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use the bow in Normandy. Indirect evidence points to the same conclusion. They were especially useful in ambush. In 1174 Henry II sent them to cut off the provisions of the French as they were brought through the woods to the army which was besieging Rouen;" and in Richard's reign the Welsh had a reputation for the success with which they harassed the French in the forests.3 They were not enlisted separately; but the government made arrangements with some Anglo-Norman tenant of the Welsh march, or with a native Welshman who collected a band and was responsible for the distribution of the wages. Some of these companies were large. In 1204 John refers to one which contained two hundred Welsh
In 1195 at least five shiploads of Welsh cavalry and foot crossed to Normandy under various leaders.
We now come to the mercenaries proper, who were carefully distinguished from the various branches of the
1. The Song of Dermot and the Earl, p. 52; Orpen, Ireland under the Normans, i, 148.
2. Robert of Torigni (ed. Delisle), ii, 52. “Venieus itaque Rothomagum misit marchisos suos Walenses trans Secanam, ut victualia, quae veniebant ad exercitum Francorum, in nemoribus diriperent.”
3. The French chronicle in Historiens de France, xxiv, part ii, p. 738. Delaborde points out that William the Breton's description of the Welsh is based on Gerald of Wales (Phil., lib. v, 11. 276–299, ed. Delaborde, ii, 136).
4. Rot. Sacc., i, 236. “ Willelmo de Marisco et Walensibus suis" £296. William was a West country man (cf. Rot. Pat., 52, where he is collecting workmen and sailors). A William de Marisco shared a knight's fee in Hereford "de Wallia” in 1166 (Red Book, i, 281). Cf. Robert of Torigni's phrase "marchisi.”
5. Rot. de Lib., 88. The sheriff of Gloucester is to give William of Briouze ten marks “ad opus Leisani Walensis filii Morgan qui veniet in servicium nostrum cum cc Walensibus.”
6. Rot. Scacc., i, 185, “in passagio Walensium apud Ostreham in tribus navibus, viij li. x so."; ibid., 275, “in passagio Philippi de Estapedona et Walteri de Escudemore et Helye de Chigehan et sociorum eorum Walensium equitum et peditum in ij navibus (to Barfleur) viij li."
artillery and from the Welsh. The English hated John's foreign balistarii, but never confounded them with the stipendiarii.2 The French expressed their disgust of the Welsh, but never confounded them with the Brabançons. Indeed in 1194, while the royal forces were waiting for a favourable wind at Portsmouth, the Welsh and Brabançons came to blows, and the king had to hurry back from his hunting to restore peace.3 The struggle for existence which encouraged the surplus population of Wales to seek military employment had not destroyed family and tribal ties; the Brabançons and Cottereaux, on the contrary, were pariahs, outcasts from society and under the ban of the Church. Their gipsy-like organisation, their antisocial and anti-Christian devastations shocked the conscience of western Europe. They were worse than the most illicit of corporations, or the most heretical of sects.
A closer scrutiny of the mercenary forces in the service of Richard and John enables us, however, to make some qualifications. It shows that the clear line of division drawn by the anathema of the Church in 1179 and by current opinion between the mercenaries and other paid soldiers was easily blurred in actual life. The routiers
1. See H. Géraud, “Les Routiers au douzième siècle," and "Mercadier. Les Routiers au treizième siècle,” in Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, 1841, iii, 125–147; 417–447; Boutaric's paper in the same, 1860, xxii, 7–12, republished in his Institutions militaires de la France avant les armées permanentes (1863); Luchaire, La Société française sous Philippe. Auguste, pp. 10–20; Cartellieri, iii, 110; Delisle on Cadoc in his preface to the inquests of Saint Louis, Recueil des historiens de France, xxiv, part i, pp. 130*-133*.
2. Magna Carta, c. 51, “et statim post reformacionem amovebimus de regno omnes alienigenas milites, balistarios, servientes, stipendiarios, qui venerunt cum equis et armis ad nocumentum regni."
3. Howden, iii, 251.
4. Cf. the anonymous chronicler of Laon's description of Ebbe of Charenton's ruse in 1185 (Chronicon Universale, ed. Cartellieri, p. 40), “set propter pactum quod cum eis pepigit, uxores immo pellicentes eorum cum pueris et alia familia et rebus aliis eis extra castrum remisit."
