Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Geoffrey Plantagenet – the King’s Bastard IV


Dover Castle
An Ignominious Return Home

Geoffrey too decided to come home. With Prince John siding with his enemies and Geoffrey likely to do the same, Longchamp viewed the king’s half-brother as a threat to his own position. In September 1191 Geoffrey arrived back in England, landing in Dover on 14th in contravention of his oath. Prince John warned his half-brother of the danger of arrest.

Longchamp ordered Geoffrey’s arrest. Geoffrey had a horse waiting for him on the beach when he landed and managed to evade the men sent to arrest him. One of the castellan[i]  of Dover’s men caught Geoffrey’s bridle, but the 40 year old church man was still agile enough to kick his pursuer off and managed to make it to the priory of St Martin which was immediately surrounded.

The priory was besieged for four days after which the castellan’s men entered the abbey and dragged Geoffrey from the altar. Geoffrey was hauled through the streets of Dover, his head banging on the ground. Gerald of Wales[ii] wrote;

‘The castellan’s men grabbed him by the feet and arms, carried the struggling archbishop from the altar and handled him so roughly that his head hit the pavement of the church heavily….he was brought through the muddy streets of the town to the castle where he was delivered to the constable[iii].’[iv]

This act, so reminiscent of the treatment meted out to Thomas Beckett by Henry II, turned the clergy against Longchamp.

In retaliation Prince John and Walter de Coutances summonsed Longchamp to appear before a council to be held at Reading. Longchamp hightailed it off to London where he shut himself up in the Tower. After a three day siege he surrendered on 10th October, leaving the country under guard at the end of the month. The council named Prince John as supreme governor of the realm while de Coutances took the post of Justiciar.

Clerical Quarrels

Once things had settled down in the south Geoffrey returned to York; this time he was formally consecrated archbishop and had papal approval to boot. Geoffrey was formally enthroned as archbishop on 2nd November 1191; his enemy Hugh de Puiset failed to attend in his role as Bishop of Durham.

Geoffrey summonsed Puiset to explain his absence at a provincial synod in late September 1191, at which the bishop was charged with various irregularities. Puiset appealed to Rome and refused to attend the synod, and was excommunicated in December by Geoffrey.

An attempt in March 1192 by Eleanor and Hubert Walter to settle the issue came to nothing when Geoffrey insisted on a pledge of obedience from Puiset, who in turn demanded an admission from Geoffrey that the excommunication had been unjust.

Geoffrey turned up before the queen at the head of a solemn procession of clerics, his arch-episcopal cross carried before him. Geoffrey refused to be reconciled with Puiset until he made a solemn promise of obedience. Further appeals to Rome led to an eventual settlement in October 1192, when the bishop finally acknowledged Geoffrey's authority over Durham.
Godstow Abbey
Seeing the possibilities in this situation, Puiset’s supporters among the canons refused to cooperate with Geoffrey’s officials and got excommunicated for their pains. They closed the Minster, refused to allow the bells to be rung, locked up the archbishop’s stall in the choir and blocked up the door by which Geoffrey entered the Minster from his palace.

In another run in with Geoffrey, Alice, the Prioress of Clementhorpe Priory[v] refused to agree to Geoffrey’s plans for the reorganisation of her convent, subordinating it to Godstow Abbey[vi]. She, in her turn, was excommunicated.

Richard’s Ransom

R
Richard's capture
ichard’s bosom pal Philip reached home in early 1192; he claimed that on crusade Richard had been insolent, full of pride and treachery. Philip went so far as to hint that Richard had had Philip poisoned. Philip and Richard’s friendship was never destined to last; Richard was determined to keep his French holdings, which Philip coveted. By March 1192 the news of Philip’s treachery had reached Richard along with details of the deteriorating conditions at home.

Richard did not leave Outremer until the summer; en route home, shortly before Christmas 1192 Richard was captured[vii] near Vienna by Leopold V, Duke of Austria. Leopold accused Richard of arranging the murder of his cousin Conrad of Montferrat while on crusade[viii]. Richard was held at Dürnstein Castle.

Leopold (2nd L) and Henry IV (C)
Leopold’s liege lord, the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, had Richard brought to his court at Regensburg at the beginning of January. The bargaining for Richard’s ransom began, starting at 100,000 marks[ix]. Henry VI wrote to Philip;

‘Inasmuch as he [Richard] is now in our power and has always done his utmost to annoy and disturb you, we thought it right to notify Your Highness, for we know that these tidings will bring you most abundant joy.’[x]

By mid-January Prince John was on his way to Paris, where he did homage to Philip for Normandy and all Richard’s other lands. He promised to marry Alys and hand over Gisors and the Vexin to Philip.

