Posts Tagged ‘Henry III’

Sunday 13 January 1264: Peter of Savoy, and Henry’s complaints

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

There was still little routine business being conducted in England this week – the Exchequer term did not begin until 14 January, and the Chancery recorded only seven small fines under 7 January. In France, Henry had moved to Amiens, for the process of arbitration by Louis IX. The clerks keeping the patent roll in France  noted a few writs. One of these was relevant to the case which Henry was putting forward: Guichard de Charrun, to whom the king had committed Peter of Savoy’s lands in the honour of Richmond, was to pay Peter the revenues from these lands; Peter was also to receive the revenues of his lands in Sussex.1

Richmond castle, part of Peter of Savoy’s estates

Richmond castle, part of Peter of Savoy’s estates

Peter of Savoy was the uncle of queen Eleanor. He had come to England in 1240, and received an extravagant welcome, including the grant of the lordship of Richmond in Yorkshire and the honour of Aigle in Sussex.  His brother Boniface became archbishop of Canterbury. Peter was one of the magnates who led the original coup against Henry III’s rule in 1258, but soon drifted away from the reform movement. He became increasingly preoccupied with his interests in Savoy, particularly after being recognized as count in June 1263, but he was with Henry and Eleanor in Boulogne in September-October 1263, at the time of an earlier attempt at arbitration by Louis IX. While Peter was in Savoy, in the summer of 1263, his estates were among those singled out for attack in the wave of disorder which swept across England following the return of Simon de Montfort. Several marcher lords and Roger of Leybourne formed a loose coalition with de Montfort. Their immediate targets were aliens, royalists and courtiers, and in particular the Savoyard relatives of the queen. The victims  included Peter of Aigueblanche, the Savoyard bishop of Hereford, Robert Walerand, John Mansel, and Boniface and Peter of Savoy. Their estates were occupied and looted.2

When the coalition fell apart, and the marchers and Leybourne turned against de Montfort, Henry recovered control of the civil service. He began to issue writs, demanding the return of the plundered estates to their rightful owners. In November 1263, Peter of Savoy’s land and castles, ‘lately occupied by some persons by occasion of the disturbance of the realm’,  were committed to Guichard de Charrun. Charrun was Peter of Savoy’s steward, which must have been a demanding post: he had to recover control of Peter’s extensive estates, and deliver their income to their absentee landlord, who was using his English revenues to build up his family’s domination of what is now western Switzerland. Charrun evidently had some success in taking back Peter’s possessions, for in March 1265 he was holding Richmond castle, despite the orders of de Montfort’s government that he should surrender it. After de Montfort’s defeat, in September 1265, all Peter of Savoy’s possessions were restored to him, and again committed to Charrun. Charrun later became sheriff of Northumberland.3

The influence of aliens, and the excessive favours which Henry III granted to them, were among the factors fuelling the discontent in England. Simon de Montfort, despite being a Frenchman, had made use of this anti-alien sentiment. When the reform movement began in 1258, the Petition of the Barons called for royal castles to be committed to faithful subjects born in England, and for women whose marriage was in the king’s gift not to be disparaged by marriage to foreigners. The sentiment against foreigners widened in scope, and it became one of the demands of Henry’s opponents that sheriffs, castellans and holders of other key posts should be Englishmen, and that aliens should be excluded from the king’s council. For Henry, this was an unacceptable limitation on his freedom of action. His freedom to make appointments, and the attacks on the property of his supporters, were key points in the statement of his case which was submitted to Louis for arbitration.4

This statement took the form of a set of complaints (gravamina) and a demand for damages, as if Henry was bringing a law suit against his opponents. Henry said that the council nominated by the barons appointed the chief justiciar, chancellor, treasurer, sheriffs, justices, castellans and stewards of the royal household; the king and his ancestors had been accustomed to appointing and removing these officials at their own pleasure. The council had taken away his right to monitor and correct the activities of his ministers. The castles and properties of the king, his family and supporters had been attacked and plundered. Henry asked for compensation and damages totalling £433,000 – a vast sum, equivalent to perhaps ten or fifteen years’ government revenues in normal times. And he asked king Louis to quash and invalidate the provisions upon which his opponents based their case – that is, to overthrow the reforming measures which were loosely known as the Provisions of Oxford, and which Henry had promised to uphold only a few weeks before.

