Sunday 8 June 1264: keeping the peace

Today was Whit Sunday, in 1264 as in 2014, and the king was evidently allowed to maintain at least part of the usual observances, preserving the fiction that he continued to rule. The sheriffs of London provided the cash for the king to give 115 pairs of shoes for the poor, and cloth worth £9, as Whitsuntide alms. (CLR 1260-67, 137)

During the week, de Montfort, in the king’s name, took a number of steps to impose the authority of the new regime and to re-assert control of the counties. Several castles, including Windsor and Nottingham, were still held by royalists. Prominent royalists, including these castellans and the northern and marcher lords, were repeatedly and unavailingly instructed to hand over the castles, to come to London, and to release their prisoners, particularly those baronial supporters captured at Northampton. The royalists were told that, since peace had been restored, they were forbidden to carry arms without permission, at peril of life and limb. The estates of royalist émigrés like Hugh Bigod, John de Warenne, William de Valence and Peter of Savoy were entrusted to de Montfort’s supporters. Most importantly, on 4 June keepers of the peace were appointed in each county. They were to maintain law and order. They were also to send four knights from each county to London by the last week in June – de Montfort was preparing to hold a parliament. (CPR 1258-66, 321-3, 359-60; Close Rolls 1261-64, 386-7; Foedera, I, 1, 442)

Queen Eleanor began, so far as she could, to exercise royal authority in France on behalf of her husband. She made a decision on a court case concerning the community of Dax in Gascony, and issued instructions to the royal officials in the duchy.  (Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 211-2)

7 Class 5d3-e Willem of London obv

… and obverse

7 Class 5d3-e Willem of London rev

Long cross penny of Henry III from the London mint. Reverse …

During the week, de Montfort took steps to revive overseas trade, which had evidently been affected by the war. The civic authorities of Flanders and Brabant were told that the disturbance of the realm had been settled, and peace had been made between the king and his barons. Merchants could again come safely to the realm. This was an important attempt to revive both trade and royal income, as the king in normal times received significant revenues from the exchanges where foreign merchants obtained English coins. This should have been the exchanges’ busiest time, at the height of the season for shearing and selling wool, the key component of England’s exports. The mint output statistics show how badly trade had been affected. In the year to the end of January 1263, the London and Canterbury mints produced over £50,000; in the year to January 1264, output was £54,000; but in the period from January to July 1264, they produced only £7,400. Mint output was driven by demand from foreign merchants, particularly those in the wool trade, and it is clear that trade had collapsed, and with it government revenue. (CPR 1258-66, 320; Allen, Mints and Money in Medieval England, table C.1)

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