Archive for September, 2014

Sunday 28 September 1264: peace talks

Sunday, September 28th, 2014
Harley 4380 f.189v

Another, rather later, party arrives by sea at Boulogne. From BL Harley 4380, Froissart, 1470-72.

The negotiations about the peace settlement and the future government of England began, at last, during this week. Simon de Montfort and Hugh Despenser wrote to the papal legate, explaining that they had come to Dover, ready to cross to France with nobles and prelates to meet the legate, but that they found his letters of safe conduct unsatisfactory. On 24 September, the papal legate was asked to provide letters of safe conduct for Peter de Montfort to come to him to explain in person the baronial proposals for a peace settlement. The legate sent more comprehensive safe conduct letters, and a baronial delegation, led by the bishop of London, came to Boulogne on 24 September, as did representatives of the Queen and the king’s son Edmund.

After some delay, the baronial party presented their proposals for arbiters to choose the council to govern England, to consist only of Englishmen. The two sides could not agree, and the talks broke up on 29 September. A further attempt at negotiation was hampered by a baronial party, including Henry of Almain, losing their documents, taken by the sailors who brought them to Boulogne. The Queen’s representatives said that she was outraged that the hostages, her son Edward and nephew Henry of Almain, had not been mentioned in the negotiations. The talks had achieved very little. (Heidemann, register, nos. 30-43; Foedera, I, I, 447; Close Rolls 1261-64, 410)

The countess of Flanders had written in August, expressing concern about the security of Flemish merchants. On 24 September, the governing council announced that, as the countess had taken English merchants under her protection in Flanders, Flemish merchants and merchandise would be protected in England. Merchants should store their goods in churches or religious houses until full tranquillity was restored. Although the authorities in the ports of East Anglia had been ordered not to let any ships cross the sea, Flemish merchants would be allowed to export their wool, hides and other merchandise.  (CPR 1258-66, 350, 371-2)

The government was still trying to maintain the army to defend against invasion, and to ensure that it remained on guard for at least another month. The sheriff of Oxford and Berkshire was to summon knights and free tenants to come with horses and arms, and to provide for the expenses of the mounted and foot soldiers until late October. (CPR 1258-66, 372)

Sunday 21 September 1264: fines and earls

Sunday, September 21st, 2014

At this time, for the most part the fine rolls record little except a series of payments for judicial writs, or for having an assize taken by a particular justice. On 18 September, there were two less common payments.

Thomas de Craven offered 5 marks not to be placed on assizes. Such fines were common in the 1250s, when Henry III had a deliberate policy of raising money by selling respites from knighthood, and exemptions from the burdensome obligations of serving on juries and inquests. The reformers of 1258 had objected to this practice, as it led to a shortage of qualified personnel in local administration. The sale of exemptions was then greatly reduced – there were none in 1258-59. Scott Waugh thought there were also none in 1263-64 (‘Reluctant knights and jurors’, Speculum, 58, (1983), table 2), but it would seem that the baronial government made at least one exception to the reformers’ usual policy. (CFR 1263-64, 195).

A plaque showing the arms of Roger de Quincy, in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey.

A thirteenth-century plaque showing the arms of Roger de Quincy, in the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey.

The other unusual fine was from the executors of Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester, who had died on 25 April. They had found pledges for the payment of the earl’s debts to the king. This would allow them to proceed with the distribution of his estates. The close rolls include an extent of de Quincy’s estates, valuing them at £385 a year, and instructions to provide dower of one-third of this amount for his widow Eleanor. De Quincy also had extensive estates in Scotland (he was constable of Scotland), but had not been particularly wealthy, as earls go, compared to incomes of £2,000 for Simon de Montfort, £2,500 for Roger Bigod, or £3,700 for Gilbert de Clare. (CFR 1263-64, 193; Close Rolls 1261-64, 407-8; Morris, The Bigod Earls of Norfolk, 70; R.D. Oram, ‘Quincy, Roger de’, ODNB) De Quincy had three daughters from his first marriage, but no sons, so the earldom lapsed. His oldest daughter, Margaret, had married William de Ferrers, earl of Derby, who had died in 1254. She was Ferrers’ second wife. The widow Eleanor was de Quincy’s third wife. She was William de Ferrers’ daughter by his first marriage. Margaret had thus been step-mother to her own future step-mother.

The defence of the coast was being maintained by the fleet at Sandwich, which needed provisions of grain and wine. Royal officials were ordered to take 300 quarters of wheat from nearby towns; it would be paid for in October. (Foedera, I, I, 447; CPR 1258-66, 349)

Some less serious matters also occupied the government this week. The king was making preparations for his annual celebration of the feast of St Edward (13 October), and ordered his goldsmith, William of Gloucester, to provide gold for the completion of the paintings in his chamber. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 366)

Sunday 14 September 1264: peace terms

Sunday, September 14th, 2014
Eudes Rigaud, archbishop of Rouen. It was proposed that he should have the deciding vote if negotiations were tied.

Eudes Rigaud, archbishop of Rouen. It was proposed that he should have the deciding vote if negotiations were tied.