  1. CPR 1258-66, 377.
  2. Nicholas Vincent, ‘Savoy, Peter of, count of Savoy and de facto earl of Richmond (1203?– 1268)’, ODNB. J.R. Maddicott, Simon de Montfort, 225-9. Peter’s presence in Boulogne in 1263 is mentioned in the Dover chronicle: Gervase of Canterbury, II, 225.
  3. CPR 1258-66, 297, 301, 410, 452. Close Rolls 1261-64, 369-70. Close Rolls 1264-68, 101-2. Charrun is mentioned as Peter’s steward in July 1262: CPR 1258-66, 218.
  4. R.F. Treharne, ‘The Mise of Amiens, 23 January 1264’, in Studies in Medieval History Presented to F.M. Powicke. D.A. Carpenter, ‘King Henry III’s statute against aliens: July 1263’, in The Reign of Henry III. The Petition of the Barons is document 3, and Henry’s submission document 37A, in Documents of the Baronial Movement.



Sunday 6 January 1264: seasickness and control of Kent

Sunday, January 5th, 2014
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.

1264: the blog begins

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Henry III versus Simon de Montfort, from the British Library manuscript Royal 16 G VI, Chroniques de France ou de St Denis, after 1332, before 1350

Henry III versus Simon de Montfort, from the British Library manuscript Royal 16 G VI, Chroniques de France ou de St Denis, after 1332, before 1350

This illustration from a French chronicle gives an attractively simplified view of the Barons’ War.  The reality was rather more complex than a mounted combat between Henry III and Simon de Montfort, picturesque as that might appear. This year, 2014, could be a good opportunity to take a closer look at events, week by week. The 750th anniversary of the battle of Lewes, and the other events of 1264, seem worth remembering, even if likely to be overshadowed by other anniversaries this year and next.

David Carpenter’s blogs for 1257 and 1261 showed how much material is available, in the fine rolls and other records of this period, to build up a detailed account. Those years were chosen because their calendars largely coincided with the years when the blogs appeared. Of course, 1264 was a leap year, and 2014 isn’t; but the calendars do align from 1 March onwards, with Easter day falling on 20 April in both years. And 1264 should provide plenty of material for a blog: Louis IX of France’s attempt at mediation, in the mise of Amiens; the drift towards all-out war; the initial royal success at Northampton; de Montfort’s victory at Lewes, and the captivity of the king; the queen massing an invasion force in France, and the popular response in defence of England’s shores; a new constitution, establishing rule by a small council, with the king as a figurehead; the papal legate’s attempts to intervene; and the war in the Welsh Marches, ending with the marchers’ submission and agreement to go into exile.

Comments and corrections would be welcome. Contributions on any aspect of the year would be even more welcome. In the absence of volunteers, arms will be twisted …


MParis heading

When the year began, king Henry was in France, or on his way there.1 Henry was heading for Amiens, where Louis IX was to consider the submissions of the king and his baronial opponents, and deliver his judgment on their conflicting claims. Queen Eleanor was already in France, having stayed there after Henry’s previous meeting with Louis IX in September-October 1263. There was also a group of royalist exiles in France, including the king’s influential counsellor John Mansel, who were alleged to be lobbying for French support against the baronial party. Henry had left his brother Richard of Cornwall in charge of the government in England, and it was Richard who attested the relatively few letters patent issued in England in January and February 1264. According to one chronicle, the lord Edward collected a large army after Christmas, and devoted himself to plunder and arson; but according to another, he accompanied his father to France.2

Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, recognized as the leader of the baronial movement, should have been travelling to Amiens too. He had set out from his castle at Kenilworth, and had only reached Catesby, Northamptonshire, when his horse fell. De Montfort’s leg was broken, and he had to return to Kenilworth.3

