The History of England From the Norman Conquest
George Burton Adams

Part 6 out of 9

handed over to the lay court for punishment. The bishops were not at
first united on the answer which they should make, but Becket had no
doubts, and his opinion carried the day. One of his biographers, Herbert
of Bosham, who was his secretary and is likely to have understood his
views, though he was if possible of an even more extreme spirit than his
patron, records the speech in which the archbishop made known to the king
the answer of the Church. Whether actually delivered or not, the speech
certainly states the principles on which Becket must have stood, and
these are those of the reformers of Cluny in their most logical form. The
Church is not subject to an earthly king nor to the law of the State
alone: Christ also is its king and the divine law its law. This is proved
by the words of our Lord concerning the "two swords." But those who are
by ordination the clergy of the Church, set apart from the nations of men
and peculiarly devoted to the work of God, are under no earthly king.
They are above kings and confer their power upon them, and far from being
subject to any royal jurisdiction they are themselves the judges of
kings. There can be no doubt but that Becket in his struggle with the
king had consciously before him the model of Anselm; but these words,
whether he spoke them to the king's face or not, forming as they did the
principles of his action and accepted by the great body of the clergy,
show how far the English Church had progressed along the road into which
Anselm had first led it.

Henry's only answer to the argument of the archbishop was to adopt
exactly the position of his grandfather in the earlier conflict, and to
inquire whether the bishops were willing to observe the ancient customs
of the realm. To this they made answer together and singly that they
were, "saving their order." This was of course to refuse, and the
conference came to an end with no other result than to define more
clearly the issue between Church and State. In the interval which
followed Becket was gradually made aware that his support in the Church
at large was not so strong as he could wish. The terror of the king's
anger still had its effect in England, and some of the bishops went over
to his side and tried to persuade the archbishop to some compromise. The
pope, Alexander III, who had taken refuge in France from the Emperor and
his antipope, saw more clearly than Becket the danger of driving another
powerful sovereign into the camp of schism and rebellion and counselled
moderation. He even sent a special representative to England, with
letters to Becket to this effect, and with instructions to urge him to
come to terms with the king.

At last Becket was persuaded to concede the form of words desired, though
his biographers asserted that he did this on the express understanding
that the concession should be no more than a form to save the honour of
the king. He had an interview with Henry at Oxford and engaged that he
would faithfully observe the customs of the realm. This promise Henry
received gladly, though not, it was noticed, with a return of his
accustomed kindness to the archbishop; and he declared at once that, as
the refusal of Thomas to obey the customs of the realm had been public,
so the satisfaction made to his honour must be public and the pledge be
given in the presence of the nobles and bishops of the kingdom. To this
Becket apparently offered no objection, nor to the proposal which
followed, according to his secretary at the suggestion of the
archbishop's enemies, but certainly from Henry's point of view the next
natural step, that after the promise had been given, the customs of the
realm should be put into definite statement by a "recognition," or formal
inquiry, that there might be no further danger of either civil or
clerical courts infringing on the jurisdiction of the other.

For this double purpose, to witness the archbishop's declaration and to
make the recognition, a great council met at Clarendon, near Salisbury,
towards the end of January, 1164. Some questions both of what happened at
this council and of the order of events are still unsettled, but the
essential points seem clear. Becket gave the required promise with no
qualifying phrase, and was followed by each of the bishops in the same
form. Then came the recognition, whether provided for beforehand or not,
by members of the council who were supposed to know the ancient practice,
for the purpose of putting into definite form the customs to which the
Church had agreed. The document thus drawn up, which has come down to us
known as the Constitutions of Clarendon, records in its opening paragraph
the fact and form of this agreement and the names of the consenting
bishops. It is probable, however, that this refers to the earlier
engagement, and that after the customs were reduced to definite
statement, no formal promise was made. The archbishop in the discussion
urged his own ignorance of the customs, and it is quite possible that,
receiving his training in the time of Stephen and believing implicitly in
the extreme claims of the Church, he was really ignorant of what could be
proved by a historical study of the ancient practice. The king demanded
that the bishops should put their seals to this document, but this they
evidently avoided. Becket's secretary says that he temporized and
demanded delay. Henry had gained, however, great advantage from the
council, both in what he had actually accomplished and in position for
the next move.

To all who accepted the ideas which now ruled the Church there was
much to complain of, much that was impossible in the Constitutions of
Clarendon. On the question of the trial of criminous clerks, which had
given rise to these difficulties, it was provided, according to the
best interpretation, that the accused clerk should be first brought
before a secular court and there made to answer to the charge. Whatever
he might plead, guilty or not guilty, he was to be transferred to the
Church court for trial and, if found guilty, for degradation from the
priesthood; he was then to be handed over to the king's officer who
had accompanied him to the bishop's court for sentence in the king's
court to the state's punishment of his crime.[46] Becket and his party
regarded this as a double trial and a double punishment for a single
offence. But this was not all. The Constitutions went beyond the
original controversy. Suits to determine the right of presentation
to a living even between two clerks must be tried in the king's court,
as also suits to determine whether a given fee was held in free alms or
as a lay fee. None of the higher clergy were to go out of the kingdom
without the king's permission, nor without his consent were appeals
to be taken from ecclesiastical courts to the pope, his barons to be
excommunicated or their lands placed under an interdict. The feudal
character of the clergy who held in chief of the king was strongly
insisted on. They must hold their lands as baronies, and answer for
them to the royal justices, and perform all their feudal obligations
like other barons; and if their fiefs fell vacant, they must pass into
the king's hand and their revenues be treated as domain revenues during
the vacancy. A new election must be made by a delegation summoned by
the king, in his chapel, and with his consent, and the new prelate
must perform liege homage and swear fealty to the king before his

In short, the Constitutions are a codification of the ancient customs on
all those points where conflict was likely to arise between the old ideas
of the Anglo-Norman State and the new ideas of the Hildebrandine Church.
For there can be little doubt that Henry's assertion that he was but
stating the customs of his grandfather was correct. There is not so much
proof in regard to one or two points as we should like, but all the
evidence that we have goes to show that the State was claiming nothing
new, and about most of the points there can be no question. Nor was this
true of England only. The rights asserted in the Constitutions had been
exercised in general in the eleventh and early twelfth centuries by every
strong state in Europe. The weakness of Henry's position was not in its
historical support, but in the fact that history had been making since
his grandfather's day. Nor was the most important feature of the history
that had been made in the interval the fact that the State in its
weakness had allowed many things to slip out of its hands. For Henry's
purpose of recovery the rise of the Church to an equality with the State,
its organization as an international monarchy, conscious of the value of
that organization and powerful to defend it, was far more important. The
Anglo-Norman monarchy had been since its beginning the strongest in
Europe. Henry II was in no less absolute control of the State than his
ancestors. But now there stood over against the king, as there never had
before, a power almost as strong in England as his own. Thomas understood
this more clearly than Henry did. He not merely believed in the justice
and necessity of his cause, but he believed in his ability to make it
prevail. Thomas may have looked to Anselm as his model and guide of
conduct, but in position he stood on the results of the work which Anselm
had begun, and he was even more convinced than his predecessor had been
of the righteousness of his cause and of his power to maintain it. This
conflict was likely to be a war of giants, and at its beginning no man
could predict its outcome.

Even if the council of Clarendon closed, as we have supposed it did, with
no definite statement on Thomas's part of his attitude towards the
Constitutions, and not, as some accounts imply, with a flat refusal to
accept them, he probably left the council fully determined not to do so.
He carried away with him an official copy of the Constitutions as
evidence of the demands which had been made and shortly afterwards he
suspended himself from his functions because of the promise which he had
originally given to obey them, and applied to the pope for absolution.
For some months matters drifted with no decisive events. Both sides made
application to the pope. The archbishop attempted to leave England
without the knowledge of the king, but failed to make a crossing. The
courts were still unable to carry out the provisions of the
Constitutions. Finally a case arose involving the archbishop's own court,
and on his disregard of the king's processes he was summoned to answer
before the curia regis at Northampton on October 6.

It is to be regretted that we have no account of the interesting and
dramatic events of this assembly from a hand friendly to the king and
giving us his point of view. In the biographies of the archbishop,
written by clerks who were not likely to know much feudal law, it is not
easy to trace out the exact legal procedure nor always to discover the
technical right which we may be sure the king believed was on his side in
every step he took. At the outset it was recorded that as a mark of his
displeasure Henry omitted to send to the archbishop the customary
personal summons to attend the meeting of the court and summoned him only
through the sheriff, but, though the omission of a personal summons to
one of so high rank would naturally be resented by his friends, as he was
to go, not as a member of the court, but as an accused person to answer
before it, the omission was probably quite regular. Immediately after the
organization of the court, Becket was put on his trial for neglect to
obey the processes of the king's court in the earlier case. Summoned
originally on an appeal for default of judgment, he had neither gone to
the court himself nor sent a personal excuse, but he had instructed his
representatives to plead against the legality of the appeal. This he
might have done himself if personally before the court, but, as he had
not come, there was technically a refusal to obey the king's commands
which gave Henry his opportunity. Before the great curia regis the case
was very simple. The archbishop seems to have tried to get before the
court the same plea as to the illegality of the appeal, but it was ruled
out at once, as "it had no place there." In other words, the case was now
a different one. It was tried strictly on the ground of the archbishop's
feudal obligations, and there he had no defence. Judgment was given
against him, and all his movables were declared in the king's mercy.

William Fitz Stephen, one of Becket's biographers who shows a more
accurate knowledge of the law than the others, and who was present at the
trial, records an interesting incident of the judgment. A dispute arose
between the barons and the bishops as to who should pronounce it, each
party trying to put the unpleasant duty on the other. To the barons'
argument that a bishop should declare the decision of the court because
Becket was a bishop, the bishops answered that they were not sitting
there as bishops but as barons of the realm and peers of the lay barons.
The king interposed, and the sentence was pronounced by the aged Henry,
Bishop of Winchester. Becket seems to have submitted without opposition,
and the bishops who were present, except Gilbert Foliot of London, united
in giving security for the payment of the fine.

A question that inevitably arises at this point and cannot be answered
is, why Henry did not rest satisfied with the apparently great advantage
he had gained. He had put into operation more than one of the articles of
the Constitutions of Clarendon, and against the archbishop in person.
Becket had been obliged to recognize the jurisdiction of the curia
regis over himself and to submit to its sentence, and the whole body of
bishops had recognized their feudal position in the state and had acted
upon it. Perhaps the king wished to get an equally clear precedent in a
case which was a civil one rather than a misdemeanour. Perhaps he was so
exasperated against the archbishop that he was resolved to pursue him to
his ruin, but, though more than one thing points to this, it does not
seem a reasonable explanation. Whatever may have been his motive, the
king immediately,--the accounts say on the same day with the first
trial;--demanded that his former chancellor should account for L300
derived from the revenues of the castles of Eye and Berkhampsted held by
him while chancellor. Thomas answered that the money had been spent in
the service of the state, but the king refused to admit that this had
been done by his authority. Again Becket submitted, though not
recognizing the right of the court to try him in a case in which he had
not been summoned, and gave security for the payment.

Still this was not sufficient. On the next day the king demanded the
return of 500 marks which he had lent Becket for the Toulouse campaign,
and of a second 500 which had been borrowed of a Jew on the king's
security. This was followed at once by a further demand for an account of
the revenues of the archbishopric and of all other ecclesiastical fiefs
which had been vacant while Thomas was chancellor. To pay the sum which
this demand would call for would be impossible without a surrender of all
the archbishop's sources of income for several years, and it almost seems
as if Henry intended this result. The barons apparently thought as much,
for from this day they ceased to call at Becket's quarters. The next day
the clergy consulted together on the course to be taken and there was
much difference of opinion. Some advised the immediate resignation of the
archbishopric, others a firm stand accepting the consequence of the
king's anger; and there were many opinions between these two extremes.
During the day an offer of 2000 marks in settlement of the claim was sent
to the king on the advice of Henry of Winchester, but it was refused, and
the day closed without any agreement among the clergy on a common course
of action.

The next day was Sunday, and the archbishop did not leave his lodgings.
On Monday he was too ill to attend the meeting of the court, much to
Henry's anger. The discussions of Saturday and the reflections of the
following days had apparently led Becket to a definite decision as to his
own conduct. The king was in a mood, as it would surely seem to him, to
accept nothing short of his ruin. No support was to be expected from the
barons. The clergy, even the bishops, were divided in opinion and it
would be impossible to gain strength enough from them to escape anything
which the king might choose to demand. We must, I think, explain Becket's
conduct from this time on by supposing that he now saw clearly that all
concessions had been and would be in vain, and that he was resolved to
exert to the utmost the strength of passive opposition which lay in the
Church, to put his case on the highest possible grounds, and to gain for
the Church the benefits of persecution and for himself the merits, if
needs be, of the martyr.

