« PreviousContinue »
six in number, each received sixteen shillings in money of Tours." 1
I do not intend to follow the course of the war in Touraine and Poitou. It is true that, as the claim to Normandy was not given up till 1259, later hostilities always had the recovery of the duchy as one of their objectives. But in reality the fall of Chinon and Loches in the year 1205 opened a fresh chapter in the history of the Angevin empire, a chapter which was not closed until the middle of the fifteenth century with the defeat of the earl of Shrewsbury at Castillon.2 During the greater part of this period Normandy was firmly annexed to the royal demesne of France, and was by no means a continuous scene of strife.
During the siege of Rouen King Philip, by receiving the homage of the count of Périgord,3 had signified that the war would be resumed in Aquitaine, and John decided to meet him there. Normandy went the way of the Vexin and Evreux, and was added to Philip's demesne. The king of France was able from the first, in fact, to play off the northern against the southern duchy by making Normandy the centre of preparations for an attack on England. This project had been in Philip's thoughts in
1. Normanniae nova chronica, in Mém. de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie (1850), xviii, 15-16. It would appear from this division that the £13. 14s. were sterling money, which was worth about four times as much as money of Tours, and that the canons were paid twice a year, at Easter and Michaelmas. Both sterling money and money of Tours had legal currency in Normandy according to the ordinance of Philip Augustus. See Delisle in Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes, x,
2. The most important texts are the Gascon rolls and the proceedings of the Parlement of Paris. The former are now accessible in Bémont's classical edition. A valuable selection from the latter may be found in Langlois, Textes relatifs à l'histoire du Parlement (1888).
3. Actes, nos. 821-4.
1193, and occupied his mind continually after the occupation of Rouen. In 1204-5 circumstances were not unfavourable to the enterprise, and there is evidence that arrangements were made. The quarrels which had divided the princes of the low countries between Normandy and the Rhine were partially settled, and Philip could hope to combine some of them against England. The natural ally of John in such a crisis was the count of Flanders, but the count was engaged in a greater warfare. He had been elected emperor of the Byzantine east at midnight on May 9th, 1204, when Philip Augustus was intriguing with the men of Falaise; he had been led to the church of Saint Sophia, clad in the imperial robes, about the same day as that on which Philip had met the victorious Bretons at Caen. The western emperor was nearer to John, but was not more able to help; he appears to have kept in touch with his uncle, but done nothing more. In February, 1205, the probability of an invasion of England was explicitly announced at Vernon, where Philip met Renaud of Dammartin, the count of Boulogne, and the duke of Brabant. Renaud had been Philip's right hand during the invasion of Normandy, and was marked out in virtue of his command of the coast and his English possessions, as the leader of any attack upon England. The duke of Brabant and he had married sisters. Renaud had married the heiress of Boulogne, and, with Philip's sanction, had secured the county; but Henry of Louvain, the duke, had financial claims upon the county also. Hence the brothers
1. See especially Coggeshall, pp. 147-8, for the mission of the bishop of London (above, p. 382), the wretched state of Otto, and the desertion of Henry of Brabant. The chief German authorities are referred to by Lehmann, Johann ohne Land, pp. 254-5. John's letter to the men of Köln (Rot. Pat., 40b) illustrates Otto's difficulties; and compare this entry of December 5, 1204 (ibid, 48), to the barons of the exchequer : "Mandamus vobis quod cum dominus Cantuariensis Archiepiscopus reddiderit nobis tria milia marcarum quas recepit ad opus nepotis nostri Regis Othonis tunc inde quietus sit."
in-law had quarrelled. Early in 1205 they were reconciled, and clauses in the deed of reconciliation which was drawn up at Vernon, provided for a joint attack upon England for the recovery of their English lands.2 They might expect to be joined by others who had been deprived of English revenues as a result of the separation of England from Normandy.
John and his advisers passed the year which followed the fall of Rouen in much perplexity. The contemporary writers describe a period of jarring counsels, of suspicion and personal rivalries. It is clear that the archbishop of Canterbury suspected those who, like the Marshal, had most to gain from peace and feared lest they should allow the king to acquiesce too readily in the loss of Normandy. The Marshal's biographer states that the archbishop went so far as to warn the king of France that the Marshal, who was again sent to France in the spring of 1205, had not full powers to treat. Colour was given to the suspicion under which the Marshal fell at this time by his homage to King Philip for his Norman lands-the year of waiting being over. John and the archbishop could not appreciate the Marshal's moral code; and painful interviews occurred between the king and this prominent vassal after the latter's return. These interviews took place at
1. The important fact was Henry of Louvain's change of policy at this time; first in joining Philip of Swabia against Otto, secondly in being reconciled to Renaud of Boulogne. Malo, Renaud de Dammartin, pp. 81-3; Smets, Henri 1, duc de Brabant, pp. 109-15; Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique, i, 208.