The arbitration at Amiens had been agreed late in 1263, as part of an uneasy, and widely disregarded, truce. After a year of varying fortunes, neither side could claim victory, or even a clear chance of victory. Henry had the support of most of the magnates, and had won over the lords of the Welsh Marches. One of their leaders, Roger Mortimer, had been granted de Montfort’s three manors in Herefordshire, where fighting and looting continued.4 At the end of December, the marchers had been instructed to seek a truce with Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the Welsh leader who had led a successful revolt against English domination.5 Henry had resumed control of the machinery of central government, but the loyalty of the counties was less secure. On 20 December, Henry sent a propaganda letter to all the counties, denying that he had tried to bring foreigners into the country, and pledging that he would always keep his oath made at Oxford – that is, to observe the provisions for good government; a few days later, he had appointed keepers in 22 counties, with a military role distinct from the sheriffs’ administrative functions, apparently preparing for conflict.6

Henry’s opponents could rely on the city of London, run by a populist mayor who had overthrown the old city hierarchy. The Londoners had saved de Montfort from being trapped by Henry’s forces outside London on 11 December. The baronial party also held Dover castle, and thus commanded the main route into England from the Continent. Early in December, Henry had been refused entry to the castle, by a custodian loyal to the baronial council. Many of the bishops also backed reform, but the Pope had appointed a legate, Guy Foulquois, with instructions explicitly hostile to de Montfort.

Such was the situation as the year began.

  1. The classic account of this period, R.F. Treharne’s The Baronial Plan of Reform, says on p. 337 that Henry crossed to France on 27 December 1263, and on p. 387 that Henry was at Dover on 1 January 1264. The first date derives from Thomas Wykes’ chronicle, Annales Monastici [Ann Mon] IV, 139, the second from Chancery records (CPR 1258-66, 376). Unfortunately, Treharne’s work ends in January 1264, and his promised second volume, The Barons’ War, 1264-68, never appeared.
  2. Chronicle of Bury St Edmunds, 28; Ann Mon III, 227. Michael Prestwich, Edward I, 41, is clear: ‘Edward accompanied his father to Amiens for the negotiations.’
  3. Ann Mon, III, 227.
  4. Ann Mon, III, 226.
  5. Close Rolls 1261-64, 373.
  6. CPR 1258-66, 357-8.

Henry III from the BL

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Royal 20.A.II, f.9

This tinted drawing of Henry III with the facade of Westminster Abbey and bells, above a genealogical table, comes from a British Library manuscript, Royal 20 A II. The illustrations from the manuscript have been placed online, and in the public domain, by the BL Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.

The bulk of this manuscript, from about 1307-27, consists of the Chronicle of Peter of Langtoft, preceded by tinted drawings of kings of England. The full text is now also available, thanks to the BL’s programme of digitising manuscripts – see  BL Digitised Manuscripts. This now includes such treats for 13th-century historians as another royal manuscript, Matthew Paris’s Historia Anglorum and Part III of the Chronica Majora.



KCL at The National Archives

Friday, April 26th, 2013


MA students from KCL at The National Archives

MA students from KCL at The National Archives

On Wednesday 27 March a group of students from KCL’s MA in Medieval History visited The National Archives. They were taken round by Dr Jessica Nelson (centre in group photo) who herself studied for her MA and doctorate at King’s. Illustrated below are some of the documents the group looked at.


A marginal head from a close roll


A Basset charter

A Basset charter

On the following day David Carpenter was back at TNA to photo the authorised version of Magna Carta in the Red Book of the Exchequer. While there he took the images illustrated of Henry II on his death bed (from the text of his will in the Black Book of the Exchequer):IMG_0032

and the image of Edward I legislating in the cartulary of Malmesbury Abbey:IMG_0052

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 26 June to Saturday 2 July 1261

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Henry spent all this week in the Tower of London. He and his councillors were planning the next step in the bid to recover  power. This was to dismiss all the sheriffs and castellans of the baronial regime throughout the counties of England and replace them with king’s men. In contemplating this momentous step, Henry must have been re-assured by the common law business done this week and recorded on the fine rolls. This showed that throughout the land there was still a demand for the king’s justice. This was something on which he could build. Thus it was that this week, with the king in a central and known place, over fifty writs were purchased to initiate and further legal actions according to the common law. Running roughly north to south, these related to the following counties.

