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completed. News came from Chinon that Queen Isabella, who had been left in Touraine, was cut off from her husband and in danger of falling into the hands of the rebels.1 John immediately set off with a band of mercenaries, and after waiting for a few days in Alençon, where he was entertained by the count, reached Le Mans on January 21st. Here the news awaited him that, owing to the numbers of the enemy, the roads to Chinon were impassable; and these bad tidings were soon followed by worse. Count Robert of Alençon, or, as he is more often styled, of Séez, had become Philip's man and banded Alençon over to the French as soon as John's back was turned. The records of the next few days are full of acts of confiscation, by which the lands of the count and his men were distributed

1. Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 171.
2. Ibid, and the Itinerary, which corrects the poem.

3. Ibid. The editor, M. Meyer, ascribes these events to October, 1202, when John also reached Le Mans from Alençon. Several facts are conclusive against this view. The roads were not infested in October, nor was Chinon in danger, for the king went on from Le Mans and stayed for some weeks in Touraine. Count Robert was in John's confidence as late as December 27th (see Rot. Norm., 66), when he received money “ad opus R. viccomitis Bellimontis.” The confiscation of his lands begins dramatically on January 22nd. Lastly, the itinerary proves that the king returned to Séez and Argentan from Le Mans. It states erroneously that he passed through Alençon, January 25th being a mistake for 15th (cf. Rot. Pat., 23b ad fin).

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statements in the text is contained in the following passages of the records. On December 9th, 1202, the king authorised his marshal to make arrangements for the service of the military classes (Rot. Pat., 21b : letter addressed to all knights, etc.). On January 7th, he issued another general letter as follows : “Mandamus vobis quod fidem habeatis hiis que dilectus noster Ricardus de Wilekier vobis dicet vel mandabit per litteras suas de veniendo ad nos apud Argentan” (ibid, 22b). Cf. Rot. Norm., 73 : A man is excused his debts to the Jews on condition that he is at Argentan in the king's service on February 3rd. On April 1st the king issued an order of payment, on behalf of William Poignard, for stores taken from Caen to Argentan (ibid, 85). The stores include wine and great quantities of rope, apparently for tents.

to the king's followers. 1 In a day or two Peter of Préaux, one of the most faithful of the latter, managed to bring the queen in safety to Le Mans,” and John returned to Argentan. In order to avoid Alençon, the company made a detour to the east through Mamers and the neighbourhood of Bellême. 3

This was the beginning of the end. John's fury gradually gave way to fits of lethargy, interrupted by moods of suspicion, by which the fidelity of none, from the earl of Chester downwards, was untouched. An English chronicler ascribes this incompetence to the presence of his wife, for John was the most uxorious of men. The great expedition never took place, the last attempt to combine the forces of north and south failing when, a few days after John's retirement from Le Mans, the seneschal of Poitou made a destructive but not very effective attack on Angers. In March King Philip

1. Rot. Pat., 23b; Rot. Norm., 70 seqq., 75, 78, etc. 2. Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 172.

3. Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 172. John reached Séez on the 25th, having apparently taken two days for this difficult cross-country journey. He went on to Argentan on the 28th, and to Falaise on the 30th January.

4. Below p. 247.

5. R. Wendover (Rolls ed.), i, 316, 317. John put off the time of war : "cum regina epulabatur quotidie splendide,

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matutinales usque ad prandiandi horam protraxit.” Compare the lines in Guillaume le Maréchal, 12648–12656, of John's mental attitude after the arrival of the queen at Le Mans.

6. According to the Annals of Saint-Aubin, the attack took place on January 25th, “die autem mercurii ante Purificationem beate Marie accessit Robertus de Turneham ad eandem civitatem et, ea miserabiliter depredata et in parte combusta, secessit” (Halphen, p. 21; who prints the best text). Dubois (Bibliothèque, xxxiv, 522), as Halphen and Richard point out, is misled by an inferior text and supposes that the seneschal of Poitou attacked Mirebeau. It is significant that the attack should have been made at this time, when John was expected from Le Mans. A combination between Robert and John seems have been

organised the resistance of Maine, Anjou, Touraine and parts of Poitou by a series of agreements with the chief barons of the disaffected party. The terms of these agreements, which were identical, show that by this time the Bretons were co-operating with the king of France, and that the negotiations fastened on the uncertain future of Arthur and of his equally unfortunate sister. The conventions made between Philip and Arthur were before all else to be observed ; if Arthur should be released on conditions which forbade their observance these barons of Maine and Anjou swore to repudiate him; if he were to die, they would only acknowledge his sister if she were married through the agency of Philip and the Bretons." In any case therefore Philip maintained his hold upon the centre of the Angevin dominions.

