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the dry and meagre summaries of the count's rights which sometimes appear in the earlier charters, 1

. The records of one or two episodes are available to give precision to the difference between the power of the counts in the well-farmed demesne of Poitou and in the independent lordships on its borders. The county of Angoulême? lay across the route between Poitiers and Bordeaux, and seriously hampered the authority of Richard, as count of Poitou and duke of Aquitaine. Its four hundred parishes were divided among about thirty-one castellania with Angoulême at their head. These castles, some of which

. claimed Charles the Great as their founder, guarded especially the valley of the Charente and the approaches from Poitou; and after the quarrel between Henry II and Louis VII broke out, proved most valuable allies to the French king. It seems to have been Richard's policy to pit the house of Lusignan against the counts of Angoulême, in a constant endeavour to wear away this obstacle set in the very heart of his dominions. He was so far successful that, as a result of almost unceasing warfare, a large part of the lower county, in the valley of the Charente, became dependent upon him. The lord of Cognac and Merpins deserted early and did homage to Henry 113 —Richard married the heiress of Cognac to his bastard son--and from his fief the whole county could be, and more than

1. These rights are well described in a charter of Richard I's in favour of Pierre Bertin, to whom he confirmed land at Andilly “ita quod 'homines de villa et ad dominium vel baillias ville pertinentes, cuius cunque officii sint de consuetudinibus et serviciis que nobus reddere solebant, nemini de cetero reddere, etc.” Peter is to follow 'in expedi. tionibus et exercitibus.' (Archives historiques du Poitou, vii, pp. 154–5.)

2. Boissonade, Quomodo comites Engolismenses erga reges Angliae et Franciae se gesserint (Engolismae, 1893). See also an article by the same writer in Annales du Midi (1895), vii, p. 275.

3. After the conquest of Poitou by Alfonse of Poitiers, the question aroso whether Cognac belonged to Poitiers or to Angoulême. The story, 28 it was known in 1242, is told in the manuscript of accounts (Archives historiques du Poitou, iv, pp. 21, 22).

once was, overrun. Still the counts succeeded in asserting their independence, and paid direct homage to the king of France. 1 Then came the diplomatic revolution of the year 1200. John suddenly deserted his allies of Lusignan, and bound himself by marriage to Ademar of Angoulême. Ademar died at Limoges in the summer of 1202, while he was trying to get together an alliance in John's favour, and John entered upon the inheritance of his 'very dear father.' Then we see the familiar machinery at work: the men of the county are placed under the direction of the seneschal of Poitou, and in due course a special seneschal is appointed ;3 the castles are handed over, Philip the bastard being bought out in Cognac, Merpins and Jarnac;+ the royal writs direct the payments of money of Angoulême as of Norman or English money;5 the seneschal performs the usual duties, leads the royal servants, provisions the castles, pays the soldiers, guards captives, treats for peace, puts fiefs under the ban. In return royal privileges are showered upon the county, and especially upon the citizens of Angoulême, for Philip of France was also bidding for their favour, and the bribe had to be large—the right to a mayor and commune on the model of Rouen, then, a few months later, on the model of Rochelle.6

1. Boissonade, pp. 8, 9. Ademar did homage to Philip in 1194, and also after Richard's death.

2. Rot. Pat., 13, June 23, 1202.

3. Bartholomew 'de Podio' first appears as seneschal on the Patent Rolls in 1214 (116b) though he was in John's service from the outset. After the city of Angoulême received its commune, Bartholomew became mayor. La Marche apparently had been for a time in Ademar's possession; he had claims through his mother. Braudin was made seneschal of La Marche in July, 1202 (Rot. Pat., 14b).

4. Boissonade, p. 15. Cognac was entrusted later to Robert of Turn. ham, and Merpins to William le Queu.

5. Rot. Norm., p. 54, June (July ?) 14, 1202 : ‘preceptum est Barth. de Podio quod reddat magistro P. Rosinnoil x. li. Engol. monete que expendit in servicio domini Regis ibi.'

