Posts Tagged ‘St Botulph’s fair’

Sunday 20 July 1264: castles and cash

Sunday, July 20th, 2014
Pevensey castle in the 17th century, by Wenceslas Hollar

Pevensey castle in the 17th century, by Wenceslas Hollar

Simon de Montfort’s administration continued to issue orders intended to establish its authority over the country. Several royalist nobles and castellans, particularly in the north and the Welsh Marches, continued to ignore these instructions. Key castles were supposed to be delivered to loyal supporters of the new regime, including Corfe to Henry de Montfort, Oxford, Orford and Devizes to Hugh Despenser, and Nottingham initially to Simon de Montfort junior, then to the sheriff William fitz Herbert. The castle of Pevensey, where many royalists had fled after the battle of Lewes, was besieged by Simon de Monfort junior, around 20 July. The royalist garrison of Pevensey was offered safe conduct to go overseas, if they surrendered the castle to the sheriff, or to the king himself, but the siege was to continue for many months. The royalist northern magnates were yet again offered safe conduct to come to London, and assured that the Montfortian northerners had been instructed not to molest them. (CPR 1258-66, 335-7, 363; Close Rolls 1261-64, 399-401; Annales Londonienses, 64)

De Montfort’s first military priority was to establish control of the Welsh Marches. De Montfort and Gilbert de Clare went to the March, calling for the support of Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire against the Marchers who had seized the king’s castles. A brief campaign resulted in the recovery of several castles, the devastation of Roger Mortimer’s lands, and another peace agreement. De Montfort then had to hurry back to Kent, to deal with the threat of invasion from Flanders by the mercenary forces which Queen Eleanor had assembled. (CPR 1258-66, 363; Flores Historiarum, II, 498-9)

There was an indication of the privileged position which Simon de Montfort was adopting: the ruling council had forbidden anyone to bear arms, or to go with horses and arms, as a peace-keeping measure, but de Montfort was given permission to do so, because of the hostages and prisoners he had. (CPR 1258-66, 337)

The government’s finances evidently continued to be precarious, with the royal household being supplied by hand-to-mouth expedients. The keepers of St Botulph’s fair were told that the king’s revenues from the fair should be used to cover purchases at the fair by the Wardrobe, and by the taker of the king’s wines. A few weeks later, on 8 August, there was a further emergency measure to cover purchases for the Wardrobe at the fair. The bailiffs of Lincoln, Grimsby, York and Caistor were told to pay the farms of their towns for the coming Michaelmas term to the Wardrobe’s buyers, “quia rex denarios ad presens non habet”. The sheriff of Lincolnshire was to ensure that 60 tuns of wine were transported from the fair to Canterbury. (Close Rolls 1261-64, 351, 353; CLR 1260-67, 140)