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The responsibility of the gaoler was a heavy one. In spite of all precautions, prisoners sometimes escaped, and their keepers had to meet the loss of their ransoms by the payment of large fines.
Connivance at escape was punished with death. When Hugh of Chaumont, an intimate follower of Philip Augustus, escaped in 1196 from Bonneville-sur-Touques, his keeper was hanged, and Robert of Roos, the bailiff, who was immediately responsible to the king for Hugh's safe keeping, had to pay the enormous fine of 1200 marks.2
A fair amount of evidence goes to prove that on his release a prisoner was often compelled to undertake that he would retire from the fighting line. In addition to the payment of a ransom he made a promise similar to that made by a knight on parole. In important cases homage was exacted; William of Scotland did homage to Henry II and Richard I to the emperor. More generally, however, the prisoner was simply expected to retire from the scene of warfare. The bishop of Beauvais, for example, was compelled to forswear secular warfare against fellow Christians ;5 Martin Algais, after his release, was transferred by John from Touraine to Gascony;less important people sometimes celebrated their release or sought to forget their sufferings by going on pilgrimage or taking the vows of a crusader. Thus Patrick of Chaworth
1. e.g., Rot. Scacc., i, 190. Thomas Portarius reddit compotum de £394. 9s. 6d. pro prisonibus evasis."
2. Howden, iv, 14, 15. For Robert of Roos, see Rot. Scacc., i, 233, and Stapleton, II, lxxvi, lxxvii.
3. For the parole, see Jordan Fantosme (ed. Howlett, Chronicles of Stephen, etc., iii, 358, 1. 1870) and Meyer, Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, p. xxxix, who points out that the parole was sometimes supplemented by the finding of sureties.
4. A legal parallel to this is the “homagium de pace servanda" or “hominium pro emendan"
5. Howden, iv, 94.
(Chaources) 1 a few months after his release in February,
1 1203, started for Compostella.2
The career of Gerard of Furnival illustrates the practices to which I have referred in the preceding pages. Gerard had been with Richard in the Holy Land, and was afterwards a trusted companion of John. He was one of John's tenants in the English honour of Tickhill,3 and received from him valuable grants in Normandy. In the fight at Mirebeau he had the good fortune to take as his prisoner Conan, the son of Guiomarc'h, viscount of Leon, one of the most important and intractable barons of Brittany.5 In accordance with the usual practice, the prisoner was handed over to the king. Soon afterwards Gerard felt a desire to revisit the scene of his adventures in the east, and decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He had more to remember than most men, for he had spoken face to face with Saladin himself. But the pilgrimage would cost money, and Gerard was already in debt to the king; he had recently brought the marriage of the heiress to a manor in Caux, in order to settle his son, Gerard the younger. This had cost 400 marks which had not been paid.' The king came to the rescue. He gave back the
1. A branch of the family of Chaources, now Sourches, in Maine, had long been Anglicised; see Round, The King's Serjeants and Officers of State (1911), pp. 291, 292.
2. Rot. Pat., 23, 24, 25
3. For Gerard's English lands as held by his son in 1212 see Red Book, ii, 491, 504, 592.
4. Of these, Conteville was the most important (Stapleton, II, clxii).
5. This was Guiomarc'h V. His father, Guiomarc'h IV, had been very energetic in his resistance to Henry II and Geoffrey. See Robert of Torigni, ed. Delisle, ii, 81, 83; Howden, ii, 192, and especially Borderie, Ilistoire de Bretagne, iii, 276, 279, 280.
6. Estoire de la Guerre Sainte (ed. G. Paris), 11. 11425, 11899. Paris speaks of Gerard as a French knight, taking his name from Fournival (Oise); and, according to Round, he had only settled in England in Richard's reign (English Historical Review, xviii, 476).
7. Rot. Pat., 15b. This manor, of Louvetot, was afterwards given by Philip Augustus to Odo Troussel (Cart. Norm., no. 106, p. 18).
prisoner whom Gerard had captured at Mirebeau and then bought him again for the amount of the debt. After all John allowed Gerard but a small share in the value of his prisoner, for when the ransom was arranged a year later the king demanded no less than £4,000 Angevin from Conan's Breton relatives.2
I have said that this episode illustrates the traffic in prisoners during these wars. It illustrates also the attraction of the crusade which was especially characteristic of this period, and cut across political obligations in the west. John had lost in this way his Flemish allies and his relatives, Geoffrey and Stephen of Perche. 3 In other words the alliance built up by Richard had been interrupted at its most important points. Moreover, the rumour of great intentions, and the magnetic energy of Innocent III decided men of all stations and from all parts of the Angevin empire to leave for the Holy Land or at least to satisfy their restlessness by a journey to Rome or Compostella. 4 No feeling of solidarity bound the Englishman to the Norman, or the Norman to the Poitevin. John inspired his followers with no certainty of victory; so that the interest and imagination of men were easily diverted by wider issues than the struggle between him and Philip. The thousands who did not go waited eagerly for news of those who went, and their minds were still fed by memories of the exhortations of the preachers. Hence,
1. Rot. Pat., 15b, Chinon, August 4th, 1202 2. Ibid, 33b.
3. Geoffrey count of Perche had married Matilda sister of Otto of Brunswick, and niece of John. He pledged his lands in March, 1202, and borrowed money from the Marshal, but died before he could set out (Rot. Pat., 7, 9b). He and his brother Stephen were at the head of a little group of crusaders from Perche. See Stapleton, II, lxxxv.
