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1252

Grosseteste.

have been summoned separately at first, in order that СНАР.

V. they might be prevailed upon the more easily when deprived of the assistance of the laity. Both arch

Opposition bishops were absent. The papal bull, granting the of the three years' tithe, was then read aloud to them, and clergy, the kings proctors, assuming the grant as a matter of certainty, went on to ask that the money for one year, or at least half of it, should be paid before the king started. Upon which the Bishop of Lincoln exclaimed, in great anger, What is this, by our Lady! ye take things too much for granted. Think ye we headed by shall consent to this accursed contribution ? Far be it that we should so bow the knee to Baal.' I And when the Bishop-elect of Winchester, the kings halfbrother, hinted that France had submitted, and England would have to do the same, Grosseteste retorted that for that very reason England should not yield, and so strengthen the exaction by a precedent. The great majority of the bishops supported him. The king then altered his tactics, and requested submissively that an aid might be granted him. But the bishops remained firm, and pleaded the absence of the primates of York and Canterbury as an excuse for avoiding a decision. Henry then tried, as usual, to influence them singly, and began with the Bishop of Ely: The bishop still refusing to yield, he turned

Matt. Par. 849. O quid est hoc, pro nostra Domina ? Absit hæc a nobis ad Baal genium incurvatio.' The account illustrates well the superiority of Grosseteste, and the vacillation of the majority of the Episcopate.

? The Archbishop of Canterbury returned 18 Nov. 1252 (Hist. Angl. 127). The clergy of the northern province had, it appears, already consulted on the matter, and had made answer to the king that, seeing that the interests of the whole English Church were at stake, they could not decide without their brethren of the province of Canterbury. Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 67, quoting Roy, Letters, ii. 95.

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CHAP.

V.

1252-53 The king demands money from Parliament,

savagely upon him, and bade his servants 'turn out that boor. Meanwhile the lay baronage had begun to assemble, though in small numbers. The season was very rainy, the roads were almost impassable, and when the travellers arrived, wet, dirty, and out of temper, they found London a sea of mud, provisions at famine prices, and the city so full of people that it was almost impossible to get a lodging. And for what were they summoned ? Only to hear once more the never-ending demand for money. The king however does not seem to have dared to lay before the laity the demand for the tenth, which indeed did not immediately concern them, but asked their advice in the matter of Gascony, laying the blame of the troubles there on the Earl of Leicester, whose violence, he said, had so disturbed the province. At the end of his address, as if merely by the way, he requested money to help him on the crusade. The magnates answered that their reply must depend on that of the clergy, and laughed in secret at the 'silly king who, without skill or experience in war, was going to make an attempt in which the King of France and all his chivalry had failed.'3 The council broke up in the midst of universal indignation."

However, in the spring of 1253, when de Montfort had left Gascony and was staying in France, affairs in the province had come to such a pitch as to necessitate active interference, and the Easter Parlia

| Matt. Par. 852.

? Whether it was at this Parliament or at a smaller meeting held later in the year that Henry met with the rebuff alluded to above (p. 100), in his attempt to raise the baronage against Leicester, I am unable to say. **Regulum istum,' &c. - Matt. Par. 852. "Cum omnium indignatione.'-Hist. Angl. 126.

but is refused.

Grant of money made.

CHAP.

V.

1253

Charter.

ment yielded to the kings request. After a discussion, which lasted more than a fortnight, the barons granted him a scutage, and the clergy acquiesced in

Confirmathe collection of the tithe. As the price however of tion of the the concession they demanded that the king should observe all privileges and liberties previously granted, both lay and clerical, and, on his promising this, a solemn excommunication of all those who should infringe the charters was pronounced with book and candle by the assembled prelates, the king and the whole council taking part. But the effect of this imposing ceremony was spoilt by a deed, which perhaps caused more universal indignation than any other, and made the name of the chief actor in it 'to stink in the nostrils' of all Englishmen. Peter d'Aigueblanche, Money got

by forgery. Bishop of Hereford, a native of Savoy, proposed to the king a plan for getting money, to which the latter consented, but which nowadays would send its perpetrators to the common gaol. The royal seal was affixed to a schedule which was fastened so that the inside could not be seen : the schedule was blank. The swindlers then, under some pretext or other, obtained the signatures of several bishops and abbots to the schedule, which was taken to Rome and filled up with an obligation to pay certain merchants of Sienna sums of money owed them by the king. The Pope was duped into believing that the prelates in question had signed with their eyes open, and threatened them with excommunication if they did not act up to their engagements. This story is given by so many authori

Fæd. i. 289; cf. Matt. Far. 865. The writ of excommunication, with the bishops' signatures, is dated 13 May 1253.

