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citizens willingly joined in besieging the Tower. Unfortunately for the Tower
the chancellor, it was not victualled for a siege, or, with time on his
side, he might still have won. 4 Henry of Cornhell was ready to divide ms chances
the city in his favour ; John, having got all that he wanted, might
be bought over, especially as his object now would be to undermine
the authority of the new justiciar. The party had been brought
together by an accident, and any accident might dissolve it. But
the state of the stores would not admit of Longchamp standing a
siege, and both Geoffrey and Hugh of Nunant saw that their only
safety was in his downfall. He was obliged to offer terms to the new He applies
powers, and early on the Wednesday the four bishops of London, puiation and


Lincoln, Winchester, and Coventry, 5 were sent in answer to his
application, and to declare at the same time the resolution of the
assembly. According to Giraldus, they found him in an abject
state of prostration, mental and physical ; he knelt before them he
swooned away from the violence of his agitation. Richard of Devizes
confirms the story of his fainting, and adds that he was recovered by
the sprinkling of cold water on his face ; he ascribes the swoon to
angry excitement and not to fear. 6 He was told that he must resign
the seal and surrender the king's castles. He declared that he He refuses to
would do neither ; he charged the barons with disloyalty to Richard ;
already they had given the kingdom to John. He threatened them
with the king's anger, if he should ever live to see him. As for the
castles, how could he surrender them ? None of his house had ever

1 R. Devizes, p. 38. 6 R. Devizes, 39. As this writer is

2 Gir. Camb. 398. Bened. ii. 214. anything but favourable to Long-
R. Devizes, 53, 54. R. de Diceto, 664. chump, I think his statements may be

3 R. de Diceto, 664. Bened. ii. 214. accepted always in mitigation of

4 W. Newb. p. 50. Giraldus's language,

5 Gir. Camb. 398.




He I* In-
tutted by
Hugh of


In the
evening be

:l K Tiv- til

next day
before the


nu-fts the
barons on
Oct. 10

offered him
by Hugh of


He declares
his inno-
cence of the

He consents
to give
pledges for
the surren-
der of liis

yet been a traitor. Hugh of Nunant argued like a brute : ' Do not
talk to us about your house, but do what you ought to do ; what
cannot be avoided, it is of no use to dally over. Depend on it, your
house, young as it is, cannot account you its first traitor. ' ' Prostrate
as Longchamp was, he held his ground in argument until evening,
when, having tried to bribe John, 3 and found that if he were success-
ful with him there were, besides, more enemies than he could pur-
chase, he yielded at nightfall to the entreaties of his servants, and
allowed one of his brothers to go to John to say that he agreed to
give hostages for his appearance before the justices the next day. 3
The hostages were his brother Osbert and Matthew de Cleres. 4
Whilst this was being done, or perhaps, earlier in the day, the bishops
executed one little piece of spite against him, by procuring the elec-
tion of William Postard as abbot of Westminster, to the destruction
of the chancellor's scheme of promoting his brother Robert. 5

The barons met in great force early on the morning of Thursday,
October 10th, in the fields to the east of the Tower, and there at last
William Longchamp stood face to face with his accusers. 6 With
singular ill-feeling, Hugh of Nunant undertook to declare the charges
and the ultimatum of the barons. For justiciar they would have
him no longer ; bishop he might be still, but justiciar he was not,
and as chancellor they would do their best to strip him. He might
keep three castles, Dover, Cambridge, and Hereford ; but the rest he
must resign ; he must give pledges to keep the peace, and might
then go where he liked. Longchamp could scarcely have entertained
any hope of changing the mood of his enemies by a speech, but he
seems to have been overwhelmed by the volubility of the bishop, at
once declaring the indictment and pronouncing the sentence.
When he found words he declared himself innocent of every charge.
His fellow justices could, 7 he said, if they were questioned, justify all
that he had done to raise revenue for the king, and for every farthing
he had so raised he could render an account. For the surrender of
the castles, as he was in their power, he would give pledges, but his
offices he could not resign, nor would he recognise the act of his
enemies in deposing him. ' I am one, you are many, and you are
stronger than I. I, the chancellor of the king and justiciar of the
kingdom, sentenced contrary to the form of all law, yield to the
stronger, for yield I must.' 8 So much said, and the words were true
and not deficient in dignity, the meeting closed. That night Long-

1 Giraldus, p. 398.
1 Ibid. 'Comitem Moritonije adeo
ab incepto fere Cancellarius avertit.'
1 B. Devizes, 40. Gir. Camb. 398.
4 Gir. Camb. 398.

6 R. de Diceto, 664.

' R. Devizes, 40. Gir. Camb. 398
R. de Diceto, 665.

7 R. Devizes, 41.
Ibid. 41, 42.


champ slept in the Tower j 1 on the Friday he gave up both that and On Friday,

Windsor, and moved with his baggage to Bermondsey. 2 On the quits the

Saturday he proceeded, in company with Bishop Gilbert of Eochester

and Henry of Cornhell, to Dover. 3 His reason for going into Kent

was said to be that he might lay down at Canterbury the cross of

his legation, which had expired on the death of Clement III. ; but the

events that followed showed that this was a mere pretext. 4 He had

been compelled to swear to surrender all the king's castles and to leave

the appointment of constables for his own three to the justices ; s

until this was completed he was not to quit the country. Windsor

and the Tower he had given up, but he could not bear to do more.

Neglectful of the safety of his pledges, his brothers Henry and He attempts

Osbert, 6 as well as of his own oath, he attempted, in the dress of a befonfhe

woman, to escape on board ship, on the Thursday after his arrival at the comii- ed

Dover. 7 This was prevented ; he was dragged into the town and im- *n h S im rced

prisoned with great ignominy in a cellar. The justices, on hearing

of his discomfiture, issued immediate orders for his release, and He is taken

, . 11-11- i -i -iiit- i au( l insulted,

having compelled him to yield in every point, let mm go his way. Oct. is ;
He crossed over to Whitsand on the 29th of October. His misfor- SfaS*
tunes did not end here ; he was seized, plundered, and put to ransom ^^4
by the Flemish nobles. 8 Oct. 29

This little crisis occupies in our histories a place more propor- importance
iionate to the interests of its personal incidents than to its her^de" 8 '
constitutional importance. 9 The proceedings of the barons were scnbed
revolutionary. Although the question of allegiance to the king does
not enter formally into the complication, the insurrection must be
regarded as of the same character as those by which from time to
time the king's tenure of power has been directly attacked the
machinery which has the power to make laws interposes with
effect to meet a case and to overcome difficulties for which the laws
have failed to provide ; to punish the offences of a person who by
circumstances, as in this case, or on theory as in the case of the
monarch, is above the ordinary process of the law. The accused, Thepro-
when such a consummation is imminent, cannot expect to secure reauy'fevo-
the benefit of legal treatment ; rightfully or wrongfully he must be lutionar y
condemned ; for he whom in such a position it is possible to bring
to trial has fallen too low to be able to resist, although not so low

1 R. de Diceto, 665. lii. 146. R. Devizes, p. 42. R.

2 Gir. Camb. 399. R. de Diceto, 665. Diceto, 665.

1 R. de Diceto, 665. 8 R. de Diceto, 665. Hoveden, iii.

4 Benedict, ii. 219. Hoveden, iii. 150. Ben. Pet. ii. 220. R. Devizes, 42.

145. 9 Sir Francis Palgrave has given a

4 Gir. Camb. 398. recension of it in the preface to the

8 R. de Diceto, 665. first volume of the Rotuli Curise Regis,

7 Benedict, ii. 219, 220. Hoveden, which is very valuable.



made pos-
sible by
but pro-
duced by
John's in-

and cause of

Conduct of
the arch-
bishop of
Rouen at
the crisis

His success
In the crisis

His com-
failure as a

as to be safely spared. Nor does our history present us with a case
in which the wrong-doings of such a person have by themselves
provoked the revolution which overwhelms him. He falls under the
accumulation of hatred, not because of it ; it is because there is
some one ready to take his place, who cannot afford to wait. So it
may often be that the pretexts of revolution are out of all harmony
with its real justification, and have nothing whatever to do with its
definite causes. Longcharnp's position was unrighteous and
tyrannical ; the hatred he had inspired was widely spread and not
unwarranted ; the movement by which he fell was of the nature of a
conspiracy ; the real objects which his enemies had in view were
strictly selfish aims after personal or political aggrandisement.
It was, however, a good precedent against John himself in after years.