Cumberland 4

Northumberland 1

Lancaster 1

Yorkshire  12

Lincolnshire 4

Nottinghamshire 1

Leicestershire 1

Norfolk 1

Suffolk 3

Shropshire 1

Staffordshire 1

Worcestershire 1

Gloucestershire 1

Cambridgeshire 3

Essex 2

Buckinghamshire 1

Kent 2

Sussex 2

Wiltshire 1

Somerset 3

Dorset 2

Devon 4

This was encouraging.   Only the absence of offers from Warwickshire, where Montfort, with his great base at Kenilworth, was particularly strong, might be seen as ominous.

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 15 May to Saturday 21 May 1261

Friday, May 20th, 2011

After his expedition to Kent, and recovery of Dover castle, Henry had got back to London on the evening of Saturday 14 May. He had hoped (or at least there are indications that he had hoped), to set up court at Westminster, but instead he had gone to the Tower. His stay  was brief, however,  for he left the fortress  on Sunday 15 May and spent the whole of this  week, doubtless in greater comfort,  at the bishop of London’s palace at St Paul’s. 

The return to London coincided with a large increase in the purchase of writs to initiate and further the common law legal actions. Clearly a backlog had built up during Henry’s Kentish foray, with litigants hesitating to follow  the king and waiting in London  for his return. Thus no less than 53 such writs were purchased this week, between two and three times the number usual since the start of this blog  back in March.

 The fine rolls also contain a writ in which Henry said how ‘moved’ he was ‘by the long service’ which Nicholas the Welshman, his messenger, had given him. As a result, Henry made Nicholas a life grant of a small holding in Brockton (near Sutton Maddock) in Shropshire.  Nicholas was to perform the service due from the holding, which, other evidence shows, was to find a man for Montgomery castle for fifteen days in time of war with a bow and four arrows.  Henry’s employment of Nicholas reflects, of course, how ready Welshmen were to serve the king of England, if necessary fighting against  their own people.  In Nicholas’s case one assumes that his man did not go home, or hang around idly,  once he had fired off his four arrows. One remembers, however, the case  of Hugo fizHeyr (discovered by Michael Prestwich.)  He was obliged to follow the king in war with a bow and arrow. In 1282, as soon as he saw the king’s enemies, he loosed off his arrow and went home.

In making his grant to Nicholas, Henry  stressed that he was acting within his rights and that an inquiry (which survives) had shown that the property was indeed his to give.  Henry’s assertions chimed with other statements this year. Struggling to re-assert his authority and overthrow the Provisions of Oxford, he was often at pains to stress the law abiding nature of his rule.

The need to do so was becoming more and more apparent, as the struggle intensified.  During this week, on Wednesday 18 May, Henry  warned the Cinque Ports that Simon de Montfort was ‘endeavouring to bring into the realm aliens with arms against the king to the disturbance of the peace and the grievous cost of the realm’.  This was to turn the tables on Montfort who complained vociferously  about Henry’s own attempt to bring foreign soldiers into the realm in 1260. In fact Henry was doing the same again now. On Saturday 21 May he promised a life pension to the count of  St Pol who was, or was hoped to be,  the leader of one such foreign contingent.

During this week, at the latest,  Henry must have received the papal bull issued from Rome on 13 April which absolved him from his oath to keep the Provisions of Oxford. Indeed, it may well have arrived  on or shortly before 12 May at Canterbury. On that day,  John Mansel junior, who had secured the bull from the pope and probably brought it to England, was setting off back to papal court.  The question for Henry and his advisers was when and how to detonate this explosive weapon.

