perished 
with him. 

VOL. II. 1 6 


CHAP. The years 1144 and 1145 were on the whole prosperous 
XI for Stephen. A number of minor successes and minor acces- 
sions from the enemy made up a general drift in his favour. 
Even the Earl of Gloucester's son Philip, with a selfishness 
typical of the time, turned against his father ; but the most 
important desertion to the king was that of the Earl of Ches- 
ter, who joined him in 1146 and made a display of zeal, real 
or pretended, in his service. Starting with greater power 
and a more independent position than Geoffrey de Mande- 
ville, and perhaps less openly bartering his allegiance to one 
side and the other at a constantly rising price, he had still 
pursued the same policy and with even greater success. His 
design was hardly less than the carving out of a state for him- 
self from western and northern England, and during much 
of this disjointed time he seems to have carried himself with 
no regard to either side. To go over to the king so soon after 
the fall of the Earl of Essex was, it is likely, to take some 
risk, and as in the former case there was a party at the court 
which influenced Stephen against him. His refusal, not- 
withstanding his zeal, to restore castles and lands belonging 
to the king, and his attempt to induce Stephen to aid him 
against the Welsh, which was considered a plot to get posses- 
sion of the king's person, led to his arrest. Again Stephen 
followed his habitual policy of forcing the surrender of his 
prisoner's castles, or certain of them, and then releasing him ; 
and again the usual result followed, the instant insurrection 
of the earl. His real power had hardly been lessened by 
giving up the king's castles, to which he had been forced, 
and it was not easy to attack him. On a later visit of the 
young Henry to England, he obtained from him, and even 
from the king of Scotland, to whom he had long been hostile, 
large additions to his coveted principality in the west and 
north; but Stephen at once bid higher, and for a grant 
including the same possessions and more he abandoned his 
new allies. On Henry's final visit, in 1153, when the tide 
was fairly turning in his favour, another well-timed treason 
secured the earl his winnings and great promises for the 
future ; but in this same year he died, poisoned, as it was be- 
lieved, by one whose lands he had obtained. Out of the 
breaking up of England and the helplessness of her rulers 


arose no independent feudalism. Higher titles and wider CHAP. 
lands many barons did gain, but the power of the king XI 
emerged in the end still supreme, and the worst of the per- 
manent evils of the feudal system, a divided state, though 
deliberately sought and dangerously near, was at last 

With the death of Pope Innocent II, in September, 1143, a 
new period opened in the relation of the English Church and 
of the English king towards the papacy. Innocent had been 
on the whole favourable to Stephen's cause. His successor, 
Celestine II, was as favourable to Anjou, but his papacy was 
so short that nothing was done except to withhold a renewal 
of Henry of Winchester's commission as legate. Lucius II, 
who succeeded in March, 1 144, sent his own legate to Eng- 
land; but he was not a partisan of either side, and seems 
even perhaps by way of compensation to have taken 
steps towards creating an independent archbishopric in the 
south-west in Henry's favour. His papacy again lasted less 
than a year, and his successor, Eugenius III, whose reign 
lasted almost to the end of Stephen's, was decidedly un- 
friendly. Henry of Winchester was for a time suspended ; 
and the king's candidate for the archbishopric of York, 
William Fitz Herbert, afterwards St. William of York, 
whose position had long been in doubt, for though he had 
been consecrated he had not received his pallium, was 
deposed, and in his place the Cistercian Abbot of Fountains, 
Henry Murdac, was consecrated by the Cistercian pope. 
This was the beginning of open conflict. Henry Murdac 
could not get possession of his see, and Archbishop Theo- 
bald was refused permission to attend a council summoned 
by the pope at Reims for March, 1 148. He went secretly, 
crossing the channel in a fishing boat, and was enthusiasti- 
cally received by the pope. The Bishop of Winchester was 
again suspended, and other bishops with him ; several abbots 
were deposed ; and Gilbert Foliot, a decided partisan of 
Matilda's, was designated Bishop of Hereford. The pope 
was with difficulty persuaded to postpone the excommuni- 
cation of Stephen himself, and steps were actually taken to 
reopen before the Roman court the question of his right to 
the throne. Stephen, on his side, responded with promptness 

1 6* 


CHAP, and vigour. He refused to acknowledge the right of the 
XI pope to reopen the main question. The primate was banished 
and his temporalities confiscated. Most of the English clergy 
were kept on the king's side, and in some way there is 
some evidence that the influence of Queen Matilda was 
employed the serious danger which threatened Stephen 
from the Church in the spring of 1148 was averted. Peace 
was made in November with Archbishop Theobald, who had 
ineffectually tried an interdict, and he was restored to his see 
and revenues. The practical advantage, on the whole, re- 
mained with the king; but in the course of these events a 
young man, Thomas Becket, in the service of the archbishop, 
acquired a training in ideas and in methods which was to 
serve him well in a greater struggle with a greater king. 

In the spring of the next year, young Henry of Anjou 
made an attempt on England, and found his enemies still 
too strong for him. In the interval since his first visit, 
Robert of Gloucester, the wisest of the leaders of the Ange- 
vin cause, had died in his fortress of Bristol in 1174; and in 
February of 1148, Matilda herself had given up her long 
and now apparently hopeless struggle in England, and gone 
back to the home of her husband, though she seems to have 
encouraged her son in his new enterprise by her presence in 
England at least for a time. 1 The older generation was dis- 
appearing from the field ; the younger was preparing to go 
on with the conflict. In 1149 Henry was sixteen years old, a 
mature age in that time, and it might well have been thought 
that it was wise to put him forward as leader in his own 
cause. The plan for this year seems to have been an attack 
on Stephen from the north by the king of Scotland in al- 
liance with the Earl of Chester, and Henry passed rapidly 
through western England to Carlisle, where he was knighted 
by King David. Their army, which advanced to attack Lan- 
caster, accomplished nothing, because, as has been related, 
the allegiance of Ralph of Chester, on whom they depended, 
had been bought back by Stephen ; and Stephen himself, 
waiting with his army at York, found that he had nothing 
to do. The Scottish force withdrew, and Henry, again dis- 
appointed, was obliged to return to Normandy. 

1 See the Athenaum, February 6, 1904, p. 177. 


Three years later the young Henry made another and CHAP. 
finally successful attempt to win his grandfather's throne, XI 
but in the interval great changes had occurred. Of these 
one fell in the year next following, 1150. Soon after Henry's 
return from England, his father had handed over to him 
the only portion of his mother's inheritance which had yet 
been recovered, the duchy of Normandy, and retired himself 
to his hereditary dominions. Geoffrey had never shown, 
so far as we know, any interest in his wife's campaigns in 
England, and had confined his attention to Normandy, in 
which one who was still primarily a count of Anjou would 
naturally have the most concern ; and of all the efforts of the 
family this was the only one which was successful. Now 
while still a young man, with rare disregard of self, he gave 
up his conquest to his son, who had been brought up to con- 
sider himself as belonging rather to England than to Anjou. 
On the other side of the channel, during this year 1150, 
Stephen seems to have decided upon a plan which he bent 
every effort in the following years to carry out, but unsuccess- 
fully, the plan of securing a formal recognition of his son 
Eustace as his successor in the throne, or even as king with 
him. At least this is the natural explanation of the recon- 
ciliation which took place near the close of the year, between 
Eustace and his father on one side and Henry Murdac on the 
other, by which the archbishop was at last admitted to his see 
of York, and then set off immediately for Rome to persuade 
the pope to recognize Eustace, and even to consecrate the 
young man in person. 

In England the practice of crowning the son king in the 
father's lifetime had never been followed, as it had been in 
some of the continental states, notably in France; but the 
conditions were now exactly those which would make such 
a step seem desirable to the holder of the crown. By this 
means the Capetian family had maintained undisputed posses- 
sion of the throne through turbulent times with little real 
power of their own, and they were now approaching the 
point when they could feel that the custom was no longer 
necessary. The decision to attempt this method of securing 
the succession while still in possession of power, rather than 
to leave it to the uncertain chances that would follow his 


CHAP, death, was for Stephen natural and wise. It is interesting to 
notice how indispensable the consent of the Church was con- 
sidered, as the really deciding voice in the matter, and it was 
this that Stephen was not able to secure. The pope this 
was about Easter time of 1151 rejected almost with indig- 
nation the suggestion of Murdac, on the ground of the vio- 
lated oath, and forbade any innovation to be made concerning 
the crown of England, because this was a subject of litiga- 
tion ; he also directed, very probably at this time, the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, it was said at the suggestion of Thomas 
Becket, to refuse to crown Eustace. 

With his duchy of Normandy, Henry had inherited at 
the same time the danger of trouble with the king of 
France, for his father had greatly displeased Louis by laying 
siege to the castle of a seditious vassal of Anjou who hap- 
pened to be a favourite of the king. It would seem that 
this state of things suggested to Eustace an attack on Nor- 
mandy in alliance with King Louis, but the attempt was fruit- 
less. Twice during the summer of 1151 French armies 
invaded Normandy ; the first led by the king himself. Both 
invasions were met by Henry at the head of his troops, but 
no fighting occurred on either occasion. On the second 
invasion, Louis was ill of a fever in Paris, and negotiations 
for peace were begun, the Church interesting itself to this 
end. Geoffrey and Henry certainly had no wish for war. 
The king's friend, who had been captured, was handed over 
to him ; the Norman Vexin was surrendered to France ; and 
in return Louis recognized Henry as Duke of Normandy and 
accepted his homage. Henry at once ordered an assembly 
of the Norman barons, on September 14, to consider the 
invasion of England ; but his plans were interrupted by the 
sudden death of his father a week before this date. Geoffrey 
was then in his thirty-ninth year. The course of his life had 
been marked out for him by the plans of others, and it is 
obscured for us by the deeper interest of the struggle in 
England, and by the greater brilliancy of his son's history ; 
but in the conquest of Normandy he had accomplished a work 
which was of the highest value to his house, and of the 
greatest assistance to the rapid success of his son on a wider 


Events were now steadily moving in favour of Henry. At CHAP. 
the close of 1151, the death of his father added the county XI 
of Anjou to his duchy of Normandy. Early in 1152 a larger 
possession than these together, and a most brilliant promise 
of future power, came to him through no effort of his own. 
We have seen how at the beginning of the reign of Stephen, 
when Henry himself was not yet five years old, Eleanor, 
heiress of Aquitaine, had been married to young Louis of 
France, who became in a few weeks, by the death of his 
father, King Louis VII. Half a lifetime, as men lived in 
those days, they had spent together as man and wife, with no 
serious lack of harmony. The marriage, however, could 
never have been a very happy one. Incompatibility of tem- 
per and tastes must long have made itself felt before the 
determination to dissolve the marriage was reached. Mascu- 
line in character, strong and full of spirit, Eleanor must 
have looked with some contempt on her husband, who was 
losing the energy of his younger days and passing more and 
more under the influence of the darker and more superstitious 
elements in the religion of the time, and she probably did not 
hesitate to let her opinion be known. She said he was a 
monk and not a king. To this, it is likely, was added the 
fact it may very possibly have been the deciding considera- 
tion that during the more than fourteen years of the mar- 
riage but two daughters had been born, and the Capetian 
house still lacked an heir. Whatever may have been the 
reason, a divorce was resolved upon not long after their 
return in 1 149 from the second crusade. The death in Janu- 
ary, 1152, of Louis VTs great minister, Suger, whose still 
powerful influence, for obvious political reasons, had hindered 
the final steps, made the way clear. In March an assembly 
of clergy, with many barons in attendance, declared the mar- 
riage void on the convenient and easily adjustable principle 
of too near relationship, and Eleanor received back her great 

It was not likely that a woman of the character of Eleanor 
and of her unusual attractions, alike of person and posses- 
sions, would quietly accept as final the position in which this 
divorce had left her. After escaping the importunate wooings 
of a couple of suitors who sought to intercept her return to 


CHAP, her own dominions, she sent a message to Henry of Anjou, 
XI and he responded at once. In the third week of May they 
were married at Poitiers, two months after the divorce. In 
a few weeks' time, by two brief ecclesiastical ceremonies, the 
greatest feudal state of France, a quarter of the kingdom, had 
been transferred from the king to an uncontrollable vassal who 
practically held already another quarter. The king of France 
was reduced as speedily from a position of great apparent 
power and promise to the scanty territories of the Capetian 
domain, and brought face to face with the danger of not distant 
ruin to the plans of his house. To Henry, at the very begin- 
ning of his career, was opened the immediate prospect of an 
empire greater than any which existed at that time in Europe 
under the direct rule of any other sovereign. If he could 
gain England, he would bear sway, as king in reality if not in 
name, from Scotland to the Pyrenees, and from such a begin- 
ning what was there that might not be gained ? Why these 
hopes were never realized, how the Capetian kings escaped 
this danger, must fill a large part of our story to the death of 
Henry's youngest son, King John. At the date of his mar- 
riage Henry had just entered on his twentieth year. Eleanor 
was nearly twelve years older. If she had sought happiness 
in her new marriage, she did not find it, at least not perma- 
nently ; and many later years were spent in open hostility with 
Henry, or closely confined in his prisons ; but whatever may 
have been her feelings towards him, she found no occasion to 
regard her second husband with contempt. Their eldest son, 
William, who did not survive infancy, was born on August 
17, 1153, and in succession four other sons were born to them 
and three daughters. 

The first and most obvious work which now lay before 
Henry was the conquest of England, and the plans which 
had been earlier formed for this object and deferred by these 
events were at once taken up. By the end of June the 
young bridegroom was at Barfleur preparing to cross the 
channel with an invading force. But he was not to be per- 
mitted to enjoy his new fortunes unchallenged. Louis VII 
in particular had reasons for interfering, and the law was on 
his side. The heiress Eleanor had no right to marry without 
the consent of her feudal suzerain. A summons, it is said, 


was at once served on Henry to appear before the king's court CHAP. 
and answer for his conduct, 1 and this summons, which Henry XI 
refused to obey, was supported by a new coalition. Louis 
and Eustace were again in alliance, and they were joined by 
Henry's own brother Geoffrey, who could make considerable 
trouble in the south of Henry's lands, by Robert of Dreux, 
Count of Perche, and by Eustace's cousin Henry, Count of 
Champagne. Stephen's brother Theobald had died at the 
beginning of the year, and his great dominions had been 
divided, Champagne and Blois being once more separated, 
never to be reunited until they were absorbed at different 
dates into the royal domain. This coalition was strong 
enough to check Henry's plan of an invasion of England, 
but it did not prove a serious danger, though the allies are 
said to have formed a plan for the partition of all the Angevin 
empire among themselves. For some reason their campaign 
does not seem to have been vigorously pushed. The young 
duke was able to force his brother to come to terms, and he 
succeeded in patching up a rather insecure truce with King 
Louis. On this, however, he dared to rely enough or per- 
haps he trusted to the situation as he understood it to ven- 
ture at last, in January, 1 1 53, on his long-deferred expedition to 
recover his mother's kingdom. Stephen had begun the siege 
of the important fortress of Wallingford, and a new call for aid 
had come over to Normandy from the hard-pressed garrison. 
In the meantime, during the same days when the divorce 
and remarriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine were making such a 
change in the power and prospects of his competitor for the 
crown, Stephen had made a new attempt to secure the pos- 
session of that crown firmly to his son Eustace. A meeting 
of the great council of the kingdom, or of that part which 
obeyed Stephen, was called at London early in April, 1152. 
This body was asked to sanction the immediate consecration 
of Eustace as king. The barons who were present were 
ready to agree, and they swore allegiance to him and probably 
did homage, which was as far as the barons by themselves 
could go. The prelates, however, under the lead of the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry of Winchester is not 
mentioned in this case, flatly refused to perform the conse- 

1 But see Lot, FidUcs ou Vassavx (1904), 205-212. 


CHAP, cration. The papal prohibition of any such act still held good, 
XI and the clergy of England had been given, as they would 
recall the past, no reason to disobey the pope in the interests 
of King Stephen. The king, in great anger, appealed 
to force against them, but without avail. Temporary im- 
prisonment of the prelates at the council, in a house together, 
even temporary confiscation of the baronies of some of them, 
did not move them, and Stephen was obliged to postpone his 
plan once more. The archbishop again escaped to the con- 
tinent to await the course of events, and Stephen appealed to 
the sword to gain some new advantage to balance this decided 
rebuff. Then followed the vigorous siege of Wallingford, 
which called Henry into England at the beginning of January. 
The force which Henry brought with him crossed the 
channel in thirty-six ships, and was estimated at the time at 
140 men-at-arms and 3000 foot-soldiers, a very respectable 
army for that day ; but the duke's friends in England very 
likely formed their ideas of the army he would bring from the 
breadth of his territories, and they expressed their disappoint- 
ment. Henry was to win England, however, not by an inva- 
sion, but by the skill of his management and by the influence 
of events which worked for him here as on the continent with- 
out an effort of his own. Now it was that Ralph of Chester 
performed his final change of sides and sold to Henry, at the 
highest price which treason reached in any transaction of this 
long and favourable time, the aid which was so necessary to 
the Angevin success. Henry's first attempt was against the 
important castle of Malmesbury, midway between Bristol and 
Wallingford, and Stephen was not able to prevent its fall. 
Then the garrison of Wallingford was relieved, and the 
intrenched position of Stephen's forces over against the 
castle was invested. The king came up with an army to pro- 
tect his men, and would gladly have joined battle and settled 
the question on the spot, but once more his barons refused to 
fight. They desired nothing less than the victory of one of 
the rivals, which would bring the chance of a strong royal 
power and of their subjection to it. Apparently Henry's 
barons held the same view of the case, and assisted in forcing 
the leaders to agree to a brief truce, the advantage of which 
would in reality fall wholly to Henry. 


From Wallingford Henry marched north through central CHAP. 
England, where towns and castles one after another fell into XI 
his hands. From Wallingford also, Eustace withdrew from 
his father, greatly angered by the truce which had been made, 
and went off to the east on an expedition of his own which 
looks much like a plundering raid. Rashly he laid waste the 
lands of St. Edmund, who was well known to be a fierce pro- 
tector of his own and to have no hesitation at striking even 
a royal robber. Punishment quickly followed the offence. 
Within a week Eustace was smitten with madness and died 
on August 17, a new and terrible warning of the fate of the 
sacrilegious. This death changed the whole outlook for the 
future. Stephen had no more interest in continuing the war 
than to protect himself. His wife had now been dead for 
more than a year. His next son, William, had never looked 
forward to the crown, and had hever been prominent in the 
struggle. He had been lately married to the heiress of the 
Earl of Surrey, and if he could be secured in the quiet and 
undisputed possession of this inheritance and of the lands 
which his father had granted him, and of the still broader 
lands in Normandy and England which had belonged to 
Stephen before he seized the crown, then the advantage might 
very well seem to the king, near the close of his stormy life, 
greater than any to be gained from the desperate struggle 
for the throne. The Archbishop of Canterbury, who had by 
some means returned to England, proposed peace, and under- 
took negotiations between the king and the duke, supported 
by Henry of Winchester. Henry of Anjou could well afford 
to wait. The delay before he could in this way obtain the 
crown would probably not be very long and would be amply 
compensated by a peaceful and undisputed succession, while 
in Ae meantime he could give himself entirely to the mission 
which, since he had landed in England, he had loudly proclaimed 
as his of putting an end to plundering and oppression. 

On November 6 the rivals met at Winchester to make 
peace, and the terms of their agreement were recited in a 
great council of the kingdom, probably the first which was 
in any sense a council of the whole kingdom that had met in 
nearly or quite fifteen years. First, the king formally recog- 
nized before the assembly the hereditary right of Henry to 


CHAP, the kingdom of England. Then the duke formally agreed 
XI that Stephen should hold the throne so long as he should 
live; and king, and bishops, and barons bound themselves 
with an oath that on Stephen's death Henry should succeed 
peacefully and without any contradiction. It was also agreed 
under oath, that all possessions which had been seized by 
force should be restored to their rightful owners, and that all 
castles which had been erected since the death of Henry I 
should be destroyed, and the number of these was noted at 
the time as 1115, though a more credible statement gives the 
number as 375. The treaty between the two which had no 
doubt preceded these ceremonies in the council contained 
other provisions. Stephen promised to regard Henry as a 
son possibly he formally adopted him and to rule Eng- 
land by his advice. Henry promised that William should 
enjoy undisturbed all the possessions which he had obtained 
with his wife or from his father, and all his father's private 
inheritance in England and v Normandy. Allegiance and 
homage were paid by Henry to Stephen as king and by 
William to Henry, and Henry's barons did homage to Stephen 
and Stephen's to Henry, with the usual reservation. The 
king's Flemish mercenaries were to be sent home, and order 
was to be established throughout the land, the king restoring 
to all their rights and resuming himself those which had been 
usurped during the disorders of civil strife. 

This programme began at once to be carried out. The 
war came to an end. The "adulterine" castles were de- 
stroyed, not quite so rapidly as Henry desired, but still with 
some energy. The unprincipled baron, friend of neither side 
and enemy of all his neighbours, deprived of his opportunity 
by the union of the two contending parties, was quickly re- 
duced to order, and we hear no more of the feudal anarchy 
from which the defenceless had suffered so much during these 
years. Henry and Stephen met again at Oxford in January, 
1154; they journeyed together to Dover, but as they were re- 
turning, Henry learned of a conspiracy against his life among 
Stephen's Flemish followers, some of whom must still have 
remained in England, and thought it best to retire to Nor- 
mandy, where he began the resumption of the ducal domains 
with which his father had been obliged to part in the time of 


his weakness. Stephen went on with the work of restoration CHAP. 
in England, but not for long. The new day of peace and XI 
strong government was not for him. On October 25, 1154, 
he died at Dover, "and was buried where his wife and his son 
were buried, at Faversham, the monastery which they had 

Out of this long period of struggle the crown gained no- 
thing. Out of the opportunity of feudal independence and 
aggrandizement which the conflict offered them, the barons 
in the end gained nothing. One of the parties to the strife, 
and one only, emerged from it with great permanent gains of 
power and independence, the Church. The one power which 
had held back the English Church from taking its share in 
that great European movement by which within a century 
the centralized, monarchical Church had risen up beside the 
State, indeed above it, for it was now an international and 
imperial Church, the restraining force which had held the 
English Church in check, had been for a generation fatally 
weakened. With a bound the Church sprang forward and 
took the place in England and in the world which it would 
otherwise have reached more slowly during the reign of 
Henry. It had been prepared by experience and by the 
growth of its own convictions, to find its place at once along- 
side of the continental national churches in the new imperial 
system. Unweakened by the disorganization into which the 
State was falling, it was ready to show itself at home the one 
strong and steady institution in the confusion of the time, 
and to begin at once to exercise the rights it claimed but had 
never been able to secure. It began to fill its own great 
appointments according to its own rules, and to neglect the 
feudal duties which should go with them. Its jurisdiction, 
which had been so closely watched, expanded freely and 
ecclesiastical courts and cases rapidly multiplied. It called 
its own councils and legislated without permission, and even 
asserted its exclusive right to determine who should be king. 
Intercourse with the papal curia grew more untrammelled, 
and appeals to Rome especially increased to astonishing fre- 
quency. With these gains in practical independence, the 
support on which it all rested grew strong at the same time, 
its firm belief in the Hildebrandine system. If a future 

2 5 4 



CHAP, king of England should ever recover the power over the 
XI Church which had been lost in the reign of Stephen, he would 
do so only by a struggle severer than any of his predecessors 
had gone through to retain it ; and in these events Thomas 
Becket, who was to lead the defence of the Church against 
such an attack, had been trained for his future work. 

Monasticism also flourished while the official Church was 
growing strong, and many new religious houses and new 
orders even were established in the country. More of these 
" castles of God," we are told by one who himself dwelt in 
one of them, were founded during the short reign of Stephen 
than during the one hundred preceding years. In the build- 
ings which these monks did not cease to erect, the severer 
features of the Norman style were beginning to give way to 
lighter and more ornamental forms. Scholars in greater 
numbers went abroad. Books that still hold their place in 
the intellectual or even in the literary history of the world 
were written by subjects of the English king. Oxford con- 
tinued to grow towards the later University, and students 
there listened eagerly to the lectures on Roman law of the 
Italian Vacarius until these were stopped by Stephen. In 
spite of the cruelties of the time, the real life of England 
went on and was scarcely even checked in its advance to 
better things. 



HENRY OF ANJOU, for whom the way was opened to the CHAP. 
throne of his grandfather so soon after the treaty with xn 
Stephen, was then in his twenty-second year. He was just 
in the youthful vigour of a life of more than usual physical 
strength, longer in years than the average man's of the 
twelfth century, and brilliant in position and promise in the 
eyes of his time. But his life was in truth filled with annoy- 
ing and hampering conflict and bitter disappointment. Physi- 
cally there was nothing fine or elegant about him, rather the 
contrary. In bodily and mental characteristics there was so 
much in common between the Angevin house and the Nor- 
man that the new blood had made no great changes, and in 
physique and in spirit Henry II continued his mother's line 
quite as much as his father's. Certainly, as a modern 
writer has remarked, he could never have been called by his 
father's name of "the Handsome." He was of middle height, 
strongly built, with square shoulders, broad chest, and arms 
that reminded men of a pugilist. His head was round and 
well shaped, and he had reddish hair and gray eyes which 
seemed to flash with fire when he was angry. His complex- 
ion also was ruddy and his face is described as fiery or lion- 
like. His hands were coarse, and he never wore gloves 
except when necessary in hawking. His legs were hardly 
straight. They were made for the saddle and his feet for 
the stirrups. He was heedless of his person and his 
clothes, and always cared more for action and deeds than 
for appearances. 

In the gifts of statesmanship and the abilities which make 
a great ruler Henry seemed to his own time above the aver- 
age of kings, and certainly this is true in comparison with 



CHAP, the king who was his rival during so much of his reign, 
xn Louis VII of France. Posterity has also agreed to call him 
one of the greatest, some have been inclined to say the 
greatest, of English sovereigns. The first heavy task that 
fell to him, the establishment of peace and strong govern- 
ment in England, he fully achieved ; and this work was thank- 
fully celebrated by his contemporaries. All his acts give us 
the impression of mental and physical power, and no recast- 
ing of balances is ever likely to destroy the impression of 
great abilities occupied with great tasks, but we need perhaps 
to be reminded that to his age his position made him great, 
and that even upon us its effect is magnifying. Except in 
the pacification of England he won no signal success, and the 
schemes to which he gave his best days ended in failure or 
barely escaped it. It is indeed impossible to say that in his 
long reign he had before him any definite or clear policy, ex- 
cept to be a strong king and to assert vigorously every right 
to which he believed he could lay claim. The opportunity 
which his continental dominions offered him he seems never 
to have understood, or at least not as it would have been un- 
derstood by a modern sovereign or by a Philip Augustus. It 
is altogether probable that the successful welding together of 
the various states which he held by one title or another into a 
consolidated monarchy would have been impossible ; but that 
the history of his reign gives no clear evidence that he saw 
the vision of such a result, or studied the means to accomplish 
it, forces us to classify Henry, in one important respect at 
least, with the great kings of the past and not with those of 
the coming age. In truth he was a feudal king. Notwith- 
standing the severe blows which he dealt feudalism in its 
relation to the government of the state, it was still feudalism 
as a system of life, as a source of ideals and a guide to con- 
duct, which ruled him to the end. He had been brought up 
entirely in a feudal atmosphere, and he never freed himself 
from it. He was determined to be a strong king, to be 
obeyed, and to allow no infringement of his own rights, 
indeed, to push them to the farthest limit possible, but there 
seems never to have been any conflict in his mind between 
his duties as suzerain or vassal and any newer conception of 
his position and its opportunities. 


It was in England that Henry won his chief and his only CHAP. 
permanent success. And it was indeed not a small success. xn 
To hold under a strong government and to compel into good 
order, almost unbroken, a generation which had been trained 
in the anarchy and license of Stephen's reign was a great 
achievement. But Henry did more than this. In the ma- 
chinery of centralization, he early began a steady and 
systematic development which threatened the defences of 
feudalism, and tended rapidly toward an absolute monarchy. 
In this was his greatest service to England. The absolutism 
which his work threatened later kings came but little nearer 
achieving, and the danger soon passed away, but the cen- 
tralization which he gave the state grew into a permanent 
and beneficent organization. In this work Henry claimed 
no more than the glory of following in his grandfather's foot- 
steps, and the modern student of the age is more and more 
inclined to believe that he was right in this, and that his true 
fame as an institution maker should be rather that of a re- 
storer than of a founder. He put again into operation 
what had been already begun ; he combined and systema- 
tized and broadened, and he created the conditions which 
encouraged growth and made it fruitful : but he struck out 
no new way either for himself or for England. 

In mind and body Henry overflowed with energy. He 
wearied out his court with his incessant and restless activity. 
In learning he never equalled the fame of his grandfather, 
Henry Beauclerc, but he loved books, and his knowledge of 
languages was such as to occasion remark. He had the 
passionate temper of his ancestors without the self-control of 
Henry I, and sometimes raved in his anger like a maniac. 
In matters of morals also he placed no restraints upon him- 
self. His reputation in this regard has been kept alive by 
the romantic legend of Rosamond Clifford ; and, though the 
pathetic details of her story are in truth romance and not 
history, there is no lack of evidence to show that Eleanor had 
occasion enough for the bitter hostility which she felt towards 
him in the later years of his life. But Henry is not to be 
reckoned among the kings whose policy or public conduct 
were affected by his vices. More passionate and less self- 
controlled than his grandfather, he had something of his 
VOL. II. 17 


CHAP, patience and tenacity of purpose, and a large share of his 
xn diplomatic skill ; and the slight scruples of conscience, which 
on rare occasions interfered with an immediate success, arose 
from a very narrow range of ethical ideas. 

An older man and one of longer training in statecraft and 
the management of men might easily have doubted his ability 
to solve the problem which lay before Henry in England. 
To control a feudal baronage was never an easy task. To 
re-establish a strong control which for nearly twenty years 
had been greatly relaxed would be doubly difficult. But in 
truth the work was more than half done when Henry came 
to the throne. Since the peace declared at Winchester much 
had been accomplished, and most of all perhaps in the fact 
that peace deprived the baron of the even balancing of parties 
which had been his opportunity. On all sides also men were 
worn out with the long conflict, and the material, as well as 
the incentive, to continue it under the changed conditions was 
lacking. It is likely too that Henry had made an impression 
in England, during the short time that he had stayed there, 
very different from that made by Stephen early in his reign ; 
for it is clear that he knew what he wanted and how to get 
it, and that he would be satisfied with nothing less. Nor did 
there seem to be anything to justify a fear that arrangements 
which had been made during the war in favour of individual 
men were likely to be disturbed. So secure indeed did every- 
thing seem that Henry was in no haste to cross to England 
when the news of Stephen's death reached him. 

The Duke of Normandy had been occupied with various 
things since his return from England in April, with the re- 
covery of the ducal lands, with repressing unimportant feudal 
disorders, and with negotiations with the king of France. 
On receiving the news he finished the siege of a castle in 
which he was engaged, then consulted his mother, whose 
counsel he often sought to the end of her life, in her quiet 
retreat near Rouen, and finally assembled the barons of Nor- 
mandy. In about a fortnight he was ready at Barfleur for 
the passage, but bad winds kept back the unskilful sailors of 
the time for a month. In England there was no disturbance. 
Everybody, we are told, feared or loved the duke and ex- 
pected him to become king, and even the Flemish troops of 


Stephen kept the peace. If any one acted for the king, it CHAP. 
was Archbishop Theobald, but there is no evidence that there xn 
was anything for a regent to do. At last, at the end of the 
first week in December, Henry landed in England and went 
up at once to Winchester. There he took the homage of 
the English barons, and from thence after a short delay 
he went on to London to be crowned. The coronation on 

the i Qth, the Sunday before Christmas, must have been a " 

brilliant ceremony. The Archbishop of Canterbury offici- "-C- 
ated in the presence of two other archbishops and seventeen 
bishops, of earls and barons from England and abroad, and 
an innumerable multitude of people. 

Henry immediately issued a coronation charter, but it is, 
like Stephen's, merely a charter of general confirmation. No 
specific promises are made. The one note of the charter, 
the keynote of the reign for England thus early struck, is 
"king Henry my grandfather." The ideal of the young 
king, an ideal it is more than likely wholly satisfactory to 
his subjects, was to reproduce that reign of order and justice, 
the time to which men after the long anarchy would look back 
as to a golden age. Or was this a declaration, a notice to all con- 
cerned, flung out in a time of general rejoicing when it would 
escape challenge, that no usurpation during Stephen's reign 
was to stand against the rights of the crown ? That time is 
passed over as a blank. No man could plead the charter as 
guaranteeing him in any grant or privilege won from either 
side during the civil war. To God and holy Church and to 
all earls and barons and all his men, the king grants, and 
restores and confirms all concessions and donations and 
liberties and free customs which King Henry his grandfather 
had given and granted to them. Also all evil customs which 
his grandfather abolished and remitted he grants to be abol- 
ished and remitted. That is all except a general reference to 
the charter of Henry I. Neither Church nor baron could tell 
from the charter itself what rights had been granted or what 
evil customs had been abolished. But in all probability no 
one at the moment greatly cared for more specific statement. 
The proclamation of a general policy of return to the condi- 
tions of the earlier age was what was most desired. 

The first work before the young king would be to select 


CHAP, those who should aid him in the task of government in 
xn the chief offices of the state. He probably already had a 
number of these men in mind from his knowledge of 
England and of the leaders of his mother's party. In the 
peace with Stephen, Richard de Lucy had been put in 
charge of the Tower and of Windsor castle. He now 
seems to have been made justiciar, perhaps the first of 
Henry's appointments, as he alone signs the coronation 
charter though without official designation. Within a few 
days, however, Robert de Beaumont, Earl of Leicester, 
was apparently given office with the same title, and 
together they fill this position for many years, Robert com- 
pleting in it the century and more of faithful service which 
his family had rendered to every successive king. The 
family of Roger of Salisbury was also restored to the impor- 
tant branch of the service which it had done so much to 
create, in the person of Nigel, Bishop of Ely, who was given 
charge of the exchequer. The most important appointment 
in its influence on the reign was that to the chancellorship. 
Archbishop Theobald, who was probably one of Henry's 
most intimate counsellors, had a candidate in whose favour he 
could speak in the strongest terms and whose services in the 
past the king would gratefully recall. This was the young 
Thomas Becket, who had done so much to prevent the 
coronation of Eustace. 

Immediately after his coronation, at Chrismas time, Henry 
held at Bermondsey the first of the great councils of his 
reign. Here the whole state of the kingdom was discussed, 
and it was determined to proceed with the expulsion of 
Stephen's mercenaries, and with the destruction of the un- 
lawful castles. The first of these undertakings gave no 
trouble, and William of Ypres disappears from English his- 
tory. The second, especially with what went with it, the 
resumption of Stephen's grants to great as well as small, - 
was a more difficult and longer process. To begin it in the 
proper way, the king himself set out early in 1155 for the 
north. For some reason he did not think it wise at this time 
to run the risk of a quarrel with Hugh Bigod, and it was 
probably on this journey at Northampton that he gave him 
a charter creating him Earl of Norfolk, the title which he 



had obtained from Stephen. The expedition was especially CHAP. 
directed against William of Aumale, Stephen's Earl of York- xn 
shire, and he was compelled to surrender a part of his spoils 
including the strong castle of Scarborough. William Peverel 
of the Peak also, who was accused of poisoning the Earl of 
Chester, and who knew that there were other reasons of 
condemnation against him, took refuge in a monastery, mak- 
ing profession as a monk when he heard of Henry's ap- 
proach, and finally fled to the continent and abandoned 
everything to the king. Some time after this, but probably 
during the same year, another of Stephen's earls, William 
of Arundel or Sussex, obtained a charter of confirmation of 
the third penny of his county. 

One of the interesting features of Henry's first year is 
the frequency of great councils. Four were held in nine 
months. It was the work of resumption, and of securing 
his position, which made them necessary. The expressed 
support of the baronage, as a whole, was of great value to 
him as he moved against one magnate and then another, 
and demanded the restoration of royal domains or castles. 
The second of these councils, which was held in London 
in March, and in which the business of the castles was again 
taken up, did not, however, secure the king against all dan- 
ger of resistance. Roger, Earl of Hereford, son of Miles of 
Gloucester, who had been so faithful to Henry's mother, 
secretly left the assembly determined to try the experiment 
of rebellion rather than to surrender his two royal castles of 
Hereford and Gloucester. In this attitude he was encour- 
aged by Hugh Mortimer, a baron of the Welsh Marches and 
head of a Conquest family of minor rank which was now 
rising to importance, who was also ready to risk rebellion. 
Roger did not persist in his plans. He was brought to a 
better mind by his kinsman, the Bishop of Hereford, Gilbert 
Foliot, and gave up his castles. Mortimer ventured to stand 
a siege in his strongholds, one of which was Bridgenorth 
where Robert of Belleme had tried to resist Henry I in 
similar circumstances, but he was forced to surrender before 
the middle of the summer. This was the only armed oppo- 
sition which the measures of resumption excited, because 
they were carried out by degrees and with wise caution in 


CHAP, the selection of persons as well as of times. It was probably 
xn in this spirit that in January of the next year Henry re- 
granted to Aubrey de Vere his title of Earl of Oxford and 
that of the unfaithful Earl of Essex to the younger Geoffrey 
de Mandeville. It was twenty years after Henry's accession 
and in far different circumstances that he first found himself 
involved in conflict with a dangerous insurrection of the 
English barons. 

Before the submission of Hugh Mortimer the third of the 
great councils of the year had been held at Wallingford early 
in April, and there the barons had been required to swear 
allegiance to Henry's eldest son William, and in case of his 
death to his brother Henry who had been born a few weeks 
before. The fourth great council met at Winchester in the 
last days of September, and there a new question of policy 
was discussed which led ultimately to events of great impor- 
tance in the reign, and of constantly increasing importance 
in the whole history of England to the present day, the 
conquest of Ireland. Apparently Henry had already con- 
ceived the idea, to which he returns later in the case of 
his youngest son, of finding in the western island an appa- 
nage for some unprovided member of the royal house. Now 
he thought of giving it to his youngest brother William. 
Religious and political prejudice and racial pride have been 
so intensely excited by many of the statements and descrip- 
tions in the traditional account of Henry's first steps towards 
the conquest, which is based on contemporary records or 
what purports to be such, that evidence which no one would 
think of questioning if it related to humdrum events on the 
dead level of history has been vigorously assailed, and almost 
every event in the series called in question. The writer of 
history cannot narrate these events as they seem to him to 
have occurred without warning the reader that some element 
of doubt attaches to his account, and that whatever his con- 
clusions, some careful students of the period will not agree 
with him. 

A few days before Henry landed in England to be crowned, 
Nicholas Breakspear, the only Englishman who ever became 
pope, had been elected Bishop of Rome and had taken the 
name of Hadrian IV. He was the son of an English clerk, 


who was later a monk at St. Albans, and had not seemed to CHAP. 
his father a very promising boy ; but on his father's death he xn 
went abroad, studied at Paris, and was made Abbot of St. 
Rufus in Provence. Then visiting Rome because of trouble 
with his monks, he attracted the notice of the pope, was 
made cardinal and papal legate, and finally was himself 
elected pope in succession to Anastasius IV. We cannot 
say, though we may think it likely, that the occupation 
of the papal throne by a native Englishman made it seem 
to Henry a favourable time to secure so high official 
sanction for his new enterprise. Nor is it possible to say 
what was the form of Henry's request, or the composition 
of the embassy which seems certainly to have been sent, or 
the character of the pope's reply, though each of these has 
been made the subject of differing conjectures for none of 
which is there any direct evidence in the sources of our 
knowledge. The most that we can assert is what we are told 
by John of Salisbury, the greatest scholar of the middle ages. 
John was an intimate friend of the pope's and spent some 
months with him in very familiar intercourse in the winter of 
1 155-1 156. He relates in a passage at the close of his Meta- 
logicus, which he wrote, if we may judge by internal evidence, 
on learning of Hadrian's death in 1159, and which there is 
no reason to doubt, that at his request the pope made a 
written grant of Ireland to Henry to be held by hered- 
itary right. He declares that the ground of this grant 
was the ownership of all islands conveyed to the popes by 
the Donation of Constantine, and he adds that Hadrian 
sent Henry a ring by which he was to be invested with the 
right of ruling in Ireland. Letter and ring, he says, are 
preserved in England at the time of his writing. The so- 
called Bull " Laudabiliter " has been traditionally supposed 
to be the letter referred to by John of Salisbury, but it does 
not quite agree with his description, and it makes no grant of 
the island to the king. 1 The probability is very strong that it is 
not even what it purports to be, a letter of the pope to the 
king expressing his approval of the enterprise, but merely 
a student's exercise in letter writing. But the papal 

1 See the review of the whole controversy in Thatcher, Studies Concerning 
Adrian IV (1903). 


CHAP, approval was certainly expressed at a later time by Pope Alex- 
xn ander III. No doubt can attach, however, to the account of 
John of Salisbury. As he describes the grant it would cor- 
respond fully with papal ideas current at the time, and it 
would be closely parallel with what we must suppose was 
the intention of an earlier pope in approving William's con- 
quest of England. If Henry had asked for anything more 
than the pope's moral assent to the enterprise, he could 
have expected nothing different from this, nor does it seem 
that he could in that case have objected to the terms or form 
of the grant described by John of Salisbury. 

The expedition, however, for which Henry had made these 
preparations was not actually undertaken. His mother ob- 
jected to it for some reason which we do not know, and he 
dropped the plan for the present. About the same time 
Henry of Winchester, who had lived on into a new age, 
which he probably found not wholly congenial, left Eng- 
land without the king's permission and went to Cluny. 
This gave Henry a legal opportunity, and he at once seized 
and destroyed his castles. No other event of importance 
falls within the first year of the reign. It was a great work 
which had been done in this time. To have plainly declared 
and successfully begun the policy of reigning as a strong king, 
to have got rid of Stephen's dangerous mercenaries without 
trouble, to have recovered so many castles and domains with- 
out exciting a great rebellion, and to have restored the finan- 
cial system to the hands best fitted to organize and perfect 
it, might satisfy the most ambitious as the work of a year. 
"The history of the year furnishes," in the words of the 
greatest modern student of the age, " abundant illustration 
of the energy and capacity of a king of two-and-twenty." 

