Page images

count's wife had died, he definitely deprived him of the county and established John of Eu in his place. 1 But these measures were unavailing, for Eu and Drincourt fell at the beginning of hostilities, and even before war broke out, the citizens had made arrangements for the removal of their chattels and themselves to ducal terri. tory. ?

It is clear from an account written by the abbot of Coggeshall in his chronicle, and from later papal letters that, while John was securing himself against treachery and preparing for war, the king of France was urging the cause of the brothers of Lusignan. He relied upon the facts that John was his man and that justice was denied the rebels, who were relentlessly afflicted by John's displeasure. A colloquy was arranged, and the agents of the kings met at the usual place between Boutavant and Le Goulet upon March 25th. 4 Philip demanded the

1. Ralph of Exoudun had his barony in Poitou, and ruled Exoudun, Chizé, and other places. (See Delisle, Bibl. de l'école des Chartes, 1856, xvii, 546; who shows that Ralph of Issoudun was a different person altogether.) John of Eu was throughout supported by John as possessor of the count's Norman fiefs. Rot. Pat., 8b (April 1st, 1202); Rot. Norm. 59 (August 7th).

2. See the facts collected by Delisle (op. cit., 547–8), and Stapleton, II, ccxxi-ccxxii.

3. Coggeshall, 135–6; Innocent's letters in Patrologia Latina, ccxv, 182-4. The pope speaks as though Philip had delayed for a year before taking action. If this was the case, the Poitevins must have appealed in the spring of 1201. This is not likely; but it does seem probable from the words of Arthur's act of homage to Philip (below p. 478) that hostilities had been begun by John which brought matters to a crisis. I am unable to accept Miss Norgate's view that there was no judgment. (Trans. Royal Hist. Soc., new series, 1900, xiv, 53; cf. the criticism in Revue Hist. (1901), lxxvi, 213; and Holtzmann in Hist. Zeitschrift (1905), xcv, 39.)

4. John's letters support the statement of the Annals of St. Edmund that the kings acted through agents (Liebermann, p. 140). The date is in Diceto, ii. 174.

surrender of Andeli, Arques and even Falaise, and ordered John to appear at Paris a fortnight after Easter to reply to the charges of injustice which would be brought against him. A long interchange of arguments commenced, in which it is significant to note, the archbishop of Canterbury, who had been called across the Channel, took a leading part on John's behalf. The main argument upon which John relied was that, as duke of Normandy, he was not obliged to treat with his suzerain anywhere else than on the borders. The obvious reply was made that he was summoned as lord of Aquitaine and Anjou. 4 The crisis came with the failure of a conference arranged for the week after Easter, that is, after the 21st April. Philip gladly availed himself of the judgment of his court that, as a contumacious vassal, the king of England should be deprived of all the lands hitherto held of the French crown.5 With no further delay, he dashed forward, took Boutavant and levelled it to the ground. This was the first blow.

So states Gervase of Canterbury, ii, 93; as the archbishop of Canterbury had come to Normandy to act with the king, the chronicler's testimony may well be true. The continuator of Robert of Torigni says that war was resumed because John would not surrender Vaudreuil and Roche Andeli (Historiens de France, xviii, 341). The French chronicles of Béthune both state that at Paris John had granted lands to Blanche of Castile (Histor. de France, xxiv, ii, 760; Hist. des ducs de Normandie, etc., p. 91) and this may be referred to in these later negotiations.

2. Annales of St. Edmund, Liebermann, p. 140.

3. Gervase of Canterbury, ii, 93; Rad. Dic. ii, 173; below p. 220. Geoffrey Fitz Peter, the justiciar, also came to Normandy, so seriously was the situation regarded. He attests a royal letter May 2nd (Rot. Pat., 10). Cf. a reference to his visit in a later letter, p. 12.

4. Coggeshall, p. 136.

5. Ibid. The account in Roger of Wendover is not trustworthy (i, 313). M. Bémont, in his well-known article in Rev. Hist. (1886) has shown that Normandy was confiscated as well as Poitou and the other lands across the sea.

6. According to William the Breton (Delaborde, i, 207) Boutavant and Tillières had been promised by John as sureties for his appearance.

King John immediately prepared for the defence and reinforcement of Normandy. The archbishop of Canterbury, whom Philip had dismissed from his territory when negotiations were broken off, was sent to England to lay before John's subjects the story of Philip's high-handed and insolent behaviour.

