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A chronicler of Limoges refers to their defeat at Noaillé in that year as a deed which first broke the power of the king of England in Aquitaine. John spared no effort to retain their services, and the peculiar privileges of the bands must have caused much annoyance to the decent vassal who was limited at all points by duty to his lord. Their booty was specially protected and very precious booty it often was, of treasures which no good Christian would dare to take. They kept their own prisoners.3 Castles and lands were given to their leaders. Both Mercadier and Louvrecaire became, so far as lands went, barons of Aquitaine : the former received from Richard the land of Ademar of Beynac in Périgord;4 and Louvrecaire was put by John in the temporary possession of fiefs in Gascony.5 It would be tedious to collect the records of grants in land and money which were showered upon Algais, Brandin, Girard of Athée and the rest. Some gloomy satisfaction may be derived from the thought that John found pleasure in their company. There is probably much truth in the tactful letter which he wrote to the troop of Martin Algais after their leader's capture; he had, he says, never been so grieved by anything; he thought more highly of Martin's service than of the service of any other man.
Many questions about the mercenaries remain un
1. Chronicle of Saint Martin of Limoges in Historiens de France, xviii, 239, “et sic brachium Regis Angliae in Aquitania primo con. fractum.”
2. e.g., Rot. Pat., 216, 24a.
3. e.9., Ibid., 15. Robert of Vieuxpont to deliver to Hugh of Gournai all the French prisoners taken in war, except those taken by Algais.
4. Géraud in Bibliothèque, iii, 424, 444; Richard, Comtes de Poitou, ii, 321.
5. Rot. Pat., 30, May 27th, 1203 : "delecto et fideli nostro Lupescar commisimus Riberiac et Albeterram ad sustentandum se in servicio nostro quousque ei ceteram gwarisionem assignaverimus." 6. Ibid.,
answered. We should like to know something about the size of their companies, whether they had fixed wages, the nature of their life in common and of its rough rules. It would be interesting to learn the composition of that
army” which Mercadier boasted that he had led for King Richard. But we have to be content with the generalisations of hostile chroniclers. Of the leaders themselves much more is known. Philip Augustus depended largely upon a certain Cadoc, the rival of Mercadier in popular estimation.2 Cadoc first came into prominence in 1196, when he defended Gaillon successfully against Richard. He was afterwards constable of this fortress, which was ultimately granted to him in full ownership together with the neighbouring Norman fief of Tosny. He joined in the siege of Chateau Gaillard in 1203, and helped to take Chinon in 1205. Under the French administration of the duchy he became bailiff of Pont-Audemer, and was an imposing and much hated figure in Norman politics for many years. On the Angevin side the most striking adventurers were Mercadier and, in John's reign, Louvrecaire. Louvrecaire, who was in every way detestable, fought for many masters. He deserted John after surrendering Falaise in 1204. Mercadier was of a nobler type, a fit companion for the king with whose history his life is bound up. Towards the end of his life he described his relations with Richard in a charter which he issued on behalf of some monks in Périgord. He refers to himself
1. According to William the Breton, Phil., lib. vii, 11. 396–398 (Delaborde, ii, 192), Cadoc's band received £1000 a day
numerosaque rupta Cadoci, Cui rex quotidie soli pro seque suisque
Libras mille dabat," but it is impossible to believe this. It is true, however, that very large grants to Cadoc, one for £4400 in Angevin money, are recorded in the accounts of Philip Augustus.
2. Cf. the anonymous French chronicle in Historiens de France, xxiv, part ii, p. 738.
3. Delisle, ibid., pp. 130*-133*; and the authorities there given.
as the famulus of the king: "I fought for him with loyalty and strenuously, never opposed to his will, prompt in obedience to his commands; and in consequence of this service I gained his esteem and was placed in command of his army."1 He had been with Richard in the Holy Land, and was at this time about to enter upon the strenuous conflicts which filled the last three years of the king's reign. During this period he captured the bishop of Beauvais, invaded Brittany, shared in the victory at the bridge of Gisors, plundered Abbeville. His co-operation in the plans of Richard's new town at Andeli was commemorated by the name of the bridge Makade; his physician attended Richard at Chalus, and he is said to have shown his grief at Richard's death by the torture of the man who killed him. After a year's active service with the old Queen Eleanor he was murdered at Bordeaux on Easter Monday in the year 1200.
