Gascony and the International Context 1243–1252
Gascony and the International Context 1243–1252
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter describes how, before his departure from Gascony in the autumn of 1243, Henry III had worked hard to set the province to rights. He had toured the duchy, reconciled competing factions, maintained his rights, and bolstered the defences against external attack, or at least tried to do so. But, as a would-be conqueror of Gascony had once said, it was like trying to plough the seashore. For the next ten years, Henry was never free from Gascon worries. They led him in 1248 to place the duchy under Simon de Montfort and, when that ended in disaster, they forced him in 1253 to go there himself, despite being now pledged to go on crusade. Henry's concentration on Gascony and commitment to the crusade reflected the more general international situation, which left him with little else to do. There was no chance of attempting to recover the lost continental empire. Indeed, the ten years between Henry's two sojourns in Gascony in 1243 and 1253 saw a significant shift in the European balance of power towards the Capetian kings of France.
Before his departure from Gascony in the autumn of 1243, Henry III had worked hard to set the province to rights. He had toured the duchy, reconciled competing factions, maintained his rights and bolstered the defences against external attack, or at least tried to do so. But, as a would-be conqueror of Gascony had once said, it was like trying to plough the seashore.1 For the next ten years Henry was never free from Gascon worries. They led him in 1248 to place the duchy under Simon de Montfort and, when that ended in disaster, they forced him in 1253 to go there himself, despite being now pledged to go on crusade. Henry’s concentration on Gascony and commitment to the crusade reflected the more general international situation, which left him with little else to do. There was no chance of attempting to recover the lost continental empire. Indeed, the ten years between Henry’s two sojourns in Gascony in 1243 and 1253 saw a significant shift in the European balance of power towards the Capetian kings of France.
Henry had always hoped to counter Capetian power through his alliance with Emperor Frederick II, yet that prospect after 1243 seemed as remote as ever. After the death of Gregory IX in 1241, Henry shared all Frederick’s hopes of a reconciliation with his successor. At the great papal council held at Lyon in 1245, the English delegation worked hard to bring it about.2 To no avail. Innocent IV’s horror at Frederick’s conduct, and fear that reconciliation could only mean subservience, rendered him implacable. In July 1245 he excommunicated Frederick and, going decisively beyond the anathemas of 1239, pronounced his deposition as emperor, soon broadcasting the sentences, along with lurid lists of his crimes, through Europe. This situation made Frederick all the keener on the English alliance: keen so that he could prevent Henry sending money to the pope, keen so he could prevent any acknowledgement of the successive anti-kings, Henry of Raspe and William of Holland, set up in Germany. To that end, he sent streams of letters and envoys to England. (p.490) They threatened reprisals if Henry helped the pope, yet also canvassed the possibility of some settlement in which young Henry, the fruit of Frederick’s marriage with Isabella, might be baptized by the pope and become ruler of Sicily.3
King Henry was between a rock and a hard place. He had deep respect for the papacy and feared to the depths of his being the spiritual penalties for disobedience. Yet he was desperate not to offend Frederick, a ruler of seemingly titanic power who might at any time be reconciled to the church. In these circumstances, much like Louis IX and his Savoyard uncles, though with less assurance, Henry endeavoured to steer a middle path. He tried to obstruct papal taxation of the English church (and there were no demands after 1247), but he did not absolutely prevent it.4 He avoided contact with Raspe, Holland and the arrogant archbishop of Cologne, who crowned them. (The latter was to be depicted on his tomb depositing crowns with either hand on the heads of two little kingly figures.) He still received Frederick’s envoys and, in 1247, doubtless aware of the emperor’s passion for falconry, allowed one of them to choose four of his gerfalcons to take back as a present.5 Yet Henry accepted that Frederick was beyond the pale as an acknowledged and active ally.6 The emperor’s death at the end of 1250 brought this uneasy balancing act to an end. It meant William of Holland establishing himself in Germany, while Conrad, Frederick’s eldest surviving son, sought control of the kingdom of Sicily. The young Henry, under Frederick’s will, was to be the ruler either of imperial Burgundy or of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Frederick’s death was a watershed in European history. The Hohenstaufen attempt to wield authority in Germany, northern Italy and Sicily was at an end. For a while in the 1250s ‘dazzling prospects’ (in Powicke’s words) opened up for both Henry and his brother Richard.7 But it was the Capetians who ultimately profited most from the Hohenstaufen downfall.8
The Capetian Advance and the Savoyard Embrace
In March 1243, out in Gascony, Henry had concluded a five-year truce with Louis IX. It was to be renewed, sometimes for periods of weeks, sometimes for years, on eleven occasions all the way down to the final (p.491) peace of Paris in 1259.9 The long delay before a final settlement was not surprising. Both Henry and Louis wished for peace, but on incompatible terms. Louis wanted Henry to resign his claims to the lost territories in France, whereas Henry, however vainly, still wanted to recover them. In late 1243, Louis took an important initiative. He insisted that those still with lands in Normandy and England chose their allegiance. If it was to be French, they must surrender their English lands. In January 1244, Henry replied in kind and ordered all the lands of those ‘who are of the power of the king of France’ to be seized.10 Since significant cross-Channel landholders were by this time few, Louis’s move was largely symbolic. His aim, quite probably, building on his victory in 1242, was to push Henry towards some final peace by making it absolutely clear he would not surrender Normandy.
Later in 1244, recovering from a dangerous illness, Louis took the cross. His prospective absence made him even keener to reach a settlement with Henry. Over the turn of the year 1245–6, on his initiative, negotiations began both to renew the truce beyond 1248, and explore the possibility of a permanent peace. According to Matthew Paris, if Henry resigned his claims to Normandy where Louis was ‘confident of his right’, Louis was ready to return all the other continental possessions.11 Had this been an accurate summary of Louis’s terms, Henry would have jumped at them. But it must have been wrong. There was no way Louis was going to remove his brothers Alphonse and Charles from, respectively, Poitou and Anjou. Perhaps all Louis suggested were territorial concessions of much smaller dimensions, the equivalent of those accepted in the final peace of 1259. Whatever the case, the negotiations led neither to a peace nor an extension of the truce, one further point of tension being the future of Provence, of which more later.
Louis’s status as a crusader did not stop rumours of his hostile intentions. They may well explain Henry’s visit to Dover in the early summer of 1246. Fears that Louis was planning to subjugate Gascony circulated at the February 1247 parliament. Later in the year Henry brought the Lusignans to England, and completed his acquisition of Winchelsea and Rye, acting ‘for the safety of the realm’. Fécamp abbey, he said, would be unable to defend them ‘in time of war’.12 In the autumn, however, Henry changed tack. Aware that Louis, anxious as a crusader to depart with a clean bill of spiritual health, was offering to restore everything unjustly (p.492) taken, he despatched Richard of Cornwall to ask for the return of the continental possessions. Louis, at least in Matthew Paris’s account, appeared sympathetic but referred the matter to his councillors and to a body of Norman bishops, who all declared that King John’s forfeiture had been absolutely just.13 It would take a complete change of circumstances in the late 1250s to finally break this impasse and bring Henry to accept Louis’s terms for peace.