Early the next morning the bishops, terrified by the anger of the king,
came to Becket and tried to persuade him to yield completely, even to
giving up the archbishopric. This he refused. He rebuked them for their
action against him already in the court, forbade them to sit in judgment
on him again, himself appealing to the pope, and ordered them, if any
secular person should lay hands on him in punishment, to excommunicate
him at once. Against this order Gilbert Foliot immediately appealed. The
bishops then departed, and Becket entered the monastery church and
celebrated the mass of St. Stephen's day, opening with the words of the
Psalm, "Princes did sit and speak against me." This was a most audacious
act, pointed directly at the king, and a public declaration that he
expected and was prepared for the fate of the first martyr. Naturally the
anger of the court was greatly increased. From the celebration of the
mass, Becket went to the meeting of the court, his cross borne before him
in the usual manner, but on reaching the door of the meeting-place, he
took it from his cross-bearer and carrying it in his own hands entered
the hall. Such an unusual proceeding as this could have but one meaning.
It was a public declaration that he was in fear of personal violence, and
that any one who laid hands on him must understand his act to be an
attack on the cross and all that it signified. Some of the bishops tried
to persuade him to abandon this attitude, but in vain. So far as we can
judge the mood of Henry, Becket had much to justify his feeling, and if
he were resolved not to accept the only other alternative of complete
submission, but determined to resist to the utmost, the act was not

When the bishops reported to the king the primate's order forbidding them
to sit in trial of him again, it was seen at once to be a violation of
the Constitutions of Clarendon; and certain barons were sent to him to
inquire if he stood to this, to remind him of his oath as the king's
liege-man, and of the promise, equivalent to an oath, which he had made
at Clarendon to keep the Constitutions "in good faith, without guile, and
according to law," and to ask if he would furnish security for the
payment of the claims against him as chancellor. In reply Becket stood
firmly to his position, and renewed the prohibition and the appeal to the
pope. The breach of the Constitutions being thus placed beyond question,
the king demanded the judgment of the court, bishops and barons together.
The bishops urged the ecclesiastical dangers in which they would be
placed if they disregarded the archbishop's prohibition, and suggested
that instead they should themselves appeal to Rome against him as a
perjurer. To this the king at last agreed, and the appeal was declared by
Hilary, Bishop of Chichester, who had throughout inclined to the king's
side, and who urged upon the archbishop with much vigour the oath which
they had all taken at Clarendon under his leadership and which he was now
forcing them to violate. Becket's answer to this speech is the weakest
and least honest thing that he did during all these days of trial. "We
promised nothing at Clarendon," he said, "without excepting the rights of
the Church. The very clauses to which you refer, 'in good faith, without
guile, and according to law,' are saving clauses, because it is
impossible to observe anything in good faith and according to law if it
is contrary to the laws of God and to the fealty due the Church. Nor is
there any such thing as the dignity of a Christian king where the liberty
of the Church which he has sworn to observe has perished."

The court then, without the bishops, found the archbishop guilty of
perjury and probably of treason. The formal pronunciation of the sentence
in the presence of Becket was assigned to the justiciar, the Earl of
Leicester, but he was not allowed to finish. With violent words Thomas
interrupted him and bitterly denounced him for presuming as a layman to
sit in judgment on his spiritual father. In the pause that followed,
Becket left the hall still carrying his cross. As he passed out, the
spirit of the chancellor overcame for a moment that of the bishop, and he
turned fiercely on those who were saying "perjured traitor" and cried
that, if it were not for his priestly robes and the wickedness of the
act, he would know how to answer in arms such an accusation. During the
night that followed, Becket secretly left Northampton, and by a
roundabout way after two weeks succeeded in escaping to the continent in
disguise. The next day the court held its last session. After some
discussion it was resolved to allow the case to stand as it was, and not
even to take the archbishop's fief into the king's hands until the pope
should decide the appeal, a resolution which shows how powerful was the
Church and how strong was the influence of the bishops who were acting
with the king. At the same time an embassy of great weight and dignity
was appointed to represent the king before the pope, consisting of the
Archbishop of York, the Bishops of London, Chichester, Exeter, and
Worcester, two earls and two barons, and three clerks from the king's
household. They were given letters to the King of France and to the Count
of Flanders which said that Thomas, "formerly Archbishop of Canterbury,"
had fled the kingdom as a traitor and should not be received in their

In the somewhat uncertain light in which we are compelled to view these
events, this quarrel seems unnecessary, and the guilt of forcing it on
Church and State in England, at least at this time and in these
circumstances, appears to rest with Henry. The long patience of his
grandfather, which was willing to wait the slow process of events and
carefully shunned the drawing of sharp issues when possible, he certainly
does not show in this case. It is more than likely, however, that the
final result would have been the same in any case. No reconciliation was
possible between the ideas or the characters of the two chief
antagonists, and the necessary constitutional growth of the state made
the collision certain. It was a case in which either the Church or the
State must give way, but greater moderation of action and demand would
have given us a higher opinion of Henry's practical wisdom; and the
essential justice of his cause hardly excuses such rapid and violent
pushing of his advantage. On the other hand Thomas's conduct, which must
have been exceedingly exasperating to the hot blood which Henry had
inherited, must be severely condemned in many details. We cannot avoid
the feeling that much about it was insincere and theatrical, and even an
intentional challenging of the fate he seemed to dread. But yet it does
not appear what choice was left him between abjectly giving up all that
he had been trained to believe of the place of the Church in the world
and entering on open war with the king.

The war now declared dragged slowly on for six years with few events that
seemed to bring a decision nearer till towards the end of that period.
Henry's embassy returned from the pope at Christmas time and reported
that no formal judgment had been rendered on the appeal. The king then
put in force the ordinary penalty for failure of service and confiscated
the archbishop's revenues. He went even further than this in some acts
that were justifiable and some that were spiteful. He ordered the
confiscation of the revenues of the archbishop's clerks who had
accompanied him, prohibited all appeals to the pope, and ordered Becket's
relatives to join him in exile. As to the archbishop, whatever one may
think of his earlier attitude we can have but little sympathy with his
conduct from this time on. He went himself to the pope after the
departure of Henry's messengers, but though Alexander plainly inclined to
his side, he did not obtain a formal decision. Then he retired to the
abbey of Pontigny in Burgundy, where he resided for some time.

Political events did not wait the settlement of the conflict with the
Church, though nothing of great interest occurred before its close. Henry
crossed to Normandy in the spring of 1165, where an embassy came to him
from the Emperor which resulted in the marriage of his daughter Matilda
with Henry the Lion, of the house of Guelf. Two clerks who returned with
this embassy to Germany seem to have involved the king in some
embarrassment by promises of some kind to support the emperor against the
pope. It does not appear, however, that Henry ever intended to recognize
the antipope; and, whatever the promises were, he promptly disavowed
them. Later in the year two campaigns in Wales are less interesting from
a military point of view than as leading to further experiments in
taxation. The year 1166 is noteworthy for the beginning of extensive
judicial and administrative reforms which must be considered hereafter
with the series to which they belong. In that year also Becket began a
direct attack upon his enemies in England.

He began by sending to the king three successive warnings, all based on
the assumption that in such a dispute the final decision must remain with
the Church and that the State must always give way. His next step was the
solemn excommunication of seven supporters of the king, mostly clerks,
but including Richard of Lucy, the justiciar. The king was warned to
expect the same fate himself, and all obedience to the Constitutions of
Clarendon was forbidden. The effect of this act was not what Becket
anticipated. It led rather to a reaction of feeling against him from its
unnecessary severity, and a synod of the clergy of the archbishopric
entered an appeal against it. A new embassy was sent to the pope who was
then at Rome to get the appeal decided, and was much more favourably
received by Alexander who seems to have been displeased with Becket's
action. He promised to send legates to Henry to settle the whole question
with him. The occupation of Britanny by which it was brought under
Henry's direct control and a short and inconclusive war with the king of
France took up the interval until the legates reached Normandy in
October, 1167. Their mission proved a failure. Becket, who came in person
to the inquiry which they held, refused to accept any compromise or to
modify in any way his extreme position. On the other side Henry was very
angry because they refused to deprive the archbishop.

The year 1168 was a troubled one for Henry, with revolts in Poitou and
Britanny, supported by the king of France, and with useless negotiations
with Louis. Early in 1169 the pope sent new envoys to try to reconcile
king and primate with instructions to bring pressure to bear on both
parties. The king of France also came to the meeting and exerted his
influence, but the result was a second failure. Becket had invented a new
saving clause which he thought the king might be induced to accept. He
would submit "saving the honour of God," but Henry understood the point
and could see no difference between this and the old reservation. Becket
finally stood firmly against the pressure of the envoys and the influence
of Louis, and Henry was not moved by the threats which the pope had
directed to be made if necessary. A third embassy later in the year
seemed for a moment about to find a possible compromise, but ended in
another failure, both parties refusing to make any real concession. The
interval between these two attempts at reconciliation Becket had used to
excommunicate about thirty of his opponents in England, mostly churchmen,
including the Bishops of London and Salisbury.

For more than a year longer the quarrel went on, the whole Church
suffering from the results, and new points arising to complicate the
issue. The danger that England would be placed under an interdict
Henry met by most stringent regulations against the admission of any
communications from the pope, or any intercourse with pope or
archbishop. On the question which arose in the constant negotiations
as to the compensation which should be made to Becket for his loss of
revenue since he had left England, he showed himself as unyielding as
on every other point, and demanded the uttermost farthing. For some
time the king had wished to have his son Henry crowned, and on June
14, 1170, that ceremony was actually performed at Westminster by the
Archbishop of York, who had, as Henry believed or asserted, a special
permission from the pope for the purpose. Of course Becket resented
this as a new invasion of his rights and determined to exact for it
the proper penalties. Finally, towards the end of July, an agreement
was reached which was no compromise; it simply ignored the points in
dispute and omitted all the qualifying phrases. The king agreed to
receive the archbishop to his favour and to restore him his
possessions, and Becket accepted this. The agreement can hardly have
been regarded by either side as anything more than a truce. Neither
intended to abandon any right for which he had been contending, but
both were exhausted by the conflict and desired an interval for
recovery, perhaps with a hope of renewing the strife from a better

It was December 1 before Thomas actually landed in England. He then
came bringing war, not peace. He had sent over, in advance of his own
crossing, letters which he had solicited and obtained from the pope,
suspending from their functions all the bishops who had taken part in
the coronation of the young king, and reviving the excommunications of
the Bishops of London and Salisbury. Then, landing at Sandwich, he went
on to Canterbury, where he was received with joy. But there was little
real joy for Becket or his friends in the short remainder of his life,
unless it may have been the joy of conflict and of anticipated
martyrdom. To messengers who asked the removal of the sentence against
the bishops, he refused any concession except on their unconditional
promise to abide by the pope's decision; and the three prelates most
affected--York, London, and Salisbury--went over to Normandy to the
king. A plan to visit the court of the young king at London was stopped
by orders to return to Canterbury. On Christmas day, at the close of a
sermon from the text "Peace on earth to men of good-will," he issued new
excommunications against some minor offenders, and bitterly denounced,
in words that seemed to have the same effect, those who endangered the
peace between himself and the king.

It was on the news of this Christmas proclamation, or perhaps on the
report of the bishops who had come from England, that Henry gave way to
his violent temper, and in an outburst of passion denounced those whom he
had cherished and covered with favours, because they could not avenge him
of this one priest. On these words four knights of his household resolved
to punish the archbishop, and, leaving the court secretly, they went over
to England. They were Reginald Fitz Urse, William of Tracy, Hugh of
Morville, and Richard le Breton. An attempt to stop them when their
departure was observed did not succeed, and, collecting supporters from
the local enemies of the archbishop, they forced their way into his
presence on the afternoon of December 29. Their reproaches, demands, and
threats Becket met with firmness and dignity, refusing to be influenced
by fear. Finding that they could gain nothing by words, they withdrew to
get their arms, and Becket was hurried into the cathedral by his friends.
As they were going up the steps from the north-west transept to the
choir, their enemies met them, calling loudly for "the traitor, Thomas
Becket." The archbishop turned about and stepped down to the floor of the
transept, repelling their accusations with bitter words and accusations
of his own, and was there struck down by their swords and murdered; not
before the altar, as is sometimes said, though within the doors of his
own church.