On 11 September, Simon de Montfort’s government produced a set of proposals for negotiations about the ‘form of peace’, the settlement agreed after the baronial victory. Several draft proposals survive, showing various approaches to setting up an Anglo-French committee to rule on the future government of England. Initially, the negotiators, to meet Louis IX and the papal legate, were the bishops of Worcester and Winchester, and Peter de Montfort. They were to propose establishing a group of four to decide what changes to the peace were needed, if any; two would be English (the bishop of London and Hugh Despenser) and two French, with the archbishop of Rouen as arbiter in the event of disagreement. The proposals stipulated that England must be governed by natives, and that castles and offices must be held by natives. A few days later, the bishop of London, Hugh Despenser, and the archdeacon of Oxford were added to the baronial negotiating team. (Diplomatic Documents, I, 269-70; Foedera, I, I, 446-7; CPR 1258-66, 369-70)

A further set of proposals was then produced. The arbitrators were to rule on the election of councillors, who must be Englishmen. These councillors would rule on the appointment of officials, who must also be English, the observance of the charters and the control of the king’s expenditure. When agreement was reached, the royal hostages would be released. If the arbitration failed, then the terms of the Peace of Canterbury would remain in effect. (CPR 1258-66, 370-1)

One chronicler, Arnold fitz Thedmar, reported that the king and barons went to Dover about this time, for a meeting between the representatives of the king and barons on one side, and on the other the foreigners whom the Queen had paid to invade England. Then Hugh Despenser, Peter de Montfort and other nobles and bishops went to France to discuss peace. A rather confused version of the actual events had evidently become known in London. (Cronica Maiorum, 69)

The government was not only concerned with the defence of the coasts: the local authorities in Oxford were ordered to repress illicit gatherings, intended to disturb the region, and to prevent the assembly of ‘a multitude of foreign Jews’ in the town. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 363-4)

Sunday 7 September 1264: Canterbury and cash

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

 

Canterbury Castle in 1775. Much of the outer walls were demolished later in the eighteenth century.

Canterbury Castle in 1775. Much of the outer walls were demolished later in the eighteenth century.

Henry III’s court remained in Canterbury for the whole month of September, to be close to the continuing negotiations in northern France with Louis IX and the papal legate, and to oversee the defence of the coasts against the continuing threat of invasion by the Queen’s forces. While the king was in Canterbury, on 5 September, the sheriff of Kent was ordered to repair the great gate of the castle, which had recently been burned down, and the gates, doors and windows which had been pulled down and damaged. (There had been disorder in Canterbury in April, including attacks on the Jewish community.) (CLR 1260-67, 142)

The legate, Guy de Foulquois, had ordered the barons to send representatives to Gravelines, on the French coast, by 1 September. One of the legate’s chaplains waited for them, but reported to his master that nobody turned up. (Heidemann, register, nos. 30-32) On 4 September, one of the royal hostages, Henry of Almain, who had been held in Dover castle, was released on parole, to go to France to try to negotiate a peace settlement. He was to return to custody by 8 September, unless the negotiations took two or three days longer. Several bishops stood security for his return, in the enormous sum of 20,000 marks. (Foedera, I, I, 446; CPR 1258-66, 345)

The defence of the coasts was still a priority. Nobody was to cross the Channel from Dover without permission from the king or Henry de Montfort. The city of London was to send a galley and a large ship, with crossbowmen, to Sandwich, in readiness for a foreign invasion. While the men of Winchelsea were serving with the fleet off Sandwich, the Winchelsea region was to be defended by 300 archers. The problems of maintaining a large army in Kent were demonstrated by a letter to the sheriff of Rutland: the county would have to cover the expenses of its contingent for longer than expected, up to 15 September, but their daily rate would have to increase from 3d. to 4d. per man, because of the dearth produced by the presence of such great numbers. The sheriff was to seize the lands of those who failed to serve in the defence of the coast, or who deserted from the army without permission. It was also necessary to stem desertions from the forces guarding the coast of East Anglia, by offering to pay their expenses up to 15 September. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 360-2, 405-6; CPR 1258-66, 367-8)

The church had shown its support for the baronial regime in August by offering a subsidy of one-tenth of clerical income. The government was now pressing for payment of this subsidy, writing to the bishop of Norwich, asking for the money to be sent without delay; the council threatened that otherwise the tenth would be collected by the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk. The bishop of Rochester was told to provide £20 at once, and to deliver the rest to Canterbury by the end of the week. Similarly, the archbishop of York was told to deliver the subsidy by Michaelmas, or it would be collected by royal officials, for the security and defence of the kingdom. (Foedera, I, I, 445; Close Rolls 1261-64, 361-2, 403-5)

The government was evidently short of cash, as usual, and relying on the imminent arrival of the cash from the clerical tenth to cover frantic borrowing. Simon de Montfort was empowered to contract a loan of money, wine and corn, for supplies for the king’s ships and wages for the sailors. Hugh Despenser took wine worth £33 from merchants at Sandwich, to munition the ships. The bishop of London loaned 200 marks. The city of London was asked to lend £50 from each aldermanry. They were all promised repayment in October, out of the tenth. (CPR 1258-66, 345-6)

There was at least one piece of potential good news on the financial front. The German miners led by Walter of Hamburg, who had been sent to Devon in July, had struck copper. John Silvester, the former warden of the mint, was to determine whether to invest in developing a mine. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 406-7)