"We send,” the king wrote to his officials in England on May 11, “our venerable fathers in Christ, the lord archbishop of Canterbury and the bishop of Ely who were our spokesmen in the conversations between us and the king of France. They will relate to you with what humility and moderation we bore ourselves before him, and what insolence (superbia) they always found in him, and how he openly acted against the terms of the peace which had been made and confirmed between us." 2

And in a later letter of 7 July, in which he asked for a loan from the Cistercian abbots in England, he said :

“You are sufficiently aware of what is common knowledge : how the king of France contrary to the peace which was made between us, and which was confirmed by oaths and charters, unjustly attacks us and strives by all the means in his power to deprive us of our inheritance (ad exheredationem nostram omnibus modis aspirat).3

Taking his stand upon the breach of the treaty of 1200, 4 John resumed relations with Otto, sent agents to

1. Gervase, ii, 93–4.
2. Rot. Pat., 10b (May 11th, 1202).

3. Rot. Pat., 14 (July 7). This letter affords additional proof of the judgment in Philip’s court, which has not, I think, been noticed.

4. The count of Boulogne, who joined Philip at that time, significantly alleged as his reason that John had made peace in 1200 (Coggeshall, 136). A treaty of marriage between Renaud's daughter and Philip Hurepel, son of the French king, had been arranged in August, 1201 (Actes, no. 674; cf. Philippid, vi, 74). After the outbreak of war the count was entrusted with Aumâle (Coggeshall, 136).

the Papal court, and under penalty of confiscation called on the men of the Low Countries who held Norman fiefs to come to his aid. 2 At the same time, he raised loans and tallages, and sent round his recruiting officers. Rouen was strengthened against another possible siege, several towns were urged to form communes for defensive purposes, and the officials of the Channel Isles were set to watch the seas. 4

Except for an excursion in June into Maine, John stayed in the valley of the Seine and made his headquarters at Pont de l'Arche, and the neighbouring abbey of Bonport. From this point he could watch the valleys of the Eure and the Andelle. The king of France without difficulty overran the north-eastern frontier, from Eu to the forest of Lions, and after securing Eu, Aumâle, Drincourt, Mortemer, Lions and other places, 5 turned to besiege Gournai. Both sides attached great importance to this place. After the fall of the castles in the forest of Lions, which separated Gournai from the rest of Normandy, John could hardly expect to retain it. On the other hand, its site rendered it capable of defence, and Hugh of Gournai was in favour with the king. The garrison had been placed under the charge of Brandin, a

1. Rot. Pat., 11b (to citizens of Köln). For relations with the pope, see below p. 240.

2. Letters of May 25th (Rot. Pat., 11b). The lands of the count of Boulogne in Lillebonne and elsewhere had been seized earlier (Ibid, 9b).

3. e.g., William de Cresec (Rot. Pat., 10) and Simon de Haveret (Ibid, 12).

4. Rot. Pat., 106, May 11th : the citizens of Rouen to have as much wood as they like; 136–14: communes for Fécamp, Harfleur, Montivilliers, with orders to prepare ad terram nostram defendendam; 15 : to men of Jersey, etc.

5. Rigord, i, 152; Wendover, i, 313; Gervaso of Canterbury, ii, 94. At Lions-la-Forêt, Philip confirmed the property and privileges of the abbey of Mortemer-en-Lions (Cartulaire Normand., no. 64, p. 13). For the fiscal value of these districts, see above, p. 104.

6. Above p. 163.

trusted soldier of the last two kings; he and his companions were urged by John to maintain his honour and theirs at Gournai: he appealed to their sense of duty and offered large rewards.? But Gournai fell early in July; the garrison was outwitted by that ruthless ingenuity which made Philip a dangerous opponent everywhere but in the open field. Seeing that the fortress was unapproachable by reason of the skilful use to which the engineers had put the waters of the Epte—for Gournai lay in a marsh surrounded by deep moats-Philip turned its defences against it by breaking the dam of a large weir which lay higher up the river. In the flood everything was carried away and the walls were broken. From this time Gournai became part of the royal demesne. Its lord, Hugh of Gournai, on July 28th, received a grant of £500 from John, 3 and Brandin was sent off to his native Poitou to act as seneschal of the county of La Marche, now definitely part of the Poitevin administration. 4

From Gournai King Philip moved on to Arques, a still more formidable fortress. Arques was the seat of government in Caux, and protected Dieppe. Philip reached the place before July 21st, for on that day John ordered the barons of the Cinque Ports to cut off the French ships which were bringing provisions to the army. He stated


1. Hugh of Gournai was with John in March (Pat., 7). Brandin and his son, Henry Bec, Simon de Houes and others, were the leaders of the garrison (Rot. Pat., 13b). Henry Bec was with John in Ireland, in 1210 (Rot. de Lib., 198). Later, in July, Simon de Houes was granted a mill (Rot. Norm., 56).

2. The siege was over before July 13th, for on that day Brandin was made seneschal of La Marche (Rot. Pat., 14b). For the siege of Gournai, see Rigord, i, 152; William the Breton, i, 210, and Phil., vi, 210-261 (ii, 160); Wendover, i, 313; Robert of Auxerre in Histor. de France, xviii, 265.

3. Rot. Norm., 58. For Hugh, see below, p. 238.

4. See note 2. Brandin also received the castle of Torigni in Normandy (Rot. Pat., 14b).

5. Rot. Pat., 15.

« PreviousContinue »