2 * Cujus memoria fætorem sulphureum exhalat.' Ann. St. Albans.

CHAP.

V.

ties that in its main features it cannot be doubted : 1

it fully accounts for the vengeance taken upon the 1254 Bishop of Hereford ten years later than this. Parliamentary Meanwhile the parliamentary struggle continued, opposition. rising and falling with monotonous variation. The

magnates who assembled in January 1254, in the kings absence,refused his demand for an aid, suspecting that his pretext, the state of Gascony, was nothing but a false alarm : they promised however to go in person to help him should it appear to be necessary. It is remarkable as a step in the theory of assent to taxation that the bishops and abbots, while promising an id on their own account, refused to bind the rest of the clergy by the same obligation. The partial good-will shown by the magnates on this occasion was soon cooled by the discovery that the king had been attempting to dupe them. They assembled after Easter to hear his renewed requests. They were made, as before, on the ground that an invasion by the King of Castile was imminent. This was a strange excuse, seeing that just at this time Eleanor

of Castile was formally betrothed to Prince Edward. Refusal of Unfortunately too for Henry, Simon de Montfort

was present, and was able to give the magnates information as to the real state of things in the province, which confirmed them in their decision not to send aid till they were better certified as to the truth

aid.

| Ann. Osn. 107. In Ann. Burt. 360 it is said that the Bishop of Hereford feigned himself proctor of several religious houses, and so brought them into debt; so tov dnn. Dunst. 199; Matt. Par. 910. Flor. Wigorn. 185 says that almost all religious houses in England were bound for sums varying between 200 and 500 marks. Cf. Ann. St. Albans 373–385.

Matt. Par. 881 : cf. Richards report of this to his brother, Id. Additam. 189.

V.

of the Spanish invasion. It was strange, they said, CHAP. that they never heard of such a danger when the Earl

1254-55 of Leicester was in Gascony. So the council was dissolved, and Henrys ruse failed.' On the kings return, after Christmas 1254, the council, which met first at Portsmouth, was shifted to London, and then to Winchester, and was finally dissolved without any result. At the Easter Parliament of 1255, which Constitu

tional de was very largely attended, the barons answered the

mands. kings request for money, this time in the shape of horngeld, by a renewal of the demand for the power of electing the three chief officers of the Crown. They now supported the claim by a reference to ancient custom, though history would hardly bear them out on this head. They also laid to his charge fresh violations of the charters, and, as the king would not yield to their request, Parliament was prorogued, in order that some change of feeling might induce one party or the other to give way. The names of those who were present at this Parliament are not preserved to us, so that we do not know whether Simon de Montfort was there or not. He was in England, at any rate, in the preceding autumn, and there is no reason to suppose, especially after his

| Ann. Dunst. 190 ; Matt. Par. 887, per comitem Simonem, qui tunc de partibus rediit transmarinis, edocti, &c. From the context it is most probable that these words refer to the present council ; if not they can only refer to that of January. It was to the Parliament of April 1254 that four knights representative were summoned from each county, being the first certain instance of such representation since 1213: see Stubbs, Sel. Chart. 367.

? Ann. Tewk. 155.
Ann. Burt. 336; Ann. Dunst. 195; Matt. Par. 904, 'Exigebant

ut de communi consilio . . . eligerent, sicut ab antiquo consuetum et justum.'

* He was present at the burial of W. de Cantilupe, 30 Sept., 1254, and with the Earl of Hereford bore the body to the grave, -Ann. Dunst. 192.

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