William Bagot and the Hospital of St John, Oxford

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

On 9 May 1261, one week after the Exchequer’s Easter term had begun, the fine rolls noted an unusual arrangement for a sheriff’s debt to be paid by a hospital. William Bagot, the sheriff of Warwickshire, was recorded to have attended the Adventus at the beginning of term, and brought £100 for the farm of the county and the debts for which he had been summoned. In fact, he does not seem to have paid any cash into the Treasury until the following week. He paid £22 on Friday 13 May, then £11 for the remainder of his farm and £82 profit on 17 May. Leaving aside the profit, he had paid only £33 towards the farm and debts. The difference was made up by the arrangement set out in the fine roll on 9 May: brother Henry, the master of the hospital of St John in Oxford, had recently bought some land from Bagot for 100 marks (£67); rather than paying the money to the sheriff, the master would pay it into the Exchequer, to set against the sheriff’s debt there. The deal, also recorded in the Exchequer’s memoranda rolls, was for the master to pay 50 marks on 18 May, and the rest at the end of September.

The hospital was a wealthy insitution, with extensive land holdings (a list of its properties occupies nearly eight pages of the printed charter rolls). It was one of Henry III’s favoured institutions – he regarded himself as its founder, because he had given it the site outside the east gate of Oxford, where Magdalen College now stands. It often received royal gifts of timber, and had a wide range of liberties and privileges. Perhaps this favoured status led the master to take a rather casual attitude towards paying the debt he owed to the Exchequer. Despite agreeing to pay the 100 marks in full by the end of September 1261, the pipe roll shows that brother Henry had still paid nothing by the end of September 1262, although the 100 marks had been set against Bagot’s debts to the Exchequer.

Brother Henry did eventually pay the first instalment of 50 marks, due just nine days after the agreement was made. It is recorded in the 1265 pipe roll, which also notes that he had been pardoned the remaining 50 marks by writ of the king. And indeed the fine rolls record the pardon too, on 18 January 1266. Nearly five years after the arrangement had been made, Bagot still owed £65 from the farm for 1261, but at least his debt had been reduced by 100 marks; the hospital of St John had acquired a piece of land at half-price; and the Exchequer had indirectly paid for it, through Henry’s usual generosity.


Calendar Fine Rolls 1260-61, 404; 1265-66, 120.

Memoranda roll E 159/34 m. 14.

Pipe rolls E 372/106; E 372/109 rot. 4.

Victoria County History, Oxfordshire, II, 158-9 (online)

Calendar of Charter Rolls, I, 296-304.

Henry III’s Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 8 May to Saturday 14 May 1261

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Having been at Romney on Saturday 7 May 1261, Henry moved north to Canterbury where he stayed from Monday 9 May to the following Friday. This pause enabled those seeking the writs to initiate and further the common law legal actions to catch up with him. In the previous week, only four  had been purchased. This week the number recovered to  a healthy twenty-one. It is noticeable that eight of these concerned litigation in Kent, and another three  cases in Sussex and Surrey. This shows how the king’s presence in an area encouraged litigants  to come forward to purchase writs.  On the other hand, people were still prepared to travel, even  in these troubled times,  and three writs were purchased for cases in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.  The fine roll also has a writ (issued from Canterbury on Monday 9 May), in which the king pardoned  Reginald fitzPeter a debt of five marks. This was a timely reward for his support, for Reginald had come to court and on this very day attested a royal charter.  Since he was a lord with major interests both in Hampshire and the Welsh marches,  his was an important addition to royal strength.  It was needed for Henry’s anxieties in this week are palpable.  One way kings of England strengthened their position in  times of political tension was by the exaction of  oaths of loyalty from their subjects. In 1209, for example, King John had taken oaths and homages from a large assembly gathered at Marlborough. (This is the subject of a fascinating paper by John Maddicott in the April 2011 edition of English Historical Review.)  On Friday 6 May, Henry had, in similar fashion, taken the homages of the barons of the Cinque ports gathered at Lydd near Romney. But very far from all had come. There was also conspicuous absenteeism when Henry, around the same time, summoned the knights and freemen of Kent to swear oaths of fealty. Had Henry been a bold man, had his position warranted it, he might now have taken punitive action against the delinquents.  Instead, with Dover safe under Robert Walerand,  and the main aim of his expedition accomplished, he decided to return to the safety of the capital.  Another factor in his decision was probably  alarm at the rebellion against  the royal judges in Hertfordshire. This had taken place on 2 May, and on Friday 12 May, from Canterbury, Henry  withdrew the judges and proclaimed his desire to give everyone his ‘gracious justice and benevolent favour’. On the same day, Henry declared he could not go to Sussex to receive the fealty of the knights and freemen of the county. The sheriff would have to receive it instead. On Saturday 13 May, Henry left Canterbury and reached Faversham. There he told the sheriff of Kent and Robert Walerand to receive the fealty of those men of Kent and the Cinque Ports who had failed to turn up earlier. Next day, Saturday 14 May (the day on which the battle of Lewes was to be fought in 1264)  Henry reached Rochester and by the evening was back in the Tower of London.