Louis left on his crusade in 1248 and did not return to France until 1254, after many trials and tribulations. Given that all his lands and rights were placed under papal protection as a crusader, there was no prospect of Henry acting overtly against him, although a more cynical king might have imitated Philip Augustus’s treatment of King Richard in the 1190s and sought to do so. Meanwhile, one field of Capetian advance and Henrician retreat was in Flanders and Hainault, a story which also shows the extraordinary hold over Henry wielded by the Savoyards.
Although Flanders was a fief of the king of France, and Hainault of the emperor, they had long been linked to England by their cloth industries’ dependence on English wool. Since 1237 the two counties had been controlled by the uncle of Henry’s queen Thomas of Savoy through his marriage to countess Joan. With considerable skill, particularly during the war of 1242, he had walked a tightrope between England and France, receiving a 500-mark annual pension from Henry without ever falling out with Louis. At the end of 1244, however, Joan died and was succeeded by her sister Margaret.14 Thomas claimed from Margaret an annual pension left him by his wife, but his control of Flanders and Hainault was at an end. Since Thomas had received his annual 500 marks from Henry as count of Flanders, logically it should now have been terminated, all the more so since Henry began to pay it, if in fits and starts, to Margaret.15 But there was no question of Thomas being cast off and he continued to receive the 500 marks as a personal fee. At least Thomas was far from down and out. He was busy carving out a principality in northern Italy and just conceivably his power there might one day be useful.16 Rather less justifiable was the extraordinary way Henry sided with Thomas against Margaret over the payment of the pension left by his wife. When in 1248, Thomas complained that Margaret was failing to pay it, Henry simply ordered the sheriffs, when notified by Thomas of any default, to seize Flemish men and merchandise in England until satisfaction was made. This was tantamount to handing control of the sheriffs over to Thomas and allowing him to declare war on Flanders on his own behalf. At the same time, Henry agreed that the homage Margaret owed for her annual (p.493) fee should be performed instead to Thomas ‘in our name’! Even Henry felt this concession needed some justification: it was, he said, permitted by ‘reason’ although ‘unusual in the kingdom’, and not to set a precedent.17 The ‘reason’ itself was not explained and the motive can only have been to give Thomas a hold over Margaret. It is difficult to think of more extraordinary concessions ever made by a king of England. They can scarcely have endeared Henry to Margaret. As fighting developed over the future succession to Flanders and Hainault between the children of her two marriages, both of doubtful legitimacy, one to Bouchard d’Avesnes and the other to Guillaume de Dampierre, Henry had to look on while Louis IX’s brother Charles of Anjou obtained for a while control of much of Hainault. In the end it was left to Louis IX, on his return from crusade, to settle the quarrels in his arbitration at Péronne in 1256.18
Charles of Anjou made a large profit from his involvement in the Low Countries. He did even better in Provence. In his will drawn up in 1238, Raymond Berengar had left 10,000 marks apiece as ‘dowry’ for his daughters the queens of France and England, but the succession to Provence itself went to his youngest unmarried daughter, Beatrice. Whenever the count died, Henry and Eleanor would naturally wish to secure their 10,000 marks and challenge Beatrice’s exclusive right to the succession. They were also deeply interested in who she married. Here, Eleanor’s mother, Beatrice of Savoy, was a key player since Raymond had left her, as his widow, the usufruct of Provence as well as several strategic castles.19 When Beatrice came to England towards the end of 1243 for the marriage of her daughter Sanchia (also left only money in the will), Henry was bowled over by this ‘woman of impressive grace, prudent and courteous’, as Matthew Paris called her. He gave her a pension of £400 a year to last for six years, a magnificent golden and jewelled eagle costing over £100 (this in reference to Savoy’s eagle emblem), and agreed to loan her husband 4,000 marks on the security of five castles in Provence of Henry’s choice.20
All this was a very substantial investment in Beatrice’s goodwill, and seemed the more prudent when news arrived, before her departure, of the (p.494) count’s declining health. On his demise in August 1245, Henry did everything right, as Matthew Paris acknowledged. Hiding the news at first from Queen Eleanor so as not to upset her, he ordered 10,000 paupers to be fed and a great service to be held in Westminster Abbey (with 150 candles).21 None of this helped when it came to the succession. In a remarkable coup connived in by Beatrice, confirmed by the pope and concocted by Louis IX, at the end of January 1246 the heiress to Provence married none other than Charles of Anjou. Provence, therefore, was now Capetian.22
Henry was dismayed by this betrayal, and protested to the pope, yet at this very time he was striking an alliance with Savoy.23 On 16 January 1246, by which time the rumours may well have arrived of Charles’s impending marriage, he promised Amadeus, count of Savoy (elder brother of Peter and the rest), both £1,000 (of which £333 were paid cash down) and an annual pension of 200 marks. In addition, Henry agreed to marry one of the count’s granddaughters to either John de Warenne or Edmund de Lacy, heirs respectively to the earldoms of Surrey and Lincoln. In return for all this, Amadeus was to perform homage to Henry for the castles and towns guarding the Mont Cenis, Grand St Bernard and Petit St Bernard passes across the Alps.24 Henry could take possession of them to attack his enemies whenever he wished. Amadeus, in a pact of mutual assistance, was also to use his power to help Henry’s friends and aggrieve his enemies.25 The Savoyards worked together to bring about this alliance. Peter de Aigueblanche, bishop of Hereford, had urged it on Henry and his council in the early part of 1245, and had done so again later by letter, having gone out to Savoy. Amadeus’s eventual homage (sometime in 1246) was performed to Archbishop Boniface, standing in for the king, in the presence of Thomas of Savoy. The count thus gained money and prevented Henry losing faith in his family. Perhaps he also hoped, under cover of Henry, to distance himself from any conflict over control of the passes between the pope and Frederick II. The agreement itself stipulated it was not to prejudice the homage he had done the emperor.