John’s Rebellion

Tickhill Castle gatehouse
John then hurried home to stir up a rebellion against his brother. John looked first to William the Lion who refused to join in the fun. He did however find an ally in Baldwin, Duke of Hainault[xi]. John used Welsh and Flemish mercenaries to garrison Tickhill Castle Wallingford and Windsor castles, claiming that Richard was dead and that, therefore, John was king. Philip meanwhile attacked Normandy; the great castle of Gisors was surrendered without a fight.

Eleanor and the Justiciars joined forces to counter John’s rebellion. Geoffrey and Hugh du Puiset put aside their feud to quash the uprising. Geoffrey strengthened Doncaster's defences and went to the aid of Puiset, who was besieging Tickhill.

The haggling over Richard’s ransom took over a year; bidding from all parties was fierce. On 25th March 1193 Richard agreed to pay the 100,000 marks and supply Henry VI with the service of fifty galleys and 200 knights for a year. He was to provide Henry with hostages.

William Longchamp was involved in the diplomacy on Richard’s behalf and April 1193 he returned to England with exhortations from Richard and Henry VI that the English pay Richard’s ransom with all due expedition.

Eleanor and the Justiciars levied a 25% tax on income and the value of moveable property. They appropriated this year’s wool crop from Cistercian monasteries, along with gold and silver plate from the country’s churches. Similar measures were enacted in Richard’s continental possessions.

Finally, on 13th March the king returned home;

‘The news of the coming of the King, so long and so desperately awaited, flew faster than the north wind.’[xii]

John’s rebellion withered in the wind. But Richard’s long absence had cost him dear; lands had been lost to both Henry VI and Philip. That worse had not happened can be considered as a direct result of the administrative system set up by his father.

Further Disturbances in York


Pope Celestin III
Geoffrey’s uncompromising attitudes meant that men who’d served him for many years began to turn against him. In 1193 when the office of Dean of York became vacant Geoffrey faced difficulties with his appointee to the post. Geoffrey's first choice, Simon of Apulia, the chancellor of York who had served Geoffrey for many years, refused to give up the office when Geoffrey changed his mind and decided to award the post to his half-brother Peter[xiii].

Simon was supported by the cathedral chapter, who elected him to the office despite Geoffrey's opposition. Geoffrey appealed to Pope Celestine III while Simon travelled to see the king in Germany. Richard refused to allow the appeal and tried to summon Geoffrey to Germany to resolve the issue. Geoffrey was unable to leave York because of disturbances within the cathedral clergy, and Simon managed to secure papal confirmation as Dean of York.

In 1194 Geoffrey went into debt to the crown for the sum of 3000 marks[xiv] to buy the office of Sheriff of Yorkshire for himself. Later that year Geoffrey began a quarrel with Hubert Walter, who had been nominated archbishop by Richard[xv], over the question of which archbishop had primacy over England, which Canterbury claimed and York disputed. Walter's decision to have his episcopal cross carried before him in the diocese of York in March 1194 was symbolic of his claim to primacy over York and all of England.

Geoffrey responded by having his own cross carried before him in the diocese of Canterbury the following month. Richard did not reprimand Geoffrey for this act of provocation, and even went so far as to restore some of his confiscated estates.

Bibliography

Philip Augustus – Jim Bradbury, Longman 1998

King John – Stephen Church, MacMillan 2013

Early Medieval England – MT Clanchy, The Folio Society 1997

Richard the Lionheart – John Gillingham, George Weidenfeld and Nicholson 1989

The Royal Bastards of Medieval England – Chris Given- Wilson and Alice Curteis, Barnes & Noble Books 1995

The Plantagenets – Dan Jones, William Collins 2012

King John – WL Warren, Yale University Press 1997

Eleanor of Aquitaine – Alison Weir, Jonathan Cape 1999

The Plantagenets – Derek Wilson, Quercus Editions Ltd 2014

www.wikipedia.en

[i] The castellan was married to Longchamps’ sister
[ii] Geoffrey was Gerald’s patron
[iii] Those involved in this sacrilege were excommunicated by Hugh of Lincoln
[iv] King John - Church
[v] A convent in one of the parishes in York, closed down in 1536
[vi] In Oxfordshire
[vii] Several of his knights had already been taken by Meinhard of Görz
[viii] Leopold also claimed that Richard had personally offended him by casting down his standard from the walls of Acre
[ix] Comparisons of wealth are not calculated for before the year 1270, if this ransom had been demanded then, not in 1193, then the relative worth in 2014 would be historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £85,460,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £1,508,000,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £3,572,000,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £29,120,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[x] Richard the Lionheart - Gillingham
[xi] Philips’ father-in-law.
[xii] Eleanor of Aquitaine - Weir
[xiii] A maternal relative
[xiv] The pound, the mark, the franc and a number of other European currencies were almost equivalent in value. Comparisons of wealth are not calculated for before the year 1270, if the office had been bought then, not 1194 then the relative worth in 2014 would be historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £2,564,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £45,230,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £107,200,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £873,700,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[xv] Without consulting the bishops