Early in January, 1156, Henry crossed to Normandy. 
His brother Geoffrey was making trouble and was demand- 
ing that Anjou and Maine should be assigned to him. We 
are told an improbable story that their father on his death- 
bed had made such a partition of his lands, and that Henry 
had been required blindly to swear that he would carry out 
an- arrangement which was not made known to him. If 
Henry made any such promise as heir, he immediately repu- 
diated it as reigning sovereign. He could not well do other- 


wise. To give up the control of these two counties would CHAP. 
be to cut his promising continental empire into two widely xn 
separated portions. Geoffrey attempted to appeal to arms 
in the three castles which had been given him earlier, but 
was quickly forced to submit. All this year and until April 
of the next, 1157, Henry remained abroad, and before his 
return to England he was able to offer his brother a compen- 
sation for his disappointment which had the advantage of 
strengthening his own position. The overlordship of the 
county of Britanny had, as we know, been claimed by the 
dukes of Normandy, and the claim had sometimes been 
allowed. To Henry the successful assertion of this right 
would be of great value as rilling out his occupation of west- 
ern France. Just at this time Britanny had been thrown into 
disorder and civil strife by a disputed succession, and the 
town of Nantes, which commanded the lower course of the 
Loire, so important a river to Henry, refused to accept either 
of the candidates. With the aid of his brother, Geoffrey 
succeeded in planting himself there as Count of Nantes, in a 
position which promised to open for the house of Anjou the 
way into Britanny. 

The greater part of the time of his stay abroad Henry spent 
in passing about from one point to another in his various prov- 
inces, after the usual custom of the medieval sovereign. In 
Eleanor's lands he could exert much less direct authority than 
in England or Normandy ; the feudal baron of the south was 
more independent of his lord : but the opposition which was 
later to be so disastrous had not yet developed, and the year 
went by with nothing to record. Soon after his coming to 
Normandy he had an interview with Louis VII who then 
accepted his homage both for his father's and his wife's 
inheritance. If Louis had at one time intended to dispute 
the right of Eleanor to marry without his consent, he could 
not afford to continue that policy, so strong was Henry now. 
It was the part of wisdom to accept what could not be pre- 
vented, to arrange some way of living in peace with his rival, 
and to wait the chances of the future. 

It is in connexion with this expedition to Normandy that 
there first appears in the reign of Henry II the financial levy 
known as " scutage " a form of taxation destined to have a 


CHAP, great influence on the financial and military history of Eng- 
xn land, and perhaps even a greater on its constitutional history. 
The invention of this tax was formerly attributed to the 
statesmanship of the young king, but we now know that it 
goes back at least to the time of his grandfather. The term 
"scutage" may be roughly translated "shield money," and, 
as the word implies, it was a tax assessed on the knight's fee, 
and was in theory a money payment accepted or exacted by 
the king in place of the military service due him under the 
feudal arrangements. The suggestion of such a commuta- 
tion no doubt arose in connexion with the Church baronies, 
whose holders would find many reasons against personal 
service in the field, especially in the prohibition of the canon 
law, and who in most cases preferred not to enfeoff on their 
lands knights enough to meet their military obligations to 
the king. In such cases, when called on for the service, they 
would be obliged to hire the required number of knights, and 
the suggestion that they should pay the necessary sum to 
the king and let him find the soldiers would be a natural one 
and probably agreeable to both sides. The scutage of the 
present year does not seem to have gone beyond this prac- 
tice. It was confined to Church lands, and the wider appli- 
cation of the principle, which is what we may attribute to 
Henry II or to some minister of his, was not attempted. 

Returning to England in April, 1157, Henry took up again 
the work which had been interrupted by the demands of his 
brother Geoffrey. He was ready now to fly at higher game. 
Stephen's son William, whose great possessions in England 
and Normandy his father had tried so carefully to secure in 
the treaty which surrendered his rights to the crown, was 
compelled to give up his castles, and Hugh Bigod was no 
longer spared but was forced to do the same. David of 
Scotland had died before the death of Stephen, and his king- 
dom had fallen to his grandson Malcolm IV. The new king 
had too many troubles at home to make it wise for him to try 
to defend the gains which his grandfather had won from 
England, and before the close of this year he met Henry at 
Chester and gave up his claim on the northern counties, 
received the earldom of Huntingdon, and did homage to his 
cousin, but for what, whether for his earldom or his kingdom, 


was not clearly stated. Wales Stephen had practically aban- CHAP. 
doned, but Henry had no mind to do this, and a campaign xn 
during the summer in which there was some sharp fighting 
forced Owen, the prince of North Wales, to become his man, 
restored the defensive works of the district, and protected 
the Marcher lords in their occupation. The Christmas court 
was held at Lincoln; but warned perhaps by the recent ill 
luck of Stephen in defying the local superstition, Henry did 
not attempt to wear his crown in the city. Crown wearing 
and ceremony in general were distasteful to him, and at the 
next Easter festival at Worcester, together with the queen, 
he formally renounced the practice. 

Half of the year 1158 Henry spent in England, but the 
work which lay before him at his accession was now done. 
Much work of importance and many events of interest con- 
cern the island kingdom in the later years of the reign, but 
these arise from new occasions and belong to a new age. 
The age of Stephen was at an end, the Norman absolutism 
was once more established, and the influence of the time of 
anarchy and weakness was felt no longer. It was probably 
the death of his brother and the question of the occupation 
of Nantes that led Henry to cross to Normandy in August. 
He went first of all, however, to meet the king of France near 
Gisors. There it was agreed that Henry's son Henry, now 
by the death of his eldest brother recognized as heir to the 
throne, should marry Louis's daughter Margaret. The children 
were still both infants, but the arrangement was made less 
for their sakes than for peace between their fathers and for 
substantial advantages which Henry hoped to gain. First he 
desired Louis's permission to take possession of Nantes, and 
later, on the actual marriage of the children, was to come the 
restoration of the Norman Vexin which Henry's father had 
been obliged to give up to France in the troubles of his time. 
Protected in this way from the only opposition which he had 
to fear, Henry had no difficulty in forcing his way into Nantes 
and in compelling the count of Britanny to recognize his 
possession. This diplomatic success had been prepared, 
possibly secured, by a brilliant embassy undertaken shortly 
before by Henry's chancellor Thomas Becket. One of 
the biographers of the future saint, one indeed who dwells 


CHAP, less upon his spiritual life and miracles than on his external 
xn history, rejoices in the details of this magnificent journey, the 
gorgeous display, the lavish expenditure, the royal generosity, 
which seem intended to impress the French court with the 
wealth of England and the greatness of his master, but 
which lead us to suspect the chancellor of a natural delight 
in the splendours of the world. 

With his feet firmly planted in Britanny, in a position where 
he could easily take advantage of any future turn of events 
to extend his power, Henry next turned his attention to the 
south where an even greater opportunity seemed to offer. 
The great county of Toulouse stretched from the south- 
eastern borders of Eleanor's lands towards the Mediterranean 
and the Rhone over a large part of that quarter of France. A 
claim of some sort to this county, the exact nature of which 
we cannot now decide from the scanty and inconsistent ac- 
counts of the case which remain to us, had come down to 
Eleanor from the last two dukes of Aquitaine, her father 
and grandfather. The claim had at any rate seemed good 
enough to Louis VII while he was still the husband of the 
heiress to be pushed, but he had not succeeded in estab- 
lishing it. The rights of Eleanor were now in the hands of 
Henry and, after consulting with his barons, he determined to 
enforce them in a military campaign in the summer of 1 1 59. 

By the end of June the attacking forces were gathering in 
the south. The young king of Scotland was there as the 
vassal of the king of England and was knighted by his lord. 
Allies were secured of the lords to the east and south, espe- 
cially the assistance of Raymond Berenger who was Count of 
Barcelona and husband of the queen of Aragon, and who had 
extensive claims and interests in the valley of the Rhone. His 
daughter was to be married to Henry's son Richard, who had 
been born a few months before. Negotiations and interviews 
with the king of France led to no result, and at the last moment 
Louis threw himself into Toulouse and prepared to stand a 
siege with the Count, Raymond V, whose rights he now looked 
at from an entirely different point of view. This act of the king 
led to a result which he probably did not anticipate. Appar- 
ently the feudal spirit of Henry could not reconcile itself to a 
direct attack on the person of his suzerain. He withdrew 


from the siege, and the expedition resulted only in the occu- CHAP. 
pation of some of the minor towns of the county. Here xn 
Thomas the chancellor appears again in his worldly character. 
He had led to the war a body of knights said to have been 
700 in number, the finest and best-equipped contingent in 
the field. Henry's chivalry in refusing to fight his suzerain 
seemed to him the height of folly, and he protested loudly 
against it. This chivalry indeed did not prevent the vassal 
from attacking some of his lord's castles in the north, but no 
important results were gained, and peace was soon made be- 
tween them. 

Far more important in permanent consequences than the 
campaign itself were the means which the king took to raise 
the money to pay for it. It was at this time, so far as our 
present evidence goes and unless a precedent had been made 
in a small way in a scutage of 1157 for the campaign in Wales, 
that the principle of scutage was extended from ecclesiastical 
to lay tenants in chief. Robert of Torigny, Abbot of Mont- 
Saint-Michel, tells us that Henry, having regard to the length 
and difficulty of the way, and not wishing to vex the country 
knights and the mass of burgesses and rustics, took from each 
knight's fee in Normandy sixty shillings Angevin (fifteen 
English), and from all other persons in Normandy and in 
England and in all his other lands what he thought best, and 
led into the field with him the chief barons with a few of their 
men and a great number of paid knights. 

Our knowledge of the treasury accounts of this period is 
not sufficient to enable us to explain every detail of this taxa- 
tion, but it is sufficient to enable us to say that the statement 
of the abbot is in general accurate. The tax on the English 
knight's fee was heavier than that on the Norman ; payment 
does not seem to have been actually required from all persons 
outside the strict feudal bond, nor within it for that matter ; 
and the exact relationship between payment and service in 
the field we cannot determine. Two things, however, of 
interest in the history of taxation in relation both to earlier 
and later times seem clear. In the first place a new form of 
land-tax had been discovered of special application to the 
feudal community, capable of transforming a limited and 
somewhat uncertain personal service into a far more satis- 


CHAP, factory money payment, capable also of considerable exten- 
xn sion and, in the hands of an absolute king, of an arbitrary 
development which apparently some forms of feudal finance 
had already undergone. This was something new, that is, 
it was as new as anything ever is in constitutional history. It 
was the application of an old process to a new use. In the 
second place large sums of money were raised, in a purely 
arbitrary way, it would seem, both as to persons paying and 
sums paid, from members of the non-feudal community and 
also from some tenants in chief who at the same time paid 
scutage. These payments appear to have rested on the 
feudal principle of the gracious or voluntary aid and to 
have been called "dona," though the people of that time 
were in general more accurate in the distinctions they made 
between things than in the use of the terms applied to them. 
There was nothing new about this form of taxation. Glimpses 
which we get here and there of feudalism in operation lead 
us to suspect that, in small matters and with much irregularity 
of application to persons, it was in not infrequent use. These 
particular payments, pressing as they did heavily on the Church 
and exciting its vigorous objection, carry us back with some 
interest to the beginning of troubles between Anselm and the 
Red King over a point of the same kind. 

In theory and in strict law these " gifts " were voluntary, 
both as to whether they should be made at all and as to 
their amount, but under a sovereign so strong as Henry II or 
William Rufus, the king must be satisfied. Church writers 
complained, with much if not entire justice, that this tax was 
" contrary to ancient custom and due liberty," and they accused 
Thomas the chancellor of suggesting it. As a matter of fact 
this tax was less important in the history of taxation than the 
extension of the principle of scutage which accompanied it. 
The contribution which it made to the future was not so 
much in the form of the tax as in the precedent of arbitrary 
taxation, established in an important instance of taxation at 
the will of the king. This precedent carried over and 
applied to scutage in its new form becomes in the reign 
of Henry's son one of the chief causes of revolutionary 
changes, and thus constitutes " the scutage of Toulouse " 
of 1159, if we include under that term the double taxation of 


the year, one of the great steps forward of the reign of CHAP. 
Henry. XH 

At the close of the Toulouse campaign an incident of some 
interest occurred in the death of Stephen's son William and 
the ending of the male line of Stephen's succession. His Nor- 
man county of Mortain was at once taken in hand by Henry 
as an escheated fief, and was not filled again until it was 
given years afterwards to his youngest son. To Boulogne 
Henry had no right, but he could not afford to allow his 
influence in the county to decline, though the danger of 
its passing under the influence of Louis VII was slight. 
Stephen's only living descendant was his daughter Mary, 
now Abbess of Romsey. The pope consented to her mar- 
riage to a son of the Count of Flanders, and Boulogne 
remained in the circle of influence in which it had been fixed 
by Henry I. The wide personal possessions of William in 
England were apparently added to the royal domain which 
had already increased so greatly since the death of Stephen. 

A year later the other branch of Stephen's family came 
into a new relationship to the politics of France and England. 
At the beginning of October, 1 160, Louis's second wife died, 
leaving him still without a male heir. Without waiting till 
the end of any period of mourning, within a fortnight, he 
married the daughter of Stephen's brother, Theobald of 
Blois, sister of the counts Henry of Champagne and Theobald 
of Blois, who were already betrothed to the two daughters of 
his marriage with Eleanor. This opened for the house of 
Blois a new prospect of influence and gain, and for the king 
of England of trouble which was in part fulfilled. Henry 
saw the probable results, and at once responded with an 
effort to improve his frontier defences. The marriage of the 
young Henry and Margaret of France was immediately 
celebrated, though the elder of the two was still a mere 
infant. This marriage gave Henry the right to take posses- 
sion of the Norman Vexin and its strong castles, and this he 
did. The war which threatened for a moment did not break 
out, but there was much fortifying of castles on both sides of 
the frontier. 

It is said that the suggestion of this defensive move came 
from Thomas Becket. However this may be, Thomas was 


CHAP, now near the end of his career of service to the state as 
xn chancellor, and was about to enter a field which promised 
even greater usefulness and wider possibilities of service. 
Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury died on April 18, 1161. 
For some months the king gave no sign of his intentions as 
to his successor. Then he declared his purpose. Thomas, 
the chancellor, was about to cross to England to carry out 
another plan of Henry's. The barons were to be asked to 
swear fealty to the young Henry as the direct heir to the 
crown. Born in February, 1155, Henry was in his eighth 
year when this ceremony was performed. Some little time 
before he had been committed by his father to the chancellor 
to be trained in his courtly and brilliant household, and there 
he became deeply attached to his father's future enemy. 
The swearing of fealty to the heir, to which the barons 
were now accustomed, was performed without objection, 
Thomas himself setting the example by first taking the oath. 
This was his last service of importance as chancellor. 
Before his departure from Normandy on this errand, the 
king announced to him his intention to promote him to the 
vacant primacy. The appointment would be a very natural 
one. Archbishop Theobald is said to have hoped and prayed 
that Thomas might succeed him, and the abilities which the 
chancellor had abundantly displayed would account for a 
general expectation of such a step, but Thomas himself hesi- 
tated. We are dependent for our knowledge of the details 
of what happened at this time on the accounts of Thomas's 
friends and admirers, but there is no reason to doubt their 
substantial accuracy. It is clear that there were better 
grounds in fact for the hesitation of Thomas than for the in- 
sistence of Henry, but they were apparently concealed from 
the king. His mother is said to have tried to dissuade him, 
and the able Bishop of Hereford, Gilbert Foliot, records his 
own opposition. But the complete devotion to the king's will 
and the zealous services of Thomas as chancellor might well 
make Henry believe, if not that he would be entirely subser- 
vient to his policy when made archbishop, at least that Church 
and State might be ruled by them together in full harmony 
and co-operation, and the days of William and Lanfranc be 
brought back. Becket read his own character better and 


knew that the days of Henry I and Anselm were more CHAP. 
likely to return, and that not because he recognized in him- xn 
self the narrowness of Anselm, bul; because he knew his 
tendency to identify himself to the uttermost with whatever 
cause he adopted. 

Thomas had come to the chancellorship at the age of thirty- 
seven. He had been a student, attached to the household 
of Archbishop Theobald, and he must long have looked for- 
ward to promotion in the Church as the natural field of his 
ambition, and in this he had just taken the first step in his 
appointment to the rich archdeaconry of Canterbury by 
his patron. As chancellor, however, he seems to have faced 
entirely about. He threw himself into the elegant and 
luxurious life of the court with an abandon and delight 
which, we are tempted to believe, reveal his natural bent. 
The family of a wealthy burgher of London in the last part 
of the reign of Henry I may easily have been a better school 
of manners and taste than the court of Anjou. Certainly in 
refinement, and in the order and elegance of his household as 
it is described, the chancellor surpassed the king. Provided 
with an ample income both from benefices which he held in 
the Church and from the perquisites of his office, he indulged 
in a profusion of expenditure and display which the king 
probably did not care for and certainly did not equal, and 
collected about himself such a company of clerks and laymen 
as made his household a better place for the training of the 
children of the nobles than the king's. In the king's ser- 
vice he spent his money with as lavish a hand as for himself, 
in his embassy to the French court or in the war against 
Toulouse. He had the skill to avoid the envy of either king 
or courtier, and no scandal or hint of vice was breathed 
against him. The way to the highest which one could hope 
for in the service of the state seemed open before him, and he 
felt himself peculiarly adapted to enjoy and render useful such 
a career. One cannot help speculating on the interesting but 
hopeless problem of what the result would have been if Becket 
had remained in the line of secular promotion and the primacy 
had gone to the next most likely candidate, Gilbert Foliot, 
whose type of mind would have led him to sympathize more 
naturally with the king's views and purposes in the questions 

VOL, II. 1 8 


CHAP, that were so soon to arise between Church and State in 
xn England. 

The election of Becket to the see of Canterbury seems to 
have followed closely the forms which had come into use 
since the compromise between Henry I and Anselm, and 
which were soon after described in the Constitutions of 
Clarendon. The justiciar, Richard de Lucy, with three 
bishops went down to Canterbury and made known the will 
of the king and summoned the monks to an election. Some 
opposition showed itself among them, apparently because of 
the candidate's worldly life and the fact that he was not a 
monk, but they gave way to the clearly expressed will of the 
king. The prior and a deputation of the monks went up to 
London ; and there the formal election took place " with the 
counsel of " the bishops summoned for the purpose, and was 
at once confirmed by the young prince acting for his father. 
At the same time Henry, Bishop of Winchester, made a 
formal demand of those who were representing the king 
that the archbishop should be released from all liability for 
the way in which he had handled the royal revenues as 
chancellor and treasurer, and this was agreed to. On the 
next Sunday but one, June 3, 1 162, Thomas was consecrated 
Archbishop at Canterbury by the Bishop of Winchester, as the 
see of London was vacant. As his first official act the new 
prelate ordained that the feast in honour of the Trinity should 
be henceforth kept on the anniversary of his consecration. 



THOMAS BECKET, who thus became the head of the English CHAP. 
Church, was probably in his forty-fourth year, for he seems XHI 
to have been born on December 21, 1118. All his past had 
been a training in one way or another for the work which he 
.was now to do. He had had an experience of many sides of 
life. During his early boyhood, in his father's house in Lon- 
don, he had shared the life of the prosperous burgher class ; 
he had been a student abroad, and though he was never a 
scholar, he knew something of the learned world from within ; 
he had been taken into the household of Archbishop Theo- 
bald, and there he had been trained, with a little circle of 
young men of promise of his own age, in the strict ideas of 
the Church ; he had been employed on various diplomatic 
missions, and had accomplished what had been intrusted to 
him, we are told, with skill and success ; last of all, he had 
been given a high office in the state, and had learned to know 
by experience and observation the life of the court, its methods 
of doing or preventing business, and all its strength and 

As Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket became 
almost the independent sovereign of a state within the state. 
Lanfranc had held no such place, nor had Anselm. No 
earlier archbishop indeed had found himself at his consecra- 
tion so free from control and so strong. The organization 
apart from the state, the ideal liberty of the Church, to which 
Anselm had looked forward somewhat vaguely, had been in 
some degree realized since his time. The death of Henry I 
had removed the restraining hand which had held the Church 
within its old bounds. For a generation afterwards it was 
free free as compared with any earlier period to put into 
practice its theories and aspirations, and the new Archbishop 

275 18* 


CHAP, of Canterbury inherited the results still unquestioned and 
undiminished. Henry II had come to the throne young and 
with much preliminary work to be done. Gradually, it would 
seem, the reforms necessary to recover the full royal power, 
and to put into most effective form the organization of the 
state, were taking shape in his mind. It is possible, it is per- 
haps more than possible, that he expected to have from his 
friend Thomas as archbishop sympathy and assistance in these 
plans, or at least that he would be able to carry them out 
with no opposition from the Church. This looks to us now 
like a bad reading of character. At any rate no hope was 
ever more completely disappointed. In character, will, and 
ideals, at least as these appear from this time onward, sover- 
eign and primate furnished all the conditions of a most bitter 
conflict. But to understand this conflict it is also necessary 
to remember the strength of Becket's position, the fact that 
he was the ruler of an almost independent state. 

What was the true and natural character of Thomas Becket, 
what were really the ideals on which he would have chosen 
to form his life if he had been entirely free to shape it as he 
would, is a puzzle which this is not the place to try to solve. 
Nor can we discuss here the critical questions, still unsettled, 
which the sources of our knowledge present. Fortunately 
no question affects seriously the train of events, and, in regard 
to the character of the archbishop, we may say with some con- 
fidence that, whatever he might have chosen for himself, he 
threw himself with all the ardour of a great nature into what- 
ever work he was called upon to do. As chancellor, Thomas's 
household had been a centre of luxurious court life. As 
archbishop his household was not less lavishly supplied, nor 
less attractive ; but its elegance was of a more sober cast, and 
for himself Thomas became an ascetic, as he had been a 
courtier, and practised in secret, according to his biographers, 
the austerities and good works which became the future saint. 

Six months after the consecration of the new archbishop, 
King Henry crossed from Normandy to England, at the end 
of January, 1163, but before he did so word had come to him 
from Becket which was like a declaration of principles. 
Henry had hoped to have him at the same time primate of 
the Church and his own chancellor. Not merely would this 


add a distinction to his court, but we may believe that the CHAP. 
king would regard it as a part of the co-operation between Xln 
Church and State in the reforms he had in mind. To Thomas 
the retention of his old office would probably mean a pledge 
not to oppose the royal will in the plans which he no doubt 
foresaw. It would also interfere seriously with the new 
manner of life which he proposed for himself, and he firmly 
declined to continue in the old office. In other ways, unim- 
portant as yet, the policy of the primate as it developed was 
coming into collision with the king's interests, in his deter- 
mined pushing of the rights of his Church to every piece of 
land to which it could lay any claim, in some cases directly 
against the king, and in his refusal to allow clerks in the ser- 
vice of the State to hold preferments in the Church, of which 
he had himself been guilty; but all these things were still 
rather signs of what might be expected than important in 
themselves. There was for several months no breach between 
the king and the archbishop. 

For some time after his return to England Henry was 
occupied, as he had been of late on the continent, with minor 
details of government of no permanent importance. The 
treaty of alliance with Count Dietrich of Flanders was re- 
newed. Gilbert Foliot was translated to the important 
bishopric of London. A campaign in South Wales brought 
the prince of that country to terms, and was followed by 
homage from him and other Welsh princes rendered at a 
great council held at Woodstock during the first week of July, 
1163. It was at this meeting that the king first met with 
open and decided opposition from the archbishop, though 
this was still in regard to a special point and not to a general 
line of policy. The revenue of the state which had been 
left by the last reign in a disordered condition was still the 
subject of much concern and careful planning. Recently, as 
our evidence leads us to believe, the king had given up the 
Danegeld as a tax which had declined in value until it was 
no longer worth collecting. At Woodstock he made a propo- 
sition to the council for an increase in the revenue without an 
increase in the taxation. It was that the so-called " sheriff's 
aid," a tax said to be of two shillings on the hide paid to the 
sheriffs by their counties as a compensation for their services, 


CHAP, should be for the future paid into the royal treasury for the 
xin use of the crown. That this demand was in the direction of 
advance and reform can hardly be questioned, especially if, 
as is at least possible, it was based on the declining impor- 
tance of the sheriffs as purely local officers, and their in- 
creasing responsibilities as royal officers on account of the 
growing importance of the king's courts and particularly 
of the itinerant justice courts. So decided a change, how- 
ever, in the traditional way of doing business could only be 
made with consent asked and obtained. There is no evidence 
that opposition came from any one except Becket. He flatly 
refused to consent to any such change, as he had a right to 
do so far as his own lands were concerned, and declared that 
this tax should never be paid from them to the public treas- 
ury. The motive of his opposition does not appear and is 
not easy to guess. He stood on the historical purpose of 
the tax and refused to consider any other use to which it 
might be put. Henry was angry, but apparently he had to 
give up his plan. At any rate unmistakable notice had been 
served on him that his plans for reform were likely to meet 
with the obstinate opposition of his former chancellor. 

This first quarrel was the immediate prelude to another 
concerning a far more important matter and of far more last- 
ing consequences. Administration and jurisdiction, revenue 
and justice, were so closely connected in the medieval state 
that any attempt to increase the revenue, or to improve and 
centralize the administrative machinery, raised at once the 
question of changes in the judicial system. But Henry II 
was not interested in getting a larger income merely, or a 
closer centralization. His whole reign goes to show that he 
had a high conception of the duty of the king to make justice 
prevail and to repress disorder and crime. But this was a 
duty which he could not begin to carry out without at once 
encountering the recognized rights and still wider claims of 
the Church. Starting from the words of the apostle against 
going to law before unbelievers, growing at first as a pro- 
cess of voluntary arbitration within the Church, adding a 
criminal side with the growth of disciplinary powers over 
clergy and members, and greatly stimulated and widened by 
the legislation of the early Christian emperors, a body of 


law and a judicial organization had been developed by the CHAP. 
Church which rivalled that of the State in its own field and xm 
surpassed it in scientific form and content. In the hundred 
years since William the Conqueror landed in England this 
system had been greatly perfected. The revival of the Ro- 
man law in the schools of Italy had furnished both model 
and material, but more important still the triumph of the 
Cluniac reformation, of the ideas of centralization and empire, 
had given an immense stimulus to this growth, and led to clearer 
conceptions than ever before of what to do and how to do it. 
When the state tardily awoke to the same consciousness of 
opportunity and method, it found a large part of what should 
have been its own work in the hands of a rival power. 

In no state in Christendom had the line between these 
conflicting jurisdictions been clearly drawn. In England no 
attempt had as yet been made to draw it ; the only legisla- 
tion had been in the other direction. The edict of William I, 
separating the ecclesiastical courts from the temporal, and 
giving them exclusive jurisdiction in spiritual causes, must be 
regarded as a beneficial regulation as things then were. The 
same thing can hardly be said of the clause in Stephen's 
charter to the Church by which he granted it jurisdiction 
over all the clergy; yet under this clause the Church had 
in fifteen years drawn into its hands, as nearly as we can 
judge, more business that should naturally belong to the 
state than in the three preceding reigns. This rapid attain- 
ment of what Anselm could only have wished for, this en- 
larged jurisdiction of the Church, stood directly in the way 
of the plans of the young king as he took up the work of 
restoring the government of his grandfather. He had found 
out this fact before the death of Archbishop Theobald and 
had taken some steps to bring the question to an issue at 
that time, but he had been obliged to cross to France and had 
not since been able to go on with the matter. Now the refusal 
of Archbishop Thomas to grant his request about the sheriff's 
aid probably did . not make him any less ready to push what 
he believed to be the clear rights of the state against the 
usurpations of the clergy. 

As the state assumed more and more the condition of settled 
order under the new king, and the courts were able to enforce 


CHAP, the laws everywhere, the failures of justice which resulted 
from the separate position of the clergy attracted more at- 
tention. The king was told that there had been during his 
reign more than a hundred murders by clerks and great num- 
bers of other crimes, for none of which had it been possible 
to inflict the ordinary penalties. Special cases began to be 
brought to his attention. The most important of these 
was the case of Philip of Broi, a man of some family and a 
canon of Bedford, who, accused of the murder of a knight, 
had cleared himself by oath in the bishop's court. After- 
wards the king's justice in Bedford summoned him to appear 
in his court and answer to the same charge, but he refused 
with insulting language which the justice at once repeated to 
the king as a contempt of the royal authority. Henry was 
very angry and swore "by the eyes of God," his favourite 
oath, that an insult to his minister was an insult to himself 
and that the canon must answer for it in his court. " Not 
so," said the archbishop, " for laymen cannot be judges of the 
clergy. If the king cqmplains of any injury, let him come or 
send to Canterbury, and there he shall have full justice by 
ecclesiastical authority." This declaration of the archbishop 
was the extreme claim of* the Church in its simplest form. 
Even the king could not obtain justice for a personal injury 
in his own courts, and the strength of Becket's position is 
shown by the fact that, in spite of all his anger, Henry was 
obliged to submit. He could not, even then, get the case of 
the murder reopened, and in the matter of the insult to his 
judge the penalties which he obtained must have seemed to 
him very inadequate. 

It seems altogether probable that this case had much to do 
with bringing Henry to a determination to settle the question, 
what law and what sovereign should rule in England. So 
long as such things were possible, there could be no effective 
centralization and no supremacy of the national law. Within 
three months of the failure of his plan of taxation in the 
council at Woodstock the king made a formal demand of the 
Church to recognize the right of the State to punish crimi- 
nous clerks. The bishops were summoned to a conference 
at Westminster on October i. To them the king proposed an 
arrangement, essentially th * same as that afterwards included 


in the Constitutions of Clarendon, by which the question of CHAP. 
guilt or innocence should be determined by the Church court, XHI 
but once pronounced guilty the clerk should be degraded by 
the Church and handed over to the lay court for punishment. 
The bishops were not at first united on the answer which 
they should make, but Becket had no doubts, and his opinion 
carried the day. One of his biographers, Herbert of Bosham, 
who was his secretary and is likely to have understood his 
views, though he was if possible of an even more extreme 
spirit than his patron, records the speech in which the arch- 
bishop made known to the king the answer of the Church. 
Whether actually delivered or not, the speech certainly states 
the principles on which Becket must have stood, and these 
are those of the reformers of Cluny in their most logical form. 
The Church is not subject to an earthly king nor to the law 
of the State alone : Christ also is its king and the divine law 
its law. This is proved by the words of our Lord concerning 
the "two swords." But those who are by ordination the 
clergy of the Church, set apart from the nations of men and 
peculiarly devoted to the work of God, are under no earthly 
king. They are above kings and confer their power upon 
them, and far from being subject to any royal jurisdiction they 
are themselves the judges of kings. There can be no doubt 
but that Becket in his struggle with the king had consciously 
before him the model of Anselm ; but these words, whether 
he spoke them to the king's face or not, forming as they did 
the principles of his action and accepted by the great body of 
the clergy, show how far the English Church had progressed 
along the road into which Anselm had first led it. 

Henry's only answer to the argument of the archbishop was 
to adopt exactly the position of his grandfather in the earlier 
conflict, and to inquire whether the bishops were willing to 
observe the ancient customs of the realm. To this they made 
answer together and singly that they were, "saving their 
order." This was of course to refuse, and the conference 
came to an end with no other result than to define more 
clearly the issue between Church and State. In the interval 
which followed Becket was gradually made aware that his 
support in the Church at large was not so strong as he could 
wish. The terror of the king's anger still had its effect in 




CHAP. England, and some of the bishops went over to his side and 
XIH tried to persuade the archbishop to some compromise. The 
pope, Alexander III, who had taken refuge in France from 
the Emperor and his antipope, saw more clearly than Becket 
the danger of driving another powerful sovereign into the 
camp of schism and rebellion and counselled moderation. He 
even sent a special representative to England, with letters to 
Becket to this effect, and with instructions to urge him to 
come to terms with the king. 

At last Becket was persuaded to concede the form of words 
desired, though his biographers asserted that he did this on 
the express understanding that the concession should be no 
more than a form to save the honour of the king. He had 
an interview with Henry at Oxford and engaged that he would 
faithfully observe the customs of the realm. This promise 
Henry received gladly, though not, it was noticed, with a 
return of his accustomed kindness to the archbishop ; and he 
declared at once that, as the refusal of Thomas to obey the 
customs of the realm had been public, so the satisfaction 
made to his honour must be public and the pledge be given 
in the presence of the nobles and bishops of the king- 
dom. To this Becket apparently offered no objection, nor 
to the proposal which followed, according to his secretary 
at the suggestion of the archbishop's enemies, but certainly 
from Henry's point of view the next natural step, that after 
the promise had been given, the customs of the realm should 
be put into definite statement by a " recognition," or formal in- 
quiry, that there might be no further danger of either civil 
or clerical courts infringing on the jurisdiction of the other. 

For this double purpose, to witness the archbishop's decla- 
ration and to make the recognition, a great council met at 
Clarendon, near Salisbury, towards the end of January, 1164. 
Some questions both of what happened at this council and 
of the order of events are still unsettled, but the essential 
points seem clear. Becket gave the required promise with no 
qualifying phrase, and was followed by each of the bishops in 
the same form. Then came the recognition, whether pro- 
vided for beforehand or not, by members of the council who 
were supposed to know the ancient practice, for the purpose 
of putting into definite form the customs to which the Church 


had agreed. The document thus drawn up, which has come CHAP. 
down to us known as the Constitutions of Clarendon, records xni 
in its opening paragraph the fact and form of this agreement 
and the names of the consenting bishops. It is probable, 
however, that this refers to the earlier engagement, and that 
after the customs were reduced to definite statement, no 
formal promise was made. The archbishop in the discussion 
urged his own ignorance of the customs, and it is quite possible 
that, receiving his training in the time of Stephen and believ- 
ing implicitly in the extreme claims of the Church, he was really 
ignorant of what could be proved by a historical study of 
the ancient practice. The king demanded that the bishops 
should put their seals to this document, but this they evi-' 
dently avoided. Becket's secretary says that he temporized 
and demanded delay. Henry had gained, however, great ad- 
vantage from the council, both in what he had actually ac- 
complished and in position for the next move. 

To all who accepted the ideas which now ruled the Church 
there was much to complain of, much that was impos- 
sible in the Constitutions of Clarendon. On the question of 
the trial of criminous clerks, which had given rise to these dif- 
ficulties, it was provided, according to the best interpretation, 
that the accused clerk should be first brought before a secular 
court and there made to answer to the charge. Whatever he 
might plead, guilty or not guilty, he was to be transferred 
to the Church court for trial and, if found guilty, for degra- 
dation from the priesthood; he was then to be handed 
over to the king's officer who had accompanied him to the 
bishop's court for sentence in the king's court to the state's 
punishment of his crime. 1 Becket and his party regarded this 
as a double trial and a double punishment for a single offence. 
But this was not all. The Constitutions went beyond the 
original controversy. Suits to determine the right of pre- * 
sentation to a living even between two clerks must be tried 
in the king's court, as also suits to determine whether a given 
fee was held in free alms or as a lay fee. None of the 
higher clergy were to go out of the kingdom without the 
king's permission, nor without his consent were appeals to be 

1 See Maitland, Henry II and the Criminous Clerks, in his Canon Law in 
the Church of England (1898). (Engl. Hist. Rev. vii, 224.) 

2 8 4 



CHAP, taken from ecclesiastical courts to the pope, his barons to 
xni be excommunicated or their lands placed under an interdict. 
The feudal character of the clergy who held in chief of the 
king was strongly insisted on. They must hold their lands 
as baronies, and answer for them to the royal justices, and 
perform all their feudal obligations like other barons ; and if 
their fiefs fell vacant, they must pass into the king's hand and 
their revenues be treated as domain revenues during the va- 
cancy. A new election must be made by a delegation sum- 
moned by the king, in his chapel, and with his consent, and 
the new prelate must perform liege homage and swear fealty 
to the king before his consecration. 

In short, the Constitutions are a codification of the ancient 
customs on all those points where conflict was likely to arise 
between the old ideas of the Anglo-Norman State and the new 
ideas of the Hildebrandine Church. For there can be little 
doubt that Henry's assertion that he was but stating the cus- 
toms of his grandfather was correct. There is not so much 
proof in regard to one or two points as we should like, but all 
the evidence that we have goes to show that the State was 
claiming nothing new, and about most of the points there can 
be no question. Nor was this true of England only. The 
rights asserted in the Constitutions had been exercised in 
general in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries by every 
strong state in Europe. The weakness of Henry's position 
was not in its historical support, but in the fact that history 
had been making since his grandfather's day. Nor was the 
most important feature of the history that had been made 
in the interval the fact that the State in its weakness had al- 
lowed many things to slip out of its hands. For Henry's 
purpose of recovery the rise of the Church to an equality 
with the State, its organization as an international monarchy, 
conscious of the value of that organization and powerful to 
defend it, was far more important. The Anglo-Norman 
monarchy had been since its beginning the strongest in Eu- 
rope. Henry II was in no less absolute control of the State 
than his ancestors. But now there stood over against the 
king, as there never had before, a power almost as strong in 
England as his own. Thomas understood this more clearly 
than Henry did, He not merely believed in the justice and 


necessity of his cause, but he believed in his ability to make CHAP. 
it prevail. Thomas may have looked to Anselm as his model XHI 
and guide of conduct, but in position he stood on the results 
of the work which Anselm had begun, and he was even more 
convinced than his predecessor had been of the righteousness 
of his cause and of his power to maintain it. This conflict was 
likely to be a war of giants, and at its beginning no man could 
predict its outcome. 

Even if the council of Clarendon closed, as we have sup- 
posed it did, with no definite statement on Thomas's part of 
his attitude towards the Constitutions, and not, as some ac- 
counts imply, with a flat refusal to accept them, he proba- 
bly left the council fully determined not to do so. He carried 
away with him an official copy of the Constitutions as evi- 
dence of the demands which had been made ; and shortly after- 
wards he suspended himself from his functions because of the 
promise which he had originally given to obey them, and 
applied to the pope for absolution. For some months matters 
drifted with no decisive events. Both sides made application 
to the pope. The archbishop attempted to leave England 
without the knowledge of the king, but failed to make a cross- 
ing. The courts were still unable to carry out the provisions 
of the Constitutions. Finally a case arose involving the arch- 
bishop's own court, and on his disregard of the king's pro- 
cesses he was summoned to answer before the curia regis at 
Northampton on October 6. 

It is to be regretted that we have no account of the inter- 
esting and dramatic events of this assembly from a hand 
friendly to the king and giving us his point of view. In the 
biographies of the archbishop, written by clerks who were 
not likely to know much feudal law, it is not easy to trace 
out the exact legal procedure nor always to discover the 
technical right which we may be sure the king believed was 
on his side in every step he took. At the outset it was re- 
corded that as a mark of his displeasure Henry omitted to 
send to the archbishop the customary personal summons to 
attend the meeting of the court and summoned him only 
through the sheriff, but, though the omission of a personal 
summons to one of so high rank would naturally be resented 
by his friends, as he was to go, not as a member of the court, 




CHAP, but as an accused person to answer before it, the omission 
XIH was probably quite regular. Immediately after the organiza- 
tion of the court, Becket was put on his trial for neglect to 
obey the processes of the king's court in the earlier case. 
Summoned originally on an appeal for default of judgment, he 
had neither gone to the court himself nor sent a personal ex- 
cuse, but he had instructed his representatives to plead against 
the legality of the appeal. This he might have done himself 
if personally before the court, but, as he had not come, there 
was technically a refusal to obey the king's commands which 
gave Henry his opportunity. Before the great curia regis 
' the case was very simple. The archbishop seems to have 
tried to get before the court the same plea as to the illegality 
of the appeal, but it was ruled out at once, as " it had no place 
there." In other words, the case was now a different one. It 
was tried strictly on the ground of the archbishop's feudal 
obligations, and there he had no defence. Judgment was 
given against him, and all his movables were declared in the 
king's mercy. 

William Fitz Stephen, one of Becket' s biographers who 
shows a more accurate knowledge of the law than the others, 
and who was present at the trial, records an interesting inci- 
dent of the judgment. A dispute arose between the barons 
and the bishops as to who should pronounce it, each party 
trying to put the unpleasant duty on the other. To the 
barons' argument that a bishop should declare the decision 
of the court because Becket was a bishop, the bishops 
answered that they were not sitting there as bishops but as 
barons of the realm and peers of the lay barons. The king 
interposed, and the sentence was pronounced by the aged 
Henry, Bishop of Winchester. Becket seems to have sub- 
mitted without opposition, and the bishops who were present, 
except Gilbert Foliot of London, united in giving security 
for the payment of the fine. 

A question that inevitably arises at this point and cannot 
be answered is, why Henry did not rest satisfied with the ap- 
parently great advantage he had gained. He had put into 
operation more than one of the articles of the Constitutions 
of Clarendon, and against the archbishop in person. Becket 
had been obliged to recognize the jurisdiction of the curia 


regis over himself and to submit to its sentence, and the CHAP. 
whole body of bishops had recognized their feudal position xm 
in the state and had acted upon it. Perhaps the king wished 
to get an equally clear precedent in a case which was a civil 
one rather than a misdemeanour. Perhaps he was so exaspe- 
rated against the archbishop that he was resolved to pursue 
him to his ruin, but, though more than one thing points to 
this, it does not seem a reasonable explanation. Whatever may 
have been his motive, the king immediately, the accounts 
say on the same day with the first trial, demanded that his 
former chancellor should account for .300 derived from the 
revenues of the castles of Eye and Berkhampsted held by 
him while chancellor. Thomas answered that the money 
had been spent in the service of the state, but the king re- 
fused to admit that this had been done by his authority. 
Again Becket submitted, though not recognizing the right of 
the court to try him in a case in which he had not been 
summoned, and gave security for the payment. 