6. Rot. Pat., pp. 29, 48. Boissonade, p. 16.


The later administration of Gascony corresponds, in a still more striking manner, to the system which was common to the various territories of King John and his father, Henry II. The regulation of appeals to the French parliament, with its careful distinction between lands administered by written law (ius scriptum) and lands administered by customary law, presupposes a definite system of courts and of law. The comprehensive duties of the constable of Bordeaux,' an official who appears first in 1253, corresponded to the duties of the Norman barons of the exchequer. The functions of the seneschal,

? as defined, for example, in 1313, probably went back to Angevin times. He was entrusted with the duchy for the honour and profit of the king of England; and he possessed full powers of appointment and dismissal of his subordinates, of expenditure, and subject to the advice of the barons and communities, of levying taxation. Finally, the great inquiry made by Edward I in 1273,-itself contemporary with the English inquests recorded upon the Hundred rolls-recalls the famous measures of Henry II in 1166 and 1172 and the still earlier inquest made by the Norman King Roger of Sicily."

The forms and practices common to all Angevin administration did not differ materially from those which were produced in other feudal states with Frankish traditions.


1. Langlois, Textes relatifs à l'histoire du Parlement (Paris, 1888), pp. 130–135.

2. Bémont, Rôles Gascons, vol. i, Supplement. The Gascon rolls naturally reveal a still more elaborate government. Cf. Bémont in Revue historique (1877), iv, pp. 261-5.

3. The abbé Tauzin in Revue de Gascogne (1891), xxxii, 152. For the various seneschals, see Bémont, Rôles Gascons, I, Sup., cxx seq.

4. Martial and Delpit on the Wolfenbüttel manuscripts, in Notices et extraits des MSS., xiv, pt. 2, pp. 296–458. Bémont, in Rôles Gascons, iii, p. 111. For the South Italian Catalogus Baronum, seo Chalandon, Hist. de la domination normande en Italie et en Sicile (1907), i, p. vii. Haskins has shown that it belongs to Roger's reign (Eng. Hist. Rev., 1911, xxvi, pp. 657-661).

The facts that Anjou had been a mere border pagus, and that it was so easy to adapt its government to Angoulême or Gascony combine to prove that Henry II employed no very novel methods. His empire was in some ways like the present empire of India, where native states and the imperial government meet similar problems; King John's administration in Angoulême probably made as little change in the actual state of affairs as would the intervention of the Indian government in Mysore during a minority. But this criticism is in itself eulogy. For the first time since the days of Charles the Great, a common system of government had been imposed upon a great part of Western Europe. Henry II, using the methods to which he was accustomed, trained a civil service to use them also. His writs and letters controlled the payment of money or the course of business in all parts of his dominions whether he directed them from a hunting lodge in Northamptonshire or an Aquitanian fortress. The instruments were simple and reproduced on an imperial scale the economy of a manor—seneschal and bailiff, writ and inquest, castle and mercenary. They added little to statecraft and nothing to the theory of the state; they were powerless to resist for any length of time the racial or economic tendencies of the age. Yet under their direction local custom became articulate and the many-sided activities of society were protected; while, at the same time stress was laid upon the intellectual element in law and government, upon the power of a strong ruler to change law and adapt the means of government to ends. For example, in spite of his general observance of local customs and tradition, it is clear that Henry II revised the rules of succession throughout his domains,

1. The habit of multiplying copies of charters provides instances of the relation between local and imperial government. Thus the seneschal of Anjou in 1201 certifies a copy of a charter granted by John to Marmoutier when the monks found it necessary to send the original to England. (Quoted by Delisle, Introduction, p. 181, note.)

partly on Angevin, partly on Norman lines. 1 This mingling of bold thinking with reverence for custom is, as one would expect, most marked in England, where the writings of the great lawyers and chroniclers who were in close touch with Henry, reproduce the terseness and precision of the king's official correspondence.2 But the administration of Normandy is almost as good an example of this quality, and was based, moreover, to an extent impossible in England, upon the general lines of government which have been brought into relief in this chapter.

To Normandy, then, we may now turn.

1. For spread of Angevin tenure by parage and of the apparently Norman rule of wardship, see Guilhiermoz, Essai sur l'origine de la noblesse, pp. 203–5; and Hallam, Middle Ages (8th ed., 1841), i, 128, note. See also next chapter for these and other instances of legislation.

2. The similarity has been noticed by M. Delisle. It is sufficient to recall the Tractatus de Legibus Angliae, parts of the Dialogus de Scaccario, the chronicler known as Benedict of Peterborough, Roger of Howden, Ralph dean of St. Paul's, and, in a somewhat different way, Gerald of Wales. For the close connection between the custumal and administration in Normandy, see Coville, Les états de Normandie (Paris, 1894), p. 22; and the next chapter.

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