Posts Tagged ‘Boulogne’

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 10 August 1264: the bishops and the legate

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Henry III spent another week in London, but the attention of the government which ruled in his name was concentrated on the coasts of France and England. The great popular army to resist the threatened invasion was mustering in Kent. According to one chronicler, there was such a multitude of mounted and foot soldiers gathered at Harbledown, near Canterbury, that you would not have believed there were so many in England. There was a further summons for the sheriffs of Cambridgeshire and Essex to ensure that their counties provided armed men for the defence of the coast; those who failed to come were to be imprisoned. The army which had been called out to defend the coasts had already been serving for a long time, beyond the customary period of service, and they were assured that this would not be regarded as establishing a precedent. A letter in Henry’s name was sent to the archbishop of Rheims and other councillors of the king of France, asking them to use their influence to prevent the levying of troops in France for the invasion. The letter drew attention to the possible danger this would pose to the hostages, lord Edward and Henry of Almain. (Rishanger, 36; CPR 1258-66, 364-5, 340; Royal Letters, II, 268-9)

Two bishops, from BL Royal 2 B VI, a psalter and canticles from St Albans, c. 1246-60

Two bishops, from BL Royal 2 B VI, a psalter and canticles from St Albans, c. 1246-60

The English clergy were also participating in the national mobilization, some by providing their customary military service for their lands, some by contributing a levy of one-tenth of their revenues (and in the case of Dunstable priory, apparently both). It seems that this had been decided by a council of prelates and magnates. This may have been the same council of bishops and magnates, reported in only one chronicle, where the bishop of Worcester set out the case for the new regime; as spokesman for the bishops, he formally rejected any attempt by the legate to impose excommunication or interdict. A further council early in August (before 11 August, when the bishop of Exeter sent a mandate for collection of a levy) involved both prelates and the lower clergy, who agreed that the religious and the beneficed clergy should give a tenth of their spiritual income. (Councils & Synods, II, I, 694-9; Ann Mon, III, 233; Gervase, II, 239-42)

The legate, if he knew of the bishop of Worcester’s statement, was unimpressed. He was certainly displeased by the way in which the English government had treated his messengers, refusing them entry and confiscating their letters. The government feared the importation of papal letters condemning their seizure of power. Monks from Fountains abbey were only allowed to attend a general chapter of the Cistercian order on condition that they did not bring back anything prejudicial. The legate’s  response was proclaimed publicly, in the church at Amiens, on 3 or 4 August. As the legate was not allowed into England, he summoned the bishops to Boulogne. The clerical and secular negotiations were thus coming together, with the legate arriving in Boulogne on 9 August and Louis IX on 10 August, both waiting for a response from England. (CPR 1258-66, 340; Heidemann, register entries 17-19)

The government made yet more attempts to establish its authority over the northern royalists. It ordered its supporters in the north to cease harassing the royalist leaders, so that they would not have that excuse for refusing to come to the king. It then enlisted the bishop and prior of Durham and the abbot of St Mary’s, York, to ensure safe conduct for the northern magnates who were ordered to come to London. As usual, these instructions were ignored. At least one of the northerners who had fought for the king at Lewes, Robert de Brus, was still held captive; his son was given safe conduct to come to England to arrange for his father’s release. (CPR 1258-66, 364, 339-40; Royal Letters, II, 269-70)

Sunday 3 August 1264: the legate and negotiations

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
Pope Clement IV and Charles of Anjou

Pope Clement IV and Charles of Anjou

This week, Simon de Montfort’s government was mostly concerned with events across the Channel, where queen Eleanor was amassing an invasion force, the king of France was being enlisted as arbiter, and the papal legate had reached the north of France and begun to take an active role in support of the royal cause. The legate, Guy de Foulquois, a Provençal cardinal, was later to become pope as Clement IV. He had been appointed legate in November 1263, at Henry III’s request, with the general object of restoring the king’s authority and suppressing baronial rebellion. The baronial government was naturally suspicious of the legate, who was closely associated with Louis IX. In addition, the papacy had previously shown itself hostile, in 1261 assisting Henry’s return to power by issuing a papal bull releasing him from his oath to observe the Provisions of Oxford.  According to a note in one source, from Ramsey abbey, the government at the end of July announced that it had prohibited the importation and publication of sentences of excommunication and interdict against those who observed the Provisions; it even decreed the unusual penalty of beheading for anyone who disobeyed this ban. (Councils & Synods, II, I, 693-4; Gilson, ‘Parliament of 1264’, EHR 1901)

The legate’s attempts to open negotiations with the government were repeatedly rebuffed. The government’s attitude was demonstrated early in July when the legate’s messenger, a friar, brother Alan, was detained at Dover. Alan reported that he was searched, and all his letters were seized. He was told that if he brought in a letter harmful to the kingdom, he would lose his life. Unsurprisingly, Alan advised the legate against attempting to come to England in person. Around the end of July, while the legate was in Amiens, he received a letter from the barons. This said that the legate could not enter England without invitation, but that negotiations might begin in Boulogne. It also asked the legate to prevent the king of France providing financial support for the planned invasion. The legate replied on 2 or 3 August that he could not help: the money had already been paid. (Heidemann, Papst Clemens IV, register entries 5-14)

The government continued to be greatly concerned with the arrangements for defence against a foreign invasion. The sheriff of Essex was told not to distrain the vicar of Coggeshall to contribute to the support of the four or six men of the town who were supposed to be sent to London, with 40 days’ expenses. The sheriff of Kent was not to force the men of Greenwich to join the land forces assembled near Dover, because they were more useful at sea, guarding the Thames and Medway against alien incursions. There were elaborate arrangements limiting the amount of trade, particularly wine imports, permitted through the major ports. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 391-5)

The king wrote to Simon de Montfort and Gilbert de Clare concerning negotiations with the king of France. Messengers were to be sent to Boulogne, and the king himself was to go to Dover. Lord Edward and Henry of Almain had been sent from Wallingford to Kenilworth, but should also be present at Dover. Letters in Henry III’s name were also sent to the king of France, and to Charles of Anjou, stressing the threat of invasion, and the danger to lord Edward and Henry of Almain, as hostages.  Henry asked that the proposed negotations at Boulogne should be postponed from 8 to 17 August, provided delegates were given safe conduct. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 396-7; Royal Letters, II, 262-6)

Royal ceremonial was being maintained, even if finances were precarious. The revenues from towns, manors and vacant bishoprics were being paid into the Wardrobe, rather than the Exchequer. The exchanges provided the cash needed to buy twelve gold pieces and 36 gold obols for the king’s annual offering on 1 August, the feast of St Peter’s Chains. (CLR 1260-67, 138-9)