[46] See Maitland, Henry II and the Criminous Clerks, in his
Canon Law in the Church of England (1898). (Engl. Hist.,
Rev. vii, 224.)



The martyrdom of Thomas Becket served his cause better than his
continuance in life could have done. Even if his murderers foolishly
thought to serve the king by their deed, Henry himself was under no
delusion as to its effect. He was thunderstruck at the news, and, in a
frenzy of horror which was no doubt genuine, as well as to mark his
repudiation of all share in the deed, he fasted and shut himself from
communication with the court for days. But the public opinion of Europe
would not acquit Henry of the guilt. Letters poured in upon the pope
denouncing him and demanding his punishment. The interdict of his Norman
dominions which had been threatened was proclaimed by the Archbishop of
Sens, but suspended again by an appeal to the pope. Events moved slowly
in the twelfth century, and before the pope could take any active steps
in the case, an embassy which left Normandy almost immediately had time
to reach him and to promise on the part of the king his complete
submission to whatever the pope should decree after examination of the
facts. Immediate punishment of any severity was thus avoided, and the
embassy of two cardinals to Normandy which the pope announced could act
only after some delay.

In the meanwhile in England Thomas the archbishop was being rapidly
transformed into Thomas the saint. Miracles were reported almost at once,
and the legend of his saintship took its rise and began to throw a new
light over the events of his earlier life. The preparation of his body
for the grave had revealed his secret asceticism,--the hair garments next
his skin and long unchanged. The people believed him to be a true martyr,
and his popular canonization preceded by some time the official, though
this followed with unusual quickness even for the middle ages. It was
pronounced by the pope in whose reign he had died on February 21, 1173.
For generations he remained the favourite saint of England, and his
popularity in foreign lands is surprising, though it must be remembered
that he was a great and most conspicuous martyr of the official Church,
of the new Hildebrandine Church, of the spirit and ideas which were by
that date everywhere in command.

This long and bitter struggle between Church and State, unworthy of both
the combatants, was now over except for the consequences which were
lasting, and the interest of Henry's reign flows back into the political
channel. The king did not wait in seclusion the report of the pope's
mission. It may have been, as was suggested even at the time, that he was
glad of an excuse to escape from Normandy before the envoys' coming and
to avoid a meeting with them until time had done something to soften the
feeling against him. Before his departure his hold on Britanny was
strengthened by the death, in February, 1171, of Conan the candidate whom
he had recognized as count. Since 1166 the administration of the country
had been practically in his hands; and in that year his son Geoffrey had
been betrothed to Constance, the daughter and heiress of Conan. Geoffrey
would now succeed to the countship, but he was still a child; and
Britanny was virtually incorporated in Henry's continental empire.

The refuge which the repentant Henry may have sought from the necessity
of giving an answer to the pope at once, or a kind of preliminary penance
for his sin, he found in Ireland. Since he received so early in his reign
the sanction of Pope Hadrian IV of his plan of conquest, he had done
nothing himself towards that end, but others had. The adventurous barons
of the Welsh marches, who were used to the idea of carving out lordships
for themselves from the lands of their Celtic enemies, were easily
persuaded to extend their civilizing operations to the neighbouring
island, where even richer results seemed to be promised. In 1166 Dermot,
the dispossessed king of Leinster, who had found King Henry too busily
occupied with affairs in France to aid him, had secured with the royal
permission the help he needed in Wales, and thus had connected with the
future history of Ireland the names of "Strongbow" and Fitzgerald. The
native Irish, though the bravest of warriors, were without armour, and
their weapons, of an earlier stage of military history, were no match for
the Norman; especially had they no defence against the Norman archers.
The conquest of Leinster, from Waterford to Dublin, and including those
two cities, occupied some years, but was accomplished by a few men.
"Strongbow" himself, Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, did not cross
over till the end of August, 1170, when the work was almost completed. He
married the daughter of Dermot and was recognized as his heir, but the
death of his father-in-law in the next spring was followed by a general
insurrection against the new rulers, and this was hardly under control
when the earl was summoned to England to meet the king.

Henry could not afford to let the dominion of Ireland, to which he had
looked forward for himself, slip from his hands, nor to risk the danger
that an independent state might be formed so close to England by his own
vassals. Already the Earl of Pembroke was out of favour; it was said that
his lands had been forfeited, and he might easily become a rebel
difficult to subdue in his new possessions. At the moment he certainly
had no thought of rebellion, and he at once obeyed the summons to
England. Henry had crossed from Normandy early in September, 1171, had
paid a brief visit to Winchester, where Henry of Blois, once so powerful
in Church and State, was now dying, and then advanced with his army
through southern Wales into Pembrokeshire whence he crossed to Ireland in
the middle of October. As he passed from Waterford to Cashel, and then
again from Waterford to Dublin, chiefs came in from all sides, many of
whom had never submitted to the Norman invaders, and acknowledged his
overlordship. Only in the remoter parts of the west and north did they
remain away, except Roderick of Connaught, the most powerful of the Irish
kings, who was not yet ready to own himself a vassal, but claimed the
whole of Ireland for himself. The Christmas feast Henry kept in Dublin,
and there entertained his new subjects who were astonished at the
splendour of his court.

A few weeks later a council of the Irish Church was held at Cashel, and
attended by all the prelates of the island except the Archbishop of
Armagh whose age prevented his coming. The bishops swore allegiance to
Henry, and each of them is said to have made a formal declaration,
written and sealed, recognizing the right of Henry and his heirs to the
kingdom of Ireland. The canons adopted by the council, putting into force
rules of marriage and morals long established in practice in the greater
part of Christendom, reveal the reasons that probably led the Church to
favour the English conquest and even to consider it an especially pious
act of the king. A report of Henry's acceptance by the Irish kings and of
the acts of the council was sent at once to the pope, who replied in
three letters under date of September 20, 1172, addressed to Henry, to
the Irish bishops, and to the Irish kings, approving fully of all that
had been done.

It is not clear that Henry had in mind any definite plan for the
political government of the conquest which he had made. The allegiance of
those princes who were outside the territories occupied by the Norman
adventurers could have been no more than nominal, and no attempt seems to
have been made to rule them. Meath was granted as a fief to Hugh of Lacy
on the service of fifty knights. He was also made governor of Dublin and
justiciar of Ireland, but this title is the only evidence that he was to
be regarded as the representative of the king. Waterford and Wexford were
made domain towns, as well as Dublin, and the earl of Pembroke, who gave
up the royal rights which he might inherit from King Dermot, was
enfeoffed with Leinster on the service of a hundred knights. Plainly the
part of Ireland which was actually occupied was not treated in practice
as a separate kingdom, whatever may have been the theory, but as a
transplanted part of England under a very vague relationship. As a matter
of fact, it was a purely feudal colony, under but the slightest control
by a distant overlord, and doomed both from its situation in the midst of
an alien, only partly civilized, and largely unconquered race, and from
its own organization or lack of organization, to speedy troubles.

Henry returned to England at Easter time, and went on almost at once to
meet the papal legates in Normandy. By the end of May his reconciliation
with the Church was completed. First, Henry purged himself by solemn oath
in the cathedral at Avranches of any share in the guilt of Thomas's
assassination, and then the conditions of reconciliation were sworn to by
himself and by the young king. These conditions are a very fair
compromise, though Becket could never have agreed to them nor probably
would Henry have done so but for the murder. The Church insisted on the
one thing which was most essential to its real interests, the freedom of
appeals to the pope. The point most important to the State, which had led
originally to the quarrel--the question of the punishment of criminous
clerks by the lay courts--was passed over in silence, a way out of the
difficulty being found by requiring of the king a promise which he could
readily make, that he would wholly do away with any customs which had
been introduced against the churches of the land in his time. This would
not be to his mind renouncing the Constitution of Clarendon. The
temporalities of Canterbury and the exiled friends of the archbishop were
to be restored as before the quarrel, and Henry promised not to withdraw
his obedience from the catholic pope or his successors. The other
conditions were of the nature of penance. The king promised to assume the
cross at the next Christmas for a crusade of three years, and in the
meantime to provide the Templars with a sum of money which in their
judgment would be sufficient to maintain 200 knights in the Holy Land for
a year.

Henry no doubt felt that he had lost much, but in truth he had every
reason to congratulate himself on the lightness of his punishment for the
crime to which his passionate words had led. He did not get all which he
had set out to recover from the Church, but his gains were large and
substantial. The agreement is a starting-point of some importance in the
legal history of England. It may be taken as the beginning, with more
full consciousness of field and boundaries, of the development of two
long lines of law and jurisdiction, running side by side for many
generations, each encroaching somewhat on the occupied or natural ground
of the other, but with no other conflict of so serious a character as
this. The criminal jurisdiction of the state did not recover quite all
that the Constitutions of Clarendon had demanded. Clerks accused of the
worst offences, of felonies, except high treason, were tried and punished
by the Church courts, and from this arose the privilege known as benefit
of clergy with all its abuses, but in all minor offences no distinction
was made between clerk and layman. In civil cases also, suits which
involved the right of property, even the right of presentation to
livings, the state courts had their way. Two large fields of law, on the
other hand,--marriage, and wills,--the Church, much to its profit, had
entirely to itself.

The interval of peace for Henry was not a long one. Hardly was he freed
from one desperate struggle when he found himself by degrees involved in
another from which he was never to find relief. The policy which he was
to follow towards his sons had been already foreshadowed in the
coronation of the young Henry in 1170, but we do not find it easy to
account for it or to reconcile it with other lines of policy which he was
as clearly following. The conflict of ideas, the subtle contradictions of
the age in which he lived, must have been reflected in the mind of the
king whose dominions themselves were an empire of contrasts. Of all the
middle ages there is perhaps no period that saw the ideal which chivalry
had created of the wholly "courteous" king and prince more nearly
realized in practice than the last half of the twelfth century--the brave
warrior and great ruler, of course, but always also the generous giver,
who considered "largesse" one of the chiefest of virtues and first of
duties, and bestowed with lavish hand on all comers money and food, robes
and jewels, horses and arms, and even castles and fiefs, recognizing the
natural right of each one to the gift his rank would seem to claim. That
such an ideal was actually realized in any large number of cases it would
be absurd to maintain. It is not likely that any one ever sought to equal
in detail the extravagant squandering of wealth in gifts which figures in
the poetry of the age--the rich mantles which Arthur hung about the halls
at a coronation festival to be taken by any one, or the thirty bushels of
silver coins tumbled in a heap on the floor from which all might help
themselves. But these poems record the ideal, and probably no other age
saw more men, from kings down to simple knights, who tried to pattern
themselves on this model and to look on wealth as an exhaustless store of
things to be given away. But in the mind of kings who reigned in a world
more real than the romances of chivalry, this duty had always to contend
with natural ambition and with their responsibility for the welfare of
the lands they ruled. The last half of the twelfth century saw these
considerations grow rapidly stronger. The age that formed and applauded
the young Henry also gave birth to Philip Augustus.

The marriage with Eleanor added to the strange mixture of blood in the
Norman-Angevin house a new and warmer strain. It showed itself, careless,
luxurious, self-indulgent, restless at any control, in her sons. But the
marriage had also its effect on the husband and father. It gave a strong
impetus to the conquest, which had already begun, of the colder and
slower north by the ideals of duty and manners which had blossomed out
into a veritable theory of life in the more tropical south. Henry could
not keep himself from the spell of these influences, though they never
controlled him as they did his children. It seems impossible to doubt,
however, that he really believed it to be his duly to give his sons the
position that belonged to them as princes, where they could form courts
of their own, surrounded by their barons and knights, and display the
virtues which belonged to their station. They had a rightful claim to
this, which the ruling idea of conduct befitting a king would not allow
him to deny. The story of Henry's waiting on his son at table after his
coronation "as seneschal" and the reply of the young king to those who
spoke of the honour done him, that it was a proper thing for one who was
only the son of a count to wait on the son of a king, is significant of
deeper things than mere manners. But, though he might be under the spell
of these ideals, to partition his kingdom in very truth, to divest
himself of power, to make his sons actually independent in the provinces
which he gave them, was impossible to him. The power of his empire he
could not break up. The real control of the whole, and even the greater
part of the revenues, must remain in his hands. The conflict of ideas in
his mind, when he tried to be true to them all in practice, led
inevitably to a like conflict of facts and of physical force.

The coronation of the young Henry as king of England, considered by
itself, seems an unaccountable act. Stephen had tried to secure the
coronation of his son Eustace in his own lifetime, but there was a clear
reason of policy in his case. The Capetian kings of France had long
followed the practice, but for them also it had plainly been for many
generations of the utmost importance for the security of the house. There
had never been any reason in Henry's reign why extraordinary steps should
seem necessary to secure the succession, and there certainly was none
fifteen years after its beginning. No explanation is given us in any
contemporary account of the motives which led to this coronation, and it
is not likely that they were motives of policy. It is probable that it
was done in imitation of the French custom, under the influence of the
ideas of chivalry. But even if the king looked on this as chiefly a
family matter, affecting not much more than the arrangements of the
court, he could not keep it within those limits. His view of the position
to which his sons were entitled was the most decisive influence shaping
the latter half of his reign, and through its effect on their characters
almost as decisive for another generation.

Not long after his brother's coronation Richard received his mother's
inheritance, Aquitaine and Poitou; Geoffrey was to be Count of Britanny
by his marriage with the heiress; Normandy, Maine, and Anjou were
assigned to the young king; while the little John, youngest of the
children of Henry and Eleanor, received from his father only the name
"Lackland" which expresses well enough Henry's idea that his position was
not what it ought to be so long as he had no lordship of his own. Trouble
of one kind had begun with the young king's coronation, for Louis of
France had been deeply offended because his daughter Margaret had not
been crowned queen of England at the same time. This omission was
rectified in August, 1172, at Winchester, when Henry was again crowned,
and Margaret with him. But more serious troubles than this were now

Already while Henry was in Ireland, the discontent of the young king had
been noticed and reported to him. It had been speedily discovered that
the coronation carried with it no power, though the young Henry was of an
age to rule according to the ideas of the time,--of the age, indeed, at
which his father had begun the actual government of Normandy. But he
found himself, as a contemporary called him, "our new king who has
nothing to reign over." It is probable, however, that the scantiness of
the revenues supplied him to support his new dignity and to maintain his
court had more to do with his discontent than the lack of political
power. The courtly virtue of "largesse," which his father followed with
some restraint where money was concerned, was with him a more controlling
ideal of conduct. A brilliant court, joyous and gay, given up to
minstrelsy and tournaments, seemed to him a necessity of life, and it
could not be had without much money. Contemporary literature shows that
the young king had all those genial gifts of manner, person, and spirit,
which make their possessors universally popular. He was of more than
average manly beauty, warm-hearted, cordial, and generous. He won the
personal love of all men, even of his enemies, and his early death seemed
to many, besides the father whom he had so sorely tried, to leave the
world darker. Clearly he belongs in the list of those descendants of the
Norman house, with the Roberts and the Stephens, who had the gifts which
attract the admiration and affection of men, but at the same time the
weakness of character which makes them fatal to themselves and to their
friends. To a man of that type, even without the incentive of the spirit
of the time, no amount of money could be enough. It is hardly possible to
doubt that the emptiness of his political title troubled the mind of the
young Henry far less than the emptiness of his purse.[47]

There was no lack of persons, whose word would have great influence with
the young king, to encourage him in his discontent and even in plans of
rebellion. His father-in-law, Louis VII, would have every reason to urge
him on to extremes, those of policy because of the danger which
threatened the Capetian house from the undivided Angevin power, those of
personal feeling because of the seemingly intentional slights which his
daughter Margaret had suffered. Eleanor, at once wife and mother, born
probably in 1122, had now reached an age when she must have felt that she
had lost some at least of the sources of earlier influence and
consideration. Proud and imperious of spirit, she would bitterly resent
any lack of attention on her husband's part, and she had worse things
than neglect to excite her anger. From the beginning, we are told, while
Henry was still in Ireland, she had encouraged her son to believe himself
badly treated by his father. The barons, many of them at least, through
all the provinces of Henry's empire, were restless under his strong
control and excited by the evidence, constantly increasing as the
judicial and administrative reforms of the reign went on, that the king
was determined to confine their independence within narrower and narrower
limits. Flattering offers of support no doubt came in at any sign that
the young king would head resistance to his father.

The final step of appealing directly to armed force the young Henry did
not take till the spring of 1173. A few weeks after his second coronation
he was recalled to Normandy, but was allowed to go off at once to visit
his father-in-law, ostensibly on a family visit. Louis was anxious to see
his daughter. Apparently it was soon after his return that he made the
first formal request of his father to be given an independent position in
some one of the lands which had been assigned to him, urged, it was said,
by the advice of the king of France and of the barons of England and
Normandy. The request was refused, and he then made up his mind to rebel
as soon as a proper opportunity and excuse should offer. These he found
in the course of the negotiations for the marriage of his brother John
about the beginning of Lent, 1173.

Marriage was the only way by which Henry could provide for his youngest
son a position equal to that which he had given to the others, and this
he was now planning to do by a marriage which would at the same time
greatly increase his own power. The Counts of Maurienne in the kingdom of
Burgundy had collected in their hands a variety of fiefs east of the
Rhone extending from Geneva on the north over into the borders of Italy
to Turin on the south until they commanded all the best passes of the
western Alps. The reigning count, Humbert, had as yet no son. His elder
daughter, a child a little younger than John, would be the heiress of his
desirable lands. The situation seems naturally to have suggested to him
the advantage of a close alliance with one whose influence and alliances
were already so widely extended in the Rhone valley as Henry's. It needed
no argument to persuade Henry of the advantage to himself of such a
relationship. He undoubtedly looked forward to ruling the lands his son
would acquire by the marriage as he ruled the lands of Geoffrey and of
his other sons; and to command the western Alps would mean not merely a
clear road into Italy if he should wish one, but also, of more immediate
value, a strategic position on the east from which he might hope to cut
off the king of France from any further interference in the south like
that which earlier in his reign had compelled him to drop his plans
against Toulouse. Belley, which would pass into his possession when this
treaty was carried out, was not very far from the eastern edge of his
duchy of Aquitaine. South-eastern France would be almost surrounded by
his possessions, and it was not likely that anything could prevent it
from passing into his actual or virtual control. Whether Henry dreamed of
still wider dominion, of interference even in Italy and possibly of
contending for the empire itself with Frederick Barbarossa, as some
suspected at the time and as a few facts tend to show, we may leave
unsettled, since the time never came when he could attempt seriously to
realize such a dream.

The more probable and reasonable objects of his diplomacy seemed about to
be attained at once. At Montferrand in Auvergne in February he met the
Count of Maurienne, who brought his daughter with him, and there the
treaty between them was drawn up and sworn to. At the same place appeared
his former ally the king of Aragon and his former opponent the Count of
Toulouse. Between them a few days later at Limoges peace was made; any
further war would be against Henry's interests. The Count of Toulouse
also frankly recognized the inevitable, and did homage and swore fealty
to Henry, to the young Henry, and to his immediate lord, Richard, Duke of
Aquitaine. From the moment of apparent triumph, however, dates the
beginning of Henry's failure. Humbert of Maurienne, who was making so
magnificent a provision for the young couple, naturally inquired what
Henry proposed to do for John. He was told that three of the more
important Angevin castles with their lands would be granted him. But the
nominal lord of these castles was the young king, and his consent was
required. This he indignantly refused, and his anger was so great that
peaceable conference with him was no longer possible. He was now brought
to the pitch of rebellion, and as they reached Chinon on their return to
Normandy, he rode off from his father and joined the king of France. On
the news Eleanor sent Richard and Geoffrey to join their brother, but was
herself arrested soon after and held in custody.

Both sides prepared at once for war. Henry strengthened his frontier
castles, and Louis called a great council of his kingdom, to which came
his chief vassals, including the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne, whose
long alliance with England made their action almost one of rebellion.
There it was decided to join the war against the elder king of England.
The long list of Henry's vassals who took his son's side, even if we
deduct the names of some whose wavering inclination may have been fixed
by the promises of lands or office which the younger Henry distributed
with reckless freedom, reveals a widespread discontent in the feudal
baronage. The turbulent lords of Aquitaine might perhaps be expected to
revolt on every occasion, but the list includes the oldest names and
leading houses of England and Normandy. Out of the trouble the king of
Scotland hoped to recover what had been held of the last English king,
and it may very well have seemed for a moment that the days of Stephen
were going to return for all. The Church almost to a man stood by the
king who had so recently tried to invade its privileges, and Henry
hastened to strengthen himself with this ally by filling numerous
bishoprics which had for a long time been in his hands. Canterbury was
with some difficulty included among them. An earlier attempt to fill the
primacy had failed because of a dispute about the method of choice, and
now another failed because the archbishop selected refused to take
office. At last in June Richard, prior of St. Martin's at Dover, was
chosen, but his consecration was delayed for nearly a year by an appeal
of the young king to the pope against a choice which disregarded his
rights. The elder Henry had on his side also a goodly list of English
earls: the illegitimate members of his house, Hamelin of Surrey, Reginald
of Cornwall, and William of Gloucester; the earls of Arundel, Pembroke,
Salisbury, Hertford, and Northampton; the son of the traitor of his
mother's time, William de Mandeville, Earl of Essex; and William of
Beaumont, Earl of Warwick, whose cousins of Leicester and Meulan were of
the young king's party. The new men of his grandfather's making were also
with him and the mass of the middle class.

The war was slow in opening. Henry kept himself closely to the defensive
and waited to be attacked, appearing to be little troubled at the
prospect and spending his time mostly in hunting. Early in July young
Henry invaded Normandy with the Counts of Flanders and Boulogne, and
captured Aumale, Eu, and a few other places, but the Count of Boulogne
was wounded to the death, and the campaign came to an end. At the same
time King Louis entered southern Normandy and laid siege to Verneuil, one
ward of which he took and burnt by a trick that was considered
dishonourable, and from which he fled in haste on the approach of Henry
with his army. In the west, at the end of August, Henry's Brabantine
mercenaries, of whom he is said to have had several thousand in his
service, shut up a number of the rebel leaders in Dol. In a forced march
of two days the king came on from Rouen, and three days later compelled
the surrender of the castle. A long list is recorded of the barons and
knights who were made prisoners there, of whom the most important was the
Earl of Chester. A month later a conference was held at Gisors between
the two parties, to see if peace were possible. This conference was held,
it is said, at the request of the enemies of the king of England; but he
offered terms to his sons which surprise us by their liberality after
their failure in the war, and which show that he was more moved by his
feelings as a father than by military considerations. He offered to Henry
half the income of the royal domains in England, or if he preferred to
live in Normandy, half the revenues of that duchy and all those of his
father's lands in Anjou; to Richard half the revenues of Aquitaine; and
to Geoffrey the possession of Britanny on the celebration of his
marriage. Had he settled revenues like these on his sons when he
nominally divided his lands among them, there probably would have been no
rebellion; but now the king of France had much to say about the terms,
and he could be satisfied only by the parcelling out of Henry's political
power. To this the king of England would not listen, and the conference
was broken off without result.

In England the summer and autumn of 1173 passed with no more decisive
events than on the continent, but with the same general drift in favour
of the elder Henry. Richard of Lucy, the justiciar and special
representative of the king, and his uncle, Reginald of Cornwall, were the
chief leaders of his cause. In July they captured the town of Leicester,
but not the castle. Later the king of Scotland invaded Northumberland,
but fell back before the advance of Richard of Lucy, who in his turn laid
waste parts of Lothian and burned Berwick. In October the Earl of
Leicester landed in Norfolk with a body of foreign troops, but was
defeated by the justiciar and the Earl of Cornwall, who took him and his
wife prisoners. The year closed with truces in both England and France
running to near Easter time. The first half of the year 1174 passed in
the same indecisive way. In England there was greater suffering from the
disorders incident to such a war, and sieges and skirmishes were
constantly occurring through all the centre and north of the land.

By the middle of the year King Henry came to the conclusion that his
presence was more needed in the island than on the continent, and on July
8 he crossed to Southampton, invoking the protection of God on his voyage
if He would grant to his kingdom the peace which he himself was seeking.
He brought with him all his chief prisoners, including his own queen and
his son's. On the next day he set out for Canterbury. The penance of a
king imposed upon him by the Church for the murder of Thomas Becket he
might already have performed to the satisfaction of the pope, but the
penance of a private person, of a soul guilty in the sight of heaven, he
had still to take upon himself, in a measure to satisfy the world and
very likely his own conscience. For such a penance the time was fitting.
Whatever he may have himself felt, the friends of Thomas believed that
the troubles which had fallen upon the realm were a punishment for the
sins of the king. A personal reconciliation with the martyr, to be
obtained only as a suppliant at his tomb, was plainly what he should

As Henry drew near the city and came in sight of the cathedral church, he
dismounted from his horse, and bare-footed and humbly, forbidding any
sign that a king was present, walked the remainder of the way to the
tomb. Coming to the door of the church, he knelt and prayed; at the spot
where Thomas fell, he wept and kissed it. After reciting his confession
to the bishops who had come with him or gathered there, he went to the
tomb and, prostrate on the floor, remained a long time weeping and
praying. Then Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, made an address to those
present, declaring that not by command or knowledge was the king guilty
of the murder, but admitting the guilt of the hasty words which had
occasioned it. He proclaimed the restoration of all rights to the church
of Canterbury, and of the king's favour to all friends of the late
archbishop. Then followed the formal penance and absolution. Laying off
his outer clothes, with head and shoulders bowed at the tomb, the king
allowed himself to be scourged by the clergy present, said to have
numbered eighty, receiving five blows from each prelate and three from
each monk. The night that followed he spent in prayer in the church,
still fasting. Mass in the morning completed the religious ceremonies,
but on Henry's departure for London later in the day he was given, as a
mark of the reconciliation, some holy water to drink made sacred by the
relics of the martyr, and a little in a bottle to carry with him.

The medieval mind overlooked the miracle of Henry's escape from the
sanitary dangers of this experience, but dwelt with satisfaction on
another which seemed the martyr's immediate response and declaration of
forgiveness. It was on Saturday that the king left Canterbury and went up
to London, and there he remained some days preparing his forces for the
war. On Wednesday night a messenger who had ridden without stopping from
the north arrived at the royal quarters and demanded immediate admittance
to the king. Henry had retired to rest, and his servants would not at
first allow him to be disturbed, but the messenger insisted: his news was
good, and the king must know it at once. At last his importunity
prevailed, and at the king's bedside he told him that he had come from
Ranulf Glanvill, his sheriff of Lancashire, and that the king of Scotland
had been overcome and taken prisoner. The news was confirmed by other
messengers who arrived the next day and was received by the king and his
barons with great rejoicing. The victory was unmistakably the answer of
St. Thomas to the penance of Henry, and a plain declaration of
reconciliation and forgiveness, for it soon became known that it was on
the very day when the penance at Canterbury was finished, perhaps at the
very hour, that this great success was granted to the arms of the
penitent king.

The two spots of danger in the English insurrection were the north, where
not merely was the king of Scotland prepared for invasion, but the Bishop
of Durham, Hugh of Puiset, a connexion of King Stephen, was ready to
assist him and had sent also for his nephew, another Hugh of Puiset,
Count of Bar, to come to his help with a foreign force; and the east,
where Hugh Bigod, the old earl of Norfolk, was again in rebellion and was
expecting the landing of the Count of Flanders with an army. It was in
the north that the fate of the insurrection was settled and without the
aid of the king. The king of Scotland, known in the annals of his country
as William the Lion, had begun his invasion in the spring after the
expiration of the truce of the previous year, and had raided almost the
whole north, capturing some castles and failing to take others such as
Bamborough and Carlisle. In the second week of July he attacked Prudhoe
castle in southern Northumberland. Encouraged perhaps by the landing of
King Henry in England, the local forces of the north now gathered to
check the raiding. No barons of high rank were among the leaders. They
were all Henry's own new men or the descendants of his grandfather's. Two
sheriffs, Robert of Stuteville of Yorkshire and Ranulf Glanvill of
Lancashire, probably had most to do with collecting the forces and
leading them. At the news of their arrival, William fell back toward the
north, dividing up his army and sending detachments off in various
directions to plunder the country. The English followed on, and at
Alnwick castle surprised the king with only a few knights, his personal
guard. Resistance was hopeless, but it was continued in the true fashion
of chivalry until all the Scottish force was captured.

This victory brought the rebellion in England to an end. On hearing the
news Henry marched against the castle of Huntingdon, which had been for
some time besieged, and it at once surrendered. There his natural son
Geoffrey, who had been made Bishop of Lincoln the summer before, joined
him with reinforcements, and he turned to the east against Hugh Bigod. A
part of the Flemish force which was expected had reached the earl, but he
did not venture to resist. He came in before he was attacked, and gave up
his castles, and with great difficulty persuaded the king to allow him to
send home his foreign troops. Henry then led his army to Northampton
where he received the submission of all the rebel leaders who were left.
The Bishop of Durham surrendered his castles and gained reluctant
permission for his nephew to return to France. The king of Scotland was
brought in a prisoner. The Earl of Leicester's castles were given up, and
the Earl of Derby and Roger Mowbray yielded theirs. This was on the last
day of July. In three weeks after Henry's landing, in little more than
two after his sincere penance for the murder of St. Thomas, the dangerous
insurrection in England was completely crushed,--crushed indeed for all
the remainder of Henry's reign. The king's right to the castles of his
barons was henceforth strictly enforced. Many were destroyed at the close
of the war, and others were put in the hands of royal officers who could
easily be changed. It was more than a generation after this date and
under very different conditions that a great civil war again broke out in
England between the king and his barons.

But the war on the continent was not closed by Henry's success in
England. His sons were still in arms against him, and during his absence
the king of France with the young Henry and the Count of Flanders had
laid siege to Rouen. Though the blockade was incomplete, an attack on the
chief city of Normandy could not be disregarded. Evidently that was
Henry's opinion, for on August 6 he crossed the channel, taking with him
his Brabantine soldiers and a force of Welshmen, as well as his prisoners
including the king of Scotland. He entered Rouen without difficulty, and
by his vigorous measures immediately convinced the besiegers that all
hope of taking the city was over. King Louis, who was without military
genius or spirit, and not at all a match for Henry, gave up the
enterprise at once, burned his siege engines, and decamped ignominiously
in the night. Then came messengers to Henry and proposed a conference to
settle terms of peace, but at the meeting which was held on September 8
nothing could be agreed upon because of the absence of Richard who was in
Aquitaine still carrying on the war. The negotiations were accordingly
adjourned till Michaelmas on the understanding that Henry should subdue
his son and compel him to attend and that the other side should give the
young rebel no aid. Richard at first intended some resistance to his
father, but after losing some of the places that held for him and a
little experience of fleeing from one castle to another, he lost heart
and threw himself on his father's mercy, to be received with the easy
forgiveness which characterized Henry's attitude toward his children.

There was no obstacle now to peace. On September 30 the kings of England
and France and the three young princes met in the adjourned conference
and arranged the terms. Henry granted to his sons substantial revenues,
but not what he had offered them at the beginning of the war, nor did he
show any disposition to push his advantage to extremes against any of
those who had joined the alliance against him. The treaty in which the
agreement between father and sons was recorded may still be read. It
provides that Henry "the king, son of the king," and his brothers and all
the barons who have withdrawn from the allegiance of the father shall
return to it free and quit from all oaths and agreements which they may
have made in the meantime, and the king shall have all the rights over
them and their lands and castles that he had two weeks before the
beginning of the war. But they also shall receive back all their lands as
they had them at the same date, and the king will cherish no ill feeling
against them. To Henry his father promised to assign two castles in
Normandy suitable for his residence and an income of 15,000 Angevin
pounds a year; to Richard two suitable castles and half the revenue of
Poitou, but the interesting stipulation is added that Richard's castles
are to be of such a sort that his father shall take no injury from them;
to Geoffrey half the marriage portion of Constance of Britanny and the
income of the whole when the marriage is finally made with the sanction
of Rome. Prisoners who had made fine with the king before the peace were
expressly excluded from it, and this included the king of Scotland and
the Earls of Chester and Leicester. All castles were to be put back into
the condition in which they were before the war. The young king formally
agreed to the provision for his brother John, and this seems materially
larger than that originally proposed. The concluding provisions of the
treaty show the strong legal sense of King Henry. He was ready to pardon
the rebellion with great magnanimity, but crimes committed and laws
violated either against himself or others must be answered for in the
courts by all guilty persons. Richard and Geoffrey did homage to their
father for what was granted them, but this was excused the young Henry
because he was a king. In another treaty drawn up at about the same time
as Falaise the king of Scotland recognized in the clearest terms for
himself and his heirs the king of England as his liege lord for Scotland
and for all his lands, and agreed that his barons and men, lay and
ecclesiastic, should also render liege homage to Henry, according to the
Norman principle. On these conditions he was released. Of the king of
France practically nothing was demanded.

The treaty between the two kings of England established a peace which
lasted for some years, but it was not long before complaints of the
scantiness of his revenues and of his exclusion from all political
influence began again from the younger king and from his court. There was
undoubtedly much to justify these complaints from the point of view of
Henry the son. Whatever may have been the impelling motive, by
establishing his sons in nominal independence, Henry the father had
clearly put himself in an illogical position from which there was no
escape without a division of his power which he could not make when
brought to the test. The young king found his refuge in a way thoroughly
characteristic of himself and of the age, in the great athletic sport of
that period--the tournament, which differed from modern athletics in the
important particular that the gentleman, keeping of course the rules of
the game, could engage in it as a means of livelihood. The capturing of
horses and armour and the ransoming of prisoners made the tournament a
profitable business to the man who was a better fighter than other men,
and the young king enjoyed that fame. At the beginning of his independent
career his father had assigned to his service a man who was to serve the
house of Anjou through long years and in far higher capacity--William
Marshal, at that time a knight without lands or revenues but skilled in
arms, and under his tuition and example his pupil became a warrior of
renown. It was not exactly a business which seems to us becoming to a
king, but it was at least better than fighting his father, and the
opinion of the time found no fault with it.

[47] Robert of Torigni, Chronicles of Stephen, iv, 305; L'Histoire
de Guillaume le Marechal, 11. 1935-5095.



For England peace was now established. The insurrection was suppressed,
the castles were in the king's hands, even the leaders of the revolted
barons were soon reconciled with him. The age of Henry I returned, an age
not so long in years as his, but yet long for any medieval state, of
internal peace, of slow but sure upbuilding in public and private wealth,
and, even more important, of the steady growth of law and institutions
and of the clearness with which they were understood, an indispensable
preparation for the great thirteenth century so soon to begin--the crisis
of English constitutional history. For Henry personally there was no age
of peace. England gave him no further trouble; but in his unruly southern
dominions, and from his restless and discontented sons, the respite from
rebellion was short, and it was filled with labours.

In 1175 the two kings crossed together to England, though the young king,
who was still listening to the suggestions of France and who professed to
be suspicious of his father's intentions, was with some difficulty
persuaded to go. He also seems to have been troubled by his father's
refusal to receive his homage at the same time with his brothers'; at any
rate when he finally joined the king on April 1, he begged with tears for
permission to do homage as a mark of his father's love, and Henry
consented. At the end of the first week in May they crossed the channel
for a longer stay in England than usual, of more than two years, and one
that was crowded with work both political and administrative. The king's
first act marks the new era of peace with the Church, his attendance at a
council of the English Church held at London by Archbishop Richard of
Canterbury; and his second was a pilgrimage with his son to the tomb of
St. Thomas. Soon after the work of filling long-vacant sees and abbacies
was begun. At the same time matters growing out of the insurrection
received attention. William, Earl of Gloucester, was compelled to give up
Bristol castle which he had kept until now. Those who had been opposed to
the king were forbidden to come to court unless ordered to do so by him.
The bearing of arms in England was prohibited by a temporary regulation,
and the affairs of Wales were considered in a great council at

One of the few acts of severity which Henry permitted himself after the
rebellion seems to have struck friend and foe alike, and suggests a
situation of much interest to us which would be likely to give us a good
deal of insight into the methods and ideas of the time if we understood
it in detail. Unfortunately we are left with only a bare statement of the
facts, with no explanation of the circumstances or of the motives of the
king. Apparently at the Whitsuntide court held at Reading on the first
day of June, Henry ordered the beginning of a series of prosecutions
against high and low, churchmen and laymen alike, for violations of the
forest laws committed during the war. At Nottingham, at the beginning of
August, these prosecutions were carried further, and there the incident
occurred which gives peculiar interest to the proceedings. Richard of
Lucy, the king's faithful minister and justiciar, produced before the
king his own writ ordering him to proclaim the suspension of the laws in
regard to hunting and fishing during the war. This Richard testified that
he had done as he was commanded, and that the defendants trusting to this
writ had fearlessly taken the king's venison. We are simply told in
addition that this writ and Richard's testimony had no effect against the
king's will. It is impossible to doubt that this incident occurred or
that such a writ had been sent to the justiciar, but it seems certain
that some essential detail of the situation is omitted. To guess what it
was is hardly worth while, and we can safely use the facts only as an
illustration of the arbitrary power of the Norman and Angevin kings,
which on the whole they certainly exercised for the general justice.

From Nottingham the two kings went on to York, where they were met by
William of Scotland with the nobles and bishops of his kingdom, prepared
to carry out the agreement which was made at Falaise when he was released
from imprisonment. Whatever may have been true of earlier instances, the
king of Scotland now clearly and beyond the possibility of controversy
became the liege-man of the king of England for Scotland and all that
pertained to it, and for Galloway as if it were a separate state. The
homage was repeated to the young king, saving the allegiance due to the
father. According to the English chroniclers all the free tenants of the
kingdom of Scotland were also present and did homage in the same way to
the two kings for their lands. Some were certainly there, though hardly
all; but the statement shows that it was plainly intended to apply to
Scotland the Norman law which had been in force in England from the time
of the Conquest, by which every vassal became also the king's vassal with
an allegiance paramount to all other feudal obligations. The bishops of
Scotland as vassals also did homage, and as bishops they swore to be
subject to the Church of England to the same extent as their predecessors
had been and as they ought to be. The treaty of Falaise was again
publicly read and confirmed anew by the seals of William and his brother
David. There is nothing to show that King William did not enter into this
relationship with every intention of being faithful to it, nor did he
endeavour to free himself from it so long as Henry lived. The Norman
influence in Scotland was strong and might easily increase. It is quite
possible that a succession of kings of England who made that realm and
its interests the primary objects of their policy might have created from
this beginning a permanent connexion growing constantly closer, and have
saved these two nations, related in so many ways, the almost civil wars
of later years.

From these ceremonies at York Henry returned to London, and there, before
Michaelmas, envoys came to him to announce and to put into legal form
another significant addition to his empire, significant certainly of its
imposing power though the reasons which led to this particular step are
not known to us. These envoys were from Roderick, king of Connaught, who,
when Henry was in Ireland, had refused all acknowledgment of him, and
they now came to make known his submission. In a great council held at
Windsor the new arrangement was put into formal shape. In the document
there drawn up Roderick was made to acknowledge himself the liege-man of
Henry and to agree to pay a tribute of hides from all Ireland except that
part which was directly subject to the English invaders. On his side
Henry agreed to recognize Roderick as king under himself as long as he
should remain faithful, and also the holdings of all other men who
remained in his fealty. Roderick should rule all Ireland outside the
English settlement, at least for the purposes of the tribute, and should
have the right to claim help from the English in enforcing his authority
if it should seem necessary. Such an arrangement would have in all
probability only so much force as Roderick might be willing to allow it
at any given time, and yet the mere making of it is a sign of
considerable progress in Ireland and the promise of more. At the same
council Henry appointed a bishop of Waterford, who was sent over with the
envoys on their return to be consecrated.

At York the king had gone on with his forest prosecutions, and there as
before against clergy as well as laity. Apparently the martyrdom of
Archbishop Thomas had secured for the Church nothing in the matter of
these offences. The bishops did not interfere to protect the clergy, says
one chronicler; and very likely in these cases the Church acknowledged
the power rather than the right of the king. At the end of October a
papal legate, Cardinal Hugo, arrived in England, but his mission
accomplished nothing of importance that we know of, unless it be his
agreement that Henry should have the right to try the clergy in his own
courts for violations of the forest law. This agreement at any rate
excited the especial anger of the monastic chroniclers who wrote him down
a limb of Satan, a robber instead of a shepherd, who seeing the wolf
coming abandoned his sheep. In a letter to the pope which the legate took
with him on his return to Rome, Henry agreed not to bring the clergy in
person before his courts except for forest offences and in cases
concerning the lay services due from their fiefs. On January 25, 1176, a
great council met at Northampton, and there Henry took up again the
judicial and administrative reforms which had been interrupted by the
conflict with Becket and by the war with his sons.

The task of preserving order in the medieval state was in the main the
task of repressing and punishing crimes of violence. Murder and assault,
robbery and burglary, fill the earliest court records, and on the civil
side a large proportion of the cases, like those under the assizes of
Mort d'Ancestor and Novel Disseisin, concerned attacks on property not
very different in character. The problem of the ruler in this department
of government was so to perfect the judicial machinery and procedure as
to protect peaceable citizens from bodily harm and property from violent
entry and from fraud closely akin to violence. An additional and
immediate incentive to the improvement of the judicial system arose from
the income which was derived from fines and confiscations, both heavier
and more common punishments for crime than in the modern state. It would
be unfair to a king like Henry II, however, to convey the impression that
an increase of income was the only, or indeed the main, thing sought in
the reform of the courts. Order and security for land and people were
always in his mind to be sought for themselves, as a chief part of the
duty of a king, and certainly this was the case with his ministers who
must have had more to do than he with the determining and perfecting of

This is not the place to describe the judicial reforms of the reign in
technical minuteness or from the point of view of the student of
constitutional history. The activity of a great king, the effect on
people and government are the subjects of interest here. The series of
formal documents in which Henry's reforming efforts are embodied opens
with the Constitutions of Clarendon in 1164. Of the king's purpose in
this--not new legislation, but an effort to bring the clergy under
responsibility to the state for their criminal acts according to the
ancient practice,--and of its results, we have already had the story. The
second in the series, the Assize of Clarendon, the first that concerns
the civil judicial system, though we have good reason to suspect that it
was not actually Henry's first attempt at reform, dates from early in the
year 1166. It dealt with the detection and punishment of crime, and
greatly improved the means at the command of the state for these
purposes. In 1170, to check the independence of the sheriffs and their
abuse of power for private ends, of which there were loud complaints, he
ordered strict inquiry to be made, by barons appointed for the purpose,
into the conduct of the sheriffs and the abuses complained of, and
removed a large number of them, appointing others less subject to the
temptations which the local magnate was not likely to resist. This was a
blow at the hold of the feudal baronage on the office, and a step in its
transformation into a subordinate executive office, which was rapidly
going on during the reign. In 1176, in the Assize of Northampton, the
provisions of the Assize of Clarendon for the enforcement of criminal
justice were made more severe, and new enactments were added. In 1181 the
Assize of Arms made it compulsory on knights and freemen alike to keep in
their possession weapons proportionate to their income for the defence of
king and realm. In 1184 the Assize of the Forest enforced the vexatious
forest law and decreed severe penalties for its violation. In the year
before the king's death, in 1188, the Ordinance of the Saladin Tithe
regulated the collection of this new tax intended to pay the expenses of
Henry's proposed crusade.

This list of the formal documents in which Henry's reforms were
proclaimed is evidence of no slight activity, but it gives, nevertheless,
a very imperfect idea of his work as a whole. That was nothing less than
to start the judicial organization of the state along the lines it has
ever since followed. He did this by going forward with beginnings already
made and by opening to general and regular use institutions which, so far
as we know, had up to this time been only occasionally employed in
special cases. The changes which the reign made in the judicial system
may be grouped under two heads: the further differentiation and more
definite organization of the curia regis and the introduction of the
jury in its undeveloped form into the regular procedure of the courts
both in civil and criminal cases.

Under the reign of the first Henry we noticed the twofold form of the
king's court, the great curia regis, formed by the barons of the whole
kingdom and the smaller in practically permanent session, and the latter
also acting as a special court for financial cases--the exchequer. Now we
have the second Henry establishing, in 1178, what we may call another
small curia regis--apparently of a more professional character--to be
in permanent session for the trial of cases. The process of
differentiation, beginning in finding a way for the better doing of
financial business, now goes a step further, though to the men of that
time--if they had thought about it at all--it would have seemed a
classification of business, not a dividing up of the king's court. The
great curia regis, the exchequer, and the permanent trial court,
usually meeting at Westminster, were all the same king's court; but a
step had really been taken toward a specialized judicial system and an
official body of judges.

In the reign of Henry I we also noticed evidence which proved the
occasional, and led us to suspect the somewhat regular employment of
itinerant justices. This institution was put into definite and permanent
form by his grandson. The kingdom was at first divided into six circuits,
to each of which three justices were sent. Afterwards the number of
justices was reduced. These justices, though not all members of the small
court at Westminster, were all, it is likely, familiar with its work, and
to each circuit at least one justice of the Westminster court was
probably always assigned. What they carried into each county of the
kingdom as they went the round of their districts was not a new court and
not a local court; it was the curia regis itself, and that too in its
administrative as well as in its judicial functions indeed it is easy to
suspect that it was quite as much the administrative side of its
work,--the desire to check the abuses of the sheriffs by investigation on
the spot, and to improve the collection of money due to the crown, as its
judicial,--as the wish to render the operation of the law more convenient
by trying cases in the communities where they arose, that led to the
development of this side of the judicial system. Whatever led to it, this
is what had begun, a new branch of the judicial organization.

It was in these courts, these king's courts,--the trial court at
Westminster and the court of the itinerant justices in the different
counties,--that the institution began to be put into regular use that has
become so characteristic a distinction of the Anglo-Saxon judicial
system--the jury. The history of the jury cannot here be told. It is
sufficient to say that it existed in the Frankish empire of the early
ninth century in a form apparently as highly developed as in the Norman
kingdom of the early twelfth. From Charles the Great to Henry II it
remained in what was practically a stationary condition. It was only on
English soil, and after the impulse given to it by the broader uses in
which it was now employed that it began the marvellous development from
which our liberty has gained so much. At the beginning it was a process
belonging to the sovereign and used solely for his business, or employed
for the business of others only by his permission in the special case.
What Henry seems to have done was to generalize this use, to establish
certain classes of cases in which it might always be employed by his
subjects, but in his courts only. In essence it was a process for getting
local knowledge to bear on a doubtful question of fact of interest to the
government. Ought A to pay a certain tax? The question is usually to be
settled by answering another: Have his ancestors before him paid it, or
the land which he now holds? The memory of the neighbours can probably
determine this, and a certain number of the men likely to know are
summoned before the officer representing the king, put on oath, and
required to say what they know about it.

In its beginning that is all the jury was. But it was a process of easy
application to other questions than those which interested the king. The
question of fact that arose in a suit at law--was the land in dispute
between A and B actually held by the ancestor of B?--could be settled in
the same way by the memory of the neighbours, and in a way much more
satisfactory to the party whose cause was just than by an appeal to the
judgment of heaven in the wager of battle. If the king would allow the
private man the use of this process, he was willing to pay for the
privilege. Such privilege had been granted since the Conquest in
particular cases. A tendency at least in Normandy had existed before
Henry II to render it more regular. This tendency Henry followed in
granting the use of the primitive jury generally to his subjects in
certain classes of cases, to defendants in the Great Assize to protect
their freehold, to plaintiffs in the three assizes of Mort d'Ancestor,
Novel Disseisin, and Darrein Presentment to protect their threatened
seisin. As a process of his own, as a means of preserving order, he again
broadened its use in another way in the Assize of Clarendon, finding in
it a method of bringing local knowledge to the assistance of the
government in the detection of crime, the function of the modern grand
jury and its origin as an institution.

The result of Henry's activities in this direction--changes we may call
them, but hardly innovations, following as they do earlier precedents and
lying directly in line with the less conscious tendencies of his
predecessors,--this work of Henry's was nothing less than to create our
judicial system and to determine the character and direction of its
growth to the present day. In the beginning of these three things, of a
specialized and official court system, of a national judiciary bringing
its influence to bear on every part of the land, and of a most effective
process for introducing local knowledge into the trial of cases, Henry
had accomplished great results, and the only ones that he directly
sought. But two others plainly seen after the lapse of time are of quite
equal importance. One of these was the growth at an early date of a
national common law.

Almost the only source of medieval law before the fourteenth century was
custom, and the strong tendency of customary law was to break into local
fragments, each differing in more or less important points from the rest.
Beaumanoir in the thirteenth century laments the fact that every
castellany in France had a differing law of its own, and Glanville still
earlier makes a similar complaint of England. But the day was rapidly
approaching in both lands when the rise of national consciousness under
settled governments, and especially the growth of a broader and more
active commerce, was to create a strong demand for a uniform national
law. What influences affected the forming constitutions of the states of
Europe because this demand had to be met by recourse to the imperial law
of Rome, the law of a highly centralized absolutism, cannot here be
recounted. From these influences, whether large or small, from the
necessity of seeking uniformity in any ready-made foreign law, England
was saved by the consequences of Henry's action. The king's court rapidly
created a body of clear, consistent, and formulated law. The itinerant
justice as he went from county to county carried with him this law and
made it the law of the entire nation. From these beginnings arose the
common law, the product of as high an order of political genius as the
constitution itself, and now the law of wider areas and of more millions
of men than ever obeyed the law of Rome.