Still this was not sufficient. On the next day the king de- 
manded the return of 500 marks which he had lent Becket 
for the Toulouse campaign, and of a second 500 which had 
been borrowed of a Jew on the king's security. This was 
followed at once by a further demand for an account of the 
revenues of the archbishopric and of all other ecclesiastical 
fiefs which had been vacant while Thomas was chancellor. To 
pay the sum which this demand would call for would be im- 
possible without a surrender of all the archbishop's sources 
of income for several years, and it almost seems as if Henry 
intended this result. The barons apparently thought as much, 
for from this day they ceased to call at Becket's quarters. 
The next day the clergy consulted together on the course to 
be taken and there was much difference of opinion. Some 
advised the immediate resignation of the archbishopric, others 
a firm stand accepting the consequence of the king's anger ; 
and there were many opinions between these two extremes. 
During the day an offer of 2000 marks in settlement of the 
claim was sent to the king on the advice of Henry of Win- 
chester, but it was refused, and the day closed without 
any agreement among the clergy on a common course of 




CHAP. The next day was Sunday, and the archbishop did not leave 
xin his lodgings. On Monday he was too ill to attend the meet- 
ing of the court, much to Henry's anger. The discussions 
of Saturday and the reflections of the following days had 
apparently led Becket to a definite decision as to his own con- 
duct. The king was in a mood, as it would surely seem to 
him, to accept nothing short of his ruin. No support was to 
be expected from the barons. The clergy, even the bishops, 
were divided in opinion and it would be impossible to gain 
strength enough from them to escape anything which the 
king might choose to demand. We must, I think, explain 
Becket's conduct from this time on by supposing that he now 
saw clearly that all concessions had been and would be in 
vain, and that he was resolved to exert to the utmost the 
strength of passive opposition which lay in the Church, to put 
his case on the highest possible grounds, and to gain for the 
Church the benefits of persecution and for himself the merits, 
if needs be, of the martyr. 

Early the next morning the bishops, terrified by the anger 
of the king, came to Becket and tried to persuade him to 
yield completely, even to giving up the archbishopric. This 
he refused. He rebuked them for their action against him 
already in the court, forbade them to sit in judgment on him 
again, himself appealing to the pope, and ordered them, if 
any secular person should lay hands on him in punishment, 
to excommunicate him at once. Against this order Gilbert 
Foliot immediately appealed. The bishops then departed, and 
Becket entered the monastery church and celebrated the 
mass of St. Stephen's day, opening with the words of the 
Psalm, "Princes did sit and speak against me." This was 
a most audacious act, pointed directly at the king, and a 
public declaration that he expected and was prepared for 
the fate of the first martyr. Naturally the anger of the 
court was greatly increased. From the celebration of the 
mass, Becket went to the meeting of the court, his cross borne 
before him in the usual manner, but on reaching the door 
of the meeting-place, he took it from his cross-bearer and 
carrying it in his own hands entered the hall. Such an un- 
usual proceeding as this could have but one meaning. It was 
a public declaration that he was in fear of personal violence, 


and that any one who laid hands on him must understand CHAP. 
his act to be an attack on the cross and all that it signified. xni 
Some of the bishops tried to persuade him to abandon this 
attitude, but in vain. So far as we can judge the mood of 
Henry, Becket had much to justify his feeling, and if he were 
resolved not to accept the only other alternative of complete 
submission, but determined to resist to the utmost, the act was 
not unwise. 

When the bishops reported to the king the primate's order 
forbidding them to sit in trial of him again, it was seen 
at once to be a violation of the Constitutions of Clarendon ; 
and certain barons were sent to him to inquire if he stood to 
this, to remind him of his oath as the king's liege-man, and 
of the promise, equivalent to an oath, which he had made at 
Clarendon to keep the Constitutions " in good faith, without 
guile, and according to law," and to ask if he would furnish 
security for the payment of the claims against him as chan- 
cellor. In reply Becket stood firmly to his position, and 
renewed the prohibition and the appeal to the pope. The 
breach of the Constitutions being thus placed beyond question, 
the king demanded the judgment of the court, bishops and 
barons together. The bishops urged the ecclesiastical dan- 
gers in which they would be placed if they disregarded the 
archbishop's prohibition, and suggested that instead they 
should themselves appeal to Rome against him as a per- 
jurer. To this the king at last agreed, and the appeal was 
declared by Hilary, Bishop of Chichester, who had through- 
out inclined to the king's side, and who urged upon the arch- 
bishop with much vigour the oath which they had all taken at 
Clarendon under his leadership and which he was now forcing 
them to violate. Becket's answer to this speech is the weak- 
est and least honest thing that he did during all these days of 
trial. " We promised nothing at Clarendon," he said, " without 
excepting the rights of the Church. The very clauses to which 
you refer, * in good faith, without guile, and according to law,' 
are saving clauses, because it is impossible to observe any- 
thing in good faith and according to law if it is contrary to the 
laws of God and to the fealty due the Church. Nor is there 
any such thing as the dignity of a Christian king where the lib- 
erty of the Church which he has sworn to observe has perished," 
VOL. n, 19 


CHAP. K The court then, without the bishops, found the archbishop 
xin guilty of perjury and probably of treason. The formal pro- 
nunciation of the sentence in the presence of Becket was 
assigned to the justiciar, the Earl of Leicester, but he was 
not allowed to finish. With violent words Thomas inter- 
rupted him and bitterly denounced him for presuming as a 
layman to sit in judgment on his spiritual father. In the 
pause that followed, Becket left the hall still carrying his 

v cross. As he passed out, the spirit of the chancellor over- 
came for a moment that of the bishop, and he turned fiercely 
on those who were saying " perjured traitor " and cried that, 
if it were not for his priestly robes and the wickedness of the 
act, he would know how to answer in arms such an accusa- 

^ tion. During the night that followed, Becket secretly left 
Northampton, and by a roundabout way after two weeks 
succeeded in escaping to the continent in disguise. The 
next day the court held its last session. After some dis- 
cussion it was resolved to allow the case to stand as it was, 
and not even to take the archbishop's fief into the king's hands 
until the pope should decide the appeal, a resolution which 
shows how powerful was the Church and how strong was the 
v influence of the bishops who were acting with the king. At 
the same time an embassy of great weight and dignity was 
appointed to represent the king before the pope, consisting of 
the Archbishop of York, the Bishops of London, Chichester, 
Exeter, and Worcester, two earls and two barons, and three 
clerks from the king's household. They were given letters to 
the King of France and to the Count of Flanders which said 
that Thomas, "formerly Archbishop of Canterbury," had 
fled the kingdom as a traitor and should not be received 
in their lands. 

In the somewhat uncertain light in which we are compelled 
to view these events, this quarrel seems unnecessary, and the 
guilt of forcing it on Church and State in England, at least 
at this time and in these circumstances, appears to rest with 
Henry. The long patience of his grandfather, which was 
willing to wait the slow process of events and carefully 
shunned the drawing of sharp issues when possible, he cer- 
tainly does not show in this case. It is more than likely, 
however, that the final result would have been the same in 


any case. No reconciliation was possible between the ideas 
or the characters of the two chief antagonists, and the neces- xni 
sary constitutional growth of the state made the collision cer- v 
tain. It was a case in which either the Church or the State 
must give way, but greater moderation of action and demand 
would have given us a higher opinion of Henry's practical 
wisdom ; and the essential justice of his cause hardly excuses 
such rapid and violent pushing of his advantage. On the v 
other hand Thomas's conduct, which must have been ex- 
ceedingly exasperating to the hot blood which Henry had 
inherited, must be severely condemned in many details. 
We cannot avoid the feeling that much about it was insincere 
and theatrical, and even an intentional challenging of the fate 
he seemed to dread. But yet it does not appear what choice 
was left him between abjectly giving up all that he had been 
trained to believe of the place of the Church in the world and 
entering on open war with the king. 

The war now declared dragged slowly on for six years 
with few events that seemed to bring a decision nearer till 
towards the end of that period. Henry's embassy returned \/ 
from the pope at Christmas time and reported that no formal 
judgment had been rendered on the appeal. The king then / 
put in force the ordinary penalty for failure of service and 
confiscated the archbishop's revenues. He went even further 
than this in some acts that were justifiable and some that were 
spiteful. He ordered the confiscation of the revenues of the v 
archbishop's clerks who had accompanied him, prohibited all 
appeals to the pope, and ordered Becket's relatives to join 
him in exile. As to the archbishop, whatever one may think ' 
of his earlier attitude we can have but little sympathy with 
his conduct from this time on. He went himself to the 
pope after the departure of Henry's messengers, but though 
Alexander plainly inclined to his side, he did not obtain a 
formal decision. Then he retired to the abbey of Pontigny 
in Burgundy, where he resided for some time. 

Political events did not wait the settlement of the conflict 
with the Church, though nothing of great interest occurred 
before its close. Henry crossed to Normandy in the spring 
of 1165, where an embassy came to him from the Emperor 
which resulted in the marriage of his daughter Matilda with 

2 9 2 



CHAP. Henry the Lion, of the house of Guelf. Two clerks who 
XIH returned with this embassy to Germany seem to have in- 
volved the king in some embarrassment by promises of some 
kind to support the emperor against the pope. It does not 
appear, however, that Henry ever intended to recognize the 
antipope ; and, whatever the promises were, he promptly dis- 
avowed them. Later in the year two campaigns in Wales 
are less interesting from a military point of view than as 
leading to further experiments in taxation. The year 1166 \/ 
is noteworthy for the beginning of extensive judicial and 
administrative reforms which must be considered hereafter 
with the series to which they belong. In that year also 
Becket began a direct attack upon his enemies in England. 

He began by sending to the king three successive warn- 
ings, all based on the assumption that in such a dispute the 
final decision must remain with the Church and that the 
State must always give way. His next step was the solemn 
excommunication of seven supporters of the king, mostly 
clerks, but including Richard of Lucy, the justiciar. The 
king was warned to expect the same fate himself, and all 
obedience to the Constitutions of Clarendon was forbidden. 
The effect of this act was not what Becket anticipated. It 
led rather to a reaction of feeling against him from its unne- 
cessary severity, and a synod of the clergy of the archbishopric 
entered an appeal against it. A new embassy was sent to 
the pope who was then at Rome to get the appeal decided, 
and was much more favourably received by Alexander who 
seems to have been displeased with Becket's action. He 
promised to send legates to Henry to settle the whole 
question with him. The occupation of Britanny by which 
it was brought under Henry's direct control and a short 
and inconclusive war with the king of France took up 
the interval until the legates reached Normandy in October, 
1167. Their mission proved a failure. Becket, who came, 
in person to the inquiry which they held, refused to accept 
any compromise or to modify in any way his extreme posi- 
tion. On the other side Henry was very angry because they 
refused to deprive the archbishop. 

The year 1168 was a troubled one for Henry, with revolts 
in Poitou and Britanny, supported by the king of France, and 


with useless negotiations with Louis. Early in 1169 the CHAP. 
pope sent new envoys to try to reconcile king and primate xni 
with instructions to bring pressure to bear on both parties. 
The king of France also came to the meeting and exerted 
his influence, but the result was a second failure. Becket 
had invented a new saving clause which he thought the 
king might be induced to accept. He would submit " saving 
the honour of God," but Henry understood the point and 
could see no difference between this and the old reservation. 
Becket finally stood firmly against the pressure of the en- 
voys and the influence of Louis, and Henry was not moved 
by the threats which the pope had directed to be made if 
necessary. A third embassy later in the year seemed for 
a moment about to find a possible compromise, but ended in 
another failure, both parties refusing to make any real con- 
cession. The interval between these two attempts at recon- 
ciliation Becket had used to excommunicate about thirty of 
his opponents in England, mostly churchmen, including the 
Bishops of London and Salisbury. 

For more than a year longer the quarrel went on, the 
whole Church suffering from the results, and new points 
arising to complicate the issue. The danger that England 
would be placed under an interdict Henry met by most 
stringent regulations against the admission of any communi- 
cations from the pope, or any intercourse with pope or 
archbishop. On the question which arose in the constant 
negotiations as to the compensation which should be made to 
Becket for his loss of revenue since he had left England, 
he showed himself as unyielding as on every other point, and 
demanded the uttermost farthing. For some time the king 
had wished to have his son Henry crowned, and on June 14, 
1170, that ceremony was actually performed at Westminster 
by the Archbishop of York, who had, as Henry believed or 
asserted, a special permission from the pope for the purpose. 
Of course Becket resented this as a new invasion of his 
rights and determined to exact for it the proper penalties. 
Finally, towards the end of July, an agreement was reached 
which was no compromise ; it simply ignored the points- in 
dispute and omitted all the qualifying phrases. The king 
agreed to receive the archbishop to his favour and to restore 

2 9 4 



CHAP, him his possessions, and Becket accepted this. The agree- 
xin ment can hardly have been regarded by either side as any- 
thing more than a truce. Neither intended to abandon any 
right for which he had been contending, but both were ex- 
hausted by the conflict and desired an interval for recovery, 
perhaps with a hope of renewing the strife from a better 

It was December i before Thomas actually landed in 
England. He then came bringing war, not peace. He 
had sent over, in advance of his own crossing, letters which 
he had solicited and obtained from the pope, suspending 
from their functions all the bishops who had taken part in 
the coronation of the young king, and reviving the excom- 
munications of the Bishops of London and Salisbury. Then, 
landing at Sandwich, he went on to Canterbury, where he 
was received with joy. But there was little real joy for 
Becket or his friends in the short remainder of his life, unless 
it may have been the joy of conflict and of anticipated mar- 
tyrdom. To messengers who asked the removal of the sen- 
tence against the bishops, he refused any concession except 
on their unconditional promise to abide by the pope's 
decision ; and the three prelates most affected York, Lon- 
don, and Salisbury went over to Normandy to the king. A 
plan to visit the court of the young king at London was 
stopped by orders to return to Canterbury. On Christmas 
day, at the close of a sermon from the text " Peace on earth 
to men of good-will," he issued new excommunications against 
some minor offenders, and bitterly denounced, in words that 
seemed to have the same effect, those who endangered the 
peace between himself and the king. 

v It was on the news of this Christmas proclamation, or per- 
haps on the report of the bishops who had come from Eng- 
land, that Henry gave way to his violent temper, and in an 
outburst of passion denounced those whom he had cherished 
and covered with favours, because they could not avenge 
him of this one priest. On these words four knights of his 
household resolved to punish the archbishop, and, leaving the 
court secretly, they went over to England. They were Regi- 
nald Fitz Urse, William of Tracy, Hugh of Morville, and 
Richard le Breton. An attempt to stop them when their 


departure was observed did not succeed, and, collecting sup- CHAP. 
porters from the local enemies of the archbishop, they forced Xln 
their way into his presence on the afternoon of December 
29. Their reproaches, demands, and threats Becket met 
with firmness and dignity, refusing to be influenced by fear. 
Finding that they could gain nothing by words, they with- 
drew to get their arms, and Becket was hurried into the 
cathedral by his friends. As they were going up the steps 
from the north-west transept to the choir, their enemies 
met them, calling loudly for " the traitor, Thomas Becket." 
The archbishop turned about and stepped down to the floor 
of the transept, repelling their accusations with bitter words 
and accusations of his own, and was there struck down by 
their swords and murdered ; not before the altar, as is some- 
times said, though within the doors of his own church. 



CHAP. | THE martyrdom of Thomas Becket served his cause better 
XIV than his continuance in life could have done. Even if his 
murderers foolishly thought to serve the king by their deed, 
Henry himself was under no delusion as to its effect. He 
was thunderstruck at the news, and, in a frenzy of horror 
which was no doubt genuine, as well as to mark his re- 
pudiation of all share in the deed, he fasted and shut him- 
self from communication with the court for days. But the 
public opinion of Europe would not acquit Henry of the 
guilt. Letters poured in upon the pope denouncing him and 
demanding his punishment. The interdict of his Norman 
dominions which had been threatened was proclaimed by the 
Archbishop of Sens, but suspended again by an appeal to 
the pope. Events moved slowly in the twelfth century, and 
before the pope could take any active steps in the case, an 
embassy which left Normandy almost immediately had time 
to reach him and to promise on the part of the king his com- 
plete submission to whatever the pope should decree after 
examination of the facts. Immediate punishment of any 
severity was thus avoided, and the embassy of two cardinals 
to Normandy which the pope announced could act only after 
some delay. 

In the meanwhile in England Thomas the archbishop was 
being rapidly transformed into Thomas the saint. Miracles 
were reported almost at once, and the legend of his saint- 
ship took its rise and began to throw a new light over 
the events of his earlier life. The preparation of his body 
for the grave had revealed his secret asceticism, the hair 
garments next his skin and long unchanged. The people 
believed him to be a true martyr, and his popular canoniza- 
tion preceded by some time the official, though this followed 



with unusual quickness even for the middle ages. It was CHAP. 
pronounced by the pope in whose reign he had died on Feb- XIV 
ruary 21, 1173. For generations he remained the favourite 
saint of England, and his popularity in foreign lands is sur- 
prising, though it must be remembered that he was a great 
and most conspicuous martyr of the official Church, of the 
new Hildebrandine Church, of the spirit and ideas which 
were by that date everywhere in command. 

This long and bitter struggle between Church and State, 
unworthy of both the combatants, was now over except for 
the consequences which were lasting, and the interest of 
Henry's reign flows back into the political channel. The 
king did not wait in seclusion the report of the pope's 
mission. It may have been, as was suggested even at the 
time, that he was glad of an excuse to escape from Nor- 
mandy before the envoys' coming and to avoid a meeting 
with them until time had done something to soften the feeling 
against him. Before his departure his hold on Britanny was 
strengthened by the death, in February, 1171, of Conan the 
candidate whom he had recognized as count. Since 1166 the 
administration of the country had been practically in his 
hands ; and in that year his son Geoffrey had been betrothed 
to Constance, the daughter and heiress of Conan. Geoffrey 
would now succeed to the countship, but he was still a 
child; and Britanny was virtually incorporated in Henry's 
continental empire. 

The refuge which the repentant Henry may have sought 
from the necessity of giving an answer to the pope at once, 
or a kind of preliminary penance for his sin, he found in 
Ireland. Since he received so early in his reign the sanction 
of Pope Hadrian IV of his plan of conquest, he had done 
nothing himself towards that end, but others had. The adven- 
turous barons of the Welsh marches, who were used to the 
idea of carving out lordships for themselves from the lands 
of their Celtic enemies, were easily persuaded to extend their 
civilizing operations to the neighbouring island, where even 
richer results seemed to be promised. In 1 166 Dermot, the 
dispossessed king of Leinster, who had found King Henry 
too busily occupied with affairs in France to aid him, had 
secured with the royal permission the help he needed in 

2 9 8 



CHAP. Wales, and thus had connected with the future history of 
XIV Ireland the names of " Strongbow " and Fitzgerald. The 
native Irish, though the bravest of warriors, were without 
armour, and their weapons, of an earlier stage of military 
history, were no match for the Norman ; especially had they 
no defence against the Norman archers. The conquest of 
Leinster, from Waterford to Dublin, and including those two 
cities, occupied some years, but was accomplished by a few 
men. " Strongbow " himself, Richard de Clare, Earl of Pem- 
broke, did not cross over till the end of August, 1170, when 
the work was almost completed. He married the daughter of 
Dermot and was recognized as his heir, but the death of his 
father-in-law in the next spring was followed by a general 
insurrection against the new rulers, and this was hardly 
under control when the earl was summoned to England to 
meet the king. 

Henry could not afford to let the dominion of Ireland, 
to which he had looked forward for himself, slip from his 
hands, nor to risk the danger that an independent state 
might be formed so close to England by his own vassals. 
Already the Earl of Pembroke was out of favour ; it was said 
that his lands had been forfeited, and he might easily become 
a rebel difficult to subdue in his new possessions. At the 
moment he certainly had no thought of rebellion, and he at 
once obeyed the summons to England. Henry had crossed 
from Normandy early in September, 1171, had paid a brief 
visit to Winchester, where Henry of Blois, once so powerful in 
Church and State, was now dying, and then advanced with his 
army through southern Wales into Pembrokeshire whence he 
crossed to Ireland in the middle of October. As he passed 
from Waterford to Cashel, and then again from Waterford to 
Dublin, chiefs came in from all sides, many of whom had 
never submitted to the Norman invaders, and acknowledged 
his overlordship. Only in the remoter parts of the west and 
north did they remain away, except Roderick of Connaught, 
the most powerful of the Irish kings, who was not yet ready 
to own himself a vassal, but claimed the whole of Ireland for 
himself. The Christmas feast Henry kept in Dublin, and 
there entertained his new subjects who were astonished at the 
splendour of his court. 


A few weeks later a council of the Irish Church was held at CHAP. 
Cashel, and attended by all the prelates of the island except XIV 
the Archbishop of Armagh whose age prevented his coming. 
The bishops swore allegiance to Henry, and each of them is 
said to have made a formal declaration, written and sealed, 
recognizing the right of Henry and his heirs to the kingdom 
of Ireland. The canons adopted by the council, putting into 
force rules of marriage and morals long established in prac- 
tice in the greater part of Christendom, reveal the reasons 
that probably led the Church to favour the English conquest 
and even to consider it an especially pious act of the king. 
A report of Henry's acceptance by the Irish kings and of 
the acts of the council was sent at once to the pope, who 
replied in three letters under date of September 20, 1172, 
addressed to Henry, to the Irish bishops, and to the Irish 
kings, approving fully of all that had been done. 

It is not clear that Henry had in mind any definite plan 
for the political government of the conquest which he had 
made. The allegiance of those princes who were outside the 
territories occupied by the Norman adventurers could have 
been no more than nominal, and no attempt seems to have 
been made to rule them. Meath was granted as a fief to 
Hugh of Lacy on the service of fifty knights. He was also 
made governor of Dublin and justiciar of Ireland, but this 
title is the only evidence that he was to be regarded as the 
representative of the king. Waterford and Wexford were 
made domain towns, as well as Dublin, and the earl of Pem- 
broke, who gave up the royal rights which he might inherit 
from King Dermot, was enf eoffed with Leinster on the service 
of a hundred knights. Plainly the part of Ireland which 
was actually occupied was not treated in practice as a sepa- 
rate kingdom, whatever may have been the theory, but as a 
transplanted part of England under a very vague relationship. 
As a matter of fact, it was a purely feudal colony, under but 
the slightest control by a distant overlord, and doomed both 
from its situation in the midst of an alien, only partly civilized, 
and largely unconquered race, and from its own organization 
or lack of organization, to speedy troubles. 

Henry returned to England at Easter time, and went on 
almost at once to meet the papal legates in Normandy. By 


CHAP, the end of May his reconciliation with the Church was com- 
XIV pleted. First, Henry purged himself by solemn oath in the 
cathedral at Avranches of any share in the guilt of Thomas's 
assassination, and then the conditions of reconciliation were 
sworn to by himself and by the young king. These condi- 
tions are a very fair compromise, though Becket could never 
have agreed to them nor probably would Henry have done so 
but for the murder. The Church insisted on the one thing 
which was most essential to its real interests, the freedom of 
appeals to the pope. The point most important to the State, 
which had led originally to the quarrel, the question of the 
punishment of criminous clerks by the lay courts, was passed 
over in silence, a way out of the difficulty being found by re- 
quiring of the king a promise which he could readily make, 
that he would wholly do away with any customs which had 
been introduced against the churches of the land in his time. 
This would not be to his mind renouncing the Constitution of 
Clarendon. The temporalities of Canterbury and the exiled 
friends of the archbishop were to be restored as before the 
quarrel, and Henry promised not to withdraw his obedience 
from the catholic pope or his successors. The other condi- 
tions were of the nature of penance. The king promised to 
assume the cross at the next Christmas for a crusade of three 
years, and in the meantime to provide the Templars with a 
sum of money which in their judgment would be sufficient 
to maintain 200 knights in the Holy Land for a year. 

Henry no doubt felt that he had lost much, but in truth he 
had every reason to congratulate himself on the lightness of 
his punishment for the crime to which his passionate words 
had led. He did not get all which he had set out to recover 
from the Church, but his gains were large and substantial. 
The agreement is a starting-point of some importance in the 
legal history of England. It may be taken as the beginning, 
with more full consciousness of field and boundaries, of the 
development of two long lines of law and jurisdiction, run- 
ning side by side for many generations, each encroaching 
somewhat on the occupied or natural ground of the other, but 
with no other conflict of so serious a character as this. The 
criminal jurisdiction of the state did not recover quite all 
that the Constitutions of Clarendon had demanded. Clerks 


accused of the worst offences, of felonies, except high treason, CHAP. 
were tried and punished by the Church courts, and from this XIV 
arose the privilege known as benefit of clergy with all its 
abuses, but in all minor offences no distinction was made 
between clerk and layman. In civil cases also, suits which 
involved the right of property, even the right of presentation 
to livings, the state courts had their way. Two large fields 
of law, on the other hand, marriage, and wills, the Church, 
much to its profit, had entirely to itself. 

The interval of peace for Henry was not a long one. 
Hardly was he freed from one desperate struggle when he 
found himself by degrees involved in another from which he 
was never to find relief. The policy which he was to follow 
towards his sons had been already foreshadowed in the coro- 
nation of the young Henry in 1170, but we do not find it 
easy to account for it or to reconcile it with other lines of 
policy which he was as clearly following. The conflict of 
ideas, the subtle contradictions of the age in which he lived, 
must have been reflected in the mind of the king whose 
dominions themselves were an empire of contrasts. Of all 
the middle ages there is perhaps no period that saw the ideal 
which chivalry had created of the wholly " courteous " king 
and prince more nearly realized in practice than the last half 
of the twelfth century the brave warrior and great ruler, of 
course, but always also the generous giver, who considered 
"largesse" one of the chief est of virtues and first of duties, 
and bestowed with lavish hand on all comers money and 
food, robes and jewels, horses and arms, and even castles and 
fiefs, recognizing the natural right of each one to the gift 
his rank would seem to claim. That such an ideal was actu- 
ally realized in any large number of cases it would be absurd 
to maintain. It is not likely that any one ever sought to 
equal in detail the extravagant squandering of wealth in gifts 
which figures in the poetry of the age the rich mantles 
which Arthur hung about the halls at a coronation festival 
to be taken by any one, or the thirty bushels of silver coins 
tumbled in a heap on the floor from which all might help 
themselves. But these poems record the ideal, and probably 
no other age saw more men, from kings down to simple 
knights, who tried to pattern themselves on this model and 


CHAP, to look on wealth as an exhaustless store of things to be 
XIV given away. But in the mind of kings who reigned in a 
world more real than the romances of chivalry, this duty had 
always to contend with natural ambition and with their 
responsibility for the welfare of the lands they ruled. The 
last half of the twelfth century saw these considerations grow 
rapidly stronger. The age that formed and applauded the 
young Henry also gave birth to Philip Augustus. 

The marriage with Eleanor added to the strange mixture 
of blood in the Norman- Angevin house a new and warmer 
strain. It showed itself, careless, luxurious, self-indulgent, 
restless at any control, in her sons. But the marriage had 
also its effect on the husband and father. It gave a strong 
impetus to the conquest, which had already begun, of the 
colder and slower north by the ideals of duty and manners 
which had blossomed out into a veritable theory of life in the 
more tropical south. Henry could not keep himself from the 
spell of these influences, though they never controlled him as 
they did his children. It seems impossible to doubt, how- 
ever, that he really believed it to be his duty to give his sons 
the position that belonged to them as princes, where they 
could form courts of their own, surrounded by their barons 
and knights, and display the virtues which belonged to their 
station. They had a rightful claim to this, which the ruling 
idea of conduct befitting a king would not allow him to deny. 
The story of Henry's waiting on his son at table after his 
coronation " as seneschal " and the reply of the young king 
to those who spoke of the honour done him, that it was a 
proper thing for one who was only the son of a count to wait 
on the son of a king, is significant of deeper things than mere 
manners. But, though he might be under the spell of these 
ideals, to partition his kingdom in very truth, to divest him- 
self of power, to make his sons actually independent in the 
provinces which he gave them, was impossible to him. The 
power of his empire he could not break up. The real con- 
trol of the whole, and even the greater part of the revenues, 
must remain in his hands. The conflict of ideas in his mind, 
when he tried to be true to them all in practice, led inevitably 
to a like conflict of facts and of physical force. 

The coronation of the young Henry as king of England, 


considered by itself, seems an unaccountable act. Stephen CHAP. 
had tried to secure the coronation of his son Eustace in his XIV 
own lifetime, but there was a clear reason of policy in his 
case. The Capetian kings of France had long followed the 
practice, but for them also it had plainly been for many gen- 
erations of the utmost importance for the security of the 
house. There had never been any reason in Henry's reign 
why extraordinary steps should seem necessary to secure the 
succession, and there certainly was none fifteen years after 
its beginning. No explanation is given us in any contem- 
porary account of the motives which led to this coronation, 
and it is not likely that they were motives of policy. It is 
probable that it was done in imitation of the French custom, 
under the influence of the ideas of chivalry. But even if the 
king looked on this as chiefly a family matter, affecting not 
much more than the arrangements of the court, he could not 
keep it within those limits. His view of the position to 
which his sons were entitled was the most decisive influence 
shaping the latter half of his reign, and through its effect on 
their characters almost as decisive for another generation. 

Not long after his brother's coronation Richard received 
his mother's inheritance, Aquitaine and Poitou ; Geoffrey was 
to be Count of Britanny by his marriage with the heiress ; 
Normandy, Maine, and Anjou were assigned to the young 
king; while the little John, youngest of the children of 
Henry and Eleanor, received from his father only the name 
"Lackland" which expresses well enough Henry's idea that 
his position was not what it ought to be so long as he had no 
lordship of his own. Trouble of one kind had begun with 
the young king's coronation, for Louis of France had been 
deeply offended because his daughter Margaret had not been 
crowned queen of England at the same time. This omission 
was rectified in August, 1172, .at Winchester, when Henry 
was again crowned, and Margaret with him. But more 
serious troubles than this were now beginning. 

Already while Henry was in Ireland, the discontent of the 
young king had been noticed and reported to him. It had 
been speedily discovered that the coronation carried with it 
no power, though the young Henry was of an age to rule 
according to he ideas of the time, of the age, indeed, at 




CHAP, which his father had begun the actual government of Nor- 
XIV mandy. But he found himself, as a contemporary called him, 
" our new king who has nothing to reign over." It is proba- 
ble, however, that the scantiness of the revenues supplied 
him to support his new dignity and to maintain his court had 
more to do with his discontent than the lack of political 
power. The courtly virtue of " largesse," which his father 
followed with some restraint where money was concerned, 
was with him a more controlling ideal of conduct. A bril- 
liant court, joyous and gay, given up to minstrelsy and tour- 
naments, seemed to him a necessity of life, and it could not 
be had without much money. Contemporary literature shows 
that the young king had all those genial gifts of manner, 
person, and spirit, which make their possessors universally 
popular. He was of more than average manly beauty, 
warm-hearted, cordial, and generous. He won the personal 
love of all men, even of his enemies, and his early death 
seemed to many, besides the father whom he had so sorely 
tried, to leave the world darker. Clearly he belongs in the 
list of those descendants of the Norman house, with the 
Roberts and the Stephens, who had the gifts which attract 
the admiration and affection of men, but at the same time 
the weakness of character which makes them fatal to them- 
selves and to their friends. To a man of that type, even 
without the incentive of the spirit of the time, no amount of 
money could be enough. It is hardly possible to doubt that 
the emptiness of his political title troubled the mind of the 
young Henry far less than the emptiness of his purse. 1 

There was no lack of persons, whose word would have 
great influence with the young king, to encourage him in his 
discontent and even in plans of rebellion. His father-in-law, 
Louis VII, would have every reason to urge him on to ex- 
tremes, those of policy because of the danger which threatened 
the Capetian house from the undivided Angevin power, those 
of personal feeling because of the seemingly intentional 
slights which his daughter Margaret had suffered. Eleanor, 
at once wife and mother, born probably in 1122, had now 
reached an age when she must have felt that she had lost 

1 Robert of Torigni, Chronicles of Stephen, iv, 305 j L'Histoirc. dc 
k Marechal, 11. 1935-5095. 


some at least of the sources of earlier influence and consider- CHAP. 
ation. Proud and imperious of spirit, she would bitterly XIV 
resent any lack of attention on her husband's part, and she 
had worse things than neglect to excite her anger. From 
the beginning, we are told, while Henry was still in Ireland, 
she had encouraged her son to believe himself badly treated 
by his father. The barons, many of them at least, through 
all the provinces of Henry's empire, were restless under his 
strong control and excited by the evidence, constantly in- 
creasing as the judicial and administrative reforms of the 
reign went on, that the king was determined to confine their 
independence within narrower and narrower limits. Flatter- 
ing offers of support no doubt came in at any sign that the 
young king would head resistance to his father. 

The final step of appealing directly to armed force the 
young Henry did not take till the spring of 1173. A few 
weeks after his second coronation he was recalled to Nor- 
mandy, but was allowed to go off at once to visit his father-in- 
law, ostensibly on a family visit. Louis was anxious to see his 
daughter. Apparently it was soon after his return that he 
made the first formal request of his father to be given an 
independent position in some one of the lands which had 
been assigned to him, urged, it was said, by the advice of the 
king of France and of the barons of England and Normandy. 
The request was refused, and he then made up his mind to 
rebel as soon as a proper opportunity and excuse should 
offer. These he found in the course of the negotiations for 
the marriage of his brother John about the beginning of 
Lent, 1173. 

Marriage was the only way by which Henry could provide 
for his youngest son a position equal to that which he had 
given to the others, and this he was now planning to do by a 
marriage which would at the same time greatly increase his 
own power. The Counts of Maurienne in the kingdom of 
Burgundy had collected in their hands a variety of fiefs east 
of the Rhone extending from Geneva on the north over into 
the borders of Italy to Turin on the south until they com- 
manded all the best passes of the western Alps. The reign- 
ing count, Humbert, had as yet no son. His elder daughter, 
a child a little younger than John, would be the heiress of his 

VOL. II. 20 



CHAP, desirable lands. The situation seems naturally to have sug- 
XIV gested to him the advantage of a close alliance with one 
whose influence and alliances were already so widely ex- 
tended in the Rhone valley as Henry's. It needed no argu- 
ment to persuade Henry of the advantage to himself of such a 
relationship. He undoubtedly looked forward to ruling the 
lands his son would acquire by the marriage as he ruled the 
lands of Geoffrey and of his other sons; and to command 
the western Alps would mean not merely a clear road into Italy 
if he should wish one, but also, of more immediate value, a 
strategic position on the east from which he might hope to 
cut off the king of France from any further interference in 
the south like that which earlier in his reign had compelled 
him to drop his plans against Toulouse. Belley, which would 
pass into his possession when this treaty was carried out, 
was not very far from the eastern edge of his duchy of Aqui- 
taine. South-eastern France would be almost surrounded by 
his possessions, and it was not likely that anything could 
prevent it from passing into his actual or virtual control. 
Whether Henry dreamed of still wider dominion, of interfer- 
ence even in Italy and possibly of contending for the empire 
itself with Frederick Barbarossa, as some suspected at the 
time and as a few facts tend to show, we may leave unsettled, 
since the time never came when he could attempt seriously 
to realize such a dream. 

The more probable and reasonable objects of his diplomacy 
seemed about to be attained at once. At M on tf errand in 
Auvergne in February he met the Count of Maurienne, who 
brought his daughter with him, and there the treaty between 
them was drawn up and sworn to. At the same place ap- 
peared his former ally the king of Aragon and his former 
opponent the Count of Toulouse. Between them a few days 
later at Limoges peace was made ; any further war would be 
against Henry's interests. The Count of Toulouse also 
frankly recognized the inevitable, and did homage and 
swore fealty to Henry, to the young Henry, and to his 
immediate lord, Richard, Duke of Aquitaine. From the mo- 
ment of apparent triumph, however, dates the beginning of 
Henry's failure. Humbert of Maurienne, who was making 
so magnificent a provision for the young couple, naturally in- 


quired what Henry proposed to do for John. He was told CHAP. 
that three of the more important Angevin castles with their XIV 
lands would be granted him. But the nominal lord of these 
castles was the young king, and his consent was required. This 
he indignantly refused, and his anger was so great that peace- 
able conference with him was no longer possible. He was 
now brought to the pitch of rebellion, and as they reached 
Chinon on their return to Normandy, he rode off from his 
father and joined the king of France. On the news Eleanor 
sent Richard and Geoffrey to join their brother, but was her- 
self arrested soon after and held in custody. 

Both sides prepared at once for war. Henry strengthened 
his frontier castles, and Louis called a great council of his 
kingdom, to which came his chief vassals, including the 
Counts of Flanders and Boulogne, whose long alliance with 
England made their action almost one of rebellion. There 
it was decided to join the war against the elder king of 
England. The long list of Henry's vassals who took his 
son's side, even if we deduct the names of some whose waver- 
ing inclination may have been fixed by the promises of lands 
or office which the younger Henry distributed with reckless 
freedom, reveals a widespread discontent in the feudal bar- 
onage. The turbulent lords of Aquitaine might perhaps be 
expected to revolt on every occasion, but the list includes the 
oldest names and leading houses of England and Normandy. 
Out of the trouble the king of Scotland hoped to recover what 
had been held of the last English king, and it may very well 
have seemed for a moment that the days of Stephen were going 
to return for all. The Church almost to a man stood by the y 
king who had so recently tried to invade its privileges, and 
Henry hastened to strengthen himself with this ally by filling 
numerous bishoprics which had for a long time been in his 
hands. Canterbury was with some difficulty included among 
them. An earlier attempt to fill the primacy had failed 
because of a dispute about the method of choice, and now 
another failed because the archbishop selected refused to take 
office. At last in June Richard, prior of St. Martin's at 
Dover, was chosen, but his consecration was delayed for 
nearly a year by an appeal of the young king to the pope 
against a choice which disregarded his rights. The elder 




CHAP. Henry had on his side also a goodly list of English earls : the 
XIV illegitimate members of his house, Hamelin of Surrey, Regi- 
nald of Cornwall, and William of Gloucester; the earls of 
Arundel, Pembroke, Salisbury, Hertford, and Northampton ; 
the son of the traitor of his mother's time, William de Mande- 
ville, Earl of Essex ; and William of Beaumont, Earl of War- 
wick, whose cousins of Leicester and Meulan were of the 
young king's party. The new men of his grandfather's 
making were also with him and the mass of the middle class. 

The war was slow in opening. Henry kept himself closely 
to the defensive and waited to be attacked, appearing to be 
little troubled at the prospect and spending his time mostly 
in hunting. Early in July young Henry invaded Normandy 
with the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne, and captured 
Aumale, Eu, and a few other places, but the Count of Bou- 
logne was wounded to the death, and the campaign came to 
an end. At the same time King Louis entered southern 
Normandy and laid siege to Verneuil, one ward of which he 
took and burnt by a trick that was considered dishonourable, 
and from which he fled in haste on the approach of Henry 
with his army. In the west, at the end of August, Henry's 
Brabantine mercenaries, of whom he is said to have had 
several thousand in his service, shut up a number of the rebel 
leaders in Dol. In a forced march of two days the king 
came on from Rouen, and three days later compelled the sur- 
render of the castle. A long list is recorded of the barons 
and knights who were made prisoners there, of whom the most 
important was the Earl of Chester. A month later a confer- 
ence was held at Gisors between the two parties, to see if 
peace were possible. This conference was held, it is said, at 
the request of the enemies of the king of England ; but he 
offered terms to his sons which surprise us by their liberality 
after their failure in the war, and which show that he was 
more moved by his feelings as a father than by military con- 
siderations. He offered to Henry half the income of the 
royal domains in England, or if he preferred to live in Nor- 
mandy, half the revenues of that duchy and all those of his 
father's lands in Anjou ; to Richard half the revenues of Aqui- 
taine ; and to Geoffrey the possession of Britanny on the 
celebration of his marriage. Had he settled revenues like 


these on his sons when he nominally divided his lands among CHAP. 
them, there probably would have been no rebellion ; but now XIV 
the king of France had much to say about the terms, and 
he could be satisfied only by the parcelling out of Henry's 
political power. To this the king of England would not 
listen, and the conference was broken off without result. 

In England the summer and autumn of 1173 passed with 
no more decisive events than on the continent, but with the 
same general drift in favour of the elder Henry. Richard of 
Lucy, the justiciar and special representative of the king, and 
his uncle, Reginald of Cornwall, were the chief leaders of his 
cause. In July they captured the town of Leicester, but not 
the castle. Later the king of Scotland invaded Northum- 
berland, but fell back before the advance of Richard of Lucy, 
who in his turn laid waste parts of Lothian and burned Ber- 
wick. In October the Earl of Leicester landed in Norfolk 
with a body of foreign troops, but was defeated by the justi- 
ciar and the Earl of Cornwall, who took him and his wife 
prisoners. The year closed with truces in both England and 
France running to near Easter time. The first half of the 
year 1174 passed in the same indecisive way. In England 
there was greater suffering from the disorders incident to such 
a war, and sieges and skirmishes were constantly occurring 
through all the centre and north of the land. 

By the middle of the year King Henry came to the conclu- 
sion that his presence was more needed in the island than on 
the continent, and on July 8 he crossed to Southampton, in- 
voking the protection of God on his voyage if He would 
grant to his kingdom the peace which he himself was seeking. 
He brought with him all his chief prisoners, including his own 
queen and his son's. On the next day he set out for Can- 
terbury. The penance of a king imposed upon him by the 
Church for the murder of Thomas Becket he might already 
have performed to the satisfaction of the pope, but the pen- 
ance of a private person, of a soul guilty in the sight of 
heaven, he had still to take upon himself, in a measure to 
satisfy the world and very likely his own conscience. For 
such a penance the time was fitting. Whatever he may have-/ 
himself felt, the friends of Thomas believed that the troubles 
which had fallen upon the realm were a punishment for the 


CHAP, sins of the king. A personal reconciliation with the martyr, 
XIV to be obtained only as a suppliant at his tomb, was plainly 
what he should seek. 

