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palisade which King Richard had built across the stream above the Isle was broken down by strong swimmers, and a bridge of boats, which was protected by lofty wooden towers erected upon a platform of four broad ships, was constructed below the town. Andeli and Château Gaillard were thus cut off from the north. The Normans made one attempt to break down Philip's barrier. It was made by night. A troop of mercenaries attacked the camp at Bernières, while a fleet of boats was brought up stream. But the plan miscarried. The mercenaries destroyed the camp, but were unable to penetrate further. The French were roused on both sides of the river and repelled from the bridge the boats which the coming of dawn revealed. Soon afterwards the Isle and town surrendered. The investment of the Rock was commenced, and the fall of Radepont at the end of September cut off all hope of speedy relief.

For three months Philip was content to draw double lines of circumvallation and to await results. His headquarters were probably at Gaillon,' while his troops lay within the lines. In January the construction of great siege engines and towers began, and after a series of fierce assaults, in the course of which Philip resorted to every contrivance of which he was master, the castle surrendered early in March.

Rigord states that the garrison of Radepont had consisted of twenty knights, one hundred men-at-arms and thirty balistarii, and that at Château Gaillard thirty-six knights were captured and four slain.2 Radepont was an important stronghold, and it is probably not far from the truth to conclude, as these figures suggest, that a garrison of double the size would be sufficient to defend the Rock.

1. Cf. Philippid, 1. vii, v. 576 :

Temporis id circa rex e Gaillone profectus

Venerat Andelii castrum visurus." But of course he did not stay in the neighbourhood all the time. See the itinerary in the Actes, p. cvi.

2. Delaborde, i, 159.

On this computation we may assume that besides the forty knights about two hundred servientes, and about sixty engineers and crossbowmen, or three hundred in all, had co-operated with the constable of Chester. At the beginning of the siege the place had also contained several hundred refugees, but Roger de Laci gradually dismissed all non-combatants. The last batch, over four hundred in number, were refused a passage by the French in the expectation that the constable would be forced to feed them and so to reduce his supplies. William the Breton suggests that many of them were friends and relations of those within the walls. But the constable and garrison were obdurate, and the story is known to all how the unfortunates lived through the winter in the caves and hollows of the Rock, victims of stray darts and stones, starved by cold and hunger. When Philip at length took pity upon them and gave them food, nearly all died.

The way was now cleared, and the king entered Normandy on May 2nd, the Sunday after Easter. He struck straight at the castles which protected Caen. After the fall of Château Gaillard the Normans had withdrawn from the Seine valley above Rouen and from the Risle.3 Pont de l'Arche, Roche Orival,4 Neubourg, Moulineaux and Montfort were either destroyed or surrendered about this time. Philip decided to follow up the Normans as they retired and to capture Falaise and Caen. It is probable, also, that he knew from deserters how disaffected Falaise was," and that he suspected the treacherous leanings of Louvrecaire. Arques and Verneuil, on the contrary, were both strong and steadfast; and Philip had already experienced more than once the difficulties which accompanied an attack upon Rouen. A still more urgent

1. William the Breton's Chronicle, Ibid, i, 217. 2. Ibid, i, 220, and Rigord (i, 160). 3. Ibid, ii, 208. 4. i.e., Château Fouet; see Round, in Eng. Hist. Rev. (xix, 148). 5. For such a deserter and the feeling at Falaise, see the Querimoniae Normannorum, nos. 431, 460, 462, etc.


reason for an invasion of central Normandy was that he could rely upon the co-operation of his Breton allies. Therefore, leaving Arques, Rouen and Verneuil for the present upon either hand, he marched westwards.

It is probable that the king took a road north of Verneuil through Lire, where he could cross the Risle. On May 7th he was at Argentan.' This place had been entrusted to Roger of Gouy, a Flemish knight, who in his youth had joined the following of the young King Henry and had been a close companion of William the Marshal. He was known to be a brave warrior, but somewhat too fond of gain.2 Nothing is known of the fate of Argentan, but as Roger was afterwards for a time in Philip's service, we may presume that the place had surrendered voluntarily. The king passed on to Falaise. The seneschal had left Louvrecaire in charge, but the famous mercenary made no defence. The townsmen were afraid of the damage and inconveniences which a siege entailed, and after seven days the town and its noble fortress were surrendered. The Bessin was at Philip's feet. The citizens of Caen had already offered to surrender, and William the Breton raises a note of exultation over the addition of the Norman capital, second only to Paris, set by fair streams among fruitful fields, adorned with churches and rich in merchandise, to the domain of his master.3 Bayeux and the other cities of central Normandy surrendered in their turn. William Crassus, whose unpopularity must help to


1. Actes, no. 813, ed. p. 507. Here Geoffrey of Martel offered his services and undertook to bring over to Philip the barons of Anjou and Poitou.

