Sunday 6 January 1264: seasickness and control of Kent

MParis Henry III in boat

Henry III on an earlier crossing to Brittany, by Matthew Paris.

Henry III spent most of the first week of 1264 in Boulogne. It appears that he had had a rough crossing to France. The Dunstable chronicler said that Henry went overseas with the lord Edward; when they were in the middle of the sea, a terrible great tempest arose, so that Edward made many vows, though fear, and they reached Wissant with great difficulty. Henry wrote to Louis IX on Saturday 5 January, apologizing that he would be unable to meet him at Amiens on the following Tuesday, because of ‘the feebleness of our body and the labours we have undergone for some time, both by sea and by land.’ Henry’s younger son Edmund was also suffering: Henry undertook to pay up to £100 (in money of Paris) to the abbey of St Mary in Boulogne, for the expenses of Edmund who was staying at the abbey while he was ill.1

Little routine business was conducted. The patent roll kept with the king in France recorded that Roger of Leybourne had been appointed sheriff of Kent. Leybourne was a Kent landowner, who had been associated with the lord Edward and the marcher lords. He had joined the marchers in the disorders of 1263, then been won over, with them, to the king’s side in the autumn of that year. He was to prove a consistent royalist from then on, fighting for the king at Lewes, then leading the pacification of the south-east after the royalist victory at Evesham.2

Leybourne’s appointment as sheriff had already been noted on the fine roll in December, when he was given a string of posts in the south-east: he was warden of the Cinque Ports, chamberlain of Sandwich, keeper of the hundred of Milton and the seven hundreds of the Weald, and keeper of the Dover ferry, or crossing (passagium).3 He had earlier been appointed as a steward of the royal household, and seems to have retained this role.4 But the key position in Kent was still not within the king’s gift. Dover castle remained in the hands of the Montfortians. It had been committed to Richard de Grey when de Montfort took control of government in the summer of 1263. Even though Henry had recovered much of his power since then, he was still not in command of the castle. This had been made only too clear when he was refused entry in December 1263. He would try again when he returned from France.

Back in England, the administration seems to have been at a standstill. The fine roll has a large blank space after the entries for 23 and 24 December (see the image here). There is then the heading for fines made after the king’s departure from Windsor castle on 23 December, but the first fine attested by earl Richard was not made until 7 January. There are similar gaps in the close roll  – a heading for the king’s crossing overseas, then the next entry on 8 January – and in the patent roll kept in England, where there are no entries until 11 January.5

  1. Ann Mon, III, 227; CPR 1258-66, 376.
  2. Kathryn Faulkner, ‘Leybourne , Sir Roger of (c.1215–1271)’, ODNB
  3. CFR 1263-64, nos. 37, 38, 42, 255, 256. Leybourne accounted as sheriff of Kent for the first half of 1263-64 (E 372/109 rot. 9d). Several of Leybourne’s numerous roles were recorded in the patent roll on 5 December, and he was also appointed keeper of the county on December 24: CPR 1258-66, 300, 358.
  4. Leybourne was apparently appointed steward on 15 August 1263, when de Montfort controlled such appointments (Gervase of Canterbury, II, 224), and Leybourne retained the post when he came over to the king’s side, still being mentioned in this role in January 1264 (Close Rolls 1261-64, 333).
  5. Close Rolls 1261-64, 333; CPR 1258-66, 305.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply