History of England, Part I For the use of Middle Forms of Schools

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER II: Richard I, Richard Lion-Heart 1189-1199

1. On June 20 was girt with the sword of the Duchy of Normandy at Rouen, where he made his brother Earl of Mortain, and named Geoffrey to the archbishopric of . He also sent to England to free his mother, Eleanor, from the imprisonment she had been in since , and made her Regent of the realm till he could cross the sea. This he was soon able to do, and on September 3, in great state and before a mighty gathering of clergy and barons, he was hallowed king at Westminster. As he had made up his mind to fulfil his vow, he now busied himself with getting together money for his journey and settling for the good rule of domains whilst he was away. Meaning to make his nephew Arthur of Brittany his heir, in order to bind his brother to faithfulness he gave him the earldoms of Cornwall, Derby, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset, many castles, and a rich wife, Hawis, heiress of Gloster. He freed the King of Scots from the homage of Falaise for 10,000 marks, and sold the earldom of to the crafty Bishop of Durham, Hugh of Puiset, so turning

"an old bishop into a young earl."

makes ready for the Crusade, . William of Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, bought the Chancery for £ 3000, and was made Justiciar, for of Glanville wished to join the Crusade. The sheriffs were shifted, the vacant sees and offices filled, and many grants of crown lands made, a goodly sum being paid in each case to the king, who swore

" he would have sold London could he have found a bidder,"

for he put everything up for sale. In December left England and set out on his journey through France.

2. [1] For some time companies of Jews had been dwelling under the kings' care in many English towns. As for the most part they gained their living by money-lending, which the Church forbade to Christians, and as they were thought to use witchcraft and believed to kidnap Christian children and slay them for sacrifice at their passover, they were much hated by the people. The Church also looked with disfavour upon them because of their religion. But the kings, who took care to make them pay highly for the rights they gave them and shared in their gains, found them a useful source of


income. They used to wear a dress of their own, and dwell apart from their fellow-townsmen in walled and gated quarters of the town called Jewries, governed by their own rabbis, and living under their own law.

On 's coronation day no Jew or woman was allowed to come into the king's presence for fear of witchcraft, but in the afternoon, while the people were crowding at the gate of the banqueting-room to get a sight of , some hapless Jewish Elders, who had come up (as the custom was) to bring gifts to the new king, were thrust by the press inside the doors. The royal servants cast them out with blows and curses, whereon the mob fell upon them and beat them shamefully, and raising a cry that the king had commanded all the Jews to be slain, rushed off to attack the London Jewry. House after house was broken into, sacked and fired, and the inmates cruelly slain. The rioting was so great, and the mob so savage (for all the prisoners had been set free in honour of the new king, and many vagabonds and outlaws from all parts of the country had thronged up to London to join in the merry-making of the coronation day), that could not quell the tumult, and peace was not restored till next day, when punished some of the ringleaders and proclaimed peace for the Jews. But as soon as he left the country the hatred and greed of the people broke out afresh against them. At the great fair at Lynn, a rich trading town, a quarrel between a converted Jew and his kinsfolk brought on a massacre. At Stamford, where many zealous crusaders had gathered at Lent for their journey abroad, the Jewry was plundered. At the Jews only saved their lives by fleeing to the castle. In they also took refuge with their treasures in the keep, and fearing treachery, refused to let in even the governor. He therefore ordered the castle to be beset, and a furious mob of crusaders, apprentices, and country-folk, headed by a hermit and a reckless fellow named Richard Ill-Beast, assaulted it for several days, shouting continually, The despairing Jews kept them off with stones which they tore from the inside of the building, for they had no weapons; but when the war-engines were brought up one night and set ready for next morning's attack they knew that they could hold out no longer. Then Rabbi Eliezer, a learned elder, said to his brethren, The greater part took his advice, and having burned or destroyed their treasures and goods and set fire to the castle, they first put all the women and children among them to death and then slew themselves. Next morning the few who had not been willing to die, opened the gates, and came forth begging to be baptized, but the wicked Richard Ill-Beast and his followers slew them all in cold blood. They then destroyed all the bonds of the Jews which were kept in the cathedral, and fearing the king's anger, scattered hastily, some going on the Crusade, some flying to Scotland, so that when the Justiciar came to punish them the guilty ringleaders could not be found, and he was only able to turn out the sheriff and fine the town.