One technical work, at once product and monument of the legal activity of
this generation, deserves to be remembered in this connexion, the
Treatise on the Laws of England. Ascribed with some probability to
Ranulf Glanvill, Henry's chief justiciar during his last years, it was
certainly written by some one thoroughly familiar with the law of the
time and closely in touch with its enforcement in the king's court. To us
it declares what that law was at the opening of its far-reaching history,
and in its definiteness and certainty as well as in its arrangement it
reveals the great progress that had been made since the law books of the
reign of Henry I. That progress continued so rapid that within a hundred
years Glanvill's book had become obsolete, but by that time it had been
succeeded by others in the long series of great books on our common law.
Nor ought we perhaps entirely to overlook another book, as interesting in
its way, the Dialogue of the Exchequer. Written probably by Richard
Fitz Neal, of the third generation of that great administration family
founded by Roger of Salisbury and restored to office by Henry II, the
book gives us a view from within of the financial organization of the
reign as enlightening as is Glanvill's treatise on the common law.

But besides the growth of the common law, these reforms involved and
carried with them as a second consequence a great change in the machinery
of government and in the point of view from which it was regarded. We
have already seen how in the feudal state government functions were
undifferentiated and were exercised without consciousness of
inconsistency by a single organ, the curia regia, in which, as in all
public activities, the leading operative element was the feudal baronage.
The changes in the judicial system which were accomplished in the reign
of Henry, especially the giving of a more fixed and permanent character
to the courts, the development of legal procedure into more complicated
and technical forms, and the growth of the law itself in definiteness and
body,--these changes meant the necessity of a trained official class and
the decline of the importance of the purely feudal baronage in the
carrying on of government. This was the effect also of the gradual
transformation of the sheriff into a more strictly ministerial officer
and the diminished value of feudal levies in war as indicated by the
extension of scutage. In truth, at a date relatively as early for this
transformation as for the growth of a national law, the English state was
becoming independent of feudalism. The strong Anglo-Norman monarchy was
attacking the feudal baron not merely with the iron hand by which
disorder and local independence were repressed, but by finding out better
ways of doing the business of government and so destroying practically
the whole foundation on which political feudalism rested. Of the
threatening results of these reforms the baronage was vaguely conscious,
and this feeling enters as no inconsiderable element into the troubles
that filled the reign of Henry's youngest son and led to the first step
towards constitutional government.

For a moment serious business was now interrupted by a bit of comedy, at
least it seems comedy to us, though no doubt it was a matter serious
enough to the actors. For many years there had been a succession of
bitter disputes between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York over
questions of precedence and various ceremonial rights, or to state it
more accurately the Archbishops of York had been for a long time trying
to enforce an exact equality in such matters with the Archbishops of
Canterbury. At mid-Lent, 1776 Cardinal Hugo, the legate, held a council
of the English Church in London, and at its opening the dispute led to
actual violence. The cardinal took the seat of the presiding officer, and
Richard of Canterbury seated himself on his right hand. The Archbishop of
York on entering found the seat of honour occupied by his rival, and
unwilling to yield, tried to force himself in between Richard and the
cardinal. One account says that he sat down in Richard's lap. Instantly
there was a tumult. The partisans of Canterbury seized the offending
archbishop, bishops we are told even leading the attack, dragged him
away, threw him to the floor, and misused him seriously. The legate
showed a proper indignation at the disorder caused by the defenders of
the rights of Canterbury, but found himself unable to go on with the

For a year past the young king had been constantly with his father, kept
almost a prisoner, as his immediate household felt and as we may well
believe. Now he began to beg permission to go on a pilgrimage to the
famous shrine of St. James of Compostella, and Henry at last gave his
consent, though he knew the pilgrimage was a mere pretext to escape to
the continent. But the younger Henry was detained at Portchester some
time, waiting for a fair wind; and Easter coming on, he returned to
Winchester, at his father's request, to keep the festival with him. In
the meantime, Richard and Geoffrey had landed at Southampton, coming to
their father with troubles of their own, and reached Winchester the day
before Easter Sunday. Henry and his sons were thus together for the
feast, much to his joy we are told; but it is not said that Queen
Eleanor, who was then imprisoned in England, very likely in Winchester
itself, was allowed any part in the celebration. Richard's visit to
England was due to a dangerous insurrection in his duchy, and he had come
to ask his father's help. Henry persuaded the young king to postpone his
pilgrimage until he should have assisted his brother to re-establish
peace in Aquitaine, and with this understanding they both crossed to the
continent about a fortnight after Easter, but young Henry on landing at
once set off with his wife to visit the king of France. Richard was now
nearly nineteen years old, and in the campaign that followed he displayed
great energy and vigour and the skill as a fighter for which he was
afterwards so famous, putting down the insurrection almost without
assistance from his brother, who showed very little interest in any
troubles but his own. The young king, indeed, seemed to be making ready
for a new breach with his father. He was collecting around him King
Henry's enemies and those who had helped him in the last war, and was
openly displaying his discontent. An incident which occurred at this time
illustrates his spirit. His vice-chancellor, Adam, who thought he owed
much to the elder king, attempted to send him a report of his son's
doings; but when he was detected, the young Henry, finding that he could
not put him to death as he would have liked to do because the Bishop of
Poitiers claimed him as a clerk, ordered him to be sent to imprisonment
in Argentan and to be scourged as a traitor in all the towns through
which he passed on the way.

About the same time an embassy appeared in England from the Norman court
of Sicily to arrange for a marriage between William II of that kingdom
and Henry's youngest daughter, Joanna. The marriages of each of Henry's
daughters had some influence on the history of England before the death
of his youngest son. His eldest daughter Matilda had been married in 1168
to Henry the Lion, head of the house of Guelf in Germany, and his second
daughter, Eleanor, to Alphonso III of Castile, in 1169 or 1170. The
ambassadors of King William found themselves pleased with the little
princess whom they had come to see, and sent back a favourable report,
signifying also the consent of King Henry. In the following February she
was married and crowned queen at Palermo, being then a little more than
twelve years old. Before the close of this year, 1176, Henry arranged for
another marriage to provide for his youngest son John, now ten years old.
The infant heiress of Maurienne, to whom he had been years before
betrothed, had died soon after, and no other suitable heiress had since
been found whose wealth might be given him. The inheritance which his
father had now in mind was that of the great Earl Robert of Gloucester,
brother and supporter of the Empress Matilda, his father's mother.
Robert's son William had only daughters. Of these two were already
married, Mabel to Amaury, Count of Evreux, and Amice to Richard of Clare,
Earl of Hertford. Henry undertook to provide for these by pensions on the
understanding that all the lands of the earldom should go to John on his
marriage with the youngest daughter Isabel. To this plan Earl William
agreed. The marriage itself did not take place until after the death of
King Henry.

An income suitable for his position had now certainly been secured for
the king's youngest son, for in addition to the Gloucester inheritance
that of another of the sons of Henry I, Reginald, Earl of Cornwall who
had died in 1175, leaving only daughters, was held by Henry for his use,
and still earlier the earldom of Nottingham had been assigned him. At
this time, however, or very soon after, a new plan suggested itself to
his father for conferring upon him a rank and authority proportionate to
his brothers'. Ireland was giving more and more promise of shaping itself
before long into a fairly well-organized feudal state. If it seems to us
a turbulent realm, where a central authority was likely to secure little
obedience, we must remember that this was still the twelfth century, the
height of the feudal age, and that to the ruler of Aquitaine Ireland
might seem to be progressing more rapidly to a condition of what passed
as settled order than to us. Since his visit to the island, Henry had
kept a close watch on the doings of his Norman vassals there and had held
them under a firm hand. During the rebellion of 1173 he had had no
trouble from them. Indeed, they had served him faithfully in that
struggle and had been rewarded for their fidelity. In the interval since
the close of the war some advance in the Norman occupation had been made.
There seemed to be a prospect that both the south-west and the
north-east--the southern coast of Munster and the eastern coast of
Ulster--might be acquired. Limerick had been temporarily occupied, and it
was hoped to gain it permanently. Even Connaught had been successfully
invaded. Possibly it was the hope of securing himself against attacks of
this sort which he may have foreseen that led Roderick of Connaught to
acknowledge himself Henry's vassal by formal treaty. If he had any
expectation of this sort, he was disappointed; for the invaders of
Ireland paid no attention to the new relationship, nor did Henry himself
any longer than suited his purpose.

We are now told that Henry had formed the plan of erecting Ireland into a
kingdom, and that he had obtained from Alexander III permission to crown
whichever of his sons he pleased and to make him king of the island. Very
possibly the relationship with Scotland, which he had lately put into
exact feudal form, suggested the possibility of another subordinate
kingdom and of raising John in this way to an equality with Richard and
Geoffrey. At a great council held at Oxford in May, 1177, the preliminary
steps were taken towards putting this plan into operation. Some
regulation of Irish affairs was necessary. Richard "Strongbow," Earl of
Pembroke and Lord of Leinster, who had been made justiciar after the
rebellion, had died early in 1176, and his successor in office, William
Fitz Adelin, had not proved the right man in the place. There were also
new conquests to be considered and new homages to be rendered, if the
plan of a kingdom was to be carried out. His purpose Henry announced to
the council, and the Norman barons, some for the lordships originally
assigned them, some for new ones like Cork and Limerick, did homage in
turn to John and to his father, as had been the rule in all similar
cases. Hugh of Lacy, Henry's first justiciar, was reappointed to that
office, but there was as yet no thought of sending John, who was then
eleven years old, to occupy his future kingdom.

It was a crowded two years which Henry spent in England. Only the most
important of the things that occupied his attention have we been able to
notice, but the minor activities which filled his days make up a great
sum of work accomplished. Great councils were frequently held; the
judicial reforms and the working of the administrative machinery demanded
constant attention; the question of the treatment to be accorded to one
after another of the chief barons who had taken part in the rebellion had
to be decided; fines and confiscations were meted out, and finally the
terms on which the offenders were to be restored to the royal favour were
settled. The castles occasioned the king much anxiety, and of those that
were allowed to stand the custodians were more than once changed. The
affairs of Wales were frequently considered, and at last the king seemed
to have arranged permanent relations of friendship with the princes of
both north and south Wales. In March, 1177, a great council decided a
question of a kind not often coming before an English court. The kings of
Castile and Navarre submitted an important dispute between them to the
arbitration of King Henry, and the case was heard and decided in a great
council in London--no slight indication of the position of the English
king in the eyes of the world.

Ever since early February, 1177, Henry had been planning to cross over to
Normandy with all the feudal levies of England. There were reasons enough
for his presence there, and with a strong hand. Richard's troubles were
not yet over, though he had already proved his ability to deal with them
alone. Britanny was much disturbed, and Geoffrey had not gone home with
Richard, but was still with his father. The king of France was pressing
for the promised marriage of Adela and Richard, and it was understood
that the legate, Cardinal Peter of Pavia, had authority to lay all
Henry's dominions under an interdict if he did not consent to an
immediate marriage. The attitude of the young Henry was also one to cause
anxiety, and his answers to his father's messages were unsatisfactory.
One occasion of delay after another, however, postponed Henry's crossing,
and it was the middle of August before he landed in Normandy. We hear
much less of the army that actually went with him than of the summons of
the feudal levies for the purpose, but it is evident that a strong force
accompanied him. The difficulty with the king of France first demanded
attention. The legate consented to postpone action until Henry, who had
determined to try the effect of a personal interview, should have a
conference with Louis. This took place on September 21, near Nonancourt,
and resulted in a treaty to the advantage of Henry. He agreed in the
conference that the marriage should take place on the original
conditions, but nothing was said about it in the treaty. This concerned
chiefly a crusade, which the two kings were to undertake in close
alliance, and a dispute with regard to the allegiance of the county of
Auvergne, which was to be settled by arbitrators named in the treaty,
After this success Henry found no need of a strong military force.
Various minor matters detained him in France for nearly a year, the most
important of which was an expedition into Berri to force the surrender to
him of the heiress of Deols under the feudal right of wardship. July 15,
1178, Henry landed again in England for another long stay of nearly two
years. As in his previous sojourn this time was occupied chiefly in a
further development of the judicial reforms already described.