As Henry drew near the city and came in sight of the 
cathedral church, he dismounted from his horse, and bare- 
footed and humbly, forbidding any sign that a king was 
present, walked the remainder of the way to the tomb. 
Coming to the door of the church, he knelt and prayed ; at 
the spot where Thomas fell, he wept and kissed it. After 
reciting his confession to the bishops who had come with him 
or gathered there, he went to the tomb and, prostrate on the 
floor, remained a long time weeping and praying. Then 
Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, made an address to those 
present, declaring that not by command or knowledge was 
the king guilty of the murder, but admitting the guilt of the 
hasty words which had occasioned it. He proclaimed the 
restoration of all rights to the church of Canterbury, and of 
the king's favour to all friends of the late archbishop. Then 
followed the formal penance and absolution. Laying off his 
outer clothes, with head and shoulders bowed at the tomb, 
the king allowed himself to be scourged by the clergy pres- 
ent, said to have numbered eighty, receiving five blows from 
each prelate and three from each monk. The night that 
followed he spent in prayer in the church, still fasting. 
Mass in the morning completed the religious ceremonies, 
but on Henry's departure for London later in the day he 
was given, as a mark of the reconciliation, some holy water 
to drink made sacred by the relics of the martyr, and a little 
in a bottle to carry with him. 

The medieval mind overlooked the miracle of Henry's 
escape from the sanitary dangers of this experience, but 
dwelt with satisfaction on another which seemed the martyr's 
immediate response and declaration of forgiveness. It was 
on Saturday that the king left Canterbury and went up to 
London, and there he remained some days preparing his forces 
for the war. On Wednesday night a messenger who had 
ridden without stopping from the north arrived at the royal 
quarters and demanded immediate admittance to the king. 
Henry had retired to rest, and his servants would not at first 
allow him to be disturbed, but the messenger insisted: his 


news was good, and the king must know it at once. At last CHAP. 
his importunity prevailed, and at the king's bedside he told Xlv 
him that he had come from Ranulf Glanvill, his sheriff of 
Lancashire, and that the king of Scotland had been overcome 
and taken prisoner. The news was confirmed by other mes- 
sengers who arrived the next day and was received by the 
king and his barons with great rejoicing. The victory was 
unmistakably the answer of St. Thomas to the penance of 
Henry, and a plain declaration of reconciliation and forgive- 
ness, for it soon became known that it was on the very day 
when the penance at Canterbury was finished, perhaps at 
the very hour, that this great success was granted to the 
arms of the penitent king. 

The two spots of danger in the English insurrection were 
the north, where not merely was the king of Scotland pre- 
pared for invasion, but the Bishop of Durham, Hugh of Puiset, 
a connexion of King Stephen, was ready to assist him and 
had sent also for his nephew, another Hugh of Puiset, Count 
of Bar, to come to his help with a foreign force ; and the east, 
where Hugh Bigod, the old earl of Norfolk, was again in re- 
bellion and was expecting the landing of the Count of Flanders 
with an army. It was in the north that the fate of the insur- 
rection was settled and without the aid of the king. The 
king of Scotland, known in the annals of his country as 
William the Lion, had begun his invasion in the spring after 
the expiration of the truce of the previous year, and had 
raided almost the whole north, capturing some castles and fail- 
ing to take others such as Bamborough and Carlisle. In the 
second week of July he attacked Prudhoe castle in southern 
Northumberland. Encouraged perhaps by the landing of 
King Henry in England, the local forces of the north now 
gathered to check the raiding. No barons of high rank were 
among the leaders. They were all Henry's own new men 
or the descendants of his grandfather's. Two sheriffs, 
Robert of Stuteville of Yorkshire and Ranulf Glanvill of 
Lancashire, probably had most to do with collecting the 
forces and leading them. At the news of their arrival, Wil- 
liam fell back toward the north, dividing up his army and 
sending detachments off in various directions to plunder the 
country. The English followed on, and at Alnwick castle 


CHAP, surprised the king with only a few knights, his personal 
XIV guard. Resistance was hopeless, but it was continued in 
the true fashion of chivalry until all the Scottish force was 

This victory brought the rebellion in England to an end. 
On hearing the news Henry marched against the castle of 
Huntingdon, which had been for some time besieged, and it at 
once surrendered. There his natural son Geoffrey, who had 
been made Bishop of Lincoln the summer before, joined him 
with reinforcements, and he turned to the east against Hugh 
Bigod. A part of the Flemish force which was expected 
had reached the earl, but he did not venture to resist. He 
came in before he was attacked, and gave up his castles, and 
with great difficulty persuaded the king to allow him to send 
home his foreign troops. Henry then led his army to North- 
ampton where he received the submission of all the rebel 
leaders who were left. The Bishop of Durham surrendered 
his castles and gained reluctant permission for his nephew to 
return to France. The king of Scotland was brought in a 
prisoner. The Earl of Leicester's castles were given up, and 
the Earl of Derby and Roger Mowbray yielded theirs. This 
was on the last day of July. In three weeks after Henry's 
landing, in little more than two after his sincere penance 
for the murder of St. Thomas, the dangerous insurrection 
in England was completely crushed, crushed indeed for 
all the remainder of Henry's reign. The king's right to 
the castles of his barons was henceforth strictly enforced. 
Many were destroyed at the close of the war, and others were 
put in the hands of royal officers who could easily be changed. 
It was more than a generation after this date and under very 
different conditions that a great civil war again broke out in 
England between the king and his barons. 

But the war on the continent was not closed by Henry's 
success in England. His sons were still in arms against him, 
and during his absence the king of France with the young 
Henry and the Count of Flanders had laid siege to Rouen. 
Though the blockade was incomplete, an attack on the chief 
city of Normandy could not be disregarded. Evidently 
that was Henry's opinion, for on August 6 he crossed the 
channel, taking with him his Brabantine soldiers and a force 


of Welshmen, as well as his prisoners including the king of CHAP. 
Scotland. He entered Rouen without difficulty, and by his XIV 
vigorous measures immediately convinced the besiegers that 
all hope of taking the city was over. King Louis, who was 
without military genius or spirit, and not at all a match for 
Henry, gave up the enterprise at once, burned his siege engines, 
and decamped ignominiously in the night. Then came messen- 
gers to Henry and proposed a conference to settle terms of 
peace, but at the meeting which was held on September 8 no- 
thing could be agreed upon because of the absence of Richard 
who was in Aquitaine still carrying on the war. The negotia- 
tions were accordingly adjourned till Michaelmas on the un- 
derstanding that Henry should subdue his son and compel 
him to attend and that the other side should give the young 
rebel no aid. Richard at first intended some resistance to his 
father, but after losing some of the places that held for him and 
a little experience of fleeing from one castle to another, he 
lost heart and threw himself on his father's mercy, to be re- 
ceived with the easy forgiveness which characterized Henry's 
attitude toward his children. 

There was no obstacle now to peace. On September 30 
the kings of England and France and the three young princes 
met in the adjourned conference and arranged the terms. 
Henry granted to his sons substantial revenues, but not what 
he had offered them at the beginning of the war, nor did he 
show any disposition to push his advantage to extremes 
against any of those who had joined the alliance against him. 
The treaty in which the agreement between father and sons 
was recorded may still be read. It provides that Henry " the 
king, son of the king," and his brothers and all the barons 
who have withdrawn from the allegiance of the father shall 
return to it free and quit from all oaths and agreements which 
they may have made in the meantime, and the king shall have 
all the rights over them and their lands and castles that he 
had two weeks before the beginning of the war. But they 
also shall receive back all their lands as they had them at the 
same date, and the king will cherish no ill feeling against 
them. To Henry his father promised to assign two castles 
in Normandy suitable for his residence and an income of 
15,000 Angevin pounds a year; to Richard two suitable 



CHAP, castles and half the revenue of Poitou, but the interesting 
XIV stipulation is added that Richard's castles are to be of such a 
sort that his father shall take no injury from them ; to Geof- 
frey half the marriage portion of Constance of Britanny and 
the income of the whole when the marriage is finally made 
with the sanction of Rome. Prisoners who had made fine 
with the king before the peace were expressly excluded from 
it, and this included the king of Scotland and the Earls of 
Chester and Leicester. All castles were to be put back into 
the condition in which they were before the war. The young 
king formally agreed to the provision for his brother John, and 
this seems materially larger than that originally proposed. 
The concluding provisions of the treaty show the strong 
legal sense of King Henry. He was ready to pardon the 
rebellion with great magnanimity, but crimes committed and 
laws violated either against himself or others must be answered 
for in the courts by all guilty persons. Richard and Geoffrey 
did homage to their father for what was granted them, but 
this was excused the young Henry because he was a king. 
In another treaty drawn up at about the same time at Falaise 
the king of Scotland recognized in the clearest terms for him- 
self and his heirs the king of England as his liege lord for 
Scotland and for all his lands, and agreed that his barons 
and men, lay and ecclesiastic, should also render liege homage 
to Henry, according to the Norman principle. On these con- 
ditions he was released. Of the king of France practically 
nothing was demanded. 

The treaty between the two kings of England established 
a peace which lasted for some years, but it was not long 
before complaints of the scantiness of his revenues and of 
his exclusion from all political influence began again from the 
younger king and from his court. There was undoubtedly 
much to justify these complaints from the point of view of 
Henry the son. Whatever may have been the impelling 
motive, by establishing his sons in nominal independence, 
Henry the father had clearly put himself in an illogical posi- 
tion from which there was no escape without a division of 
his power which he could not make when brought to the 
test. The young king found his refuge in a way thoroughly 
characteristic of himself and of the age, in the great athletic 


sport of that period the tournament, which differed from CHAP. 
modern athletics in the important particular that the gentle- XIV 
man, keeping of course the rules of the game, could engage 
in it as a means of livelihood. The capturing of horses and 
armour and the ransoming of prisoners made the tournament 
a profitable business to the man who was a better fighter 
than other men, and the young king enjoyed that fame. At 
the beginning of his independent career his father had 
assigned to his service a man who was to serve the house 
of Anjou through long years and in far higher capacity 
William Marshal, at that time a knight without lands or reve- 
nues but skilled in arms, and under his tuition and example 
his pupil became a warrior of renown. It was not exactly a 
business which seems to us becoming to a king, but it was at 
least better than fighting his father, and the opinion of the 
time found no fault with it. 



CHAP. FOR England peace was now established. The insurrec- 
xv tion was suppressed, the castles were in the king's hands, 
even the leaders of the revolted barons were soon reconciled 
with him. The age of Henry I returned, an age not so long 
in years as his, but yet long for any medieval state, of 
internal peace, of slow but sure upbuilding in public and 
private wealth, and, even more important, of the steady 
growth of law and institutions and of the clearness with 
which they were understood, an indispensable preparation 
for the great thirteenth century so soon to begin the crisis 
of English constitutional history. For Henry personally 
there was no age of peace. England gave him no further 
trouble ; but in his unruly southern dominions, and from his 
restless and discontented sons, the respite from rebellion was 
short, and it was filled with labours. 

In 1175 the two kings crossed together to England, though 
the young king, who was still listening to the suggestions of 
France and who professed to be suspicious of his father's 
intentions, was with some difficulty persuaded to go. He 
also seems to have been troubled by his father's refusal to 
receive his homage at the same time with his brothers' ; at 
any rate when he finally joined the king on April i, he 
begged with tears for permission to do homage as a mark 
of his father's love, and Henry consented. At the end of 
the first week in May they crossed the channel for a longer 
stay in England than usual, of more than two years, and one 
that was crowded with work both political and administrative. 
The king's first act marks the new era of peace with the 
Church, his attendance at a council of the English Church 
held at London by Archbishop Richard of Canterbury ; and 
his second was a pilgrimage with his son to the tomb of 


St. Thomas. Soon after the work of rilling long-vacant sees CHAP. 
and abbacies was begun. At the same time matters growing xv 
out of the insurrection received attention. William, Earl of 
Gloucester, was compelled to give up Bristol castle which he 
had kept until now. Those who had been opposed to the 
king were forbidden to come to court unless ordered to do 
so by him. The bearing of arms in England was prohibited 
by a temporary regulation, and the affairs of Wales were 
considered in a great council at Gloucester. 

One of the few acts of severity which Henry permitted 
himself after the rebellion seems to have struck friend and foe 
alike, and suggests a situation of much interest to us which 
would be likely to give us a good deal of insight into the 
methods and ideas of the time if we understood it in detail. 
Unfortunately we are left with only a bare statement of the 
facts, with no explanation of the circumstances or of the 
motives of the king. Apparently at the Whitsuntide court held 
at Reading on the first day of June, Henry ordered the begin- 
ning of a series of prosecutions against high and low, church- 
men and laymen alike, for violations of the forest laws 
committed during the war. At Nottingham, at the beginning 
of August, these prosecutions were carried further, and there 
the incident occurred which gives peculiar interest to the pro- 
ceedings. Richard of Lucy, the king's faithful minister and 
justiciar, produced before the king his own writ ordering him 
to proclaim the suspension of the laws in regard to hunting 
and fishing during the war. This Richard testified that he 
had done as he was commanded, and that the defendants trust- 
ing to this writ had fearlessly taken the king's venison. We are 
simply told in addition that this writ and Richard's testimony 
had no effect against the king's will. It is impossible to 
doubt that this incident occurred or that such a writ had 
been sent to the justiciar, but it seems certain that some essen- 
tial detail of the situation is omitted. To guess what it was 
is hardly worth while, and we can safely use the facts only 
as an illustration of the arbitrary power of the Norman and 
Angevin kings, which on the whole they certainly exercised 
for the general justice. 

From Nottingham the two kings went on to York, where they 
were met by William of Scotland with the nobles and bishops 


CHAP, of his kingdom, prepared to carry out the agreement which 
xv was made at Falaise when he was released from imprison- 
ment. Whatever may have been true of earlier instances, 
the king of Scotland now clearly and beyond the possibility 
of controversy became the liege-man of the king of England 
for Scotland and all that pertained to it, and for Galloway as 
if it were a separate state. The homage was repeated to the 
young king, saving the allegiance due to the father. Accord- 
ing to the English chroniclers all the free tenants of the 
kingdom of Scotland were also present and did homage in 
the same way to the two kings for their lands. Some were 
certainly there, though hardly all; but the statement shows 
that it was plainly intended to apply to Scotland the Norman 
law which had been in force in England from the time of the 
Conquest, by which every vassal became also the king's vassal 
with an allegiance paramount to all other feudal obligations. 
The bishops of Scotland as vassals also did homage, and as 
bishops they swore to be subject to the Church of England to 
the same extent as their predecessors had been and as they 
ought to be. The treaty of Falaise was again publicly read 
and confirmed anew by the seals of William and his brother 
David. There is nothing to show that King William did not 
enter into this relationship with every intention of being 
faithful to it, nor did he endeavour to free himself from it 
so long as Henry lived. The Norman influence in Scotland 
was strong and might easily increase. It is quite possible 
that a succession of kings of England who made that realm 
and its interests the primary objects of their policy might 
have created from this beginning a permanent connexion 
growing constantly closer, and have saved these two nations, 
related in so many ways, the almost civil wars of later 

From these ceremonies at York Henry returned to 
London, and there, before Michaelmas, envoys came to him 
to announce and to put into legal form another significant 
addition to his empire, significant certainly of its imposing 
power though the reasons which led to this particular step 
are not known to us. These envoys were from Roderick, 
king of Connaught, who, when Henry was in Ireland, had 
refused all acknowledgment of him, and they now came to 


make known his submission. In a great council held at CHAP. 
Windsor the new arrangement was put into formal shape. xv 
In the document there drawn up Roderick was made to 
acknowledge himself the liege-man of Henry and to agree to 
pay a tribute of hides from all Ireland except that part which 
was directly subject to the English invaders. On his side 
Henry agreed to recognize Roderick as king under himself 
as long as he should remain faithful, and also the holdings of 
all other men who remained in his fealty. Roderick should 
rule all Ireland outside the English settlement, at least for 
the purposes of the tribute, and should have the right to claim 
help from the English in enforcing his authority if it should 
seem necessary. Such an arrangement would have in all pro- 
bability only so much force as Roderick might be willing to 
allow it at any given time, and yet the mere making of it is a 
sign of considerable progress in Ireland and the promise of 
more. At the same council Henry appointed a bishop of 
Waterf ord, who was sent over with the envoys on their return 
to be consecrated. 

At York the king had gone on with his forest prosecutions, 
and there as before against clergy as well as laity. Appar- 
ently the martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas had secured for 
the Church nothing in the matter of these offences. The 
bishops did not interfere to protect the clergy, says one 
chronicler ; and very likely in these cases the Church acknow- 
ledged the power rather than the right of the king. At the 
end of October a papal legate, Cardinal Hugo, arrived in 
England, but his mission accomplished nothing of importance 
that we know of, unless it be his agreement that Henry 
should have the right to try the clergy in his own courts for 
violations of the forest law. This agreement at any rate 
excited the especial anger of the monastic chroniclers who 
wrote him down a limb of Satan, a robber instead of a shep- 
herd, who seeing the wolf coming abandoned his sheep. In 
a letter to the pope which the legate took with him on his 
return to Rome, Henry agreed not to bring the clergy in 
person before his courts except for forest offences and in 
cases concerning the lay services due from their fiefs. On 
January 25, 1176, a great council met at Northampton, and 
there Henry took up again the judicial and administrative 


CHAP, reforms which had been interrupted by the conflict with 
xv Becket and by the war with his sons. 

The task of preserving order in the medieval state was in 
the main the task of repressing and punishing crimes of 
violence. Murder and assault, robbery and burglary, fill the 
earliest court records, and on the civil side a large proportion 
of the cases, like those under the assizes of Mort d' Ancestor 
and Novel Disseisin, concerned attacks on property not very 
different in character. The problem of the ruler in this 
department of government was so to perfect the judicial 
machinery and procedure as to protect peaceable citizens 
from bodily harm and property from violent entry and from 
fraud closely akin to violence. An additional and immediate 
incentive to the improvement of the judicial system arose 
from the income which was derived from fines and con- 
fiscations, both heavier and more common punishments for 
crime than in the modern state. It would be unfair to a 
king like Henry II, however, to convey the impression that 
an increase of income was the only, or indeed the main, thing 
sought in the reform of the courts. Order and security for 
land and people were always in his mind to be sought for 
themselves, as a chief part of the duty of a king, and cer- 
tainly this was the case with his ministers who must have 
had more to do than he with the determining and perfecting 
of details. 

This is not the place to describe the judicial reforms of the 
reign in technical minuteness or from the point of view of 
the student of constitutional history. The activity of a great 
king, the effect on people and government are the subjects of 
interest here. The series of formal documents in which 
Henry's reforming efforts are embodied opens with the Con- 
stitutions of Clarendon in 1164. Of the king's purpose in 
this not new legislation, but an effort to bring the clergy 
under responsibility to the state for their criminal acts accord- 
ing to the ancient practice, and of its results, we have al- 
ready had the story. The second in the series, the Assize of 
Clarendon, the first that concerns the civil judicial system, 
though we have good reason to suspect that it was not actu- 
ally Henry's first attempt at reform, dates from early in 
the year 1166. It dealt with the detection and punishment 


of crime, and greatly improved the means at the command of CHAP. 
the state for these purposes. In 1170, to check the inde- xv 
pendence of the sheriffs and their abuse of power for private 
ends, of which there were loud complaints, he ordered strict 
inquiry to be made, by barons appointed for the purpose, into 
the conduct of the sheriffs and the abuses complained of, and 
removed a large number of them, appointing others less 
subject to the temptations which the local magnate was not 
likely to resist. This was a blow at the hold of the feudal 
baronage on the office, and a step in its transformation into a 
subordinate executive office, which was rapidly going on during 
the reign. In 1176, in the Assize of Northampton, the pro- 
visions of the Assize of Clarendon for the enforcement of 
criminal justice were made more severe, and new enactments 
were added. In 1181 the Assize of Arms made it compul- 
sory on knights and freemen alike to keep in their possession 
weapons proportionate to their income for the defence of king 
and realm. In 1184 the Assize of the Forest enforced the 
vexatious forest law and decreed severe penalties for its 
violation. In the year before the king's death, in 1188, the 
Ordinance of the Saladin Tithe regulated the collection of this 
new tax intended to pay the expenses of Henry's proposed 

This list of the formal documents in which Henry's re- 
forms were proclaimed is evidence of no slight activity, but 
it gives, nevertheless, a very imperfect idea of his work as 
a whole. That was nothing less than to start the judicial 
organization of the state along the lines it has ever since fol- 
lowed. He did this by going forward with beginnings already 
made and by opening to general and regular use institutions 
which, so far as we know, had up to this time been only occa- 
sionally employed in special cases. The changes which the 
reign made in the judicial system may be grouped under two 
heads : the further differentiation and more definite organi- 
zation of the curia regis and the introduction of the jury in its 
undeveloped form into the regular procedure of the courts 
both in civil and criminal cases. 

Under the reign of the first Henry we noticed the twofold 
form of the king's court, the great curia regis, formed by the 
barons of the whole kingdom and the smaller in practically 

VOL. II. 21 




CHAP, permanent session, and the latter also acting as a special 
xv court for financial cases the exchequer. Now we have the 
second Henry establishing, in 1178, what we may call another 
small curia regis apparently of a more professional char- 
acter to be in permanent session for the trial of cases. 
The process of differentiation, beginning in finding a way for 
the better doing of financial business, now goes a step fur- 
ther, though to the men of that time if they had thought 
about it at all it would have seemed a classification of 
business, not a dividing up of the king's court. The great 
curia regis, the exchequer, and the permanent trial court, 
usually meeting at Westminster, were all the same king's 
court ; but a step had really been taken toward a specialized 
judicial system and an official body of judges. 

In the reign of Henry I we also noticed evidence which 
proved the occasional, and led us to suspect the somewhat 
regular employment of itinerant justices. This institution 
was put into definite and permanent form by his grandson. 
The kingdom was at first divided into six circuits, to each of 
which three justices were sent. Afterwards the number of 
justices was reduced. These justices, though not all members 
of the small court at Westminster, were all, it is likely, fa- 
miliar with its work, and to each circuit at least one justice of 
the Westminster court was probably always assigned. What 
they carried into each county of the kingdom as they went 
the round of their districts was not a new court and not a 
local court ; it was the curia regis itself, and that too in its 
administrative as well as in its judicial functions : indeed it is 
easy to suspect that it was quite as much the administrative 
side of its work, the desire to check the abuses of the sheriffs 
by investigation on the spot, and to improve the collection of 
money due to the crown, as its judicial, as the wish to render 
the operation of the law more convenient by trying cases in 
the communities where they arose, that led to the development 
of this side of the judicial system. Whatever led to it, this 
is what had begun, a new branch of the judicial organization. 

It was in these courts, these king's courts, the trial court 
at Westminster and the court of the itinerant justices in the 
different counties, that the institution began to be put into 
regular use that has become so characteristic a distinction of the 

1 176 THE JURY 323 

Anglo-Saxon judicial system the jury. The history of the CHAP. 
jury cannot here be told. It is sufficient to say that it existed xv 
in the Prankish empire of the early ninth century in a form 
apparently as highly developed as in the Norman kingdom 
of the early twelfth. From Charles the Great to Henry II it 
remained in what was practically a stationary condition. It 
was only on English soil, and after the impulse given to it by 
the broader uses in which it was now employed that it be- 
gan the marvellous development from which our liberty has 
gained so much. At the beginning it was a process belong- 
ing to the sovereign and used solely for his business, or em- 
ployed for the business of others only by his permission in 
the special case. What Henry seems to have done was to gen- 
eralize this use, to establish certain classes of cases in which 
it might always be employed by his subjects, but in his courts 
only. In essence it was a process for getting local know- 
ledge to bear on a doubtful question of fact of interest to the 
government. Ought A to pay a certain tax ? The question 
is usually to be settled by answering another : Have his an- 
cestors before him paid it, or the land which he now holds ? 
The memory of the neighbours can probably determine this, 
and a certain number of the men likely to know are sum- 
moned before the officer representing the king, put on oath, 
and required to say what they know about it. 

In its beginning that is all the jury was. But it was a pro- 
cess of easy application to other questions than those which 
interested the king. The question of fact that arose in a 
suit at law was the land in dispute between A and B actu- 
ally held by the ancestor of B ? could be settled in the 
same way by the memory of the neighbours, and in a way 
much more satisfactory to the party whose cause was just 
than by an appeal to the judgment of heaven in the wager 
of battle. If the king would allow the private man the use 
of this process, he was willing to pay for the privilege. Such 
privilege had been granted since the Conquest in particular 
cases. A tendency at least in Normandy had existed before 
Henry II to render it more regular. This tendency Henry 
followed in granting the use of the primitive jury generally 
to his subjects in certain classes of cases, to defendants in 
the Great Assize to protect their freehold, to plaintiffs in the 



CHAP, three assizes of Mort d' Ancestor, Novel Disseisin, and Dar- 
xv rein Presentment to protect their threatened seisin. As a 
process of his own, as a means of preserving order, he again 
broadened its use in another way in the Assize of Clarendon, 
finding in it a method of bringing local knowledge to the 
assistance of the government in the detection of crime, 
the function of the modern grand jury and its origin as an 

The result of Henry's activities in this direction changes 
we may call them, but hardly innovations, following as they 
do earlier precedents and lying directly in line with the less con- 
scious tendencies of his predecessors, this work of Henry's 
was nothing less than to create our judicial system and to 
determine the character and direction of its growth to the pres- 
ent day. In the beginning of these three things, of a spe- 
cialized and official court system, of a national judiciary 
bringing its influence to bear on every part of the land, 
and of a most effective process for introducing local know- 
ledge into the trial of cases, Henry had accomplished great 
results, and the only ones that he directly sought. But 
two others plainly seen after the lapse of time are of quite 
equal importance. One of these was the growth at an early 
date of a national common law. 

Almost the only source of medieval law before the four- 
teenth century was custom, and the strong tendency of cus- 
tomary law was to break into local fragments, each differing 
in more or less important points from the rest. Beaumanoir 
in the thirteenth century laments the fact that every castel- 
lany in France had a differing law of its own, and Glanvill 
still earlier makes a similar complaint of England. But the 
day was rapidly approaching in both lands when the rise of 
national consciousness under settled governments, and espe- 
cially the growth of a broader and more active commerce, 
was to create a strong demand for a uniform national law. 
What influences affected the forming constitutions of the states 
of Europe because this demand had to be met by recourse to 
the imperial law of Rome, the law of a highly centralized 
absolutism, cannot here be recounted. From these influences, 
whether large or small, from the necessity of seeking uniform- 
ity in any ready-made foreign law, England was saved by the 


consequences of Henry's action. The king's court rapidly CHAP. 
created a body of clear, consistent, and formulated law. The xv 
itinerant justice as he went from county to county carried 
with him this law and made it the law of the entire nation. 
From these beginnings arose the common law, the product of 
as high an order of political genius as the constitution itself, 
and now the law of wider areas and of more millions of men 
than ever obeyed the law of Rome. 

One technical work, at once product and monument of the 
legal activity of this generation, deserves to be remembered 
in this connexion, the Treatise on the Laws of England. 
Ascribed with some probability to Ranulf Glanvill, Henry's 
chief justiciar during his last years, it was certainly written 
by some one thoroughly familiar with the law of the time 
and closely in touch with its enforcement in the king's court. 
To us it declares what that law was at the opening of its far- 
reaching history, and in its definiteness and certainty as well as 
in its arrangement it reveals the great progress that had been 
made since the law books of the reign of Henry I. That 
progress continued so rapid that within a hundred years 
Glanvill' s book had become obsolete, but by that time it had 
been succeeded by others in the long series of great books 
on our common law. Nor ought we perhaps entirely to over- 
look another book, as interesting in its way, the Dialogue of 
the Exchequer. Written probably by Richard Fitz Neal, of 
the third generation of that great administration family 
founded by Roger of Salisbury and restored to office by 
Henry II, the book gives us a view from within of the finan- 
cial organization of the reign as enlightening as is Glanvill's 
treatise on the common law. 

But besides the growth of the common law, these reforms 
involved and carried with them as a second consequence a 
great change in the machinery of government and in the 
point of view from which it was regarded. We have already 
seen how in the feudal state government functions were 
undifferentiated and were exercised without consciousness of 
inconsistency by a single organ, the curia regis, in which, as 
in all public activities, the leading operative element was the 
feudal baronage. The changes in the judicial system which 
were accomplished in the reign of Henry, especially the 


CHAP, giving of a more fixed and permanent character to the courts, 
xv the development of legal procedure into more complicated 
and technical forms, and the growth of the law itself in defi- 
niteness and body, these changes meant the necessity of a 
trained official class and the decline of the importance of the 
purely feudal baronage in the carrying on of government. 
This was the effect also of the gradual transformation of the 
sheriff into a more strictly ministerial officer and the dimin- 
ished value of feudal levies in war as indicated by the exten- 
sion of scutage. In truth, at a date relatively as early for 
this transformation as for the growth of a national law, the 
English state was becoming independent of feudalism. The 
strong Anglo-Norman monarchy was attacking the feudal 
baron not merely with the iron hand by which disorder and 
local independence were repressed, but by finding out better 
ways of doing the business of government and so destroying 
practically the whole foundation on which political feudalism 
rested. Of the threatening results of these reforms the baro- 
nage was vaguely conscious, and this feeling enters as no 
inconsiderable element into the troubles that filled the reign 
of Henry's youngest son and led to the first step towards con- 
stitutional government. 

For a moment serious business was now interrupted by a 
bit of comedy, at least it seems comedy to us, though no 
doubt it was a matter serious enough to the actors. For 
many years there had been a succession of bitter disputes 
between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York over ques- 
tions of precedence and various ceremonial rights, or to state 
it more accurately the Archbishops of York had been for a 
long time trying to enforce an exact equality in such mat- 
ters with the Archbishops of Canterbury. At mid-Lent, 
1776, Cardinal Hugo, the legate, held a council of the Eng- 
lish Church in London, and at its opening the dispute led 
to actual violence. The cardinal took the seat of the presid- 
ing officer, and Richard of Canterbury seated himself on his 
right hand. The Archbishop of York on entering found the 
seat of honour occupied by his rival, and unwilling to yield, 
tried to force himself in between Richard and the cardinal. 
One account says that he sat down in Richard's lap. Instantly 
there was a tumult. The partisans of Canterbury seized the 


offending archbishop, bishops we are told even leading the CHAP. 
attack, dragged him away, threw him to the floor, and misused xv 
him seriously. The legate showed a proper indignation at 
the disorder caused by the defenders of the rights of Canter- 
bury, but found himself unable to go on with the council. 

For a year past the young king had been constantly with 
his father, kept almost a prisoner, as his immediate household 
felt and as we may well believe. Now he began to beg per- 
mission to go on a pilgrimage to the famous shrine of St. 
James of Compostella, and Henry at last gave his consent, 
though he knew the pilgrimage was a mere pretext to escape 
to the continent. But the younger Henry was detained at 
Portchester some time, waiting for a fair wind ; and Easter 
coming on, he returned to Winchester, at his father's request, 
to keep the festival with him. In the meantime, Richard and 
Geoffrey had landed at Southampton, coming to their father 
with troubles of their own, and reached Winchester the day 
before Easter Sunday. Henry and his sons were thus to- 
gether for the feast, much to his joy we are told ; but it is not 
said that Queen Eleanor, who was then imprisoned in Eng- 
land, very likely in Winchester itself, was allowed any part in 
the celebration. Richard's visit to England was due to a 
dangerous insurrection in his duchy, and he had come to ask 
his father's help. Henry persuaded the young king to post- 
pone his pilgrimage until he should have assisted his brother 
to re-establish peace in Aquitaine, and with this understand- 
ing they both crossed to the continent about a fortnight after 
Easter, but young Henry on landing at once set off with his 
wife to visit the king of France. Richard was now nearly 
nineteen years old, and in the campaign that followed he dis- 
played great energy and vigour and the skill as a fighter for 
which he was afterwards so famous, putting down the insurrec- 
tion almost without assistance from his brother, who showed 
very little interest in any troubles but his own. The young 
king, indeed, seemed to be making ready for a new breach 
with his father. He was collecting around him King Henry's 
enemies and those who had helped him in the last war, and 
was openly displaying his discontent. An incident which 
occurred at this time illustrates his spirit. His vice-chancel- 
lor, Adam, who thought he owed much to the elder king, 




CHAP, attempted to send him a report of his son's doings ; but when 
xv he was detected, the young Henry, finding that he could not put 
him to death as he would have liked to do because the Bishop 
of Poitiers claimed him as a clerk, ordered him to be sent to 
imprisonment in Argentan and to be scourged as a traitor in 
all the towns through which he passed on the way. 

About the same time an embassy appeared in England 
from the Norman court of Sicily to arrange for a marriage 
between William II of that kingdom and Henry's youngest 
daughter, Joanna. The marriages of each of Henry's daugh- 
ters had some influence on the history of England before the 
death of his youngest son. His eldest daughter Matilda had 
been married in 1168 to Henry the Lion, head of the house 
of Guelf in Germany, and his second daughter, Eleanor, 
to Alphonso III of Castile, in 1169 or 1170. The ambas- 
sadors of King William found themselves pleased with the 
little princess whom they had come to see, and sent back a 
favourable report, signifying also the consent of King Henry. 
In the following February she was married and crowned 
queen at Palermo, being then a little more than twelve years 
old. Before the close of this year, 1176, Henry arranged for 
another marriage to provide for his youngest son John, now 
ten years old. The infant heiress of Maurienne, tp whom he 
had been years before betrothed, had died soon after, and no 
other suitable heiress had since been found whose wealth 
might be given him. The inheritance which his father had 
now in mind was that of the great Earl Robert of Gloucester, 
brother and supporter of the Empress Matilda, his father's 
mother. Robert's son William had only daughters. Of 
these two were already married, Mabel to Amaury, Count of 
Evreux, and Amice to Richard of Clare, Earl of Hertford. 
Henry undertook to provide for these by pensions on the un- 
derstanding that all the lands of the earldom should go to 
John on his marriage with the youngest daughter Isabel. To 
this plan Earl William agreed. The marriage itself did not 
take place until after the death of King Henry. 

An income suitable for his position had now certainly been 
secured for the king's youngest son, for in addition to the 
Gloucester inheritance that of another of the sons of Henry I, 
Reginald, Earl of Cornwall who had died in 1175, leaving 


only daughters, was held by Henry for his use, and still CHAP. 
earlier the earldom of Nottingham had been assigned him. xv 
At this time, however, or very soon after, a new plan sug- 
gested itself to his father for conferring upon him a rank and 
authority proportionate to his brothers'. Ireland was giving 
more and more promise of shaping itself before long into a 
fairly well-organized feudal state. If it seems to us a tur- 
bulent realm, where a central authority was likely to secure 
little obedience, we must remember that this was still the 
twelfth century, the height of the feudal age, and that to 
the ruler of Aquitaine Ireland might seem to be progressing 
more rapidly to a condition of what passed as settled order 
than to us. Since his visit to the island, Henry had kept a 
close watch on the doings of his Norman vassals there and 
had held them under a firm hand. During the rebellion of 
1173 he had had no trouble from them. Indeed, they had 
served him faithfully in that struggle and had been rewarded 
for their fidelity. In the interval since the close of the war 
some advance in the Norman occupation had been made. 
There seemed to be a prospect that both the south-west and 
the north-east the southern coast of Munster and the eastern 
coast of Ulster might be acquired. Limerick had been 
temporarily occupied, and it was hoped to gain it perma- 
nently. Even Connaught had been successfully invaded. 
Possibly it was the hope of securing himself against attacks 
of this sort which he may have foreseen that led Roderick of 
Connaught to acknowledge himself Henry's vassal by formal 
treaty. If he had any expectation of this sort, he was dis- 
appointed, for the invaders of Ireland paid no attention to 
the new relationship, nor did Henry himself any longer than 
suited his purpose. 

We are now told that Henry had formed the plan of erect- 
ing Ireland into a kingdom, and that he had obtained from 
Alexander III permission to crown whichever of his sons he 
pleased and to make him king of the island. Very possibly 
the relationship with Scotland, which he had lately put into 
exact feudal form, suggested the possibility of another sub- 
ordinate kingdom and of raising John in this way to an 
equality with Richard and Geoffrey. At a great council held 
at Oxford in May, 1177, the preliminary steps were taken 


CHAP, towards putting this plan into operation. Some regulation 
xv of Irish affairs was necessary. Richard " Strongbow," Earl 
of Pembroke and Lord of Leinster, who had been made 
justiciar after the rebellion, had died early in 1176, and his 
successor in office, William Fitz Adelin, had not proved the 
right man in the place. There were also new conquests to 
be considered and new homages to be rendered, if the plan 
of a kingdom was to be carried out. His purpose Henry 
announced to the council, and the Norman barons, some 
for the lordships originally assigned them, some for new 
ones like Cork and Limerick, did homage in turn to John 
and to his father, as had been the rule in all similar cases. 
Hugh of Lacy, Henry's first justiciar, was reappointed to 
that office, but there was as yet no thought of sending John, 
who was then eleven years old, to occupy his future kingdom. 

It was a crowded two years which Henry spent in Eng- 
land. Only the most important of the things that occupied 
his attention have we been able to notice, but the minor 
activities which filled his days make up a great sum of work 
accomplished. Great councils were frequently held ; the judi- 
cial reforms and the working of the administrative machinery 
demanded constant attention ; the question of the treatment 
to be accorded to one after another of the chief barons who 
had taken part in the rebellion had to be decided ; fines and 
confiscations were meted out, and finally the terms on which the 
offenders were to be restored to the royal favour were settled. 
The castles occasioned the king much anxiety, and of those 
that were allowed to stand the custodians were more than once 
changed. The affairs of Wales were frequently considered, 
and at last the king seemed to have arranged permanent 
relations of friendship with the princes of both north and 
south Wales. In March, 1177, a great council decided a 
question of a kind not often coming before an English court. 
The kings of Castile and Navarre submitted an important 
dispute between them to the arbitration of King Henry, and 
the case was heard and decided in a great council in London 
no slight indication of the position of the English king 
in the eyes of the world. 

Ever since early February, 1177, Henry had been planning 
to cross over to Normandy with all the feudal levies of Eng- 


land. There were reasons enough for his presence there, and CHAP. 
with a strong hand. Richard's troubles were not yet over, xv 
though he had already proved his ability to deal with them 
alone. Britanny was much disturbed, and Geoffrey had not 
gone home with Richard, but was still with his father. The 
king of France was pressing for the promised marriage of Adela 
and Richard, and it was understood that the legate, Cardinal 
Peter of Pavia, had authority to lay all Henry's dominions 
under an interdict if he did not consent to an immediate mar- 
riage. The attitude of the young Henry was also one to 
cause anxiety, and his answers to his father's messages were 
unsatisfactory. One occasion of delay after another, how- 
ever, postponed Henry's crossing, and it was the middle of 
August before he landed in Normandy. We hear much less 
of the army that actually went with him than of the sum- 
mons of the feudal levies for the purpose, but it is evident 
that a strong force accompanied him. The difficulty with 
the king of France first demanded attention. The legate con- 
sented to postpone action until Henry, who had determined 
to try the effect of a personal interview, should have a con- 
ference with Louis. This took place on September 21, near 
Nonancourt, and resulted in a treaty to the advantage of 
Henry. He agreed in the conference that the marriage 
should take place on the original conditions, but nothing 
was said about it in the treaty. This concerned chiefly a 
crusade, which the two kings were to undertake in close alli- 
ance, and a dispute with regard to the allegiance of the 
county of Auvergne, which was to be settled by arbitrators 
named in the treaty. After this success Henry found no need 
of a strong military force. Various minor matters detained 
him in France for nearly a year, the most important of which 
was an expedition into Berri to force the surrender to him of 
the heiress of Deols under the feudal right of wardship. 
July 15, 1178, Henry landed again in England for another 
long stay of nearly two years. As in his previous sojourn 
this time was occupied chiefly in a further development of the 
judicial reforms already described. 

While Henry was occupied with these affairs, events in 
France were rapidly bringing on a change which was des- 
tined to be of the utmost importance to England and the 


CHAP. Angevin house. Louis VII had now reigned in France for 
xv more than forty years. His only son Philip, to be known in 
history as Philip Augustus, born in the summer of 1165, was 
now nearly fifteen years old, but his father had not yet followed 
the example of his ancestors and had him crowned, despite 
the wishes of his family and the advice of the pope. Even 
so unassertive a king as Louis VII was conscious of the secu- 
rity and strength which had come to the Capetian house with 
the progress of the last hundred years. Now he was growing 
ill and felt himself an old man, though he was not yet quite 
sixty, and he determined to make the succession secure before 
it should be too late. This decision was announced to a great 
council of the realm at the end of April, 1179, and was re- 
ceived with universal applause. August 15 was appointed 
as the day for the coronation, but before that day came 
the young prince was seriously ill, and his father was 
once more deeply anxious for the future. Carried away by 
the ardour of the chase in the woods of Compiegne, Philip 
had been separated from his attendants and had wandered 
all one night alone in the forest, unable to find his way. 
A charcoal-burner had brought him back to his father on 
the second day, but the strain of the unaccustomed dread had 
been too much for the boy, and he had been thrown into what 
threatened to be a dangerous illness. To Louis's troubled 
mind occurred naturally the efficacy of the new and mighty 
saint, Thomas of Canterbury, who might be expected to re- 
call with gratitude the favours which the king of France had 
shown him while he was an exile. The plan of a pilgrimage 
to his shrine, putting the king practically at the mercy of a 
powerful rival, was looked upon by many of Louis's advisers 
with great misgiving, but there need have been no fear. 
Henry could always be counted upon to respond in the spirit 
of chivalry to demands of this sort having in them something 
of an element of romance. He met the royal pilgrim on his 
landing, and attended him during his short stay at Canterbury 
and back to Dover. This first visit of a crowned king of 
France to England, coming in his distress to seek the aid of 
her most popular saint, was long remembered there, as was 
also his generosity to the monks of the cathedral church. The 
intercession of St. Thomas availed. The future king of 


France recovered, selected to become it was believed that CHAP. 
a vision of the saint himself so declared the avenger of xv 
the martyr against the house from which he had suffered 

Philip recovered, but Louis fell ill with his last illness. As 
he drew near to Paris on his return a sudden shock of paraly- 
sis smote him. His whole right side was affected, and he 
was unable to be present at the coronation of his son which 
had been postponed to November i. At this ceremony the 
house of Anjou was represented by the young King Henry, 
who as Duke of Normandy bore the royal crown, and 
who made a marked impression on the assembly by his 
brilliant retinue, by the liberal scale of his expenditure and 
the fact that he paid freely for everything that he took, and 
by the generosity of the gifts which he brought from his 
father to the new king of France. The coronation of Philip 
II opens a new era in the history both of France and Eng- 
land, but the real change did not declare itself at once. What 
seemed at the moment the most noteworthy difference was 
made by the sudden decline in influence of the house of Blois 
and Champagne, which was attached to Louis VII by so many 
ties, and which had held so high a position at his court, and by 
the rise of Count Philip of Flanders to the place of most in- 
fluential counsellor, almost to that of guardian of the young 
king. With the crowning of his son, Louis's actual exercise of 
authority came to an end ; the condition of his health would 
have made this necessary in any case, and Philip II was in 
fact sole king. His first important step was his marriage in 
April, 1 1 80, to the niece of the Count of Flanders, Isabel of 
Hainault, the childless count promising an important cession 
of the territory of south-western Flanders to France to take 
place on his own death, and hoping no doubt to secure a 
permanent influence through the queen, while Philip probably 
intended by this act to proclaim his independence of his 
mother's family. 

