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1259 The Provisions of West
CHAP. speedily fulfil their promises, he should, in conjunc
tion with the community, compel them to do so. The barons thereupon published a new set of Provisions,
called, to distinguish them from those of 1258, the minster;
Provisions of Westminster. These enactments reguljudicial,
ated the legal procedure in the case of land held on feudal tenure, for the better protection of small tenants, wards, and heirs; they put a stop to a number of abuses that had grown up in the sheriffs' and other courts; they prevented the arbitrary jurisdiction of any but duly qualified persons, and any injustice on the part of the itinerant judges, bailiffs, and
others. Besides these regulations, which were meant and consti
to be permanent, there were a number of enactments of a more temporary nature, as to enquiry to be made into various abuses, the appointment of justices, and so forth. Certain important regulations were made: that two or three of the council were always to be with the king in the intervals between the Parliaments; that four knights were to keep special watch over the proceedings of the sheriffs ; that no one should appear armed or with an armed following at Parliament. Appointments of various necessary officials were made ; ecclesiastical property was to be
'Two records of these Provisions are given (Ann. Burt. 476, 480), in French and Latin ; that in French appears to be a record of the proceedings in Parliament, of resolutions, votes and appointments, much the same as the report of the Provisions of Oxford ; that in Latin seems to be the copy intended to be published, containing what was to be em. bodied in the law of the land." The copy in the statutes of the realm (i. 8) is nearly the same as the Latin copy in Ann. Burt., but on the whole is less distinct and definite. These Provisions were confirmed in 1262 and 1264, and embodied in the statute of Marlborough. The account in Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 81, substantially agrees with this.
enquired into, and placed under special protection. CHAP. Lastly, all who had suffered wrong during the last seven years were to make complaint before justices
redress of appointed to hear them, and the sheriff was to cause
grievances; to be elected twelve men in each hundred to help the justices by full enquiry. This arrangement superseded that of the four knights appointed in 1258, who had doubtless been found insufficient for the amount of work put upon them. On the whole the amount of business got through by Parliament testifies to their desire to institute a thorough reform, and is a great contrast to the blank in legislation which had prevailed so long. The spirit of the regulations is remarkably fair, when general
spirit of we consider that a great portion of them would have the Pro
visions. the effect of limiting feudal power, and that the Parliament that passed them consisted of great feudal lords. On the other hand, no step was taken to improve the anomalous nature of the constitution ; the kings power was still further limited, especially in the choice of his ministers and officials. The council aimed at taking everything into their own hands; the king was reduced to a mere witness, without voice or vote, useful only to give authority to their proceedings. Meanwhile the vigorous attempts which had been Foreign
policy : made to settle the second great question of foreign relations policy had ended with success.
The relations be- France. tween England and France, a matter only less important than the negotiations with the Pope, were finally determined. The Sicilian scheme had been sternly and promptly cut short by the barons; peace
This last order appears in a writ tested by Hugh Bigod as justiciar, dated 28 Nov., 1259. — Roy. Letters ii. 141.
with France was a more delicate and lengthy affair.
It was however urgently needed, for the perpetual 1259 Necessity
state of war, which had lasted since the days of John,
and in which hostilities were only staved off by with France. frequent truces, prevented the external quiet which
was indispensable for the completion of internal reform. It was moreover very desirable to reconcile the King of France to the new state of things. His feeling on the matter soon became known, and in the end only too fully justified the fears entertained. For the present the danger seemed to have blown over, but this was not enough; a settlement that should go to the root of the matter was wanted. This desirable consummation was at first hindered by a
difficulty that cannot however have been unexpected. Negotia
The negotiations for peace and the quiet of the rupted by a realm were near coming to a violent end, through a quarrel between quarrel between the two leaders, the outcome of long
standing jealousy. It was during the deliberations of the council, on some questions of immediate policy, after the Lent Parliament of 1259 had broken up, that the dispute broke out. The exact cause is not told us, but so hot did the contest become that Leicester angrily exclaimed, “With such fickle and faithless men I care not to have aught to do. The things we are treating of now we have sworn to carry out. And thou, Sir Earl, the higher thou art, the more art thou bound to keep such statutes as are wholesome for the land.' Shortly afterwards he left England on his embassy to France. The other barons however, with the Earl of Hereford at their head, compelled the Earl of Gloucester to invite him back, and to allay
Leicester and Gloucester.
the anxiety of all by proclaiming his readiness to CHAP. carry out the necessary measures of reform.'
1259 The reconciliation was only a pretence, and the quarrel was renewed in France ; for the Countess of of the
Countess of Leicester insisted on the recognition of her rights as Leicester potential heiress to the English crown. Her claim on English
possessions rested on her descent from Eleanor of Poitou, part of in France, whose dowry, the Agenois, had been granted by Richard I to his sister Joanna, wife of the Count of Toulouse. On the death of Raymond VIII the great fiefs of his family came into the possession of the French crown. The Agenois was claimed by Henry III, and long negotiations on this point had taken place. Eventually Henry gave up his claim on this as on other lands for a money payment. His sister naturally objected to this arrangement, which would have been of little good to her. Henry, always in want of money, was angry at the delay thus caused, and was inclined to ride roughshod over her objections. He wrote to Louis that he would take all the responsibility on himself, and guarantee that Eleanors resistance should do him no harm. This however did not suit the French king, who had higher ideas of morality than his cousin of England, and he refused to conclude the arrangement till Eleanor should be satisfied. Besides these claims she had others too, concerning and on the her right to a share in the property of her former hus. Pembroke band, the Earl of Pembroke. From the great possessions of the family of Marshall Henry had been accustomed to pay her a small pittance: the earldom was about this time conferred on William of Valence,
Matt. Par. 987.
? In 1264, says Sir H. Nicolas. Perhaps it was informally conferred upon him before this, which, if true, will account for his permission to
1259 Conduct of Henry,
which may be one reason for the hostility between him and Leicester.
It is probable that Henry was not answerable for the mismanagement of Eleanors inheritance, the original arrangement having been made between her and her husbands brother. Still his treatment of his sister ever since her marriage had been distinguished neither by chivalrous feeling nor brotherly affection ; he owed her money, and regarded her as a debtor does his creditor. It is intelligible enough that she should have insisted at least on the recognition of her rights by a formal request for her consent; and Simons pride was naturally piqued by this treatment of his wife. Possibly too the idea of securing a possession for the house of Montfort on French soil may have suggested the revival of these claims. The delay has been attributed by the royalist Wykes to the grasping avarice of de Montfort ; but from the whole of his conduct in the matter it is evident the real opposition did not come from him. It is in truth no slight testimony to his generosity and unselfishness that all the claims which really interfered with the completion of peace were before long allowed to drop. At first however there is no doubt they were a great obstacle. Their chief importance to us is the opportunity they unfortunately gave for the renewal of that split between the national leaders which for a time ruined
and of Earl Simon, in the matter.
stay in England with his brother, the Bishop of Winchester, when the other aliens were expelled in 1258; see Pearson, Hist. of Eng. ii. 223.
'T. Wykes, 123. The animus with which this was written appears from the fact that he attributes the lengthy and expensive sojourn of the court till Easter 1260 in Paris to the opposition of de Montfort ; while the documents show that peace was finally concluded before the preceding Christmas.