2. Edited by Malo, op. cit, p. 273, and often elsewhere (Delisle, Actes de Philippe Auguste, no. 910, p. 209). Its importance was seized by Coggeshall, pp. 148-9.
3. Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 178 et seqq. This private mission must have been undertaken between April and the end of May, 1205. The Marshal was in England at the beginning of June, for he was with John in the neighbourhood of Portsmouth (Coggeshall, p. 152). The Patent Rolls for the years 1204-1206 are unfortunately meagre and badly arranged.
4. Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 178.
Portsmouth, where the king was gathering ships and men with a view to the war in Poitou.
To this expedition both the Marshal and the archbishop were opposed. It was well known that the count of Boulogne intended to invade England. He would naturally seize the opportunity given by John's absence, when the country was depleted of a large army. Moreover the Marshal had brought back from Normandy a lively sense of Philip's power, of the size of his armies, and the thoroughness of his occupation. He and others pointed out all these things to the king, and the archbishop, to whom John turned for advice, joined in their view. After a brief voyage in the Channel, during which the argument was continued, the king surrendered and the large fleet was dispersed. This was in June, 1205, a month before the archbishop died. He was the greatest survivor of Henry II's reign and had been found watchful and cautious-perhaps over-suspicious-to the last.
It was doubtless wise to postpone the expedition. The error had been committed in 1204, when John's return in force to Normandy had been so unwarrantably delayed. But, although the king's policy had been weak abroad, there had been no hesitation at home, and during these years England made an imposing demonstration of unity and wealth. Across the Channel Angevin power was undermined by provincial jealousies, by the scandal of Arthur's disappearance, and by the tendency of all feudal interests to rally to a strong suzerain against an unsatisfactory lord. In England the mere threat of invasion thrilled all men to resistance. Ten years of John's rule were still required to break down for a time the sense of unity. In April of 1205 the country was organised for defence. Every group of nine knights was to equip a tenth. The population was formed into a vast sworn commune, in which every male of twelve years of age and
1. Coggeshall, pp. 152, 153; Wendover, ii, 9-10; Guillaume le Maréchal, iii, 182, and notes.
upwards was to bear arms. The hundreds and shires, and the cities and boroughs were placed under a hierarchy of constables for the arranging of this host, and the whole of England was divided into six districts under commissioners who had the duty of supervising the equipment and the choice of the knights. At the same time, the preparations which had gradually been made since the beginning of the year 1204 for an expedition over sea, could now be diverted, if necessary, to the defence of the kingdom. The traders and fishermen of the ports had been busy in providing their quotas of ships for the fleet which gathered at Portsmouth. Even distant Galloway had contributed.2 And the Cinque Ports were, on account of their closer organisation, always at the call of the government.3
During John's reign the tension was so great that the defence of the kingdom was hardly distinguished from enterprises abroad. For the first time in English history since the Conquest, war with France involved the constant possibility of invasion. The king of England was set upon the recovery of his lost possessions, the king of France upon carrying his victories across the Channel. In 1205 the danger of invasion was sufficient to keep John at home. In 1206 he was able to leave for Poitou, and to introduce Englishmen (Angligena) to new scenes of warfare. The situation was emphasised in 1207, when a thirteenth was levied upon the property of clergy and laity for the double purpose of defending the kingdom and recovering the
1. Rot. Pat., 55; Stubbs' Constitutional History, i, 632-3, and note. It is worthy of notice that the king had rearranged the administration of the shires in the previous autumn, and placed many of them under two or more bailiffs instead of a sheriff. See Rot. Pat., 46b-47.
2. Rot. Pat., 51, for the galiae of Thomas of Galloway.
3. On January 30, 1204, John bade the barons of the Cinque Ports send twelve men from each port to confer with the archbishop and others on the business of the king (Rot. Pat., 38b).
4. Wendover speaks of their prowess (ii, 14). Many men had gone from England in 1205 (Coggeshall, pp. 153-4). For instances of fines "ut milites non transfretent in Pictaviam," see Rot. de Fin., 366.