These rapid changes could not take place without exciting the 
anxious attention of the king of England. His family interests, 
possibly also his prestige on the continent, had suffered to 
some extent in the complete overthrow and exile of his son- 
in-law Henry the Lion by the Emperor Frederick I, which had 


CHAP, occurred in January, 1180, a few weeks before the marriage 
xv of Philip II, though as yet the Emperor had not been able to 
enforce the decision of the diet against the powerful duke. 
Henry of England would have been glad to aid his son-in-law 
with a strong force against the designs of Frederick, which 
threatened the revival of the imperial power and might be 
dangerous to all the sovereigns of the west if they succeeded, 
but he found himself between somewhat conflicting interests 
and unable to declare himself with decision for either without 
the risk of sacrificing the other. Already, before Philip's 
marriage, the young Henry had gone over to England to give 
his father an account of the situation in France, and together 
they had crossed to Normandy early in April. But the mar- 
riage had taken place a little later, and May 29 Philip and his 
bride were crowned at St. Denis by the Archbishop of Sens, 
an intentional slight to William of Blois, the Archbishop of 
Reims. Troops were called into the field on both sides and 
preparations made for war, while the house of Blois formed a 
close alliance with Henry. But the grandson of the great 
negotiator, Henry I, had no intention of appealing to the 
sword until he had tried the effect of diplomacy. On June 28 
Henry and Philip met at Gisors under the old elm tree which 
had witnessed so many personal interviews between the kings 
of England and France. Here Henry won another success. 
Philip was reconciled with his mother's family ; an end was 
brought to the exclusive influence of the Count of Flanders ; 
and a treaty of peace and friendship was drawn up between 
the two kings modelled closely on that lately made between 
Henry and Louis VII, but containing only a general reference 
to a crusade. Henceforth, for a time, the character of Henry 
exercised a strong influence over the young king of France, 
and his practical statesmanship became a model for Philip's 

At the beginning of March, 1182, Henry II returned to 
Normandy. Events which were taking place in two quarters 
required his presence. In France, actual war had broken out 
in which the Count of Flanders was now in alliance with the 
house of Blois against the tendency towards a strong monarchy 
which was already plainly showing itself in the policy of 
young Philip. Henry's sons had rendered loyal and indispen- 


sable assistance to their French suzerain in this war, and now CHAP. 
their father came to his aid with his diplomatic skill. Before xv 
the close of April he had made peace to the advantage of 
Philip. His other task was not so easily performed. Troubles 
had broken out again in Richard's duchy. The young duke 
was as determined to be master in his dominions as his 
father in his, but his methods were harsh and violent; he 
was a fighter, not a diplomatist; the immorality of his life 
gave rise to bitter complaints ; and policy, methods, and per- 
sonal character combined with the character of the land he 
ruled to make peace impossible for any length of time. Now 
the troubadour baron, Bertran de Born, who delighted in 
war and found the chosen field for his talents in stirring up 
strife between others, in a ringing poem called on his brother 
barons to revolt. Henry, coming to aid his son in May, 1 182, 
found negotiation unsuccessful, and together in the field they 
forced an apparent submission. But only for a few months. 
In the next act of the constantly varied drama of the 
Angevin family in this generation the leading part is taken 
by the young king. For some time past the situation in 
France had almost forced him into harmony with his father, 
but this was from no change of spirit. Again he began to 
demand some part of the inheritance that was nominally his, 
and fled to his customary refuge at Paris on a new refusal. 
With difficulty and by making a new arrangement for his 
income, his father was able to persuade him to return, and 
Henry had what satisfaction there could be to him in spend- 
ing the Christmas of 1182 at Caen with his three sons, 
Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey, and with his daughter Matilda 
and her exiled husband, the Duke of Saxony. This family 
concord was at once broken by Richard's flat refusal to swear 
fealty to his elder brother for Aquitaine. Already the 
Aquitanian rebels had begun to look to the young Henry for 
help against his brother, and Bertran de Born had been busy 
sowing strife between them. In the rebellion of the barons that 
followed, young Henry and his brother Geoffrey acted an equi- 
vocal and most dishonourable part. Really doing all they could 
to aid the rebels against Richard, they repeatedly abused the 
patience and affection of their father with pretended negotia- 
tions to gain time. Reduced to straits for money, they took 




CHAP, to plundering the monasteries and shrines of Aquitaine, not 
xv sparing even the most holy and famous shrine of Rocama- 
dour. Immediately after one of the robberies, particularly 
heinous according to the ideas of the time, the young king 
fell ill and grew rapidly worse. His message, asking his 
father to come to him, was treated with the suspicion that it 
deserved after his recent acts, and he died with only his per- 
sonal followers about him, striving to atone for his life of sin 
at the last moment by repeated confession and partaking of 
the sacrament, by laying on William Marshal the duty of 
carrying his crusader's cloak to the Holy Land, and by 
ordering the clergy present to drag him with a rope around 
his neck on to a bed of ashes where he expired. 



THE prince who died thus pitifully on June n, 1183, was CHAP. 
near the middle of his twenty-ninth year. He had never had XVI 
an opportunity to show what he could do as a ruler in an 
independent station, but if we may trust the indications of 
his character in other directions, he would have belonged to 
the weakest and worst type of the combined houses from 
which he was descended. But he made himself beloved by 
those who knew him, and his early death was deeply mourned 
even by the father who had suffered so much from him. 
Few writers of the time saw clearly enough to discern the 
frivolous character beneath the surface of attractive manners, 
and to the poets of chivalry lament was natural for one in 
whom they recognized instinctively the expression of their 
own ideal. His devoted servant, William Marshal, carried out 
the mission with which he had been charged, and after an 
absence of two years on a crusade for Henry the son, he 
returned and entered the service of Henry the father. 

The death of a king who had never been more than a king 
in name made no difference in the political situation. It was 
a relief to Richard who once more and quickly got the better 
of his enemies. It must also in many ways have been a 
relief to Henry, though he showed no disposition to take full 
advantage of it. The king had learned many things in the 
experience of the years since his eldest son was crowned, but 
the conclusions which seem to us most important, he appears 
not to have drawn. He had had indeed enough of crowned 
kings among his sons, and from this time on, though Richard 
occupied clearly the position of heir to the crown, there was no 
suggestion that he should be made actually king in the life- 
time of his father. There is evidence also that after the late 
war the important fortresses both of Aquitaine and Britanny 

VOL. II. 337 22 


CHAP, passed into the possession of Henry and were held by his 
XVI garrisons, but just how much this meant it is not easy to say. 
Certainly he had no intention of abandoning the plan of par- 
celling out the great provinces of his dominion among his 
sons as subordinate rulers. It almost seems as if his first 
thought after the death of his eldest son was that now there 
was an opportunity of providing for his youngest. He sent 
to Ranulf Glanvill, justiciar of England, to bring John over 
to Normandy, and on their arrival he sent for Richard and 
proposed to him to give up Aquitaine to his brother and to 
take his homage for it. Richard asked for a delay of two or 
three days to consult his friends,- took horse at once and 
escaped from the court, and from his duchy returned answer 
that he would never allow Aquitaine to be possessed by any 
one but himself. 

The death of young Henry led at once to annoying 
questions raised by Philip of France. His sister Marga- 
ret was now a widow without children, and he had some 
right to demand that the lands which had been ceded by 
France to Normandy as her marriage portion should be 
restored. These were the Norman Vexin and the important 
frontier fortress of Gisors. In the troublous times of 1151 
Count Geoffrey might have felt justified in surrendering so im- 
portant a part of Norman territory and defences to the king of 
France in order to secure the possession of the rest to his 
son, but times were now changed for that son, and he could 
not consent to open up the road into the heart of Normandy 
to his possible enemies. He replied to Philip that the cession 
of the Vexin had been final and that there could be no 
question of its return. Philip was not easily satisfied, and 
there was much negotiation before a treaty on the subject 
was finally made at the beginning of December, 1183. At a 
conference near Gisors Henry did homage to Philip for all 
his French possessions, a liberal pension was accepted for 
Margaret in lieu of her dower lands, and the king of France 
recognized the permanence of the cession to Normandy on 
the condition that Gisors should go to one of the sons of 
Henry on his marriage with Adela which was once more 
promised. This marriage in the end never took place, but 
the Vexin remained a Norman possession. 


The year 1184 was a repetition in a series of minor details, CHAP. 
family quarrels, foreign negotiations, problems of govern- XVI 
ment, and acts of legislation, of many earlier years of the 
life of Henry. After Christmas, 1183, angered apparently 
by a new refusal of Richard to give up Aquitaine to John, 
or to allow any provision to be made for him in the duchy, 
Henry gave John an army and permission to make war on 
his brother to force from him what he could. Geoffrey 
joined in to aid John, or for his own satisfaction, and to- 
gether they laid waste parts of Richard's lands. He replied 
in kind with an invasion of Britanny, and finally Henry had 
to interfere and order all his sons over to England that he 
might reconcile them. In the spring of the year he found it 
necessary to try to make peace again between the king of 
France and the Count of Flanders. The agreement which 
he had arranged in 1182 had not really settled the difficulties 
that had arisen. The question now chiefly concerned the 
lands of Vermandois, Amiens, and Valois, the inheritance 
which the Countess of Flanders had brought to her husband. 
She had died just before the conclusion of the peace in 1182, 
without heirs, and it had been then agreed that the Count 
should retain possession of the lands during his life, recog- 
nizing certain rights of the king of France. Now he had 
contracted a second marriage in the evident hope of passing 
on his claims to children of his own. Philip's declaration 
that this marriage should make no difference in the disposi- 
tion of these lands which were to prove the first important 
accession of territory made by the house of Capet since it 
came to the throne, was followed by a renewal of the war, 
and the best efforts of Henry II only succeeded in bringing 
about a truce for a year. 

Still earlier in the year died Richard, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, and long disputes followed between the monks of the 
cathedral church and the suffragan bishops of the province as 
to the election of his successor. The monks claimed the exclu- 
sive right of election, the bishops claimed the right to concur 
and represented on this occasion the interests of the king. 
After a delay of almost a year, Baldwin, Bishop of Worcester, 
was declared elected, but no final settlement was made of the 
disputed rights to elect. In legislation the year is marked by 



CHAP, the Forest Assize, which regulated the forest courts and 
XVI re-enacted the forest law of the early Norman kings in all its 
severity. One of its most important provisions was that 
hereafter punishments for forest offences should be inflicted 
strictly upon the body of the culprit and no longer take the 
form of fines. Not merely was the taking of game by pri- 
vate persons forbidden, but the free use of their own timber 
on such of their lands as lay within the bounds of the royal 
forests was taken away. The Christmas feast of the year 
saw another family gathering more complete than usual, 
for not merely were Richard and John present, but the 
Duke and Duchess of Saxony, still in exile, with their chil- 
dren, including the infant William, who had been born at 
Winchester the previous summer, and whose direct descend- 
ants were long afterwards to come to the throne of his grand- 
father with the accession of the house of Hanover. Even 
Queen Eleanor was present at this festival, for she had been 
released for a time at the request of her daughter Matilda. 

One more year of the half decade which still remained of 
life to Henry was to pass with only a slight foreshadowing, 
near its close, of the anxieties which were to fill the remain- 
der of his days. The first question of importance which 
arose in 1185 concerned the kingdom of Jerusalem. Eng- 
land had down to this time taken slight and only indirect part 
in the great movement of the crusades. The Christian 
states in the Holy Land had existed for nearly ninety years, 
but with slowly declining strength and defensive power. 
Recently the rapid progress of Saladin, creating a new Mo- 
hammedan empire, and not merely displaying great military 
and political skill, but bringing under one bond of interest 
the Saracens of Egypt and Syria, whose conflicts heretofore 
had been among the best safeguards of the Christian state, 
threatened the most serious results. The reigning king of 
Jerusalem at this moment was Baldwin IV, grandson of that 
Fulk V, Count of Anjou, whom we saw, more than fifty years 
before this date, handing over his French possessions to his 
son Geoffrey, newly wedded to Matilda the Empress, and 
departing for the Holy Land to marry its heiress and become 
its king. Baldwin was therefore the first cousin of Henry II, 
and it was not unnatural that his kingdom should turn in 


the midst of the difficulties that surrounded it to the head CHAP. 
of the house of Anjou now so powerful in the west. The XVI 
embassy which came to seek his cousin's help was the most 
dignified and imposing that could be sent from the Holy 
Land, with Heraclius the patriarch of Jerusalem at its head, 
supported by the grand-masters of the knights of the Tem- 
ple and of the Hospital. The grand-master of the Templars 
died at Verona on the journey, but the survivors landed in 
England at the end of January, 1185, and Henry who was on 
his way to York turned back and met them at Reading. 
There Heraclius described the evils that afflicted the Chris- 
tian kingdom so eloquently that the king and all the multi- 
tude who heard were moved to sighs and tears. He offered 
to Henry the keys of the tower of David and of the holy 
sepulchre, and the banner of the kingdom, with the right to 
the throne itself. 

To such an offer in these circumstances there was but one 
reply to make, and a king like Henry could never have been 
for a moment in doubt as to what it should be. His case was 
very different from his grandfather's when a similar offer was 
made to him. Not merely did the responsibility of a far 
larger dominion rest on him, with greater dangers within and 
without to be watched and overcome, but a still more impor- 
tant consideration was the fact that there was no one of his 
sons in whose hands his authority could be securely left. His 
departure would be the signal for a new and disastrous civil 
war, and we may believe that the character of his sons was 
a deciding reason with the king. But such an offer, made in 
such a way, and backed by the religious motives so strong 
in that age, could not be lightly declined. A great council 
of the kingdom was summoned to meet in London about 
the middle of March to consider the offer and the answer to 
be made. The king of Scotland and his brother David, and 
the prelates and barons of England, debated the question, 
and advised Henry not to abandon the duties which rested 
upon him at home. It is interesting to notice that the obliga- 
tions which the coronation oath had imposed on the king 
were called to mind as determining what he ought to do, 
though probably no more was meant by this than that the 
appeal which the Church was making in favour of the 


CHAP, crusade was balanced by the duty which he had assumed 
XVI before the Church and under its sanction to govern well his 
hereditary kingdom. Apparently the patriarch was told that 
a consultation with the king of France was necessary, and 
shortly after they all crossed into Normandy. Before the 
meeting of the council in London Baldwin IV had closed his 
unhappy reign and was succeeded by his nephew Baldwin V, 
a child who never reached his majority. In France the 
embassy succeeded no better. At a conference between the 
kings the promise was made of ample aid in men and money, 
but the great hope with which the envoys had started, that 
they might bring back with them the king of England, or at 
least one of his sons, to lead the Christian cause in Palestine, 
was disappointed; and Heraclius set out on his return not 
merely deeply grieved, but angry with Henry for his refusal 
to undertake what he believed to be his obvious religious duty. 
Between the meeting of the council in London and the 
crossing into Normandy, Henry had taken steps to carry out 
an earlier plan of his in regard to his son John. He seems 
now to have made up his mind that Richard could never be 
induced to give up Aquitaine or any part of it, and he re- 
turned to his earlier idea of a kingdom of Ireland. Immedi- 
ately after the council he knighted John at Windsor and 
sent him to take possession of the island, not yet as king but 
as lord (dominus). On April 25 he landed at Waterford, com- 
ing, it is said, with sixty ships and a large force of men-at-arms 
and foot-soldiers. John was at the time nearly nineteen years 
old, of an age when men were then expected to have reached 
maturity, and the prospect of success lay fair before him ; but 
he managed in less than six months to prove conclusively 
that he was, as yet at least, totally unfit to rule a state. The 
native chieftains who had accepted his father's government 
came in to signify their obedience, but he twitched their long 
beards and made sport before his attendants of their uncouth 
manners and dress, and allowed them to go home with anger 
in their hearts to stir up opposition to his rule. The Arch- 
bishop of Dublin and the barons who were most faithful to 
his father offered him their homage and support, but he 
neglected their counsels and even disregarded their rights. 
The military force he had brought over, ample to guard the 


conquests already made, or even to increase them, he dissipated CHAP. 
in useless undertakings, and kept without their pay that he XVI 
might spend the money on his own amusements, until they 
abandoned him in numbers, and even went over to his Irish 
enemies. In a few months he found himself confronted 
with too many difficulties, and gave up his post, returning to 
his father with reasons for his failure that put the blame on 
others and covered up his own defects. Not long afterwards 
died Pope Lucius III, who had steadily refused to renew, or 
to put into legal form, the permission which Alexander III 
had granted to crown one of Henry's sons king of Ireland ; 
and to his successor, Urban III, new application was at once 
made in the special interest of John, and this time with suc- 
cess. The pope is said even to have sent a crown made of 
peacock's feathers intertwined with gold as a sign of his con- 
firmation of the title. 

John was, however, never actually crowned king of Ireland, 
and indeed it is probable that he never revisited the island. 
In the summer of the next year, 1 1 86, news came, in the 
words of a contemporary, " that a certain Irishman had cut 
off the head of Hugh of Lacy." Henry is said to have re- 
joiced at the news, for, though he had never found it possible 
to get along for any length of time without the help of Hugh 
of Lacy in Ireland, he had always looked upon his measures 
and success with suspicion. Now he ordered John to go 
over at once and seize into his hand Hugh's land and castles, 
but John did not leave England. At the end of the year 
legates to Ireland arrived in England from the pope, one 
object of whose mission was to crown the king of Ireland, 
but Henry was by this time so deeply interested in questions 
that had arisen between himself and the king of France 
because of the death of his son Geoffrey, the Count of Brit- 
anny, that he could not give his attention to Ireland, and with 
the legates he crossed to Normandy instead, having sent John 
over in advance. 

Affairs in France had followed their familiar course since 
the conference between Henry and Philip on the subject of 
the crusade in the spring of 1185. Immediately after that 
meeting Henry had proceeded with great vigour against 
Richard. He had Eleanor brought over to Normandy, and 


CHAP, then commanded Richard to surrender to his mother all her 
XVI inheritance under threat of invasion with a great army. 
Richard, whether moved by the threat or out of respect to 
his mother, immediately complied, and, we are told, 1 remained 
at his father's court " like a well-behaved son," while Henry 
in person took possession of Aquitaine. In the meantime 
the war between Philip II and the Count of Flanders had 
gone steadily on, the king of England declining to interfere 
again. At the end of July, 1185, the count had been obliged 
to yield, and had ceded to Philip Amiens and most of Ver- 
mandois, a very important enlargement of territory for the 
French monarchy. This first great success of the young 
king of France was followed the next spring by the humilia- 
tion and forced submission of the Duke of Burgundy. 

In all these events the king of England had taken no active 
share. He was a mere looker-on, or if he had interfered 
at all, it was rather to the advantage of Philip, while the 
rival monarchy in France had not merely increased the ter- 
ritory under its direct control, but taught the great vassals 
the lesson of obedience, and proclaimed to all the world that 
the rights of the crown would be everywhere affirmed and 
enforced. It was clearly the opening of a new era, yet 
Henry gave not the slightest evidence that he saw it or 
understood its meaning for himself. While it is certain that 
Philip had early detected the weakness of the Angevin 
empire, and had formed his plan for its destruction long 
before he was able to carry it out, we can only note with sur- 
prise that Henry made no change in his policy to meet the 
new danger of which he had abundant warning. He seems 
never to have understood that in Philip Augustus he had to 
deal with a different man from Louis VII. That he con- 
tinued steadily under the changed circumstances his old policy 
of non-intervention outside his own frontiers, of preserving 
peace to the latest possible moment, and of devoting himself 
to the maintenance and perfection of a strong government 
wherever he had direct rule, is more creditable to the char- 
acter of Henry II than to the insight of a statesman responsi- 
ble for the continuance of a great empire, and offered the 
realization of a great possibility. To Philip Augustus it was 

1 Gesta Henrici, i. 338. 


the possibility only which was offered ; the empire was still CHAP. 
to be created : but while hardly more than a boy, he read the XVI 
situation with clear insight and saw before him the goal to 
be reached and the way to reach it, and this he followed with 
untiring patience to the end of his long reign. 

When Henry returned to England at the end of April, 
1 1 86, he abandoned all prospect of profiting by the opportu- 
nity which still existed, though in diminished degree, of check- 
ing in its beginning the ominous growth of Philip's power, 
an opportunity which we may believe his grandfather would 
not have overlooked or neglected. By the end of the sum- 
mer all chance of this was over, and no policy of safety re- 
mained to Henry but a trial of strength to the finish with his 
crafty suzerain, for Philip had not merely returned successful 
from his Burgundian expedition, but he had almost without 
effort at concealment made his first moves against the An- 
gevin power. His opening was the obvious one offered him 
by the dissensions in Henry's family, and his first move was 
as skilful as the latest he ever made. Richard was now on 
good terms with his father ; it would even appear that he had 
been restored to the rule of Aquitaine ; at any rate Henry's 
last act before his return to England in April had been to 
hand over to Richard a great sum of money with directions to 
subdue his foes. Richard took the money and made success- 
ful and cruel war on the Count of Toulouse, on what grounds 
we know not. Geoffrey, however, offered himself to Philip's 
purposes. Henry's third son seems to have been in character 
and conduct somewhat like his eldest brother, the young king. 
He had the same popular gifts and attractive manners ; he en- 
joyed an almost equal renown for knightly accomplishments 
and for the knightly virtue of " largesse " ; and he was, in 
the same way, bitterly dissatisfied with his own position. He 
believed that the death of his brother ought to improve his 
prospects, and his mind was set on having the county of An- 
jou added to his possessions. When Richard and his father 
refused him this, he turned to France and betook himself to 
Paris. Philip received him with open arms, and they speedily 
became devoted friends. Just what their immediate plans 
were we cannot say. They evidently had not been made 
public, and various rumours were in circulation. Some said 


CHAP, that Geoffrey would hold Britanny of Philip ; or he had been 
XVI made seneschal of France, an office that ought to go with 
the county of Anjou; or he was about to invade and dev- 
astate Normandy. It is probable that some overt action 
would have been undertaken very shortly when suddenly, 
on August 19, Geoffrey died, having been mortally hurt in a 
tournament, or from an attack of fever, or perhaps from 
both causes. He was buried in Paris, Philip showing great 
grief and being, it is said, with difficulty restrained from 
throwing himself into the grave. 

The death of Geoffrey may have made a change in the 
form of Philip's plans, and perhaps in the date of his first 
attempt to carry them out, but not in their ultimate object. 
It furnished him, indeed, with a new subject of demand on 
Henry. There had been no lack of subjects in the past, and 
he had pushed them persistently : the question of Margaret's 
dower lands, the return of the Norman Vexin, and of 
the payment of her money allowance, complicated now by 
her second marriage to Bela, king of Hungary; the standing 
question of the marriage of Philip's sister Adela ; the dispute 
about the suzerainty of Auvergne still unsettled ; and finally 
Richard's war on the Count of Toulouse. Now was added the 
question of the wardship of Britanny. At the time of his 
death one child had been born to Geoffrey of his marriage 
with Constance, a daughter, Eleanor, who was recognized 
as the heiress of the county. Without delay Philip sent an 
embassy to Henry in England and demanded the wardship of 
the heiress, with threats of war if the demand was not com- 
plied with. The justice of Philip's claim in this case was not 
entirely clear since he was not the immediate lord of Britanny, 
but kings had not always respected the rights of their vassals in 
the matter of rich heiresses, and possibly Geoffrey had actually 
performed the homage to Philip which he was reported to be 
planning to do. In any case it was impossible for Henry to 
accept Philip's view of his rights, but war at the moment 
would have been inconvenient, and so he sent a return embassy 
with Ranulf <jlanvill at its head, and succeeded in getting a 
truce until the middle of the winter. Various fruitless nego- 
tiations followed, complicated by an attack made by the 
garrison of Gisors on French workmen found building an 

1 1 87 WAR WITH PHILIP II 347 

opposing castle just over the border. Henry himself crossed CHAP. 
to Normandy about the middle of February, 1187, but per- XVI 
sonal interviews with Philip led to no result, and the situation 
drifted steadily toward war. The birth of a posthumous son 
to Geoffrey in March whom the Bretons insisted on calling 
Arthur, though Henry wished to give him his own name, a 
sure sign of their wish for a more independent position 
brought about no change. Philip had protected himself 
from all danger of outside interference by an alliance with 
the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and was determined on war. 
By the middle of May both sides were ready. Henry divided 
his army into four divisions and adopted a purely defensive 

Philip's attack fell on the lands of disputed allegiance on 
the eastern edge of the duchy of Aquitaine near his own 
possessions, and after a few minor successes he laid siege to 
the important castle of Chateauroux. This was defended by 
Richard in person, with his brother John, but Philip pressed 
the siege until Henry drew near with an army, when he re- 
tired a short distance and awaited the next move. Negotiations 
followed, in the course of which the deep impression that the 
character of Philip had already made on his great vassals is 
clearly to be seen. 1 Henry's desire was to avoid a battle, and 
this was probably the best policy for him ; it certainly was 
unless he were willing, as he seems not to have been, to bring 
on at once the inevitable mortal struggle between the houses of 
Capet and Anjou. Unimportant circumstances on both sides 
came in to favour Henry's wish and to prevent a battle, and 
finally Henry himself, by a most extraordinary act of folly, 
threw into the hands of Philip the opportunity of gaining a 
greater advantage for his ultimate purposes than he could 
hope to gain at that time from any victory. Henry's great 
danger was Richard. In the situation it was incumbent on 
him from every consideration of policy to keep Richard satis- 
fied, and to prevent not merely the division of the Angevin 
strength, but the reinforcement of the enemy with the half 
of it. He certainly had had experience enough of Richard's 
character to know what to expect. He ought by that time to 

1 Gervase of Canterbury, i. 371; Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis Instruc- 
tione, iii. 2. (Opera, viii. 231.) 


CHAP, have been able to read Philip Augustus's. And yet he calmly 
XVI proceeded to a step from which, it is hardly too much to say, 
all his later troubles came through the suspicion he aroused 
in Richard's mind, a step so unaccountable that we are 
tempted to reject our single, rather doubtful account of it. 
He wrote a letter to Philip proposing that Adela should be 
married to John, who should then be invested with all the 
French fiefs held by the house of Anjou except Normandy, 
which with the kingdom of England should remain to Rich- 
ard. 1 If Henry was blind enough to suppose that the Duke 
of Aquitaine could be reconciled to such an arrangement, 
Philip saw at once what the effect of the proposal would 
be, and he sent the letter to Richard. 

The immediate result was a treaty of peace to continue in 
force for two years, brought about apparently by direct nego- 
tiations between Richard and Philip, but less unfavourable to 
Henry than might have been expected. It contained, accord- 
ing to our French authorities, the very probable agreement 
that the points in dispute between the two kings should be 
submitted to the decision of the curia regis of France, and 
Philip was allowed to retain the lordships of Issoudun and 
Frteval, which he had previously occupied, as pledges for 
the carrying out of the treaty. The ultimate result of Philip's 
cunning was that Richard deserted his father and went home 
with the king of France, and together they lived for a time in 
the greatest intimacy. Philip, it seemed, now loved Richard 
"as his own soul," and showed him great honour. Every 
day they ate at table from the same plate, and at night they 
slept in the same bed. One is reminded of Philip's ardent 
love for Geoffrey, and certain suspicions inevitably arise in the 
mind. But at any rate the alarm of Henry was excited by 
the new intimacy, and he did not venture to go over to Eng- 
land as he wished to do until he should know what the out- 
come was to be. He sent frequent messengers to Richard, 
urging him to return and promising to grant him everything 
that he could justly claim, but without effect. At one time 
Richard pretended to be favourably inclined, and set out as 
if to meet his father, but instead he fell upon the king's trea- 
sure at Chinon and carried it off to Aquitaine to use in put- 

1 Giraldus Cambrensis, De Principis Instructione. {Opera, viii. 232.) 


ting his own castles into a state of defence. His father, CHAP. 
however, forgave even this and continued to send for him, and XVI 
at last he yielded. Together they went to Angers, and there 
in a great assembly Richard performed liege homage to his 
father once more and swore fealty to him " against all men," 
a fact which would seem to show that Richard had in some 
formal way renounced his fealty while at Philip's court, 
though we have no account of his doing so. During this 
period, in September, 1187, an heir was born to King Philip, 
the future Louis VIII. 

As this year drew to its close frequent letters and messen- 
gers from the Holy Land made known to the west one terrible 
disaster after another. Saladin with a great army had fallen 
on the weak and divided kingdom and had won incredible 
successes. The infant king, Baldwin V, had died before these 
events began, and his mother Sibyl was recognized as queen. 
She immediately, against the expressed wish of the great 
barons, gave the crown to her husband, Guy of Lusignan. 
He was a brave man and an earnest defender of the Holy 
Land, but he could not accomplish the impossible task of 
maintaining a kingdom, itself so weak, in the face of open 
and secret treachery. In October the news reached Europe 
of the utter defeat of the Christians, of the capture of the 
king, and worse still of the true Cross by the infidels. The 
pope, Urban III, died of grief at the tidings. His successor, 
Gregory VIII, at once urged Europe to a new crusade in a 
long and vigorous appeal. Very soon afterwards followed 
the news of the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin. The Em- 
peror Frederick was anxious to put himself at the head of the 
armies of Christendom, as he was entitled to do as sovereign 
of the Holy Roman Empire, and lead them to recover the 
holy places. But while most princes delayed and waited to 
know what others would do, the impulsive and emotional 
Richard took the cross the next morning, men said, after he 
had learned the news. This he did without the knowledge 
of his father who was shocked to learn of it, and shut him- 
self up for days, understanding more clearly than did his son 
what the absence of the heir to the throne on such a long 
and uncertain expedition would mean at such a time. 

The advisability, the possibility even, of such a crusade 


CHAP, would all depend upon Philip, and the movements of Philip 
XVI just then were very disquieting. About the beginning of the 
new year, 1188, he returned from a conference with the Em- 
peror Frederick, which in itself could bode no good to the 
father-in-law and supporter of Henry the Lion, and immedi- 
ately began collecting a large army, " impudently boasting," 
says the English chronicler of Henry's life, " that he would 
lay waste Normandy and the other lands of the king of Eng- 
land that side the sea, if he did not return to him Gisors and 
all that belonged to it or make his son Richard take to 
wife Adela the daughter of his father Louis." Philip evi- 
dently did not intend to drop everything to go to the rescue 
of Jerusalem nor was he inclined at any expense to his 
own interests to make it easy for those who would. Henry 
who was already at the coast on the point of crossing to 
England, at once turned back when he heard of Philip's 
threats, and arranged for a conference with him on January 
21. Here was the opportunity for those who were urging 
on the crusade. The kings of France and England with 
their chief barons were to be together while the public ex- 
citement was still high and the Christian duty of checking 
the Saracen conquest still keenly felt. The Archbishop of 
Tyre, who had come to France on this mission, gave up all 
his other undertakings as soon as he heard of the meeting and 
resolved to make these great princes converts to his cause. 
It was not an easy task. Neither Henry nor Philip was 
made of crusading material, and both were far more inter- 
ested in the tasks of constructive statesmanship which they 
had on hand than in the fate of the distant kingdom of 
Jerusalem. A greater obstacle than this even was their fear 
of each other, of what evil one might do in the absence of 
the other, the unwillingness of either to pledge himself to 
anything definite until he knew what the other was going to 
do, and the difficulty of finding any arrangement which would 
bind them both at once. It is practically certain that 
they yielded at last only to the pressure of public opinion 
which must have been exceedingly strong in the excitement of 
the time and under the impassioned eloquence of a messen- 
ger direct from the scene of the recent disasters. It was a 
great day for the Church when so many men of the highest 


rank, kings and great barons, took the cross, and it was CHAP. 
agreed that the spot should be marked by a new church, and XVI 
that it should bear the name of the Holy Field. 

Whatever may be true of Philip, there can, I think, be no 
doubt that, when Henry took the cross, he intended to keep 
his vow. It was agreed between them that all things should 
remain as they were until their return ; and Henry formally 
claimed of his suzerain the protection of his lands during his 
absence, and Philip accepted the duty. 1 A few days after 
taking the cross Henry held an assembly at Le Mans and 
ordered a tax in aid of his crusade. This was the famous 
Saladin tithe, which marks an important step in the history of 
modern taxation. It was modelled on an earlier tax for the 
same purpose which had been agreed upon between France 
and England in 1166, but it shows a considerable develop- 
ment upon that, both in conception and in the arrangements for 
carrying out the details of the tax. The ordinance provided 
for the payment by all, except those who were themselves 
going on the crusade, of a tenth, a " tithe," of both personal 
property and income, precious stones being exempt and the 
necessary tools of their trade of both knights and clerks. 
Somewhat elaborate machinery was provided for the collec- 
tion of the tax, and the whole was placed under the sanction 
of the Church. A similar ordinance was shortly adopted by 
Philip for France, and on February u, Henry, then in Eng- 
land, held a council at Geddington, in Northamptonshire, and 
ordained the same tax for England. 

In the meantime the crusade had received a check, and 
partly, at least, through the fault of its most eager leader, 
Richard of Poitou. A rebellion had broken out against him, 
and he was pushing the war with his usual rapidity and his 
usual severities, adopting now, however, the interesting vari- 
ation of remitting all other penalties if his prisoners would 
take the cross. If Richard was quickly master of the rebel- 
lion, it served on the one hand to embitter him still more 
against his father, from the report, which in his suspicious 
attitude he was quick to believe, that Henry's money and 
encouragement had supported the rebels against him; and 
on the other, to lead to hostilities with the Count of Toulouse. 

1 Ralph de Diceto, ii. 55. 


CHAP. The count had not neglected the opportunity of Richard's 
XVI troubles to get a little satisfaction for his own grievances, 
and had seized some merchants from the English lands. 
Richard responded with a raid into Toulouse, in which he 
captured the chief minister of the count and refused ransom 
for him. Then the count in his turn arrested a couple of 
English knights of some standing at court, who were return- 
ing from a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella. Still 
Richard refused either ransom or exchange, and an appeal 
to the king of France led to no result. Richard told his 
father afterwards that Philip had encouraged his attack on 
the count. Soon, however, his rapid successes in Toulouse, 
where he was taking castle after castle, compelled Philip to 
more decided interference ; probably he was not sorry to find 
a reason both to postpone the crusade and to renew the attack 
on the Angevin lands. First he sent an embassy to Henry 
in England to protest against Richard's doings, and received 
the reply that the war was against Henry's will, and that he 
could not justify it. With a great army Philip then invaded 
Auvergne, captured Chateauroux and took possession of almost 
all Berri. An embassy sent to bring Philip to a better mind 
was refused all satisfaction, and Henry, seeing that his pre- 
sence was necessary in France, crossed the channel for the last 
of many times and landed in Normandy on July n, 1188. 

All things were now, indeed, drawing to a close with 
Henry, who was not merely worn out and ill, but was 
plunged into a tide of events flowing swiftly against all 
the currents of his own life. Swept away by the strong 
forces of a new age which he could no longer control, driven 
and thwarted by men, even his own sons, whose ideals of 
conduct and ambition were foreign to his own and never 
understood, compelled to do things he had striven to avoid, 
and to see helplessly the policy of his long reign brought to 
naught, the coming months were for him full of bitter dis- 
asters which could end only, as they did, in heartbreak and 
death. Not yet, however, was he brought to this point, and 
he got together a great army and made ready to fight if 
necessary. But first, true to his policy of negotiation, he sent 
another embassy to Philip and demanded restitution under 
the threat of renouncing his fealty. Philip's answer was 


a refusal to stop his hostilities until he should have occu- CHAP. 
pied all Berri and the Norman Vexin. War was now inevita- XVI 
ble, but it lingered for some time without events of importance, 
and on August 16 began a new three days' conference at 
the historic meeting-place of the kings near Gisors. This 
also ended fruitlessly; some of the French even attacked 
the English position, and then cut down in anger the old 
elm tree under which so many conferences had taken place. 
Philip was, however, in no condition to push the war upon 
which he had determined. The crusading ardour of France 
which he himself did not feel, and which had failed to 
bring about a peace at Gisors, expressed itself in another 
way ; and the Count of Flanders and Theobald of Blois and 
other great barons of Philip notified him that they would 
take no part in a war against Christians until after their 
return from Jerusalem. 

Philip's embarrassment availed Henry but little, although 
his own force remained undiminished. A sudden dash at 
Mantes on August 30, led only to the burning of a dozen or 
more French villages, for Philip by a very hurried march 
from Chaumont was able to throw himself into the city, and 
Henry withdrew without venturing a pitched battle. On the 
next day Richard, who till then had been with his father, 
went off to Berri to push with some vigour the attack on 
Philip's conquests there, promising his father faithful service. 
A double attack on the French, north and south, was not a 
bad plan as Philip was then situated, but for some reason 
not clear to us Henry seems to have let matters drift and 
made no use of the great army which he had got together. 
The king of France, however, saw clearly what his next move 
should be, and he sent to propose peace to Henry on the basis 
of a restoration of conquests on both sides. Henry was ever 
ready for peace, and a new conference took place at Chatillon 
on the Indre, where it was found that Philip's proposition was 
the exchange of his conquests in Berri for those of Richard 
in Toulouse, and the handing over to him of the castle of 
Pacy, near Mantes, as a pledge that the treaty would be kept. 
It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Philip knew that 
this demand would be refused, as it was, and that he had only 
made the proposal of peace in order to gain time to collect a 
VOL. ii. 23 




CHAP, new force. In this he must now have succeeded, for he 
XVI immediately took the offensive in Berri and added somewhat 
to his conquests, probably by hiring the German mercenaries 
whom we learn he shortly afterwards defrauded of their pay. 
In the meantime Richard and Philip were drawing together 
again, in what way exactly we do not know. We suspect 
some underhanded work of Philip's which would be easy 
enough. Evidently Richard was still very anxious about the 
succession, and it seems to have occurred to him to utilize his 
father's desire for peace on the basis of Philip's latest proposi- 
tion, to gain a definite recognition of his rights. At any rate 
we are told that he brought about the next meeting between 
the kings, and that he offered to submit the question of the 
rights or wrongs of his war with Toulouse to the decision of 
the French king's court. This dramatic and fateful con- 
ference which marks the success of Philip's intrigues began 
on November 18 at Bonmoulins, and lasted three days. 
Henry was ready to accept the proposal now made that all 
things should be restored on both sides to the condition which 
existed at the taking of the cross, but here Richard inter- 
posed a decided objection. He could not see the justice of 
being made to restore his conquests in Toulouse which he was 
holding in domain, and which were worth a thousand marks a 
year, to get back himself some castles in Berri which were 
not of his domain but only held of him. Then Philip for 
him, evidently by previous agreement, brought forward the 
question of the succession. The new proposition was that 
Richard and Adela should be married and that homage should 
be paid to Richard as heir from all the Angevin dominions. It 
seems likely, though it is not so stated, that on this condition 
Richard would have agreed to the even exchange of conquests. 
As time went on the discussion, which had been at first peace- 
able and calm, became more and more excited so that on the 
third day the attendants came armed. On that day harsh 
words and threats were exchanged. To Richard's direct 
demand that he should make him secure in the succession, 
Henry replied that he could not do it in the existing circum- 
stances, for, if he did, he would seem to be yielding to threats 
and not acting of his own will. Then Richard, crying out 
that he could now believe things that had seemed incredible 


to him, turned at once to Philip, threw off his sword, and in CHAR 
the presence of his father and all the bystanders offered him XVI 
his homage for all the French fiefs, including Toulouse, sav- 
ing his father's rights during his lifetime and his own 
allegiance to his father. Philip accepted this offer without 
scruple, and promised to Richard the restoration of what he 
had taken in Berri, with Issoudun and all that he had conquered 
of the English possessions since the beginning of his reign. 