(rutharii or ruptarii), to give them their generic name, comprised elements which
drawn from many countries, from Aragon, Gascony, Bigorre, as well as from the populous Rhineland, and it is hard to distinguish between bands which may have been recruited on the spot and the professional vagabonds who offered their services to the highest bidder. Yet the former would obviously be regarded as more respectable. Again, men of ability who were found trustworthy enough for high administrative office, such as Martin Algais, a mercenary who became seneschal of Gascony, can hardly be dismissed as social outcasts. The origin of many of John's favourite servants was so obscure that the transition from Martin Algais to the great Hubert de Burgh himself is not very difficult. We might begin this transition with the mercenaries in John's service who were always his subjects and whose military gifts had emancipated them from the caste system of feudalism : such were Fawkes of Breauté, and that upstart kindred of Touraine, Girard of Athée and his cousins of Cigogné and Chanceaux.2 Next we should come to high officials like Guérin of Glapion and William Crassus (le Gros), both seneschals in Normandy under John, both apparently of humble origin, and both men whose reputation was unsavoury in the land of their exactions forty years later.3 There is little difference in character between such men as William Crassus and the leading routiers, and probably little difference in origin, and when King Richard began, for military reasons, to entrust Norman bailiwicks to his mercenaries, the differ
1. The chronicler of Laon, p. 37, gives a brief list : “ importuna lues Ruthariorum, Arragonensium, Basculorum, Brabanciorum et aliorum conducticiorum.” Wages to Bigordenses, in Rot. Scacc., i, 237.
2. Maitland, Pleas of the Crown for the county af Gloucester (1884),
3. For Guérin of Glapion, see above, p. 256. The misdeeds of William Crassus are described in the Querimonia Normannorum, nos. 382–462 parsim, about eighteen cases.
4. e.g., William le Queu in the Vexin; above, p. 296.
ence of status was swept away. In John's reign the practice of opening the civil service to mercenaries became common. Quite apart from military considerations John trusted his mercenaries more than his barons, took a natural pleasure in ignoble vigour, and delighted to flout social and political conventions. Hence Martin Algais became seneschal of Gascony, Girard of Athée seneschal of Touraine, Brandin seneschal of La Marche, and Louvrecaire a Norman bailiff.1 Algais and Louvrecaire left John's service, but Girard and his kindred came to England where sheriffdoms and castles awaited them; their enormities there have been revealed to all students of English history by the publication of the Gloucestershire Plea roll of 1221, and may give us some idea of the indignation and misery caused by their rule in Touraine. It cannot be denied that if they were outcasts they were successful, much officialised outcasts, efficient soldiers and vigorous administrators.
Yet, if we think of the companions of a mercenary chief, it is clear that a prudent king would have kept the routiers at a safe distance, well outside the official circle. The company or ruta ? of warriors with their families, or, to use the offensive phrase of the great charter, their litters (sequelæ), fastened upon a countryside like locusts. They spared neither churches nor monasteries; and even large towns were not safe from their attack. Although they were more terrible when no strong king could bind them to his interests and exercise some sort of control over them, their licence was fortunately a frequent cause of their undoing. As each band was separately organised under
1. That Lupescar was a bailiff is clear from the writs addressed to him, e.g., Rot. Norm., 103, 105; Rot. Pat., 24b, 25b, and especially 32b, but the nature and extent of his duties are not clearly defined.
2. So called in John's letter to the ruta of Martin Algais, Rot. Pat., 20b.
3. For a strange and confused tradition of an attack by the routiers upon Poitiers, see Lecointre-Dupont in Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de l'Ouest, 1845, xii, 117-119, 209–216, and the authorities discussed there.
rival chiefs who had no interests in common,' they did not form any coalition sufficiently durable to be dangerous. They roused against them, if all other restraints failed, the irresistible strength of popular desperation, such as inspired the sworn associations which were organised by the carpenter of Puy-en-Velay about 1182.2 Even if they were in the service of a great king like Richard, they were none the less regarded as feræ naturæ. For example, after the truce of 1199, when Mercadier and his troop were on their way southwards from Normandy, they were attacked by the vassals of Philip Augustus and suffered much loss. 3 It is significant that King John had to bind his Norman barons with an oath to defend and maintain the hated Louvrecaire while he was in the royal service, and to insist in return that the mercenary should refrain from acts of annoyance and damage to the men and lands of his own subjects. 4
The routiers undoubtedly did much to deprive the Norman wars of any national character that they may have possessed. They were detested by barons, clergy, towns and peasants. “Do you know,” asks the Marshal's biographer, “why King John was unable to keep the love of his people? It was because Louvrecaire maltreated them, and pillaged them as though he were in an enemy's country." 5 One evil bred another, so that as the king lost the esteem of his subjects the mercenaries gradually became the mainstay of his strength. In 1204 they held the most important posts in the defence of his dominions.
1. Mercadier was murdered in the streets of Bordeaux by a follower of Brandin, April 10th, 1200 (Howden, iv, 114; cf. Richard, Comtes de Poitou, ii, 370–1).
2. Anonymous of Laon, ed. Cartellieri, pp. 37–40; Luchaire, la Société française, pp. 13 seqq.
3. Howden, iv, 80. King Philip repudiated the act.
4. See the letter of November 7th, 1203—a critical period—in Rot. Pat., 35b.
John of Préaux seems to have been the special object of Louvrecaire's attentions.
5. Guill. le Maréchal, ii, 171.