Monday, 15 August 2016

Geoffrey Plantagenet – the King’s Bastard III


Richard I
 Archbishop of York

Geoffrey and Richard were not only political enemies, they had been rivals too for most of Richard’s adult life. Richard was jealous of Geoffrey’s reputation for military prowess gained in the 1174 uprising. When the pair met at Henry’s funeral Richard asked Geoffrey to resign his chancellorship. In Geoffrey’s place Richard appointed William Longchamp Chancellor and Bishop of Ely. Longchamp had served Richard in the administration of Aquitaine.

Richard nominated Geoffrey as Archbishop of York; on 10th August 1189 a majority of the canons of York Minster elected Geoffrey as Archbishop. Being Archbishop of York brought Geoffrey back into conflict with the 70 year old Hugh de Puiset, who still begrudged Geoffrey getting one over on him in 1174.

As Archbishop, Geoffrey now had responsibility for the oversight of Puiset’s diocese in Durham. It also brought Geoffrey into conflict with Henry Marshall[i], Dean of York newly appointed by Richard. Richard also appointed another man calculated to counter Geoffrey’s influence, Roger of London, as Abbot of Selby Abbey.

Along with Burchard de Puiset[ii], the Treasurer of York Minster, Puiset and Walter headed a dissenting faction within the York Chapter, who complained that the pope had not confirmed Geoffrey’s election to the see. They tried to secure an annulment of the election. Regardless Richard agreed on 16th September to confirm his half-brother’s election to the archbishopric.

John on a stag hunt
Geoffrey's ordination as a priest took place at Southwell on 23 September 1189, in a ceremony performed by John the Bishop of Whithorn. Richard made his confirmation on condition that Geoffrey was ordinated a priest, thus removing any fear that Geoffrey might make a push for the throne itself.

To pay off his brother Prince John was made Count of Mortain and was married to an heiress, Isabelle of Gloucester[iii]. John was also given lands to the value of £4,000 per annum[iv] including the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset. Richard’s nobles were concerned that

‘At no time since the conquest has a subject been allowed to exercise control over so vast a territory.’[v]

The lands given to John were an insignificant part of the whole; he was not given custodianship of the castles in these lands. Richard hoped that John would be contained by their mother and the men he proposed to put in place to rule the country while he was away.

Preparing for the Crusade

Canterbury
Richard sent Geoffrey north to escort the King of the Scots down to Canterbury. William was to swear fealty to Richard before the latter departed on crusade. En route north, on a side trip to York Geoffrey became embroiled in a dispute with the canons opposing him. Geoffrey failed to appoint officials of their party to vacant offices in the cathedral. They protested to Richard who ordered Geoffrey’s estates seized.

By the time Geoffrey returned to court with William, his enemies, including the dowager queen, were already in residence whispering in Richard’s ear. All kinds of ridiculous rumours were abroad; Geoffrey had trampled on Richard’s portrait and had placed a gold cover on his head and remarking to the effect that it was a head well deserving of a crown.

Richard had no intention of removing his half-brother from his new post, but required a bribe from Geoffrey of £2,000[vi] for the return of his lands. The money went to help fund Richard’s crusade. According to Roger of Howden

‘[Richard] put up for sale everything he had, offices, lordships, earldoms,, sherrifdoms, castles, towns, lands, the lot.’[vii]

Richard would only have himself to blame if the country was mismanaged in his absence.

Finding the King’s Ransom


York Minster
Geoffrey returned to York to raise the money Richard demanded. He stumbled into a wasp’s nest. On 5th January 1190, on the eve of Epiphany, Geoffrey proposed to attend Vespers in state. His supporting canons escorted Geoffrey in solemn procession through the Minster only to find the service had already started. Whether this was mismanagement on Geoffrey’s part or a deliberate slight by the opposition is unknown.

Geoffrey’s temper, inherited from his father, was aroused and he ordered the singers to be silent and began to sing the service himself. The Treasurer immediately counter-ordered the extinguishing of all candles in the Minster[viii]. Geoffrey had to finish the service in the dark.

Once the service was over Geoffrey ordered that divine service was no longer to be sung in the Minster until an apology was forthcoming. He promised to be reconciled to the opposition once the apology was made. The Treasurer and his supporters refused to apologise and tried to raise the townspeople against the Archbishop.

