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1197, the year following that in which he wrote the letter to the archbishop, Richard proposed another plan, whereby his English tenants should equip three hundred knights for service in Normandy and pay them for a whole year. Although it seems that this plan fell to the ground, the king was successful in maintaining or assuming a claim upon the continental service of his vassals. He met with little opposition from the laymen; and those who refused service were deprived of their lands.' Similarly no objection was raised on legal grounds to such service in the early years of John's reign. This is clear from a study of the events at Portsmouth in 1201 and 1205, of which the chroniclers give many particulars. It is true that the earls met at Leicester in 1201 and decided not to cross the Channel with the king unless he did them right (nisi reddiderit eis jura sua), 2 but their action was an attempt at a bargain, a significant but not exactly a legal appeal to the fundamental agreement between a lord and his vassals. It must be connected with the private arrangements which certain powerful barons were able to make with the king during the stress of war, and with the lavish grants or numerous exemptions from debts by which John sought to retain the fidelity of his subjects. Again, the refusal
1. According to Joceline of Brakelond (ed. Rokewode), p. 63, the abbot of St. Edmund's feared "ne amitteret saisinam baronie sue pro defectu servicii regis, sicut contigerat ... multis baronibus Anglie.”
2. Howden, iv, 160, 161.
3. For the alleged action of William of Briouze, see below, p. 470. A significant note is added by the clerk to the enrolment of a charter to Robert of Harcourt, September 4th, 1199 (Rot. Chart., 17b) : "memoran. dum quod terra ista assignata ei quousque assignaverit cuidam filio suo c. libras redditus in maritagio. Et propter warram talem extorsit cartam."
4. Rot. de Liberate, 44 : “sciatis quod Thomas de Arcy nobis serviet se tertio militum ad custum suum proprium, scilicet per unum annum
per sic quod nos eidem Thome perdonemus cc et xxv marcas quas debet Judeis et Judeabus super cartas suas et cirographa," etc. Towards the end of the struggle in Normandy, on October 15th, 1203, the king
of the Marshal to follow the king in 1205 was based upon the peculiar ground of his feudal relation to Philip Augustus, not upon a legal right to refuse service. Only in 1213, after John's failures abroad and at home, do we find the lay tenants in the north of England refusing to join him abroad for reasons of privilege. 2 The question was not settled in the thirteenth century, 3 although according to one suggested settlement in 1215, King John was willing to compromise by confining the duty of foreign service to service in Normandy and Brittany. 4
In 1201 and 1205, however, the objections which were to be raised in 1213, were not heard. In the former year, the whole knight service of England was summoned to Portsmouth. A large host came together at Pentecost. It is not likely that the king had ever intended to take across the whole number; at any rate he adopted his brother's policy. According to Roger of Howden, Earl William the Marshal and Roger de Laci, the constable of Chester, were sent over in advance, each at the head of a hundred paid knights (soldarii). 5 They, and others,
1. Guill. le Maréchal, iii, 180.
2. Walt. Coventry, ii, 217, and Stubbs' introduction; Round, Feudal England, p. 534.
3. Stubbs, Constitutional History, ii, 292, 293.
4. In the “unknown” charter of liberties, c. 7: "adhuc hominibus meis concedo ne eant in exercitu extra Angliam nisi in Normanniam et in Brittanniam, et hoc decenter, quod si aliquis debet inde servitium decem militum, consilio baronum meorum alleviabitur.” McKechnie, Magna Carta, p. 570; Teulet, Layettes, i, 423; Petit-Dutaillis, Studies Supple. mentary to Stubbs' Constitutional History (tr. Rhodes), i, 118, 125.
5. Howden iv, 163,
exempted Richard of Ounebac of his debts, apparently in return for twenty days' service at Tillières (Rot. Norm., 107). Other cases in Rot. Norm., 47, 60, 61, 64, 73, 87; Rot. Pat., 18b, 30; Rot. de Lib., 37, 42, 45, 48.
were the representatives of the Portsmouth host, which was sent home after composition with John. Some barons paid a scutage of two marks on the fee, but for the most part fines which varied in amount were exacted from them and the knights separately. 1 It is noteworthy that the knights of the bishop of Lincoln, although compounded for by the scutage, were afterwards forced instead to make personal arrangements with the king.? A special roll was kept containing the record of these fines. 3
The same plan was adopted in 1205. Again, in 1205 as in 1201, the leading barons opposed the expedition, this time on grounds of policy;4 again a great company assembled at Portsmouth. The knights were not only willing but eager to accompany John; and much indignation was aroused when the king unwillingly consented to employ only a picked few.5 Those who were sent away were ordered to pay the money which they had brought with them for the benefit of the rest. Moreover, after a hesitating cruise in the Channel, John returned
1. Wendover, i, 311 : “veniente autem die statuto, multi impetrata licentia remanserunt, dantes regi de quolibet scuto duas marcas argenti." A study of the Pipe Roll, however, would show great variety; see Rotulus Cancellarii 3 Joh., 105, 134, 160, 161, 191, 207, 209, 232, 266; Rotuli de Oblatis et Finibus, 143–156.