To one at least of the historians of the time Richard's 
feeling about the succession did not seem strange, nor can it 
to us. 1 For this act of Richard, after which peace was never 
restored between himself and his father, Henry must share 
full blame with him. Whether he was actuated by a blind 
affection for his youngest son, or by dislike and distrust of 
Richard, or by a remembrance of his troubles with his eldest 
son, his refusal to recognize Richard as his heir and to allow 
him to receive the homage of the English and French barons, 
a custom sanctioned by the practice of a hundred years in 
England and of a much longer period in France, was a 
political and dynastic blunder of a most astonishing kind. 
Nothing could show more clearly how little he understood 
Philip Augustus or the danger which now threatened the 
Angevin house. As for Richard, he may have been quick- 
tempered, passionate, and rash, not having the well-poised 
mind of the diplomatist or the statesman, at least not one of 
the high order demanded by the circumstances, and deceived 
by his own anger and by the machinations of Philip ; yet we 
can hardly blame him for offering his homage to the king of 
France. Nor can we call the act illegal, though it was 
extreme and unusual, and might seem almost revolutionary. 
An appeal to his overlord was in fact the only legal means 
left him of securing his inheritance, and it bound Philip not 
to recognize any one else as the heir of Henry. Philip was 
clearly ^within his legal rights in accepting the offer of Richard, 
and the care with which Richard's declaration was made to 
keep within the law, reserving all the rights which should be 
reserved, shows that however impulsive his act may have 
seemed to the bystanders, it really had been carefully con- 
sidered and planned in advance. The conference broke up 

1 Gervase of Canterbury, i, 435. 





CHAP, after this with no other result than a truce to January 13, and 
XVI Richard rode off with Philip without taking leave of his father. 
For all that had taken place Henry did not give up his 
efforts to bring back Richard to himself, but they were with- 
out avail. He himself, burdened with anxiety and torn by 
conflicting emotions, was growing more and more ill. The 
scanty attendance at his Christmas court showed him the 
opinion of the barons of the hopelessness of his cause and 
the prudence of making themselves secure with Richard. He 
was not well enough to meet his enemies in the conference 
proposed for January 13, and it was postponed first to 
February 2 and then to Easter, April 9. It was now, how- 
ever, too late for anything to be accomplished by diplomacy. 
Henry could not yield to the demands made of him until he 
was beaten in the field, nor were they likely to be modified. 
Indeed we find at this time the new demand appearing that 
John should be made to go on the crusade when Richard did. 
Even the intervention of the pope, who was represented at 
the conferences finally held soon after Easter and early in 
June, by a cardinal legate, in earnest effort for the crusade, 
served only to show how completely Philip was the man of a 
new age. To the threat of the legate, who saw that the fail- 
ure to make peace was chiefly due to him, that he would lay 
France under an interdict if he did not come to terms with 
the king of England, Philip replied in defiant words that he 
did not fear the sentence and would not regard it, for it would 
be unjust, since the Roman Church had no right to interfere 
within France between the king and his rebellious vassal ; and 
he overbore the legate and compelled him to keep silence. 

After this conference events drew swiftly to an end. The 
allies pushed the war, and in a few days captured Le Mans, 
forcing Henry to a sudden flight in which he was almost 
taken prisoner. A few days later still Philip stormed the 
walls of Tours and took that city. Henry was almost a fugi- 
tive with few followers and few friends in the hereditary 
county from which his house was named. He had turned 
aside from the better fortified and more easily defended 
Normandy against the advice of all, and now there was 
nothing for him but to yield. Terms of peace were settled in 
a final conference near Colombieres on July 4, 1189. At the 


meeting Henry was so ill that he could hardly sit his horse, CHAP. 
though Richard and Philip had sneered at his illness and XVI 
called it pretence, but he resolutely endured the pain as he 
did the humiliation of the hour. Philip's demands seem 
surprisingly small considering the man and the completeness 
of his victory, but there were no grounds on which he could 
demand from Henry any great concession. One thing he 
did insist upon, and that was for him probably the most im- 
portant advantage which he gained. Henry must acknow- 
ledge himself entirely at his mercy, as a contumacious vassal, 
and accept any sentence imposed on him. In the great 
task which Philip Augustus had before him, already so suc- 
cessfully begun, of building up in France a strong monarchy 
and of forcing many powerful and independent vassals into 
obedience to the crown, nothing could be more useful than 
this precedent, so dramatic and impressive, of the unconditional 
submission of the most powerful of all the vassals, himself a 
crowned king. All rights over the disputed county of Auvergne 
were abandoned. Richard was acknowledged heir and was 
to receive the homage of all barons. Those who had given 
in their allegiance to Richard should remain with him till 
the crusade, which was to be begun the next spring, and 
20,000 marks were to be paid the king of France for his ex- 
penses on the captured castles, which were to be returned to 

These were the principal conditions, and to all these Henry 
agreed as he must. That he intended to give up all effort and 
rest satisfied with this result is not likely, and words he is said 
to have used indicate the contrary, but his disease and his 
broken spirits had brought him nearer the end than he knew. 
One more blow, for him the severest of all, remained for him 
to suffer. He found at the head of the list of those who had 
abandoned his allegiance the name of John. Then his will 
forsook him and his heart broke. He turned his face to the 
wall and cried : " Let everything go as it will ; I care no more 
for myself or for the world." On July 6 he died at Chinon, 
murmuring almost to the last, " Shame on a conquered king," 
and abandoned by all his family except his eldest son Geof- 
frey, the son, it was said, of a woman, low in character as in 



CHAP. THE death of Henry II may be taken to mark the close of 
xvn an epoch in English history, the epoch which had begun 
with the Norman Conquest. We may call it, for want of 
a better name, the feudal age, the age during which the 
prevailing organization, ideals, and practices had been Nor- 
man-feudal. It was an age in which Normandy and the 
continental interests of king and barons, and the continental 
spirit and methods, had imposed themselves upon the island 
realm. It was a time in which the great force in the state 
and the chief factor in its history had been the king. The 
interests of the barons had been on the whole identical with 
his. The rights which feudal law and custom gave him had 
been practically unquestioned, save by an always reluctant 
Church, and baronial opposition had taken the form of a 
resistance to his general power rather than of a denial of 
special rights. Now a change had silently begun which was 
soon to show itself openly and to lead to great results. This 
change involved only slowly and indirectly the general power 
of the king, but it takes its beginning from two sources : the 
rising importance of England in the total dominions of the 
king, and the disposition to question certain of his rights. 
Normandy was losing its power over the English baron, or if 
this is too strong a statement for anything that was yet true, 
he was beginning to identify himself more closely with Eng- 
land and to feel less interest in sacrifices and burdens which 
inured only to the benefit of the king and a policy foreign to 
the country. To the disposition to question the king's ac- 
tions and demands Henry had himself contributed not a little 
by the frequency and greatness of those demands, and by the 
small regard to the privileges of his vassals shown in the de- 



velopment of his judicial reforms and in his financial measures ; CHAP. 
these last indeed under Henry II violated the baronial rights xvn 
less directly but, as they were carried on by his sons, they 
attacked them in a still more decisive way. When once this 
disposition had begun, the very strength of the Norman mon- 
archy was an element of weakness, for it gave to individual 
complaints a unity and a degree of importance and interest 
for the country which they might not otherwise have had. In 
this development the reign of Richard, though differing but 
little in outward appearance from his father's, was a time of 
rapid preparation, leading directly to the struggles of his 
brother's reign and to the first great forward step, the act 
which marks the full beginning of the new era. 

Richard could have felt no grief at the death of his father, 
and he made no show of any. Geoffrey had gone for the 
burial to the nunnery of Fontevrault, a favourite convent of 
Henry's, and there Richard appeared as soon as he heard 
the news, and knelt beside the body of his father, which was 
said to have bled on his approach, as long as it would take to 
say the Lord's prayer. Then we are told he turned at once 
to business. The first act which he performed, according to 
one of our authorities, on stepping outside the church was 
characteristic of the beginning of his reign. One of the 
most faithful of his father's later servants was William Mar- 
shal, who had been earlier in the service of his son Henry. 
He had remained with the king to the last, and in the hur- 
ried retreat from Le Mans he had guarded the rear. On 
Richard's coming up in pursuit he had turned upon him 
with his lance and might have killed him as he was without 
his coat of mail, but instead, on Richard's crying out to be 
spared, he had only slain his horse, and so checked the pur- 
suit, though he had spared him with words of contempt which 
Richard must have remembered : " No, I will not slay you," 
he had said ; " the devil may slay you." Now both he and 
his friends were anxious as to the reception he would meet 
with from the prince, but Richard was resolved to start from 
the beginning as king and not as Count of Poitou. He called 
William Marshal to him, referred to the incident, granted 
him his full pardon, confirmed the gift to him which Henry 
had recently made him of the hand of the heiress of the Earl 


CHAP, of Pembroke and her rich inheritance, and commissioned him 
xvii to g O at once t o England to take charge of the king's inter- 
ests there until his own arrival. This incident was typical of 
Richard's action in general. Henry's faithful servants 
suffered nothing for their fidelity in opposing his son; the 
barons who had abandoned him before his death, to seek 
their own selfish advantage because they believed the tide 
was turning against him, were taught that Richard was able 
to estimate their conduct at its real worth. 

Henry on his death-bed had made no attempt to dispose of 
the succession. On the retreat from Le Mans he had sent 
strict orders to Normandy, to give up the castles there in the 
event of his death to no one but John. But the knowledge 
of John's treason would have changed that, even if it had 
been possible to set aside the treaty of Colombieres. There 
was no disposition anywhere to question Richard's right. 
On July 20 at Rouen he was formally girt with the sword of 
the duchy of Normandy, by the archbishop and received the 
homage of the clergy and other barons. He at once con- 
firmed to his brother John, who had joined him, the grants 
made or promised him by their father : .4000 worth of land 
in England, the county of Mortain in Normandy, and the 
hand and inheritance of the heiress of the Earl of Gloucester. 
To his other brother, Geoffrey, he gave the archbishopric of 
York, carrying out a wish which Henry had expressed in his 
last moments ; and Matilda, the daughter of Henry the Lion, 
was given as his bride to another Geoffrey, the heir of the 
county of Perche, a border land whose alliance would be 
of importance in case of trouble with France. Two days 
later he had an interview with King Philip at the old meeting- 
place near Gisors. There Philip quickly made evident the fact 
that in his eyes the king of England was a different person 
from the rebellious Count of Poitou, and he met Richard 
with his familiar demand that the Norman Vexin should 
be given up. Without doubt the point of view had changed 
as much to Richard, and he adopted his father's tactics and 
promised to marry Adela. He also promised Philip 4000 marks 
in addition to the 20,000 which Henry had agreed to pay. 
With these promises Philip professed himself content. He 
received Richard's homage for all the French fiefs, and the 


treaty lately made with Henry was confirmed, including the CHAP. 
agreement to start on the crusade the next spring. xvn 

In the meantime by the command of Richard his mother, 
Eleanor, was set free from custody in England ; and assuming 
a royal state she made a progress through the kingdom and 
gave orders for the release of prisoners. About the middle 
of August Richard himself landed in England with John. 
No one had any grounds on which to expect a particularly 
good reign from him, but he was everywhere joyfully re- 
ceived, especially by his mother and the barons at Winchester. 
A few days later the marriage of John to Isabel of Gloucester 
was celebrated, in spite of a formal protest entered by Baldwin, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, because the parties were related 
within the prohibited degrees. The coronation took place on 
Sunday, September 3, and was celebrated apparently with 
much care to follow the old ritual correctly and with much 
formal pomp and ceremony, so that it became a new prece- 
dent for later occasions down to the present day. 

Richard was then just coming to the end of his thirty-second 
year. In physical appearance he was not like either the 
Norman or the Angevin type, but was taller and of a more 
delicate and refined cast, and his portrait shows a rather 
handsome face. In character and ambitions also he was not 
a descendant of his father's line. The humdrum business of 
ruling the state, of developing its law and institutions, of keeping 
order and doing justice, or even of following a consistent and 
long-continued policy of increasing his power or enlarging 
his territories, was little to his taste. He was determined, as 
his father had been, to be a strong king and to put down 
utterly every rebellion, but his determination to be obeyed was 
rather a resolution of the moment than a means to any fore- 
seen and planned conclusion. He has been called by one 
who knew the time most thoroughly "the creation and im- 
personation of his age," and nothing better can be said. 
The first age of a self-conscious chivalry, delighting intensely 
in the physical life, in the sense of strength and power, that 
belonged to baron and knight, and in the stirring scenes of 
castle and tournament and distant adventure, the age of the 
troubadour, of an idealized warfare and an idealized love, the 
age which had expressed one side of itself in his brother 



CHAP. Henry, expressed a more manly side in Richard. He was 
xvn first of all a warrior ; not a general but a fighter. The wild 
enthusiasm of the hand-to-hand conflict, the matching of skill 
against skill and of strength against strength, was an in- 
tense pleasure to him, and his superiority in the tactics 
of the battle-field, in the planning and management of a 
fight, or even of a series of attacks or defences, a march 
or a retreat, placed him easily in the front rank of com- 
manders in an age when the larger strategy of the highest 
order of generalship had little place. Of England he had 
no knowledge. He was born there, and he had paid it two 
brief visits before his coronation, but he knew nothing of the 
language or the people. He had spent all his life in his 
southern dominions, and the south had made him what he 
was. His interest in England was chiefly as a source of 
supplies, and to him the crusade was, by the necessities of 
his nature, of greater importance than the real business of a 
king. For England itself the period was one during which 
there was no king, though it was by the authority of an absent 
king that a series of great ministers carried forward the de- 
velopment of the machinery and law which had begun to be 
put into organized form in Henry's reign, and carried forward 
also the training of the classes who had a share in public 
affairs for the approaching crisis of their history. From this 
point of view the exceedingly burdensome demands of 
Richard upon his English subjects are the most important 
feature of his time. 

At the beginning of his reign Richard had, like his father, 
a great work to do, great at least from his point of view ; but 
the difference between the two tasks shows how thoroughly 
Henry had performed his. Richard's problem was to get as 
much money as possible for the expenses of the crusade, and 
to arrange things, if possible, in such a shape that the exist- 
ing peace and quiet would be undisturbed during his absence. 
About the business of raising money he set immediately and 
thoroughly. The medieval king had many things to sell 
which are denied the modern sovereign : offices, favour, and 
pardons, the rights of the crown, and even in some cases the 
rights of the purchaser himself. This was Richard's chief 
resource. " The king exposed for sale," as a chronicler of 


the time said, 1 " everything that he had " ; or as another said, 2 CHAP. 
"whoever wished, bought of the king his own and others' xvn 
rights " : not merely was the willing purchaser welcome, 
but the unwilling was compelled to buy wherever possible. 
Ranulf Glanvill, the great judge, Henry's justiciar and "the 
eye of the king," was compelled to resign and to purchase 
his liberty with the great sum, it is asserted, of .15,000. 
In most of the counties the former sheriffs were removed 
and fined, and the offices thus vacated were sold to the highest 
bidder. The Bishop of Durham, Hugh de Puiset, bought 
the earldom of Northumberland and the justiciarship of 
England ; the Bishop of Winchester and the Abbot of St. 
Edmund's bought manors which belonged of right to their 
churches ; the Bishop of Coventry bought a priory and the 
sheriff doms of three counties ; even the king's own devoted 
follower, William of Longchamp, paid 3000 to be chancellor 
of the kingdom. Sales like these were not unusual in the prac- 
tice of kings, nor would they have occasioned much remark at 
the time, if the matter had not been carried to such extremes, and 
the rights and interests of the kingdom so openly disregarded. 
The most flagrant case of this sort was that relating to the 
liege homage of the king of Scotland, which Henry had ex- 
acted by formal treaty from William the Lion and his barons. 
In December, 1189, King William was escorted to Richard at 
Canterbury by Geoffrey, Archbishop of York and the barons 
of Yorkshire, and there did homage for his English lands, but 
was, on a payment of 10,000 marks, released from whatever 
obligations he had assumed in addition to those of former 
Scottish kings. Nothing could show more clearly than this 
how different were the interests of Richard from his father's, 
or how little he troubled himself about the future of his 

Already before this incident, which preceded Richard's 
departure by only a few days, many of his arrangements 
for the care of the kingdom in his absence had been made. 
At a great council held at Pipewell abbey near Geddington 
on September 15, vacant bishoprics were filled with men 
whose names were to be conspicuous in the period now 
beginning. Richard's chancellor, William Longchamp, was 

1 Benedict of Peterborough, ii. 90. 2 Roger of Howden, iii. 18. 


CHAP, made Bishop of Ely; Richard Fitz Nigel, of the family of 
xvn Roger of Salisbury, son of Nigel, Bishop of Ely, and like his 
ancestors long employed in the exchequer and to be con- 
tinued in that service, was made Bishop of London ; 
Hubert Walter, a connexion of Ranulf Glanvill, and trained 
by him for more important office than was now intrusted 
to him, became Bishop of Salisbury ; and Geoffrey's appoint- 
ment to York was confirmed. The responsibility of the 
justiciarship was at the same time divided between Bishop 
Hugh of Durham and the Earl of Essex, who, however, shortly 
died, and in his place was appointed William Longchamp. 
With them were associated as assistant justices five others, 
of whom two were William Marshal, now possessing the 
earldom of Pembroke, and Geoffrey Fitz Peter himself after- 
wards justiciar. At Canterbury, in December, further dis- 
positions were made. Richard had great confidence in his 
mother, and with good reason. Although she was now nearly 
seventy years of age, she was still vigorous in mind and body, 
and she was always faithful to the interests of her sons, and 
wise and skilful in the assistance which she gave them. 
Richard seems to have left her with some ultimate authority 
in the state, and he richly provided for her wants. He 
assigned her the provision which his father had already 
made for her, and added also that which Henry I had made 
for his queen and Stephen for his, so that, as was remarked 
at the time, she had the endowment of three queens. John 
was not recognized as heir nor assigned any authority. Per- 
haps Richard hoped to escape in this way the troubles of his 
father, but, perhaps remembering also how much a scanty 
income had had to do with his brother Henry's discontent, 
he gave him almost the endowment of a king. Besides the 
grants already made to him in Normandy, and rich additions 
since his coming to England, he now conferred on him all 
the royal revenues of the four south-western counties of Corn- 
wall, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset. He already held the 
counties of Derby and Nottingham. Richard plainly intended 
that political rights should not go with these grants, but he 
shows very little knowledge of John's character or apprecia- 
tion of the temptation which he put in his way in the posses- 
sion of a great principality lacking only the finishing touches. 


John's position was not the only source from which speedy CHAP. 
trouble was threatened when Richard crossed to Normandy xvn 
on December n. He had prepared another, equally certain, 
in the arrangement which had been made for the justiciarship. 
It was absurd to expect Hugh of Puiset and William Long- 
champ to work in the same yoke. In spirit and birth Hugh 
was an aristocrat of the highest type. Of not remote royal 
descent, a relative of the kings both of England and France, 
he was a proud, worldly-minded, intensely ambitious prelate 
of the feudal sort and of great power, almost a reigning 
prince in the north. Longchamp was of the class of men 
who rise in the service of kings. Not of peasant birth, 
though but little above it, he owed everything to his zealous 
devotion to the interests of Richard, and, as is usually the 
case with such men, he had an immense confidence in him- 
self ; he was determined to be master, and he was as proud 
of his position and abilities as was the Bishop of Durham of 
his blood. Besides this he was naturally of an overbearing 
disposition and very contemptuous of those whom he regarded 
as inferior to himself in any particular. Hugh in turn felt, 
no doubt, a great contempt for him, but Longchamp had no 
hesitation in measuring himself with the bishop. Soon after 
the departure of the king he turned Hugh out of the exche- 
quer and took his county of Northumberland away from him. 
Other high-handed proceedings followed, and many appeals 
against his chancellor were carried to Richard in France. 
To rearrange matters a great council was summoned to meet 
in Normandy about the end of winter. The result was that 
Richard sustained his minister as Longchamp had doubtless 
felt sure would be the case. The Humber was made a dividing 
line between the two justiciars, while the pope was asked to 
make Longchamp legate in England during the absence of 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was going on the crusade. 
Perhaps Richard now began to suspect that he had been 
preparing trouble for England instead of peace, for at the 
same time he exacted an oath from his brothers, Geoffrey, 
whose troubles with his church of York had already begun, 
and John, not to return to England for three years ; but John 
was soon after released from his oath at the request of his 


CHAP. Richard was impatient to be gone on the crusade, and he 
xvn might now believe that England could be safely left to itself ; 
but many other things delayed the expedition, and the setting 
out was finally postponed, by agreement with Philip, to 
June 24. The third crusade is the most generally interesting 
of all the series, because of the place which it has taken in 
literature ; because of the greatness of its leaders and their ex- 
ploits ; of the knightly character of Saladin himself ; of the 
pathetic fate of the old Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who 
lost his life and sacrificed most of his army in an attempt to 
force his way overland through Asia Minor ; and of its real 
failure after so great an expenditure of life and effort and so 
many minor successes the most brilliant of all the crusades, 
the one great crusade of the age of chivalry : but it concerns 
the history of England even less than does the continental 
policy of her kings. It belongs rather to the personal history 
of Richard, and as such it serves to explain his character and 
to show why England was left to herself during his reign. 

Richard and Philip met at V6zelai at the end of June, 1 190, 
to begin the crusade. There they made a new treaty of alli- 
ance and agreed to the equal division of all the advantages to 
be gained in the expedition, and from thence Richard marched 
down the Rhone to Marseilles, where he took ship on August 7, 
and, by leisurely stages along the coast of Italy, went on to 
Messina which he reached on September 23. Much there was 
to occupy Richard's attention in Sicily. Philip had already 
reached Messina before him, and many questions arose 
between them, the most important of which was that of Rich- 
ard's marriage. Towards the end of the winter Queen Eleanor 
came to Sicily, bringing with her Berengaria, the daughter of 
the king of Navarre, whom Richard had earlier known and 
admired, and whom he had now decided to marry. Naturally 
Philip objected, since Richard had definitely promised to 
marry his sister Adela ; but now he flatly refused to marry 
one of whose relations with his father evil stories were told. 
By the intervention of the Count of Flanders a new treaty 
was made, and Richard was released from his engagement, 
paying 10,000 marks to the king of France. Quarrels with 
the inhabitants of Messina, due partly to the lawlessness of 
the crusaders and partly to Richard's overbearing disposition, 


led to almost open hostilities, and indirectly to jealousy on CHAP. 
the part of the French. Domestic politics in the kingdom of xvn 
Sicily were a further source of trouble. Richard's brother- 
in-law, King William, had died a year before the arrival of the 
crusaders, and the throne was in dispute between Henry VI, 
the new king of Germany, who had married Constance, 
William's aunt and heiress, and Tancred, an illegitimate 
descendant of the Norman house. Tancred was in posses- 
sion, and to Richard, no doubt, the support of Sicily at the 
time seemed more important than the abstract question of right 
or the distant effect of his policy on the crusade. Accordingly 
a treaty was made, Tancred was recognized as king, and a 
large sum of money was paid to Richard ; but to Henry VI 
the treaty was a new cause of hostility against the king of 
England, added to his relationship with the house of Guelf. 
The winter in Sicily, which to the modern mind seems an un- 
necessary waste of time, had added thus to the difficulties of 
the crusade new causes of ill-feeling between the French and 
English, and given a new reason for suspicion to the Germans. 
It was only on April 10, 1191, that Richard at last set sail 
on the real crusade. He sent on a little before him his 
intended bride, Berengaria, with his sister Joanna, the 
widowed queen of Sicily. The voyage proved a long and 
stormy one, and it was not until May 6 that the fleet came 
together, with some losses, in the harbour of Limasol in 
Cyprus. The ruler of Cyprus, Isaac, of the house of Com- 
nenus, who called himself emperor, showed so inhospitable a 
mein that Richard felt called upon to attack and finally to 
overthrow and imprison him and to take possession of the 
island. This conquest, in a moment of anger and quite in 
accordance with the character of Richard, though hardly to 
be justified even by the international law of that time, was 
in the end the most important and most permanent success 
of the third crusade. Shortly before his return home Richard 
gave the island to Guy of Lusignan, to make up to him his 
loss of the kingdom of Jerusalem ; and his descendants and 
their successors retained it for four centuries, an outpost of 
Christendom against the advancing power of the Turks. In 
Cyprus Richard was married to Berengaria, and on June 5 
he set sail for Acre, where he arrived on the 8th. 


CHAP. The siege of the important port and fortress of Acre, 
xvn which had been taken by Saladin shortly before the fall of 
Jerusalem, had been begun by Guy of Lusignan at the end 
of August, 1 1 89, as the first step toward the recovery of his 
kingdom. Saladin, recognizing the importance of the post, 
had come up with an army a few days later, and had in turn 
besieged the besiegers. This situation had not materially 
changed at the time of Richard's arrival. Both the town 
and the besiegers' camp had remained open to the sea, but 
though many reinforcements of new crusaders had come to 
the Christians almost from the beginning of the siege, little 
real progress had been made ; even the arrival of King 
Philip in April had made no important change. Richard, on 
landing, found a condition of things that required the exer- 
cise of the utmost tact and skill. Not merely was the 
military problem one of the greatest difficulty, but the bitter 
factional dissensions of the native lords of Palestine made 
a successful issue almost hopeless. Guy of Lusignan had 
never been a popular king, and during the siege his wife 
Sibyl and their two daughters had died, while his rival, Conrad 
marquis of Montferrat, had persuaded her sister Isabel to 
divorce her husband and to marry him. The result was a 
conflict for the crown, which divided the interests and embit- 
tered the spirits of those whom the crusaders had come to 
aid. Philip had declared for Conrad. Guy was a man some- 
what of Richard's own type, and he would have been at- 
tracted to him apart from the natural effect of Philip's action. 
One who is disposed to deny to Richard the qualities of the 
highest generalship must admit that he handled the difficult 
and complicated affairs he had to control with great patience 
and unusual self-command, and that he probably accom- 
plished as much in the circumstances as any one could 
have done. 

The siege was now pressed with more vigour, and before 
the middle of July, Acre surrendered. Then Philip, whose 
heart was always in his plans at home, pleaded ill health and 
returned to France. After this began the slow advance on 
Jerusalem, Saladin's troops hanging on the line of march and 
constantly attacking in small bodies, while the crusaders suf- 
fered greatly from the climate and from lack of supplies. 


So great were the difficulties which Richard had not foreseen CHAP. 
that at one time he was disposed to give up the attempt and xvn 
to secure what he could by treaty, but the negotiations failed. 
The battle of Arsuf gave him an opportunity to exercise his 
peculiar talents, and the Saracens were badly defeated ; but 
the advance was not made any the easier. By the last day 
of the year the army had struggled through to within ten 
miles of the holy city. There a halt was made ; a council of 
war was held on January 13, 1192, and it was decided, much 
against the will of Richard, to return and occupy Ascalon before 
attempting to take and hold Jerusalem probably a wise de- 
cision unless the city were to be held merely as material for 
negotiation. Various attempts to bring the war to an end by 
treaty had been going on during the whole march ; Richard 
had even offered his sister, Joanna, in marriage to Saladin's 
brother, whether seriously or not it is hardly possible to say ; 
but the demands of the two parties remained too far apart 
for an agreement to be reached. The winter and spring were 
occupied with the refortification of Ascalon and with the 
dissensions of the factions, the French finally withdrawing 
from Richard's army and going to Acre. In April the Mar- 
quis Conrad was assassinated by emissaries of " the Old Man 
of the Mountain " ; Guy had little support for the throne 
except from Richard ; and both parties found it easy to agree 
on Henry of Champagne, grandson of Queen Eleanor and 
Louis VII, and so nephew at once of Philip and Richard, and 
he was immediately proclaimed king on marrying Conrad's 
widow, Isabel. Richard provided for Guy by transferring to 
him the island of Cyprus as a new kingdom. On June 7 began 
the second march to Jerusalem, the army this time suffering 
from the heats of summer as before they had suffered from 
the winter climate of Palestine. They reached the same 
point as in the first advance, and there halted again; and 
though all were greatly encouraged by Richard's brilliant 
capture of a rich Saracen caravan, he himself was now con- 
vinced that success was impossible. On his arrival Richard 
had pushed forward with a scouting party until he could see 
the walls of the city in the distance, and obliged to be satis- 
fied with this, he retreated in July to Acre. One more bril- 
liant exploit of Richard's own kind remained for him to 
VOL. II. 24 


CHAP, perform, the most brilliant of all perhaps, the relief of Joppa 
xvn which Saladin was just on the point of taking when Richard 
with a small force saved the town and forced the Saracens to 
retire. On September 2 a truce for three years was made, 
and the third crusade was at an end. The progress of Saladin 
had been checked, a series of towns along the coast had been 
recovered, and the kingdom of Cyprus had been created ; 
these were the results which had been gained by the expen- 
diture of an enormous treasure and thousands of lives. Who 
shall say whether they were worth the cost ? 

During all the summer Richard had been impatient to 
return to England, and his impatience had been due not alone 
to his discouragement with the hopeless conditions in Palestine, 
but partly to the news which had reached him from home. 
Ever since he left France, in fact, messages had been com- 
ing to him from one and another, and the story they told 
was not of a happy situation. Exactly those things had 
happened which ought to have been expected. Soon after 
the council in Normandy, William Longchamp had freed 
himself from his rival Hugh of Durham by placing him under 
arrest and forcing him to surrender everything he had bought 
of the king. Then for many months the chancellor ruled 
England as he would, going about the country with a great 
train, almost in royal state, so that a chronicler writing pro- 
bably from personal observation laments the fact that a house 
that entertained him for a night hardly recovered from the 
infliction in three years. Even more oppressive on the com- 
munity as a whole were the constant exactions of money 
which he had to make for the king's expenses. The return 
of John to England in 1190, or early in 1191, made at first 
no change, but discontent with the chancellor's conduct 
would naturally look to him for leadership, and it is likely 
John was made ready to head an active opposition by the dis- 
covery of negotiations between Longchamp and the king of 
Scotland for the recognition of Arthur of Britanny as the heir 
to the kingdom, negotiations begun so the chancellor said 
under orders from Richard. About the middle of summer, 
1191, actual hostilities seemed about to begin. Longchamp's 
attempt to discipline Gerard of Camville, holder of Lincoln 
castle and sheriff of Lincolnshire, was resisted by John, who 


seized the royal castles of Nottingham and Tickhill. Civil war CHAP. 
was only averted by the intervention of Walter of Coutances, xvn 
Archbishop of Rouen, who had arrived in England in the spring 
with authority from the king to interfere with the administra- 
tion of Longchamp if it seemed to him and the council wise to 
do so. By his influence peace was made, at an assembly of 
the barons at Winchester, on the whole not to the disadvan- 
tage of John, and embodied in a document which is almost a 
formal treaty. One clause of this agreement is of special 
interest as a sign of the trend of thought and as foreshadow- 
ing a famous clause in a more important document soon to 
be drawn up. The parties agreed that henceforth no baron 
or free tenant should be disseized of land or goods by the 
king's justices or servants without a trial according to the 
customs and assizes of the land, or by the direct orders of 
the king. The clause points not merely forward but back- 
ward, and shows what had no doubt frequently occurred since 
the departure of the king. 

About the middle of September a new element of discord 
was brought into the situation by the landing of Geoffrey, 
who had now been consecrated Archbishop of York, and who 
asserted that he, as well as John, had Richard's permission 
to return. Longchamp's effort to prevent his coming failed ; 
but on his landing he had him arrested at the altar of the 
Priory of St. Martin's, Dover, where he had taken sanctuary, 
and he was carried off a prisoner with many indignities. 
This was a tactical mistake on Longchamp's part. It put him 
greatly in the wrong and furnished a new cause against him 
in which everybody could unite. In alarm he declared he 
had never given orders for what was done and had Geoffrey 
released, but it was too late. The actors in this outrage were 
excommunicated, and the chancellor was summoned to a 
council called by John under the forms of a great council. 
At the first meeting, held between Reading and Windsor on 
October 5, he did not appear, but formal complaint was made 
against him, and his deposition was moved by the Archbishop 
of Rouen. The meeting was then adjourned to London, and 
Longchamp, hearing this, left Windsor at the same time and 
took refuge in the Tower. For both parties, as in former 
times of civil strife, the support of the citizens of London 

2 4 




CHAP, was of great importance. They were now somewhat divided, 
xvn but a recognition of the opportunity inclined them to the 
stronger side, and they signified to John and the barons 
that they would support them if a commune were granted 
to the city. 1 This French institution, granting to a city 
in its corporate capacity the legal position and independ- 
ence of the feudal vassal, had as yet made no appearance 
in England. It was bitterly detested by the great barons, 
and a chronicler of the time who shared this feeling was no 
doubt right in saying that neither Richard nor his father 
would have sanctioned it for a million marks, but as he 
says London found out that there was no king. 2 John was 
in pursuit of power, and the price which London demanded 
would not seem to him a large one, especially as the day 
of reckoning with the difficulty he created was a distant 
one and might never come. The commune was granted, and 
Longchamp was formally deposed. John was recognized as 
Richard's heir, fealty was sworn to him, and he was made 
regent of the kingdom ; Walter of Rouen was accepted as 
justiciar ; and the castles were disposed of as John desired. 
Longchamp yielded under protest, threatening the displeasure 
of the king, and was allowed to escape to the continent. 

The action of John and the barons in deposing Longchamp 
made little actual change. John gained less power than 
he had expected, and found the new justiciar no more will- 
ing to give him control of the kingdom than the old one. 
The action was revolutionary, and if it had any permanent 
influence on the history of England, it is to be found in the 
training it gave the barons in concerted action against a 
tyrannous minister, revolutionary but as nearly as possible 
under the forms of law. While these events were taking 
place, Philip was on his way from Tyre to France. He 
reached home near the close of the year, ready for the busi- 
ness for which he had come, to make all that he could out of 
Richard's absence. Repulsed in an attempt to get the 
advantage of the seneschal of Normandy he applied to John, 
perhaps with more hope of success, offering him the hand of 
the unfortunate Adela with the investiture of all the French 

1 Round, Commune of London, ch. xi. 

2 Richard of Devizes, Chronicles of Stephen, iii. 416. 


fiefs. John was, of course, already married, but that was a CHAP. 
small matter either to Philip, or to him. He was ready to xvn 
listen to the temptation, and was preparing to cross to discuss 
the proposition with Philip, when his plans were interrupted 
by his mother. She had heard of what was going on and 
hastily went over to England to interfere, where with diffi- 
culty John was forced to give up the idea. The year 1192 
passed without disturbance. When Longchamp tried to 
secure his restoration by bribing John, he was defeated by a 
higher bid from the council. An attempt of Philip to invade 
Normandy was prevented by the refusal of his barons to serve, 
for without accusing the king, they declared that they could 
not attack Normandy without themselves committing perjury. 
At the beginning of 1193 the news reached England that 
Richard had been arrested in Germany and that he was held 
in prison there. 



CHAP. RICHARD was indeed in prison in Germany. To avoid 
xvm passing through Toulouse on account of the hostility of the 
count he had sailed up the Adriatic, hoping possibly to 
strike across into the northern parts of Aquitaine, and there 
had been shipwrecked. In trying to make his way in disguise 
through the dominions of the Duke of Austria he had been 
recognized and arrested, for Leopold of Austria had more 
than one ground of hatred of Richard, notably because his 
claim to something like an equal sovereignty had been so 
rudely and contemptuously disallowed in the famous incident 
of the tearing down of his banner from the walls of Acre. 
But a greater sovereign than Leopold had reason to com- 
plain of the conduct of Richard and something to gain from 
his imprisonment, and the duke was obliged to surrender his 
prisoner to the emperor, Henry VI. 

When the news of this reached England, it seemed to John 
that his opportunity might at last be come, and he crossed 
over at once to the continent. Finding the barons of Nor- 
mandy unwilling to receive him in the place of Richard, he 
passed on to Philip, did him homage for the French fiefs, 
and even for England it was reported, took oath to marry 
Adela, and ceded to him the Norman Vexin. In return 
Philip promised him a part of Flanders and his best 
help to get possession of England and his brother's other 
lands. Roger of Howden, who records this bargain, distin- 
guishes between rumour and what he thought was true, and 
it may be taken as a fair example of what it was believed John 
would agree to in order to dispossess his imprisoned brother. 
He then returned to England with a force of mercenaries, 
seized the castles of Wallingford and Windsor, prepared to 
receive a fleet which Philip was to send to his aid, and giving 



out that the king was dead, he demanded the kingdom of the CHAP. 
justices and the fealty of the barons. But nobody believed xvni 
him; the justices immediately took measures to resist him 
and to defend the kingdom against the threatened invasion, 
and civil war began anew. Just then Hubert Walter, Bishop 
of Salisbury, arrived from Germany, bringing a letter from 
Richard himself. It was certain that the king was not dead, 
but the news did not promise an immediate release. The em- 
peror demanded a great ransom and a crowd of hostages of 
the barons. The justices must at once set about raising the 
sum, and a truce was made with John until autumn. 

The terms of his release which Richard had stated in his 
letter did not prove to be the final ones. Henry VI was 
evidently determined to make all that he could out of his 
opportunity, and it was not till after the middle of the year 
1193 that a definite agreement was at last made. The ran- 
som was fixed at 150,000 marks, of which 100,000 were to 
be on hand in London before the king should go free. It 
was on the news of this arrangement that Philip sent his 
famous message to John, " Take care of yourself : the devil 
is loosed." In John's opinion the best way to take care 
of himself was to go to Philip's court, and this he did on 
receiving the warning, either because he was afraid of the 
view Richard might take of his conduct on his return, or 
because he suspected that Philip would throw him over 
when he came to make a settlement with Richard. There 
were, however, still two obstacles in the way of Richard's 
return : the money for the ransom must be raised, and the 
emperor must be persuaded to keep his bargain. Philip, 
representing John as well, was bidding against the terms to 
which Richard had agreed. They offered the emperor 80,000 
marks, to keep him until the Michaelmas of 1194; or ^1000 
a month for each month that he was detained ; or 1 50,000 
marks, if he would hold him in prison for a year, or give 
him up to them. Earlier still Philip had tried to persuade 
Henry to surrender Richard to him, but such a disposition 
of the case did not suit the emperor's plans, and now he 
made Philip's offers known to Richard. If he had been 
inclined to listen, as perhaps he was, the German princes, 
their natural feeling and interest quickened somewhat by 


CHAP, promises of money from Richard, would have insisted on the 
xvni keeping of the treaty. On February 4, 1194, Richard was 
finally set free, having done homage to the emperor for the 
kingdom of England and having apparently issued letters 
patent to record the relationship, 1 a step towards the realiza- 
tion of the wide-reaching plans of Henry VI for the recon- 
struction of the Roman Empire, and so very likely as 
important to him as the ransom in money. 

The raising of this money in England and the other lands 
of the king was not an easy task, not merely because the 
sum itself was enormous for the time, but also because so 
great an amount exceeded the experience, or even the prac- 
tical arithmetic of the day, and could hardly be accurately 
planned for in advance. It was, however, vigorously taken in 
hand by Eleanor and the justices, assisted by Hubert Walter, 
who had now become Archbishop of Canterbury by Richard's 
direction and who was soon made justiciar, and the burden 
seems to have been very patiently borne. The method of 
the Saladin tithe was that first employed for the general 
taxation by which it was proposed to raise a large part of the 
sum. All classes, clerical and feudal, burgess and peasant, 
were compelled to contribute according to their reVenues, the 
rule being one-fourth of the income for the year, and the 
same proportion of the movable property ; all privileges and 
immunities of clergy and churches as well as of laymen were 
suspended; the Cistercians even who had a standing immu- 
nity from all exactions gave up their whole year's shearing 
of wool, and so did the order of Sempringham ; the plate 
and jewels of the churches and monasteries, held to be 
properly used for the redemption of captives, were surren- 
dered or redeemed in money under a pledge of their restora- 
tion by the king. The amount at first brought in proved 
insufficient, and the officers who collected it were suspected 
of peculation, possibly with justice, but possibly also because 
the original calculation had been inaccurate, so that a second 
and a third levy were found necessary. It was near the end 
of the year 1193 before the sum raised was accepted by the 
representatives of the emperor as sufficient for the preliminary 
payment which would secure the king's release. 

1 Ralph de Diceto, ii. 113. 


Richard, set free on February 4, did not feel it necessary to CHAP. 
be in haste, and he only reached London on March 16. There xvm 
he found things in as unsettled a state as they had been since 
the beginning of his imprisonment. He had made through 
Longchamp a most liberal treaty with Philip to keep him 
quiet during his imprisonment ; he had also induced John by 
a promise of increasing his original grants to return to his 
allegiance to himself: but neither of these agreements had 
proved binding on the other parties. John had made a later 
treaty with Philip, purchasing his support with promises of 
still more extensive cessions of the land he coveted, and under 
this treaty the king of France had taken possession of parts 
of Normandy, while the justiciar of England, learning of 
John's action, had obtained a degree of forfeiture against him 
from a council of the barons and had begun the siege of his 
castles. This war on John was approved by Richard, who 
himself pushed it to a speedy and successful end. Then on 
March 30 the king met a great council of the realm at Not- 
tingham. His mother was present, and the justiciar, and 
Longchamp, who was still chancellor, though he had not been 
allowed to return to England to remain until now. By this 
council John was summoned to appear for trial within forty 
days on pain of the loss of all his possessions and of all that 
he might expect, including the crown. Richard's chief need 
would still be money both for the war in France and for further 
payments on his ransom ; and he now imposed a new tax of 
two shillings on the carucate of land and called out one-third 
of the feudal force for service abroad. Many resumptions of 
his former grants were also made, and some of them were 
sold again to the highest bidders. Two weeks later the king 
was re-crowned at Winchester, apparently with something less 
of formal ceremony than in his original coronation, but with 
much more than in the annual crown-wearings of the Norman 
kings, a practice which had now been dropped for almost 
forty years. Whether quite a coronation in strict form or not, 
the ceremony was evidently regarded as of equivalent effect 
both by the chroniclers of the time and officially, and it pro- 
bably was intended to make good any diminution of sover- 
eignty that might be thought to be involved in his doing 
homage to the emperor for the kingdom. 