2. Roger of Gouy received Argentan on October 1, 1203 (Rot. Norm., 105–6). He gave up his nephew to John as a hostage (Rot. de Lib., 69). Although he was afterwards well known in England, he was forced for a time to abjure the realm (June, 1204, Rot. Pat., 43b). On his character, see Guillame le Maréchal, iii, 43.

3. Delaborde, ii, 211–2. There may have been some resistance for Philip took some persons prisoner here (Rot. Pat., 45b).

explain Philip's rapid success, took refuge in Rouen,' and thither the king followed him, by way of Saint-Pierre-surDive and Lisieux. 2 The investment of the city began before the end of the month.3

Before he left Caen Philip had been joined by Guy of Thouars, the count of Brittany, and a large force of Bretons. They were fresh from the capture of MontSaint-Michel and Avranches. The situation upon the Breton frontier at the beginning of May was a curious one. The great abbey of the Mount, which for centuries had been a reconciling power between Bretons and Normans, and through whose territories the Bretons had passed in their journeys to and from the fair of Montmartin, had been turned by John into a royal fortress. It was wrapped in new defences of wood and stone, and owed obedience to the bailiff of the Côtentin. As late as the first of May its tenants were summoned by the king of England to provide an aid for its defence. The whole district was organised to resist invasion. In the islands, out in the bay, the men of Peter of Préaux were on their guard against hostile ships. In Pontorson the earl of Salisbury barred the passage of the Couesnon. Behind him, in Avranches and Saint-James-de-Beuvron, the earl of Chester probably had his place as viscount of the Avranchin. 6 The latter's feelings at this time cannot have been pleasant. He had much to lose in Normandy, lands

1. He was one of the few persons excepted from the terms of the capitulation at Rouen (Teulet, Layettes, i, 250, no. 716).

2. Actes, nos. 816–818, pp. 185-6.

3. Ibid, no. 821, p. 187: “in castris ante Rothomagum, anno 1204, mense maio."

4. Rot. Scacc., ii, 547; Rot. Norm., 117, 120. On the social importance of Mont-Saint-Michel, compare the remarks of Courson, Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Redon (Coll. des doc. ined), p. liii.

5. Rot. Pat., 41b.

6. The earl of Salisbury had received Pontorson in exchange for other lands, according to Rot. Norm., 97. On 31st May, 1203, the earl of Chester had been entrusted with the castle of Avranches (Rot. Pat., 30) but it is uncertain whether he still held it. Brice the chamberlain had been placed in Mortain and Tenchebrai (ibid, 346, 35).

in the Bessin and the Avranchin, and the rich honour of Saint-Sever above the Vau de Vire. A few years earlier he had, as the husband of Constance of Brittany, been able to call himself the duke of Brittany. He had imprisoned his troublesome and unwilling wife in this very castle of Saint-James. Now he was waiting for the man who had robbed him, and this man had all Brittany at his back. Only one consoling hope may have sustained the earl. Far away in Yorkshire there stretched the great honour of Richmond. It was almost an integral part of the duchy of Brittany. There was no man who had such a claim on Richmond as he had, for Guy of Thouars was a rebel, Arthur was out of the way, and his sister Eleanor was shut up at Corfe. We will hope that such thoughts as these encouraged Earl Randle. In any case Richmond was to be his reward.1

Guy of Thouars also must have had anxious thoughts. John had recognised him as count of Brittany, and he ran some risk in joining Philip. If Arthur were alive or if Eleanor escaped, his own daughter had no claim to succeed to Constance. As he led the Bretons, mad with desire to avenge the murder of their count, Guy must have been a better man than we think if he did not hope that Arthur was really dead.

The Bretons had no doubtful thoughts. They had a long list of injuries to avenge, and their minds were full of recent memories of John's brutal mercenaries and the loss of the relics of Saint Samson. They moved quickly when they heard of Philip's advance. Those who knew the bay of Saint-Michael and the nature of the tides, told them that they had only four days in which safely to attack the Mount. The gate was forced, and the whole

1. Rot. Pat., 50. Randle styles himself duke of Brittany in a charter for the canons of Montmorel, issued at Saint-James (Round, Calendar, no. 786, p. 284). The date is uncertain, but must be between 1188 and 1204. The style 'duke of Brittany' was unusual at this period.

2. William the Breton, ed. Delaborde, i, 220–21; A. de la Borderie, Histoire de Bretagne, iii, 293.

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