In the course of his faithful service, Mercadier caused great suffering and destruction. Indeed nothing shows how precarious and artificial was the unity of the Angevin empire more than the fact that such men as he was were required to hold it together, and were entrusted with important posts in the civil and military administration of its various parts. The history of these years enables us to understand still more clearly why in the century which followed, the struggle for constitutional reforms in England was bound up at every point with a hatred of all alien influences.
Contemporaries were astonished that Henry II and his sons were able to bear the financial strain of their numerous
1. Géraud, in Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, iii, 444. For Mercadier's domain in Périgord, see above, p. 341.
2. This follows from Richard's letters of credit, dated Acre, August 3rd, 1191, addressed on behalf of Mercadier and others to a Pisan merchant. The letter was edited by Géraud in his article upon Philip of Dreux, the bishop of Beauvais, Bibliothèque, v, 36.
wars. The increase in enfeoffments was not accompanied by a proportionate increase in fighting power, yet with a restricted demesne the kings had to support an expensive army and an elaborate system of defences.
To some extent the call was met by Henry's careful inquisitions into his regalia, and by Richard's high farming of the public offices, but these methods of raising the revenue were in the nature of the case limited, and were neutralised or abused by the extravagance and recklessness of Richard and John.3 The true answer to the problem is, as Gerald of Wales points out, that the extraordinary revenue (accidentia) was vastly increased during the second half of the twelfth century. The growth of a settled and industrious population, protected by the law in town and country, had multiplied these indirect proceeds of the land which were accessible to the government; if rents were inelastic, loans, tallages, and fines - were capable of vast extension.
Yet, as the struggle with Philip Augustus went on, it
1. Giraldus Cambrensis, De principis instructione in Opera, viii, 316 : “quaeri ergo potest ab aliquo . . . qualiter rex Henricus secundus et ejus filii tot inter werras tantis thesauris abundant. Ad quae ratio reddi poterit, quia quod minus habebant in redditibus, totum in accidentibus, plus in accessoriis quam principalibus confidentes, supplere curabant."
2. Richard's policy was systematic and extended to all his dominions ; cf. Howden, iii, 267.
3. John's unscrupulousness may be illustrated by the grant to William of Préaux of the Lieuvin, April 22nd, 1202. William had lent money to the king, who in order to pay his debt gave him the bailiwick at double the usual farm (duplicando solitam firmam) and ordered the barons of the exchequer to compute the farm to him until the debt was paid (Rot. Norm., 89, 90).
4. The fine was in the majority of cases a payment for a licence, and the opportunity for selling licences increased as the complexity and interdependence of social relations increased. In itself a legitimate tax upon the growing activities of feudal society, the fine was subject to easy yet almost incredible abuse by John. Delisle, in Bibliothèque, xiii, 112; McKechnie, Magna Carta, p. 532.
became clear that Normandy was unable to maintain the defence of her frontiers without English aid. The hardest fighting began in 1194, and in 1194 the duchy was already in debt. The money which had been drawn off for the Crusade did not come back, but the returned Crusaders had to redeem from neighbour, monastery or Jew the lands which they had pledged before their departure. Moreover, the king's ransom saddled Normandy with her share in a great public debt: in the year 1194–5 the German envoys received £16,000 from the financiers of the duchy. The redemption of this debt went on slowly; even in 1203 some Norman barons owed instalments of their contribution. Then in 1194 the war expenditure began, including vast outlays upon men and fortresses. According to one account which survives from this period, the seneschal alone expended over £7,000 in less than eighteen months, in wages, repairs and incidental expenses, 4 and the seneschal's financial disbursements, though comprehensive, met only a small part of the annual call upon Normandy.
Before 1198 was over, nearly £50,000 were spent upon the fortifications at Andeli 5 and its neighbourhood. It should be remembered, at the same time, that in 1193 King Philip had, as a result of his annexations, wrested the eastern bailiwicks from the
1. Compare Richard's letter from Acre, in Bibliothèque, V, 36 : “sciatis quod, cum quosdam fideles nostros pro negotiorum nostrorum opportunitate ad transmarinos partes remittendos duxerimus, nichil autem de proprio in hoc casu, secundum peregrinationis votum alienare possimus, dilecto nostro Jacobo de Jhota curam potestatemque commisimus."
2. Rot. Scacc., i, 136.
3. e.g., Rot. Norm., p. 74 A “rotulus Redemptionis” contained records of the payments made by the barons (Rot. Scacc., i, 128).
4. Guérin of Glapion's statement of accounts for 1200-1201 (Rot. Scacc., ii, 500).
5. Above, p. 303.