CHAP. Immediately after this the king made ready to cross to 
xvin p rance> where his interests were then in the greatest danger, 
but he was detained by contrary winds till near the middle of 
May. In the almost exactly five years remaining of his life 
Richard never returned to England. He belonged by nature 
to France, and England must have seemed a very foreign land 
to him ; but in passing judgment on him we must not overlook 
the fact that England was secure and needed the presence of 
the king but little, while many dangers threatened, or would 
seem to Richard to threaten, his continental possessions. Even 
a Henry I would probably have spent those five years abroad. 
Richard found the king of France pushing a new attack on 
Normandy to occupy the lands which John had ceded him, 
but the French forces withdrew without waiting to try the 
issue of a battle. Richard had hardly landed before another 
enemy was overcome, by his own prudence also, and another 
example given of the goodness of Richard's heart toward his 
enemies and of his willingness to trust their professions. He 
had said that his brother would never oppose force with force, 
and now John was ready to abandon the conflict before it had 
begun. He came to Richard, encouraged by generous words 
of his which were repeated to him, and threw himself at his 
feet; he was at once pardoned and treated as if he had never 
sinned, except that the military advantages he had had in 
England through holding the king's castles were not given 
back to him. Along all the border the mere presence of 
Richard seemed to check Philip's advance and to bring to a 
better mind his own barons who had been disposed to aid the 
enemy. About the middle of June almost all the details of a 
truce were agreed upon by both sides, but the plan at last 
failed, because Richard would not agree that the barons 
who had been on the opposing sides in Poitou should be 
made to cease all hostilities against each other, for this would 
be contrary, he said, to the ancient custom of the land. 
The war went on a few weeks longer with no decisive 
results. Philip destroyed Evreux, but fell back from Fre"- 
teval so hastily, to avoid an encounter with Richard, that 
he lost his baggage, including his official records, and barely 
escaped capture himself. On November i a truce for one 
year was finally made, much to the advantage of Philip, 


but securing to the king of England the time he needed for CHAP. 
preparation. xvm 

When Richard crossed to Normandy not to return, he left 
England in the hands of his new justiciar, Hubert Walter, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and soon to be appointed legate 
of the pope, at once the head of Church and State. No better 
man could have been found to stand in the place of the king. 
Nephew of the wife of Glanvill, the great judge of Henry II's 
time, spending much of his youth in the household of his 
uncle and some little time also in the service of the king, 
he was by training and by personal experience fitted to carry 
on the administration of England along the lines laid down 
in the previous reign and even to carry forward law and 
institutions in harmony with their beginnings and with the 
spirit of that great period. Indeed the first itinerant justices' 
commission in definite form that has come down to us dates 
but a few weeks after the king's departure, and is of especial 
interest as showing a decided progress since the more vague 
provisions of the Assize of Clarendon. A possible source of 
danger to a successful ministry lay in the quarrelsome and 
self-assertive Archbishop of York, the king's brother Geoffrey ; 
but soon after Richard's departure Hubert deprived him of 
power by a sharp stroke and a skilful use of the adminis- 
trative weapons with which he was familiar. On complaint 
of Geoffrey's canons against him he sent a commission of 
judges to York to examine the case, who ordered Geoffrey's 
servants to be imprisoned on a charge of robbery, and on the 
archbishop's refusal to appear before them to answer for him- 
self they decreed the confiscation of his estates. Geoffrey 
never recovered his position in Richard's time. 

The year 1195 in England and abroad passed by with few 
events of permanent interest. Archbishop Hubert was occu- 
pied chiefly with ecclesiastical matters and with the troubles 
of Geoffrey of York, and conditions in the north were further 
changed by the closing of the long and stormy career of the 
bishop of Durham, Hugh of Puiset. In France the truce 
was broken by Philip in June, and the war lingered until 
December with some futile efforts at peace, but with no strik- 
ing military operations on either side. Early in December the 
two kings agreed on the conditions of a treaty, which was 


CHAP, signed on January 15, 1196. The terms were still unfavour- 
xvin able to Richard; for Philip at last had Gisors and the 
Norman Vexin ceded to him by competent authority and a 
part of his other conquests and the overlordship of Angou- 
leme, while Richard on his side was allowed to retain only 
what he had taken in Berri. 

As this treaty transferred to France the old frontier 
defences of Normandy and opened the way down the Seine to 
a hostile attack upon Rouen, the question of the building of 
new fortifications became an important one to both the kings. 
The treaty contained a provision that Andely should not be 
fortified. This was a most important strategic position on 
the river, fitted by nature for a great fortress and completely 
covering the capital of Normandy. At a point where the 
Seine bends ; sharply and a small stream cuts through the line 
of limeston cliffs on its right bank to join it, a promontory 
of rock three hundred feet above the water holds the angle, 
cut off from the land behind it except for a narrow isthmus, 
and so furnished the feudal castle-builder with all the con- 
ditions which he required. The land itself belonged to the 
Archbishop of Rouen, but Richard, to whom the building of 
a fortress at the place was a vital necessity, did not concern 
himself seriously with that point, and began the works which 
he had planned soon after the signing of the treaty in which 
he had promised not to do so. The archbishop who was still 
Walter of Coutances, Richard's faithful minister of earlier 
days, protested without avail and finally retired to Rome, lay- 
ing the duchy under an interdict. Richard was no more to be 
stopped in this case by an interdict than by his own promises, 
and went steadily on with his work, though in the end he 
bought off the archbishop's opposition by a transfer to him 
in exchange of other lands worth intrinsically much more 
than the barren crag that he had seized. The building 
occupied something more than a year, and when it was 
completed, the castle was one of the strongest in the west. 
Richard had made use in its fortification of the lessons which 
he learned in the Holy Land, where the art of defence 
had been most carefully studied under compulsion ; and the 
three wards of the castle, its thick walls and strong towers, 
and the defences crossing the river and in the town of New 


Andely at its foot, seemed to make it impregnable. Richard CHAP. 
took great pride in his creation. He called it his fair child, xvni 
and named it Chateau-Gaillard or " saucy castle." 

Philip had not allowed all this to go on without considering 
the treaty violated, but the war of 1 196 is of the same weari- 
some kind as that of the previous year. The year brought 
with it some trouble in Britanny arising from a demand of 
Richard's for the wardship of his nephew Arthur, and 
resulting in the barons of Britanny sending the young prince 
to the court of Philip. In England the rising of a demagogue 
in London to protest against the oppression of the poor is 
of some interest. The king's financial demands had never 
ceased; they could not cease, in fact, and though England 
was prosperous from the long intervals of peace she had 
enjoyed and bore the burden on the whole with great 
patience, it was none the less heavily felt. In London 
there was a feeling not merely that the taxes were heavy, 
but that they were unfairly assessed and collected, so that 
they rested in undue proportion on the poorer classes. Of 
this feeling William Fitz Osbert, called "William with the 
Beard," made himself the spokesman. He opposed the 
measures of the ruling class, stirred up opposition with fiery 
speeches, crossed over to the king, and, basing on the king's 
interest in the subject a boast of his support, threatened 
more serious trouble. Then the justiciar interfered by 
force, dragged him out of sanctuary, and had him executed. 
The incident had a permanent influence in the fact that 
Hubert Walter, who was already growing unpopular, found 
his support from the clergy weakened because of his viola- 
tion of the right of sanctuary. He was also aggrieved because 
Richard sent over from the continent the Abbot of Caen, 
experienced in Norman finance, to investigate his declining 
revenues and to hold a special inquisition of the sheriffs. 
The inquisition was not held because of the death of the 
abbot, but later in the year Hubert offered to resign, but 
finally decided to go on in office for a time longer. 

The year 1197 promised great things for Richard in his 
war with the king of France, but yielded little. He suc- 
ceeded in forming a coalition among the chief barons of the 
north, which recalls the diplomatic successes of his ancestor, 




CHAP. Henry I. The young Count Baldwin of Flanders and 
xvm Hainault had grievances of his own against Philip which 
he was anxious to avenge. Count Philip, who had exercised 
so strong an influence over King Philip at the time of his 
accession, had died early in the crusade, and the Count of 
Hainault on succeeding him had been compelled to give up 
to France a large strip of territory adjoining Philip's earlier 
annexation, and on his death Count Baldwin had had to pay 
a heavy relief. The coalition was joined by the Counts of 
Boulogne and Blois, and Britanny was practically under the 
control of Richard. Philip, however, escaped the danger that 
threatened him by some exercise of his varied talents of 
which we do not know the exact details. Led on in pursuit 
of the Count of Flanders until he was almost cut off from 
return, he purchased his retreat by a general promise to 
restore the count all his rights and to meet Richard in a 
conference on the terms of peace. On Richard's side the 
single advantage gained during the campaign was the cap- 
ture of the cousin of the French king, Philip of Dreux, the 
warlike Bishop of Beauvais, whose raids along the border and 
whose efforts at the court of Henry VI of Germany against his 
release from imprisonment had so enraged Richard that he 
refused upon any terms or under any pressure to set him free 
as long as he lived. The interview between the kings took 
place on September 17, when a truce for something more 
than a year was agreed upon to allow time for arranging the 
terms of a permanent peace. 

The year closed in England with an incident of great 
interest, but one which has sometimes been made to bear an 
exaggerated importance. At a council of the kingdom held 
at Oxford on December 7, the justiciar presented a demand 
of the king that the baronage should unite to send him at 
their expense three hundred knights for a year's service with 
him abroad. Evidently it was hoped that the clergy would 
set a good example. The archbishop himself expressed his 
willingness to comply, and was followed by the Bishop of 
London to the same effect. Then Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, 
being called upon for his answer, to the great indignation of 
the justiciar, flatly refused on the ground that his church was 
not liable for service abroad. The Bishop of Salisbury, next 


called upon, made the same refusal ; and the justiciar seeing CHAP. 
that the plan was likely to fail dissolved the council in anger. XVIH 
One is tempted to believe that some essential point is omitted 
from the accounts we have of this incident, or that some 
serious mistake has been made in them, either in the speech 
of Bishop Hugh given us in his biography or in the terms 
of Richard's demand recorded in two slightly different forms. 
Hubert must have believed that the baronage in general were 
going to follow the example given them by the two bishops 
and refuse the required service, or he would not have dis- 
solved the council and reported to the king that his plan had 
failed. But to refuse this service on the ground that it could 
not be required except in England was to go against the 
unbroken practice of more than a hundred years. Nor was 
there anything contrary to precedent in the demand for three 
hundred knights to serve a year. The union of the military 
tenants to equip a smaller force than the whole service due 
to the lord, but for a longer time than the period of required 
feudal service, was not uncommon. The demand implied a 
feudal force due to the king from England of less than three 
thousand knights, and this was well within his actual rights, 
though if we accept the very doubtful statement of one of 
our authorities that their expenses were to be reckoned at the 
rate of three shillings per day, the total cost would exceed 
that of any ordinary scutage. 

Richard clearly believed, as did his justiciar, that he was 
making no illegal demand, for he ordered the confiscation of 
the baronies of the two bishops, and Herbert of Salisbury was 
obliged to pay a fine. It was only a personal journey to 
Normandy and the great reputation for sanctity of the future 
St. Hugh of Lincoln that relieved him from the same punish- 
ment. The importance of the right of consent to taxation in 
the growth of the constitution has led many writers to attach 
a significance to this incident which hardly belongs to it. 
Whatever were the grounds of his action, the Bishop of Lin- 
coln could have been acting on no general constitutional 
principle. He must have been insisting on personal rights 
secured to him by the feudal law. If his action contributed 
largely, as it doubtless did, to that change of earlier condi- 
tions which led to the beginning of the constitution, it was 




CHAP, less because he tried to revive a principle of general applica- 
xvln tion, which as a matter of fact had never existed, than 
because he established a precedent of careful scrutiny of the 
king's rights and of successful resistance to a demand possibly 
of doubtful propriety. It is as a sign of the times, as the 
mark of an approaching revolution, that the incident has its 
real interest. 

About the time that Richard sent over to England his 
demand for three hundred knights news must have reached 
him of an event which would seem to open the way to a great 
change in continental affairs. The far-reaching plans of the 
emperor, Henry VI, had been brought to an end by his death 
in Sicily on September 28, 1197, in the prime of his life. 
His son, the future brilliant Emperor Frederick II, was still 
an infant, and there was a prospect that the hold of the 
Hohenstaufen on the empire might be shaken off. About 
Christmas time an embassy reached Richard from the princes 
of Germany, summoning him on the fealty he owed the 
empire to attend a meeting at Cologne on February 22 to 
elect an emperor. This he could not do, but a formal embassy 
added the weight of his influence to the strong Guelfic party ; 
and his favourite nephew, who had been brought up at his 
court, was elected emperor as Otto IV. The Hohenstaufen 
party naturally did not accept the election, and Philip of 
Suabia, the brother of Henry VI, was put up as an opposition 
emperor, but for the moment the Guelfs were the stronger, 
and they enjoyed the support of the young and vigorous pope, 
Innocent III, who had just ascended the papal throne, so 
that even Philip IFs support of his namesake of Suabia was 
of little avail. 

From the change Richard gained in reality nothing. It 
was still an age when the parties to international alliances 
sought only ends to be gained within their own territories, 
or what they believed should be rightfully their territories, 
and the objects of modern diplomacy were not yet regarded. 
The truce of the preceding September, which was to last 
through the whole of the year 1198, was as little respected as 
the others had been. As soon as it was convenient, the war was 
reopened, the baronial alliance against the king of France 
still standing, and Baldwin of Flanders joining in the attack. 


At the end of September Richard totally defeated the French, CHAP. 
and drove their army in wild flight through the town of Gisors, XVIH 
precipitating Philip himself into the river Epte by the break- 
ing down of the bridge under the weight of the fugitives, and 
capturing a long list of prisoners of distinction, three of them, 
a Montmorency among them, overthrown by Richard's own 
lance, as he boasted in a letter to the Bishop of Durham. 
Other minor successes followed, and Philip found himself 
reduced to straits in which he felt obliged to ask the inter- 
vention of the pope in favour of peace. Innocent III, anxious 
for a new crusade and determined to make his influence felt 
in every question of the day, was ready to interfere on his 
own account; and his legate, Cardinal Peter, brought about 
an interview between the two kings on January 13, 1199, 
when a truce for five years was verbally agreed upon, though 
the terms of a permanent treaty were not yet settled. 

In the meantime financial difficulties were pressing heavily 
upon the king of England. Scutages for the war in Normandy 
had been taken in 1196 and 1197. In the next year a still 
more important measure of taxation was adopted, which was 
evidently intended to bring in larger sums to the treasury 
than an ordinary scutage. This is the tax known as the 
Great Carucage of 1198. The actual revenue that the 
king derived from it is a matter of some doubt, but the ma- 
chinery of its assessment is described in detail by a con- 
temporary and is of special interest. 1 The unit of the new 
assessment was to be the carucate, or ploughland, instead 
of the hide, and consequently a new survey of the land was 
necessary to take the place of the old Domesday record. To 
obtain this, practically the same machinery was employed as 
in the earlier case, but to the commissioners sent into each 
county by the central government two local knights, chosen 
from the county, were added to form the body before whom 
the jurors testified as to the ownership and value of the lands 
in their neighbourhoods. Thanks to the rapid judicial advance 
and administrative reforms of the past generation, the jury was 
now a familiar institution everywhere and was used for many 
purposes. Its employment in this case to fix the value of 
real property for taxation, and of personal property as in the 

1 Roger of Howden, iv. 46, 
VOL. II. 25 


CHAP. Saladin tithe of 1188, though but a revival of its earlier use 
XVHI by William I, marks the beginning of a continuous employ- 
ment of jurors in taxation in the next period which led to con- 
stitutional results the birth of the representative system, 
and we may almost say to the origin of Parliament in the 
proper meaning of the term results of even greater value 
in the growth of our civil liberty than any which came from 
it in the sphere of judicial institutions important as these were. 
Now in the spring of 1199 a story reached Richard of the 
finding of a wonderful treasure on the land of the lord of 
Chalus, one of his under vassals in the Limousin. We are 
told that it was the images of an emperor, his wife, sons, and 
daughters, made of gold and seated round a table also of 
gold. If the story were true, here was relief from his diffi- 
culties, and Richard laid claim to the treasure as lord para- 
mount of the land. This claim was of course disputed, and 
with his mercenaries the king laid siege to the castle of 
Chalus. It was a little castle and poorly defended, but it re- 
sisted the attack for three days, and on the third Richard, who 
carelessly approached the wall, was shot by a crossbow bolt 
in the left shoulder near the neck. The wound was deep 
and was made worse by the surgeon in cutting out the head 
of the arrow. Shortly gangrene appeared, and the king knew 
that he must die. In the time that was left him he calmly 
disposed of all his affairs. He sent for his mother who was not 
far away, and she was with him when he died. He divided 
his personal property among his friends and in charity, de- 
clared John to be his heir, and made the barons who were 
present swear fealty to him. He ordered the man who had 
shot him to be pardoned and given a sum of money ; then he 
confessed and received the last offices of the Church, and died 
on April 6, 1199, in the forty-second year of his age. 

The twelfth century was drawing to its end when Richard 
died, but the close of the century was then as always in his- 
tory a purely artificial dividing line. The real historical epoch 
closed, a new age began with the granting of the Great 
Charter. The date may serve, however, as a point from which 
to review briefly one of the growing interests of England that 
belongs properly within the field of its political history its 
organized municipal life. The twelfth century shows a slow, 


but on the whole a constant, increase in the number, size, and CHAP. 
influence of organized towns in England, and of the com- xvin 
merce, domestic and foreign, on which their prosperity rested. 
Even in the long disorder of Stephen's reign the interruption 
of this growth seems to have been felt rather in particular 
places than in the kingdom as a whole, and there was no 
serious set-back of national prosperity that resulted from it. 
Not with the rapidity of modern times, but fairly steadily 
through the century, new articles appear in commerce ; manu- 
factures rise to importance, like that of cloth ; wealth and 
population accumulate in the towns, and they exert an unceas- 
ing pressure on the king, or on the lords in whose domain 
they are, for grants of privileges. 

Such grants from the king become noticeably frequent in 
the reign of Richard and are even more so under John. The 
financial necessities of both kings and their recklessness, at 
least that of Richard, in the choice of means to raise money, 
made it easy for the boroughs to purchase the rights or ex- 
emptions they desired. The charters all follow a certain 
general type, but there was no fixed measure of privilege 
granted by them. Each town bargained for what it could 
get from a list of possible privileges of some length. The 
freedom of the borough ; the right of the citizens to have a 
gild merchant; exemption from tolls, specified or general, 
within a certain district or throughout all England or also 
throughout the continental Angevin dominions ; exemption 
from the courts of shire and hundred, or from the jurisdiction 
of all courts outside the borough, except in pleas of the crown, 
or even without this exception ; the right to farm the revenues 
of the borough, paying a fixed " firma," or rent, to the king, 
and with this often the right of the citizens to elect their own 
reeve or even sheriff to exempt them from the interference 
of the king's sheriff of the county. This list is not a com- 
plete one of the various rights and privileges granted by the 
charters, but only of the more important ones. 

To confer these all upon a town was to give it the fullest 
right obtained by English towns and to put it practically in 
the position which London had reached in the charter of 
Henry Fs later years. London, if we may trust our scanty 
evidence, advanced at one time during this period to a position 


3 88 WAR AND FINANCE 1199 

CHAP, reached by no other English city, to the position of the French 
xvin commune. 1 Undoubtedly the word "commune," like other 
technical words, was sometimes used at the time loosely and 
vaguely, but in its strict and legal sense it meant a town raised 
to the position of a feudal vassal and given all the rights as 
well as duties of a feudal lord, a seigneurie collective populaire, 
as a French scholar has called it. 2 Thus regarded, the town 
had a fulness of local independence to be obtained in no 
other way. To such a position no English city but London 
attained, and it may be thought that the evidence in London's 
case is not full enough to warrant us in believing that it 
reached the exact legal status of a commune. 

We find it related as an incident of the struggle between 
John and Longchamp in 1191, when Longchamp was de- 
posed, that John and the barons conceded the commune of 
London and took oath to it, and about the same time we have 
proof that the city had its mayor. Documentary evidence 
has also been discovered of the existence at the same date of 
the governing body known on the continent as the e'chevins. 
But while the mayor and the e'chevins are closely associated 
with the commune, their presence is not conclusive evidence 
of the existence of a real commune, nor is the use of the 
word itself, though the occurrence of the two together makes 
it more probable. Early in 1215, when John was seeking 
allies everywhere against the confederated barons, he granted 
a new charter to London, which recognized the right of the 
citizens to elect their own mayor and required him to swear 
fealty to the king. If we could be sure that this oath was 
sworn for the city, it would be conclusive evidence, since the 
oath of the mayor to the lord of whom the commune as a 
corporate person " held " was a distinguishing mark of this 
relationship. The probability that such was the case is con- 
firmed by the fact that a few weeks later, in the famous twelfth 
clause of the Great Charter, we find London put distinctly in 
the position of a king's vassal. This evidence is strengthened 
by a comparison with the corresponding clause of the Articles 
of the Barons, a kind of preliminary draft of the Great 
Charter, and much less carefully drawn, where there is added 

1 Round, The Commune of London. 

2 Luchaire, Communes franfaises, 97. 


to London a general class of towns whose legal right to the CHAP. 
privilege granted it would not have been possible to defend. 1 xvni 
That London maintained its position among the king's vas- 
sals in the legally accurate Great Charter is almost certain 
proof that it had some right to be classed with them. But 
even if London was for a time a commune, strictly speaking, 
it did not maintain the right in the next reign, and that form 
of municipal organization plays no part in English history. 2 
It is under the form of chartered towns, not communes, that 
the importance of the boroughs in English commercial and 
public life continued to increase in the thirteenth as it had 
in the twelfth century. 

1 Articles of the Barons, c. 32 ; Stubbs, Select Charters, 393. 

2 See London and the Commune in Engl. Hist. Rev., Oct. 1904. 



CHAP. THE death of Richard raised a question of succession new 
XIX in the history of England since the Norman Conquest. The 
right of primogeniture, the strict succession of the eldest 
born, carrying with it the right of the son of a deceased elder 
brother to stand in the place of his father, the principle 
which was in the end to prevail, had only begun to establish 
itself. The drift of feeling was undoubtedly towards it, but 
this appeared strongly in the present crisis only in the north- 
western corner of the Angevin dominions in France, where 
it was supported by still stronger influences. The feudal 
law had recognized, and still recognized, many different princi- 
ples of succession, and the prevailing feeling in England and 
Normandy is no doubt correctly represented in an incident 
recorded by the biographer of William Marshal. On receiv- 
ing the news of Richard's death at Rouen, William went at 
once to consult with the archbishop and to agree on whom 
they would support as heir. The archbishop inclined at first 
to Arthur, the son and representative of John's elder brother, 
Geoffrey, but William declared that the brother stood nearer 
to his father and to his brother than the grandson, or nephew, 
and the archbishop yielded the point without discussion. 
Neither in England nor in Normandy did there appear the 
slightest disposition to support the claims of Arthur, or to 
question the right of John, though possibly there would 
have been more inclination to do so if the age of the two 
candidates had been reversed, for Arthur was only twelve, 
while John was past thirty. 

Neither of the interested parties, however, was in the least 
disposed to waive any claims which he possessed. John 
had had trouble with Richard during the previous winter on 



a suspicion of treasonable correspondence with Philip and CHAP. 
because he thought his income was too scanty, and he was XIX 
in Britanny, even at the court of Arthur, when the news of 
Richard's death reached him. He at once took horse with a 
few attendants and rode to Chinon, where the king's treasure 
was kept, and this was given up without demur on his de- 
mand by Robert of Turnham, the keeper. Certain barons 
who were there and the officers of Richard's household also 
recognized his right, on his taking the oath which they 
demanded, that he would execute his brother's will, and that 
he would preserve inviolate the rightful customs of former 
times and the just laws of lands and people. From Chinon 
John set out for Normandy, but barely escaped capture on 
the way, for Arthur's party had not been idle in the meantime. 
His mother with a force from Britanny had brought him with 
all speed to Angers, where he was joyfully received. William 
des Roches, the greatest baron of the country and Richard's 
seneschal of Anjou, had declared for him at the head of a 
powerful body of barons, who probably saw in a weak minor- 
ity a better chance of establishing that local freedom from 
control for which they had always striven, than under another 
Angevin king. At Le Mans Arthur was also accepted with 
enthusiasm as count a few hours after a cold reception of 
John and his hasty departure. 

There Constance and her son were met by the king of 
France, who, as soon as God had favoured him by the removal 
of Richard, so the French regarded the matter, seized 
the county of Evreux and pushed his conquests almost to 
Le Mans. Arthur did homage to Philip for the counties of 
Anjou, Maine, and Touraine ; Tours received the young 
count as Angers and Le Mans had done ; Philip's right of 
feudal wardship was admitted, and Arthur was taken to 
Paris under his secure protection, secure for his own designs 
and against those of John. Philip could hardly do otherwise 
than recognize the rights of Arthur. It was perhaps the 
most favourable opportunity that had ever occurred to ac- 
complish the traditional policy of the Capetians of splitting 
apart the dominions of the rival Norman or Angevin house. 
That policy, so long and so consistently followed by Philip 
almost from his accession to the death of Arthur, in the sup- 


CHAP, port in turn of young Henry, Richard, John, and Arthur 
XIX against the reigning king, was destined indeed never to be 
realized in the form in which it had been cherished in the 
past; but the devotion of a part of the Angevin empire to 
the cause of Arthur was a factor of no small value in the 
vastly greater success which Philip won, greater than any 
earlier king had ever dreamed of, greater than Philip himself 
had dared to hope for till the moment of its accomplishment. 
From Le Mans John went direct to Rouen. The barons 
of Normandy had decided to support him, and on April 25 
he was invested with the insignia of the duchy by the arch- 
bishop, Walter of Coutances, taking the usual oath to respect 
the rights of Church and people. His careless and irreverent 
conduct during the ceremony displeased the clergy, as his 
refusal to receive the communion on Easter day, a week before, 
had offended Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, who came a part of the 
way with him from Chinon. As the lance, the special symbol 
of investiture, was placed in his hand, he turned to make some 
jocular remark to his boon companions who were laughing and 
chattering behind him, and carelessly let it fall, an incident 
doubtless considered at the time of evil omen, and easily 
interpreted after the event as a presage of the loss of the 
duchy. From Normandy John sent over to England to assist 
the justiciar, Geoffrey Fitz Peter, in taking measures to secure 
his succession, two of the most influential men of the land, 
William Marshal and Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, who had been in Normandy since the death of Richard, 
while he himself remained a month longer on the continent, 
to check, if possible, the current in favour of Arthur. He took 
Le Mans and destroyed its walls in punishment, and sent 
a force to aid his mother in Aquitaine ; but the threatening 
attitude of Philip made it impossible for him to accomplish 
very much. No slight influence on the side of John was the 
strong support and vigorous action in his favour of that remark- 
able woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine, then about eighty years 
of age. She seems never to have cared for her grandson 
Arthur, and for this his mother was probably responsible. 
Constance appears to have been a somewhat difficult person, 
and what was doubtless still more important, she had never 
identified herself with the interests of her husband's house, 


but had always remained in full sympathy with the separa- CHAP. 
tist tendencies and independent desires of her own Britanny. 1 XIX 
She had no right to count on any help from Eleanor in carry- 
ing out her ambitions, and Aquitaine was held as securely for 
John by his mother as Normandy was by the decision of its 
leading barons. 

In England, although no movement in favour of Arthur is 
perceptible, there was some fear of civil strife, perhaps only 
of that disorder which was apt to break out on the death of 
the king, as it did indeed in this case, and many castles were 
put in order for defence. What disorder there was was soon 
put down by the representatives of the king, whom John had 
appointed, and who took the fealty of the barons and towns to 
him. On the part of a considerable number of the barons 
the names that are recorded are those of old historic families, 
Beaumont, Ferrers, Mowbray, De Lacy, the Earls of Clare 
and Chester there was found to be opposition to taking 
the oath of fealty on the ground of injustice committed by 
the administration. Whether these complaints were per- 
sonal to each baron, as the language has been taken to 
mean, or complaints of injustice in individual cases wrought 
by the general policy of the government, as the number of 
cases implies, it is hardly possible to say. The probability is 
that both explanations are true. Certainly the old baronage 
could easily find grounds enough of complaint in the constitu- 
tional policy steadily followed by the government of the first 
two Angevin kings. The crisis was wisely handled by the 
three able men whom John had appointed to represent him. 
They called an assembly of the doubtful barons at North- 
ampton and gave to each one a promise that he should have 
his right (jus suum). In return for these promises the oaths 
were taken, but the incident was as ominous of another kind 
of trouble as the dropping of the lance at Rouen. We can 
hardly understand the reign of John unless we remember 
that at its very beginning men were learning to watch 
the legality of the king's actions and to demand that he 
respect the limitations which the law placed on his arbitrary 

On May 25, John landed in England, and on the 27th, 

1 See Walter of Coventry, ii. 196. 


CHAP. Ascension day, he was crowned in Westminster by the Arch- 
X1X bishop of Canterbury before a large assembly of barons and 
bishops. The coronation followed the regular order, and no 
dissenting voice made itself heard, though a rather unusual 
display of force seems to have been thought necessary. Two 
authorities, both years later and both untrustworthy, refer to 
a speech delivered during the ceremony by the archbishop, 
in which he emphasized the fact that the English crown was 
elective and not hereditary. Did not these authorities seem 
to be clearly independent of one another we should forthwith 
reject their testimony, but as it is we must admit some slight 
chance that such a speech was made. One of these accounts, 
in giving what purports to be the actual speech of Hubert 
Walter, though it must have been composed by the writer 
himself, states a reason for it which could not possibly have 
been entertained at the time. 1 The other gives as its reason 
the disputed succession, but makes the archbishop refer not 
to the right of Arthur, but to that of the queen of Castile, a 
reference which must also be untrue. 2 If such a speech was 
made, it had reference unquestionably to the case of Arthur, 
and it must be taken as a sign of the influence which this 
case certainly had on the development, in the minds of some 
at least, of something more like the modern understanding of 
the meaning of election, and as a prelude to the great move- 
ment which characterizes the thirteenth century, the rapid 
growth of ideas which may now without too great violence be 
called constitutional. If such a speech was made we may be 
sure also that it was not made without the consent of John, 
and that it contained nothing displeasing to him. One of his 
first acts as king was to make Hubert Walter his chancellor, 
and apparently the first document issued by the new king 
and chancellor puts prominently forward John's hereditary 
right, and states the share of clergy and people in his acces- 
sion in peculiar and vague language. 3 

John had no mind to remain long in England, nor was 
there any reason why he should. The king of Scotland was 
making some trouble, demanding the cession of Cumberland 
and Northumberland, but it was possible to postpone for the 
present the decision of his claims. William Marshal was at 

1 Matth. Paris, ii. 455. 2 Rymer, Fcectera, i. 140. 8 Rymer, Fadera, i. 75. 


last formally invested with the earldom of Pembroke and CHAP. 
Geoffrey Fitz Peter with that of Essex. More important was XIX 
a scutage, probably ordered at this time, of the unusual rate 
of two marks on the knight's fee, twenty shillings having 
been the previous limit as men remembered it. By June 20 
John's business in England was done, and by July i he was 
again at Rouen to watch the course of events in the conflict 
still undecided. On that day a truce was made with Philip 
to last until the middle of August, and John began negotia- 
tions with the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne and with his 
nephew, Otto IV of Germany, in a search for allies, from 
whom he gained only promises. On the expiration of the 
truce Philip demanded the cession of the entire Vexin and the 
transfer to Arthur of Poitou, Anjou, Maine, and Touraine, 
a demand which indicates his determination to go on with 
the war. For Poitou Philip had already received Eleanor's 
homage, and she in turn invested John with it as her vassal. 
In the beginning of the war which was now renewed Philip 
committed a serious error of policy, to which he was perhaps 
tempted by the steady drift of events in his favour since the 
death of Richard. Capturing the castle of Ballon in Maine 
he razed it to the ground. William des Roches, the leader 
of Arthur's cause, at once objected since the castle should 
belong to his lord, and protested to the king that this was 
contrary to their agreement, but Philip haughtily replied that 
he should do as he pleased with his conquests in spite of 
Arthur. This was too early a declaration of intentions, and 
William immediately made terms with John, carrying over to 
him Arthur and his mother and the city of Le Mans. A 
slight study of John's character ought to have shown to 
William that no dependence whatever could be placed on his 
promise in regard to a point which would seem to them both 
of the greatest importance. William took the risk, however, 
binding John by solemn oath that Arthur should be dealt 
with according to his counsel, a promise which was drawn 
up in formal charter. On the very day of his arrival, it is 
said, Arthur was told of John's intention to imprison him, and 
he fled away with his mother to Angers; but William des 
Roches remained for a time in John's service. 
The year 1199 closed with a truce preliminary to a treaty 


CHAP, of peace which was finally concluded on May 18. Philip II 
XIX was at the moment in no condition to push the war. He was 
engaged in a desperate struggle with Innocent III and needed 
to postpone for the time being every other conflict. Earlier 
in his reign on a political question he had defied a pope, and 
with success; but Innocent III was a different pope, and on 
the present question Philip was wrong. In 1193 he had 
repudiated his second wife, Ingeborg of Denmark, the day 
after the marriage, and later married Agnes of Meran whom 
he had hitherto refused to give up at the demand of the 
Church. At the close of 1199 France was placed under an 
interdict until the king should yield, and it was in this situa- 
tion that the treaty with John was agreed to. Philip for the 
moment abandoned his attempt against the Angevin empire. 
John was recognized as rightful heir of the French fiefs, and 
his homage was accepted for them all, including Britanny, for 
which Arthur then did homage to John. These concessions 
were not secured, however, without some sacrifices on the 
English side. John yielded to Philip all the conquests which 
had been made from Richard, and agreed to pay a relief of 
20,000 marks for admission to his fiefs. The peace was to be 
sealed by the marriage of John's niece, the future great queen 
and regent of France, Blanche of Castile, to Philip's son Louis, 
and the county of Evreux was to be ceded as her dower. The 
aged but tireless Eleanor went to Spain to bring her grand- 
daughter, and the marriage was celebrated four days after the 
signing of the treaty, Louis at the time being thirteen years 
old and Blanche twelve. 

While his mother went to Spain for the young bride, John 
crossed to England to raise money for his relief. This was 
done by ordering a carucage at the rate of three shillings on 
the ploughland. The Cistercian order objected to paying 
the tax because of the general immunity which they enjoyed, 
and John in great anger commanded all the sheriffs to refuse 
them the protection of the courts and to let go free of pun- 
ishment any who injured them, in effect to put them outside 
the law. This decree he afterwards modified at the request 
of Hubert Walter, but he refused an offer of a thousand 
marks for a confirmation of their charters and liberties, and 
returned to Normandy in the words quoted by the chronicler, 


" breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the ser- CHAP. 
vants of Christ." XIX 

John was now in a position where he should have used 
every effort to strengthen himself against the next move of 
Philip, which he should have known was inevitable, and 
where, if ever, he might hope to do so. Instead of that, by 
a blunder in morals, in which John's greatest weakness lay, by 
an act of passion and perfidy, he gave his antagonist a better 
excuse than he could have hoped for when he was at last 
ready to renew the war. John had now been for more than 
ten years married to Isabel of Gloucester, and no children had 
been born of the marriage. In the situation of the Angevin 
house he may well have wished for a direct heir and have 
been ready to adopt the expedient common to sovereigns in 
such cases. At any rate about this time he procured from the 
Bishops of Normandy and Aquitaine a divorce, a formal 
annulling of the marriage on the ground of consanguinity, 
the question raised at the time of their marriage never, it 
would seem, having been settled by dispensation. Then he 
sent off an embassy to ask for a daughter of the king of 
Portugal. In the meantime he went on a progress through 
the French lands which had been secured to him by treaty 
with Philip, and met the beautiful Isabel, daughter of the 
Count of Angouleme, then twelve years of age, and determined 
to marry her out of hand. The fact that she was already 
betrothed to Hugh " the Brown," son and heir of his own 
vassal the Count of La Marche, and that she was then living 
in the household of her intended father-in-law, made no more 
difference to him than his own embassy to Portugal. It 
seems possible indeed that it was in the very castle of the 
Count of La Marche that the plan was formed. Isabel's 
father also did not hesitate in the choice of sons-in-law, and 
his daughter having been brought home, she was at once 
married to John. An act of this kind was a most flagrant 
violation of the feudal contract, nor was the moral blunder 
saved from being a political one by the fact that the injured 
house was that of the Lusignans, great barons and long 
turbulent and unruly vassals of Aquitaine. John had given 
them now a legal right of appeal to his suzerain and a moral 
justification of rebellion. 


CHAP. After his marriage John went back to England for the 
XIX coronation of his queen, which took place on October 8. At 
Lincoln he received the homage of William of Scotland and 
made peace with the Cistercians, and then went on a progress 
through the north as far as Carlisle. In the meantime, as 
was to be expected, hostilities had begun with the family of 
the Count of La Marche, and the king sent out a summons to 
the barons of England to meet him at Portsmouth at Whitsun- 
tide prepared for service abroad. On receipt of this notice the 
earls held a meeting at Leicester and by agreement replied 
to the king that they would not go over sea with him unless 
he restored to them their rights. There is no evidence in 
the single account we have of this incident that the earls 
intended to deny their liability to service abroad. It is 
probable they intended to take their position on the more 
secure principle that services due to the suzerain who violated 
the rights of his vassal were for the time being, at least, sus- 
pended. If this is so, the declaration of the earls is the first 
clear evidence we have that the barons of England were 
beginning to realize their legal right of resistance and to get 
sight of the great principle which was so soon to give birth 
to the constitution. The result of the opposition to John's 
summons we do not know, unless the statement which follows 
in the chronicle that the king was demanding the castles of 
the barons, and taking hostages if they retained them, was 
his answer to their demand. At any rate they appeared as 
required at Portsmouth ready for the campaign abroad, but 
John, instead of sending them over to France, took away the 
money which they had brought to spend in his service, and 
let them go home. 

From the time of John's landing in Normandy, about 
June i, 1 20 1, until the same time the next year, he was 
occupied with negotiating rather than with fighting. Philip 
was not yet ready to take part himself in the war, but he kept 
a careful watch of events and made John constantly aware 
that he was not overlooking his conduct toward his vassals. 
Several interviews were held between the kings of a not 
unfriendly character; the treaty of the previous year was 
confirmed, and John was invited to Paris by Philip and enter- 
tained in the royal palace. It was at first proposed that the 


case between John and the Lusignans should be tried in CHAP. 
his own court as Count of Poitou, but he insisted upon such XIX 
conditions that the trial was refused. Meanwhile Philip's 
affairs were rapidly becoming settled and he was able to take 
up again his plans of conquest. The death of Agnes of 
Meran made possible a reconciliation with the Church, and 
the death of the Count of Champagne added the revenues of 
that great barony to his own through his wardship of the 
heir. In the spring of 1202 he was ready for action. The 
barons of Poitou had already lodged an appeal with him as 
overlord against the illegal acts of John. This gave him a 
legal opportunity without violating any existing treaty. After 
an interview with John on March 25, which left things as 
they were, a formal summons was issued citing John to 
appear before Philip's court and answer to any charges 
against him. He neither came nor properly excused himself, 
though he tried to avoid the difficulty. He alleged that as 
Duke of Normandy he could not be summoned to Paris for 
trial, and was answered that he had not been summoned as 
Duke of Normandy but as Count of Poitou. He demanded 
a safe conduct and was told that he could have one for his 
coming, but that his return would depend on the sentence of 
the court. He said that the king of England could not sub- 
mit to such a trial, and was answered that the king of France 
could not lose his rights over a vassal because he happened to 
have acquired another dignity. Finally, John's legal rights 
of delay and excuse being exhausted, the court decreed that 
he should be deprived of all the fiefs which he held of France 
on the ground of failure of service. All the steps of this 
action from its beginning to its ending seem to have been 
perfectly regular, John being tried, of course, not on the ap- 
peal of the barons of Poitou which had led to the king's action, 
but for his refusal to obey the summons, and the severe sen- 
tence with which it closed was that which the law provided, 
though it was not often enforced in its extreme form, and 
probably would not have been in this case if John had been 
willing to submit. 1 

The sentence of his court Philip gladly accepted, and 

1 But see Guilhiermoz, Bibliotheque de rcole des Chartes, Ix. (1899), 45-85, 
whose argument is, however, not convincing. 


CHAP, invaded Normandy about June i, capturing place after place 
XIX with almost no opposition from John. Arthur, now sixteen 
years old, he knighted, gave him the investiture of all the 
Angevin fiefs except Normandy, and betrothed him to his 
own daughter Mary. On August i occurred an event which 
promised at first a great success for John, but proved in its con- 
sequences a main cause of his failure, and led to the act of in- 
famy by which he has ever since been most familiarly known. 
Arthur, hearing that his grandmother Eleanor was at the 
castle of Mirebeau in Poitou with a small force, laid siege to 
the castle to capture her as John's chief helper, and quickly 
carried the outer works. Eleanor had managed, however, to 
send off a messenger to her son at Le Mans, and John, calling 
on the fierce energy he at times displayed, covered the hun- 
dred miles between them in a day and a night, surprised the 
besiegers by his sudden attack, and captured their whole force. 
To England he wrote saying that the favour of God had 
worked with him wonderfully, and a man more likely to re- 
ceive the favour of God might well think so. Besides Arthur, 
he captured Hugh of Lusignan the younger and his uncle 
Geoffrey, king Richard's faithful supporter in the Holy 
Land, with many of the revolted barons and, as he reported 
with probable exaggeration, two hundred knights and more. 
Philip, who was besieging Arques, on hearing the news, retired 
hastily to his own land and in revenge made a raid on Tours, 
which in his assault and John's recapture was almost totally 
destroyed by fire. The prisoners and booty were safely con- 
veyed to Normandy, and Arthur was imprisoned at Falaise. 

Instantly anxiety began to be felt by the friends of Arthur 
as to his fate. William des Roches, who was still in the 
service of John, went to the king with barons from Britanny 
and asked that his prisoner be given up to them. Notwith- 
standing the written promise and oath which John had given 
to follow the counsel of William in his treatment of Arthur, 
he refused this request. William left the king's presence to 
go into rebellion, and was joined by many of the barons of 
Britanny; at the end of October they got possession of 
Angers. It was a much more serious matter that during 
the autumn and winter extensive disaffection and even open 
treason began to show themselves among the barons of Nor- 


mandy. What disposition should be made of Arthur was, CHAP. 
no doubt, a subject of much debate in the king's mind, and XIX 
very likely with his counsellors, during the months that fol- 
lowed the capture. John's lack of insight was on the moral 
side, not at all on the intellectual, and he no doubt saw 
clearly that so long as Arthur lived he never could be safe 
from the designs of Philip. On the other hand he probably 
did not believe that Philip would seriously attempt the un- 
usual step of enforcing in full the sentence of the court 
against him, and underestimated both the danger of treason 
and the moral effect of the death of Arthur. What the fate 
of the young Count of Britanny really was no one has ever 
known. The most accurate statement of what we do know 
is that of an English chronicler 1 who says that he was re- 
moved from Falaise to Rouen by John's order and that not 
long after he suddenly disappeared, and we may add that 
this disappearance must have been about the Easter of 1203. 
Many different stories were in circulation at the time or 
soon after, accounting for his death as natural, or accidental, 
or a murder, some of them in abundant detail, but in none 
of these can we have any confidence. The only detail of 
the history which seems historically probable is one we find 
in an especially trustworthy chronicler, which represents 
John as first intending to render Arthur incapable of ruling 
by mutilation and sending men to Falaise to carry out this 
plan. 2 It was not done, though Arthur's custodian, Hubert 
de Burgh, thought it best to give out the report that it had 
been, and that the young man had died in consequence. The 
report roused such a storm of anger among the Bretons that 
Hubert speedily judged it necessary to try to quiet it by 
evidence that Arthur was still alive, and John is said not to 
have been angry that his orders had been disobeyed. It is 
certain, however, that he learned no wisdom from the result 
of this experiment, and that Arthur finally died either by his 
order or by his hand. 