(p.495) In considering the treaty, one is tempted to say that those clever Savoyards had taken a simplex Henry for a ride. The chances of him actually taking possession of his Alpine towns and castles was surely low, to put it mildly. Yet Henry might think the treaty marched well with his alliance with Thomas of Savoy. He was certainly immensely proud of Amadeus’s homage and his lordship in the Alps, telling Matthew Paris all about them, and stressing they were not aimed at the emperor.26 That the Savoyards had thrown in their lot with France over the succession to Provence made it all the more important to retain counterbalancing connections. Henry’s relations with Beatrice soon recovered and before long she was quarrelling with Charles of Anjou.27 In a world where so much seemed to be moving against Henry, how important it was, as the bishop of Hereford put it, ‘that you study to acquire friends and subjects who, when opportunity offers, may be able to counter your enemies, as befits so great a prince’.28 ‘When opportunity offers’, that siren call again. But ten years later Henry was to think an opportunity across the Alps very much did offer itself.29
There was one other Capetian advance, one particularly threatening to Gascony. Raymond VII, count of Toulouse, died in 1249, leaving as his heir his son-in-law Alphonse, count of Poitou, brother of Louis IX. Alphonse was absent on his brother’s crusade, but his agents took possession both of Toulouse and the Agenais, despite Henry’s claims to the latter. (It had been given to Raymond VI, count of Toulouse, in 1196 on his marriage to King Richard’s sister.) So Capetian power now sat alongside the eastern frontiers of Gascony, as well as being established in the Saintonge and Poitou to the north.
The Gascon Turmoil, 1243–8
King Henry had left Gascony in the autumn of 1243 with no great desire to return, yet he remained very directly involved in its affairs. In February 1247, when a minister was leaving for Gascony, Henry instructed him ‘by word of mouth’ about the repair of the castles of Bordeaux, Bayonne and La Réole.30 Communications could be rapid with a letter sent from La Réole able to provoke decisions at Westminster within little more than a fortnight.31 Between 1243 and 1248, Henry had to wage two wars (against the king of Navarre and Gaston de Béarn) while ruling through no fewer (p.496) than five seneschals, as one after the other found the job too much. Henry was very conscious of money (however profligate in its use), and knew all too well the large sums he devoted each year to Gascony, sums to sustain the seneschals, to repay merchants for their loans and their wine, and to meet the numerous annual fees enjoyed by members of the nobility.
Despite this cost, Henry was completely committed to Gascony’s retention and good order. An immediate reason for that was the wish of Henry and Eleanor to make Gascony the centrepiece of the appanage they would one day create for their eldest son. This was why Eleanor had persuaded Henry to withdraw the promise of giving Gascony to Richard of Cornwall. Here, in the protection of Edward’s interests, she received staunch support from Peter of Savoy. The heir to the throne was after all the rock on which Savoyard fortunes were founded.
Henry was also attached to Gascony in a way quite different from his predecessors. They had never thought of their continental possessions as integral to their English kingship. Henry did just that, a fundamental ideological shift. Thus, when formally granting Gascony to Edward in 1252, he laid down that ‘it is not to be in anyway alienated from our crown of England but is always to be joined to it’.32 This shift was partly the result of England now far outbalancing everything on the continent. It resulted too from the developing doctrine that certain rights and properties were inalienable from the crown. There was another difference between Henry and his predecessors. For them, Gascony was the least significant and most expendable part of a wide continental empire. For Henry, with the rest of the empire gone, it represented his sole claim to continental power. If it went, then ‘never in future times’, as Matthew Paris put it, would it be possible ‘to cast anchor in lands across the sea’. There was far more here than some token continental presence. Paris, in explaining Henry’s horror at Gascony’s prospective loss, observed that the revenues from Bordeaux alone were worth 1,000 marks a year and this was probably an underestimate for in the 1260s the customs, levied chiefly on wine exports, were leased for an annual £3,000.33 And then there were the castles and the loyal townsmen prepared to lend their money in Henry’s cause.34 Gascony was certainly a drain on Henry’s English and Irish resources, but that might be reversed if the seneschals could recover the king’s rights. Henry no longer had an empire stretching from Normandy to the Pyrenees, but south-west of the Gironde, between the Dordogne and the Pyrenees, he was still the major power. As he put it feelingly in his letters, the loss of (p.497) Gascony would be ‘shameful, dishonourable, ignominious’, involving ‘irretrievable damage to us and our heirs’.35
When Henry III left Gascony in September 1243 he had hoped that a mixture of fair words and firm action would check King Theobald of Navarre.36 In fact, Theobald became all the more aggressive.37 Starting out as count of Champagne, Theobald had gained Navarre by marriage in 1234, thus becoming ruler of the small kingdom in north-west Spain, created by the counts of Pamplona. Kings of Navarre, unlike those of Castile and Aragon, had no claims to Gascony itself, but that did not make them any less of a threat. The Pyrenees were neither a barrier nor a border. Trade and pilgrims moved constantly along the great passes through the mountains, the pilgrims on their way to and from St Jean de Compostela. Much of the area running south-west from Bayonne and the river Adour, up into the Pyrenees and down into Navarre, had its own character, as it still does today with its Basque language, distinctive architecture and pastoral farming, so that in the hills around say Ainhoa it is often impossible to know whether one is in France or Spain. There was equally no clear frontier in the thirteenth century, just a patchwork of castles, lordships and small towns and settlements which might at one time acknowledge the king of Navarre and at another the king of England, and sometimes both at the same time.
In this conducive environment, King Theobald, like his predecessors, was very much in the game of pushing his authority northwards into Gascony, into ‘the lands lying beyond the passes’, the ‘ultrapuertos’. King Henry was naturally determined to resist these Navarrese encroachments. Already before his departure in 1243 there had been struggles over control of castles and allegiances east of Bayonne, notably at Garro and Gramont, where the formidable hill-topped castle of William Arnold controlled the passage down the river Bidouze.38 The precise chronology of the war which broke out over these and other issues is lost, but Theobald’s forces threatened Bayonne and in a wide surrounding area laid siege to castles, devastated olive groves, burnt houses, destroyed mills and killed people.39 Henry was lucky in that his own forces were recruited and commanded by a great military expert, the household knight Nicholas de Molis, the seneschal appointed in 1243. Nicholas based himself at Bayonne (whose (p.498) loyalty he lauded and loans he sought to repay), and by August 1244 he was in negotiations for a settlement.40 Ratified by Theobald in November, and by Henry in April 1245, this involved referring the disputes to the arbitration of the ubiquitous Thomas of Savoy, and agreeing a truce which was to last until September 1249.41 Matthew Paris thought that Molis had triumphed, and he had certainly recovered the allegiance of the lord of Gramont, William Arnold, although its possession was one of Theobald’s main ambitions.42 On the other hand, Theobald retained gains he had made before and during the war, notably the castle of Mondarrin and the parishes of Iholdy and Amendaritz, and thus had advanced further into Gascony. The war had also been expensive, both in terms of damage done and the money expended: the £2,000 plus found in the records can only have been a proportion of the cost.43
Nicholas de Molis resigned the seneschalship in July 1245, not surprisingly for he was considerably out of pocket and had to lease his own manors to pay off some of his private debts.44 In his place Henry appointed another household knight, the Norman William de Buelles. Buelles’s boastfulness (characteristic of Normans so Matthew Paris thought) and Molis’s success persuaded Henry that he could at last run Gascony more cheaply. He retained in his own hands the revenues of Bordeaux and Bayonne and only allowed Buelles what was left to do his job, making no mention of any extra help in emergencies.45 These arrangements soon foundered in another war, this one fomented by Gaston, count of Béarn, the independent frontier lordship just to the east of the area ravaged by the war with Navarre. (Its rulers did homage not for Béarn itself but only for outlying regions.) Gaston and his mother, the countess Garsenda, had actually sided with Henry in the war of Navarre and been given £400 for their pains.46 What Gaston had not been given was the return of Sault-de-Navailles, the town on the northern frontier of Béarn, which Henry had obtained by judgement of his court when in Gascony in 1243. Gaston’s resentment over this was the principal cause of ‘the war of Sault’ as it was called.47 In a period of prolonged and widespread ravage and disorder, the castle of Sault was besieged, the citizens grievously tallaged and much damage done to the men of Dax.48 This was too much for Buelles and (p.499) Henry, reshuffling the pack of household knights, replaced him as seneschal first by Drogo de Barentin and then, in February 1248, by Richard de Grey. At considerable expense, Grey reached Gascony, only then to be recalled.49 With Gaston unbsubdued, Gascony in turmoil and the truces with France and Navarre nearing their end, Henry decided to adopt an entirely new policy, one which was to have momentous consequences. He would place Gascony under Simon de Montfort.
Montfort in Gascony: Triumph and Disaster
Montfort’s appointment was made possible by the favour he enjoyed at court. Since 1244 he had been a leading and well-rewarded councillor. Eleanor too remained close to her brother.50 The arrival of the Lusignans in 1247 had brought about a change. Montfort found himself pushed down the pecking order for patronage and stymied in his suit for lands in Pembrokeshire as Eleanor’s dower. But he still appeared at court and, in January 1248, received Kenilworth castle for Eleanor’s lifetime, almost certainly compensation for the failure of the lawsuit.51 Eleanor was also pardoned the £50 a year she owed for the manor of Odiham, and given forty deer to stock the park at Hungerford.52 Montfort stood high too in the queen’s favour. In 1247 she pardoned him a debt of no less than 1,000 marks.53
If Montfort’s relations with Henry permitted his appointment, it was encouraged by Henry’s desperate need to find someone with the prestige, personality and power to win the war against Gaston de Béarn, reassert royal rights and secure Gascony as an appanage for the heir to the throne. Montfort seemed exactly to fit the bill. Queen Eleanor thought so too and begged Montfort to take the job. Indeed, it was to her, as guardian of the heir and the kingdom, that he was to be answerable if Henry died.54 Montfort’s immediate predecessors had been household knights, able men close to the king, but without any name and fame. They paled into insignificance before a great earl who was also married to the king’s sister. Nor had anyone else in England the same stake and reputation in the south of France. Montfort had connections with Bigorre, immediately to the east (p.500) of Béarn, since its ruler, the countess Petronilla, had once been married to Guy, his elder brother. Montfort also had an awesome name as the son of the Simon de Montfort who had led the Albigensian crusade and routed the heretics in Toulouse. ‘He had heard evil things spoken of the race of Montfort,’ remarked a citizen of Sault-de-Navailles in explaining his fear of Simon.55 The fear was justified in another way, for Montfort was already ‘a warrior, famous and experienced in warfare’, as Paris put it.56 He had distinguished himself in the fighting outside Saintes in 1242, featuring prominently in John of Garland’s poem describing the engagement.57 Perhaps Montfort had distinguished himself too on his crusade. He doubtless looked the part and talked the talk.58 His martial mien was clearly, as Paris thought, a key reason for his appointment.
In 1248, Montfort had just taken the cross and intended to join the crusade of Louis IX. When offered the appointment, he hesitated for a moment but then entered fully into its spirit. It appealed to his love of war, his lust for power and, emulating his father, his longing for a righteous cause. Indeed, in subduing the Gascon rebels, he was, as Matthew Paris put it, ‘studying in all things to take after and follow in the footsteps … of his magnificent father’.59 Montfort insisted on terms that would enhance his power as well as protect him from loss, and these were embodied in a solemn charter. He was to have all the revenues of Gascony and receive help from Henry if war broke out against any of four kings – those of France, Navarre, Aragon and Castile, a good indication of the threat Gascony was deemed to be under. These were similar terms to Richard de Grey’s but Montfort also got much more: Henry was to give him 2,000 marks, pay the wages of fifty knights for a year, meet the costs of work on royal castles (Montfort evidently intended a vigorous castle policy) and, above all, give him the job for a full seven years. As Montfort later explained, he was determined to finish what he started and ensure ‘the people’ were well secured ‘in their faith’, which meant that his friends could count on his support and his enemies would have no escape. Montfort saw his position as virtually regal. He was appointed ‘not as a bailiff removable at the will of his lord who rendered account but as one to whom the people were in all things to be intendant as to the king himself’.60
Henry, having made the appointment, laboured to back it up. He sought to repay loans of over £1,300 taken from Bordeaux and elsewhere, pay the (p.501) annual fees owed to around twenty Gascon nobles (worth around £1,000 a year), and generally meet his obligations to Montfort and the knights going with him.61 After failing in an attempt to get funds from the parliament of July 1248, Henry sold jewels, took a loan from Richard of Cornwall and made the exchequer officials swear ‘on his soul’ not to make any payments until the Gascon merchants were satisfied, even if he ordered them to do so: a characteristic recognition of his own fallibility (though not much different from making the Bank of England independent).62 Henry was able to pay out directly from the wardrobe around £2,000 to the knights and sergeants-at-arms going out with Montfort. The force, which left in September, impressed Matthew Paris and had at its heart a contingent from the royal household of over fifty knights.63
Montfort’s task was certainly difficult. He had to deal with the Gaston war; the threat from Navarre (for nothing had come from Thomas of Savoy’s mediation); the factional disputes in the towns; and a divided nobility of questionable loyalty.64 The rights he was supposed to recover were nebulous and disputed. It was easy for ‘faithful service’ to the king to cause offence: it had made the household knight Francis de Bren ‘odious’ south of Bayonne, as the king acknowledged in 1245.65 As the citizen of La Rochelle had commented back in 1242, ‘for the king of the English, even at Bordeaux and Bayonne, they do not care an egg’.66 Now they, or at least some of them, were to be made to care very much indeed.
Having despatched Montfort with all the backing he could give, Henry waited with baited breath to see the results. He was not to be disappointed for Montfort, combining force and diplomacy, acted with remarkable despatch. First, he renewed the truce with the king of France.67 Then, in November, at Ainhoa, in the far south of Gascony, he reached a settlement with the king of Navarre by which all disputes were referred to another process of arbitration. Around the same time, by a remarkable coup, Montfort got personal possession of Bigorre, this in return for an annual payment to the aged countess Petronella. All this left him free to stamp his authority on Gascony itself. He toured the main courts of the province, issued general edicts to secure the peace, and punished individuals who, he thought, had broken it. Two men in particular fell victim to his power, both major allies of Gaston de Béarn and much involved in the disorders. The first was Arnold William of Gramont, whose allegiance Henry and the king (p.502) of Navarre had earlier disputed. When Arnold refused to answer for his breaches of the peace, Montfort simply had him arrested and imprisoned at La Réole. The second was the vicomte of Soule, who was compelled by a siege of his castle at Mauléon (in the southern dip of Gascony between Navarre and Béarn) to offer a large payment for his misdemeanours; so Henrician power, thanks to Montfort, now reached into the foothills of the Pyrenees. Montfort also taught a lesson, one designed to reverberate through Gascony, to the town of Sault-de-Navailles, Gaston’s designs on which had been the main cause of the war. When the men said that, like previous seneschals, he must come to the town and swear to uphold their customs before they would swear allegiance to him, Montfort angrily refused. Instead he summoned them to the court at St-Sever and made them swear first before taking himself just an oath to uphold the customs of Gascony in general. As he contemptuously remarked, he was not going to swear ‘to every man and vill’.68 Thus isolated and intimidated, Gaston agreed a truce, and Montfort, in January 1249, returned to England, where Henry, ‘exhilarated’ by his achievements, and praising his fidelity, ratified the agreement with the king of Navarre.69 The next intelligence Henry received from Gascony was far more disturbing, although he proved its equal.
Montfort had returned to Gascony in the early summer of 1249 and on 28 June, the eve of the mayoral elections, was in Bordeaux. That night a riot broke out between the Soler and Colom factions which dominated the town.70 Restoring order, Montfort kept the Solers in prison where their leader Rostand soon died, but released the Coloms who thus had free rein to attack their enemies. Irrespective of who was actually responsible for the riot, Montfort had good reason for acting as he did. The Coloms were major wine merchants, very ready to lend money to the king and doubtless also to Montfort. Rostand de Soler, on the other hand, so Montfort later alleged, acted as ‘lord of the city’. The great tower of his house contravened regulations on height and dominated the skyline. (It was now demolished though Henry had allowed it.)71 Yet by throwing in his lot with the Coloms, Montfort was overturning all previous royal policy in Gascony, which had hinged on holding a balance between the factions in the towns.72 This would not have mattered had Montfort been able to finish off the Solers once and for all, but that he could not do. Part of the trouble was that both parties had allies amongst the factions in other major towns, so that events in Bordeaux had immediate repercussions in La Réole and Bazas. Against Bazas, Montfort now took punitive action, (p.503) imprisoning some citizens and forcing others to pay heavy ransoms. He also took the castle of Fronsac after a siege, accusing the vicomte of plotting to hand Gascony over to Alphonse of Poitiers.
Henry first heard news of these events from the lips of Gaillard de Solers, Rostand’s son, and his followers, who had escaped to England. Susceptible and impulsive, he immediately ordered Montfort to restore their property, only then to have some of them imprisoned in the Tower (though not in the dungeons), when the Coloms and Amauvin de Vayres arrived to set the record straight.73 At the end of November 1249, Henry addressed a remarkable letter to Montfort.74 Its tailpiece urged on him the kind of middle way which Henry at his best often tried to follow. ‘We advise you earnestly that in your actions you are neither so tepid or remiss … as to give others incentive to commit similar offences, nor so cruel as to inflict punishments beyond deserts, but you should follow in a straight line the path of justice as the care of a just and constant judge requires, and then you will deserve to be commended in perpetuity.’
Immediately this related to the Solers whom, Henry explained, he was sending back to Gascony for trial and who should not be judged ‘by a suspect judge’. In fact, Montfort did no judging at all. He kept some of the Solers in prison and forced others to pay heavy ransoms. He felt the more able to do this because the rest of Henry’s letter was a litany of thanks and praise: Montfort’s ‘fidelity, vigilance, strength, prudence and immense labours’ had benefited ‘all our posterity for ever’. He should continue his good work and bring it to a happy conclusion.75 The gift of Gascony to Henry’s son Lord Edward, made formally in September 1249, now seemed completely safe. The charter in question was witnessed by Peter of Savoy while the accompanying letter patent was deposited in his archives, a good example of his role in safeguarding Edward’s interests.76
Montfort’s success seemed even clearer towards the end of the year when who should arrive in England but Gaston de Béarn himself. He had been captured by Montfort and despatched from Gascony so that the king could deal with him in person. Gaston was a very different proposition from the Solers since he was a member of the high European nobility and indeed a cousin of the queen, his mother being the sister of Eleanor’s (p.504) father. At Clarendon in December he threw himself on the king’s mercy. With the queen interceding, Henry pardoned all his offences, and then ordered for him (in loving detail) a ‘beautiful bed’, covered with cloth of gold. In view of later events, as Montfort pointed out, this seemed a classic example of Henry’s gullability and ill judgement, which up to a point it was. On the other hand, Gaston was bound (according to Matthew Paris) by ‘strict obligations’, and did homage to Henry and Edward. The ‘king made his enemies in Gascony his tributaries’, commented the Winchester annals describing the Christmas court. Henry, moreover, combined clemency for Gaston with giving power to Montfort to keep him in check. The latter’s Christmas present, besides thirty deer to stock the park at Hungerford, was a promise to support the castle-building programme with 1,000 marks, this on top of the revenues for Ireland (worth perhaps £1,000 annually) conceded for two years back in November.77
It seemed almost job done. When the chaplain of Alphonse of Poitiers visited Montfort and Eleanor (the first evidence she was out there with him) at La Réole in February 1250, he reported that ‘he holds Gascony in good estate and all obey him and none dare undertake anything against him’.78 Montfort had been instructed by Henry to press English claims to the Agenais, but given Alphonse was still absent on crusade there was little to be done in that direction.79 Instead, in this calm period, both Montfort and Henry began to think (independently) that they would join the crusade themselves.
It was the calm before the storm. Early in April 1250, Henry received a frank and emotional letter from Montfort, written from Paris where he had probably gone for the renewal of the truce.80 Protecting the poor and the rights of the king had, he said, made him unpopular with the great men of Gascony. Many knights, having failed to recover their possessions through Gaston, were now planning to ravage the land. Montfort wanted to come back to England to explain himself. There were, he knew, malicious stories reaching the king that ‘the war’ was all his own fault. When, however, Montfort did meet Henry at Westminster and Windsor in late May 1250, he found him completely supportive. Montfort was urged to resist the vicomte of Fronsac (evidently one of those on the pillage), and left to decide what to do with the still imprisoned vicomte of Gramont. Henry also took steps to find him £2,000, and made a significant promise over Eleanor’s dower. Later, in September, he added another £1,000 for (p.505) the castle of Saint-André-de-Cubzac, which Montfort was building from scratch.81
Again Henry waited for results. Again he was in for a shock. Early in January 1251, Montfort suddenly arrived back in England ‘inglorious and in haste’, almost alone with his horses spent. The explosion had happened and a powerful coalition was up in arms against him, led by Gaston de Béarn.82 Montfort begged for help to subdue the ‘rebels’, but Henry was concerned. He pointed to the complaints against Montfort and sent out to Gascony two former seneschals Nicholas de Molis and Drogo de Barentin to try and reach a settlement. Montfort never complained about this commission (although he complained of much else), and he probably saw it as a way of checking the rebellion and exposing the malice of his enemies. Certainly in every other way Henry remained sympathetic and supportive. He found over £2,000 to munition castles and repay debts, and then (according to Matthew Paris) sent a ‘joyful’ Montfort back to Gascony, ‘refreshed by royal comfort’ and with plenty of money to recruit mercenaries.83
For a while it seemed this had done the trick. In May 1251, to establish ‘peace’ between Montfort and his opponents, the disputes were referred to local judges chosen by Molis and Barentin. This suited Montfort, who, meanwhile, took the castle of Castillon on the Dordogne, destroyed that of Lados (whose overlordship was claimed by Gaston) and arrested his enemies around Bayonne, grievously offending the men of the town in the process.84 In mid-December 1251 he returned to England and attended the marriage at York between Henry’s daughter Margaret and King Alexander III of Scotland. Montfort asserted that the land was at peace, only for the shocking news to arrive that in fact, once again, it was at war.
Henry found himself in an appallingly difficult situation. He was still impressed by Montfort’s robust defence of his conduct, and his reminder of past Gascon betrayals. But that conduct seemed to be leading to disaster. ‘Fluctuating in uncertainty’ (as Matthew Paris put it), he tried to (p.506) steer a middle way, although that in itself represented a major shift of course.85 On the three previous occasions when Montfort had returned to England, Henry had sent him back with encouragement and material support. Now he offered no such endorsement. Instead, he sent out to Gascony the master of the Templars and the ‘wise and circumspect clerk’ Henry of Wingham (a former treasurer of Gascony). They were to report on the situation and summon all those wishing to complain about Montfort to England at Easter 1252, when Henry would do them justice. Montfort welcomed this summons since, he said, the truth would vindicate him (as Henry acknowledged it might). But he also saw the writing on the wall and offered to resign his post provided he received his expenses, thus opening up a whole new can of worms for he claimed to be substantially out of pocket.86 When Henry baulked at paying for the castles Montfort had built or obtained, Montfort threatened to alienate them. This alarmed the queen, who busied herself with Peter of Savoy trying to broker a settlement.87 In the end, in mid-March 1252, a complex deal was thrashed out. Montfort’s revenues and expenses were to be assessed, he was to receive an immediate payment of 2,000 marks, and the king was to take responsibility for some of the castles, including those at Fronsac, Castillon, Cubzac and Bourg.88
After this, Henry, instead of removing Montfort, allowed him to set off for Gascony, only then (on 23 March) to despatch an urgent letter commanding his return. He had received a warning from Wingham and the master of the Templars that, if Montfort reappeared, none of the Gascons would come to England to make their complaints against him. The truce recently arranged would also be disturbed. That would be disastrous for they had found ‘great disturbance’ in the land. At La Réole, in particular, Gaston de Béarn and the townsmen, with support from Bazas, were laying siege to Montfort’s supporters in the castle, all this provoked by Montfort’s attempt to tax the town.89
The Gascons arrived in England in April 1252, some sailing up the Thames to London. Henry gave them private audiences – indeed Gaston alleged that some of his sufferings were so ‘shameful’ that his envoy (he did (p.507) not come in person) would only reveal them to the king ‘in secret’.90 He also welcomed them publicly at court where the bishop of Bayonne and Gaillard de Solers witnessed another charter granting Edward Gascony on 28 April.91 It was witnessed by seven bishops, eight earls (including Richard of Cornwall and Montfort), Guy de Lusignan, William de Valence, Peter of Savoy, sixteen other magnates and ministers, and nine men from Gascony. The aim was to put beyond doubt Henry’s determination to hold on to the province. To that end, Gascony was not only granted to Lord Edward and his heirs, as in 1249, but was also made inseparable from the crown of England.
The formal proceedings against Montfort, beginning around 9 May 1252, took place in a great assembly of lay and ecclesiastical magnates held in the refectory of Westminster Abbey. That this large hall, adjoining the south cloister and running its whole length, was chosen for the meetings suggests the numbers of people who were present.92 The proceedings did not amount to a formal trial, for, as Montfort contemptuously observed, the Gascons refused to engage in one, doubtless fearing the penalties for false accusations should he be acquitted. As a result, Henry was all the more exposed, for, instead of a judgement being delivered by Montfort’s peers, he would have to make a decision himself, one on which the whole future of Gascony might depend.93
Up to this point, Henry had probably been undecided, but he now found the Gascon case terribly compelling. The complainants knew how to hit the right notes. They addressed themselves as ‘faithful’ men to Henry’s ‘serene majesty’, referred to his ‘compassion as a good lord’ and revealed their sufferings, under a reign of arrests and seizures, down to the most personal details. So Henry learnt that the men of Bazas had been forced to do their ‘naturalia’ ‘shamefully’ in the church where they had taken refuge during Montfort’s occupation.94 Above all there were the sheer numbers and details of the complaints. Reduced to writing (thus Henry could mull them over), they came from Gaillard de Solers, the dean of St Severin Bordeaux and the towns (or factions within the towns) of Bayonne, Gosse, Dax, Sault-de-Navailles, Bazas and La Réole. Amongst the nobility, the complainants included Gaston himself and Arnold de (p.508) Blanquefort, William de Armendarits, Amaneus d’Albret, Aquelinus de Lesparre and the vicomtes of Gramont, Castillon, Fronsac and Soule. And then there was also the presence of the archbishop of Bordeaux himself, who had turned against Montfort, having once been on his side.95
