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in the service of the state. And for a short time chivalry found a royal leader in Richard. His taste for music, literature and building must have appealed to his generation. His strength and courage made it possible to join his name without absurdity with those of the heroes of chivalry, with Alexander, that king who conquered Darius,' and with Charlemagne and Arthur.1 His captivity had made him doubly interesting: it was due, said William the Breton, no friend of his, to a kingliness which could not be hid. Under his guidance politics could be exciting and for a few years French and Norman were engaged as in a tournament. But with John all was changed, and the sympathy between the French and the . Normans was no longer suppressed. Political unity joined two peoples who already had the same speech, manners and ideas.2
After the annexation Normandy became a province. As a result of the separation England became a kingdom. The loss of Normandy hastened the twofold development of the English state. The king strengthened his position as the source of justice; the people, under the leadership of the baronage, gradually acquired the power of making the law.
It is now a commonplace with historians that the disaster of 1204 was the direct cause of the Great Charter. The greater barons, having surrendered their Norman lands were free to devote themselves to English affairs, while the less important men, amongst whom those of the north were conspicuous, denied that their feudal obligations extended any longer to service upon the continent, and insisted upon reforms at home. The change came none too soon, for during the later years of the twelfth century the attractions of the continental lands had given
1. See the song composed after Richard's death by Gaucelin Faidit, the son of a burgess of Uzerche, in Bibliothèque de l'école des chartes, i, 362.
2. Gaston Paris, La littérature Normande avant l'annexion, p. 53.
a serious shock to the growth of an English public opinion. For those intent upon knightly occupations England offered no delights, and even if the sons of the feudal gentry had held no property in Normandy they would, like the Marshal, have sought their fortunes across the Channel. The effect of primogeniture, however, had been to make the greater families as much at home in Normandy as in England. In the period which immediately succeeded the Conquest, the Norman kings had encouraged the division of Norman and English lands between different branches of the holder's family.2 The Conqueror applied this principle to his own family, when he left Normandy to Duke Robert and England to William Rufus. But Henry I had set aside this precedent, which does not appear to have been followed by many families. When his grandson declared that baronies were indivisible, he stereotyped a practice which seems to have been applied to those baronies which included fiefs in both countries no less than to those which were confined to England or Normandy.3 In consequence many baronial families
1. As the chamberlain of Tancarville genially remarked to the young Marshal, England was not a land for those who would go tourneying; it was fit only for vavasors and stay-at-homes. (Hist. de Guill. le Maréchal, 11. 1530-50.)
2. Stubbs, Constitutional History, i, 394.
3. This point is illustrated by a dispute between Henry of Tilly and his brother William, which was settled in 1200 (Rot. Norm., 8. Cf. 7, 42). William had disputed Henry's right to succeed to the English and Norman lands of his father and mother, but finally agreed to receive certain lands in England to be held of his brother by homage. This result shows that the estates as a whole were regarded as an inclusive barony, and that there was no question of parage. The question whether a succession was impartible or not was raised in this year in the case of William de Merle (Rot. Norm., 41; Rot. Chart., 76b): William gave £500 in Angevin money "pro habenda carta domini Regis de terris suis tam in Normannia quam in Anglia. Ita si terra ipsius tam in Normannia quam in Anglia nunquam partita fuit inter fratres vel antecessores suos, qui antiquitus fuerunt, inter quos terra illa partiri debuerit si partiri debuisset; quod ipse et heredes sui terram
grew up without feeling the force of any local ties, and the younger sons, having no hope of succeeding to their fathers' estates, roamed at large. In 1204 the earls of Chester and Warenne and Leicester, in spite of their noble patrimony in England, and great lords of the Welsh marches like the Marshal and William of Briouze, had in all probability spent the greater part of their lives out of England. Hence the contrasts between the rare ineffective protests against royal exactions before 1204 on the part of a few bishops and earls-protests which have been made to play far too important a part in our constitutional history and the outburst of indignation which began in 1213.
1. This was especially true of the earl of Leicester, who succeeded his father in 1191, and was the son of Petronilla of Grandmesnil.