It is of some interest that in all the contemporary discus- 
sion of this case no one ever suggested that John was per- 
sonally incapable of such a violation of his oath or of such 
a murder with his own hand. He is of all kings the one for 

1 Roger of Wendover, iii. 170. 2 Ralph of Coggeshall, 139-141. 

VOL. II 26 




CHAP, whose character no man, of his own age or later, has ever 
XIX had a good word. Historians have been found to speak 
highly of his intellectual or military abilities, but words have 
been exhausted to describe the meanness of his moral nature 
and his utter depravity. Fully as wicked as William Rufus, 
the worst of his predecessors, he makes on the reader of con- 
temporary narratives the impression of a man far less apt to 
be swept off his feet by passion, of a cooler and more deliber- 
ate, of a meaner and smaller, a less respectable or pardonable 
lover of vice and worker of crimes. The case of Arthur 
exhibits one of his deepest traits, his utter falsity, the im- 
possibility of binding him, his readiness to betray any inter- 
est or any man or woman, whenever tempted to it. The 
judgment of history on John has been one of terrible severity, 
but the unanimous opinion of contemporaries and posterity 
is not likely to be wrong, and the failure of personal know- 
ledge and of later study to find redeeming features assures 
us of their absence. As to the murder of Arthur, it was a 
useless crime even if judged from the point of view of a 
Borgian policy merely, one from which John had in any 
case little to gain and of which his chief enemy was sure 
to reap the greatest advantage. 

Soon after Easter Philip again took the field, still ignorant 
of the fate of Arthur, as official acts show him to have been 
some months later. Place after place fell into his hands with 
no serious check and no active opposition on the part of 
John, some opening their gates on his approach, and none 
offering an obstinate resistance. The listless conduct of 
John during the loss of Normandy is not easy to explain. 
The only suggestion of explanation in the contemporary his- 
torians is that of the general prevalence of treason in the 
duchy, which made it impossible for the king to know whom 
to trust and difficult to organize a sufficient defence to the 
advance of Philip, and undoubtedly this factor in the case 
should receive more emphasis than it has usually been given. 
Other kings had had to contend with extensive treason on the 
part of the Norman barons, but never in quite the same 
circumstances and probably never of quite the same spirit. 
Treason now was a different thing from that of mere feudal 
barons in their alliance with Louis VII in the reign of 


Henry I. It might be still feudal in form, but its immediate CHAP. 
and permanent results were likely to be very different. It XIX 
was no temporary defection to be overcome by some stroke 
of policy or by the next turn of the wheel. It was joining 
the cause of Philip Augustus and the France which he had 
done so much already to create ; it was being absorbed in the 
expansion of a great nation to which the duchy naturally 
belonged, and coming under the influence of rapidly forming 
ideals of nationality, possibly even induced by them more or 
less consciously felt. This may have been treason in form, 
but in real truth it was a natural and inevitable current, and 
from it there was no return. John may have felt something 
of this. Its spirit may have been in the atmosphere, and its 
effect would be paralyzing. Still we find it impossible to be- 
lieve that Henry I in the same circumstances would have 
done no more than John did to stem the tide. He seemed 
careless and inert. He showed none of the energy of action 
or clearness of mind which he sometimes exhibits. Men came 
to him with the news of Philip's repeated successes, and he 
said, " Let him go on, I shall recover one day everything he 
is taking now"; though what he was depending on for this 
result nevef appears. Perhaps he recognized the truth of 
what, according to one account, William Marshal told him to 
his face, that he had made too many enemies by his personal 
conduct, 1 and so he did not dare to trust any one ; but we are 
tempted after all explanation to believe there was in the case 
something of that moral breakdown in dangerous crises which 
at times comes to men of John's character. 

By the end of August Philip was ready for the siege of the 
Chateau-Gaillard, Richard's great fortress, the key to Rouen 
and so to the duchy. John seems to have made one attempt 
soon after to raise the siege, but with no very large forces, and 
the effort failed ; it may even have led to the capture of the 
fort on the island in the river and the town of Les Andelys by 
the French. Philip then drew his lines round the main for- 
tress and settled down to a long blockade. The castle was 
commanded by Roger de Lacy, a baron faithful to John, and 
one who could be trusted not to give up his charge so long 
as any further defence was possible. He was well furnished 

1 LtHistoire de Guillaume la Marechal, 11. 12737-12741. 


CHAP, with supplies, but as the siege went on he found himself 
XIX obliged, following a practice not infrequent in the middle 
ages, to turn out of the castle, to starve between the lines, 
some hundreds of useless mouths of the inhabitants of Les 
Andelys, who had sought refuge there on the capture of the 
town by the French. Philip finally allowed them to pass his 
lines. Chateau-Gaillard was at last taken not by the block- 
ade, but by a series of assaults extending through about two 
weeks and closing with the capture of the third or inner 
ward and keep on March 6, 1204, an instance of the fact of 
which the history of medieval times contains abundant proof, 
that the siege appliances of the age were sufficient for the 
taking of the strongest fortress unless it were in a situation 
inaccessible to them. In the meantime John, seeing the 
hopelessness of defending Normandy with the resources left 
him there, and even, it is said, fearing treasonable designs 
against his person, had quitted the duchy in what proved to be 
a final abandonment and crossed to England on December 5. 
He landed with no good feeling towards the English barons 
whom he accused of leaving him at the mercy of his enemies, 
and he ordered at once a tax of one-seventh of the personal 
property of clergy and laymen alike. This was followed by 
a scutage at the rate of two marks on the knight's fee, deter- 
mined on at a great council held at Oxford early in January. 
But, notwithstanding these taxes and other ways of raising 
money, John seems to have been embarrassed in his measures 
of defence by a lack of funds, while Philip was furnished 
with plenty to reinforce the victories of his arms with pur- 
chased support where necessary, and to attract John's mer- 
cenaries into his service. 

After the fall of Chateau-Gaillard events drew rapidly to 
a close. John tried the experiment of an embassy headed by 
Hubert Walter and William Marshal to see if a peace could 
be arranged, but Philip naturally set his terms so high that 
nothing was to be lost by going on with the war, however dis- 
astrous it might prove. He demanded the release of Arthur, 
or, if he were not living, of his sister Eleanor, with the cession 
to either of them of the whole continental possessions of the 
Angevins. In the interview Philip made known the policy 
that he proposed to follow in regard to the English barons 


who had possessions in Normandy, for he offered to guarantee CHAP. 
to William Marshal and his colleague, the Earl of Leicester, XIX 
their Norman lands if they would do him homage. Philip's 
wisdom in dealing with his conquests, leaving untouched the 
possessions and rights of those who submitted, rewarding 
with gifts and office those who proved faithful, made easy the 
incorporation of these new territories in the royal domain. 
By the end of May nearly all the duchy was in the hands of 
the French, the chief towns making hardly a show of resist- 
ance, but opening their gates readily on the offer of favourable 
terms. For Rouen, which was reserved to the last, the 
question was a more serious one, bound as it was to England 
by commercial interests and likely to suffer injury if the 
connexion were broken. Philip granted the city a truce of 
thirty days on the understanding that it should be surrendered 
if the English did not raise the siege within that time. The 
messengers sent to the king in England returned with no 
promise of help, and on June 24 Philip entered the capital 
of Normandy. 

With the loss of Normandy nothing remained to John but 
his mother's inheritance, and against this Philip next turned. 
Queen Eleanor, eighty-two years of age, had closed her mar- 
vellous career on April i, and no question of her rights stood 
in the way of the absorption of all Aquitaine in France. The 
conquest of Touraine and Poitou was almost as easy as that of 
Normandy, except the castles of Chinon and Loches which 
held out for a year, and the cities of Niort, Thouars, and La 
Rochelle. But beyond the bounds of the county of Poitou 
Philip made no progress. In Gascony proper where feudal 
independence of the old type still survived the barons had no 
difficulty in perceiving that Philip Augustus was much less the 
sort of king they wished than the distant sovereign of Eng- 
land. No local movement in his favour or national sympathy 
prepared the way for an easy conquest, nor was any serious 
attempt at invasion made. Most of the inheritance of Elea- 
nor remained to her son, though not through any effort of his, 
and the French advance stopped at the capture of the castles 
of Loches and Chinon in the summer of 1205. John had not 
remained in inactivity in England all this time, however, 
without some impatience, but efforts to raise sufficient money 


CHAP, for any considerable undertaking or to carry abroad the 
XIX feudal levies of the country had all failed. At the end 
of May, 1205, he did collect at Portchester what is de- 
scribed as a very great fleet and a splendid army to cross to 
the continent, but Hubert Walter and William Marshal, sup- 
ported by others of the barons, opposed the expedition so 
vigorously and with so many arguments that the king finally 
yielded to their opposition though with great reluctance. 

The great duchy founded three hundred years before on 
the colonization of the Northmen, always one of the mightiest 
of the feudal states of France, all the dominions which the 
counts of Anjou had struggled to bring together through so 
many generations, the disputed claims on Maine and Brit- 
anny recognized now for a long time as going with Nor- 
mandy, a part even of the splendid possessions of the dukes 
of Aquitaine ; all these in little more than two years Philip 
had transferred from the possession of the king of England to 
his own, and all except Britanny to the royal domain. If we 
consider the resources with which he began to reign, we must 
pronounce it an achievement equalled by few kings. For the 
king of England it was a corresponding loss in prestige and 
brilliancy of position. John has been made to bear the 
responsibility of this disaster, and morally with justice ; but 
it must not be forgotten that, as the modern nations were 
beginning to take shape and to become conscious of them- 
selves, the connexion with England would be felt to be un- 
natural, and that it was certain to be broken. For England 
the loss of these possessions was no disaster ; it was indeed 
as great a blessing as to France. The chief gain was that 
it cut off many diverting interests from the barons of Eng- 
land, just at a time when they were learning to be jealous of 
their rights at home and were about to enter upon a struggle 
with the king to compel him to regard the law in his govern- 
ment of the country, a struggle which determined the whole 
future history of the nation. 



THE loss of the ancient possessions of the Norman dukes CHAP. 
and the Angevin counts marks the close of an epoch in the xx 
reign of John ; but for the history of England and for the 
personal history of the king the period is more appropriately 
closed by the death of Archbishop Hubert Walter on July 
13, 1205, for the consequences which followed that event 
lead us directly to the second period of the reign. Already 
at the accession of John one of the two or three men of con- 
trolling influence on the course of events, trained not merely 
in the school of Henry II, but by the leading part he had 
played in the reign of Richard, there is no doubt that he had 
kept a strong hand on the government of the opening years 
of the new reign, and that his personality had been felt as a 
decided check by the new king. We may believe also that 
as one who had been brought up by Glanvill, the great jurist 
of Henry's time, and who had a large share in carrying the 
constitutional beginnings of that time a further stage forward, 
but who was himself a practical statesman rather than a lawyer, 
he was one of the foremost teachers of that great lesson which 
England was then learning, the lesson of law, of rights and 
responsibilities, which was for the world at large a far more 
important result of the legal reforms of the great Angevin 
monarch than anything in the field of technical law. It is 
easy to believe that a later writer records at least a genuine 
tradition of the feeling of John when he makes him exclaim 
on hearing of the archbishop's death, " Now for the first time 
am I king of England." In truth practically shut up now 
for the first time to his island kingdom, John was about to be 
plunged into that series of quarrels and conflicts which fills 
the remainder of his life. 

For the beginning of the conflict which gives its chief 



CHAP, characteristic to the second period of his reign, the conflict 
xx with the pope and the Church, John is hardly to be blamed, 
at least not from the point of view of a king of England. 
With the first scene of the drama he had nothing to do ; in 
the second he was doing no more than all his predecessors 
had done with scarcely an instance of dispute since the 
Norman Conquest. There had long been two questions con- 
cerning elections to the see of Canterbury that troubled the 
minds of the clergy. The monks of the cathedral church 
objected to the share which the bishops of the province had 
acquired in the choice of their primate, and canonically they 
were probably right. They also objected, and the bishops, 
though usually acting on the side of the king, no doubt sym- 
pathized with them, to the virtual appointment of the arch- 
bishop by the king. This objection, though felt by the clergy 
since the day when Anselm had opened the way into Eng- 
land to the principles of the Hildebrandine reformation, had 
never yet been given decided expression in overt act or led 
to any serious struggle with the sovereign; and it is clear 
that it would not have done so in this instance if the papal 
throne had not been filled by Innocent III. That great 
ecclesiastical statesman found in the political situation of 
more than one country of Europe opportunities for the exer- 
cise of his decided genius which enabled him to attain more 
nearly to the papacy of Gregory VII's ideal than had been 
possible to any earlier pope, and none of his triumphs was 
greater than that which he won from the opportunity offered 
him in England. 

On Archbishop Hubert's death a party of the monks of 
Canterbury determined to be beforehand with the bishops and 
even with the king. They secretly elected their subprior to the 
vacant see, and sent him off to Rome to be confirmed before 
their action should be known, but the personal vanity of 
their candidate betrayed the secret, and his boasting that he 
was the elect of Canterbury was reported back from the con- 
tinent to England to the anger of the monks, who then sent a 
deputation to the king and asked permission in the regular 
way to proceed to an election. John gave consent, and sug- 
gested John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, as his candidate, 
since he was " alone of all the prelates of England in posses- 


sion of his counsels." The bishop was elected by the chap- CHAP. 
ter; both bishops and monks were induced to withdraw the xx 
appeals they had made to Rome on their respective rights, 
and, on December n, the new archbishop was enthroned and , 
invested with the fiefs of Canterbury by the king. Of course 
the pallium from the pope was still necessary, and steps were 
at once taken to secure it. Innocent took plenty of time to 
consider the situation and did not render his decision until the 
end of March, 1206, declaring then against the king's candi- 
date and ordering a deputation of the monks to be sent him, 
duly commissioned to act for the whole chapter. King and 
bishops were also told to be represented at the final decision. 

The pope's action postponed the settlement of the question 
for six months, and the interval was spent by John in an 
effort to recover something of his lost dominions, undertaken 
this time with some promise of success because of active 
resistance to Philip in Poitou. On this occasion no objection 
to the campaign was made by the barons, and with a large 
English force John landed at La Rochelle on June 7. En- v 
couraged by his presence the insurrection spread through the 
greater part of Poitou and brought it back into his possession. 
He even invaded Anjou and held its capital for a time, and 
reached the borders of Maine, but these conquests he could 
not retain after Philip took the field against him in person ; 
but on his side Philip did not think it wise to attempt the re- 
covery of Poitou. On October 26 a truce for two years was 
proclaimed, each side to retain what it then possessed, but 
John formally abandoning all rights north of the Loire 
during the period of the truce. 

John did not return to England until near the middle of 
December, but even at that date Innocent III had not de- 
cided the question of the Canterbury election. On December 
20 he declared against the claim of the bishops and against 
the first secret election by the monks, and under his influence 
the deputation from Canterbury elected an Englishman and v/ 
cardinal highly respected at Rome both for his character and 
for his learning, Stephen of Langton. The representatives 
of the king at Rome refused to agree to this election, and 
the pope himself wrote to John urging him to accept the new 
archbishop, but taking care to make it clear that the consent 


CHAP, of the king was not essential, and indeed he did not wait for 
xx it. After correspondence with John in which the king's 
anger and his refusal to accept Langton were plainly ex- 
pressed, on June 17, 1207, he consecrated Stephen archbishop. 
John's answer was the confiscation of the lands of the whole 
archbishopric, apparently those of the convent as well as those 
of the archbishop, and the expulsion of the monks from the 
country as traitors, while the trial in England of all appeals 
to the pope was forbidden. 

Before this violent proceeding against the Canterbury 
monks, the financial necessities of John had led to an experi- 
ment in taxation which embroiled him to almost the same ex- 
tent with the northern province. Not the only one, but the 
/ chief source of the troubles of John's reign after the loss of 
Normandy, and the main cause of the revolution in which 
the reign closed, is to be found in the financial situation 
of the king. The normal expenses of government had been 
increasing rapidly in the last half century. The growing 
amount and complexity of public and private business, to be 
expected in a land long spared the ravages of war, which 
showed itself in the remarkable development of judicial and 
administrative machinery during the period, meant increased 
expenses in many directions not to be met by the increased 
income from the new machinery. The cost of the campaigns / 
in France was undoubtedly great, and the expense of those 
which the king desired to undertake was clearly beyond the 
resources of the country, at least beyond the resources avail- 
able to him by existing methods of taxation. Nor was John a 
saving and careful housekeeper who could make a small in- 
come go a long ways. The complete breakdown of the ordi- 
nary feudal processes of raising revenue, the necessity forced 
upon the king of discovering new sources of income, the 
attempt within a single generation to impose on the country 
something like the modern methods and regularity of tax- 
ation, these must be taken into account as elements of de- 
cided importance in any final judgment we may form of 
the struggles of John's reign and their constitutional results. 
Down to this date a scutage had been imposed every year 
since the king's accession, at the rate of two marks on the 
fee except on the last occasion when the tax had been twenty 

I2o; TAXATION 411 

shillings. Besides these there had been demanded the caru- CHAP. 
cage of 1 200 and the seventh of personal property of 1 204, to xx 
say nothing of some extraordinary exactions. But these taxes 
were slow in coming in ; the machinery of collection was still 
primitive, and the amount received in any year was far below 
what the tax should have yielded. 

At a great council held in London on January 8 the king 
asked the bishops and abbots present to grant him a tax on 
the incomes of all beneficed clergy. The demand has a de- 
cidedly modern sound. Precedents for taxation of this sort 
had been made in various crusading levies, in the expedients 
adopted for raising Richard's ransom, and in the seventh 
demanded by John in 1204, which was exacted from at least 
a part of the clergy, but these were all more or less excep- 
tional cases, and there was no precedent for such a tax as a 
means of meeting the ordinary expenses of the state. The 
prelates refused their consent, and the matter was deferred to 
a second great council to be held at Oxford a month later. 
This council was attended by an unusually large number of 
ecclesiastics, and the king's proposition, submitted to them 
again, was again refused. The council, however, granted the 
thirteenth asked, to be collected of the incomes and personal 
property of the laity. But John had no mind to give up his 
plan because it had not been sanctioned by the prelates in 
general assembly, and he proceeded, apparently by way of 
individual consent, doubtless practically compulsory as usual, 
to collect the same tax from the whole clergy, the Cister- 
cians alone excepted. A tax of this kind whether of laity 
or clergy was entirely non-feudal, foreign both in nature 
and methods to the principles of feudalism, and a long step 
toward modern taxation, but it was some time before the 
suggestion made by it was taken up by the government as 
one of its ordinary resources. Archbishop Geoffrey of York, 
the king's brother, who since the death of his father seemed 
never to be happy unless in a quarrel with some one, took it 
upon himself to oppose violently the taxation of his clergy, 
though he had enforced the payment of a similar tax for 
Richard's ransom. Finding that he could not prevent it he 
retired from the country, excommunicating the despoilers of 
the church, and his lands were taken in hand by the king. 


CHAP, t/ The expulsion of the monks of Canterbury was a declara- 
xx tion of war against the Church and the pope, and the Church 
was far more powerful, more closely organized, and more 
nearly actuated by a single ideal, than in the case of any 
earlier conflict between Church and State in England, and the 
pope was Innocent III, head of the world in his own concep- 
tion of his position and very nearly so in reality. There was 
no chance that a declaration of war would pass unanswered, 
^ but the pope did not act without deliberation. On the news 
of what the king had done he wrote to the Bishops of London, 
Ely, and Worcester, directing them to try to persuade John 
to give way, and if he obstinately continued his course, to pro- 
claim an interdict. This letter was written on August 27, 
but the interdict was not actually put into force until March 
V 24, 1208, negotiations going on all the winter, and John dis- 
playing, as he did throughout the whole conflict, considerable 
ability in securing delay and in keeping opponents occupied 
with proposals which he probably never intended to carry 
out. At last a date was set on which the interdict would be 
proclaimed if the king had not yielded by that time, and he 
was given an opportunity of striking the first blow which 
v he did not neglect. He ordered the immediate confiscation of 
the property of all the clergy who should obey the interdict. 
The struggle which follows exhibits, as nothing else could 
do so well, the tremendous power of the Norman feudal mon- 
archy, the absolute hold which it had on state and nation even 
on the verge of its fall. John had not ruled during these 
eight years in such a way as to strengthen his personal posi- 
tion. He had been a tyrant ; he had disregarded the rights 
of barons as well as of clergy ; he had given to many private 
reasons of hatred ; he had lost rather than won respect by 
the way in which he had defended his inheritance in France ; 
his present cause, if looked at from the point of view of 
Church and nation and not from that of the royal prerogative 
alone, was a bad one. The interdict was a much dreaded pen- 
alty, suspending some of the most desired offices of religion, 
and, while not certainly dooming all the dying to be lost in 
the world to come, at least rendering their state to the pious 
mind somewhat doubtful ; and, though the effect of the spirit- 
ual terrors of the Church had been a little weakened by their 


frequent use on slight occasions, the age was still far distant CHAP. 
when they could be disregarded. We should expect John xx 
to prove as weak in the war with Innocent as he had in that 
with Philip, and at such a test to find his power crumbling 
without recovery. What we really find is a successful resist- 
ance kept up for years, almost without expressed opposition, 
a great body of the clergy reconciling themselves to the situ- 
ation as best they could ; a period during which the affairs 
of the state seem to go on as if nothing were out of order, 
the period of John's greatest tyranny, of almost unbridled \^ 
power. And when he was forced to yield at last, it was to a 
foreign attack, to a foreign attack combined, it is true, with 
an opposition at home which had been long accumulating, 
but no one can say how long this opposition might have gone 
on accumulating before it would have grown strong enough 
to check the king of itself. 

The interdict seems to have been generally observed by the 
clergy. The Cistercians at first declared that they were not 
bound to respect it, but they were after a time forced by the 
pope to conform. Baptism and extreme unction were allowed ; 
marriages might be celebrated at the church door; but no 
masses were publicly said, and all the ordinary course of the 
sacraments was intermitted ; the dead were buried in uncon- 
secrated ground, and the churches were closed except to those 
who wished to make offerings. Nearly all the bishops went 
into exile. Two only remained in the end, both devoted 
more to the king than to the Church ; John de Grey, Bishop 
of Norwich, employed during most of the time in secular 
business in Ireland, and Peter des Roches, appointed Bishop 
of Winchester in 1205, destined to play a leading part against 
the growing liberties of the nation in the next reign, and now, 
as a chronicler says, occupied less with defending the Church 
than in administering the king's affairs. The general con- / 
fiscation of Church property must have relieved greatly the 
financial distress of the king, and during the years when these 
lands were administered as part of the royal domains, we 
hear less of attempts at national taxation. John did not stop 
with confiscation of the goods of the clergy. Their exemp- 
tion from the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts of the state 
was suspended, and they were even in some cases denied the 


CHAP, protection of the laws. It is said that once there came to the 
xx king on the borders of Wales officers of one of the sheriffs, 
leading a robber with his hands bound behind his back, who 
had robbed and killed a priest, and they asked the king what 
should be done with him. " He has killed one of my enemies. 
Loose him and let him go," ordered John. After the inter- 
dict had been followed by the excommunication of the king, 
Geoffrey, Archdeacon of Norwich, urged upon his associates 
at the exchequer that it was not safe for those who were in 
orders to remain in the service of an excommunicate king, 
and left the court without permission and went home. John 
hearing this sent William Talbot after him with a band of 
soldiers, who arrested the archdeacon, and loaded him with 
chains, and threw him into prison. There shortly after by 
the command of the king he was pressed to death. It was 
by acts like these, of which other instances are on record, 
that John terrorized the country and held it quiet under 
his tyranny. 

Even the greatest barons were subjected to arbitrary acts 
of power of the same kind. On the slightest occasion of sus- 
picion the king demanded their sons or other relatives, or their 
vassals, as hostages, a measure which had been in occasional 
use before, but which John carried to an extreme. The great 
earl marshal himself, who, if we may trust his biographer, 
was never afraid to do what he thought honour demanded, and 
was always able to defend himself in the king's presence 
with such vigorous argument that nothing could be done 
with him, was obliged to give over to the king's keeping first 
his eldest and then his second son. The case of William de 
Braose is that most commonly cited. He had been a devoted 
supporter of John and had performed many valuable services 
in his interest, especially at the time of the coronation. 
For these he had received many marks of royal favour, and 
was rapidly becoming both in property and in family alli- 
ances one of the greatest barons of the land. About the time 
of the proclamation of the interdict a change took place in 
his fortunes. For some reason he lost the favour of the king 
and fell instead under his active enmity. According to a 
formal statement of the case, which John thought well to put 
forth afterwards, he had failed to pay large sums which he 


had promised in return for the grants that had been made CHAP. 
him ; and the records support the accusation. 1 According xx 
to Roger of Wendover the king had a personal cause of 
anger. On a demand of hostages from her husband, the wife 
of William had rashly declared to the officers that her sons 
should never be delivered to the king because he had basely 
murdered his nephew Arthur, whom he was under obligation 
to guard honourably, and it is impossible to believe that it was 
merely delay in paying money that excited the fierce persecu- 
tion that followed. William with his family took refuge in 
Ireland, where he was received by William Marshal and the 
Lacies, but John pursued him thither, and he was again 
obliged to fly. His wife and son, attempting to escape to 
Scotland, were seized in Galloway by a local baron and deli- 
vered to John, who caused them to be starved to death in prison. 

It may seem strange at the present day that the absolutism 
of the king did not bring about a widespread rebellion earlier 
than it did. One of the chief causes of his strength is to be 
found in the bands of mercenary soldiers which he maintained, 
ready to do any bidding at a moment's notice, under the 
command of men who were entirely his creatures, like Gerald 
of Athies, a peasant of Touraine, who with some of his fel- 
lows was thought worthy of mention by name in the Great 
Charter. The cost of keeping these bands devoted to his ser- 
vice was no doubt one of the large expenses of the reign. 
Another fact of greater permanent interest that helped to 
keep up the king's power is the lack of unity among the 
barons, of any feeling of a common cause, but rather the 
existence of jealousies, and open conflicts even, which made it 
impossible to bring them together in united action in their 
own defence. The fact is of especial importance because it 
was the crushing tyranny of John that first gave rise to the 
feeling of corporate unity in the baronage, and the growth of 
this feeling is one of the great facts of the thirteenth century. 

At the beginning of 1209 Innocent III had threatened the 
immediate excommunication of John, but the king had known 
how to keep him, and the bishops who represented him in 
the negotiations, occupied with one proposition of compromise 
after another until almost the close of the year. The sum- 

1 See J. H. Round's article on William in Diet, Nat. Biogr., vi. 229. 


CHAP, mer was employed in settling affairs with Scotland, which down 
xx to this time had not been put into form satisfactory to either 
king. A meeting at the end of April led to no result, but in 
August, after armies of the two countries had faced each 
other on the borders, a treaty was agreed upon. William 
the Lion was not then in a condition to insist strongly on 
his own terms, and the treaty was much in favour of John. 
The king of Scotland promised to pay 15,000 marks, and 
gave over two of his daughters to John to be given in mar- 
riage by him. In a later treaty John was granted the same 
right with respect to Alexander, the heir of Scotland, ar- 
rangements that look very much like a recognition of the 
king of England as the overlord of Scotland. In Wales 
also quarrels among the native chieftains enabled John to 
increase his influence in the still unconquered districts. 

In November the long-deferred excommunication fell upon 
the unrepentant king, but it could not be published in Eng- 
land. There were no bishops left in the country who were 
acting in the interests of the pope, and John took care that 
there should be no means of making any proclamation of the 

)*- \ sentence in his kingdom. The excommunication was formally 
v published in France, and news of it passed over to England, 
but no attention was paid to it there. For the individual, ex- 
communication was a more dreaded penalty than the interdict. 
The interdict might compel a king to yield by the public fear 
and indignation which it would create, but an excommunica- 
tion cut him off as a man completely from the Church and all 
its mercies, cast him out of the community of Christians, and 
involved in the same awful fate all who continued to support 
him, or, indeed, to associate with him in any way. Even 
more than the interdict, the excommunication reveals the ter- 
rible strength of the king. When the time came for holding 
the Christmas court of 1209, the fact that it had been pro- 
nounced was generally known, but it made no difference in 
the attendance. All the barons are said to have been present 
and to have associated with the king as usual, though there 
must have been many of them who trembled at the audacity 
of the act, and who would have withdrawn entirely from him 
if they had dared. On his return from the north John had 
demanded and obtained a renewal of homage from all the 


free tenants of the country. The men of Wales had even CHAP. 
been compelled to go to Woodstock to render it. It is quite ** 
possible that this demand had been made in view of the ex- 
communication that was coming ; the homage must certainly 
have been rendered by many who knew that the sentence 
was hanging over the king's head. 

The year 1210 is marked by an expedition of John with 
an army to Ireland. Not only were William de Braose and 
his wife to be punished, but the Lacies had been for some 
time altogether too independent, and the conduct of William 
Marshal was not satisfactory. The undertaking occasioned 
the first instance of direct taxation since the lands of the 
Church had been taken in hand, a scutage, which in this case 
at least would have a warrant in strict feudal law. The 
clergy also were compelled to pay a special and heavy tax, 
and the Jews throughout the kingdom perhaps an act of 
piety on the part of the king to atone somewhat for his treat- 
ment of the Church were arrested and thrown into prison 
and forced to part with large sums of money. It was on this 
occasion that the often-quoted incident occurred of the Jew of 
Bristol who endured all ordinary tortures to save his money, 
or that in his charge, until the king ordered a tooth to be 
drawn each day so long as he remained obstinate. As the 
eighth was about to be pulled, " tardily perceiving," as the 
chronicler remarks, "what was useful," he gave up and 
promised the 10,000 marks demanded. 

John landed in Ireland about June 20, and traversed with 
his army all that part of the country which was occupied by 
Anglo-Norman settlers without finding any serious opposition. 
William Marshal entertained his host for two days with all 
loyalty. The Lacies and William de Braose's family fled be- 
fore him from one place to another and finally escaped out of 
the island to Scotland. Carrickfergus, in which Hugh de 
Lacy had thought to stand a siege, resisted for a few days, 
and then surrendered. At Dublin the native kings of various 
districts, said by Roger of Wendover to have been more 
than twenty in number, including the successor of Roderick, 
king of Connaught, who had inherited a greatly reduced 
power, came in and did homage and swore fealty to John. 
At the same time, we are told, the king introduced into the 
VOL. ii. 27 


CHAP, island the laws and administrative system of England, and 
x* appointed sheriffs. 1 John's march through the island and the 
measures of government which he adopted have been thought 
to mark an advance in the subjection of Ireland to English 
rule, and to form one of the few permanent contributions to 
English history devised by the king. On his departure 
Bishop John de Grey was left as justiciar, and toward the 
end of August John landed in England to go on with the 
work of exacting money from the clergy and the Jews that 
he had begun before he left the country. 

The two years which followed John's return from Ireland, 
from August, 1210 to August, 1212, form the period of his 
highest power. No attempt at resistance to his will anywhere 
disturbed the peace of England. Llewelyn, Prince of north 
Wales, husband of John's natural daughter Joanna, involved 
in border warfare with the Earl of Chester, was not willing to 
yield to the authority of the king, but two expeditions against 
him in 1211 forced him to make complete submission. A 
contemporary annalist remarks with truth that none of John's 
predecessors exercised so great an authority over Scotland, 
Wales, or Ireland as he, and we may add that none exercised 
a greater over England. The kingdom was almost in a state 
of blockade, and not only was unauthorized entrance into the 
country forbidden, but departure from it as well, except as the 
king desired. During these two years John's relations with 
the Church troubled him but little. Negotiations were kept 
up as before, but they led to nothing. On his return 'from 
the Welsh campaign the king met representatives of the pope 
at Northampton, one of whom was the Roman subdeacon 
Pandulf, whom John met later in a different mood. We have 
no entirely trustworthy account of the interview, but it was 
found impossible to agree upon the terms of any treaty which 
would bring the conflict to an end. The pope demanded a 
promise of complete obedience from John on all the questions 
that had caused the trouble, and restoration to the clergy of 
all their confiscated revenues, and to one or both of these de- 
mands the king refused to yield. Now it is that we begin to 
hear of threats of further sentences to be issued by the pope 
against John, or actually issued, releasing his subjects from 

1 See C. L. Falkiner in Proc. Royal Irish Acad., xxiv. c, pt. 4 (1903). 


their allegiance and declaring the king incapable of ruling, but CHAP. 
if any step of that kind was taken, it had for the present no xx 
effect. The Christmas feast was kept as usual at Windsor, 
and in Lent of the next year John knighted young Alexander 
of Scotland, whose father had sent him to London to be mar- 
ried as his liege lord might please, though "without dispar- 

In the spring of 1212 John seems to have felt himself 
strong enough to take up seriously a plan for the recovery of 
the lands which he had lost in France. The idea he had had 
in mind for some years was the formation of a great coalition 
against Philip Augustus by combining various enemies of his 
or of the pope's. In May the Count of Boulogne, who was 
in trouble with the king of France, came to London and did 
homage to John. Otto IV, the Guelfic emperor and John's 
nephew, was now in as desperate conflict with the papacy as 
if he were a Ghibelline, and Innocent was supporting against 
him the young Hohenstaufen Frederick, son of Henry VI 
and Constance of Sicily. Otto therefore was ready to promise 
help to any one from whom he could hope for aid in return, or 
to take part in any enterprise from which a change of the gen- 
eral situation might be expected. Ferdinand of Portugal, just 
become Count of Flanders by marriage with Jeanne, the heir- 
ess of the crusading Count Baldwin, the emperor Baldwin of 
the new Latin empire, had at the moment of his accession been 
made the victim of Philip Augustus's ceaseless policy of ab- 
sorbing the great fiefs in the crown, and had lost the two cities 
of Aire and St. Omer. He was ready to listen to John's soli- 
citations, and after some hesitation and delay joined the alli- 
ance, as did also most of the princes on the north-east between 
France and Germany. John laboured long and hard with 
much skill and final success, at a combination which would 
isolate the king of France and make it possible to attack him 
with overwhelming force at once from the north and the south. 

With a view, in all probability, to calling out the largest 
military force possible in the event of a war with France, 
John at this time ordered a new survey to be taken of the 
service due from the various fiefs in England. The inquest 
was made by juries of the hundreds, after a method very 
similar to that lately employed in the carucage of 1198, and 



CHAP, earlier in the Domesday survey by William the Conqueror, 
xx though it was under the direction of the sheriffs, not of spe- 
cial commissioners. The interesting returns to this inquiry 
have been preserved to us only in part. 1 If John hoped to be 
able to attack his enemy abroad in the course of the year 
12 12, he was disappointed in the end. His combination of 
allies he was not able to complete. A new revolt of the Welsh 
occupied his attention towards the end of the summer and led 
him to hang twenty-eight boys, hostages whom they had given 
him the year before. Worst of all, evidence now began to flow 
in to the king from various quarters of a serious disaffection 
among the barons of the kingdom and of a growing spirit of 
rebellion, even, it was said, of an intention to deprive him of 
the crown. We are told that on the eve of his expedition 
against the Welsh a warning came to him from the king of 
Scotland that he was surrounded by treason, and another from 
his daughter in Wales to the same effect. Whatever the 
source of his information, John was evidently convinced 
very likely he needed but little to convince him of a danger 
which he must have been always suspecting. At any rate he 
did not venture to trust himself to his army in the field, but 
sent home the levies and carefully guarded himself for a time. 
Then he called for new declarations of loyalty and for hos- 
tages from the barons ; and two of them, Eustace de Vescy 
and Robert Fitz Walter, fled from the country, the king out- 
lawing them and seizing their property. About the same 
time a good deal of public interest was excited by a hermit of 
Yorkshire, Peter of Pontefract, who was thought able to fore- 
tell the future, and who declared that John would not be king 
on next Ascension day, the anniversary of his coronation. 
It was probably John's knowledge of the disposition of the 
barons, and possibly the hope of extorting some information 
from him, that led him, rather unwisely, to order the arrest of 
the hermit, and to question him as to the way in which he 
should lose the crown. Peter could only tell him that the 
event was sure, and that if it did not occur, the king might do 
with him what he pleased. John took him at his word, held 
him in prison, and hanged him when the day had safely passed. 
By that 23d of May, however, a great change had taken 

1 See Round, Commune of London, 261-277. 


place in the formal standing of John among the sovereigns of CHAP. 
the world, a change which many believed fulfilled the predic- xx 
tion of Peter, and one which affected the history of England 
for many generations. As the year 1212 drew to its close, 
John was not merely learning his own weakness in England, 
but he was forced by the course of events abroad to recognize 
the terrible strength of the papacy and the small chance that 
even a strong king could have of winning a victory over it. 1 
His nephew Otto IV had been obliged to retire, almost 
defeated, before the enthusiasm which the young Frederick 
of Hohenstaufen had aroused in his adventurous expedition 
to recover the crown of Germany. Raymond of Toulouse, 
John's brother-in-law, had been overwhelmed and almost 
despoiled of his possessions in an attempt to protect his 
subjects in their right to believe what seemed to them the 
truth. For the moment the vigorous action which John had 
taken after the warnings received on the eve of the Welsh 
campaign had put an end to the disposition to revolt, and 
had left him again all powerful. He had even been able to 
extort from the clergy formal letters stating that the sums he 
had forced them to pay were voluntarily granted him. But 
he had been made to understand on how weak a foundation 
his power rested. He must have known that Philip Augus- 
tus had for some time been considering the possibility of 
an invasion of England, whether invited by the barons to 
undertake it or not, and he could hardly fail to dread 
the results to himself of such a step after the lesson he 
had learned in Normandy of the consequences of treason. 
The situation at home and abroad forced upon him the con- 
clusion that he must soon come to terms with the papacy, 
and in November he sent representatives to Rome to signify 
that he would agree to the proposals he had rejected when 
made by Pandulf early in the previous year. 2 Even in this 
case John may be suspected, as so often before, of making a 
proposition which he did not intend to carry out, or at least 
of trying to gain time, for it was found that the embassy 
could not make a formally binding agreement ; and it is clear 
that Innocent III, while ready to go on with the negotiations 
and hoping to carry them to success, was now convinced that 

1 Ralph of Coggeshall, 164-165. 2 Walter of Coventry, ii, Iviii. n. 4. 


CHAP, he must bring to bear on John the only kind of pressure to 
xx which he would yield. 

There is reason to believe that after his reconciliation with 
the king of England Innocent III had all the letters in which 
he had threatened John with the severest penalties collected 
/ so far as possible and destroyed. 1 It is uncertain, however, 
whether before the end of 12 12 he had gone so far as to depose 
the king and to absolve his subjects from their allegiance, 
though this is asserted by English chroniclers. But there is 
no good ground to doubt that in January, 1213, he took this 
step, and authorized the king of France to invade England 
and deprive John of his kingdom. Philip needed no urging. 
He collected a numerous fleet, we are told, of 1500 vessels, 
and a large army. In the first week of April he held a great 
council at Soissons, and the enterprise was determined on 
by the barons and bishops of France. At the same council 
arrangements were made to define the legal relations to France 
of the kingdom to be conquered. The king of England was to 
be Philip's son, Louis, who could advance some show of right 
through his wife, John's niece, Blanche of Castile ; but during 
his father's lifetime he was to make no pretension to any 
part of France, a provision which would leave the duchy of 
Aquitaine in Philip's hands, as Normandy was. Louis was to 
require an oath of his new subjects that they would undertake 
nothing against France, and he was to leave to his father 
the disposal of the person of John arid of his private posses- 
sions. Of the relationship between the two countries when 
Louis should succeed to the crown of France, nothing was 
said. Preparations were so far advanced that it was expected 
that the army would embark before the end of May. 

In the meantime John was taking measures for a vigorous 
defence. Orders were sent out for all ships capable of carry- 
ing at least six horses to assemble at Portsmouth by the 
middle of Lent. The feudal levies and all men able to bear 
arms were called out for April 2 1 . The summons was obeyed 
by such numbers that they could not be fed, and all but the 
best armed were sent home, while the main force was collected 
on Barham Down, between Canterbury and Dover, with out- 
posts at the threatened ports. John has been thought by 

1 Innocent III, Epp. xvi. 133. (Rymer, Fcedera, i. 116.) 


some to have had a special interest in the development of the CHAP. 
fleet ; at any rate he knew how to employ here the defensive xx 
manoeuvre which has been more than once of avail to England, 
and he sent out a naval force to capture and destroy the 
enemy's ships in the mouth of the Seine and at Fecamp, and 
to take and burn the town of Dieppe. It was his plan also 
to defend the country with the fleet rather than with the 
army, and to attack and destroy the hostile armament on its 
way across the channel. To contemporaries the preparations 
seemed entirely sufficient to defend the country, not merely 
against France, but against any enemy whatever, provided 
only the hearts of all had been devoted to the king. 

While preparations were being made in France for an inva- 
sion of England under the commission of the pope, Innocent 
was going on with the effort to bring John to his terms by nego- 
tiation. The messengers whom the king had sent to Rome 
returned bringing no modification of the papal demands. At 
the same time Pandulf, the pope's representative, empowered to 
make a formal agreement, came on as far as Calais and sent 
over two Templars to England to obtain permission for an 
interview with John, while he held back the French fleet to 
learn the result. The answer of John to Pandulf 's messengers 
would be his answer to the pope and also his defiance of Philip. 
There can be no doubt what his answer would have been if he 
had had entire confidence in his army, nor what it would have 
been if Philip's fleet had not been ready. He yielded only 
because there was no other w