3. [2] In August left Marseilles in his galley Trenche-Mer and coasted down to Messina, whither Philip had already marched by land. The English fleet of 100 sail, which had been sent round from Dartmouth and had stopped at Lisbon on its way, to help King Sancho of Portugal against an invasion of the Moors, was awaiting him there. Having sent on a strong force under , Earl of Champagne, 's nephew, and of Glanville to the Holy Land, the two kings resolved to winter in Sicily. But troubles soon broke out. The people of Messina ill-treating and insulting his men, hanged the evil-doers and stormed the city, building a large wooden castle, which he called Mate-Griffon or Greek-tamer [the Greek-speaking Italians being called Greeks by the crusaders]. He also sent to King Tancred of Sicily, who had succeeded his brother-in-law William the Good, to ask him to give up his widowed sister Joan, her dowry and the legacy of the late king-a golden table with 24 golden cups and platters, a silk tent, and 100 galleys laden with 60,000 measures of wine and a like quantity of wheat and barley. Tancred, frightened at the loss of his town, paid 40,000 ounces of gold in place of the dowry and legacy, and got his promise to help him against the emperor, who claimed Sicily against him. The lavish bounty and soldierly bearing of the English king won him great honour, and Philip could ill brook to be held of less account than his vassal, so when he found that did not mean to marry his sister Alice, to whom he had been long betrothed,


but was about to wed Berengar, the sister of the King of Navarre, he was not easily appeased. But by the good offices of the Earl of Flanders the two kings were for a time reconciled, and Philip started for Acre March 30, . , having sent home his last commands by his mother Eleanor, who had come out to Messina to bring him the Lady Berengar and 30 store-ships, soon followed. Near Cyprus his fleet was overtaken by a storm and two vessels driven ashore, when Isaac, emperor of the island, seized the cargoes and imprisoned the shipwrecked crews. at once landed and stormed Limasol. He was now joined by Guy, King of Jerusalem, who had come from Palestine to meet him, and held his wedding on May 12 in grand state. He then won the rest of the island, taking Isaac prisoner and sending him in silver chains to Tripoli, and set sail again.

On the afternoon of the 7th of June a huge dromond [big merchant ship] was spied under French colours, but when they came up with her she was found to be a Saracen vessel laden with arms and treasure for the besieged Mahommedans in Acre. Threatening to hang his sailors if they let her get away, led the attack with the Trenche-Mer. The Saracens drove off the boarders with their arrows and Greek fire, but the dromond's huge sides were soon pierced by the sharp prows of the nimble English war-galleys and she sank with all her rich cargo, only 46 of her crew of 1500 men being picked up by the king's boats.

Next day reached Acre, which was then in the hands of the Saracens, who were defending it against the kings of France and Jerusalem. He at once blockaded the port with his fleet, and putting up his castle Mate-Griffon, began to set up large and powerful mangonels or slinging-engines and stone-casters, for he was a skilled engineer, while his sappers plied their spades and picks against the foundations of the walls. Though ill of the ague, from which he often suffered, he was carried in a litter to the trenches, and used his arblast against the Mahommedans on the ramparts, egging on his soldiers the while with promises of reward and overlooking the working of his engines. The King of France also played his part as a brave leader, and on July 12 the besieged gave up the town on condition of being exchanged for the Christians taken at Tiberias. It was now that Leopold, Duke of Austria (who had come with the German crusaders to Palestine following the , who had been drowned on the way), quarrelled with the English king because his banner


had been insultingly thrown down from the tower on which it had been raised when the Christians entered the city. A fierce contest also arose about the crown of Jerusalem, which Philip wished to be given to Conrad, Marquis of Montferrat, while swore that it should not be taken from his friend Guy, who had hitherto borne it in right of the heiress his wife, now lately dead. The French king, disgusted, left his army, and after taking an oath not to do anything to 's hurt till he came back, sailed for France, July 31.

the Turkish Sultan would not agree to the terms of the surrender, but slew all his Christian prisoners; so did the like, and made ready to go up to retake Jerusalem, though the plague, which was raging at Acre and had killed of Glanville and many other noblemen, had terribly thinned his army. On the march down the coast was attacked by the Saracens and gained a battle at Arsouf September 7, and won another on his way to Jerusalem, November 6. He reached Ramla, but was foolishly advised to fall back to Ascalon in January . All now agreed to make Conrad King of Jerusalem, but the Old Man of the Mountain, who ruled in Lebanon, shortly sent two of his Assassins to slay him because he had offended him; so , Earl of Champagne, was chosen to succeed him, and gave Guy the realm of Cyprus in exchange. In June the king again marched on Jerusalem and got as far as Beit-nuba, when hearing that a caravan sent by from Cairo with provisions and arms was on the way to Jerusalem, he fell upon its armed guard of 11,000 men with 5000 of his chosen troops, put most of them to the sword, and won a great booty, besides 3000 camels and 4000 packhorses and mules. But the French crusaders would go no farther lest it should be said that an English king recovered the Holy Sepulchre. was sorely grieved at failing so near the goal, and when one of his knights begged him to come to a part of the camp whence he could see Jerusalem, he snapped the switch he held in his hand in twain and cast his surcoat over his head, praying with angry tears, When he got back to the coast he fell ill again, after driving from before Joppa; but by the goodwill of the Sultan's brother Safeddin a truce for three years, three months, three days, and three hours was made with the Saracens, during which time trade was to go on peacefully and the Christians were to be free to


visit Jerusalem and the holy places. feeling that he could do no more for the Cross, and having bad news from England, left Acre October 8. His fleet got back safely, but he landed at Ragusa, meaning to pass through Germany in disguise with a few followers, and was seized near Vienna by his old foe the Austrian duke, and sold to the emperor, who put him in chains, charging him with murdering his kinsman Conrad, taking Cyprus from his ally Isaac, insulting his vassal Leopold, and helping his enemy Tancred.

4. [3] Meanwhile things had not gone smoothly in England. The Justiciar, though a faithful minister, offended the English barons by his foreign ways, new officers, and proud behaviour; for he went about with a train of 1500 men, kept a band of minstrels, and was waited upon by nobles and gentlemen like a prince. When he tried to replace the castellan of by one of his own men, though peace was patched up at a council at , on Earl took up arms against him, and the understanding that he should support 's claims to the crown (for 's health was not very good), it did not last long. For William's soldiers seized Archbishop Geoffrey from before the altar at Church and haled him to prison bareheaded through the muddy streets. The earl of course took up his brother's cause, called a Great Council at London, where he was the favourite of the people, and though the Justiciar held out bravely for some time in the Tower, forced him to yield, changed the ministry, and banished him from the realm. He fled to and tried to escape from the people in the disguise of a cloth-wife, but he was found out, mobbed and plundered before he could get away. Walter, Archbishop of Rouen, who brought letters from the king bidding him, if need were, take his place, now became Justiciar. Both sides used excommunication, till the Pope and Queen Eleanor, just returned from Sicily, stopped the quarrel. Philip, who was back in France, full of rage against , tried to win over Earl ; but Eleanor interposed, and the French nobles would not follow their king in an invasion of Normandy. The powerful Hugh of Puiset and Archbishop Geoffrey now fell out and gave great trouble, while a rebellion arose in Aquitaine, and William of came back suddenly to England, having bought 's consent. The ministers were hard pressed, they gave a higher bribe to banish William, and when the captivity of was known and


the traitor earl went over to Philip promising to marry his sister Alice if he would help him to win the crown, they withstood him like men, garrisoning the seaports and coasts so that the French and Flemings and others who had promised the earl their help dare not attack England. The Earl of Leicester and the burgesses of Rouen held their own against Philip in Normandy.

was tried at a Great Council at Haguenau after Easter , where he spoke well and boldly, and cleared himself of all the charges against him. His ransom was fixed at 150,000 marks, and he wrote home to beg his ministers to gather it as soon as possible, for he wished to get back to his dominions. So they taxed every man, clerk or lay, one-fourth of his year's rents and his movables, levied 20s. from every knight's fee, and took the year's wool from the Cistercian and Sempringham monks, whose riches lay in herds of sheep; even the silver chalices were taken from the churches in many places to make up the sum. About this time , who whiled away his prison hours by making poetry, sent this ballad to his favourite sister, Joan, who with his wife Berengar had shared all his perils in the Holy Land:-

"Never can captive make a song so fair

As he can make that has no cause for care,

Yet may he strive by song his grief to cheer.

I lack not friends, but sadly lack their gold !

Shamed are they, if unransomed I lie here: a second Yule in hold.

My men and barons all, full well they know,

Poitevins, English, Normans, Gascons too,

That I have not one friend, however poor,

Whom I would leave in chains to save my gold.

I tell them this, but blame them not therefor: though I lie yet in hold.

True is the saying, as I have proved herein,

Dead men and prisoners have no friends, no kin-

But if they leave me here to save their gold,

'Tis ill for me, but worse for them, I fear,

That when I die reproach and blame shall hear: if I be left in hold.

Small marvel if my heart knows heaviness

When my Lord [Philip] puts my land to such distress.

If he remembered what we swore of old,

The oath we took at Sens between us twain,

I know full well that I should not remain : many days here in hold.

Sister and Countess ! God give you good cheer !

And keep my Lady, whom I love so dear: for whom I lie in hold."

In December, by counsel of his mother (who was of the greatest help at this time by her wise advice), gave up his kingdom to the Emperor Henry, handing him his cap as a sign of surrender. And the emperor gave him it back along with a new fief, the kingdom of Burgundy, by the token of a double cross of gold, on condition of his doing homage for both realms and paying a yearly rent of 50000. Philip, who had tried in vain to get the Danish king to invade England, and , who met a stout resistance from his mother, did all they could to persuade Henry to detain ; but the German princes, the Pope, and the other Christian powers were indignant at the ill-usage which the champion of the Cross had suffered, and he was set free.

5. [4] Landing at Sandwich in his galley Trenche-Mer, 20th , at once marched to Nottingham, which was in the hands of 's partisans, took it and held a Great Council there, at which the earl and his friends were declared to have forfeited their lands and summoned to trial for treason, and a heavy taxation, 2s. from every plough-land of 120 acres, and a third of the rent of every knight's fee [ £ 20], levied for that part of the ransom that was still unpaid. The king was then crowned again at , to wash off the stain of his captivity, and giving the realm to the charge of the Justiciar, Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, nephew of Glanville, left England for the last time. When he got to Normandy his brother came to him to beg his forgiveness, and he forgave him at the prayer of his mother. The French and English kings were now at open war,

"playing at castle-taking,"

as the chronicler says, till a defeat at Frette- Val, July 15, where Philip hardly escaped with the loss of all the records of France, which always travelled with him, brought on a truce.

While was away the Justiciar William had given a fresh charter to the city of London, empowering the burghers [householders] to choose their own port-reeve, who was now called mayor, and to assess the taxes and city-rent themselves. Now that large sums had to be paid to meet the king's needs, the householders, to spare their own purses, made the poor craftsmen and labourers, who had no vote at the husting [householders' Moot], which governed the city, pay all. Whereon there arose a certain lawyer, well known for his gallant behaviour in the Crusade, William of the Beard, the son of Osbert, who, burning with zeal for righteousness and fair-play, made himself the champion of the


poor, holding that every man, poor or rich, should pay his share of the city's burdens according to his means. Fifteen thousand men soon banded themselves by oath to him, and he laid their grievances before the king, who was not unfavourable to his views. But the Justiciar Hubert and the aldermen were frightened at this league, and at William's bold speeches at public meetings, and tried to arrest him; but he seized an axe from one of his assailants and slew him, and fled with a few friends to S. Mary-le-Bow Church for sanctuary, for no man could be lawfully arrested in such holy places. The Justiciar, however, set fire to the church and he was forced to sally out, when the son of the man he had slain stabbed him at the door, and he was seized, tried at the Tower, condemned, dragged thence half dead on a hide to the gallows at the Elms, and hanged there the same day with nine of his followers. But the people honoured him as a martyr for freedom and right, and the Justiciar was charged with causing bloodshed in a church.

In 's troubles in Aquitaine were ended by the marriage of his sister Joan to Raymond of S. Giles, and he got the help of the Earls of Flanders and Champagne against Philip. The Bretons too, though they would not give him charge of their young Duke Arthur, his nephew, were willing to support him in arms. Several battles were fought before a truce was made. In one of these Philip, Bishop of Beauvais, was taken prisoner. The Pope wrote bidding let him go free, but the king sent back the blood-stained coat of mail in which the bishop had fought, with the words,

" Know now whether this be thy son's coat or no,"

whereby the Pope, seeing that the bishop had broken the Church Law which forbade the clergy to bear arms, took his part no more. While the truce lasted busied himself with building a splendid fortress on the Rock of Andelys by Seine, to stop the French invasions. It was better planned and stronger than any other castle, and when it was finished within twelve months, the king cried, Whence it is still called Chateau Gaillard [Saucy Castle].

Wars and castle-building are, however, costly, and Hubert was obliged to call a council at I 98, and ask the English bishops and barons to furnish the king with 300 knights and their keep for a year, for his French war. Most assented, but Hugh of Avalon, Bishop of , stood up and said,

"Ye know well my lords, that I am a stranger in

this land, one called from the plain life of a hermit to be bishop. But when Our Lady's Church of


was given into my unskilled hands, I set about learning what its rights and burdens were, and these thirteen years I have walked in all the ways of my forerunners. I know very well that this church is bound to furnish knights for the king's service in England, but not for service abroad. And I will go back at once to my old hermit's life rather than lay fresh burdens on this bishopric committed to my charge."

This speech, from such a holy man, led to the withdrawal of Hubert's plan; but a fresh survey of England was taken by the oaths of juries before two commissioners in each county to find out how much tilled land there was, and a tax of five shillings was laid on every carucate [100 acres of plough-land]. The monks would not pay it, however, till the king ordered that no monk should be able to go to law against any layman who had wronged him till he paid the tax. The Pope's displeasure and the charges made against Hubert on all hands led to his being replaced by Geoffrey Fitz-Peter, .

6. A fresh war with Philip led to a fresh truce in . Soon after the

"weathercock Poitevins,"

always rebellious, rose against , who went south to quell the rising, where he heard that Widomar, Viscount of Limoges, had found on one of his farms a large golden chess-table with gold pieces. He claimed this treasure-trove as suzerain, but Widomar would not give it up, so the king beset his castle of Chaluz and stormed the ballium. But a few men held out in the keep, one of whom shot the king in the breast with a quarrel [arblast-arrow], and the bad surgery of his doctor made the wound mortify. Knowing that he must die, , when the keep was taken, ordered the crossbowman to be brought before him. answered the man boldly. said , and bade his captain Mercade give the man money and let him go. Then the king made his barons swear fealty to , whom he named heir of his kingdom, gave his jewels to his nephew Otho, Earl of Poitou (whom he had caused to ' death be chosen emperor in ), and left a quarter of and character. his treasure to his servants and the poor. On the 6th April he died, and Mercade, by the Countess Joan's orders, put his slayer to an evil death. The king's heart was buried at


Rouen, and Hugh of , his friend, laid his body at the feet of his father at Font-Evraud.

was tall, stalwart, and handsome, fair-haired and blue-eyed. No mean general, a skilful engineer, and a wise judge of men, he might have made a good king, but contented himself with being a good knight. Of reckless bravery, he would peril his life for the sake of adventure, as when he fought with a mob of peasants about a hawk in Italy, and in the Holy Land his place was ever in the foremost trench at sieges and the first ranks in battle. Many tales were told of his prowess, how, mounted on his favourite Cyprus Chestnut (killed under him at Jaffa), with his mighty axe or great spear in hand, he led the charge into the midst of the Turkish horse-archers, and even fought hand to hand with himself. The famous French knight, William of Barre, is said to have been the only man he ever found to match him. Fond of show and pleasure, and a poet himself, he was bountiful to poets. William Blondel of Nesle, , who welcomed the king's release from prison with joyous songs, Piers Vidal, the fantastic poet who followed him on his crusade, Arnald Daniel, the wisest of the Provencal poets, Folquet of Marseille, whom Dante met in Paradise, and the gallant Wacelm Faidit of Avignon,who deeply mourned his patron's death, were his chief favourites. In a pious priest, Fulk of Neuilly, warned of his faults, bidding him in the Lord's name make haste to marry his wicked daughters. said . said the king, But in spite of this scoff, he took the warning to heart, and began to lead a better life. Under the policy and constitution of were faithfully carried on in England by the ministers,William, Hubert, and Geoffrey; and the wise counsels of Eleanor saved Normandy and Aquitaine from the designs of Philip and the treachery of .


[1] The slaughters of the Jews, 1189-1190.

[2] Richard's Crusade 1191-1192.

[] [1191-1193.]

[3] English affairs, 1191-1194.

[] [1193-1194.]

[4] The end of Richard's reign, 1194-1199.

[] [1197-1199]

[] [1199.

  • In-text illustrations for this text are cataloged in MS004/002.001#DO01.
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