Posts Tagged ‘Eleanor de Montfort’

Sunday 7 December 1264: a siege and a debt

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

The king spent most of this week in Oxford, moving only as far as Woodstock on 6 December. Hugh Despenser, the justiciar, had evidently rejoined the court; he had been sent to find any stragglers who had gone to Northampton, following the earlier instructions for forces to gather there, rather than at Oxford. Despenser held an inquiry in Oxford on 3 December, concerning a death during a quarrel; the report of the inquiry is confused, beginning by saying that it concerns the death of Robert son of Cecil de Stokes, but ending by saying that Robert drew his knife and killed Richard Crindel. (Cal Inq Misc, I, no. 283)

Pevensey Castle in 1737. In 1246, Henry III had granted the castle to Peter of Savoy (Cal Charter Rolls, I, 296).

Pevensey Castle in 1737. In 1246, Henry III had granted the castle to Peter of Savoy (Cal Charter Rolls, I, 296).

Although Despenser had time for such local matters, the main business of the week was preparation for operations against the royalists. Nine of the king’s crossbowmen were paid 40 shillings each for arrears of wages, so that they could come to the March with the king, with horses and arms. (CLR 1260-67, 150) The council committed Scarborough castle to John de Eyvill and Newcastle on Tyne castle to Robert de Lisle, ordering their royalist commanders to hand them over. The ports of Hastings, Winchelsea and Rye were instructed to prevent royalist attempts to deliver supplies by sea, and break the siege of Pevensey castle. Simon de Montfort junior, who commanded the siege, was paid £100 toward the costs of continuing the siege during the winter, and for making a ditch in front of the castle so that the royalists could not get out. (CPR 1258-66, 390-2; CLR 1260-67, 152; CFR 1264-65, 626, 628)

Simon de Montfort appears again to have been using his position for his own benefit, in the matter of his wife’s dower. The sheriff of Lincolnshire was ordered to raise 600 marks from the goods and chattels of Margaret countess of Lincoln, which the king owed as Eleanor’s dower. This was to be paid on 1 December. (E 368/39 m. 2d)

Sunday 23 November 1264: two Eleanors

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

The court spent most of this week at Windsor, and at the end of the week began the planned move towards Northampton, reaching St Albans on 23 November.

Although the threat of invasion had largely dissipated, and the forces assembled by queen Eleanor had dispersed, the government continued to take precautions. The authorities in Winchelsea were instructed to continue guarding the Channel, and to prevent anyone crossing without permission. Any suspect arrivals from overseas were to be arrested and detained. It would appear that there was some justification for such measures: a ship belonging to the abbot of St Mary’s, Dublin, had been forced by rough seas to land at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight; the ship and its sailors were being held there because the bailiffs of the island had suspicions about a knight on the ship, who was being transported from Dieppe to Ireland with letters addressed to Irish magnates. (Close Rolls 1264-68, 80-1)

Preparations continued for further negotiations in France, with king Louis, the legate and queen Eleanor. The king of France’s envoys were expecting to meet an English delegation at Wissant, and escort them to the king. The French envoys were asked to wait, as the English negotiators were going with the court to meet lord Edward. The dean of Wells was then given safe conduct to go to France as an envoy. The dean was armed with a set of letters in king Henry’s name to Louis and the queen of France, queen Eleanor, Peter of Savoy, and the legate. Louis, Eleanor and Peter were asked to prevent the sale or alienation of royal rights and properties — a reference, presumably, to Eleanor’s attempts to raise money for her invasion force. The legate was asked to exercise mercy and kindness, rather than ecclesiastical coercion. The letter to Eleanor included a more personal opening paragraph, perhaps from the king himself rather than the council which spoke on his behalf: ‘Know that we and Edward our firstborn son are healthy and unharmed … we have firm hope of having secure and good peace in our kingdom, for which you may be cheerful and delighted.’ (CPR 1258-66, 388, 473-4; Foedera, I, I, 448)

Matthew Paris reports the death of William Marshal junior in 1231, showing his arms reversed. Marshal’s death left Eleanor a widow at the age of 16; she married Simon de Montfort in 1238.

Matthew Paris reports the death of William Marshal junior in 1231, showing his arms reversed. Marshal’s death left Eleanor a widow at the age of 16; she married Simon de Montfort in 1238. From BL Royal 14 C VII.