The citizens of York rioted in support of their Archbishop rather than for the dissidents. Geoffrey had to stop his new supporters from killing Burchard de Puiset. Geoffrey then decided to excommunicate de Puiset and a colleague and closed the Minster for all services.

A Land Grab

Tour Cathedral
The merchants of York took umbrage at Geoffrey’s actions and refused to give him a loan of £2,000 to pay off Richard. In addition Hugh de Puiset forbad Geoffrey’s tenants to make any payments to him. Geoffrey was forced to follow Richard to France and explain why he was unable to pay the bribe and his estates were again made forfeit.

What Richard really wanted was for Geoffrey to swear to leave the kingdom for three years[ix]. Prince John had already sworn a similar oath. In return for Geoffrey’s compliance Richard reduced the bribe to £500 now and £500 later along with the oath. In return Richard promised to intercede with the pope for his agreement to Geoffrey becoming Archbishop of York. The papal agreement to Geoffrey’s accession to the see should put an end to the dispute over the validity of his election.

Geoffrey departed for Tours where he was to stay for the next eighteen months. While in Tours Geoffrey was consecrated as Archbishop of York on 18 August 1191, by Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Tours, after the papacy agreed to allow the consecration.

Eleanor was able to persuade Richard to reverse his decision in respect of Prince John. Longchamp was appointed Papal legate and joint Justiciar of England. Geoffrey’s enemy Hugh de Puiset was made Justiciar for the north of the country. The two Justiciars did not get on; de Puiset was of the nobility, while Longchamp was a self-made man and French to boot. Within two months the two Justiciars had fallen out and it was Longchamp who was the victor.

When the King’s Away

Richard and Philip on crusade
Richard departed on crusade on 5th July 1190, meeting up with Philip of France. In Sicily, en route to Outremer, on 22nd September Richard indicated that the young Arthur of Brittany was his heir apparent. This news reached England in early November at the latest and, according to William of Newburgh, Prince John was able to bully Longchamp into making Prince John Richard’s heir presumptive.

While in Sicily Richard had heard news of the disturbances in his kingdom and sent Walter de Coutances, Archbishop of Rouen, to England with wide-reaching powers to settle the problems as he saw fit. With his arrogant mien Longchamp had upset many of the barons he had been left to rule. In the summer of 1190 he had Puiset arrested.

Berengeria of Navarre
By the summer of 1191 the unrest was such that he was accused of abusing his office. The most vocal of Longchamp’s critics, Hugh de Nonant, Bishop of Lichfield, protested;

‘Whatever property swam beneath our skies was no longer said to belong to the king, but to him [Longchamp], for their was neither that which is hunted for on land, fished for in water, or flying in the air, which was not compelled to be at the service of his table.’[x]

Early in 1191 John returned to England and on 12th May 1191 news arrived of Richard’s wedding in Cyprus to Berengaria of Navarre; his mother had bullied him into this marriage.

Bibliography

Philip Augustus – Jim Bradbury, Longman 1998

King John – Stephen Church, MacMillan 2013

Early Medieval England – MT Clanchy, The Folio Society 1997

Richard the Lionheart – John Gillingham, George Weidenfeld and Nicholson 1989

The Royal Bastards of Medieval England – Chris Given- Wilson and Alice Curteis, Barnes & Noble Books 1995

The Plantagenets – Dan Jones, William Collins 2012

King John – WL Warren, Yale University Press 1997

Eleanor of Aquitaine – Alison Weir, Jonathan Cape 1999

The Plantagenets – Derek Wilson, Quercus Editions Ltd 2014

www.wikipedia.en


[i] Younger brother of William Marshall
[ii] Hugh de Puiset’s brother
[iii] The Archbishop of Canterbury protested against the marriage on the grounds that the couple were second cousins and had no papal licence to marry
[iv] Comparisons of wealth are not calculated for before the year 1270, if the lands had been given then, not 1189 then the relative worth in 2014 would be; historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £3,418,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £60,310,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £142,900,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £1,165,000,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[v] Richard the Lionheart - Gillingham
[vi] Comparisons of wealth are not calculated for before the year 1270, if the bribe had been paid in that year, not 1191 then the relative worth in 2014 £2000 would have been historic standard of living value of that income or wealth is £1,709,000.00 labour earnings of that income or wealth is £30,150,000.00 economic status value of that income or wealth is £71,440,000.00 economic power value of that income or wealth is £582,500,000.00 www.measuringworth.com
[vii] Richard the Lionheart - Gillingham
[viii] The candles were the Treasurer’s responsibility and Geoffrey could not persuade any of the canons to relight them.
[ix] The estimate of the crusade’s duration
[x] King John – Church