Posts Tagged ‘invasion’

Sunday 6 July 1264: keeping the peace

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

This week, entries in the fine roll resumed, for the first time since April. There were the usual fines for having routine writs, and records of reliefs owed by heirs of tenants in chief – encouraging signs of the return of normal business, with the prospect of some income for the government. (CFR 1263-64, 115-35)

At last, de Montfort secured control of Windsor castle. Drogo de Barentin and his garrison were given safe conduct, and John fitz John was appointed constable. On the other hand, the marcher lords, like Roger Mortimer, continued to ignore orders to come to London and to release their prisoners. (CPR 1258-66, 329-30, 362)

After the disorders of the preceding months, it was hardly surprising that the government was short of money, and managing by short-term expedients. The king’s chamberlain bought wine worth £95 from Gascon merchants, with payment guaranteed by William son of Richard and Reginald of Canterbury, the London moneyers. The moneyers were to be reimbursed from the revenues of the London and Canterbury exchanges. The need for cash led to Hervey of Stanhoe, the new sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, being instructed to collect arrears of farms from the cities and towns of those counties, disregarding their liberties if need be, and to send the proceeds to the Wardrobe. This indicates that revenue, which should have been paid to the Exchequer, was still being diverted to the Wardrobe to pay day-to-day expenses, as had been done during the period of civil war. (CPR 1258-66, 331)

The new sheriffs evidently faced considerable problems. They were all instructed to preserve the peace: the king understood that certain keepers of the peace had become disturbers of the peace; others held men to ransom and plundered their goods. The sheriffs were to take action against them, and hold them prisoner, awaiting further instructions. (CPR 1258-66, 362)

There was also the threat from royalists overseas, with reports that the queen was leading a large army to the coast of Flanders, ready to cross to England. Letters were sent to most of the counties, setting out the threat of a great number of foreigners invading the country, and instructing the knights and free tenants to come to London with horses and arms on Sunday 2 August. In each township, the sheriff was to summon eight, six or at least four of the best men, mounted and on foot, armed with lances, bows and arrows, crossbows and axes. He was to accept no excuses because it was harvest-time: better to lose some goods than to risk total loss of land and goods at the hands of those who would spare neither age nor sex if they prevailed. Similarly, the commonalty of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were to be ready to defend the coasts, commanded by Hugh Despenser. This was the de Montfort regime’s response to the preparations for invasion from France, calling up a peasant army to defend against the foreign threat. (Ann Mon III, 233; IV, 154; CPR 1258-66, 360-2; Foedera, I, I, 444)

An unattractive aspect of the new regime became apparent on 30 June, in a blatantly biased judgment against William de Braose. He had plundered Sedgewick, a Sussex manor belonging to Simon de Montfort junior. He was ordered to pay 10,000 marks damages, a ridiculously large sum, by a tribunal headed by Henry de Montfort, who was hardly likely to be impartial. (Bémont, Simon de Montfort, 353-4)