The government continued to pay special attention to the interests of the de Montfort family. Eleanor de Montfort had long complained that she had not received the full dower to which she was entitled, following the death of her first husband, William Marshal junior, earl of Pembroke. This dispute had helped to embitter relations between the de Montforts and Henry III. There was now to be an inquiry into Eleanor’s complaints against the king, by the bishops of Worcester and London, Hugh Despenser the justiciar, and Peter de Montfort. With such committed supporters of the regime to conduct the inquiry, its conclusions must have seemed rather predictable. (CPR 1258-66, 388-9; Wilkinson, Eleanor de Montfort, 106-7)

Sunday 1 June 1264: from Rochester to London

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Rochester cathedral and castle

Rochester cathedral and castle

Simon de Montfort and Henry were in Rochester at the beginning of the week. The castle there had held out against de Montfort’s siege in April. According to the Canterbury/Dover chronicle, Simon now swore that he would not eat until the castle surrendered to him. The castellan would not surrender without instructions from the king, but then came to the priory where the king was staying, and in the chapter house handed over the castle to the king and the earl. While they were in Rochester, de Montfort wrote in Henry’s name to the king of France, informing him that peace had been restored, and seeking his co-operation in the arbitration proposed under the mise of Lewes. (Gervase, II, 238; Close Rolls 1261-64, 386)

By 28 May, de Montfort and the captive king had reached Westminster, and on 30 May they moved to St Paul’s, where they remained for several weeks. There was now time for the new administration to deal with some outstanding issues. The church received attention, with royal assent to the election of Walter Giffard as bishop of Bath and Wells. The new bishop’s proctors had to go to France to find archbishop Boniface and seek his confirmation of the election, and obtain authority for the consecration. The university was instructed to return to Oxford, from where it had been expelled in March, when the king established his headquarters in the city. (CPR 1258-66, 319-20)

In the immediate aftermath of the battle of Lewes, lord Edward and Henry of Almain (earl Richard’s son) had been sent to Dover castle, in the custody of Henry de Montfort. They were then transferred to Wallingford castle, under the supervision of Eleanor de Montfort. Earl Richard had been sent to the Tower of London on 30 May, but he too was soon sent to Wallingford, formerly his own castle, where he became the involuntary guest of his sister Eleanor. (Wilkinson, Eleanor de Montfort, 105-6; London annals, 64)

Queen Eleanor had reached the French court in Paris by 1 June. She then acknowledged the receipt of the money due from Louis IX under the Treaty of Paris. (Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 211)

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 11 February to Saturday 17 February 1257

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Henry III spent all this week at Westminster.  At its start, the bishop of London, the bishop of Lincoln, the elect of Salisbury, Richard earl of Cornwall, and Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester all appeared at court. On 11 February Simon obtained a recognition that custody of lands in Toddington in Bedfordshire  belonged to him rather than the king. Toddington, has of course, given its name to a service station on the M1 from which there are pleasant views over surrounding fields. Simon held the manor as part of Eleanor’s dower from the lands of her first husband, William Marshal earl of Pembroke.  With major players at court, Henry now took an important decision. On Monday 12 February he sent out the writs summoning the lay and ecclesiastical magnates to  meet him in London at mid Lent (18 March).  The writs announced that Richard was to leave immediately afterwards to take up his kingship in Germany. Henry, therefore, wished to have discussion with his prelates and magnates ‘about great and arduous affairs touching ourselves and our kingdom for the common utility of you and us and all our kingdom’.  These affairs included, although it was not said, the Sicilian enterprise.  The archbishop of Messina had now arrived in England from the papal court to stir Henry into action. On 15 February Henry ordered the exchequer to give him fifteen marks to distribute to knights and others coming with messages from Sicily.  Action for Henry meant  more than anything else securing a tax from parliament. Without it there was no hope of him  ever sending an army to Sicily to wrest control of the kingdom.  Making the case for such a tax would therefore by high on the agenda of the parliament summoned for mid Lent.

The fine rolls reflect Henry’s need for taxation to fill his coffers in this  Magna Carta world. On 13 February, Henry took the homage of Henry of Lexington (or Laxton), the bishop of Lincoln, for the lands he had inherited from his elder brother, the former royal steward, John of Lexington. The bishop’s relief or inheritance tax was £5, which was strictly in accordance with  Magna Carta. This laid down £5 as the relief for a knight’s fee which was all that John held from the king. John’s estates, however, were far greater than this single fee. Orders to put the bishop in possession of John’s  properties were sent to the king’s officials in London and six counties.  A relief of much larger size might seem to have been justified but was prevented by Magna Carta. The fine rolls of this week also underlined the necessity of a tax  in another way for there were only two of the fines of gold from which, as we have seen, Henry was hoping to support his Sicilian army. If this pattern continued it would be worrying indeed.  See future blogs to find out what happened to the gold treasure.

For the bishop of Lincoln’s fine, count up eleven from bottom on the membrane and no.434 in the Calendar.