2. e.g., the protest of the bishop of Lincoln in 1198. Above, p. 319.
illam habeant omnibus diebus vite sue sine particia." In the case of female succession the lands were, of course, divided. The chief instances are the division of the Giffard inheritance between the Marshal and Richard de Clare, earl of Hertford, in 1191 (Stapleton, II, cxxxviii, and John's confirmation in 1200, Rot. Chart., 47) and of the Trossebot inheritance in 1196 (Stapleton, II, lxxvii). In the former of these cases the Marshal received the Norman caput of the barony, and earl Richard the English. The other lands were divided between them. It is worthy of notice that after the separation of Normandy, the Marshal's son made a conditional grant of his Norman lands to his brother (Cart. Norm., no. 285; p. 43).
A curious case is mentioned in the Querimoniae Normannorum, no. 54. Nicholas Malesmains had, with royal consent, assigned his Norman and English lands to his two daughters respectively; after his death the bailiffs seized the Norman lands "pro custodia." John of Bruecort, whose son was betrothed to the heiress of the Norman property, bought the wardship, but before he had raised the money, the bailiffs seized the lands again, and afterwards only surrendered half, on the ground that the other half was held by the king as belonging to the heiress, who being in England had not made her peace with the king. This case is of special interest as relating to events which occurred some time after 1204. Nicholas Malesmains held some of the Tillières lands in England and Normandy. See below, p. 515.
At the same time, if the loss of Normandy led directly to the Great Charter, it also helped to establish the relation between the king and the common law which is a peculiarity of the medieval constitution of England. John was the first king of foreign stock to penetrate again and again into all parts of England and to leave his mark upon her local traditions. Under the guidance of his successors English law grew with a rapidity and comprehensiveness as no body of provincial custom could have done. The nation, united and self-contained, did not look beyond the king to any other source of justice. Their charter was interpreted in favour of the royal prerogative and of the authority of the courts. Process by royal writs continued to increase through the thirteenth century, and when the parliament threw up a barrier against this development, the king's council and the chancellor continued the work of the common law by providing equitable remedies for unforeseen abuses. It is curious to notice how powerless the barons and even the Commons were to direct the course of royal justice. The barons successfully withstood the influence of the canon law, but they could not check the royal courts. Parliament, with the help of the common lawyers, contrived to save cases of freehold from the encroachment of the council, but this was almost the limit of its success.1 The judicial supremacy of the crown was undoubtedly one of the main factors in the development of the English constitution. If judicial immunities, privileges of peerage and independent corporations had flourished in England instead of existing, so far as they did exist, upon sufferance; if, in other words, the king and the king's court had not remained supreme in the interpretation of the law, it is very unlikely that the English people would, from the thirteenth century onwards, have gradually secured the right to make the law. The separation from Normandy was largely responsible for this development. Had England been, not an independent kingdom, but the 1. Baldwin, in the American Historical Review (1910), xv, 748-9.
province of a larger empire, it is more than probable that she would have sought to establish her liberties by means of immunities and privileges, of class distinctions and estates.
If the loss of Normandy was a gain to the cause of constitutionalism, it occurred too late to take away the most serious disadvantage which the connection between England and Normandy had involved. Had the separation between the two countries, which followed the death of the Conqueror, been a permanent one, it may reasonably be supposed that the complete conquest of Ireland and of the Scottish Lowlands would only have been a question of time. The absorption of Henry I and his successors in Norman affairs, and especially in the wars with the kings of France, distracted them from this natural sequel to the conquest of England. Before 1204 only a very inadequate attempt to combine the various communities of the British Isles had been made. After that date the task was too difficult. John's thoughts turned more than ever to the project; but the anarchy of his later years, and the prolonged continental difficulties of Henry III made progress impossible. Edward I and his successors had to choose between a remnant of the Angevin inheritance and Ireland.1 They chose the former and left the Irish question to posterity.
Still wider issues of the events described in these pages might be pursued by the philosophical historian. The contest between Philip and the sons of Henry II provoked some of Innocent III's most far-reaching utterances. The Pope drew a clear distinction between feudal law and the higher code of right and wrong. His letters contain one of the earliest applications of the law of nature by what was, in the Middle Ages, the nearest approach to an international tribunal. Philip, on his side, fastened upon
1. Edward I had also to choose between Ireland and Scotland. 2. Above, p. 125. See Figgis, From Gerson to Grotius, pp. 4, 220. "As the greater part of this letter was embodied in the Decretal (II, i, 13) its principle became a part of the statute law of the Church."