It is possible that the king of France had planned an invasion of Poitou, and there is evidence that he could rely on the co-operation of the count of Toulouse in the south, in spite of the domestic alliance between the latter and the Angevin house. This project, if it was ever seriously entertained, was not carried out. King Philip, shortly after Easter, journeyed along the Loire by boat as far as Saumur,3 the most important place between

1. Delisle, Actes de Philippe-Auguste, no. 752, p. 506.

2. At Le Mans, in January, John wrote letters to the clergy, knights, burgesses, etc., of the bishopric of Agen, which show that he had heard of the count's hostility about this time-January 22nd (Rot. Pat., 23a, b).

3. Rigord, i, 157, 158, says that Philip invaded Aquitaine, but is probably using the name in a loose sense. For Philip at Saumur, see the Annals of Saint-Aubin (Halphen, p. 21). At the same time William des Roches was rapidly extending his authority in Anjou. On the Monday before Good Frdiay, April 7th, he took Beaufort (arr. Beauge) and later forced Chateauneuf-sur-Sarthe to surrender (Halphen, Annales, p. 21; Dubois, Bibl. Ecole des Chartes, xxxiv, 325, 326). He was thus free to march on to Le Mans. See below p. 236.

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planned prior to the advance of the main army. On the 12th January John wrote from Argentan that on account of urgent business he was unable to attend a great council at Rouen (Rot. Pat., 23).

Tours and Angers, and having received its submission, turned against the Norman frontiers. The support of the barons of Maine and Brittany, and the successes of William des Roches in his rear made it desirable to resume the attack on the familiar lines. His decision was justified. Within a few weeks Normandy was isolated, Le Mans probably surrendered before the end of April,1 and John was thus cut off from the faithful government of Poitou by the triple barrier of Alençon, Le Mans, Angers. The administration which the king had set up after the battle of Mirebeau collapsed. In the official correspondence Brice the chamberlain appears as seneschal of Anjou for the last time on April 18th. He was afterwards transferred to Normandy.3 In Touraine Girard d'Athée, though he also ceased to bear the title of seneschal,4 kept his ground until 1205. Early in the spring of 1203 he was reinforced by Hubert de Burgh, who took up his headquarters at Chinon,5 while Girard held out in Loches. But from the first the outlook was hopeless; in August we find the King ordering the demolition of Montrésor and

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1. On April 19th John addressed from Bec an urgent letter to the citizens of Le Mans, begging them to withstand the King of France (Rot. Pat., 28). It does not seem to be known in what manner Le Mans actually fell. Dubois, Bibliothèque, xxxiv, 529; Richard, ii, 425 are based on conjecture.

2. Rot. Pat., 28b.

3. The king entrusted the castles of Mortain and Tenchebrai to him in September (Rot. Pat., 345, 35) and at the same time he was given some of the English lands of Guy of Thouars (Rot. de Lib., 65). For a time he deserted John; his manor of Wildmundcot is included in the roll of lands of the Normans in 1204 (Rot. Norm., 138), and he needed a safe conduct in England (Rot. Pat., 39). On the other hand, Philip Augustus, in a charter of uncertain date, gave away Brice's lands at Fleuri (Cart. Norm., p. 297, no. 184; Actes, p. 179, no. 790).

4. He is styled seneschal on April 7th, 1203 (Rot. Norm., p. 86).

5. That Hubert was at Chinon in February may be proved by a comparison of a letter in Rot. Pat., 25b (dated by a slip of the copyist from Chinon), with another in Rot. Norm., 86, of April 5th.

6. Salmon, Chroniques de Touraine, i, 150.


all castles not immediately under Girard's jurisdiction, lest they should fall into hostile hands ;' in the course of 1204 the garrison in the citadel of Tours, which still withstood the French and their allies, at last surrendered.2 Loches and Chinon were left for a last terrible onslaught in the following year.

King John never approached Anjou again from Normandy. His next visit in 1206 was paid during his invasion from the south. By that time his enemy had laid hold on every foot of Norman soil with the exception of the Channel Isles.

We have seen that the Norman preparations for the campaign of 1203 had been made with a view to a southern expedition from Argentan. After the loss of Maine and the defection of Count Robert of Alençon, no advance was made in this direction until August, when a fruitless siege of Alençon was followed by an equally fruitless invasion of Brittany. In the meanwhile King Philip had dealt several crushing blows along the middle frontier, and the defection of Count Robert had been followed by that of many more, among whom the great baron Hugh of Gournai attracted universal opprobrium.

Some attempt had been made to meet possible attack before hostilities began. The treasure from England helped to pay the garrisons of the march at Arques, Radepont, Pont de l'Arche, Vaudreuil, Verneuil, etc. 3 Provision was made for the safety of the burgesses of Dieppe, in case the fortune of war should force them to leave the town. All due service was demanded, though without very much success, from the foreigners who held

1. Rot. Pat., 33. 2. Salmon, op. cit., i, 149, 150. 3. See letters of January 19 (Rot. Norm., 69), February 10 (ibid, 75). 4. February 26, 1203 (Rot. Pat., 26).

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