4. On the strength of feeling caused by the crusade between 1197 and 1204, see Bréhier, L'église et l'Orient au moyen âge (3rd ed., 1911), pp. 148–152; and the songs collected by Béclier and Aubry, in Les Chansons de Croisade (1909). Cf. also Bateson, Mediæval England, pp. 276, 277.
although we cannot estimate the material effects of such an intangible movement of the human spirit, we may be certain that it increased the isolation of John. The tendency towards a reliance on paid troops and upon a handful of advisers was increased.
His own sins were partly responsible for the difficulty in which John found himself, for after his separation from Hawisia of Gloucester and his marriage with Isabella of Angoulême, the pope had urged him to found a Cistercian monastery and to provide one hundred knights to defend the Holy Land for a year.! A few years later-when disaster had driven the advice home-John founded the abbey of Beaulieu in Hampshire, but it was throughout a harder matter to part with his knights. We do not hear of any attempt to obey Innocent, and although many men pledged their lands and got licence to depart on crusade or pilgrimage,2 John succeeded in dissuading some of his most useful officials from the immediate fulfilment of their vows. A papal letter of inquiry refers to the justiciar and six of John's intimates by name, who thus delayed. They were, John stated, so essential to him in the defence of his kingdom and the administration of justice that the loss of their services would be most serious. They also agreed that in such a stormy time it was their
1. See the papal letters for March 27th, 1202, in Potthast, no. 1650, Migne, Patrologia Latina, ccxiv, 972; Luchaire, Innocent 111: Les royautés vassales, p. 187.
2. The following crusaders and pilgrims are mentioned, among others, on the rolls. Reginald of Pavilli, of the Wiltshire branch of the house, who died on pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Rotuli Chartarum, 37b) ; Warin Fitz Gerold (ibid., 100); Henry de Puteac (Rot. Pat., 3b); Hugh, count of Saint-Pol (ibid., 4); Robert of Leaveland, warden of the Fleet (Rot. de Liberate, 25, 26); Henry of Longchamp, lord of Wilton in Herefordshire (Rot. Pat., 11b; Rot. de Liberate, 84); Gilbert of Minières (Rot. Pat., 30b, 33b). Philip, bishop of Durham, like the last-named, made a pilgrimage to Compostella. He followed the Bordeaux route : see Howden, iv, 157, 161, 174; Rot. Chart., 100b.
3. The letter is dated by Potthast, no. 1733, September 28th, 1202. It is printed in Patrologia Latina, ccxiv, 1088.
duty to remain, although the Bassets were eager to go if they could find the means, and the justiciar with Hugh Bardolf and William Brewer only desired to postpone the passage. These men
were, for the most part, employed in England; but a study of the Nornlan exchequer roll for 1203 suggests that in Normandy also John was tending to rely upon fewer men for the more important posts. I have described how the seneschalships of the empire were entrusted to mercenaries and upstarts. Within the duchy the numerous bailiwicks of Henry II's day were, at the same time, gradually formed into larger units. Richard of Fontenai, for example, was bailiff of Coutances, Vire and Mortain. It is interesting to note that the large bailiwicks created after 1204 point to a systematic adoption of this process by Philip. Another sign of the times was John's reliance upon Anglo-Normans rather than Normans. Robert Fitz-Walter and Saer de Quinci, who had held and surrendered Vaudreuil, were English barons. The constable of Chester defended Château-Gaillard, the earls of Salisbury and Chester Pontorson and Avranches. The castle of Neubourg, upon the border of Philip's conquests in the Evrecin, was guarded by a royal clerk, Robert of Pleshey, and his English band. 3 These were the men who with such well-tried Normans as Peter of Préaux, Richard of Villequier, Richard of Fontenai and William of Mortemer, with the seneschal William Crassus, and the mercenary Louvrecaire, were left by John to resist the king of France.
1. The others mentioned are William of Estouteville and Robert of Berkeley, who had got dispensations from the archbishop of Canterbury which the pope evidently regards with some suspicion.
2. Above, p. 338.
3. This seems to follow from a comparison of Rot. Norm., 101, with Rotulus Cancellarii 3 Joh., 15, 269.