Henry III Fine Rolls Blog Sunday 1 May to Saturday 7 May 1261

Friday, May 6th, 2011

At the end of last week’s blog, we asked what Henry’s decision to leave London and advance on Dover (which he reached on  Monday 2 May) would have on the business recorded in the fine rolls. The answer is the business collapsed. Henry’s long residence at the Tower of London had meant that those wishing to purchase writs and other favours had a central and certain place to go. They were clearly not deterred by the surrounding political tension. The five weeks down to 30 April had seen the purchase of   20, 13, 17, 17 and 12 writs respectively to further the common legal actions. The week between 1-7 May saw the purchase of only four,   these at Dover on 3 and 4 May.   There were  only two other entries on the fine rolls.  In the one, Henry pardoned a one mark penalty  imposed on a Rochester vintner for selling his wares contrary to the weights and measures regulations. In the other, Henry accepted an offer of 100  marks from the convent of Much Wenlock in Shropshire to have custody of their house during the vacancy caused by the death of their prior.

The disappearance  of the usual fine roll business was of little moment, against this week’s triumphal political success. What happened at Dover was recorded on the patent rolls.

‘Memorandum that on 2 May the king came to Dover and on the morrow took into his hand the castle of Dover and the wardenship of the Cinque Ports, which Hugh Bigod held before of the king’s bail by counsel of the nobles of the council, and he committed these during his pleasure to Robert Walerand’.

 The phraseology here was deliberately chosen and deeply significant for it indicated that the authority of the 1258 Provisions of Oxford council was at end. Yes, in giving Dover to Bigod, Henry had acted ‘by counsel of the nobles of the council’, but there was no suggestion that he had done the same in transferring the castle to the trusty Robert Walerand. Walerand was to hold during his pleasure.  Henry was now acting free of restraint of his own free will.

Materially Henry had struck a mighty blow for Dover was ‘the key to England’.  He could now dominate the Cinque ports, control the channel and call in foreign help. Symbolically the blow was equally great. Hugh Bigod, with his appointment at justiciar in 1258, had been at the summit of the reform regime.  If he was now prepared to throw it over, that really seemed the end.  Bigod, moreover, put up no struggle. He supplied the king’s household with the castle’s wine, and immediately joined the circle of the court, witnessing a royal charter while the king was at Dover.

Later in the year Bigod may have regretted his conduct. In August, he refused to surrender Scarborough and Pickering castles to the king, on the grounds that he had received them from the council as well as the king, and was sworn to surrender them only with the council’s consent. Precisely the situation, one would have thought at Dover. At this moment,  however, his conduct was understandable. He had been close to the king before the revolution of 1258, and thereafter, as justiciar, had been careful treat him with respect, much more respect than some other members of the regime. In 1260,  he had obeyed the king, rather than Simon de Montfort, and refused to hold the Candlemas parliament laid down by the Provisions of Oxford.  Montfort had  threatened him with reprisals, and then in October 1260 secured his removal as justiciar, only failing to  remove him from Dover at the same time. Doubtless Bigod was now told by the king that a papal bull was on its way quashing the oath to the 1258 reforms. He believed  the baronial enterprise was at end.  It was only  subsequent events which showed he had miscalculated.

After his triumph at Dover, Henry  moved on to Romney near where, on 6 May, the barons of the Cinque Ports came to do him homage.  But there were signs it would not all  be plain sailing. On 2 May, the day he arrived at Dover, there was resistance to the king’s judges hearing pleas at Hertford, and complaints that they were acting in contravention of the Provisions of Oxford. Two day later, Henry summoned foreign soldiers to England. The struggle had only just begun.