Faced with all this, Montfort had letters of support from Bordeaux, which was still controlled by the Colom faction. And he had himself. His defence, combining sarcasm, forensic brilliance and self-righteousness, gives a wonderful measure of the man. He was hardly guilty, he said, of Rostand de Solers’s death in prison for, if Rostand was as faithful as was claimed, he must have died of grief at his son’s disloyalty! He could hardly be accused of abusing his powers when he had sent Gaston back to England for the king to deal with. That made it ridiculous for the men of Dax to complain of the subsequent settlement with Gaston when it was down to the king not to him: ‘from these their first words the king can see how well the men of Dax have kept their oath to tell the truth’.96 If these were clever debating points, Montfort also rebutted the accusations point by point, showing how he had taken counsel, acted after judgement or against those who refused to accept it, and had generally harmed no one contrary to their deserts. If he was unpopular that was through striving to keep the peace, defend the poor, subdue the mighty and maintain the rights of the king. ‘Why should I not act in this way? God does thus, crowning those who persevere in justice and punishing those who resort to evil,’ Matthew Paris quoted him as saying.97 Montfort believed absolutely in the righteousness of his conduct. Throughout his time in Gascony he and Eleanor were receiving counsel and consolation from Robert Grosseteste and Adam Marsh; hence Adam’s long and totally supportive letter to Grosseteste about the ‘trial’, and his conclusion that Montfort ‘grounded in the fear of the divine name and given courage by the love of God … places all his hope in Him who does not abandon all who hope in Him’.98
Montfort had begun his defence with limited support, although it included the queen’s uncle Peter of Savoy, and thus probably the queen herself. But he soon won round Richard of Cornwall, the earls of Gloucester and Hereford, the king’s half-brothers, the prelates and the senior members of the council. Henry, however, remained unconvinced. Indeed, he had moved decisively in the other direction. The rights and wrongs of the evidence, much of it contradictory, he must have found impossible to sort out. Only a detailed judicial inquiry or proper trial with (p.509) witnesses could do that. But Henry was thoroughly alarmed by the warnings that if he persisted with Montfort he might lose Gascony altogether.99 The Gascons also suggested a solution. Come yourself or send Edward and there will be peace.100
As proceedings dragged on into June, Henry wished not merely to dismiss Montfort but also to act against him. But the mood of the assembly made that impossible. Henry could not even banish Montfort from court, where he continued to attest royal charters with the other earls.101 Powerless and frustrated, Henry’s anger boiled over. Instead of sitting as an impartial judge, he now became an accuser, so that Montfort, as Marsh put it, ‘suffered reproaches and vociferous abuse from the king in front of many great persons’. According to Marsh, Montfort bore this with admirable self-restraint;102 according to Matthew Paris he was provoked into replying in kind, and the arguments between the two men covered the whole course of their relationship, and included accusations of bad faith, lies and un-Christian conduct. ‘I repent of nothing so much as ever permitting you to enter England,’ cried Henry. At one point, according to Marsh, Henry was forced, to much applause, to make a formal pronouncement in Montfort’s favour, only then, next day, his ‘wrath boiling over’ to return to ‘savage threats against the earl, bitter reproaches, indecent contumely’.103
In the end, it was left to Henry, calm but constrained, to conceive and issue (on 13 June) his own interim solution, one that Marsh stresses was very much his own, although he was clearly helped by John Mansel, who personally authorized some of the relevant writs.104 It was not a bad solution. Henry announced he could not settle the controversies in England. So he or Edward would come out to Gascony early next year when they would give justice to everyone who wished to complain against Montfort. Meanwhile the truce was to be maintained, and prisoners in Montfort’s hands were to be released on bail. In separate acts Henry made even clearer where his sympathies lay. He freed the Solers from their oath not to complain about Montfort (it was highly prejudicial to the king’s dignity) and declared how unjust it was for them to be disseised without judgement. He expressed sorrow at the vicomte of Gramont’s long imprisonment and ordered his release. He also sought to restore the balance in mayoral elections in Bordeaux (thus remedying Montfort’s fatal partisanship). After they had done formal homage to Edward, he entertained the Gascons to a great dinner.105
(p.510) As for Montfort, once the Westminster proceedings were over, Henry summoned him to Windsor, probably with the aim of negotiating his resignation. Instead, without Henry’s knowledge, Montfort left for France, recruited a large body of mercenaries, and descended on Gascony where he ‘gloriously triumphed’, according to Matthew Paris, in a battle lasting half a day. At one point he was rescued by his knights, having been beaten from his horse. The centre of the fighting was around La Réole, where Montfort destroyed the vines of his enemies, and it was here that the master of the Temple and Nicholas de Molis caught up with him. Henry had appointed them to keep the truce, and had equipped them with letters effectively dismissing Montfort if he refused to obey it. Montfort not only refused (after all his enemies, he said, were not obeying it either) but also challenged his dismissal, against ‘reason’ and in breach of his charter. But his offer to go with proper compensation stood and during the autumn he agreed to resign his post in return for a payment of 7,000 marks. Since none of the schemes to assess his receipts and expenditure came to fruition, just how generous this was is hard to assess. Henry was desperate to get rid of Montfort, but he never forgot both the cost and the breach of the truce.106
Montfort’s trial shows how Henry was very much bound by counsel and consent. He was quite unable to punish Montfort as he probably wished, not that the wish would necessarily have lasted long. It was when he pressed ahead without counsel and consent, as he did later in the 1250s, that he got into trouble. If, however, Henry was thus constrained, so was Montfort. His impulse was to act in arbitrary fashion against his enemies; probably he had done so. Yet he never sought to justify his conduct in those terms. His defence abounded with assertions that he had acted after taking counsel, and had punished people only when they refused to accept justice, or had been judicially condemned ‘by right, by reason and by award of the court’.107
English opinion, as represented by Marsh and Paris, was completely supportive of Montfort and condemned Henry as weak, inconstant and temperamental. This was unfair. Three times between 1248 and 1251, Montfort returned to England, and each time Henry sent him back with praise, sympathy and resources.108 It was only in the course of 1252 that Henry changed his mind. He was right to do so. Montfort was now more than halfway through his seven-year term, and yet the situation was worse than it had been at the start. Then there had been the Gaston war; now the war was general. As Sir James Ramsay remarked, Montfort ‘had set (p.511) the whole Province in flames; and no proconsul could be justified in doing that’.109 Had Henry not acted, Gascony might have been lost.
In the summer of 1252, therefore, either Henry or Edward were pledged to go to Gascony to sort out the Montfort mess. Since Edward was only thirteen, in practice Henry had to go himself. But his heart was now set on something completely different, namely a crusade to the Holy Land.
(4) Lunt, Financial Relations, 206–25. For a full discussion, see above, 443–9. Henry’s resistance was because of the intense hostility to such taxation in England, irrespective of it being used against the emperor.
(6) For this period of Anglo-imperial relations, see Weiler, Henry III of England and the Staufen Empire, ch. 5.
(8) The Capetian ascendancy is discussed in Weiler, Henry III of England and the Staufen Empire, 118–22.
(9) Anglo-French relations in this period are covered in detail in Amicie Pelissie du Rausas’s doctoral thesis ‘Les relations Franco-Anglaises sous Louis IX et Henri III 1242–1259’ and I am indebted to it at many points.
(14) For Henry’s reaction to her death, see above, 454.
(17) F, 268–9 (CPR 1232–47, 7, 9); RCWL, ii, 27; Paris, v, 2–3; Cox, Eagles of Savoy, 169–71. Henry also promised to convert Thomas’s 500-mark pension into land, saving his promises to Richard of Cornwall. Thomas was in England at this time with Peter of Savoy and his sister Beatrice, the queen’s mother, so he had powerful voices speaking for him.