2. Rot. de Oblatis, 145: "Milites Episcopi Lincolniensis quorum numerus viju et iiij milites dant pro eodem scilicet de scuto ij marcas ---Cancellantur quia inferius fuerunt separati.” See p. 153.
3. Rot. Canc., 233 : "Idem vicecomes (of Wiltshire) reddit compotum de xii li. vj so. et viij. d. de scutagiis militum de honore Walteri de Dunstanvill quorum nomina et debita annotantur in Rotulo quem Magister Radulfus de Stoke liberavit in thesauro ex parte justicie de finibus militum ne transfretent.”
4. Coggeshall, pp. 152, 153. 5. Ibid. According to Gervase of Canterbury (ii, 98) 1500 knights came to Portsmouth. Coggeshall states that several thousand sailors also collected with ships from all parts. The discomfort and expense involved in this journey and in the delay in the unsanitary conditions of a medieval port must have been considerable.
and is said to have levied large sums on ecclesiastics and others who had, he declared, refused to accompany him.'
The records of these expeditions prove that, in John's reign, no distinction was made between ecclesiastical and lay tenants; in other words, King Richard's vague discrimination of 1196 was no longer necessary.
The question had been raised formally by Hugh of Lincoln in 1197 : he refused either to serve or to contribute towards an expedition in Normandy. Four years later, in 1201, a few months after the bishop's death, the knights of the bishopric make fines with King John in order to be released from service across the Channel. 3 The transition from resistance to submission may be illustrated, as Mr. Round long ago pointed out, by the action of St. Edmund's. 4 The bishop of Lincoln refused both men and money; the abbot of St. Edmund's admitted a claim for scutage, but denied that his church had ever been obliged to provide knights for service across the sea. However, the abbot submitted. Richard, it is stated, had demanded a tenth of the knight service due from the fiefs of English bishops and abbots; the abbot, therefore, equipped four knights and gave them sufficient money to maintain themselves during the usual forty days of service. But at this stage the connection made by the king between small numbers and long service was pointed out to the abbot by his friends. His knights might be kept for a whole year, and their maintenance would be very expensive; it would be cheaper to make an arrangement with the king. This the abbot did : his knights might return after forty days,
1. Wendover, ii, 10.
3. The bishopric was at this time in the king's hands. It is clear, however, that some bishops contributed knights and served in person, e.g., the bishop of Norwich. See above, p. 239.
4. Feudal England, p. 531.
and the king received a fine of £100. The royal rights were completely acknowledged. 2
John's relations with the barons and their tenants at Portsmouth help to establish the nature of scutage at the end of the twelfth century. Unless local privilege, such as Saint Hugh claimed in 1197, involved a prescriptive right to offer payment instead of service, the duty to serve was clear. King John insisted upon the connection between fees (feoda) on the one hand, and horses and men on the other, with no uncertain voice. 4 On the other hand, the primary object of levying a scutage was the collection of wages for a hired force, and as a rule King John was content to lay the heavy burden of an annual scutage upon the English. Payment and service were not interchangeable : 16 if the king called for service, only a
1. The principle of representation, adopted by the Angevin kings, was in vogue on some ecclesiastical estates, and was, therefore, not unfamiliar. Representatives were elected by the tenants to perform the servitium debitum. See Select Pleas in Manorial Courts (Selden Society), pp. 50, 61.
2. It should be noticed that John expressly disclaimed any right to exact service for Normandy from Ireland : Rot. Chart., 133b. See below, p. 480.
3. On the whole subject of scutage, which is still very obscure, see Baldwin, The Scutage and Knight Service in England (Chicago, 1897); Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law (second edition), i, 253, 266 seqq. ; Round, F'eudal England; and for this period, Miss Norgate, John Lackland, pp. 122 seqq. ; Ramsay, Angevin Empire, 390; McKechnie, Magna Carta, pp. 86–90. Petit-Dutaillis, Studies supplementary to Stubbs' Const. Hist., pp. 56, 141. The confusion of practice and theory which these discussions of the evidence reveal is due to the fact that, on the one hand, the payment of scutage and the performance of service were not interchangeable, while, on the other, no cases seem to have been found in which both service and payment were clearly exacted.
4. See his letters to bailiffs of the count of Flanders and to the prepositus of Bruges, in Rot. Pat., 1lb, 26b.
5. Dialogus, lib. i, c. 9 (ed. Oxford), p. 99. 6. Cf. Ramsay, Angevin Empire, p. 390.