The man who appears to the most advantage in the matter is the
new minister, the Pilate of Rouen, who, if not a strong man, was an
honest one, and in the main gave himself as thoroughly as Long-
champ had done to the king's interests. If we consider that he was
sent by Richard to England to hold the balance of power between
John and Longchamp ; to humour John as long as he could do so
without encouraging him in his disaffection ; to strengthen the chan-
cellor unless he found it was no longer possible to keep peace
between him and the barons ; that he knew all the time that Long-
champ was trusted by Richard, and that John only lacked the power
to be a traitor ; and if we consider further that in the motley band
of malcontents with whom he had to work there were not two who
had the same object in view ; that John was striving for the increase
of his own power and the right of succession, that Geoffrey was
struggling for the see of York, whilst Hugh de Puiset, who for the
moment was working with him, was bent on vindicating his personal
independence of his metropolitan ; that the barons cared far more to
get rid of Longchamp than to administer the kingdom under himself,
also a foreigner, and scarcely less suspected than Longchamp : we
we may, I think, regard his conduct of the crisis as skilful and
complete. He managed to get rid, by John's aid, of the chancellor
who could govern no more, and yet to keep the substance of power
as far as ever out of John's reach.

But his own administration was not very successful. Although
strengthened by the support of the queen, he was unable to meet the
manoeuvres of John aided by Philip of France. The result was that
from the moment of Richard's captivity he lost his grasp on the
reins of government, and the country was only saved from anarchy
by the management of Hubert Walter, who superseded him after
two years and throe months of office in the opening of the year 1194.

The archbishop's first piece of work was a failure. The day of



Election of



Longcharap's surrender, October 10, letters were issued for a meeting Business of
of the bishops at Westminster on the 22nd, and for the election of a to can'tcr-
successor to Baldwin. 1 The king had not yet withdrawn his nomina- ury
tion of the archbishop of Montreal ; the monks were suspected of
wishing to elect the chancellor ; the archbishop of Eouen, who was
supposed to have the king's instructions, was also suspected of wishing
to exchange a poor archbishopric for a rich one. 2 The monks were
really inclined to a delay which prolonged the day of their own
independence and would increase the chances of their patron. But
the justiciar was pressing, and they could resist no longer. After a
preliminary meeting on October 22, they made the election on
December 2. The bishop of Bath, whom no one seems to have
thought of before, was elected. He died a few weeks after, but his
election had satisfied the occasion. 3 No new one could be made
before the king had been consulted, and leave to elect granted. The
primacy continued for a year and a half longer unfilled.

As a matter of course, Longchamp's more offensive acts were Long-,

. . . . champs acts

now remedied ; the bishop of Winchester was reinstated in the castle reversed
of which he had been deprived ; the county of Northumberland was
delivered over to Hugh de Puiset ; 4 Osbert and Henry Longchamp
were removed from their sheriffdoms, and the latter imprisoned at
Cardiff. 5 The Yorkshiremen who had got into trouble about the
Jews were restored to their estates. 6 The bishops were instructed
to take no notice of the legate's letters. Geoffrey returned to his cross-fire of
see, and before Christmas had time to excommunicate his late ally cations
the bishop of Durham. 7 Hugh bore the sentence with equanimity,
and met it by contriving new difficulties for the metropolitan, for
whose sanctity he had been so lately ready to fight. The archbishop
of Rouen regarded the chancellor as lying still under the Beading
anathema. Longchamp, as soon as his legation was renewed, issued
an excommunication, in which he included the whole ministry. Not
content with this, he named seriatim all his great enemies the
bishop of Winchester, Hugh of Nunant, the four co-justices ; 8 Richard
Malbysse, the persecutor of the Jews and ally of Hugh de Puiset ;
Roger FitzRainfrai who had deserted him at the last ; Henry de Vere,

1 Epp. Cantuar. 8-18.

2 Gervase, 1580.

:| See Epp. Cantuar. pref. pp.

4 E. Devizes, 39.

' Gir. Camb., 399.

' See above, p. 219, note. Richard
Malbysse did not keep long out of
mischief; in 1194 we find 'Ricardus
de Malbysse reddit computum de 300
marcis pro habenda benevolentia regis,

quia dicebatur fuisse cum comite
Johanne ; et ut sit quietus de foris-
facto occisionis Judseorum Ebor<ici, et
pro habendis terris et ward is et fores-
taria sua sicut habuit quando rex
iter arripuit Jerusalem.' liot. Pip. 6
Rich. I.

Ben. Pet. ii. 225.

s Ben. Pet. ii. 223. Hoveden, ii.
153, 154.




iiic.iti"ii- by

His tlm :,t
iiddressed to

Reaction in
fa TOUT of

He visits
Paris and
goes thence
to Nor-

Obscurity of
the early
events of

return re-
kindles the
ambition of

his brother Stephen's competitor for the Baudemont heritage ; Gerard
Camville, the delinquent of Lincoln ; Stephen Ridell, the chancellor
of John, and the best endowed clerk in the diocese of Ely ; Master
Benedict, who pretended to bear the king's seal ; the earl of Salis-
bury and the count of Meulan ; two of the Bassets, and Simon of
Avranches, lord of Folkestone, are thrown in, perhaps as having
taken part in the Dover outrage ; Earl John himself is spared, and
Hugh Bardulf ; but the latter is ordered to give up the sheriffdom
of Yorkshire to William Stuteville, and John, if he does not take care,
will find himself excommunicated on the next Quinquagesima

Before the chancellor ventured on this act he had received very
encouraging news from Rome. The pope had not yet renewed his
legation, but addressed him as if it had never been interrupted. 1 The
savage attack made upon him by the bishop of Coventry had caused
some little reaction in his favour. Peter of Blois wrote manfully for
him ; 2 Celestine III. would hear nothing from the other side ; he
argued, in fact, from his knowledge of Richard's trust in Longchamp
and the obsequiousness of the bishops and barons in the days of his
prosperity, that the attack on him was more prompted by envy and
jealousy than it really was. 3 The chancellor's steadfast purpose was
to make his way back^to England. After his expulsion he had passed
through Glanders to Paris, where he had been received with pro-
cessions, at his own expense, by the bishop at Notre Dame. 4
Returning to Normandy he found himself treated everywhere as
excommunicate ; neither the office of chancellor nor the title of
legate spared him this humiliation.' Whilst he was there, Philip
returned from Palestine.

Historians have recorded of the early events of 1192 little more
than the cross-fire of excommunications ; the interest of the period
is in the crusade. John's plots and Longchamp's counter-plots lie
below the surface. But we can see that Philip's return has intro-
duced a new element into the calculations of both ; that Philip's
object is to injure Richard wherever he has the chance, by stirring
up war on the Continent and persuading John to unsettle England.

John spent Christmas at Howden, with Bishop Hugh, learning
how to behave under excommunication. 6 Early in the year he
received two communications. Philip invited him to France to a
conference, offering him his brother's French possessions with the

1 Benedict, ii. 221. Hoveden. iii.

1 Hoveden, iii. 148-150.
1 Hoveden, iii. 190, 191. Bened.ii.

242-244. W. Newb. iv. 18, p. 53.
4 Benedict, ii. 220.
4 Ibid. ii. 221.
Hoveden, iii. 179. Bened. ii. 235.



hand of the precious Alais ; l William Longchamp offered him a round
sum in money if he would contrive his restoration. 2 John listened
to both the tempters, contrary as their purposes were. He had
found by this time that the archbishop of Eouen was not inclined
to give way to him, and that the title of ruler of all England which
he had assumed was less effective than the more constitutional rule
of the justiciar. He promised to visit Philip ; he also premised to
do his best for Longchamp. It would seem that Eleanor was the
first to hear of these negotiations, and the news quickly brought her
to England. The chancellor had visited Philip in order to lay before
him a complaint of the seizure of his property by the Flemish
nobles ; 3 and the juxtaposition of two such men was not a little
alarming. The queen landed at Portsmouth on February II, 4 and
found John ready to sail to France. Very determined he proved
himself. Between Sexagesima Sunday and Easter the queen held
four councils of the barons, at Windsor, London, Oxford, and
Winchester. 5 John showed himself more obdurate than was con-
ceived. He not only persisted but plotted. He actually succeeded
in persuading the constables of Windsor and Wallingford to hand
over their castles to him. 6 It was only by the severest remonstrances
that he was prevailed upon to give up his projected visit. The
archbishop, with Eleanor and the justices, threatened that the moment
he embarked they would seize, in the king's name, every castle and
manor that he possessed. 7

In the midst of the excitement caused by these discussions, the
bishop of Ely landed at Dover and took up his quarters with his
sister in the castle. 8 John had listened to his overtures, and now
that he and the archbishop of Eouen had quarrelled, the support of
the chancellor would be very important to him. Accordingly, about
the fifth week in Lent, Longchamp wrote from Dover to the heads
of the government the queen, John, and the justices offering to
stand his trial and demanding the restoration of his property. Now,
Eleanor as well as John would have listened. She had prevailed
already on the archbishop to release the estates of the see and
withdraw the excommunication ; 9 Longchamp also withdrew his
sentence against the justices. But even if these could have safely
admitted his return, the barons were implacable. Little news came

1 Benedict, ii. 236. R. Devizes, 56. 1580. R. Devizes, 57, 58. W. Newb.

Proposals ot
Philip and
to John

* Bened. ii. 239. R. Devizes, 57.

3 R. Devizes, 55.

4 R. Devizes, 55. Gervase, 1580.

5 R. Devizes, 57.

6 Ibid.

7 Benedict, ii. 257.

9 In the middle of March, Gervase,

iv. 18, p. 54. Benedict, ii. 239. Gir.
Camb. V. Galfr. 402 (circa kalendas

9 R. Devizes, 56. Gir. Camb. V.
Galfr. 402. According to Gervase he
came to England by the queen's
invitation, c. 1580.

visits Philip

returns to
and compels
John to re-
nounce his

opposition of
the queen to


lands at
Dover in

His pro-
posals to the
queen, John,
and the




The liaroni

I vf !!- U>

listni to him

John ac-
cepts a
bribe from
the justices
and forsakes
his new ally

ordered to
quit Kng-

He sends
to Richard

M - ii.il Of

John of

Capture of

the kiiiLT

The queen's
pacific in-
fluence in

from Palestine. John's succession seemed more than imminent,
and with Longchamp they would have nothing to do. John pleaded
the cause of his new friend ; he saw, in fact, that his arrival gave
him the opportunity of making new terms for himself. One of the
subjects marked out for consultation in the sitting of the barons
was, what notice should be taken of John's treasonable conduct in
corrupting the constables of Windsor and Wallingford. 1 By holding
out a threat to side with the chancellor, he entirely escaped inquiry
into this. And this was, perhaps, all he wanted. He made no secret
of the price at which Longchamp had bought him. ' Within a week,'
he told the justices, ' the chancellor will pay me 700Z. of silver if I
abstain from interference between him and you. Money is what you
see I want. You know what I mean ; you are wise men.' 2 The
justices saw that they must buy him. They offered him 2,000 marks,
500Z. of which were to be raised from the chancellor's estates. 3 John
graciously accepted the sum, and peremptory letters were at once
written by all parties to the common enemy, directing him, if he
cared for his life, to quit England. He obeyed ; sailed on the
Thursday in Holy Week ; landed again at Whitsand, and, as the
English believed, betook himself at once to the court of Philip as a
traitor. 4 It is probable that his occupation was rather that of a spy ;
but we lose sight of him entirely for nearly a year. His envoy, the
prior of Hereford, had already made his way to Palestine and poured
into the king's ears the complaints which had so impressed the pope. 5
He found Richard at Ascalon in April. The king was, as might be
expected, disturbed at the news, but the distressed state of the crusade
at the moment prevented his leaving. Six weeks afterwards, in
May, at the Canebrake of Starlings, John of Alencon, the vice-
chancellor, whom he had left in Normandy, reached him with new
complaints ; this time, probably, from the archbishop of Rouen : 6
but just now it was out of his power to leave with honour. The
break-up of the crusade was, however, imminent, and after a bold
but destructive march on Jerusalem in the height of summer, the
three years' truce with Saladin was concluded, and in October
Richard embarked for home. The next news of him is in January
1198, when he is reported to be in prison in Austria.

During these months the history of England is nearly a blank.
Eleanor had succeeded in producing a temporary lull in the political
strife. Hugh of Nunant had time to persecute his monks ; Geoffrey

1 R. Devizes, 57, ' cle praesuruptione

7 R. Devizes, 57, 58. W. Newb. iv.
18, p. 55.

3 Benedict, ii. 239. R. Devizes 59.

Hoveden, iii. 188.

4 Benedict, ii. 240, 241.
iii. 188.

4 Itin. R. R. 333.

Itin. R.'R. 358.



of York to offend the dignity of the southern as well as to quarrel to
the point of anathema with the clergy of the northern province. The
justiciar had his hands full of Norman business. Whilst he was
acting as the king's lieutenant in England, his own unhappy province
was laid under interdict by the legates sent in consequence of Long-
champ's complaints. 1 Philip was in arms, and only prevented by
a resolute remonstrance of his barons from entering Richard's
territories. Old Bishop Hugh de Puiset had to be recalled from his

Online LibraryWilliam StubbsHistorical introductions to the Rolls series → online text (page 32 of 68)