(18) For a summary of this complex story, see Lavisse, Histoire de France, iii, pt 2, 89–91, and Le Goff, Saint Louis, 252–5. Under the settlement the countess Margaret bought out Charles’s interest in Hainault. Flanders was to pass to her son Guy de Dampnierre, and Hainault to her son John d’Avesnes. Margaret herself lived until 1280 and quarrelled bitterly with Henry in the last years of his reign, as will be seen in volume 2.
(20) Paris, iv, 261, 283–4; CPR 1247–58, 414, 416; F, 254; CLR 1241–5, 213; Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 39–40. In December 1244, 2,000 marks were set aside for Beatrice and she was sent together with her husband an ‘exquisite’ gift of cloth: CR 1242–7, 270, 272, 274.
(22) Paris, iv, 505.
(23) For Henry’s protest, in which he was joined by Richard of Cornwall, see CPReg, 327. He challenged the will, and asked the pope to stop Charles of Anjou taking possession. Charles and Louis were also to respect the rights of Eleanor and Sanchia.
(24) To quote Nicholas Vincent (see next note), ‘the properties in question were the castle of Avigliana and the town of Susa, guarding the southern approaches to the Mont Cenis pass and the castle of Bard and the town of St Maurice-d’Agaune, guarding either end of Grand-St-Bernard and the southern approaches to the Petit-St-Bernard passes’.
(25) Henry’s grant is F, 264 (CPR 1232–47, 469). A copy of Amadeus’s own announcement of the treaty had been discovered by Nicholas Vincent in the Glastonbury cartulary: Longleat House, Marquess of Bath MS., Muniments no. 10590, fo. 5. I have been helped by Vincent’s discussion of the treaty in his unpublished paper ‘Henry III, Frederick II and the council of Lyons’.
(27) It was Beatrice who held the castles given to Henry in return for the loan of 4,000 marks in 1244 made to her husband: CPR 1247–58, 469, 540–1, 559, 584; Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 40, 47, 144.
(29) See below, 583–9.
(33) Paris, v, 278; Paris, iv, 594; CPR 1266–72, 14; Trabut-Cussac, L’Administration Anglaise, 315, 321.
(38) It seems unclear whether the castle in question was at Gramont or Old Gramont further up the Bidouze. I hope it is the former as it is the one I visited and the one described here! See Vincent, ‘A forgotten war’, 127 n. 94.
(50) See above, 418.
(53) TNA E 368/19, m. 52. The money was owed for the queen’s share of Montfort’s fine for the Umfraville wardship, for which see below, 575.
(54) Bémont, Simon de Montfort, 265, 335–6, 341; Howell, Eleanor of Provence, 61. Montfort also mentioned the role of the king’s council. The earl of Norfolk, Peter of Savoy and the bishop of Salisbury were all at court around the time of the appointment as well as Montfort himself: RCWL, ii, 28–9.
(56) Paris, v, 293.
(57) See above, 261.
(62) Paris, v, 21–2; Paris, FH, ii, 453; CR 1247–51, 82, 91; CPR 1247–58, 23. There had been complaints at parliament at the king’s failure to pay merchants and he had done something already earlier in the year to meet his debts to them: Paris, v, 5–7; CLR 1245–51, 163, 166.
(64) A particular quarrel was between the vicomte of Fronsac and Amauvin de Vayres.
(67) This was the first of a succession of short renewals until one of five years in 1250.
(75) See also the reaction as described in Paris, v, 77, which refers again to him following in the footsteps of his father.
(76) CChR 1226–57, 345; RCWL, ii, 37; CPR 1247–58, 50; Ridgeway, ‘English cartulary roll of Peter of Savoy’, calendar, no. 32. In his letters Edward called himself simply the first-born son of King Henry, but in government records and the writings of contemporaries he was often called ‘dominus Edwardus’, ‘Lord Edward’. As there is no definite article in Latin, there is no warrant for the usage ‘the lord Edward’ frequently adopted by historians. See Prestwich, Edward I, 11–12.
(77) CR 1247–51, 247–9, 254; RL, ii, 57, 380; CPR 1247–58, 55–8, 60; Paris, v, 104; Bémont, Simon de Montfort, 342; Winchester, 91. Gramont (still controlled by Gaston’s imprisoned ally Arnold William) was not, however, surrendered.
(81) CR 1247–51, 321, 357–8; RL, ii, 61, 382–3; CPR 1247–58, 67, 73; CLR 1251–60, 288–9; Paris, v, 128. The concession over the dower was Henry’s promise to pay the £400 a year directly himself, instead (the implication was) of only doing so when the Marshal heirs defaulted. It was thus up to Henry, not the Montforts, to get the money from the heirs.
(82) The coalition included Gaillard de Solers, men from Bordeaux and La Réole, the vicomtes of Fronsac, Castillon and Bénauges, Elyas Ridel (son of the lord of Bergerac), Amaneus d’Albret and Arnold de Blanquefort. The last had been forced by Montfort to surrender his castle at Bourg and felt threatened by the new castle at Cubzak (both gave Montfort control of the mouth of the Dordogne).
(83) Bémont, Simon de Montfort, 268, 313. Gaston had been alienated by a further dispute over the lordship of the castle of Lados, which Montfort claimed was in the king’s ‘mouvance’: Paris, v, 208–9; RCWL, ii, 42; CPR 1247–58, 85; CLR 1245–51, 326, 329, 335.
(85) Paris, v, 276–7.
(86) Paris, v, 209–10, 290.
(87) Chapuisat, ‘Pierre de Savoie’, 258–9, plausibly suggests that it was the crisis in Gascony (and the threat to Edward’s position) that brought Peter back to England after a long absence in March 1252.
(89) CR 1251–3, 207; RL, ii, 72–4, 76–81. On 22 February, Montfort was given protection as having gone on the king’s service to Gascony (CPR 1247–58, 129), but he was in England on 7 and 19 March, so does not seem to have gone: Letters of Adam Marsh, 129; RCWL, ii, 60; but contrast Paris, v, 177, 287.
(92) There is a description of the refectory in Ambler, The Song of Simon de Montfort, 116. Only the blocked fourteenth-century windows above the cloister and the Norman wall arcade now survive. The space is partly taken up by the fives courts of Westminster school (not a game at which I was any good).
(93) As evidence for the proceedings there is a long letter written immediately afterwards by Montfort’s intimate friend the friar Adam Marsh (Letters of Adam Marsh, 78–91) and the account by Matthew Paris: Paris, v, 287–96, although this is mixed in with material from earlier years.
(95) The complaints, spread across archives in France and England, were first sorted and analysed in an MA dissertation by Amicie Pelissie du Rausas, ‘Voices from the archives: reassembling the dossier of Gascon complaints against Simon de Montfort (1252)’. For a summary see her ‘Promesses de Gascons’.
(98) Letters of Adam Marsh, 56–61, 88–9, 96–9, 128–9, 324–59 (where not all the letters are datable); Maddicott, Simon de Montfort, 117–18.
(100) Paris, v, 277–8.
(102) For Marsh’s counsel on this point, see above, 262.