Sunday 31 August 1264: Flanders and Marchers

Henry III’s court remained at Canterbury for another week. It clearly planned to remain there for some time: on 28 August, the sheriffs of London were ordered to transport 20 tuns of white wine to Canterbury, out of the stock of 60 tuns which the king’s butler had taken at Portsmouth. (CLR 1260-67, 141)

Henry’s government was still mainly concerned with the threats from France, the north, and the Marches. The authorities in Dover and the other ports were ordered to ensure that nobody crossed the Channel without the government’s permission. Such measures may have been intended to prevent contacts with regime’s enemies, or the papal legate, but they also hindered normal commerce. Margaret, countess of Flanders, wrote to Henry on 31 August, about the problems faced by Flemish merchants. Because peace had not yet been restored, they could not bring merchandise to Flanders safely and securely; she asked that they should be assured the same security as English merchants enjoyed in Flanders. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 359; Diplomatic Documents, I, no. 392)

There was yet another attempt to win over the northern royalists, like John and Eustace de Balliol, Peter de Brus, Robert Neville and Adam of Jesmond. They were again ordered to come to the king with horses and arms for the defence of the realm, but they were offered the reassurance that the bishop of Durham would conduct them to York. The bishop would then have to return to the north, to organize its defence. Safe conduct would then be provided by the abbot of St Mary’s, York, who would bring the royalists to the king. As before, these instructions were ignored. (CPR 1258-66, 343, 366)

Wigmore castle, the Mortimer family stronghold, as it appeared in the eighteenth century.

Wigmore castle, the Mortimer family stronghold, as it appeared in the eighteenth century.

Negotiations with the other major group of royalist opponents, the Marcher lords, had apparently been more successful. The Marchers sent negotiators to the king, and the negotiators were given safe conduct for their return journey to Wales on 24 August. They also carried letters instructing the Marchers to release the prisoners taken at Northampton and to hand over royal castles they occupied. On 25 August, the king ratified a peace agreement, made between the barons led by Simon de Montfort, and the Marchers. The Marcher leaders, Roger Mortimer and James of Audley, were each to hand over a son as hostage for the observance of the peace. (CPR 1258-66, 343-4, 366-7)

The papal legate, Guy Foulquois, sent another angry letter, this time to the English bishops. The bishops had written to him, under the seal of the bishop of London, defending the settlement made after the battle of Lewes, and denying that the king’s authority had been taken away by the governing council. The legate replied that the council were three new princes. The legate had heard the king of France say that he would rather break clods behind a plough than have this kind of rule. (Heidemann, register entries nos. 27-9)

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