While Henry was occupied with these affairs, events in France were
rapidly bringing on a change which was destined to be of the utmost
importance to England and the Angevin house. Louis VII had now reigned in
France for more than forty years. His only son Philip, to be known in
history as Philip Augustus, born in the summer of 1165, was now nearly
fifteen years old, but his father had not yet followed the example of his
ancestors and had him crowned, despite the wishes of his family and the
advice of the pope. Even so unassertive a king as Louis VII was conscious
of the security and strength which had come to the Capetian house with
the progress of the last hundred years. Now he was growing ill and felt
himself an old man, though he was not yet quite sixty, and he determined
to make the succession secure before it should be too late. This decision
was announced to a great council of the realm at the end of April, 1179,
and was received with universal applause. August 15 was appointed as the
day for the coronation, but before that day came the young prince was
seriously ill, and his father was once more deeply anxious for the
future. Carried away by the ardour of the chase in the woods of
Compiegne, Philip had been separated from his attendants and had wandered
all one night alone in the forest, unable to find his way. A
charcoal-burner had brought him back to his father on the second day, but
the strain of the unaccustomed dread had been too much for the boy, and
he had been thrown into what threatened to be a dangerous illness. To
Louis's troubled mind occurred naturally the efficacy of the new and
mighty saint, Thomas of Canterbury, who might be expected to recall with
gratitude the favours which the king of France had shown him while he was
an exile. The plan of a pilgrimage to his shrine, putting the king
practically at the mercy of a powerful rival, was looked upon by many of
Louis's advisers with great misgiving, but there need have been no fear.
Henry could always be counted upon to respond in the spirit of chivalry
to demands of this sort having in them something of an element of
romance. He met the royal pilgrim on his landing, and attended him during
his short stay at Canterbury and back to Dover. This first visit of a
crowned king of France to England, coming in his distress to seek the aid
of her most popular saint, was long remembered there, as was also his
generosity to the monks of the cathedral church. The intercession of St.
Thomas availed. The future king of France recovered, selected to
become--it was believed that a vision of the saint himself so
declared--the avenger of the martyr against the house from which he had
suffered death.

Philip recovered, but Louis fell ill with his last illness. As he drew
near to Paris on his return a sudden shock of paralysis smote him. His
whole right side was affected, and he was unable to be present at the
coronation of his son which had been postponed to November 1. At this
ceremony the house of Anjou was represented by the young King Henry, who
as Duke of Normandy bore the royal crown, and who made a marked
impression on the assembly by his brilliant retinue, by the liberal scale
of his expenditure and the fact that he paid freely for everything that
he took, and by the generosity of the gifts which he brought from his
father to the new king of France. The coronation of Philip II opens a new
era in the history both of France and England, but the real change did
not declare itself at once. What seemed at the moment the most noteworthy
difference was made by the sudden decline in influence of the house of
Blois and Champagne, which was attached to Louis VII by so many ties, and
which had held so high a position at his court, and by the rise of Count
Philip of Flanders to the place of most influential counsellor, almost to
that of guardian of the young king. With the crowning of his son, Louis's
actual exercise of authority came to an end; the condition of his health
would have made this necessary in any case, and Philip II was in fact
sole king. His first important step was his marriage in April, 1180, to
the niece of the Count of Flanders, Isabel of Hainault, the childless
count promising an important cession of the territory of south-western
Flanders to France to take place on his own death, and hoping no doubt to
secure a permanent influence through the queen, while Philip probably
intended by this act to proclaim his independence of his mother's family.

These rapid changes could not take place without exciting the anxious
attention of the king of England. His family interests, possibly also his
prestige on the continent, had suffered to some extent in the complete
overthrow and exile of his son-in-law Henry the Lion by the Emperor
Frederick I, which had occurred in January, 1180, a few weeks before the
marriage of Philip II, though as yet the Emperor had not been able to
enforce the decision of the diet against the powerful duke. Henry of
England would have been glad to aid his son-in-law with a strong force
against the designs of Frederick, which threatened the revival of the
imperial power and might be dangerous to all the sovereigns of the west
if they succeeded, but he found himself between somewhat conflicting
interests and unable to declare himself with decision for either without
the risk of sacrificing the other. Already, before Philip's marriage, the
young Henry had gone over to England to give his father an account of the
situation in France, and together they had crossed to Normandy early in
April. But the marriage had taken place a little later, and May 29 Philip
and his bride were crowned at St. Denis by the Archbishop of Sens, an
intentional slight to William of Blois, the Archbishop of Reims. Troops
were called into the field on both sides and preparations made for war,
while the house of Blois formed a close alliance with Henry. But the
grandson of the great negotiator, Henry I, had no intention of appealing
to the sword until he had tried the effect of diplomacy. On June 28 Henry
and Philip met at Gisors under the old elm tree which had witnessed so
many personal interviews between the kings of England and France. Here
Henry won another success. Philip was reconciled with his mother's
family; an end was brought to the exclusive influence of the Count of
Flanders; and a treaty of peace and friendship was drawn up between the
two kings modelled closely on that lately made between Henry and Louis
VII, but containing only a general reference to a crusade. Henceforth,
for a time, the character of Henry exercised a strong influence over the
young king of France, and his practical statesmanship became a model for
Philip's imitation.

At the beginning of March, 1182, Henry II returned to Normandy. Events
which were taking place in two quarters required his presence. In France,
actual war had broken out in which the Count of Flanders was now in
alliance with the house of Blois against the tendency towards a strong
monarchy which was already plainly showing itself in the policy of young
Philip, Henry's sons had rendered loyal and indispensable assistance to
their French suzerain in this war, and now their father came to his aid
with his diplomatic skill. Before the close of April he had made peace to
the advantage of Philip. His other task was not so easily performed.
Troubles had broken out again in Richard's duchy. The young duke was as
determined to be master in his dominions as his father in his, but his
methods were harsh and violent; he was a fighter, not a diplomatist; the
immorality of his life gave rise to bitter complaints; and policy,
methods, and personal character combined with the character of the land
he ruled to make peace impossible for any length of time. Now the
troubadour baron, Bertran de Born, who delighted in war and found the
chosen field for his talents in stirring up strife between others, in a
ringing poem called on his brother barons to revolt. Henry, coming to aid
his son in May, 1182, found negotiation unsuccessful, and together in the
field they forced an apparent submission. But only for a few months.

In the next act of the constantly varied drama of the Angevin family in
this generation the leading part is taken by the young king. For some
time past the situation in France had almost forced him into harmony with
his father, but this was from no change of spirit. Again he began to
demand some part of the inheritance that was nominally his, and fled to
his customary refuge at Paris on a new refusal. With difficulty and by
making a new arrangement for his income, his father was able to persuade
him to return, and Henry had what satisfaction there could be to him in
spending the Christmas of 1182 at Caen with his three sons, Henry,
Richard, and Geoffrey, and with his daughter Matilda and her exiled
husband, the Duke of Saxony. This family concord was at once broken by
Richard's flat refusal to swear fealty to his elder brother for
Aquitaine. Already the Aquitanian rebels had begun to look to the young
Henry for help against his brother, and Bertran de Born had been busy
sowing strife between them. In the rebellion of the barons that followed,
young Henry and his brother Geoffrey acted an equivocal and most
dishonourable part. Really doing all they could to aid the rebels against
Richard, they repeatedly abused the patience and affection of their
father with pretended negotiations to gain time. Reduced to straits for
money, they took to plundering the monasteries and shrines of Aquitaine,
not sparing even the most holy and famous shrine of Rocamadour,
Immediately after one of the robberies, particularly heinous according to
the ideas of the time, the young king fell ill and grew rapidly worse.
His message, asking his father to come to him, was treated with the
suspicion that it deserved after his recent acts, and he died with only
his personal followers about him, striving to atone for his life of sin
at the last moment by repeated confession and partaking of the sacrament,
by laying on William Marshal the duty of carrying his crusader's cloak to
the Holy Land, and by ordering the clergy present to drag him with a rope
around his neck on to a bed of ashes where he expired.



The prince who died thus pitifully on June 11, 1183, was near the middle
of his twenty-ninth year. He had never had an opportunity to show what he
could do as a ruler in an independent station, but if we may trust the
indications of his character in other directions, he would have belonged
to the weakest and worst type of the combined houses from which he was
descended. But he made himself beloved by those who knew him, and his
early death was deeply mourned even by the father who had suffered so
much from him. Few writers of the time saw clearly enough to discern the
frivolous character beneath the surface of attractive manners, and to the
poets of chivalry lament was natural for one in whom they recognized
instinctively the expression of their own ideal. His devoted servant,
William Marshal, carried out the mission with which he had been charged,
and after an absence of two years on a crusade for Henry the son, he
returned and entered the service of Henry the father.

The death of a king who had never been more than a king in name made no
difference in the political situation. It was a relief to Richard who
once more and quickly got the better of his enemies. It must also in many
ways have been a relief to Henry, though he showed no disposition to take
full advantage of it. The king had learned many things in the experience
of the years since his eldest son was crowned, but the conclusions which
seem to us most important, he appears not to have drawn. He had had
indeed enough of crowned kings among his sons, and from this time on,
though Richard occupied clearly the position of heir to the crown, there
was no suggestion that he should be made actually king in the lifetime of
his father. There is evidence also that after the late war the important
fortresses both of Aquitaine and Britanny passed into the possession of
Henry and were held by his garrisons, but just how much this meant it is
not easy to say. Certainly he had no intention of abandoning the plan of
parcelling out the great provinces of his dominion among his sons as
subordinate rulers. It almost seems as if his first thought after the
death of his eldest son was that now there was an opportunity of
providing for his youngest. He sent to Ranulf Glanvill, justiciar of
England, to bring John over to Normandy, and on their arrival he sent for
Richard and proposed to him to give up Aquitaine to his brother and to
take his homage for it. Richard asked for a delay of two or three days to
consult his friends, took horse at once and escaped from the court, and
from his duchy returned answer that he would never allow Aquitaine to be
possessed by any one but himself.

The death of young Henry led at once to annoying questions raised by
Philip of France. His sister Margaret was now a widow without children,
and he had some right to demand that the lands which had been ceded by
France to Normandy as her marriage portion should be restored. These were
the Norman Vexin and the important frontier fortress of Gisors. In the
troublous times of 1151 Count Geoffrey might have felt justified in
surrendering so important a part of Norman territory and defences to the
king of France in order to secure the possession of the rest to his son,
but times were now changed for that son, and he could not consent to open
up the road into the heart of Normandy to his possible enemies. He
replied to Philip that the cession of the Vexin had been final and that
there could be no question of its return. Philip was not easily
satisfied, and there was much negotiation before a treaty on the subject
was finally made at the beginning of December, 1183. At a conference near
Gisors Henry did homage to Philip for all his French possessions, a
liberal pension was accepted for Margaret in lieu of her dower lands, and
the king of France recognized the permanence of the cession to Normandy
on the condition that Gisors should go to one of the sons of Henry on his
marriage with Adela which was once more promised. This marriage in the
end never took place, but the Vexin remained a Norman possession.

The year 1184 was a repetition in a series of minor details, family
quarrels, foreign negotiations, problems of government, and acts of
legislation, of many earlier years of the life of Henry. After Christmas,
1183, angered apparently by a new refusal of Richard to give up Aquitaine
to John, or to allow any provision to be made for him in the duchy, Henry
gave John an army and permission to make war on his brother to force from
him what he could. Geoffrey joined in to aid John, or for his own
satisfaction, and together they laid waste parts of Richard's lands. He
replied in kind with an invasion of Britanny, and finally Henry had to
interfere and order all his sons over to England that he might reconcile
them. In the spring of the year he found it necessary to try to make
peace again between the king of France and the Count of Flanders. The
agreement which he had arranged in 1182 had not really settled the
difficulties that had arisen. The question now chiefly concerned the
lands of Vermandois, Amiens, and Valois, the inheritance which the
Countess of Flanders had brought to her husband. She had died just before
the conclusion of the peace in 1182, without heirs, and it had been then
agreed that the Count should retain possession of the lands during his
life, recognizing certain rights of the king of France. Now he had
contracted a second marriage in the evident hope of passing on his claims
to children of his own. Philip's declaration that this marriage should
make no difference in the disposition of these lands which were to prove
the first important accession of territory made by the house of Capet
since it came to the throne, was followed by a renewal of the war, and
the best efforts of Henry II only succeeded in bringing about a truce for
a year.

Still earlier in the year died Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury, and
long disputes followed between the monks of the cathedral church and the
suffragan bishops of the province as to the election of his successor.
The monks claimed the exclusive right of election, the bishops claimed
the right to concur and represented on this occasion the interests of the
king. After a delay of almost a year, Baldwin, Bishop of Worcester, was
declared elected, but no final settlement was made of the disputed rights
to elect. In legislation the year is marked by the Forest Assize, which
regulated the forest courts and re-enacted the forest law of the early
Norman kings in all its severity. One of its most important provisions
was that hereafter punishments for forest offences should be inflicted
strictly upon the body of the culprit and no longer take the form of
fines. Not merely was the taking of game by private persons forbidden,
but the free use of their own timber on such of their lands as lay within
the bounds of the royal forests was taken away. The Christmas feast of
the year saw another family gathering more complete than usual, for not
merely were Richard and John present, but the Duke and Duchess of Saxony,


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